27 December 2009

Finishing Finals

We made it through finals. And it wasn't that difficult. For me, anyway.

Matt surprised me with his dedication to studying. I even tried to deter him one night (hey, it was still a few days until his next final) with a movie at a plushy theater in Naples. No dice. Anyway, he spent much time studying, but since he was home for many days, he also did a few chores during his breaks. Although he wasn't adventurous enough to make dinner, he vacuumed, did dishes, ran errands and all-around made my life easier, which was really nice considering the work I still had left to do before we left.

We flew to Michigan on Dec 23rd to visit family. That's where I am now, on my in-law's couch, waiting for a 40 MB file to upload (trying for the third time, takes about 1.5 hours each time--lovely) for work. Yes, I still have to do work while at home. 10 days is just too long to be away from the grindstone; I don't want to get too far behind. I spent some time this afternoon working and am trying to finish up so that I can play some Euchre (it's a Michigan thing). It's not looking good.

We don't have a lot of cash and we're trying to save as much as possible, so we flew up (save more by working those few extra days instead of driving) and are staying with family. It has been a good Christmas so far, and I haven't even gained a single pound! Yay!

There is something very warming about sitting around a living room after eating a delicious meal that I cooked with my sister-in-laws, talking about life, joking about life, watching the kids run around with their new presents, while it gently snows outside. Yeah, I needed this. Almost every day we have some such evening scheduled, several afternoons already booked with lunches with friends. Matt is loving this too, all the relaxing, reading for pleasure. As much as I miss my cats back home, I sure am enjoying this.

PS. I got the complete National Geographic on DVD. Every single page from every single issue since 1888 on my computer. As soon as this ad uploads, I'm downloading. Maybe Euchre can wait.

01 December 2009

Thanks for Making Me Stronger

I feel tough today.

I deal with a LOT of stress at work. I work 6 days a week every other week, I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I eradicate bugs, I plan girls' nights, I write Christmas cards, I make Christmas presents, I make Thanksgiving dinners (not even using canned pumpkin in the pumpkin pie), I work out regularly, I eat well, I sleep 7-8 hours a night, I run, run, run. I somehow have good hair days, play with kitties, read books, recite Rosaries. I balance insurance, do the finances, pay bills, make arrangements to go home for Christmas, design business cards, design party invitations.

I feel like I am juggling two dozen things at once and I am succeeding.

And when I fall asleep on my husbands shoulder at night, I feel tired, I feel satisfied, and I feel fulfilled.

I feel like I am kicking some major butt. I feel very emotionally, physically, and mentally strong. I feel very spiritually humble.

I am both the domestic goddess and the bacon getter. Today is the day I get to feel pride in what I do, I get to reflect on how far I've come from Ypsilanti, Michigan to Naples, Florida. Not just geographically, but intellectually. I hope that every girl earns a day to feel like this.

Don't mess with me right now. Today, you'd lose.

23 November 2009

Just the Mundane

Phew! Well, I'm entering week four at work. I'm finally beginning to feel somewhat energetic when I come home. At least enough to a point that I don't feel like collapsing the second I get off work. My job is very mentally and physically demanding, so I am pretty beat when I get home. I am a Marketing Director for a Realtor who deals only with high-end, water-front property. I really enjoy it. I'm busy enough to work 9-5 Mon-Fri, plus extra hours on Saturday doing showings and what not.

Matt is feeling pretty swamped at school. The reading is piling even higher and some of his professors canceled a few classes for conferences, so now that they are having make-up classes in addition to pre-finals studying (making outlines, doing practice exams, etc). Even though he's so busy, he has been helping out a little around the apartment. It's pretty nice having help with the dishes, vacuuming etc. We like to bet each other on little things. We used to bet candy bars, etc, but now that we're calorie counting and trying to lose weight, I'll bet him chores. Hehe.

Anyway, life now that I'm working is pretty busy. I don't know how dual-income families function, and humorously enough, I was raised in one! I'd like to say that I do a chore a night, but what really happens is that some days I do chores all night long, while other days, I pretty much drop Matt off at our apartment and take off to run errands or go to girl's night or something. Lately I've also been working out at night because I just don't have enough time in the mornings. Next semester will be easier, as he has more 9ams than 8ams.

I'm very excited to go home for Christmas (29 days!). I think about it a lot. I still have been thinking a lot about kids too, but I'm usually too tired to dwell. I also try avoiding the topic since I'm not sure what will happen trying to balance work and a new baby. Except now, I have enough distractions that my thoughts don't rule my every waking moment!

Sorry I don't have anything particularly insightful tonight, just the mundane.

16 November 2009

No rest for the weary

My four hours of personal time when I get home from work (6pm) before bed (10pm) is being quickly eaten by chores, cooking, and errands. But I am still liking my job and things are going really well for me at work. Matt studies every evening as per usual.

Today he said, "You know, lawyers are notorious for procrastinating. But really, they are so busy that if it isn't due tomorrow, it just isn't a priority." So true, so true.

11 November 2009

Stress Relief

Prayer=instant stress relief.

How many meltdown panic attacks will I give myself before I start realizing this?

*sigh* At least I am satisfied now. More details later, but it's really not a big deal.

09 November 2009

Busy!

Phew! Life is so much different now that I am working! I get up at 6am every morning to work out. Then I come home, shower, make lunches, eat breakfast and run out the door. I work 9-5. On Mondays and Thursdays, Matt has a 9am, so I get more time at the gym, but Tues, Wed, and Fri, he has 8ams, so I only get 20 min at the gym and I get to work about 45 min early. (It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how little I want to go to the gym, once I get there and start working out, I love it).

Every day I am busy all day long, I work through lunch, I usually leave around 5:15. I pick Matt up from the library and get home around 6pm. I make dinner, do some chores, get stuff ready for tomorrow, do a quick email and facebook check, read for about 30-45 min then crash in bed around 10pm.

So far I am really like my job. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I love it, but I really like it. I do all the marketing for a Realtor, and I am training to do showings. I also answer phones, do general office work, help my co-works when they need it. We're pretty equal and we all share a small office, so we all answer phones, run errands, write thank you notes. My title is Assistant to Realtor, so I also do odds and ends that he needs. He is very funny and good to work with. I really get along well with all my coworkers. I will have to work every other Saturday (open houses), but I will get to take a few hours off during the week to make up for the few hours I worked on Saturday (yay half days). My boss said that he wants me to be able to go home and be happily married with my hubby. Little does he know that all the hubby does is study : )

Anyway, that is what I am up to. Now I am going to sign off so that I can do a few other things before the night ends. It is only my second week, so I am still trying to balance all of the craziness and learn to organize my time.

Topics I want to talk about:
Thanksgiving plans
Matt's crazy study schedule

I don't know how people who work full time and raise a family do it. I now understand why fast food exists, hehe. I bet those people have two cars though, so they don't spend as much time on the road and waiting for their spouses.

01 November 2009

Finding Strength Little By Little

As soon as I typed that last sentence last night, I knew that my mindset needed to change. If there is any time in particular when life is so volatile, when our decisions will impact the future so drastically, it is now. Therefore, I should be praying daily for God's will in my life, as I want to make sure I make the right decisions at such a vulnerable time. So I prayed. I feel oddly at peace. I'm not even nervous about tomorrow! I got a bunch done around the house, so I am feeling good about myself. It's only 7:40pm, so I can still spend a few hours reading. I'm working through Anna Karenina, The Truth About Money (finance book), and Design Elements (a graphic style manual). Or maybe I'll play Risk, as Matt just chimed in asking me to battle him for the fate of the world.

You know, whatever works ; )

31 October 2009

Suffocation

I know it's been awhile since I've updated. I wonder how many blog posts have started out that way. So apologetic, so full of excuses. Well, here's mine: I've been very depressed lately and haven't done much of anything. I suppose it's no better than any other excuse, but it's all I've got and it's the truth. So here I am, 12:32am on Oct 31/Nov 1, blogging. I may even make it to the official release of daylight savings time. I hope not, 1.5 hours is a long time to blog. Anyway. I've been very depressed about finances. There is such a fine line between debt and savings and such a complexity between the amount of debt and time spent paying it off. After a week of depression as a result of intense stress, I've shot my health to hell, but after making a realization a few minutes ago, I hope I am on the brink of recovery.

Before I begin, there are two things you should know. The first one is that I found a job. It is a real-world, career-geared, entry-level position. The second is that I am not currently pregnant, but I am eager to start a family. So much so that it is become painful for me to hang out with friends who have kids. PS, my job pays slightly less than Matt got paid at his real job in Michigan and our expenses are significantly higher down here, even with a decreased quality of living.

Okay, there are four major issues: what to do with the trust money, when to have kids, how long to work once we've had kids, and how much debt to take out. Matt and I sat down tonight and made a game plan: invest 1/2 and live off the other 1/2 of the trust money. Be open to conceiving this spring and giving birth in the fall, work until we have the baby, see if my employer will let me be part time, contemplate full-time motherhood, and take as little debt as possible. It sounds simple, but is much harder to live. We are talking bare-bones skimping. Cutting Internet, phones, eating out, movies, etc. We don't do much of those last two anymore, but the occasional opportunity to do so is very enjoyable. Possibly not going home for Christmas. Not just for a month, not just for a summer, but FOR THREE ENTIRE YEARS! Think about where you want to be in your own life in three years, what will you have to do to get there? How much money will you spend between now and then? Now imagine that you live in one of the most expensive cities in the country. How did your spending change? I am so stressed out every evening thinking, planning, reworking numbers. I've never lived paycheck to paycheck, Matt has never lived paycheck to paycheck. But unless I work full time for the entire three years, that is unavoidably what we will do, it's just about whether we have to pay back the paycheck and how long that will take.

I'm suffocating. Suffocating under the stress of not knowing where my money will be coming from, or if it will come, during the next three years. My chest feels tight, heavy. I feel too depressed to move. Even in my most angsty of teenage years (and trust me, I had some nasty ones), I have never had such an uncertain future.

Anyway, I realized tonight why exactly I'm so pensive over the debt load question. It is because it is my fault we will need the money as I will be the one bringing a baby into the financial question. Babies need full time care, full time care=money (be it daycare of my quitting work), money=debt. We want as little debt as possible. Having a baby/debt will mean that Matt has to work long hours at a hard job, saddled with all his debt, spending 15-20 years paying it off. And it's all my fault. It's my fault I never see my husband. I did it to him.

I understand that some of my logic is flawed. I didn't say this is how I accepted reality, I said this is how I feel.
This is how I feel.

Realizing my rationale is a bit of a relief because I finally know where my feelings are coming from, but it is also scary because I see the only satisfying option as being that I work at my new job full time for three years and we don't have kids. Sounds simple, right? Sadly not. For some reason, for a few months, I have been unable to stop thinking about having babies. I want a family so badly that I can't stop. I have even prayed that God will take away my burning desire, but it is no avail. I do my best not to feed it, but when I try to tell myself I don't want a baby, I become angry and bitter inside. I am surprised at the voration of my own feelings.

Anyway, having realized my feelings of intense guilt of Matt being overworked, I felt the need to blog, stronger than I have in a long time. When people say an experience was hard and that they struggled to get through it, they are always speaking from the position of someone who is on top, someone who made it. But right now I am living those dark nights when daylight feels days away and the light is running out. I need to pray more. I desperately need to go to adoration and pray. But I am scared of the answer. I am more scared of the answer than of suffocating.

19 October 2009

Making Friends

Well, another fun Law Partner's Ladies Night and a half dozen new Facebook friends. Whereas the last party was a meet n' greet, this one was a game night. I enjoyed myself, met some new people, talked to some I met last time. A few of us even arranged to go out for drinks sometime soon. While I'm not calling up any of them to chat during boring afternoons, I'm stoked to finally be meeting some new friends!

In other news, the weather granted us a two-day reprieve. Since Saturday night, the temps have been cooler (60s-70s range), with low low low humidity and a strong cool breeze! While the beauty promises to end by tomorrow afternoon, I'm excited for the few days I've gotten to open the windows and air out this stuff apartment.

I know this is a fairly boring post. For some reason I have been inexplicably exhausted for the past few days. Who knows.

16 October 2009

No More Seasons

Having no money and knowing that it will never really be winter is really starting to wear on me.

On the former account, I job hunt to no avail. I have heard a couple of nos, but mostly I don't get a response, even to my follow-ups. Oy. With regard to the later, I find it so strange that October is half over and I am still in shorts and tank tops. We still run our a/c 24/7. We still need to. I still wear tons of sun screen, sweat when I'm outside, and plan my errands for the late evening. I am dying to pull out my jeans, sweaters, scarves. I LOVE autumn, I LOVE jeans and cozy sweaters, I LOVE hot chocolate. I like my temps in the 40s-60s. I like my days cloudy and my nights clear. What can I say, I'm a cold weather girl.

It all culminated when my last VS catalog arrived a few days ago. I'm a huge Victoria's Secret fan (no, not the sweat pants and "PINK" shirts, but the actual clothing--usually you can only find the clothes in the catalog and online. I also, of course, like the wide selection of bras and underwear). Anyway, they have tons of cute new stuff out, lots of sweaters, long-sleeved t-shirts, and CUTE jackets! But not only do I not have MONEY to buy ANYTHING, I also don't have any need for WINTER clothes : ( During Florida's winters, I'll be wearing my fall clothes from Michigan. And with the highs reaching into the low 70s in December-Februrary, I doubt I'll even wear a coat most days.

I hate Florida. I hate how far away from all my friends and family I am, I hate how hot it is, I hate how many bugs there are, I hate how it's always sunny all the time. There are only two things I don't hate about this ridiculous state and this absurd city: the beaches are beautiful, and my husband is here.

15 October 2009

More Bugs

I hate bugs. Not like a blood-curdling fear, but more like a get OUT of my HOUSE kind of aggression. As I chronicled before, Florida has some bug problems. That's what happens when people build a city in a swamp, I guess. Lots of bugs. Anyway, today I was cleaning and a nasty scorpion-like bug darted across the foyer. He was about 2 inches long, stood high off the ground (that's how I knew he wasn't a cockroach from afar), and his tail curved over his back, the end forked like a snake's tongue. He was a dark reddish-brown in color. I've got a question up on Yahoo! Answers to try and figure it out. Disgusting. Every time I see a bug, it just makes me clean harder and more frequently. As it is, my apartment gets a thorough scrubbing twice a week.

Anyway, my husband has been staying late at school lately. Not a lot, just by a few hours. He needs to use some resources in the library for a project. He always gets home before dinner, but I am lonely during those few extra hours alone. I am practicing my Spanish and working on some Christmas presents (I'm big into crafting, especially knitting and crocheting).

12 October 2009

Isolation in the Swampy

I hate living so far away from everyone I know. No family, no friends; it gets lonely. I am determined to meet some friends.

11 October 2009

Keeping Busy

Remember back when I was talking about things I do to keep myself busy? Things are changing, so I thought I'd update.

I was taking a "get to know your digital camera" adult-ed class that teaches people what all the different buttons on a camera mean. Anyway, the class was six weeks long and ended on Tuesday. So now I need a new class. They start the last week of October and run another six weeks. I am torn between taking a creative writing class and a Photoshop class. The PS class would teach us PS3, but I own PS2, and I want to buy (eventually) PS4. It could come in handy with doing freelance work (which I did for a few years back in Michigan), but I am not planning on expanding my freelance work. Hmmmm. I would rather take creative writing, but I wonder if PS would be more helpful in the job world. Matt votes for the former.

I still have my gym membership and have been going regularly. I am motivated by the changes I see in my body. I am hoping that by Christmas, I'll go home looking like a true Florida girl!

A Rosary making group is starting up at Church. Meetings start next Tuesday, so I am looking forward to that. I joined such a group during the summer of 2005 while I was home from college for the summer and I enjoyed it.

I'm still a part of the Law Partners, which doesn't meet regularly, but I went to Ladies' Night and the Mock Class.

Things I've Rejected:
I haven't gone to a meeting for the Naples Knitters yet. I just have a feeling that all the members will be too old and stodgy for me. Plus they met in a bookstore called "Books-A-Million" and I am VERY picky about my bookstores and don't like that store.

My church is looking for crafters for a craft bazaar next month. I haven't volunteered because I am trying to make some Christmas presents for family right now and don't have time for any extras. A girl can only spend so much time crocheting, you know what I mean?

They also need Religious Ed teachers. I've taught 4th grade before and they're looking for 3rd graders. I just don't feel prepared to handle the large class size that my church has, plus I want to get a little more established in the parish and start to meet some other people before I start trying to mold young minds.

Anyway, I'm still bored during the day, but it's nice getting out in the evenings.

09 October 2009

Mock Class

Torts class last night was great.

Yup, I'm talking about the Mock Class. My favorite subject + Matt's favorite prof, so it was bound to be a decent night. We talked about Garret v. Daily, which Matt had already told me about back when he first read it. I was amazed at how specific the language needs to be in law school, every word needs to be precise, exacting, perfect. What I found more interesting was how much more involved I am in Matt's law school experience than are most of the other wives. For example, I'd already heard about this case from Matt, the other girls I spoke with hadn't. They said they don't talk to their husbands very much about law school. I was amazed! I get a play-by-play of each class, I know what he does on lunch, what speakers he hears, when his clubs meet. I know when he'll be home, which classes he has on which days, what times they are. I can understand those women with children, how it would be difficult to be so involved, but several of the women I spoke with were newly weds. When Matt and I were newly wedded, we were practically joined at the hip! I suppose I got an inkling of how/why so many marriages end in divorce. Hello, girls, COMMUNICATION!

Anyway, back to law school. After class ended, the "parish priest" (one of them), gave a talk on "How to make a marriage thrive during law school." It irks him when people say, "we survived law school!" He started by saying that a marriage shouldn't just survive law school, it should thrive as a result of the struggles that the couple endures together. He also outlined a step-by-step approach:

1. Pray as a couple
2. Eat meals together
3. Take Sundays off
4. Include some romance; ie, have date nights, celebrate the holidays

He advised people not to "save up" their grievances, but to deal with issues and problems as they arise. He also supports the idea of not going to bed angry, of kissing goodnight, and of saying, "I love you."

After Fr. Orsi came a student panel of three married couples, a 2L, a 3L, and couple 5 years out of law school (alums). Of course the issue of balance between kids, money, and life while in school arose. Once again it was reiterated that government assistance is available, which is how several other couples we've met handle health care costs. In sum, they said that having kids is tough, life is expensive, but it's worth it and it makes the student more responsible and a harder worker in the process.

Matt and I resolved to pray harder about when we should have kids.

On a side note, when we were waiting for class to start, Matt chatted with Fr. Orsi and his prof a little bit, which made me excited: he is already networking, forming a relationship with these people outside of class time. Not only will this help him find a job after law school, but it'll help him do better while in school, since he'll feel comfortable seeking advice if he needs it.

07 October 2009

The First Late Night and the First Bday Challenge

It's only Wednesday and we've already had a challenging week! On Monday, we had our first late night. Our previous late-night record was only til around midnight or just before. Matt had tons of reading left, so we decided to "crank it out." I prepared Matt some popcorn and potato chips (necessary studying food), filled up his water bottled, and laid out his highlighters next to his book. We brushed our teeth and Matt sat down to study. I pre-made his lunch for the next morning, cleaned up the apartment, then sat down to read my own book (pleasure reading, of course) until he was finished. But Monday was different. On Tuesday (yesterday), his first writing assignment was due: a closed memo. He had finished it around 8pm and wanted me to look over it. Well, I found a few bigger problems (including a case he cited but never explained) and it required quite a bit more effort than the hoped 10pm bedtime would allow. He was already at the page limit before explaining the missing case, which led to more necessary revision. Not to mention that legal writing is VERY different than the traditional 5-paragraph-essay style, which meant progress was slower and needed more editing. I gave up around 11pm and went to bed, Matt said he was close to complete. He ended up hitting the sack after 2am, at which point, he said, he couldn't process any more. We woke up early: 6am and he did some more revising. We were tired, but he submitted it on time: 15 minutes before the deadline. Phew!

The obsession with the memo meant that he had little time to devote to reading for his classes. Tuesday would have made a great catch-up day, right? Unfortunately not. Yesterday was my birthday (23rd!), our second as a married couple and our first in law school. Matt's birthday was easy as it fell on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. We were able to take tons of time off to have fun. But yesterday was a little different. Not only were we tired, but Matt left for school early (to finish the memo), and had to stay late. Plus I had my for-fun class in the early evening. We finally got to celebrate around 6:30 with dinner, then back to the apartment where he still had to wrap my gifts. After I opened them, it was back to the books. Needless to say, he hadn't even finished the reading for one class, let alone three.

My poor husband won't even have time this week to catch up! Thursday night from 6:30-8:30, we're going to a mock class hosted by the Law Partners at the school. The evening includes, of course, a mock class for the spouses, talks by one of the school's priest, the dean's presentation, then some hors d'oeuvres. The weekend? No! On Saturday we were planning on celebrating my bday, since Tuesday was so limited, although I think we are going to have to trim down Saturday and give Matt some more study time. Oy! This week is posing a lot of challenges. I really encouraged Matt to work hard last weekend, but he was too easily distracted by the Internet, primarily ESPN.com.

This weekend will be difficult. I am not sure exactly how he is going to cope. Too much work, too little time.

My game plan is to give him plenty of peace and quiet, encourage him to get back to work when I see him surfing the web, and keep an eye on his study schedule so that I can prod him to stay on track. We'll see.

05 October 2009

Money

Hmmm...Well, while I know that I don't have a large readership and that this blog is mostly a way for me to communicate my thoughts, even if only to the future me, but I do want to be honest to the ideal reader I imagine in my head: a young wife about to embark on the hell that is law school. My biggest fear was and is the money issue. So, presumably that is my ideal audience is struggling with these fears as well. I want to address the issue and my approach to it as honestly as possible without revealing too much personal information, which would violate my sense of boundaries and cause me to delete this whole blog (long story).

The Theory
This is the principal I try to think by:
When it comes to the grand scheme of money, we have a plan sketched. We know how much money we spend per year, how much we need to be bringing in, what we need in a six-month emergency fund. We have a minimalistic and generous budget (the generous, for example, has an entertainment section for movies and dinner, a larger food budget for steaks and desserts). And we are aware that the future is never secured. By knowing what you need, you know for what to strive.

In regard to the small details, the short-term, of money, we have a budget etched, we know exactly how much we can spend on groceries, clothes, etc, to stretch the little money we do have. By knowing what you have and what you need, you'll never be surprised by a lack of funds.

The best plan, in my opinion, is to keep yourself rich by keeping your wants few. That is the best way to keep money in your pocked (and a clutter-free house!).


Our History:
I was blessed enough to have parents who were able to pay for my undergraduate degree and I was responsible enough with a credit card to come into this marriage with no debt. I also had no problem spending money and buying myself nice things and therefore entered the relationship with naught but a couple thousand to my name.

My husband had some undergrad debt, but it was paid down a fair bit and was a little over $10,000 by the first day of class (when they went back into deferment). He was also miserly enough to have secured a decent savings, especially for such a young man.

We have a few investments (a couple thousand in gold and silver, depending on the market), a few hundred in stocks (which has since grown), some bonds, some foreign currency.


Our Money Situation
Because of Matt's generous scholarship (free tuition), we have a huge weight taken off our shoulders. We still applied for loans to cover books and the cost of living. This is our only source of income. Thanks to our budget, we can make the two semester loan checks last all twelve months. Life will be scarce and that does not include health insurance (we're working on getting some, but it's not here yet), trips back home, or Christmas presents, for which we'll depend on our savings. If I never get a job, we will live loan check to loan check with a small, dwindling net below us. We'd end law school broke, but not homeless or starving.
Thankfully, we have a few other sources of money. Long story short, Matt's parents have family money set aside for the kids that they are passing down now. That money will take a while to get here, but when it does, we'll have a nice, medium-to-large sized net below our loan check trapeze wire.
We also have the option to take loans out from the bank and/or government and smaller loans from our parents, should we come about a hard situation.

A Job
A modest job, one that offers $8-$12 an hour, will offset the amount of loans we need to take, which will put us in a prettier financial position come graduation, some debt, but some savings. A nice job, $35,000+/year, would remove our need to take any loans and allow to us pay down the loans we have taken and Matt's old school debt. See the advantages of having a job? We'd end law school nearly debt free and have a respectable savings.

Tangles
The twists in our delicate web arrive in the form of a baby. If we do have a baby and I'm haven't been working, that nice net disappears just as quickly as it arrived. Expensive health care (being pregnant is a pre-existing condition, didn't you know?), not to mention all the toys, diapers, blankets, clothes, etc, that come along with a baby. If we have a baby and I'm working, we'll be faced with different challenges. We both don't want our kids raised in day care, so I won't work full-time. But if I cut back to part-time, we'd still need a babysitter and we don't have any family down here to help. And enter stage-left day care costs. Plus, I am still leaving the baby in the hands of strangers for 20 hours a week. If I completely quit, depending on our savings, we might have whittled our medium net down to a small one.

I feel like I should draw a diagram flow chart, just to help myself understand all of this.

Well, I don't have a handle on it, I can't draw this post to a fancy conclusion with a bit of advice at the end. I can simply pause here and say, so that's where I'm at. Strings, tangles, webs, and all. I'll let you know where I shake out and what I hit on the way down.

Thanks for reading.

03 October 2009

Revisiting "Old" Fears

A while back, I posted about my fears with the impending law school. And while we are only just beginning them, I thought I'd revisit the issue to see how the fears have changed now that we've actually started school. The italics are from the previous post, the normal sentences are my current takes.

My husband will meet some intelligent, sexy female law student and like her more than me
I'm am still worried about this, but I have not found any evidence to support me.

I am too selfish and will demand too much of his time; he will fail school as a result
Actually this hasn't happened yet. I do demand too much of his time in short spurts. I'll just blurt things out, or ask questions without realizing that he is in the middle of reading something. I'm working on it though.

I won’t get a job and we’ll have no money
Um, yeah, I think my loyal readers all know how true this one is.

Being a bit of a academe myself, I will be too jealous of all the graduate-level students around me
I am struggling with this so badly right now. Especially because I have nothing to do in my life and I was accepted into an MLIS program that offers 100% of it's classes online. I figure once I get a job it'll lighten up.

So, those are all the fears I listed. I think I have a new one to add, after my whopping one month and four days worth of experience: That Matt won't get good enough grades to be in the top of his class and therefore get the internships he wants. It's not his fault, you wouldn't believe the amount of homework he gets. That is, unless you're a law school wife too : )

Now that I've revisited them, I feel like I need to go somewhere with them in order to bring this post to a conclusion. But I think the key is simply understanding what they are and whether or not they're rational. One usually can't do much to stop fears, it's simply a matter of reacting sensibly to situations instead of on the basis of the fears. Since I am able to point directly to my fears, I am not at as much of a risk of falling to them.

01 October 2009

Growing Pains

As law school continues, my husband brings home more and more stories. Class, classmates, laws, new views, opinions, thoughts, experiences. When he first gets home, he's usually excited to share them with me, and I sit patiently, listening to his day, class-by-class. I'll listen intently until he brings up a name I don't recognize or a case I don't remember. Wait, I think, is that the guy who sits behind you? Or the one with three kids? Was that case the one from Property about trespassing? Or was from Torts, with the lady with the odd injury? I feel bad that I don't remember, maybe I'm a bad wife, I wasn't paying close enough attention before. Eventually I'll get so lost in the story that I have to ask him to back up and clarify a few details. Oh, that's right, he'll say, I never told you about that case. At the end of the night, after he's told me all about his day and we're crawling into bed, suddenly he remembers this one other thing his prof said and he tells me about it. It's all these moments that make me want to run screaming back to Michigan.

No one else can understand what Matt is going through besides his classmates. As close as we are and as much as I know about his life, I am still not sitting in class with him. I don't understand the flaws of his professors and I don't understand the jokes that follow them. He will always have something in common with his colleagues that he won't have with me, no matter how close my attention is to his stories. When we talk to family and friends, he will bring up stories and cases that I have heard of, that I don't know. And that scares me. As I mentioned before, I am worried that he is going to find some sexy, smart law school girl with whom he connects on that level and he'll prefer her over me.

I need to be more confident in our relationship and I need to be a less-jealous person. Maybe this is one application of the blog post my law school guardian (see the end of the previous link) made in my life of me needing to become a more virtuous wife.

29 September 2009

I Love Torts

My favorite class is Torts. That is, when Matt scoffs and says, "listen to this," I find that Tort cases are always the most interesting. I've also taken to calling people torts, as an insult. They are too, liabilities to my tax dollars, common sense, understanding of what makes a sane, intelligent human.

28 September 2009

Chore Rebellion

Matt's homework rebellion makes me think about my own lifestyle changes, and I've realized that I have chore rebellion. I've always done most the chores, but usually Matt could pitch-in, cleaning the litter pans if I didn't feel good, doing the dishes if I got sick of it, helping fold the laundry. He also had his own chores: doing the finances and taking out the trash mostly. But now, I do it all.

I am tired of doing the dishes every day, only to have a new stack waiting for me that evening. I am tired of doing the finances. I hate math and I'm bad with numbers and it takes me hours several days a month. I hate being the one to stress about money. But mostly, I hate the monotony of doing the same thing every day. Some days I flat out refuse to do the dishes, but then they pile up and by the next morning, I can't stand the mess anymore and end up cleaning the entire apartment, if only to get rid of the feeling of dirt.

But c'est la vie, this is just part of life: overcoming the monotony. This is the memory I tap into for inspiration:
I used to wear a lot of black, especially in high school. But as I moved into college and who I was started changing and growing, I got sick of the gothic nature of all black, but I didn't have the money to up and buy a whole new wardrobe. So whenever I would buy clothes, I'd just choose other colors. A brown or blue sweater instead of black, a green or white tank top. At first, having one shirt with color seemed pathetic. 6 days a week, I still wore black. But slowly, surely, I'd have 2, then 3 outfits with color. It took months, but one afternoon, I showed up at my then-boyfriend's house wearing stylishly-cut blue jeans, a pink tank top and a brown long sleeved shirt. That afternoon it dawned on me: my months-long project was finally complete! I started all-black and I ended in my vision! It's the same thing with working out: you can only lose 1 inch at a time, but in 3 months, that'll be a whooping 5 inches. Changing, overcoming the monotony, is a hurry up and wait kinda game. You have to keep working and keep waiting. But when you do, you'll be or do, whoever or whatever you wanted.

27 September 2009

Homework Rebellion

We're experiencing our first weekend of homework rebellion. My husband is full up to his ears in both homework and a desire to relax. We're both feeling it actually, the old days, when we had weekends off and we watched movies, played games, ate junk food and relaxed. We watched Netflix, old episodes of The Office. We didn't just lay around, we went for bike rides, several a week and usually a long stretch during the weekend at a state park. We went for walks in the nearby parks. It was a lot of fun and we really enjoyed our free time. But after a month of working hard, we've slid into a weekend of hardly working. A few hours Friday night, a few hours Saturday afternoon has been all the time my hubby has spent on homework. So here we are, Sunday afternoon and he isn't ready for tomorrow.

It isn't about focus or dedication or laziness. This is an issue with adjusting. It has commonalities with a new year's resolution. Resolutions are easy at first, those with any discipline can stick it out for the first month, but after the initial excitement wears off, after the motivation begins to wane, that's when the going gets tough. But unlike losing weight or cleaning the house, Matt can't just give up. He needs to continue to plug away, reaching deeper and trying harder to do the work. They say the first few months of law school are so difficult because learning law is like learning a different language. I think it is also caused, especially for someone whose been out of school for a few months, by a serious change in lifestyle habits.

So that's where we are now; a hatred of homework, a desire to come home and unwind, versus a syllabus of never-ending reading.

At times like this, I wish I could do the reading for him. As if it were a chore, dishes don't care who does them, so long as they get done. But even if I can do his torts reading, I can't answer the questions for him in tort class.

23 September 2009

A famine in the Job Hunt

My only solace is that no one is getting a job. I've only talked to one person whose found a job so far. Not even the local grocery store is hiring. I overheard the cashier tell another customer to try again in late October/early November, maybe there would be something then.

Oh well, who needs money, right? Not us!

On the weather front, it's amazing how nice 80* feels when one is used to the mid-90s. When we first moved here, 87* with 95% humidity is with what we'd wake up. But this morning, I enjoyed my walk home from the gym thanks to the "cool" temps and gentle breeze. The humidity didn't make me want to choke either. Yesterday I wore jeans and drank hot chocolate just to spite Florida. The first day of fall warrants these behaviors, no matter what the temperature.

19 September 2009

A day in the life of a Law Schol Wife

6:15am-wake up, make the bed, make Matt's lunch, pack his backpack(1)
7:15am-stretch while he eats breakfast
8:00am-gym time!(2)
9:30am-get home, stretch and make a protein shake(3)
10:15am-shower
11:15am-clean the apartment, do chores
12:00pm-lunch break
12:30pm-special project-job hunt, grocery shop, do the finances, depends on the day
2:40pm-Matt gets home, listen about his day
3:15pm-Matt does homework, I finish the afternoon project or read or something
5:00pm-make dinner
5:45pm-eat dinner, talk about Matt's homework or interesting we were thinking about
6:45pm-read, craft, watch episodes of Lost(4)
10:00pm-Matt finishes homework, get ready for bed
10:30pm-lay in bed, listening to Matt sleep until I finally fall myself

Well, that's my life right now, as boring as it seems. Now does it make sense why I spend all day thinking about babies and MLIS-es?



(1) I like packing his backpack, not only does it save time because I do it while he is in the shower, but then I know what classes he has, what books he's on, etc. It makes me feel more connected.

(2) I look forward to this time a, because I want a better body; and b, because it makes me feel productive--I'm tired, I've gotten off my butt and done something! I'm not at the gym right now because my legs are too sore from yesterday. As soon as I post this, I'm planning on doing a few ab moves from a past Women's Health magazine.

(3) Protein shakes are not for muscles, they are because I have a particular conditions that improves when I have a lot of protein.

(4) I'm currently addicted, I don't know what I'm going to do when I'm all caught up on past seasons. I guess just read and craft in silence.

18 September 2009

Ladies Night, PS

PS. Tons of women at the party joked about starting their own business instead of finding a job. As a psych minor, I find this very intriguing.

Plus it helps that I've had urges to start my own business here since we've moved.

Ladies Night

Last night was Ladies Night hosted by the Law Partners group. Law Partners is designed for the spouses of students. There is something about law school that not even family understands, so this group is supposed to help us bond over our common circumstances. It was nice to get out, chat with people, talk about what makes Florida different, why Naples is good or bad. Thankfully no one wanted to discuss their baby's feeding schedule, as is common in girl parties, but there certainly was the element of an ignorance surrounding all current events, which I find is common in women of conservative religious circles. I didn't meet any best friends, but I did click with a few different women. The biggest thing I found was that everyone was job hunting. A few women with kids were happy to stay home, but those who were still pregnant, only had one, or had no kids at all, were looking for jobs. Most of the people I talked to mentioned nannying, working at day cares, or being a secretary. As I have my Bachelors from a Big Ten university, I am not interested in any of those positions, but these people still pose distinct threats should Matt and I feel desperate enough for me to find a job answering phones, but largely, because they are also tapping Ave Maria as a major job source, as am I.

In Michigan, education vs. experience was a very big debate. I heard in three different interviews for serious positions that I was candidate number 2, and that they had chose to go with experience over my education and enthusiasm. So frustrating! I haven't heard that in Florida yet, but that's mostly because I haven't had an interview. I went to a job fair, which was a bust, but that's hardly an interview.

I did apply at a temp agency, but haven't gotten anything yet. The temp agency could be perfect should Matt need to travel during his summers. We'll see.

14 September 2009

Waging War

If I have to scrub this apartment every single day, I will find no more bugs. Today it was ants, swarming the cat food, crawling all over the bowls.

cockroach
ants
gecko
more ants

They lied when they said they spray for bugs once a week.

Then again, they lied about a lot of things.

12 September 2009

Subconscious

When I was out driving today, I felt the smallest twinge that maybe, just maybe, part of me is beginning to feel that Naples is home. I saw a freeway sign "I-75 South - Miami." It wasn't foreign.

11 September 2009

Boredom

We're ending the third week of law school and you're probably wondering how life is treating us. Well, hmmm.

I am so bored it's insane. There are so few jobs down here. People say that Michigan is worse than Florida, but I can tell you that Naples is worse than Ann Arbor. Understandable; big city v small city. Every morning I go to the gym, do some chores around the house, job hunt. Then it's lunchtime and only 3 hours till Matt gets home. I read a lot, surf the net (so far, I've gotten "addicted" to 2 new shows and caught up on all the missed seasons of The Office), do lots of crochet and needlepoint. But the boredom doesn't end when Matt gets home. We talk when he first gets home, then he goes and reads. We eat dinner together, but then it's back to the books till bedtime. I'll interrupt him occasionally to tell him something interesting I learned, or he'll tell me about a case he's reading. Then we go to bed, wake up and do it all over again. Weekends are the worst. It's all reading all day. Sunday nights we sometimes go to the beach, but we've only had two weekends so far, so we don't have a schedule. We sit in almost complete silence, Matt occasionally sighing and turning a page. Aside from the gym, I'm also taking a class through the local adult ed program; exploring my hobbies.

I'm no stranger to lonely silence, I fill it with thought, but lately I can only think of two things: babies and MLIS. I'm not pregnant or anything, but I feel like I should be. I feel like we're missing something. All of the other new families we know have kids, everyone in our circles, I feel so far behind. It's the next step, and I am so eager to take it. I want a little baby who knows my smell, my sound, prefers it above others. I want to watch my husband cuddling with a baby, laughing and smiling at all the cute things the baby does. I am weary of picking out clothes and toys for other people's babies. I even picked out the cutest bedding.

The other thing I think a lot about is having a Masters Degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS). I sorely regret not getting it directly after I got my Bachelors. This past summer, I applied and got into Wayne State's program, which offers a 100% online option and online students pay the resident tuition. Sounds perfect, right? So why am I not there....*sigh*...it's a long story.

Not to mentioned that my ocd goes crazy with an extreme of any emotion, including boredom. Um yeah, the apartment is spotless.

So, in sum, Law School Wife 3-week check in: depressed, bored, and ocd-ed.

26 August 2009

Grocery Shopping

So, everything is more expensive down here, right? Well, I'm not one to pay a lot for groceries; why pay so much for something that you won't even remember by the next day? Is it safe to eat? Is it cheap? I'll take it! I'll upgrade for furniture, I'll upgrade for electronics, but I am not upgrading for food. I'm confident in my ability to make it taste yummy. Anyway, so in the three weeks I've been down here, I scouted out other options aside from the well-visited Publix (think of it like an expensive Kroger). I found: Bravo, SweetBay, WinnDixie, and SuperTarget. Not to mention the basics that CVS and Walgreens carry. I felt like a bad-ass sitting at our large, L-shaped desk, fliers spread everywhere, coupons in neat little piles. I whittled the sales down to three stores: SuperTarget, Bravo's, and Publix (for those necessities I can't get anywhere else). I wobbled in each store, bright and early (still store from the gym), stacked up on sales, handed the cashier my coupons and reusable Meijer bags and left happy. Overall I spent $160 on food and household items (shampoo, toothpaste, etc), which is EXCELLENT considering how many basics I had to re-buy since moving that don't normally appear on a grocery list (salt, for example). I saved around $60 in sales and coupons.
Naples is so small that it isn't really a long drive from store to store. I did spend 4 hours shopping, but that was mostly due to my lack of familiarity with stores and my extra-slow walking speed.

Another interesting thing I noticed on my way around town: my Spanish is coming back in leaps and bounds. I spend 2 years studying Spanish in college. I took enough credits to minor in it. By the time I finished, I understood and read almost fluently, and I could speak very well, carry on a decent conversation (I never did learn to write it very well). I was told my accent was amazing and I even started talking to myself in Spanish! The Spanish program at MSU is TERRIBLE, so I spent many, many hours drilling the language into my head, trying desperately to get good grades. I took my last Spanish class in the Spring of 2006. But following that class, I slowly began to forget Spanish. Well, Spanish is (obviously) very common down here, with so much of the population being from Cuba and Mexico. I noticed my Spanish coming back as I stood in check-out lines, heard radio advertisements and saw commercials in Spanish. I took a quick online quiz and found that I understood most of what I read. But when I stood in line today at Bravo's (which is an international market), my cashier asked her bagger a few questions about the price of tomatoes and how to ring them up--and I understood a good amount of what she said! I missed a lot of verbs (my vocab ain't so hot), but I picked up on the conjugations and got most of the nouns. Yay! I am going to spend some time going over my old college Spanish texts--being bilingual is a requirement for so many jobs down here.

But you should have seen me carry three loads of groceries up the 15 steep stairs leading to my front door on my stiff, sore legs.

25 August 2009

Adjusting

Adjusting--well, it's only been two days, but we've already started. In many ways I think the first few days weeks will be the worst, because we are trying to understand and cope with a very new world. Matt is trying to reacquaint himself to the world of class, carrying a heavy backpack, finding a seat on the first day of class (don't even get me started on that topic). He gets home around 3:00 now, instead of 6:00. It's nice to have him home earlier, but now I'm ready for dinner at 3pm! He's not used to jumping straight into homework once he gets home. We don't linger for an hour after dinner, just talking. He doesn't read the Wall Street Journal first thing anymore. The Netflix just sits on the coffee table. One day I'll give in and just watch it by myself and mail it back. It's depressing. It's only day two and he's already behind in the reading. (Each class gives him minimum 30 pages per day). He feels depressed that he's already "slacking," when the truth is, everyone is.

I'm trying to get used to the silence that fills the house every night. I'm also trying to get used to doing all the chores by myself. It's sad, but I know it'll get easier once we are a little more accustomed.

Job hunting is going very poorly. Naples isn't hiring. I have sent in about a half dozen applications, but haven't heard a word yet, not even a rejection. I haven't gone really "hard core" job hunting yet, that will come once I've finished some of the remaining house-settling chores. In the meantime, I joined a knitting group and signed up for a community education class. They both start next week. The class is geared toward teaching people how to use their digital cameras. Kinda lame, I know, but I feel bad that I have such a nice camera and don't really know how to use it. Plus, maybe it'll teach me a few photography tricks so that my pictures won't be so lame (which is why I have posted so few on my online social networking platform of choice). This week I also got a gym membership. Our apartment complex doesn't have one, but there is a cheap community fitness center across the street. On a side note, I got two free sessions with a personal trainer with my membership. I used one on Monday. My butt (what she worked the hardest) was so sore this morning that I could barely sit. I went back to the gym on Tuesday to do a little cardio. I heard that it'll loosen up the muscles so they won't hurt as bad. NOT! I am even more stiff and sore now that I was before the cardio! And I'm no newbie to the gym--I've been working out regularly since last summer! I always thought it'd be awesome having a personal trainer, but now I realize that they give NO MERCY! Although, if I were to keep up the routine after the soreness wears off, I bet I would end up with a killer backside...

The only other being needing adjusting besides the hubby and I are the kitties and they are refusing. I don't know what it is about Naples that bores them, but they are no longer interested in playing by themselves and insist on following me around like lost children. The poor things.

The weather takes a lot of adjusting as well. We have officially been in Naples for three weeks and one day and it has rained every single day except one. Rain down here is a big production, lots of thunder, lots of lightening, and it only lasts for 30-60 minutes. 90 minutes is a LONG rain storm down here. The rain is exceptionally scattered. It can be raining at the grocery store, but is dry at the apartment. It very commonly rains on only one half of the apartment, car, street, etc. I've out run storms on the road, only to get caught again at stop lights. I take both my sunglasses and my umbrella everywhere.

I hate am adjusting to Naples. Slowly, very slowly.

On the positive side of things, we went out on a final date Sunday night and saw a *great* movie: The Time Traveler's Wife. Not only is Rachel McAdams completely adorable, and Eric Bana's brown eyes meltworthy, but the script is WONDERFULLY done! How many times can you say you saw/read something about time travel and didn't remember any scientific holes in the plot as a reality? Um, never!

The other positive, is that being married to a law school student gives one a lot of crazy stories. Remember the "crazy laws" email that went around years ago? Well, I could tell you stories that would make tying an alligator to a fire hydrant look sane! How about the aunt who sued her five year old nephew for pulling a chair out from underneath her? (That case is from the '50s!) Or maybe the one about the lady suing the produce boy because she had a heart attack after he told her she smelled bad?

Anyway, now I'm done typing and I have to get up. Standing is a bit difficult right now, as I mentioned earlier. Is there anyway I can procrastinate online a little longer?

ehh....

23 August 2009

Orientation

Well, we made it through week 1: orientation. I'm pretty sure the point of orientation is to do a little weeding out as well. Let me just state for the record that we are here because we are called to be here. So no matter how much I complain, we're not moving. Capisce?

Anyway, I feel like we're at a brand-spanking new law school. Which we aren't. The Dean himself said that the ABA allowed Ave to keep it's accreditation after it moved, meaning that it was the same law school in Ann Arbor that is in Naples. New professors, new administration, however, make me feel like this school has never before taught a class. Matt said the orientation process felt stretched out into a week long affair when it could have been just a few days. The sessions also covered information that was given in the law school visit, the new campus open house, online, and in brochures and pamphlets. He said it was geared toward someone who didn't know very much about the school. Who moves to the swamp to go to a school they know nothing about? See what I mean? Anyway, he redundancy of it all is making Matt feel like he already knows everything about law school. He's aware of his artificial inflated head though, and prepared for its deflation.

The homework has already started. There was the six book long summer reading list that I already mentioned, then he got some orientation reading for group discussions and mock-classes, now he's doing the reading assignments for Monday and Tuesday. Tonight, the night before classes start, we are going on a final date night.

For next time: Adjusting.

15 August 2009

Meltdowns, Apartments, and Post Offices--life after week 1

After moving 1300 miles with 384 cubic feet of stuff, a girl is entitled to an emotional breakdown. I knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when.

When I look at the details, this has been an incredibly stressful move. The day before we were supposed to take all of our belongings to the semi truck, we changed our minds about how we wanted it shipped and hired a new company to come a week later. A few days later I ended up in Urgent Care with a medical issue, then two days later I spent 9 hours in the ER. Then moving day arrives, the semi shows up without calling (he called my husband who wasn't home at the time), tells me he can't fit in the parking lot. Finally he fits, then we load up the truck, 4 hours, by ourselves, two flights of stairs. 3 days in the car, two cats meowing in the back seat, crappy hotel rooms. We arrive, it's 100 degrees, 99% humidity, the semi can't fit into the parking lot of our new apartment complex, so we rent a uhaul-style truck, load the semi onto the truck right there on the side of the road, drive the truck to the apartment, unload the truck in the heat and humidity, by ourselves, up 15 steep steps. The days following involve lots of running around, 15-stop errand-lists, exorbitant prices, no mail for 2.5 weeks, no secure Internet for 2 weeks, leading to overdue bills and overcharged credit cards. Finally it all culminated yesterday when we registered as Florida citizens. We were switching the car so that it was registered in Florida. They were major pain-in-the-you-know-wheres. For reasons I don't understand, if my car has been in my possession less than 6 months, I would have to re-pay 6% sales tax on the car to Florida simply for changing the state it's registered in. Well, I've owned the car for 1.5 years, but since we recently added my husband to the car, the title shows that I've only had it for two months. We were scrounging around in our wallets looking for an old proof of registration with a date older than 2009 on it. Matt finally found one and while our clerk (who'd already felt relaxed enough to casually swear three times during our visit) checked with her supervisor to see if it would work. While she was gone, my depression from switching my licence from Mi to Fl melted into full-out anger and I began boiling over. I was ranging, while she was gone I was naming all the things I was going to say to her supervisor once she got back. I was absolutely positive that I was not going to pay sales tax on my dented, scratched 2000 Ford Contour that I'd been driving since 04 and had officially been mine since early 08. It was a good day to mess with me, as I felt I had nothing to lose. The old registration was accepted and we went outside into the pouring, storming rain to go home. Once we arrived, I went straight to my kitchen sink to see if it was fixed. Nope--still leaking. The day before I had called the clubhouse to report my leaky sink. They were 10 minutes away from closing and told me they'd send someone out the next day. (Since when is a leaky sink not a maintenance emergency?!) I was livid. I sat down and wrote a list of all the things I hated about this apartment. So, flash forward to rainy yesterday when we got home from the car registration and my leaky sink still wasn't fixed. I felt all my old anger fiercely returning. I grabbed my cell phone and started furiously searching for the number to the club house. My husband, not realizing how angry I was, cut in and told me not to bother, we'd just call tomorrow when they were open. After all, we have a two compartment sink and only one side was leaking. I sat down and right then and there started crying. My poor husband, he was like, "if it means that much to you, you can call now." But it was a crescendo of everything, all the past stresses, all the future stresses, the differences, the changes, the finality of switching residency from the romanticized past to the unknown future.

Like I said, I knew it was coming, I'm an emotional person and as much as I hate it, there's no getting around it. Even though it's been stressful, so many things have gone right, have shown us that this is truly God's will. I'm not ungrateful. As God knows a woman's heart better than she knows it herself, and it's emotional, and sometimes a good cry is in order.

Anyway, away from the mushy memoirs and onto the advice.

Apartments
Like I said, don't sign anything without having seen it. A smart thing to do. You don't want to end up just anywhere because the picture looked nice or so-and-so said they liked it. Step #2: insist on seeing the unit you'll be actually living in before you sign the paperwork. Our agent steered us away from that direction. We saw a model and she said she didn't have any actual units available for show. But when we showed up to sign the paperwork the unit was ready, as evidenced by the fact that we were handed the keys. So very many things are wrong with this place. I am planning to go down to the office to have a chat with the lady about them all today.
So, the bottom line is this: make sure you like the very apartment unit you'll call home before you sign any dotted lines.

Post Offices
So, what I've leared from this expereince: no one in all of america ever moves without knowning their exact address before they move. This is a breakdown of what we did (because, if you'll remember, we didn't know where we'd be living).

1. Call 1-800-Ask-USPS to discover that I can book a PO BOX at a Florida Post Office online from Michigan. I can forward my mail to Fl and pick up the key to the box when I arrive.

2. I go to my local Post Office to prove my identity (they need to fax the Fl PO with our proof) and they say that can't do that. We call the Fl PO to find out that they will willingly accept our proof from the Mi PO. Mi PO still says no.

3. We are advised to send everything General Delivery to the Fl PO. We do. In the meantime, we as our post master to hold the mail and send it down once the GD takes effect.

4. We arrive, get our key, no mail. We re-forward the mail from GD to the PO Box. Note, the post office where we get our GD is where the PO Box is located. They can't put the GD in the PO Box because "that's how the system works."

5. After checking the apt mail box, the PO Box and the GD for a week and still getting no mail, we realize that we have an overdue bill. We also ran over the limit on our credit card. Fun stuff.

6. I call 1-800-Ask-USPS to find out where our mail is. Of course, the guy on the phone doesn't know. He says he'll put out an alert to the post offices to let them know my mail is over-delayed.

7. I slam the phone down in anger and start making a list of everyone who needs to be contacted ASAP to find out if they can re-send our mail to a different address.

Well, I hope that everyone can benefit from this learning experience, because I would hate for anyone to have to go through this crap too. If I could re-do the past, I would have arranged it for us to be the law school visit long enough to also do a few apartment visits. I would have sent everything going GD a week earlier. I would switch over from GD to the new apartment two weeks after I was recieving mail via GD.
I highly recommended taking another visit to the law school location after it has been finalized, if at all possible. We couldn't afford it. It's manageable this way, but not much fun.

10 August 2009

One week to go.

Okay, so we are finally moved in, unpacked, cleaned, organized, ready to go. Mostly. Moving in was unexpectedly difficult, we had some issues, we had to buy most of our furniture, which we thought would be easy and then became hard, we had to buy groceries, which cost 33-50% more than back home. Oy. Even things that should be cheaper, like FLORIDA oranges, are more expensive than back home. There is no rule plan for setting up life in a new home, city, state. Take one day at a time, make lots of lists, believe in God, pray lots. Those are my four rules. Some guidelines include checking out Craigslist, your local Salvation Army, and various garage sales to piece back together your life. Note that sometimes random places like CVS and Walgreens carry odd groceries, like cereal, which go on sale and can be cheaper than your local grocer. (For anyone whose coming to Ave for school, Publix is the grocery store down here, and they take pleasure in scanty sales and raping innocent civilians with astronomical prices).

The most difficult part of moving in was hauling furniture in the heat and humidity. Over 100 degrees with the heat index, humidity almost always 90-100%. It has rained every single day that we've been down here. It always rains for just a few hours, and always in a big production with thunder and lightening. Thunder before the storm, lightening during and after. The storms are very small and very isolated. Sometimes the storms are so selective they'll miss one or two blocks and rain on the rest.

Naples is set up very much like a coastal town: long and narrow. From the bordering road to the gulf it's only 8 miles or so. But Naples extends twice that or more from north to south. Traffic is relatively light (no snow birds yet) and it takes about 20 minutes to get only 5 miles west. Lots of lights and what not.

So anyway, now on to law school stuff. Orientation starts one week from today and classes two weeks out. We are spending this week (our last free week) doing enjoyable things, like checking out the area, visiting local attractions. I must confess that I am very hesitant to do all these fun things without any stream of income. We have savings, we have loans, but it seems foolish not to save that money. Oy; at least we'll keep spending to minimum: no souvenirs and packing lunch instead of buying. Anyway, Matt is enjoying himself, reading for pleasure, watching movies, things we hear won't occur again for a while. We bought a big L-shaped desk for him to use to do school work. Lots of workspace so he can open all his books at once. There is also a hutch on one side of the L for putting law school books away within easy reach. We also got a comfy desk chair, for many hours of sitting. We still need another bookshelf, but that's easy enough to buy. We arranged the apartment so that the dinning room is mostly a study. This will give Matt his own space to concentrate (he's easily distracted), but he will still be able to come home, instead of living at the library. We'll see in a few weeks how well this system works out.

I must admit, I am afraid of this next step. So far, law school has involved both of us, hunting, visiting, etc. Now is the part where he goes off to hang with others, those who are going through it with him and can understand law school in a way I can't. I hope he doesn't forget me!

03 August 2009

Arrival in the Chosen City

So, no one in the entire county ever moves to a place without an address or a job. Ever. No relocation without a job, no move without a location. The difficulties are endless. When I tell moving companies, post offices, possible apartment locations, they all look at me like I'm crazy. Okay, maybe spending a week (!) in a hotel without a house and sending all of your possessions to a storage unit is crazy, but it's less crazy than promising to spend a year in an apartment you've never seen before. Anyway...

Naples is SOOOOO different than Michigan. Every road gets 3 lanes of traffic for each direction. There is very little differentiation between major intersections and minor. Major intersections get 2-3 left turn lanes and 2 right turn lanes. Minor only get 1-2 left turns and 1 right turns. All these turn lanes are in addition to the 3 lanes going straight. The road gets so wide at intersections! The dashed white lines on the road become solid about 100 feet from an intersection. In Michigan, that only happens for "only" lanes, but in Naples, all lanes always get it. Lights at intersections doin't hang vertically, but horizontally. The poles holding the lights are as thick as tree trunks! Signs and buildings are very short. I imagine that it's all part of the hurricane-proof nature of Naples.

The city is set up very oddly. There are turns in Florida known as Florida Lefts. A Florida Left is when you make a u-turn at an intersection. The reason they are so popular because everything except for the tiniest of suburb streets are divided by a median. Wow is it annoying! So many shopping complexes look like fancy, expensive apartment complexes. Very ornate and hard to read as one drives by.

Oh, also the most difficult part are the drivers! The district we are in is much lower class than the ritzy district. Far more minorities, fewer Bentleys, BMWs, and Porches, anyway, they drive like idoits! We drove all the way through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. The nicest drivers were in KY and TN and the worst (by far) in Florida. They don't let you over a lane, they cut you off, it is terrible.

There are lots of little gecko-y lizard type dudes (very cute!). They sit along the sidewalks under bush overhangs. They are very skittish and like to hop.

Um, what else? Oh, the hotel pool is bath-water warm and salty! So weird. It's been thundering and lightening and threatening rain all evening, so we didn't go to the Gulf. Well, I think that's all I can crank out tonight. More tomorrow.

28 July 2009

PS--Goodbye Parties

PS. With how many people want one last evening with us to say goodbye, I feel like I shouldn't have bothered with a going away party. Hardly anyone showed up, then those who did still want a second day. Oy. The schedule is packed out to the max.

Last Minute Emergencies

Oy. So, without going into too much detail, I spent the weekend in and out of the urgent care unit and nine hours last night in the ER (that makes it sound worse than it was--five of those hours were in the waiting room). I'm fine, or, I'll be fine, eventually. But I lost so very many days calling, arranging, and planning. I only got a few hours sleep last night and I'm super out of it and still feeling weak. I am so not in the mood to continue planning, but so I must.

I still have unclaimed furniture that I don't know what to do with. Most of my odds and ends are gone. The semi is lined up for Friday afternoon.

The biggest problem is how little time we'll have left before we leave to pack and whatnot. Matt's last day is tomorrow, that evening we're hanging with a bunch of friends. Then Thursday, we have Mass in the morning (we didn't go over the weekend obviously, and we want to say goodbye to our parish priest), a meeting in the afternoon, dinner in the evening with friends. The semi will arrive on Friday afternoon. So little time to pack. What is left is almost entirely things we need, so we can't pack early.

We're testing out the cat tranquilzers tonight. They're not working yet.

Oy, I am not one of those people who "takes life as it comes," I worry and plan too much. I am barely holding it together. Praying every day for strength, wisdom, and calmness.

PS. We're definitely getting some kind of gap insurance until I get a job after a weekened like ours.

23 July 2009

Cutting it Close

Wow how life can change. I'm still reeling. Oy. So, a last minute change of plans: no pallets, no uhaul, no caravan of cars staggered a week apart. We hired a moving company. We load, they drive. Easy in that everything goes together, stays together, arrives together. Pheww. Oy.

Since the semi will show up the day before we leave and arrive a day or so after, we won't need two weeks worth of living in the car. We'll pack as if we're going away for a few days; there will be tons of room for the cats and computers. The apartment is still packed up though, no dishes, no toaster. We'll live out the next 8 days like this. Or maybe more, maybe less, more on that tomorrow.

I have been praying exceptionally hard over this decision, but I never heard God telling me one way or another. Matt feels at peace with this decision though. Maybe God only told Matt? Maybe only Matt was listening? Oy.

My how simple my life just became.

Note to self: Hire a moving company next time.

The Meltdown

Maybe it was stacking the third box full of bathroom stuff. Maybe it was simultaneously packing the 9th, 10th, and 11th boxes of kitchen stuff. Maybe it was the realization that it was probably going to take three pallets on the semi, two runs with the trailer, that everything wasn't going to fit in the Uhaul, or that all this mental and physical stress was only saving us, at most, $500. Maybe it was even that Frank McCourt died. I don't know, but last night, something happened, and I completely cracked. I lost it. I succumbed to the tears, the stress, the pressure, the realization of all the work the next two weeks holds. My dissolve lead me to re-request moving quotes from companies, and research the companies from whom I already had quotes.

The idea of a big truck showing up at our doorstep and taking everything down in one easy trip makes me swoon.

So why not go ahead and hire them? Well, we already dumped most of our furniture, so we'll have to pay $900 plus buy new furniture. Oy.

I have a bad feeling about doing this the semi+uhaul+two cars route. I have a feeling that it is going to cost us more in the end. I really want to hire Atlas and I don't even know how much they cost (still waiting to hear back from last night's midnight estimate request).

Oy. So little time left. 8 days.

21 July 2009

Packing Update

10 days to go. I am still packing. Everything that we don't need in the next week or so, except the kitchen, is packed and ready to go. The kitchen comes tomorrow. I still have a non-packing to-do list a mile long. 3 days until the semi arrives.

20 July 2009

Boxes

There is a lot more to the boxes that liter my apartment than just knowing their contents. Each box has a label on it that tells me in words what is inside. Each also has a colored sticker on it that tells me which room it will go to in the new place. Some boxes have a special sticker denoting if the contents are fragile. There are multiple locations for each box to be deployed: semi, uhaul, Contour, my parents for Michigan, my parents for Florida. Each box also has it's own departure and arrival time scheduled. Many boxes share such information, but not all. I try to keep boxes in particular piles, but sometimes piles move, get rearranged, are diminished by a pending deployment schedule. I feel like Grand Central Station, the shipping and receiving manager. Skills include a wicked memory, unrivaled work ethic, and serious organizational abilities Can this go on my resume?

19 July 2009

Two weeks to go stressers

Now that we are beneath the two week mark (12 days to go), I am pretty well invested in the world of packing/moving. There are stacks of boxes where the furniture used to be. The stuff on the semi goes out in five days. The kitchen, aside from the decorations on the walls, have yet to be touched. Although, other than that, everything else is mostly done. I have a few things left I'll pack the day before, but everything else is set.

Last night I had a big meltdown. I was realizing how little time was left compared to how much I had to do. There is so much more to moving than packing. Change of address forms, insurance, vet visits, furniture selling, salvation army drop offs, electric shut-offs. I finally made a big, long to-do list last night to try and get all the thoughts out of my head. Most of them have to be taken care of during 9-5 business hours, since I have lots of calls to make, but some of them I can do on nights and weekends.

My other big stresser is my husband. He has a ton of stuff he has to do before moving, tons of reading to do (law school sent him a summer reading list), plus the stuff he wants to do to enjoy his summer. I feel bad asking him for help with the packing, but sometimes I need his help! He has stuff I don't know what to do with! Keep, sell, toss? I can't make those decisions for all his stuff. Plus, this is our moving schedule, so we need to talk about dates and times for pick ups and drop offs. He has been in usch a bad mood lately that I hate asking for anything. Oy. I am not dealing with that stress very well.

It is amazing how many people want to hang out with us during our last few weeks. I just want to say, "Um, hello, that's why we had a goodbye party." But so many people are asking for a night to get together before we leave. Oy. We're doing what we can with those whose schedules fit ours, but it doens't look good for everyone.

Sometimes I feel like I have no time left whatsoever. I think to myself, "In less than two weeks, everything will need to be out of the apartment, on some other vehicle, with a scheduled arrival and departure time. There is no way I can finish!" Other times I think that I do have time if I just prioritize well. I can pack an entire apartment in a week, so in two weeks, I should be able to find some time to visit with family and friends.

My number one piece of advice to anyone ever, but especially someone planning a major life change, is to pray. "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Luke 12:25. This verse is so true and I have been thinking of it for about two weeks now during my morning prayer time. I am a big worrier and a big stresser. Obviously it is unhealthy physically, but it also prevents me from trusting in God and listening to His will. It is eerie how different I am during days that I pray for calmness from days that I don't. If it weren't for prayer, I wouldn't be making it through this move.

16 July 2009

Countdowns

I'm a big countdown person. In high school I had a count down till summer started, till prom, till graduation, whatever exciting event was coming. Once I got a cell phone with a countdown program, I was stoked. I counted down till vacations, till I got married, etc. I've been married for 446 days : )

Going Away Party: 2 days
Our party is at a nearby park with tons of courts, fields, picnic tables, and bathrooms. It is bring-your-own-food picnic style. We don't have enough money to buy everyone's food, and since some people are morally opposed to RSVPing and I'm too busy to call them all, I wouldn't even know where to being estimating. So we are providing charcoal, paperware, beverages, condiments, and cake. This way friends can bring their flavor-of-the-month, swing by for any length of time, etc, and it doesn't matter. The party (from shelter rental to cake) will only cost us $165. It's frustrating how many people won't be able to make it. I hope more people can come than I know about. People are far more likely to send an email saying they're busy rather than that they can make it. So my impression is that no one is coming. To add some fun to the mix, two days ago the forecast for Saturday was 78 degrees and sunny. Today, they are predicting 69 degrees with a 30% chance of rain. I hope people still come out. There is a picnic shelter to hid under. Oy. On the fun yet shallow side, I bought a cute new shirt online and I hope it arrives in time.

Stuff to the Semi: 8 days
In a little over a week, we are going to have to deliver our goods to the semi that will drive them to Florida. This is the final breakdown of how the goods are going (almost set in stone):
-500lbs of boxes in a semi to arrive at a location tbd on a day of our choosing (the first week we arrive). This will carry most of our belongings.
-our car, a Ford Contour, possibly with a rented car top carrier, to arrive on a day of our choosing ; ) This will carry only what we need during our last week in Mi and our first week in Fl.
-a Uhaul trailer to be towed by the mother-in-law to arrive on a day of our choosing (the day before the semi). This will carry what little furniture we're keeping and a few random things we don't want in a semi.
-a Mercury Mariner driven by my parents to arrive sometime after we do (they are shooting for 2nd week after we arrive). This will carry things we want in Fl, but don't need right away, like my china.

Plus this way, all the parents will get to see where we are living, which both sets have been bugging me to do. My goal is to have everyone gone and everything set up and ready to go by August 24th, which is when classes start. We don't want anyone coming to visit during the first semester of classes, which is the hardest semester of school we've heard.

Anyway, I'm packing now. I'll kick it into high gear on Monday, which is the last week before the semi.

Fleeing the State: 15 days
I'm trying not to plan this yet, not until the semi is taken care of. That way I'll be able to see what kinds of things we're dealing with. Too much junk piled around right now to tell.



09 July 2009

Family and Friends

(This is something I wrote back in April when there were 112 days to go. I never published it, but after rereading through things, I think I'm going to go ahead and post it, since it's such a big topic).

So I will do what I can to be honest without offending any family or friends who happen to be reading along as well. This is a really huge topic that you'll encounter as the wife, and it needs to be dealt with honestly.

The "him" vs "you [two]" Qs/comments.
These are the worst. Almost every married couple says, "we" about law school. "We're still applying," "We just heard back," "We finally chose a school." It is completely normal. Law school is a huge, very life-changing event and you need to be fully in it together. I researched and read prospectuses with my husband. I went to the campus visits with him. I didn't force him to let me go, in fact, just the opposite: I questioned him to death about whether I should or was allowed to go. Later I found out how ridiculous I was being. Almost everyone else brought someone: spouse, mom, dad, sister, friend. One school even had a special "Law Student Spouse/Family" panel while the students were in the mock class! Anyway, where I'm going with this is that everyone in law-school-world expects it to be a family decision. So when I get together with some friends and they asked me "did he pick a school?" I try hard not to respond with, "did 'we', you mean?"

I appreciate the closer friends asking, "Is he nervous about law school?" or "How do you feel about the move?" Questions like that show me that even though they've never been through this, they clearly understand the balance between his, mine, and ours. It doesn't take a law school alum to understand the balance in a marriage. The frustrating questions occur mainly among our single friends and family, or those with weak marriages. I just try to respond with a gentle correction:
"Did he choose a school?"
"Yes, we chose Ave Maria in Naples."

How selfish people are.
When my husband called his friends to tell them about our decision, every single friend except one turned the conversation around to themselves. My end went something like this:
Hubby: "So we picked a law school: we're going to Ave Maria."
Pause.
"Yup, in Florida."
Pause.
"We're going to move at the end of July."
They start saying something about what they did last weekend.
"Oh yeah, how did that go?"

What?! We called you to tell you we're moving to Florida for three years and you want to talk about your fun weekend party?! Only the one friend who didn't turn the conversation around bothered to ask my husband what kind of law he wanted to study. No one else asked. Only a few asked how long we'd be down there or wanted to know what tipped the scales in Ave's favor. It was really heartbreaking. I am thankful my husband didn't seem to mind. I think it is my people-watching psychology-minor brain recording these behaviors.

Repetition
For me personally, the most frustrating thing about law school is having to repeat everything to everyone. I'm not a big talker, I'm not big into parties or being the center of attention. I don't tell good stores, or jokes, or anything of the sort. My sense of humor is very sarcastic and very dry.

So when Aunt so-and-so, the tenth person of the day, wants to know about the location or my job prospects, I get annoyed having to repeat myself. I want to just write a paper, a book, "Everything We Know About Law School So Far." I'll just hand it to them and walk away.

Of course my annoyance is unreasonable, which is why I swallow it, smile, and tell them what I know. Whenever we do family functions, I wake up and tell myself, "you will repeat yourself a hundred times today." It works to alleviate the frustration. Sorta like when you tell someone, "this is going to make you angry," they aren't as mad.

And at the end of the day, I'd be depressed if no one cared enough to ask. Their questions are their way of showing their love. I need to learn to appreciate that.


The fact that it's Florida
Of the four family and friends issues, this one is currently the easiest to deal with. When you say "Florida," people instantly remember their last vacation to the state: warm, sunny, beaches, Disney World, fun. But Naples, where the median age is 65, isn't Orlando, it isn't Tourist Town.

For starters, you can't get much further south than Naples and still be in America. The area East and West of Naples is cell-phone dead zones, and it's located in the Great Cypress Swamp, which is in the Everglades. The only reason Naples exists is because enough people had enough money to build in a swamp. Whereas in Michigan, highway shoulders and medians have flowers, Naples has swamp. Every grassy area in the circle made by freeway on and off ramps has a swampy retention pond. Behind apartment complexes, strip malls, everywhere, there is a swampy pond where they clearly drain the water from the land around the building. There are no banks and few ditches; the land is completely flat. The air smells like mud. All this isn't bad, it's just different, it's not Disney World, it's Swampy.

Disney World is actually 4 hours away. We will probably not visit very often.

90+ degrees for half the year will get very old very fast. Plus I've never been tan in my life.

This is not a vacation. Matt will be in school. A type of school known for being hard. He will have very little free time. With any luck, I will be working. I'm not going to the beach every day after work alone.

Dealing
I deal with all the issues by playing along.

"So Matt chose Florida, huh?"
"Yup, we chose Ave Maria."
"Oh, Florida, that will be nice! Lucky!"
"Yeah, no more snow!"
Normally at this point I would change the conversation, but for the sake of my demonstration...
"Are you going to work in Florida?"
"Hopefully, the economy isn't very good in Florida either, but I'm going some job hunting."
"Wow, we'll definitely have to come visit you, especially at Christmas!"
"Yeah, that's what everyone is saying!"

The truth is, I love snow, I hate heat and humidity, and there ain't no way in hell I'm hosting Christmas in a one bedroom apartment. But no one else needs to know that.

PS, my computer thinks "ain't" ain't a word.

08 July 2009

Driving for 1300 miles

As Matt tells it, in his family, road trips take one day. Be it a 4 hour excursion up north, 12 hour trip to MN, or a 20 hour haul to Fl, there is no stopping except for gas. They pack meals in lunch boxes and go to the bathroom at the gas station while dad pumps gas. The kids all bring stacks of books in the car and everyone over 16 takes turns driving.

In my family, road trips required much more. If you had to go to the bathroom, you just let the driver know, and s/he stopped at the next rest stop. Pit stops were good excuses to stop by vending machines. Gas fill-ups were a great time to get a candy bar and bottle of pop, and if you'd been well behaved in the car, mom and dad would put it on their credit card with the gas. If trips ran through meal times, a restaurant was called for and only the parents drove.

As a married couple, our road trip styles have merged together to form one beautiful machine. My mini-bladder requires a stop every 2-3 hours, but Matt uses that time to stretch his legs. When we stop to get gas, about half the time, we get a candy bar or a beverage, sometimes we just get one and share. If the trip is particularly special (like our honeymoon), we'll stop to eat along the way, otherwise we pack. We both like road trips, so our style emerged effortlessly.
Our only flaw?
The driver. Matt is a driving machine who can go for 8 hours without stopping, be it rain, sun, day, night and I'm great at navigating the map. What is wrong with this? Well, I have motion sickness so bad I can't even swing on a swing set. I have to either sleep or look out the window, or else. This means I usually drive, which I can only do on non-rainy days without getting too tired, and Matt can't find I-75 on a map (okay, slight exaggeration on both counts).

Next issue: the cats. Emma doesn't mind car rides, but she does get bored quickly. She's a kitten with too much energy to be cooped up in a cage all day. Then there's Belle. Belle acts like 10 minutes in a car is a terrifying torture straight from the fiery pits of hell to make her life pure misery and she cries bloody murder the entire time. Needless to say, I don't want them both in the same cage, because Emma doesn't need to learn Belle's method of car travel. Both are fine when allowed to roam the car freely, but I'm opposed to that method, explainable by another long story I won't go into right now.

Next issue: space. We'll need a suitcase with 2-2.5 weeks worth of clothing, the bathroom stuff, some food, pots and pans (for the time when everything is on the semi), the valuables (they don't go on semis), the cats, stuff to do while on the road and waiting for the semi, other miscellaneous things I can't think of right now.

Driving Options:
-20 hours straight through, arrive Sunday morning.
-11 hours on Saturday, stop for the night in Atlanta, do 9 hours Sunday.
-8 hours on Saturday, 8 hours on Sunday, and 4 hours on Monday.

So, with all of our issues, we knew #1 was out. We liked #2, but knew that we still needed to go to Mass on Sunday, and that it was going to be a late night both nights without counting stops, traffic jams, etc. We opted for #3, as it allows for life's lemons, lets us get a few extra hours of sleep, and only gets us there 1/2 a day later.

The solution to the driving dilemmas:
#1: Motion sickness medicine. I haven't found one I like the sound of yet, as many of the medicine side effects are the same as the symptoms of motion sickness. But maybe I'll actually be able to read in the car again!

#2: Large, separate cardboard boxes for the cats, big enough to fit a small litter pan, a little food and water, a few air holes, and lots of kitty tranquilizers.

#3: Each cat box goes on one side of the backseat, to-do items/cds in the middle, road-trip food on one side of the floor, maps, etc, on the other side. Suit cases, valuables, food, pots and pans, etc in the trunk. And, we bring only necessities.

Our route:
Saturday morning, we'll live Ypsilanti at 9am, we'll spend 10 hours on the road (counting stops), arrive in Knoxville, TN at 7pm.
Sunday morning, go to 7am Mass, leave TN at 9am, spend 10.5 hours on the road, arrive in Gainesville, Fl at 7:30pm
Monday morning, leave Gainesville at 9am, spend 5/5 hours on the road, arrive in Naples at 2:30pm.


I am remembering, however, that the best laid plans of mice and men have often gone awry, and planning to expect my plans to be altered.



PS
Just in case you're wondering about my state abbreviations, I use two caps for non sequitur letters (ex:
Tennessee is TN, Connecticut would be CT) and one cap for sequitur letters (ex: Florida is Fl, as though it were going to be Flor. Michigan would be Mi).

07 July 2009

Side-note

I've moved a lot in my life. 12 times so far; I only don't remember three of those. Florida is lucky number 13. In my experience, there is a time when I felt like I didn't belong anywhere, I had no home. When I would get off work from a long day, and returned back to where I currently lived, it felt weird, different, odd, like I wasn't really comfortable. But when I went back to my old home to visit, things weren't right either. Everyone had moved on with their lives. My friends and family had changed, their habits, their friends, their likes and dislikes. I wasn't home there either. I feel like a gypsy, wandering, no place feels like home.

The other time I had no identity was when I got married, and I changed my last name. I had spent 21 years as "Jacqueline J----" so really, I was "Jacqueline J----." But my name officially was "Jacqueline K------." But that didn't sound right, I didn't recognize it as my name. I felt more like a little kid writing down her first name with the last name of her crush in her notebook. But for the past year or so, no one had called me "Jacqueline J----," so I stopped recognizing that as my name too. I felt like I had no last name. Like I was Cher or Madonna, or something. "Hi, my name is Jacqueline. Yup, just Jacqueline." I'm getting more used to "Jacqueline K------" now that I've been it for 15 months and I'm "Mrs. K------" to my kids at church. But it's still a little weird and I still respond when they say "J----, party of two" at restaurants.

The funny thing is that I'm addicted to my dis-attachment from a sense of home. I feel like having roots makes one inflexible, it's a disadvantage. I really like living in my apartment complex now, but I still feel like I want to move.

06 July 2009

My ever changing life

I realized that my blog is entitled "Journeys of a Law School Wife" and that to some extent, if I ever make a book, I want it to be a mixture of memoir and advice/how to. So it is okay for me to make some posts journal-style. I have been too worried about it becoming an autobiography, but it is important to talk about how I feel and how the stress of law school relates to our marriage, the rest of my life, etc. I think this will enable me to post more. I will have more to talk about, and to talk through.
A memoir is a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.