Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Santa Fe Adventures Part II: The Bread

It's hard to believe that my six and a half week adventure at Bread Loaf will be over in a week. The summer has not been what I thought it would be. It's the first time I've lived off campus, and that was complicated by the fact that my roommate had to leave after a week because of medical reasons. So Nehi lost her playmate and I lost my friend (only for the summer, she's alive and recovering back home).
So I've had the house to myself. Nehi and I just rattling around. Nehi has enjoyed the off leash area, chasing skinks in the yard and trying to destroy landscaping when I'm not looking. She has not enjoyed the last week of 100+ degree days with no AC (neither have I). And she has not loved the long days when she's left alone because I have class and lab hours, but we've dealt. It's been hotter than any other summer I've been out here. The computer's hot, I just sit here and sweat. Nehi collapses on the tile all day. I keep all the windows and doors open to try and catch a breeze, but that also means that all the bugs come in, and frankly- I'm ready to go home to AC.

BL has been weird. Part of it is that I'm off campus, so I don't get a lot of interaction. But I think a lot of it is that I'm over the drama of BL summers. And this summer, the students seem to all be 22 year olds. Not exactly people I feel an urgent need to hang out with. So I've just had a quiet summer. The classes have been good- especially my film class.
It hit me this weekend that I was graduating, and I had a hard time wrapping my head around what life is like without BL. 5 years, 4 summers. A bunch of pain in my tail. A lot of cool classes and professors. But a whole segment of life is over.
So what comes next?
Well, I had hoped to go home to new and exciting things, but I've reached the glass ceiling at my current job- I'm just not going to go anywhere there.
But, I've come to a decision. I think I need something new. And, I need to stop having my whole life revolve around Mom and Dad. As much as I love them, I don't want to still be jogging in place in five years. I'm 34 and I think it's time I start making plans for separating my life from theirs.
I really want to teach at a community college and make that transition, so this will give me time to plan. I also need to prep downstairs for being self sustainable- I figure either Mom and Dad could move downstairs (one level) and I could rent the upstairs, or if they want to stay upstairs, I can rent the downstairs.

Mom has always asked me where I want to live and the only answer I've ever had is no where I've ever been. I'm thinking something drastic- This is what I know. I want to live somewhere:
-near an ocean (although I've realized I'm over my years of tanning on the beach, I just like to walk along it and I still love the smell)
-forests, trees, hiking trails
-small town but within an hour of stores and movie theatres.
-lower cost of living. Low enough for me to rent a house, and not an apartment and put some savings aside
-liberal/Democrat area
-I like the idea of living near a reservation
-seasons, but not wicked cold winters or sweltering summers

So, we'll see. I'm not making any immediate plans. The downstairs will take a while to get in shape (althought he current remodel is a blessing in disguise!). I need time to save money. Once all that's done, I'll feel comfortable enough to start applying for jobs. I'd hate to get a job but not have all my ducks in a row and be able to take advantage of it.
I don't know how well this is going to go over. Perhaps like a lead balloon, maybe well. I just know that I can't let guilt make me put my life on hold. I've done all I can.

I just think I need to live my own life, in a place where I have a chance to go somewhere.

Santa Fe Adventures Part I: Disaster

It's hard to believe that my six and a half week adventure at Bread Loaf will be over in a week. The summer has not been what I thought it would be. It's the first time I've lived off campus, and that was complicated by the fact that my roommate had to leave after a week because of medical reasons. So Nehi lost her playmate and I lost my friend (only for the summer, she's alive and recovering back home).
So I've had the house to myself. Nehi and I just rattling around. Nehi has enjoyed the off leash area, chasing skinks in the yard and trying to destroy landscaping when I'm not looking. She has not enjoyed the last week of 100+ degree days with no AC (neither have I). And she has not loved the long days when she's left alone because I have class and lab hours, but we've dealt.

The summer was further complicated by the house problems. A week after I left, the Town of Kill Devil Hills was replacing the water and sewer main in my neighborhood. By their own admission, they screwed up and put too small a pipe in. So when they turned the sewer back on, it back pumped into my house, up through my shower and into my house. Luckily, Joe was there to work on tiling the downstairs and noticed it right away and called me. I called the Town and then my insurance. Serv Pro went in and cleaned everything (as well as ripping my house apart). A couple of weeks of arguing with the adjustor about what should be included, and finally work starts today.
I'll save everyone the horrifying pictures, but suffice to say, in the kitchen, part of the living room, bedroom and bathroom, the panelling had to be cut to dry out.
There are a couple of positive things- I was insured, Joe was tiling the downstairs stretch, so that carpet being ruined wasn't a big deal. However, I was still looking at trying to find a contractor from 2000 miles away that I trusted to get the job finished, and the house livable before I came home.

So, the final list of what needed to be repaired was this:
-chair rail in the living room and bedroom has to come off, panelling removed and replaced, along with insulation and drywall
-bathroom and closet and kitchen panelling has to be removed and replaced
-all flooring has to be ripped up and replaced
-vanity replaced
-panelling/insulation/drywall in garage that shared a wall with the bathroom

So, my contractor starts today and he says it will only take 4-5 days to fix. Then Joe comes in and will tile the floors and the bathroom walls. Since the price difference was minimal, I'm replacing the carpet with a terra cotta tile in the bathroom, bedroom and closet. Because there's no chair rail in the bathroom, and that took the most damage, I'm tiling half of the bathroom wall, up to the line of the vanity. I figured since I could update it, and bring the house value up for the same price, there was no reason not to do it. Since the kitchen panelling has to be replaced, I'm putting in a whiteboard on the side of the bedroom door instead of panelling which I'm excited about.
There are also some things that I'm having to do that I'm not thrilled about. In order to cut costs, I'm having to put a chair rail in the kitchen, which I don't want, but can't afford to replace full sheets of plywood. The closet will also have a chair rail which is just stupid, but again- no way to hide replacing the panelling line.

So I'll get home next Saturday. Unpack from Santa Fe, and start trying to put my house back together. I'd packed all my books so that Joe only had empty bookcases to move to tile the downstairs, but with all this clean up and remodeling now, everything is everywhere. So, putting it all back together is step one. I think I'm going to repaint the bottom of the living room though, so that will take a couple of days. I'll have Sunday off, but it's back to work on Monday morning. Luckily, the work days are only half days, so I'll have plenty of time to mess around with getting the house back together.
I'm sure that I'll post the finished product here.
I'm frantic that all this has happened with me so far away and unable to do anything. However, it's a little exciting that I'll go home to a whole new house. Although I'm not looking forward to the cleaning of the mess.
Here's hoping it all goes off without a hitch!