Friday, July 29, 2011

Stuff in My Head

I'm sure nobody really cares, but I have several new posts running around in my head:

- the repatriation process and its challenges
- the new house and ALL the things that need to be done with it
- New England living
- making friends
- getting older
- going on the job market again this year

I'm hoping I'll get time to write more, but next week brings the imperative to finish revisions to my article. The following week brings a day surgery for me and Hannah's return from Home State, where she's been visiting grandparents and her biological dad. The week after that brings my Mom's first visit to our new house--so excited for that! Then, we're head to Ocean City, N.J. for another vacation at the shore, where Hubby's parents have a house and his aunts and cousins are also renting a place for the same week. Then school starts...ZOMG at some point I'm supposed to have two syllabi ready to go. Yeah, so don't know when I'll have the time to do anything again, but I'll try.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Room of One's Own...Outside the Home

We've been in our house almost three weeks now, and last week was the first week we started working on our own stuff (article revision for me, HR stuff and office move-in for Hubby). After more than a month of being with the kids, primarily Eliza and Amelia, I was anxious for some quality time with my work. I was excited to return to some sense of normalcy, something that resembles a schedule. The first thought in my head last Monday morning was, "I can't wait to get to the office!" And then it hit me: I don't have an office to go to. Not one on a school campus anyway. For the first time in 10 years of teaching at the university-level, I do not have an official work space of my own .

Even though I had previously always shared an office with one other person (sometimes two), rarely was I ever in the office with an officemate at the same time. I've always treated my job as a regular 9:00-5:00 gig, which isn't terribly common for many graduate students. I've never enjoyed working at home because I'm tempted to do "home things" like fold laundry, clean the kitched, put away dishes, etc. I also don't like the idea of having home/family and work in the same physical space. I function much better at both when I have a separate space of my own in which I can work.

But now, this isn't an option. New England School puts 5-6 visiting lecturers in one large office area for the purpose of meeting with students, etc. I have no idea what this space looks like, or if people are given a desk of their own. Either way, the space is not meant to be a work space for people doing research or writing.

What I have is our fourth bedroom at home, which will serve as my home office. We've bought a futon, mattress, and bedding to use when we have guests, and the room is large enough that neither my work space nor the guest space will feel too cramped if someone is visiting. The guest space aspect is great, but I'm feeling odd and uncomfortable about a home office as my work space. I've never done this before. I almost feel confined and isolated, and it's really unclear how this will work with our plan to carpool together to campus. We're trying to save money on gas, but if my time between classes is the primary time I have to get work done, I don't know how I'll do it on campus. Hubby and I have already planned on sharing his campus office to some extent, but again, I don't know how well that will work either. We both have very different work habits (for example, he listens to music, while I need silence to concentrate).

There's just so much uncertainty about how this will work out, and I don't do well with uncertainty. Does anyone? The best I can do for now is get started on rennovating the room. Just like all the other rooms in the house (except the kitchen), it has awful wallpaper (though I've almost gotten it all stripped down). Once I finish stripping the first layer, I'll take off the second layer, prep, tape, and primer the walls, then paint. I'm thinking of going with this color:

It's a Pantone color called Emberglow...What do you think? It's warm with some punch, but not overbearing or off-putting. I dont' think I'd paint all four walls with it, though...maybe just two? I bought two new, 5-shelf bookshelves, both of which are already full, and my desk is on its way now. I'm going to do my best to enjoy the space, but I already miss not having a professional space on campus, where I can feel more connected to the department. I know plenty of people do this all the time, but this is my first time, and it's going to take some getting used to.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

New England Town

We're here! We moved in July 8th, and we've been unpacking boxes, buying new stuff for the house, and getting estimates on plumbing, electrical, and carprentry work. I've already got my new state driver's license, and Eliza and I both have library cards for the public library (she's plowed through the 10 books we took out this past Monday). The move-in had a small hitch, with the movers first being unable to get the headboard for our new bed up the stairs. The next morning, the furniture company sent a new crew, who got it in through the window on the second floor. Unfortunately, once they set up the bed, I noticed where the first movers put two sizeable dents and scratches in the footboard. Another call to the furniture company and two days later, we had a new footboard. Seriously, this is THE most comfortable mattress I've ever slept on! So comfortable that many nights, I go to sleep and don't wake up until it's actually morning! I don't remember the last time that happened.

We've had a few surprises with the electrical work. The original plan was for my brother-in-law, who is an electrician, to drive up and replace the knob and tube wiring in the attic and basement. He's working 7 days a week right now, so that's not going to be an option anytime soon, but if we want to keep the same insurance company, we have to make the repairs in the next few weeks. We ultimately decided to solve the problem by simply changing insurance companies, especially once we found out that knob and tube wiring is really common in the old houses here and that there's no fire danger. Eventually, if we decide to stay long term that is, we'll get it replaced.

Not one, two, or three, but FOUR window A/C units later, our house is comfortably cool. More expensive than what I'd budgeted, but since we're not buying anymore living room furniture, we were able to cover it just fine. I was also able to get a new, stainless steel Frigidaire Professional refrigerator on sale for $999 (regularly $1,599). Under budget there as well, so I went ahead and splurged on this new stainless steel Weber grill!
It's so beautiful! I've never had a nice grill before, and I can't wait to start cooking on it because the weather here is beyond amazing in the summertime. Seriously, the other day it never got above 90 degrees. A gentle shower in the morning cools it off for the rest of the day, and I could sit outside forever.

We've started working on the Wallpaper Nightmare that exists in every room of the house except the kitchen. We're taking out of the little girls' room first and hoping that the job won't take too long now that we have a good solution that you roll onto the walls. I'm also in Contact Paper Hell, with the ugly, dirty stuff all over the kitchen cabinets and drawers. I'm almost finished ripping it all up, but gawd it's been a tedious chore.

I forgot how much work it is to own a home...I also forgot how much of a joy it is! How much pleasure I take in knowing that it's ours and we can do whatever we want to with it. Knowing that we're going to take care of our new home and make it beautiful fills me with such an immense happiness. Of course, so does the fact that I can get a bottle of wine at the store anytime I like :) We stll have a lot of work to do, but it doesn't have to be done overnight. Right now, I'm looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine that allows me to get some work done, as I still have an article due August 15th and two course syllabi to prepare. No rest for the weary, right?