Untenable

This is my third straight week of craziness. And to top it all off, that sore throat and cold lingered until they became full fledged laryngitis. It’s so hard to teach when you can’t really talk.

I have so many meetings this week. Just so. many. meetings. And it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, which is evidently happening at my daughter’s school (so I have to bring food for their lunch tomorrow, and buy my daughter’s teacher a gift) but not at my own school. Boo!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the choices I’ll make moving forward, when it comes to commitments as a parent. I know that “no” is the new “yes,” and that refusing to take on obligations that make you crazy is good self care. I read at least one post a day about how to downsize the things in my life that don’t bring me joy. And yet I’m torn, because I know that if I don’t do these things, no one will. Sure I don’t want to make a dish for the teacher appreciation lunch tomorrow, but I’d be even more upset if the teachers were disappointed by what our parent community provides. They already work for less than anywhere within 30 miles, and have to deal with an insane amount of bullshit bureaucracy. At the very least they deserve a decent teacher appreciation meal.

So what is the answer? Exercise my “no” muscle and walk away? Or feel frantic and frazzled and show up with something to make the teachers feel appreciated?

The end of the school year is already hectic and stressful as a teacher. Now that I’m the parent of a school-aged child it feels totally untenable.

I really don’t know the answer. I envy people who can just say no and walk away. I really do. Perhaps it’s because I’m a teacher, and know what it feels like when the community fails to show up. I’m sure it’d be easier to say “no” if I didn’t know how hard it is for teachers, and how little recognition they generally receive.

Making Progress

I’ve been writing about changing my attitude toward money for years now–so many attempted shopping bans and failed budget months! It is not something that I have been able to embrace wholeheartedly enough to change my ways.

It’s very much been three steps forward, two steps back. (Sometimes three or four steps back.) I feel like a yo-yo dieter of finance.

But I am beginning to think that maybe all those single steps forward have actually gotten me somewhere. Last month was really busy, really stressful, and really emotional. When that combination rears its ugly head, my first instinct is to start spending. And that instinct is strong.

For the first two weeks of April I was on a spending freeze because I wanted to keep that month’s credit card bill low. So I didn’t buy anything during those weeks except a new pair of glasses (which I thought I could pay for when I actually picked them up in the second half of April, but instead had to pay for when I ordered them in the first half of April). It’s a good thing I did that too, because that month’s bill still ended up being pretty high.

I was anticipating a shopping spree once the 17th rolled around, but to my surprise I kind of forgot about it. And when I did realize I could buy some stuff again, all I did was pay for my program in Ecuador and purchase a subscription for a really amazing Spanish site that I will use to study over the next six months. All the others stuff I had on my “list,” is still sitting there. I even filled up a cart on Gap.com (during a 40% off everything sale) and just left it because … well I’m not really sure why. I just didn’t feel compelled to press “spend.”

I just clicked to this post from the Vans website, where I’ve been eyeing a new pair of slip-ons for a over two months. I need a pair for summer, as the tips of my Toms get destroyed on the bike and Vans have a high rubber sole that protects them from the asphalt. The ones I have are ripping and won’t last through the end of the school year. But the thing is, the end of the school year is still 7 weeks away, so I don’t really have to get them now. And it looks like I’m not. (I know, I’m as surprised as you are.)

I recently experimented with my first expensive skin care, asking for a few things for Christmas. Now they are mostly out. The regular (without SPF) lotion I used to use on my face at night is no longer sold at Kaiser’s pharmacy, so I was looking around for a new night lotion. In the end I had $100 worth of skin care in my cart at a different pricey (but not as pricey) place , but the idea of spending that on skin care felt silly. I’m still relatively young and I don’t need something yet to keep the wrinkles away (even if it is all natural and gets a top score on EWG’s skin care database). I went back to am.azon to find something cheaper and finally remembered I could see if they carried the lotion that Kaiser stopped stocking, and low and behold, they did! (Why was this a surprise?! They have EVERTHING!) And I bought it. A giant bottle for $14, and it’s exactly what I wanted. When the last of my expensive face wash is out I’m just going to go back to Cetaphyl. It still works fine.

In the past I would have jumped at the opportunity to try a new skin care regimen when my old stuff was out, or buy new shoes when an old pair was ripped. Now I just feel annoyed that I have to spend the money.

There is another pair of shoes I like, but they are high tops and I have a feeling I won’t love actually wearing them. I’m a slip-ons kind of girl, and these shoes don’t go with everything… so, unless they go on sale (big time) I’m not getting them (and maybe not even then). I finally recognize that sometimes I like something a lot more in theory than in practice. It’s nice to know I’ve actually learned something from the hundreds of poor shopping choices I’ve made over the years — all the shoes and clothes I’ve ended up giving to friends after barely wearing them.

The kids recently got really interested in Lego Star Wars and instead of buying the digital copies off Amazon, I hit up a few libraries and we checked out every episode that exists. Sure one disc didn’t play and we had to check out another copy, but it’s a small inconvenience to deal with when we got to see them all for free. If we want to watch them again some time, the library will still have them.

These are big differences for me. I don’t think my parents ever checked out a movie or CD once when we were young. You BOUGHT that stuff. My dad probably has thousands of CDs and LPs at home. The largest room of their (very large house) is dedicated to his music collection. I used to have a sizeable collection myself. I shudder at the thought of the hundreds of CDs and DVDs I gave away when I first embraced minimalism. Sure I kept some key kids movies I loved (ahem, the entire Harry Potter series) but that is about it. I haven’t regretted jettisoning any of them. And anything else we need I can rent from the library, or wait for it to show up on a streaming service.

I know these are obvious choices for most people, but they weren’t always for me. This past month has offered the real possibility of a fundamental change in my attitude toward spending money. It’s not about finally having the will power to make myself stop spending, but not want to spend in the first place.

If this attitude is here to stick around, I might just be able to take my kids abroad next summer. I may actually be able to afford my first dream trip with them in a year! If that trip isn’t incentive enough to maintain this attitude, nothing will be.

Peaks and Valleys

Monday my throat was on fire. I felt like absolute crap. I almost always get sick right after a prolonged period of stress. It’s pretty incredible how the minute things start to calm down, my body reminds me that I put it through the wringer, and now it’s pay back time.

And of course Monday night, I got my period.

Monday I was feeling really down, and I actually thought about my period and how it had been a while and predicted that it would rear it’s scarlet head soon. So when it showed Monday night I wasn’t surprised. It’s imminent arrival probably had a lot to do with how bummed out I was on Monday. It probably didn’t help the week before either.

The good thing is that I planned ahead to make this week really low key. We’re watching Inside Out in the 6th grade classes, as a celebration of our finishing the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum last week. We had to work through A LOT of lessons and they were not very popular, so we were all really excited to be done. (I was probably the most excited because I had to work through each lesson SIX TIMES!) I had only seen Inside Out once, in the theater, and I forgot how incredible it is. It’s such an amazing movie, and the fact that it got put out by one of the most successful animation studios in the world is heartening. I’ve watched the first half six times in two days, and I’m not even a little bit sick of it.

The main reason I planned for an easy week was because this Thursday is Open House. Open House is my LEAST favorite work obligation. I hate standing around for an hour making small talk with a million parents. I hate being asked questions about next year’s foreign language program that I can’t definitely answer. I hate the whole thing, really. And the worst part is, I have to have my room all cleaned up for the occasion.

So this week I’m cleaning my room. It really needed a lot of work. I kept telling myself I was going to spend a day there over one of the breaks but it never happened. I always spend a day at work when I have a break (at least one), but I spend all that time grading and planning and never have time to tackle the shit show that is my classroom. But now I need to get it done–no more procrastinating!-and it’s just as unpleasant as I feared.

A huge part of me wants to start purging and packing right now, but I know I can’t do that until after Open House. So I try to focus on putting things away. It already looks better, but there is a lot of work still to do.

And I better get most of it done on Wednesday because Thursday I’m bringing my daughter to work for Take Your Daughter to Work Day. I took her two years ago and she has always wanted to come again. This Thursday is a good day to do it, as we have a short day (on account of Open House) and not much planned so she can lead some games with my students who are always really nice to her. I also have to take her swimming in the afternoon anyway, so it’s not annoying that I have to go back home and come back to work for Open House.

I also have a meeting with my principal tomorrow about next year. It’s late April and my schedule is still totally up in the air. I find this supremely frustrating, especially since I’ve had some disconcerting conversations with different admins, which collectively make it clear that they don’t fully grasp the scheduling complications that arise when one teacher is working on two campuses. This year there is another teacher at the one campus, but next year that won’t be the case, so I have to ALWAYS be at that school when class starts and I have to ALWAYS be available at that time.

My request for 1st period prep (so I can continue taking my daughter to work without being stressed out about making it to school on time) definitely complicates matters, but it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. My biggest fear is they won’t think hard enough about it, and then at the last minute decide that it’s not possible and give me a class 1st period. And yes, I know I have no real right to demand a first period prep, but I also think I’m helping them out by working on two campuses (I don’t actually have to do that this year, as our contract states we don’t have to teach a class we don’t want to for more than one consecutive year), I don’t think it’s too much to ask for them to help me out be giving me first period prep.

So that is where my life is right now–not quite as low key as I was hoping, but so much better than last week. And after this week there are only seven more until the end of the year! I can’t believe it! Goodness gracious I need summer this year like I’ve never needed it before.

Revealing

I had been dreading this past week for a while. For the first half of April, actually. It was one of those weeks when every commitment reared its ugly head all within the same seven days. Each afternoon I was booked to the minute, in some cases I was arriving late to meetings because of obligations the hour before. I really don’t like being busy like that, but there was nothing I could do.

And then I found out about the interview, and spiraled into a total and complete basket case.

Today (Sunday), finally, it’s all over. I survived. Barely.

Saturday was a really intense day. Some friends were in town for a Friday wedding and I met them for brunch. I left them early to make it to the end of set up for a PTA event at my daughter’s school where I MCed and sold raffle tickets. I stayed for clean-up there before heading home to grab the last of the stuff we needed for the Girl Scout Camp Out with my daughter’s troop to end their last year as Daisy’s. Eight girls, all of their moms, and a perky early-thirty-something troop leader all crashing in a one-room cabin.

So. Glad. It’s. Over.

I really have not been in a good mental space this week. Pre-interview nerves had my stomach in knots. I bit my nails to the quick. I couldn’t sleep. I was distracted and irritable at work and at home. It was not pleasant, for anyone.

I still couldn’t sleep the night after the interview, as my mind replayed all the things I’d done wrong. All the ways I’d embarrassed myself. I spiraled into a really negative head space about it and couldn’t pull myself out. It was pretty devastating.

Luckily I had already called a sub for Friday because of my friends being in town. I was driving home from dropping off my son when I got the email about not being a finalist for the job. I ugly cried in my car in the garage. I thought some really horrible things about myself. I was very upset.

But my friends were waiting for me so I dried my eyes, put on my darkest sunglasses, and went to meet them.

And then I drank for a few hours while catching up with old friends.

It was just what I needed. I’m so glad they happened to be in town that day and I wasn’t at work. It was a mercy, one I desperately needed.

I’ve been so busy since Friday morning I haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on this experience, but I have come to some important, and surprising, realizations.

I see now that I haven’t been very invested in my work. Not for a while. When forced to be brutally honest with myself, I have to admit that I haven’t been a stellar teacher for the past few years. Really, I’ve been skating by, probably since my son was born. It’s not that I’ve done a bad job, but I haven’t been going above and beyond. When asked to sit down and explain why I want to teach, I struggled to find the words, not because I couldn’t articulate my feelings, but because I wasn’t even sure what they were.

Why do I want to teach?

I’m not sure I know the answer to that anymore.

And the thing is, sitting in that interview and imaging working at that school, I realize that I do want to teach. I really do. I lost sight of that somewhere along the way, and I am going to need to work hard next year to regain my former enthusiasm and purpose next year.

I wasn’t ready to get that job. I knew it, even if I hadn’t admitted it to myself. That truth wasn’t even hiding that deep, I think that’s why I was such a basket case leading up to the interview. I knew I wasn’t ready, not because of my lack of experience interviewing, but because of how far I’ve strayed off course.

I am confident I will find my footing next year. Sure it sucks to have to do it under the less that ideal circumstances at my district, but if I can rekindle my passion for teaching as I commute between schools (and even between classrooms), I can do it anywhere.

And next year should be a lot better than this year. I will have two 7/8 classes, and won’t be co-teaching for either. They will be mine, to plan and execute as I see fit. I will have fewer 6th grade language classes, and possibly even one other class (I’d really like to get English Language Development–ELD–back again). I will be attending workshops to get new ideas and trying some cool new projects so I can curate my students work into an e-portfolio. Also, we’ll FINALLY have a block schedule, which I’ve been so excited for. All that time I will be improving my Spanish, and in the spring, when I apply for new jobs, I’ll also be putting the final touches on my first summer abroad with my children. There is a lot to look forward to and be excited about, even as I’m disappointed that I won’t be somewhere new (and won’t even have my own classroom anymore).

And I have to be very honest with myself and admit that having a new job would have been challenging. Very much so. Not only would I have had a whole new school culture to learn, I’d have had three new preps to prepare for every day. In many ways, another year of familiar teaching situations is a gift, because I can create some exciting new lessons and projects when I have everything else ready to fall back on. At a new school I would have been struggling just to make ends meet and be ready for each day, all the while stressed that I wasn’t performing to a new, unfamiliar standard. All this on the background of a smaller paycheck, loss of tenure, and the stress and burden of observation. So yeah, the new job had definite draw backs as well.

Last week was a really difficult, emotionally taxing and ultimately painful awakening for me. I really, really struggled, and was surprised and disheartened by much of what I thought and felt about myself. I didn’t realize how much professional respect I had lost for myself in the past few years. Between the administration drama last year, and the campus commuting/co-teaching challenges this year, I had totally dis-invested myself in my work. I really didn’t realize! Next year I plan to take full advantage of the opportunities I will have to reinvest in myself as an educator, so that when (I will not say ‘if’) I get an interview, I will be confident in myself and my abilities.

Wanted to let you all know…

… that I didn’t get the job. 

They emailed me this morning. 

I’m really disappointed, and will readily admit that I’m crying right now, but I also recognize it’s pretty insane to think I was going to get the first job I actually got an interview for. 

And while the thought of returning to my district next year makes me think and feel all kinds of negative, I feel confident that if I follow my plan, I’ll be in a much better position to apply and hopefully interview next year. 

The fact that I have to wait an entire year before I can even try again is… hard to accept. But it’s the reality of the profession. 

Thank you all for your support during this process. It means a lot. 

It went…

…okay.

It probably went better than I’m thinking it did (this is what my husband assures me). Who knows? I sure as hell don’t.

The good news… they said they will decide quickly. They also said that they would be asking finalists to do an example lesson and asked if I’d be available for that. I said I’d make myself available.

The truth is, I honestly have no idea if I have any shot of getting this job.

What I do know is that I REEEEEALLY want it.

It’s not just a Spanish position, although the Spanish part is perfect: two periods of Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 each. Exactly what I was hoping for.

But the other part is to be an advisor, which means I’d have a class of students for two years, and work with them on social emotional development, life skills, decision making, all kinds of cool stuff. It’s the kind of “teaching” that I get really excited about. And it’s what I probably have the most experience in (I’m guessing, because I really do have a lot of experience in that kind of student support, and I can’t imagine other candidates have it because I only do because of the jack-of-all-trades aspect of my current job).

I’m wondering if (actually suspecting that) as early as tomorrow, I’ll know if I’m out of the running.

It will break my heart.

But the one positive thing that will come from all of this, is that I’m more sure than I’ve ever been that I’m interested in teaching at a high school. Especially this high school.

I just worry I didn’t make that clear enough in my interview.

So many people gave me so much advice. I practiced SO MANY responses to SO MANY possible questions. And of course none of them were actually a part of the interview. It feels like I prepared for all the wrong things, and yet I recognize that I could never had prepared for the right thing.

In the end, as I keep singing to myself, Que será será, Whatever will be will be.

The good news is tomorrow a really good friend is coming in from out of town. I’ve seen him maybe three times since we graduated from college and yet he remains one of the few people I know in real life that I truly trust. So I took tomorrow off to hang out with him, and it’s honestly the only thing holding me together right now.

I promise I’ll let you all know as soon as I hear anything more definitive.

Oh, and I think it bears mentioning, that the only people (excluding my husband and parents) who actually wished me luck yesterday were “blog friends” and readers, either in texts to me or comments on my blog. I think that is really telling. So many other people knew, a few friends at work, some now far-away friends that gave my great advice on how to prepare… not one of them remembered to wish me luck the day of. Only my blog peeps did that.

I’m just saying… that is an incredibly telling thing.

I’m so thankful for this space, and for all of you. I literally re-read all your comments before I went in there today. They bolstered me when I felt alone and nervous and scared.

Thank you.

And now for some good news…

I got an interview at one of the high schools I applied for! The regular one I had written off because they kept failing to get back to me. They finally viewed my application over the weekend! WTAF?!

Of course the only two times available are both during a really important PTA meeting this Thursday. It’s frustrating, but there is nothing I can do. This week is also super busy with long meetings after work each day so I won’t have nearly as much time to prepare as I would have liked, but I will do my best. We’ll see what happens.

I have a friend who interviewed this year for a new position and we have talked about all the topics they will probably bring up. I’m so glad I already reached out to her because I would NOT have been prepared to address some of these things eloquently, and I would not have had time to meet with her this week. I’m sure there will be some questions I will be unprepared for, but that number will be much lower, thanks to her. So, so grateful.

I probably won’t be writing much before Thursday, because I should be using my time to prepare. I’ll let you all know how it goes on Friday.

Wish me luck!

{And please don’t think I am getting ahead of myself with excitement. Mostly I’m just relieved that my resume and coverletters warranted an interview. There are a ton on unknowns with this position, so many that I might not even accept it if it’s offered. I am just heartened to have the opportunity to interview. We’ll see where it all goes…}

{{And thank you all for your kind thoughts on yesterday’s post. They really meant a lot to me.}}

What do you even say?

On Saturday I learned that a former student died of leukemia.

He was in my class last year. He left school before the year was over, to receive treatments. He visited a couple times this year. He always looked so sick, but I guess I still thought he was going to get better.

He didn’t.

I don’t have many 7th graders, so I’m not expecting many of my students to be greatly affected, but the whole school will know about it. It will be talked about, and I will have to respond appropriately, without crying, which I can’t even manage as I type this. I’m definitely going to cry tomorrow if someone brings it up. I hate crying in front of my students.

He was a really great kid. He made me laugh. A lot, even when I shouldn’t have been laughing. He was the kid who said things that made me turn around and laugh at the white board so the class wouldn’t see.

I can’t believe he is gone.

Scattered Thoughts

Tis Friday, the last day of my spring break.

I kept this day free of appointments and lunches and planned on taking it as a “sick day” to stay home and watch movies without a care in the world. I believe it was Tuesday that my husband casually mentioned he hoped I could bring our son to lunch on Friday because that would be fun. Why would I bring our son to lunch on Friday when he would be at school and I would taking my “sick day”? Ah, but he doesn’t have school this Friday, it’s Spring Day! I was so bummed out I may have cried. Briefly.

So here we are today, mother and son. But I’m intent on salvaging a little of my “sick day.” Right now he’s in the bath (I have two iPads set up so I can see him)  and I’m working out, so that I can finish the last two episodes of Big Little Lies while he’s napping. I refuse to feel guilty about it.

It was so nice to get a week away from work. I find I’m dreading going back but I’m deft at pushing that feeling aside and breathing through the panicky aftermath. I will get through the end of the year. It’s been a tough one, and I haven’t been happy at work, but I will get through the last ten weeks and then it will be summer.

At this point I’ve pretty much given up hope for getting a new job next year. It’s been almost a month since I sent out my application to the one school that still might contact me and they haven’t even opened it (I can see that it’s still only been “submitted” on the website I used to apply). Most of my friends who have been through the teacher job search said that if I don’t hear back in a month I probably won’t ever. That position never even got back to me when I sent a check in email on Monday of this week (they are not on spring break right now).

The alternative school still might contact me. They actually have an end date for submissions and it’s this Sunday night, so who knows. At this point I doubt I’d take a job from them, as I’ve heard more about their situation and it’s a little less secure than I’m comfortable with at this point. I don’t actually think they’ll call me. I’d definitely interview if they asked me to come in, but I probably wouldn’t take the position.

So yeah, it’s not going to happen. I feel… a lot of things about that. One the one hand I have a plan for moving forward, three action items to focus on in the next school year to up my chances of getting a new job next spring (more on those below). But if I don’t even get contacted by any of these jobs, I will definitely have a hard time rallying to apply next year. I mean, it’s one thing if they meet me and decide I’m not a good enough fit because my Spanish isn’t up to par. I can do something about that. If my resume and coverletter aren’t enticing enough, I don’t know how I’ll have a better chance in the future. It’s already hard enough knowing I’ll have to wait until next spring to even try again, if I don’t feel like I have what they are looking for it might be better to just accept that I’ll be at my job for the rest of my life, and then if I get something some day it will be a nice surprise. Of course, every year I stay at my job, the pay cut for leaving gets bigger. I might have really missed my opportunity to leave this position a LONG time ago. I wish I had known…

But there are things I’m going to do heighten my chances next year. This is my three pronged plan:

  • Work on my Spanish skills so that I’ll be more confident in my ability to teach higher level classes. I’ll keep working with L in Guatemala and I have some other resources I plan to tap to improve my skills.
  • Enroll in some classes at a foreign language teaching workshop at Stanford. This will help give me ideas for innovative ways to teach and hopefully get me excited about teaching again. It will also provide networking opportunities, though the workshop is south of where I work and evidently a lot of the connections are based in the South Bay, which I can’t possible commute to, but still, any networking is better than no networking (and no, I haven’t found anything that is focused more in the northern peninsula, only the East and South Bay areas).
  • Plan some impressive lessons/projects and curate my kids work in an eprofile. This is the one thing I can do that would help me in the application process of job searching, as I can embed a link to my eprofile and they can click on and see the work my kids produce. Hopefully the workshop will give me some ideas I can implement for this.

The truth is, I haven’t done anything in the 7th/8th grade that I feel particularly proud of in a long time. I want to change that. I’ll have two classes of 7th/8th graders next year and I can keep them on the same teaching schedule so anything I make can be used twice. I am excited about trying some new things and incorporating some new ideas into my teaching next year.

I still feel really disappointed when I think about teaching on two campuses next year. I’ll be using my lunch to commute between them (because I’m asking for a 1st period prep so I can continue driving my daughter to school) and that sucks because I’ve actually been eating with some friends at lunch, which has made work a lot more bearable. Commuting between campuses during lunch will definitely leave me even more isolated, but I’m used to that. I can manage it. And just like I got through this year, I’ll make it through next year too. I think having some action items to focus on will help keep me invested. I definitely wasn’t invested this year, and I feel guilty about that.

I will also be planning my first summer abroad with the kids next year, and that will definitely raise my spirits. I can’t wait to take them somewhere new and exciting. I also plan to speak to them exclusively in Spanish next year. This is important as I’ll be trying to get my son into a TK program the following school year and I need to be confident in my ability to provide Spanish at home, because all of the Spanish immersion TKs in the city are defunct. Ironically, it’s too hard to find bilingual teachers to keep them open.

If we do get my son into a TK for the 2018-19 school year, that will make it easier for me to take a pay cut that year, as we’ll be saving close to $20K in childcare. I can’t wait to be done paying for childcare!

So that is where I am, at the end of my final break of the school year. Not too many weeks left. I can do this. It will be okay. I keep saying that to myself. Some of the time I even believe it.

This, that and the other

I’m writing this on Tuesday morning. In a few hours I’m meeting with my sister. We’re supposed to go for a hike, but it’s been sprinkling on and off. If it rains I’m not sure what we’ll do.

I’m not looking forward to this hike. Things with my sister are…complicated. I love her dearly, but she is not at all easy to have in my life. She has been struggling for a while–for a few months I was trying really hard to be there for her–but it’s hard to be there for someone who only wants a certain kind of support, and can’t really articulate to you what that support looks like. I feel shitty because I know how hard it is to deal with some of what she is dealing with, and to feel misunderstood by the people who are supposed to be closest to you, but I also need to take care of myself, and there is only so much one person can give. I’m working out now in an attempt to produce enough endorphins to get through an afternoon with her.

People so rarely acknowledge the more challenging sibling relationships, especially in adulthood. I write about it in part so that anyone else who has to deal with complicated sibling interactions can know they are not alone.

I guess the good news is that things with my husband are pretty good right now. We had a massive fight, and now things are better. The massive fight was actually kind of terrifying in that we didn’t raise our voices. Mostly we just sounded resigned. I think it struck a nerve with both of us and we are newly committed to seeking professional help. I am in favor of attending a workshop for couples, because I think we lack important skills and that if we learn them together we would have a better chance of actually implementing them.

My husband would rather see someone privately (as in, see a marriage therapist with me). I can absolutely see the value in that, though I worry we’ll get stuck rehashing old issues and it will take us a while to move forward productively. I also foresee finding someone we like, finding a time we can all three be present, AND finding childcare for the kids, will be exceedingly difficult even on a bi-monthly or monthly basis. I also anticipate most of that scheduling burden will fall on me (a concern I have articulated and he has genuinely acknowledged). So yeah. I’m going to email my husband a little pro’s and con’s list of going to a workshop and suggest that we try that first and if it’s not enough we seek help with a therapist.

I feel like I should really be seeing a therapist right now too, but I don’t see how we can afford it, or when I can find the time. Maybe this summer I could meet with someone a few times, during the weeks I’m not traveling. I wonder if a life coach would not be a better fit, as a lot of my anxiety right now surrounds finding a new job. I am ambivalent about that one major aspect of my life–I think meeting with someone who coaches people through these kinds of big decisions would really help me see the forest for the trees. If that one issue were resolved, I think I’d be in a much better place.

Speaking of the job search, one of the three spots I applied for has been filled with an in-district transfer. I wonder if that district transfer was leaving one of the part time positions that are listed for other high schools in that district, because nothing new has gone up. I emailed the other position in that district that I applied for–the one I’m more interested in–and got an immediate response that the applications were being compiled by an administrator who was cc’ed on the reply. That we three weeks ago. Strangely that school has not viewed my application. It makes me worried that they are expecting an in-district transfer to fill that position as well.

The third position is for an alternative high school that sounds interesting but has an exceedingly low pay scale. I haven’t decided if I want a new job enough to take one there. I would accept that job to get some high school experience on my resume; I could not afford to make so little money for very long. Of course they might not be interested either so I’m not thinking about it too hard. The only good part about that school is that it’s not a part of the union of the district (because of its alternative status) so they don’t have to fill it with someone in-district before they look at outside candidates. I feel like I have more of a chance of getting interviewed by them than at a traditional high school.

In the end it might be for the best that I don’t get anything again this year. (But damn it sucks that if I don’t get a new job this year, I have to wait an entire year to even look again!) The truth is, a pay cut would be hard right now.  We will probably be spending most of our tax refund on replacing our house’s heating system (we found out all our vents are insulated with asbestos, so the whole thing needs to go). We also have some serious water damage to deal with in our daughter’s room. We’ve called five contractors and none will take us on because they are too busy (except for one that will put us on a list and might get to us by October). San Francisco is evidently a great place to be a contractor! I have no idea how to find one I think I can trust without a friend’s referral.

The marriage work is also going to cost a pretty penny.

On the topic of needing the money, I actually maxed out my credit card recently with my flights to Ecuador, the family’s travel to St. Louis, my daughter’s summer camps and my son’s day care payments (it was one of the two months where the payment goes through three times instead of two). I’ve basically been putting everything on my credit card again, as my spending feels under control and I get points when I use my credit card. When I realized I had maxed it out I wondered if I should start using my debit card again. We had the money to pay the bill and I did so early, but I’ll definitely be watching it more closely in the future. I’ve been on a spending freeze since the first of April as I wait for the 17th, when my charges will go on the next billing statement. I can’t afford another giant VISA bill right after the last one, so I’m creating a bit of a buffer as I defer some more large charges (like the actual program I’m attending in Ecuador) to the next payment.

In positive financial news I only owe $100 more dollars on the bike, which frees up $350 a month going forward. I was going to start putting that toward 529s for my kids (I have not actually opened 529s for them yet which is a point of significant stress for me), but now I’m going to wait and see what the pricetag is on the water damage and heating system. Ah homeownership! The gift that keeps on giving!

{I say that while remaining very thankful for my house, as a dear friend of mine is being evicted from her place of 10 years and will most likely have to leave the city because of the crazy high rents. So yes, it sucks having to put so much money into our house every year, but at least I don’t have to worry about being evicted, which is a very real fear in this city.}

And with that I should go, because this post is already crazy long, and I still need to write that email to my husband. I hope you’re all having a good week! Sorry I’ve been so absent from this space, I hope to change that moving forward.