Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Whole Bunch of Stuff

Individual follow-up posts on some of these will probably come later, but for now there's too much venting and not enough time. I've been in New England Town since Wednesday, and I have accomplished the following:

1 - looked at many houses
2 - selected a house
3 - put in an offer on a house, countered a counter-offer on said house, and accepted final terms for our offer to buy the house
4 - selected beautiful living room furniture and a bedroom set for the new house (all under budget!)
5 - met the neighbors (who are delightful and with whom we share some strangely coincidental things)
6 - took a day trip to Providence, R.I. with my Mom, because one day was all about her and what she wanted to do
7 - eaten vast amounts of clams, mussels, and a whole lobster...YUMMMY!
8 - celebrated Easter at the local Methodist church, a blessing in so many ways
9 - determined a daycare for the little ones to start in the fall
10 - started the mortgage loan process for the new house--PLEASE PRAY that this proceeds with success!

Unfortunately, the trip has not been without its disappointment, namely New England School, or to be more precise, the English department chair of NES (New England School), who apparently knew nothing of the assurance that I'd already been given three courses for the fall. Yeah, that was a fantastic fucking meeting, let me tell ya. More on this little dandy later, for now, I just wanted to say: HOORAY--I found a house!!

What's it like, you ask? It's a 1,687 square foot Colonial with 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, hardwood floors in the kitchen, bedrooms, and dining room, the cutest little reading nook in the living room, a built-in corner hutch in the dining room, an above-ground pool, a finished basement, and a fenced-in backyard.....all sitting on a quiet street in a quiet neighborhood. Wanna see?

You cannot possibly imagine how much I love this house! If you could imagine, then you could also imagine how tragic it would be if the mortgage loan did not go through successfully. More likely than not, everything will be fine. We have the majority of the documents the bank wants at this point, but I won't have an offer letter until they actually CREATE three new courses to put on the schedule for me. Yes, they have to add three sections in order to fulfill the offer the Dean made to me, the offer which evidently never went through the Associate Dean or the English department chair. As long as I have this document fairly soon, we should be fine on the mortgage. My unease and anxiety comes from the fear that something will pop up out of the blue once everything gets to underwriting, and my dream will come to a crashing halt. From now until June 1st (our closing date), it will be hard to sleep, think, concentrate, or do anything other than worry about whether or not this will really be our new home when we move back in June.

So people, if you're the praying kind, I could use a few. If you're the meditating kind, please say some "ohms" for us. And if you fall into some other category, just send some good mortgage loan vibes this way. I'd really love to bring my family home to this beautiful place.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A New Job & Unchartered Territory

The good news is that I will have employment with New England School in the fall! The bad news is that it's only part-time. My official title will be Visiting Lecturer of English, and I'll teach 3 courses per semester with opportunities for summer teaching. I have no idea what courses I'll teach, but I'm prepared for the worst: 3 comp classes (probably at 8:00 a.m.). Let me first say that I'm enormously thankful that I have this job. It's always a nice thing to be employed. It especially helps when one is also trying to get a mortgage loan. This position, however, is unchartered territory for me. I have lots of questions about how I will/won't fit in...Will tenure-track faculty sneer and point at me in the halls? Or, will they simply ignore my existence? Will there be back-stabbing battles to get the best time slots? Will I have to sell my soul to teach a literature course? Most importantly, will I have any opportunity to demonstrate my value as a teacher and scholar to the department? I know that in order to convince them to offer me a full-time or tenure-track position, I'll need to be great in the classroom, try to maintain a research agenda, and be as active as possible within the department community. But, what if that's not enough? I have lots of anxiety about this new position and my overall "fit" in the department, and I have nothing to go on in terms of how to address some of the questions and fears I have. I'm scheduled to meet with the Dean of Humanities when I visit next week, and I'm hoping that she might put some of my worries at ease, while also answering some of the many questions I have about schools, daycares, etc. In the meantime, I have a list of properties to view (including a couple of rentals), an article to revise, and final projects to grade. Too bad that's not enough to keep me from worrying about the future.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Things That Suck (and things that don't)

I know I shouldn't be bitching, but some things just suck. Like:

  • getting into a nasty argument with Hubby the night before he leaves to take H back to the U.S. for spring break

  • having strep throat and a double ear infection while being the only parent on duty

  • not knowing which town to live in in New England State (there are 2-3 smallish towns near the town where Hubby's university is located)

  • not knowing which neighborhood would be best for us (both fit-wise and in terms of what can afford). Although, this website, which provides info on schools, crime, and housing values has been a great help!

  • not yet knowing exactly how much house we can afford to buy (a bit complicated since we're going through the VA home loan process)

  • the possibility that we'll lose a good deal of money on the minivan we bought in Doha simply b/c there will come a point when we *have* to sell it, even if it's not at our asking price (or anywhere near the fair asking price)

  • making new friends all over again

  • trying to figure out the logistics for landing in New England State, shopping for and getting new furniture into the house so that we have a place to sleep and sit, and unpacking our things while Hubby flies back to College Town, loads up the moving van and drives all the way back to New State, while also having the 2-yr old and 4-yr old running around. You see, we have stuff from Doha (mainly clothes, crib, and kitchen gear) that will come to New State a few days after we land. We also have all the rest of our stuff in a storage unit in College Town. And then there's the stuff that needs to be purchase upon arrival: living room set and bedroom set, just to start.

  • trying to remember what we sold in the garage sale before we moved and, thus, what we'll need to replace

  • the complete uncertainty of what I'll be doing in terms of a job next year

Lest I seem ungrateful, I'll stop here. I'll go further and balance it with things that don't suck.

  • all my children are healthy

  • we got approved for a VA home loan!! (up to $36K towards the down payment and limited closing costs, among other benefits)

  • in turn, this increases the amount we can afford to pay for a new house

  • we have tickets home!! Yes, the last one-way tickets from Doha to the U.S. that I'll ever have to purchase

  • my mom is meeting me in New England Town and looking at the homes & towns that are on our list of possibilities. Her advice and input will be helpful, and we'll have some quality time together without children, something we haven't had in a very long time.

Frankly, there aren't enough notepads in the world for me to write down all the lists of things to do, check out, price, keep track of, etc. I have a million decisions to make, and I feel an enormous amount of pressure to get them all right. Many of them can't be made until I'm on the ground and seeing things for myself, but that, unfortunately, doesn't stop me from worrying about them in the meantime.