Showing posts with label life moments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life moments. Show all posts

Friday, April 21, 2017

I Will Miss Them

This week my current student body officers have been conducting the election for the 2017-2018 officers.  The students who are running for office are absolutely stellar and this has been the easiest election I've ever done.  No drama!  I have to admit that there was a moment when I wondered if I should stay on as the advisor because I know this group will be fun to work with.  But I have thought long and hard about the decision to give up all of my extracurricular activities and I know it is the right one.  I need time for the people and things that are important to me because, at the end of the day, what I do, while rewarding, is just a job and it shouldn't consume all of my time and energy.  I am really proud of what my officers have accomplished this year (go here and here) and I will definitely miss them but I am really looking forward to a year with less stress.

Note:  One of the things I had to consider very carefully in making this decision is the fact that I would make less money.  I came to the determination that my happiness was ultimately more important.  However, there is currently a huge teacher shortage in the state of Utah and the school district that I work for has decided to significantly increase teacher salaries in the hopes of attracting more candidates to fill all of the openings next year.  Even after giving up all of my extracurricular activities, I will still make more money next year because of this raise!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Connections

With my group at the Walter Peak Sheep Station in New Zealand.
Have you ever met someone that you had an immediate connection with?  That happened with me and my entire group on my recent trip to Australia and New Zealand.  I consider myself to be a loner and I really like to travel on my own (I travel with a company called GoAhead for the sake of convenience and, even though I am always with a group, there is a lot of flexibility in the itinerary so I can roam and explore on my own) but this particular group felt like long-lost friends from the moment I met them.  I found myself spending more and more time with the whole group instead of wandering off on my own and I had so much fun!  Saying goodbye to these people at the end of the trip was actually quite painful, particularly to a family from Virginia who I absolutely fell in love with.  When I said goodbye to this family, one of them said he knew they would all see me again.  This sent a shiver down my spine because at that moment I knew it was true.  I would see them again!  Last week they invited me to go with them on a tour of Eastern Europe (Budapest, Vienna, Prague, Krakow, and Warsaw) in June of 2018.  This made me happier than I can even describe and I booked the trip immediately.  I am so excited to see them again and, even though I have been to some of the cities before, I know it will be a wonderful trip.  I think it is amazing that I can have such a strong connection to people I didn't even know a year ago!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happiness Is More Important

When I was in college, the last thing I ever wanted to be was a teacher.  I was an English and history major because, frankly, I loved to read!  Clearly, reading is not a profession (although I think I would have been a really good editor if I had been brave enough to pursue that).  Towards the end of my sophomore year in college I began to ask myself what I was going to do when I grew up.  I decided that it might be prudent to get a teaching certificate so that I could have something to fall back on but, at this point, I was still really ambivalent about being a teacher.  One of the first classes that I had to take to get certified was a placement in a classroom and I was assigned to an AP English class at Olympus High School.  I had to observe the teacher for several weeks and then teach a lesson (it makes me laugh when I think about it now because I was literally two years older than the students I taught). I ended up teaching a lesson on Hamlet and, unbelievably, I loved it.  Teaching students to love literature as much as I did made me come alive and I knew that it was what I was supposed to do.  I got a job teaching English and history immediately after I graduated and, while I had my share of difficult days, I loved what I did.  After a few years, I was asked to take on some extra-curricular activities.  While at my first school I was in charge of the Peer Leadership Team for many years, then I had the Cheerleaders (it was a strange time), then I had the Student Body Officers.  These groups were extremely time consuming but I always justified it to myself because I made quite a bit of extra money and, I won't lie, I liked having more money.  At my current school, I am over the Student Body Officers and Class Officers and, quite honestly, I spend more time supervising them than I do preparing my lessons.  Teaching has become the least important thing I do.  I put in countless hours at school and I am always running around for one thing or another.  Even when I am not actually doing something to prepare for a school activity, I am thinking about it and stressing over it.  I am always tired and I eat so much fast food because I either get home so late or I am too tired to cook anything.  I miss out on doing a lot of things, especially with my family, because I am busy at school (I haven't been to one of Tashena's track meets this year).  I am so unhappy and, even though I really like my classes and my students, I sometimes hate my job.  Since nothing will get any better unless I do something about it, I made the monumental decision last week to give up all of my extra-curricular activities, including student government, and go back to doing what I love: teaching.  This means that I will make a lot less money but, in the end, my happiness is more important.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Winter Ball 2016

Bountiful High School held its annual Winter Ball last night.  It was girl's choice and Tashena asked a boy on the basketball team but he didn't answer her for weeks so she arranged to go with a group of friends.  (He finally told her he would go with her but she told him she was over it).  Then, this week, all of her plans fell through.  She had the dress and the tickets so she decided to ask Colton, a family friend.  Isn't he adorable?  He was actually quite excited to be asked by Tashena (I think he has a crush on her).  During the day they went ice skating, had dinner at Panda Express, and then went to the dance at the University of Utah Alumni House.
Putting on the boutonniere!
Colton and Tashena.
The girls.
The boys.
The whole group.
Tashena looks like Cinderella!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tashena's First Dance

Saturday night was the Homecoming Dance for Bountiful High School.  It was Tashena's first high school dance and I can hardly believe it!  Where has the time gone?  Where is the little girl who played with Barbies?  If she has to grow up, at least she is turning into a beautiful and talented young woman!  I think she looked so beautiful in her dress!
Tashena with her friend Leea.
Tashena, Leea, and Alex
Tashena, Michelle, and Leea
The whole group!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Six Months

I have officially lived in my house for six months!  Moving is definitely the best decision I have ever made (I only wish I had made it sooner!).  I feel so completely comfortable in this house and I am now perfectly content to stay at home without constantly thinking of ways to escape!  I have had so much fun buying new furniture and decorating each room.  I love how every room turned out because my house feels like a sanctuary.  My desk is in front of a large window with a view of trees so I don't even mind bringing home papers to grade!  My neighbors are so warm and friendly!  Every one of them made a point of introducing themselves to me and now call me by name and ask about school whenever they see me.  My neighbor right next to me is especially attentive to me, making me feel very safe.  I love living in Bountiful because it is a big city which feels like a small town.  Everyone at my neighborhood grocery store and the post office now knows me by name!  One of my favorite perks of living in this house is that I am now less than 20 minutes from downtown (instead of 45 minutes).  I spend a lot of time downtown and it is so nice to get home from a Jazz game or a performance at 10:00 instead of 10:45.  I definitely eat at my favorite downtown restaurants more often!  Also, even though I am physically farther away, it takes me less time to get to school than it did from South Jordan because I use the freeway for the whole trip.  I love that, especially coming home in the afternoon.  Finally, I love being closer to my family.  My Dad has had a few health scares and it has been very helpful to have me nearby.  Plus, I am now available for all of those impromptu dinner and a movie get-togethers which are really fun.  Every aspect of my life has improved because of this move and, while I went through a lot to get here, I am so grateful that I found the perfect place to live!

Note:  Now that it is spring, I am especially happy about the fact that I don't have to do any of the yard work!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Shop 'Till You Drop

I do not like shopping!  I am completely undone by salespeople and I have actually had panic attacks in stores with particularly aggressive salespeople.  I once told a saleswoman at Bath & Body Works that I was definitely going to make a purchase as long as she left me alone.  When she kept on bugging me, I told her that she had just lost a sale and walked out of the store.  I am a minimalist.  Too much stuff around me makes me nervous and everything must be put away in its proper place or I can't sleep at night.  Consequently, I usually don't get very attached to things.  I would rather spend money on experiences than on things.  Finally, I am very frugal (when it comes to things, not experiences).  When given the choice, I almost always choose the cheapest item.  With the exception of my sleigh bed and my sectional sofa, most of my furniture was given to me by friends and family as hand-me-downs or gifts.  I've always been nervous about spending money and I've usually settled for something less, thinking that someday I would get what I wanted.  My new house is a very different color palette than my old house and I decided to get a new comforter for my bed.  I found one online at Target and I went to get it on Saturday...with my sister.  Once I found the comforter, my sister convinced me that I needed all new bedding to match and, even though I thought my pillows were perfectly fine, apparently they were not and I had to get new ones.  Then I needed all new towels and my sister literally forced me to get the most expensive ones (they are absolutely wonderful).  I shudder to think about what I spent on towels alone!  Then I found a ruffly accent pillow for my bed.  Marilyn was openly weeping about the fact that I spontaneously selected a completely frivolous item!  Then I needed rugs for the bathroom.  Not just one rug, but two!  I was practically hyperventilating over how much money I was spending but Marilyn told me not to think about it because I had the money to spend.  She told me that I have worked really hard all of my life and that I deserve to have exactly what I want for my new house.  I think she has created a monster!  I have always wanted a black pub table for my dining room and I found it at R.C.Willey.  I have always wanted industrial metal bar stools and I've ordered them along with a charcoal gray club chair that I couldn't resist.  I'm going back to R.C.Willey to get a console table that I fell in love with (it's expensive but I want it) and I'm getting the bookcases and desk I've been pining over at IKEA.  Pretty soon I will have the house I've always imagined in my mind and I can't believe how much fun I have been having shopping!  I think Marilyn put a spell on me...

Note:  Next weekend I will be buying a new TV and I'm terrified.  I've never bought a TV before.  When I moved into my first apartment I took the TV I had in my bedroom as a teenager.  When I received my Master's Degree, my parents bought me an upgrade as a graduation present.  When that TV died, my sister gave me one that was left over from a benefit auction at her work.  I figure it's time for a flatscreen so I can, as my sister says, join the 21st Century.  Wish me luck!

Monday, September 28, 2015

A Temporary Home

The closing on my old house was scheduled for Sept. 24 but the buyer wanted to do a final walk-through so I needed to move out before then.  The closing on my new house was tentatively scheduled for Sept. 28 (today) but this is the week of parent teacher conferences and I knew it would be unrealistic for me to move while I was busy at school.  I also didn't want to move on a school day because I didn't want to take any time off (if I am going to use a personal day I want it to involve going to Denver to see the Colorado Avalanche).  With all of that in mind, I scheduled a moving company to move me out of my house on Saturday, Sept. 19 and move me into the new house on Saturday, Oct. 3.  That left me with two problems which were both solved by my Dad.  First, where could I put all of my stuff during those two weeks?  My Dad ended up renting me a storage unit and I had the movers take everything there.  Second, where would I live during those two weeks?  My Dad told me that I could live at his house but then he came up with the idea of parking the motor home at an RV park near my new house.  My Dad is the best!  I looked at it as an adventure but I have actually really enjoyed being here for the past week (I will be here another week because, even though the closing on my new house was moved up, I thought it would be easier to stay with the original plan).  The motor home is incredibly comfortable with a kitchen, bedroom (with an amazing bed), bathroom, living room with a TV and DVD player, and dining room.  The RV park is like a resort with anything you could possibly need.  I feel like I'm on vacation.  The people that I've met here have been so friendly.  Many people live here for months at a time doing construction jobs and then move on to another place when the job is complete.  I am in limbo right now but, surprisingly, it has been a very pleasant experience!

Note:  I usually inhabit the motor home with two dogs who enthusiastically greet anyone who opens the door.  Over the years, I've learned to brace myself for their greeting as I come in.  Even though they are not with me right now, I still automatically brace myself whenever I open the door.  I kind of miss them!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Rollercoaster

I am posting this photo at the beginning so that you will know that this story ultimately has a very happy ending.

At the end of the school year my sister randomly showed me a townhouse that was for sale.  She drove by it every night and thought it would be perfect for me.  I looked at the website every day for weeks but didn't do anything about it.  Just when I had made up my mind to make an appointment, the house went off the market.  I was so upset but, mostly, I was angry with myself for not taking action.  I knew that I really needed to sell my house in South Jordan (I had been unhappy there for years) but I only complained instead of doing anything about it.  Suddenly, the house came back on the market because the buyer's financing fell through.  I made an appointment to see it within the hour!  Once I saw it, I immediately fell in love with it and made an offer.  However, even though my offer was an aggressive one, it was contingent on my house selling.  The sellers didn't want to take a chance and accepted another offer (I understand this decision now).  I was upset but decided to focus on selling my house first so I would be in a better position to make an offer on another property.  

My agent thought my house would sell very quickly because South Jordan is a prime location and, once it was on the market, I immediately had requests for showings, sometimes four and five a day.  At first this was really exciting but it got old quickly.  I had to be ready to vacate the house at a moment's notice and it was sometimes hard to find a place to go, especially if I had showings back to back.  I ended up at the library a lot!  After six days on the market my house went under contract!  I was thrilled because I didn't really believe my agent when she said it would sell quickly.  

Now it was time to find me a house.  My agent spent an entire day taking me to showings and I found another townhouse that I really liked.  The next day I decided to make an offer and I found out that my offer was accepted several days later when I was on the bus to a Leadership Conference in St. George with my students.  They all cheered when I found out!  On the last day of the conference, my agent called me to tell me that the buyers of my house had backed out of the contract.  I really wanted to cry but I was with my students so I had to keep it together.  My agent immediately put my house back on the market and I had several showings scheduled by the time I got back to town.  I had an offer the next Saturday and I accepted it but, after thinking about it over the weekend, they backed out on Monday.

The sellers of the townhouse I was under contract with decided to put it back on the market but they would give me 72 hours notice to counter if they received another offer (which I thought was very generous of them).  I really hoped that my house would be under contract again before they got another offer but they had one within days.  I ended up losing it.

So my house went back on the market and, after some interest, I had two weeks go by without any showings.  I decided to lower the asking price.  I had quite a bit of equity in the house and stood to make a substantial profit any way so at this point I just wanted it sold!  After the price reduction, I had so many showings scheduled that I decided to join my parents on a week-long vacation to Southern Utah.  While I was there I had multiple offers and accepted one of them.  I signed the paperwork on my phone while waiting to see a play at the Utah Shakespeare Festival!

I didn't want to rush into making an offer on another house until my buyers reached some important deadlines in the contract but my agent started to panic because school was starting and I wouldn't have much time any more.  She called me one day because a townhouse that she thought I would like had just gone on the market that morning and I would be the first to see it.  Of course I fell in love with it and made an aggressive offer (at the very limit of the amount I was pre-qualified for) that afternoon.  By that evening the seller had multiple offers and didn't accept mine.  I was starting to feel really dejected.  The weekend before school started my agent decided to take me to see every house I had liked on her website.  One particular townhouse was one I had looked at online several times but I was very lukewarm about it.  As soon as I walked in, I noticed that the entire house had recently been painted a soft gray with new carpet throughout and new travertine tile in the kitchen and bathrooms.  There were all new fixtures and new stainless steel appliances.  This townhouse had been on the market since early June (longer than mine) without an offer so the owners decided to do some upgrades and that made all of the difference.  I fell in love with the loft above the living room because I thought it would make a nice library!  I made an offer that same day and, even though there were multiple offers, mine was accepted!

Things were proceeding with both sales and I anticipated closing on my old house the second week in September and the new house shortly after that.  I took one weekend and packed my entire house to be ready to move.  Then my agent called to say that the people buying my buyers' house had their financing fall through so my buyers couldn't proceed until their house was under contract again.  This would most likely put the purchase of my new house in jeopardy because I obviously couldn't proceed unless my house was under contract.  It was a domino effect and it was the last straw.  I cried for days but I had to make a decision.  Should I give my buyers two more weeks to get their house under contract again or should I put it on the market and start all over?  Instead of thinking logically I reacted very emotionally and decided to cancel the contract.  My agent wisely decided not to do anything so I could think about it over night.  Luckily I came to my senses and decided to give them an extension and their house went under contract two days later.  The sellers of my townhouse agreed to extend my contract as well!  My agent did some fast talking on that deal, I am sure!

In the end I am actually glad that everything was postponed for two weeks!  Even though it was difficult living with all of my possessions in boxes, there is no way that I could have moved during Homecoming!  I also locked into a better interest rate on my loan by waiting two weeks!  My agent kept telling me that I would end up where I was meant to be and now I really believe that.

This whole process was definitely challenging, with lots of ups and downs, but I am so glad I did it!  I got the keys yesterday and I can't wait to move in next weekend!  Definitely a happy ending!

Friday, August 28, 2015

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

This week I had a really big setback with the sale of my house which put the purchase of my new house in jeopardy.  It was beyond frustrating to me because we were ready to close next week.  I packed up my entire house and was in the process of getting ready to move everything to storage until I could close on the new house the following week.  I shed quite a few tears!  Thankfully everything has been resolved with my house (and it looks like I will probably be able to move forward with the new house) but the timeline has been pushed back three weeks.  Of course, I am so grateful that I don't have to start the entire process all over again but it hasn't been a lot of fun living with everything I own in boxes this week and I certainly do not relish the thought of another three weeks of this!  It is hard to come home to empty rooms!  My only solace has been school (solace was a vocabulary word this week).  I absolutely love my classes!  My sophomores have started a short story unit and my seniors have started reading Beowulf and we have already had some amazing discussions.  Also, my officers are just so much fun to work with.  We have already been so busy and we've spent a lot of time this week getting ready for Homecoming, staying late at school for several nights working on a banner.  They keep me laughing all the time so I don't have time to dwell on my real estate woes!
I think they did an amazing job on the banner (the moon was made with chalk) and they have received a lot of really positive feedback from students (and teachers) so they are very excited.  I don't think I will look back on selling my house with any particular fondness but I always want to remember what a great start I had to the 2015-2016 school year!

Monday, June 22, 2015

I Feel Like I'm on HGTV

I have made the monumental decision to sell my house and since then my life has been a whirlwind.  I do not make big decisions easily but two things converged to make this happen.  First, I found a town house that I fell in love with online.  I looked at it frequently but did nothing (my real estate agent can track these things and, apparently, I visited the site 13 times) and then, suddenly, it was off the market.  I was really mad at myself for not taking action.  That made me realize that I was unhappy living in my current house and that I have been for quite some time.  It is such a beautiful house but it is too big for me and it is quite overwhelming.  The yard work, especially, is daunting because it is very landscaped and I don't have the time (or the inclination, frankly) to keep up with it.  I am not handy and the myriad of maintenance projects that come with a house this size rendered me completely helpless.  My poor brother-in-law!  It is expensive to maintain such a big house.  My heating bill is astronomical and yet I always feel cold.  South Jordan is a very desirable area (so my real estate agent tells me) but I have never really liked it.  It feels so far away from everything I like to do.  My friend Adia put it best when she said that the suburbs are not the single girl's friend.  I want to be closer to my family and to downtown SLC.  I realized that living in this house is a choice and, if I am unhappy, I could choose to do something about it.  Then, just like that, the town house was back on the market because financing fell through for the buyer.  Uncharacteristically, I jumped at the opportunity and scheduled a showing.  I am pre-qualified for financing and am going through the motions of submitting an offer.  However, I have decided that I am selling my house regardless of whether or not I get the town house (although I hope I do).  I have a great agent and it is going to be listed tomorrow.  Yikes!  My favorite moment of this whole adventure so far is when she said that I don't need to do a thing because it is already staged beautifully!  I haven't watched HGTV all of these years for nothing!

Note:  I have a lot of books to pack...
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