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Home Sweet Home

When Candied Jansen and I moved in together in together in July of 2015, we had very specific terms about where we could live.  We needed to be in the same school district as my kids and someplace in between where my kids and her son go to school.  We planned to rent for 2 years until my kids were out of school.  During the house hunting process, we found a house for sale that we liked.  Even though we knew we wouldn’t be there long term, but we made an offer and it was accepted.  Then came the inspection.  There were several things that weren’t great, but the biggest deterrent at that point was the mold found all over the AC unit in the attic.  It looked like the air filters hadn’t ever been changed and the inspector said the air ducts were likely filled with mold as well.  He wouldn’t even turn the heater on to see if it worked because he felt it would send mold spores all over the house.  We decided it was more than we wanted to deal with since it wasn’t going to be a place we lived for longer than 2-3 years and dropped our offer.

Today, I am so glad we did!  On Tuesday, Candied Jansen and I are set to close on our first house together.  It has been somewhat of a whirlwind adventure.  We knew we needed to start looking seriously after the first of the year, but every once in a while we would pull up the houses that matched our criteria on the internet.  We wanted a pool and there were never more than 5 houses in the area we wanted to live with a pool and most of the time, they were ok, but nothing special.  Then a house showed up that was beautiful so we asked our realtor to make an appointment to see it.  We looked at it, decided it was perfect, and hurriedly went through the pre-approval process with our bank.  Two days later, when we made our offer, we found out that the homeowners had already accepted an offer made the previous day.  Ugh!  We decided we should keep looking since bank pre-approval only lasts  a short time instead of waiting until the new year.  After some looking, we found another house with an amazing backyard and it officially becomes ours on Tuesday!  We met the current homeowners and found out they have been the only owners of the house.  They’ve kept immaculate records of all services and upgrades on the house, and it had a fairly clean inspection.  The only things flagged in the inspection were things that weren’t code when the house was built, and none of those things were big deals.  In our offer, we asked them to leave the wine fridge in the kitchen, the pool table in the gameroom, the outdoor furniture, and a rug in the entryway AND THEY AGREED!  Not only will we have a pool in the backyard, we will have a pool table in the house!  OMG!!  The house also came with a refrigerator and washer and dryer.  We already had those things, but now we can have an extra fridge in the garage (something we’ve gotten used to in the rental house we’ve been in!), and we can choose between our current washer and dryer and the ones left!

We are moving some ourselves on Wednesday, feeding 11 people on Thanksgiving at the sparsely furnished new house on Thursday, and have movers coming on Friday.  It’s going to be a crazy week!

around and around

Today I read about christian blogger Glennon Doyle Melton coming out, and I saw pictures of her with her girlfriend, soccer star, Abby Wambach.  Of course, I was interested because she is a christian and anytime a well known christian comes out, it pikes my curiosity.  As I read about her, I saw that Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert, came out a couple of months ago.  This surprised me.  I remember reading her book when I lived in Turkey, and it made me want to run away and find myself.  I remember wishing I could go to Italy just so I could eat pizza at Pizzaria de Michele.  Tonight, I was telling Candied Jansen about how much I loved that book and that description of pizza.  I opened up the blog I wrote way back then and typed the word pizza in the search box.  The first post that showed up was the one I was looking for.  Notice the date.

Monday, November 12, 2007
Pizza
I am reading a book that has a description of pizza that I can’t get out of my head. It’s not so much the description of the pizza but the description of where to find the pizza. In the book the author is visiting Italy. While in Italy someone tells her to visit a certain pizzeria in Naples. He claims it’s the best pizza in Naples. The author then goes on to explain that the best pizza in the world is found in Italy. The best pizza in Italy is found in Naples, and the best pizza in Naples is found at this certain pizzeria. That makes the pizza she is about to experience the best pizza in the world! She tries it and has this to say about it.

“So Sofie and I have come to Pizzeria de Michele, and these pies we have just ordered – one for each of us- are making us lose our minds. I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair. Meanwhile, Sofie is practically in tears over hers, she’s having a metaphysical crisis about it, she’s begging me, “Why do they even bother trying to make pizza in Stockholm? Why do we even bother eating food at all in Stockholm?”

Nine years ago, I was in the middle of an emotional online affair with a woman.  I was in a Christian ministry position and feeling stuck and not sure what to do about it.  I read a book about a woman who basically ran away from her life to figure out who she was.  I had 4 kids and a family I couldn’t just check out of.  Thank goodness!  I lived vicariously through this woman’s story, and I wrote about pizza.  2 years later, I left my husband and came out.  I dated some and then married the most amazing woman.  I rediscovered that post about pizza today because a Christian blogger came out.  And the woman who described that pizza…she’s out now, too.  It feels like it’s come full circle!

And the award for best wife ever goes to…

Candied Jansen!!

August 11 was my first official day of work at the new school.  I had been up there for several days before that getting my room ready.  I spent well over 8 hours a day working on it and so much money buying new things because it had been a while since I had a fresh start.  I left work last Friday so exhausted from all my prep work getting ready for the first week of school.  When I got home I was surprised with a spotless house.  Candied Jansen had taken care of much of the cleaning herself and then hired someone to come do the deep cleaning.  She knew I was starting to get busy and she knew it would show love to me.  I was so surprised and happy at her thoughtfulness!  She had also done some organizing of closets and bought me an amazing shoe rack because she knew I was complaining of having so many of my shoes encroaching on the open floor space in my closet.  She’s also given me amazing foot rubs since I’ve been back at work because she sees me limping around from being on my feet all day.  AND she even painted my toenails for me one evening!  I seriously have the best wife ever!

And speaking of my wife, I mentioned her job was on the line the last time I wrote.  Well, we are happy to report that she was given a position on the first day positions were being offered!  I was so excited and happy for her!  I know she loves the company she works for and is an extremely loyal employee.  I was so glad that they saw that part of her as well and knew she would do a good job for them!  Hopefully there won’t be any more layoffs any time soon!  They are way too stressful!!

And did I mention what an awesome wife I have?? I love that she misses me when I’m gone and shows me that she needs me.  I love that we work well together and that we are always laughing.  I love that she is inappropriate and irreverent at times.  I love that those who are lucky to be called her friends know just how much they mean to her.  I love her!  We’ve been married for 6 1/2 months and together for 2 1/2 years and I am more in love with her every day!

#myhashtagsaretoolongbutidontcare

This is most definitely a blah day!  So many things have gotten to me today.

  1.  The violence against people in this country!  I am horrified over the events of the last week.  I have been frustrated over it all, but for some reason this week got to me.  I haven’t watched any of the videos of the men being shot or the aftermath of them being shot.  I didn’t need to.  They were shot!  That’s what is crazy.  They weren’t having a shootout with the police.  They were shot.  I wasn’t horrified over Sandra Bland.  I took my cue on how to feel then from my black coworkers in Prairie View/Waller where the Sandra Bland event happened.  I took my cue from a friend who is black police officer from the area.  They all felt for Sandra and her family, but they didn’t believe that it was a case of police brutality.  They didn’t speak up on social media about the racial unfairness of it all.  But this is different.  This is scary for my friends.  They are all talking and that makes me stand up and take notice and accept responsibility for my whiteness.  And then the snipers in Dallas shooting at police.  OMG people, get yourselves together.  It makes me want to run away to a deserted island which is the exact wrong thing to do.
  2. FACEBOOK!  I mostly hate it.  I love being able to catch up with people, but I absolutely hate everything on it that blames Obama, Bush, Trump, Clinton, Cheney for the wrong in this country.  And so many stupid people sharing these ideas.  I just read one that said, “Someone kill this waste of fucking flesh.  He’s breathing in American air.  He doesn’t deserve that right.  #fuckObama #fuckliberals #fuckisis #fuckHillary.”  Come on people!  We need to stand together!  #thatdesertedislandlooksevenbetternow!
  3. The results of the state assessment STAAR test came in and my kids did terrible!  And I feel terrible!  I wasn’t given exact numbers on any group other than my own, but I was told that only 57% of my third graders passed the reading test.  I was told that the other schools in the district all passed with 80% or more.  The 4th and 5th graders at my school had a higher passing rate as well.  I can’t actually look at the scores since I’ve resigned from the district and have been removed from the system so I don’t know if all those numbers are accurate.  I just hate that I left with a crap year on my record.  It won’t affect my new job, but I KNOW that it was a bad year.  It was my hardest year and I was overwhelmed so much of the time.  I felt like I was being picked on which was so different from how I had been treated the previous 5 years.  I can’t decide if I my teaching got worse so the scores were low because of all that was going on in 3rd grade or if their treatment of me was justified.  I didn’t want to teach 3rd grade and had been begging for a Kindergarten position since the year before so I wonder if I subconsciously sabotaged myself.  I’ll never know.  (I am thankful for my new job teaching kindergarten in another district so all I can do is move forward and embrace new beginnings…but UGH!) #desertedislandsdontneedschools!
  4. Candied Jansen’s job is on the line again.  This is the third round of layoffs at her place of employment since we started dating in Feb. of 2014.  She made it through the first two rounds with flying colors, but this one feels different somehow.  The way they are going about it is different this time around so we are both feeling the fear of the unknown.  We really need oil and gas prices to go up!  #noneedformoneyorjobsonadesertedisland
  5. I haven’t had a Diet Coke in a whole day and I have a slight headache.  While that’s not a huge big deal in the grand scheme of life, I really want one!  Alas, we have none in the house and I’m trying to quit/cut back.  Sigh. #desertedislandsdonthavedietcoke  #buttheyalsodonthavestupidpeoplesoitsworthit

The fact that I cried about these things today doesn’t help the lack of caffeine headache I have.  Sigh.

Renewal Time!

Back in 2014 I posted about Earning My Lesbian Card here on the ol’ blog.  On Monday, that darn card came up for renewal!

For some reason our dryer stopped working last week.  It finished drying a load and then when the next load was put in, it just wouldn’t start at all.  It was a complete mystery!  I went out and flipped the breaker and unplugged and replugged it back in to no avail.  It wasn’t going to work.  I grabbed the handy dandy drying rack that I bought in 2010 and hung the clothes to dry.  I knew that I had a very busy last two days of school and a graduation and celebration for my 3rd child so the dryer wasn’t going to be fixed until I survived all of that.  On Sunday evening I signed in to chat with someone from Sears about getting it fixed.  I bought it at Sears and it’s a Kenmore so that’s what I went with.  They set me up with an appointment the next morning!  Yay!

The repairman showed up and went about his routine of checking it out.  He discovered that 3 parts were bad…something that surprised him.  He said it was probably from an electrical surge, lightning strike, or something.  Considering all the storms we’ve had and how many times the power has gone out recently, this isn’t a big surprise.  The problem was that he had 2 of the parts, but the third part is no longer in their inventory, because it isn’t used on newer Kenmore models.  I was frustrated with this because my dryer was purchased in 2012 so it’s not like it’s very old and a newer model won’t be breaking down anytime soon hopefully.  It’s the older models that will need to be fixed!  Unfortunately, because he didn’t have all the parts, he wasn’t allowed to fix any of the dryer at all.  They offer a 90 day warranty after they fix it, but since he couldn’t guarantee it would work I was out of luck!  The most frustrating part was that I had to pay $89 for a service call even though he couldn’t do anything to help me.  Now, I know that I could have found someone else who probably could have actually fixed the thing, but I went with Sears because that’s all my overly stimulated brain could think of at the time.

Because the repairman could sense my frustration, he showed me all three parts that needed to be replaced.  He told me that I could get all of them at an appliance parts store for about $150 and have my husband fix it for me.  Little did he know that there isn’t a husband around these parts, but I chose not to bewilder him with that information.  He showed me where things unscrew and unplug and how the parts were like puzzle pieces to fit back into place.  He gave me the part numbers and wished me well.  I got online and found an appliance parts place not too far away.  I was going to have to be the butch lesbian this time because Candied Jansen was out of town for a few days.  I decided I should take the broken parts with me just in case something was messed up on the part numbers so I proceeded to unscrew and unplug them from the dryer.  When I arrived at the parts store, I handed my part numbers to the clerk who took about 15 seconds to round them up.  Wow!  No old parts needed!  I paid $133 and headed home.

Now to fix the dryer!  Several pieces fit right in just like the repairman said, but there was this one new piece that apparently took the place of the old piece.  Thankfully the package had a picture of the old and new pieces and directions explaining how to attach the new piece to the old place.  Some of the instructions were repair jargon to me and I had no idea what they were talking about, but there were diagrams and I can do that!  After about 20 minutes of actual work, I set the dryer upright, turned it on, and by golly the thing worked!  I turned it off and flipped it back over and reattached the back of the dryer which took longer than the actual repair due to the millions of tiny screws used.  I cautiously kept turning it off and on because I could see the glow from the heating element inside the dryer and I wasn’t sure if that was supposed to happen!  After a few minutes it stopped glowing and functioned normally.  I figured all the dust that dislodged from me turning the dryer over was burning off or something.

We’ve used the dryer several times since then, and it works like a charm!  I told Candied Jansen that the next time we need a butch lesbian, it was her turn!

 

2016 and me

Over the last school year, I blogged about different areas of my life and how stressed I was about them.  My job was causing me lots of anxiety, I had a house on the market for longer than I planned, and due to those things making me crazy, Candied Jansen and I decided to postpone the wedding we had originally planned for November of 2015. When the new year rolled around with those stresses still in place, I claimed 2016 to be a good year and so far that is proving to be true! (Well, minus Candied Jansen’s son falling out of a tree, breaking his arm in three places, and getting an open skull fracture in April…and the therapy and recovery that is ongoing, of course!)

The house sold at the end of January, we got married in February, and I just worked the last day of my current teaching job.  My third child graduated from high school yesterday, and I now have a summer to take care of some things I’ve been putting off!  One of those things is losing some weight and getting some energy back!  I feel like I ate my feelings all year long so I’ve put on a few pounds.  I want to lose about 40 pounds but wouldn’t be mad if I lost 50!  I’ve got some work to do, but I am very motivated!  I’m starting at a new school in August and would love to look fresh for my fresh start.

Here we go!

Changes

What a year!  I know it’s just now June, but I’m referring to my school year!  I have taught at the same school for the past 6 years.  There have been highs and lows during all 6 of those years, but this year was a particularly bad year for me.  I can’t really pinpoint the exact cause, but even the things I can say I choose not to say to protect the integrity of the situations.  I will say that I wasn’t alone in my crazy this year!  One of my chief complaints was that I really wanted to teach kindergarten and not be moved to a different grade every other year.   My principal hired me 6 years ago to teach kindergarten and I got to do that for the rest of the year she hired me and the next year.  After that I was moved to 5th grade reading and social studies where I spent 2 years.  I was moved back to kinder for a year and started the next year in kinder as well.  Two weeks into that school year I was asked to move from kinder to 4th grade due to the numbers of kids in those grades.  I’m flexible.  I am a go-with-the-flow person.  I did this because I knew my principal trusted me to do a good job with those kids.  This past year I was a 3rd grade teacher.  So in the 6 years I’ve taught at my school I’ve taught 4 different grade levels.  Thankfully, I was always in a reading/social studies position when I was teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades.  I love reading, but my first love is kindergarten.  I had only been able to teach it for 2 1/2 years and they weren’t even consecutive years.  I was an education major with an early childhood specialization in college.  My teaching certificate specifies my early childhood degree, but I felt like I never got a good chance to use it!  I would talk to people who mentioned teaching kindergarten for 10 years or 15 years, and I wondered what that was like.  To be put in a grade and really be able to dig in and grow year after year.  I had no idea.

I found out in mid-April that my principal planned to either keep me in 3rd grade or move me back to 4th grade for next year.  She wanted to keep the current kindergarten teachers in their positions so, with her blessing, I decided to see about transferring to another school in the district.  I went to the job fair and met with the principals of the other elementary schools and none of them had any kinder openings.  One thought they might have a first grade position for next year but wasn’t sure yet.  I got home and decided I should just see what other districts in the area had available for next year.  I went to a job fair for one district and was overwhelmed at it’s size.  I submitted my application and resume online and had 4 interviews lined up within a matter of days. I went to the first interview on a Monday and loved the principal and others I interviewed with.  Apparently they felt the same about me, because within an hour, they called my current school to ask about me.  Thankfully, I had informed my principal that I was doing some looking outside of our district and she was very understanding about my need to plant myself somewhere.  She told me she gave me a glowing recommendation and was excited for me. She told me that according to that principal I was their first choice.  I went to the second interview the next day, and it also went really well.  Between the two schools, I was still more drawn to the first one though.  Both job postings expired on Friday which was the magic day when they could submit my name for hire.  On Monday, I got a call offering me the job at the first school.  I immediately said yes and called and cancelled the interview I had for that afternoon at a third school.  I also emailed and cancelled the 4th interview scheduled for later that week.  Yay!  The next day school two called because they couldn’t find my application online anymore and they wanted to call and talk to my principal because they wanted to hire me for a kinder position as well!  I had to tell them that I had already taken a job!

I spent 6 years at a school I truly loved.  I will miss it and the people I worked with so much, but I know I’m doing the right thing.  It was time.