What a long strange journey it has been. After landing the house, the Great Waiting Game of 2021 began, in which we waited patiently and then impatiently for our closing day on August 25. In the lead up to that day, we would be at the beck and call of mortgage agents checking up on our finances and visiting every Home Depot and literally every furniture store in the Twin Cities (sometimes twice) in the search for new bathroom and kitchen fixtures, a new couch and a bed. After you make a big purchase like a house, they tell you not to make any big purchases, like a bed or a couch or fixtures, because you want to be able to close on your closing day and like still be able to pay all those fees. So, it was what felt like an entire year of waiting and searching. Turns out, it was only a month!
On the work front, I got to attend pre-orientation at my new school district with the new English Language teacher who was hired, also from out of state. In the first 30 minutes of that meeting, we both discovered that our job would not consist of teaching at one school. No, for her, she'd be teaching at two different schools 25 miles apart. And for me? Oh, well, I would be teaching at 4 different schools. On MWF, I'd be teaching at one school in the morning and another in the afternoon. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'd be teaching at 3 different schools, shuffling from one to the other to the other.
The poor mentor who told us this was racked with anxiety because he felt like it was a) unfair and b) fucked up that everyone in the district apparently delegated and deflected the task down to him, 3 weeks before we were supposed to start school. It's funny that this didn't come up once in the interview and they never even asked if I had reliable transportation, which seems like it would be necessary for doing this job successfully? The mentor told me that the plan was to hire 3 EL teachers, but the finance person left at the end of last year, as did the superintendent, and the new superintendent didn't want to rock the boat by asking for money to hire the planned 3rd teacher. So, that becomes the folks on the lowest rung of the ladder's problem — the teachers like me tasked with trying to do a reasonably good job in that totally unreasonable situation — and the students, who are always our number one priority, right? The American public education system remains alive and unwell!
As the Kill Bill sirens were going off in my head, I decided to check the job board and see if there was anything else — just in case. I was about to sign a mortgage, though, so it's not like I could change jobs that easily. However, I am not one to just take some bullshit lying down. I will at least sit up to take the bullshit. I applied to a job at a city school in Minneapolis with a big student population and lots of English Learners. I got interviewed, and then offered the job. And then I had to make a life-altering decision in the middle of a bunch of other life-altering decisions, which is not as fun as it sounds!
By this time, it was time to close on the house which was an amazing feeling and an amazing day. Our realtor and overall master of all trades, Theo, presented us with the keys to Elaine, our new house, and also a waterpainted masterpiece of Mr. Tito Abundance himself, hard at work as he is every day of his life. I shrieked when I saw it, and I'm glad Theo waited until the notary was out of the room because she might have been like "you weirdos don't deserve a house" had she seen my full reaction.
After going back into my original district for another meeting, and listening to my mentor lament more about his low morale, I was pretty sure I needed to listen to my intuition and not ignore all of the red flags waving around me. Plus, by now I had signed the mortgage, so it didn't really matter what job I had because I am on the hook for those payments. So, I spoke with my supervisor, who lied to my face and told me he had no idea how the scheduling happened (on day 1, my mentor forwarded me an email from June showing that the supervisor was the one who put the schedule plan in motion...) and I just went ahead and asked if I could resign. Their weak ass HR department tried to hold me to the contract, but after I completed my exit interview they "clearly can't hold [me] prisoner and don't want to stop [me] from acting in [my] best interest." So, I resigned and accepted the job at the other school. And that is how you at least sit up to take the bullshit.
When we got to our house on closing day, we saw a card from the previous owners family, which wished us well in the home that they had the fondest memories of, the home that they visited their grandparents and aunt while growing up, baking cookies and playing in with all of their cousins. I shed a single tear, Diego said "Awww, that was so nice," and we then proceeded to rip the toilet, sink, and bathtub from the bathroom. Thanks for the memories!
Diego and I have animorphed into Tim the Tool Man Taylor and his gay lover Al. Patricia Heaton moved to Texas and made abortion illegal, I guess. We have since commenced the minor (?) aforementioned renovation process to bring Elaine's kitchen and bathroom into the 21st century, in addition to things like, oh having internet cables installed since Elaine lived without cable or internet for her whole life???... Literally, we were the ones to get that installed. In 2021. God bless Elaine.
Now, it is already September and we have a lot of work ahead of us before we move in for good by October 1. A big shoutout to all of our friends who have renovated their homes or rooms before us and gave us a reality check that we're in for a nightmare. Luckily, we can't sleep!
All in all, it is such a privilege (and responsibility — did I mention the crushing weight of responsibility?) to be in this position and to own a little piece of something that will be ours. We're trying to remember that, enjoy the process, and laugh at how ridiculously overwhelmed we are from time to time. Thankfully, watching the entire run of Superstore has been our nightly ritual this month and it's been a happy place to unwind. Watch it if you haven't seen it already.
Check out our mood boards and inspiration if you're feeling this fantasy...
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