Monday, July 27, 2009

Operation Relocation - part 2

In effort to get rid of at least SOME of the crap that has come to live in my house over the last two years, I held a moving sale. I borrowed folding tables from my job, hired two former students, bought labels and signs, got change for a twenty, and set Leila up with a lemonade stand. Ta-da! Easy money.


Saturday morning dawned at approximately 150 degrees. Curious garage sale shoppers trickled in, rifling through my belongings, wrinkling up their noses and asking "how much?". The items were all labeled.
I'd point out the price and the bargain shoppers offered something considerably less. It always ended with one of us walking away insulted.
Stingy Shopper: "How dare she charge $4 for this toddler Easter dress with matching sweater, only worn two times!"

Me: "How dare she offer $2 for this cute little outfit. I'd rather burn it and scatter the ashes in the Gulf of Mexico than give it to HER!"

I could never own a retail store.

Four hours of blazing heat and wheeling and dealing later, I had raised a grand total of.... $45.
I'd spent $30 at Target on supplies for the stupid garage sale. Subtract the money I intended to give the students for helping me and I had a net profit of -$5.

At first, the idea was to hold a follow-up blow-out sale. But the prospect of practically begging Stingy Shopper to buy my stuff was more than I could bear. Besides, some HATERS in my deed restricted neighborhood had removed half of my "Moving Sale this way" signs.

So, as of right now, my garage looks like a flea market. My house looks like Hurricane Ike hit it. And I feel like I'm about to lose it.

Yay for moving!

Here's my To-Do list for today.

  • Wash and pack Leila's clothes and sheets
  • Clean Leila's room
  • Sort clothes in my room
  • Pack my bedroom
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Wash endless piles of laundry that the cat has peed on because, for some reason, she's taken to peeing on everything and I'm seriously thinking about having her put to sleep or SHOT (but Leila would probably be upset about that). @#*&!* cat!
  • Cling to sanity

Just 3 more days until moving day...and the battle continues.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Operation Relocation - part 1

I hate moving...more than anything else in life (except for maybe the child support system, being cut off in Houston traffic, cantaloupe, paying back student loans and my period).
To me, there is nothing that says "You are a hopelessly sentimental pack-rat and should have gone to the military where, at least, you would have become better organized" than having to pack up all your crap and take it to another place where 40% will remained boxed and untouched while the remaining 60% multiplies exponentially.

I believe the rate of increase is (6x) * 4 per year...where x = 1 lb of crap. Square this number for each of the following variables that apply:

  • You have a child under 10
  • You have an indoor pet (cat or dog)
  • You live within 5 miles of Wal-mart or Target
  • Your mother gives you stuff
  • You have a live-in "significant other" or an adult roommate (restrictions do apply)
If none of these apply to you, consider yourself lucky (or lonely....maybe you should get a cat).

Anyway, I have amassed an entire house full of stuff. Most of it should have been thrown away years ago. Why haven't I?
Because the stuff hides!
Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about.
You buy it (or your child makes it), bring it home and it slips behind something or under something where you never see it again. Sometimes it remains in plain view, but gradually learns to "cloak" itself...until you start THINKING about packing.
That's when it all sick, twisted magic.

Speaking of sick, I made the mistake of going from room-to-room to "make a packing plan". Big mistake. With each room, my heart sank a little more, blood pressure went up, and, though I can't be sure, I may have lost a few hours of life expectancy.

But the packing still has to be done. Moving day quickly approacheth. The only way to get started is to just start... or take a nap.
After my nap, I started folding boxes, throwing stuff away and packing.
Two feverish hours later, I looked up to find that, although I had packed 3 boxes and 4 bags of trash, the house looked 10 times worse.
At this rate, I should be all packed by....(*takes out scientific calculator*) February 3, 2010.
I have exactly 1 week.
Better get back to it.
Stay tuned.

*volunteers (or diversions) welcome

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beating the system

In July 2007, I moved to a house right off of beltway 8 and S. Gessner. Why did I do this?
I wanted to be closer to my job. I loved the house; vaulted ceilings, attic space, garage, patio doors in every room. Not quite enough closet space...but can't have it all. This is the kind of cute little house I could live in for a while.

On July 30, 2009, I move to a smaller 2-bedroom apartment in the middle of town. I lose 200 sq feet of living space, washer and dryer connections AND my garage. I gain 25 minutes in commute time to work, heavy traffic, uncovered parking and an additional $220/mth in rent.
Why am I doing this?

...because of the Property Tax-School Funding Dilemma (aka Economic Segregation).
As it stands, a child's zip code determines quality of public education. Affluent areas with higher property tax receive significantly higher funding (and attention) than lower-income areas. HISD claims that this is not really the case. According to the district website, "...increased local money simply replaces money which would have come from the state." Yet somehow, the public schools in affluent suburban neighborhoods boast better, up-to-date facilities and technology, a wider variety of enrichment programs and produce higher-performing students than their "equally-funded" average-to-lower income counterparts. Go figure.

At my current address, my daughter is zoned to attend Gross Elementary School (yes, "Gross"). The school receives a rating of 2 (out of 10) from It is not a BAD school by a long-shot. Most of the teachers do care. The students do alright. It's just "eh".
My daughter deserves more than "eh".

I tried having her transferred to another school. She had been nominated for the HISD Vanguard program by her teachers. However, the GT coordinator at her school gave her application in an envelope addressed to cursive. She did not explain to Leila what it was for. Noone followed up with me.
We missed the deadline. There was no way I would be able to have her bussed to a different school.

So, I began searching out the best public elementary schools in Houston. Read their ratings, visited their websites. Narrowed it down to my top 3 choices and began the process of finding a house/apartment squarely in their zones. After 3 months of investigating and visiting apartments, I settled on an art deco style apartment in River Oaks. Leila will be going to River Oaks of the most prestigious public elementary schools in Houston.

Now, to pack up all my stuff and move.
This is only the beginning.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Be not afraid of greatness

I had no idea when I started this blog, what challenges I would encounter this year. I only knew that I would indeed encounter them.
This prediction has proven all too accurate.

I now face a huge decision.
Do I accept more of the same OR do I venture out into the unknown, in the hopes of recapturing some of the life I've given away in the last few years?

The earth-shattering disappointment I've faced this week has left me bruised and bitter. It has opened my eyes to the truth.
I've been a martyr to my job...sacrificing myself on the altar of "whatever it takes"...and it has taken whatever I some.

I'm in the red.

The next few weeks promise to be some of the most challenging of my life. It feels like childbirth. I'm giving birth to greatness.
I just don't know if I'm ready.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Fever

In my mind, summer has already begun. I'm just waiting for the calendar to catch up with me.

In spite of my rather dorky excitement over producing the 9th grade play this year, I find myself all-too-frequently bowled over by bouts of "I'm sick of this...".
The hardest part about this is the fact that OTHER teachers who are experiencing the same thing keep looking to me for advice.

I tell them.."It's normal".
Smile and say "No, you're a good teacher."
Pat their shoulders and remind them "You don't HATE the kids"

And I mean it.

I'm not so sure about me.

So I've taken my colleague Leigh Anne's idea and started planning my summer projects.
Here are things I plan to do.

1. Have a 30th birthday party
2. Go to Disney World with my daughter and parents
3. Spend a long weekend in Boston visiting friends (with my BF)
4. Read 1 book per week
5. Write like mad
6. Take the GRE
7. Move into a new house (rental)
8. Write curriculum
9. Go to the Mu Sigma reunion in Arkansas (an anti-sorority group consisting of my college girlfriends)
10. Take an exercise class (hot yoga, body sculpting or something)

This is what I will live for. This will carry me through the final weeks of school. This and sangria.

T.S. Eliot told me that "April is the cruelest month."
At least there's June.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Re: Lost in Translation

The previous post came from a note scribbled in a notebook about two years ago, following a rather difficult conversation with my then-fickle boyfriend .

Although we are occasionally nervous about the plans for the future (which seem to be falling into place in spite of our fears), we are hopeful.

Love is like climbing Mt. Everest... frightening and beautiful.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lost in Translation

People do actually say what they mean, it's just a matter of translating what was said into what was meant.

He told me, "To be perfectly honest, I'm not totally sure I'm ready for that kind of commitment."

First of all, nobody is "perfectly honest" in adult relationships.
The word perfectly may as well be exchanged for the word partially; a word which cancels out the one that follows...honest.
So now, his lips are moving, but the words have destroyed each other, leaving behind smoke and ash that slips through my fingers and flutters to the floor.