Saturday, February 27, 2010

And More Job Nonsense

The purchase, if it happens, will not be final now until April or May. The buyer has to be publicly announced and then the board must deliberate on it for 45 days, according to law. So we know for sure Dan has a job at least until then. OK, I can be calm about that. Knowing who the buyer is might illuminate whether Dan will be kept or not. If Dan does end up getting laid off, May would be ideal.

Dan's lunch with "Rob" went well. Basically, Rob would love to have him back, and Dan would love to be back. The problems are: the GM may still say no (he intensely disliked Dan 2.5 years ago), it will almost certainly involve a pay cut (the benefits are much better at Dan's current job, so even if they match his salary we will still lose money), and Dan may have to be patient before he can transition into the exact work he wants to be doing.

So we're still going to look at the major fixer today. I don't care if we sleep in the garage all summer long, provided it will work for us.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kickin' Tires

We're going to go look at the water-damaged house tomorrow, just to see if it's remotely suitable for us after repairs. It's going to be a money pit, but we're considering making an offer for not much more than land value *IF* the house layout is semi-acceptable. I don't mind the idea of stripping a house down to the studs and re-doing it. I already know I can live in conditions most people would find deplorable. I can do demolition. I can nail up new siding, I can cut and install styrofoam insulation, I can work around having no kitchen cabinets for quite a while (I just need a stove and a sink to wash the dishes in). I can learn how to lay tile. I can spray boric acid to repel termites. I can't necessarily fix the decks, I can't install drywall or mud it, I can't fix any framing/support problems. I can't re-wire. We would have to get a construction/purchase loan. It's all just smoke for now, anyway.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Interesting Development

Dan went to lunch with two former co-workers today, we'll call them "the guys." They both still work for the company Dan was with prior to his current job. We'll call it "O'Neal."

Dan was very happy the first few years he worked for O'Neal. He had an awesome boss, "Rob," who took good care of him - it was a mutual appreciation society. But alas, the company was sold and the new overlords insisted on implementing the protocols they were using at another company they owned, mucking it up for everybody, and then Dan clashed with the college-professor-full-of-theories GM the new overlords installed (which is bizarre, because Dan is such a laid-back, likable guy). Finally Dan had enough and left. Rob stayed and suffered, but we were both so fond of him that we've stayed in touch somewhat these past three years - Dan's had lunch with him periodically and they occasionally talk or email. The last company gossip was that the overlords were planning on moving the software/programming department to Florida.

Fast forward to today, lunchtime. Dan's talking with the guys about a backpacking trip, and the conversation eventually swings to work. Dan asks "So is it still looking like you're going to Florida?" The guys give each other a speculative look, then tell Dan that the overlords have finally realized that they were giving O'Neal short shrift, that O'Neal had been better before they mucked with it, and basically that almost everything had changed. Three times, they urged Dan to contact his old boss - Dan had actually been trying to set up a lunch date with him this week anyway. They seemed to imply Dan could be hired back easily. Dan said, "But the GM hates me." The guys just shrugged and said "He's really come around."

Dan's going to try to get Rob out to lunch on Friday or over to dinner on Thursday night. Nothing may come of it, but something might. It wouldn't get me out of Orange County, but I've come to peace with the thought that I might be stuck here forever.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Garage Sold

Garage Sale Wave I is finished. I was absurdly pleased that a really nice couple bought my Kafka anthology. I made $122, and didn't even sell half of what I put out. I'm debating just packing it all off to Goodwill or saving it for Garage Sale Wave II.

Wow, am I tired. This was a rough week. My car was in the shop, Dan got really sick and missed two days of work, I knocked myself out getting stuff sorted, dusted and priced for the sale, and I pitched in and helped with some last-minute costume stuff for Road Show. I took a break this afternoon to sit in the hot tub and I actually fell asleep in it.

I got 88% on the algebra exam - lots of stupid mistakes. I think that might be the worst I've done on an exam since I went back to college. I really love getting A's, but right now I may have to settle for B's.

Did you know I am a reluctant enjoyer of Twilight? It's my secret shame. I dragged my friend Connie to see New Moon at the dollar theatre, and we had a great time. It's so so so cornball and teenage. We sat in front of two young men with Down Syndrome who provided loud running commentary throughout the whole movie and they were AWESOME. I always, always want to see movies with them now. I tell you all this because I liked the New Moon soundtrack enough to actually order the songbook so I could learn some of the songs on guitar. I've been practicing and practicing, like a woman on fire, and although my pinky is still MADDENINGLY clumsy I've actually improved a lot. I won't be playing at church anytime soon, but I'm not embarrassed to play in front of friends now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just Can't Get Enough

I must be a masochist. The latest canyon cabin of interest was, according to my realtor, "A great little house until we got 13 inches of rain, the deck drains clogged and the downstairs flooded."

Sigh x 1000.

Weighting My Decisions

We're going to look at another house up in the canyons. The price point is attractive; so attractive that we could pay it off in less than 15 years if we so chose. Dan could take a pay cut in exchange for more time off work, which would mean more family vacations.

It's 1,140 square feet, 200 smaller than what we have here, but in all honesty we aren't using all the square footage here, unless you count piling furniture and lesser-used items along one end of the great room. It has a 2-car garage and possibly some driveway as well (it's hard to tell from the pictures).

But the lot is small - 4000 square feet - and sloped, although the pictures show that somebody has already terraced it. It's on the south side, which means it's shadier, although that depends on the slope behind it too. The south side also occasionally has a rock break loose and roll down, although again that depends on the slope - this one might be safer, but I'm going by memory when I say that. It's not on the main road, which means it will be pretty quiet and I can feel reasonably safe letting the boys out to play. We would also be walking distance from our two friends in the canyon, who have kids very close to ours in age.

We would have to homeschool or drive the boys down the hill to school, 16 miles one way. Silverado Elementary was closed due to budget cuts, and I'm not putting my boys on the bus to Orange - AN HOUR AWAY BY SCHOOL BUS! So that would raise our gas costs and our pollution output. But I really like the immersion program and don't want to pull the boys out of it. We could probably still have the chickens, but I might have to find another place to grow my veggies - strike a deal with somebody to share the bounty if I can grow on their land.

Your thoughts? I'm always open to advice.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surprise Middle

Today was shaping up to be a pity party birthday. It's still not all I wanted it to be, but I'll survive.

But today brought a lovely surprise - the chickens have not laid since last month's huge storm system, but today I found three eggs in the coop and three more hidden behind the prehistorically huge Bird of Paradise plant in the side yard. We're back in business and I can delay chopping off their heads!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leap O' Faith

We're signing Paul up for an eight-week after school chess class. In eight weeks we could still be here with Dan in the same job (with a new employer), still here with Dan in a new job, be packing up to relocate for a job, or preparing to go live in a trailer on my Aunt & Uncle's ranch. And I need to be ready for any and all of those scenarios. While still living a normal day-to-day life. Eek.

This is a 4-day weekend for the school district and I'm tempted to take the boys on a camping trip, but I should probably just keep clearing out unnecessary stuff and have my garage sale this Saturday (if it doesn't RAIN AGAIN). I hate shunting fun.

Saturday, February 06, 2010



He damaged his old phone and that's why he couldn't return my messages - his new cheapie phone didn't show my number. Now I am happy again.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I'm not procrastinating, I just don't want to do it.

Stephen says I'm always answering "Busy" when he asks how I am. And it's true. I am! But busy is not why I have not yet written any more of dad's "eulogy." I am hyper-emotional right now and I just can't put myself through writing more about Dad for now.

I am probably going to have a hysterectomy this year. I know I have said my uterus was closed for business anyway, but in the back of my brain I knew I could change my mind - even though I knew that would be a very bad idea. But now that option has pretty much been taken away - there will not be one last sweet babe. It's OK, EVERYTHING in the universe has been telling me for a while that there will be no more sweet babes. I thought I was cool with it. But there's been quite a rash of people having babies all around me, and all of a sudden I got baby fever. But my fibroid is basically the size of a newborn baby's head - it's much larger than my uterus. It could cause placental implantation problems, and of course placental abruption is what almost killed me and Paul. I could have the fibroid removed and just know that a c-section would be the only option, which isn't anything awful, but then we come back to the point that I am already functioning on the edge of my capacity and really, honestly should not have another child because I can barely keep the two I have safe, clean, dressed and fed, and with minimal emotional damage inflicted. I feel like I've come out of the fog in the last two years and I don't want to go back in there.

I wish I was different. I wish I wasn't plagued with whatever mental affliction it is that I have. I wish I wasn't so insular and stubborn and had given in years ago and gone on prozac like so many people I know. But that's the past and dwelling on it is pointless. My life is awesome, I'm healthy, I have a wonderful partner, my kids are healthy and smart and sweet (even Eli has his moments of delightfulness!), I have a roof over my head and I never, ever worry about where our next meal will come from. I keep growing and progressing as a person. Really, my life is SWEEEET.

What's also playing into this anguish is that 5+ months of job insecurity is really fraying my nerves. I just saw a 3/1 house for rent up in Trabuco Canyon on an acre with a barn, for only $100 more a month than what we're paying here. But Dan will not even consider it because of his job situation. Some friends of ours are moving and the rent on their house is cheaper than we're paying here, and it's right across the street from the school, but we can't consider it because of the job situation.

I will honestly be OK no matter what. I just want to KNOW. Dan promised that he would start sending out resumes this month, but he wants to gamble that he'll get the stock that will vest fully on the date of the sale - but we don't know when that will be. I keep telling him he has a better chance at getting another job while he still has a job, but still he's resisting. He told me this morning that he'll start next week. I think I'll nag him to start this weekend - after all, nobody will be in the offices until Monday.

I'm trying to be ready for the worst - "Expect the best, be prepared for the worst," right? I have piles and piles of stuff in the garage for a yard sale. I've been putting up craigslist ads right and left. I want stuff gone NOW. I'm saving the good stuff, just in case, but if the worst happens I'll have another sale. If Dan is laid off, I will tolerate one month of unemployment before I start preparing for us to go vagabond. I will not drain our savings to pay rent and utilities while Dan hunts for a job in a 20% unemployment market (remember, the official numbers are just the people on the unemployment rolls - the actual number is higher).

And Amos seems to have gone missing. I haven't heard from him in two weeks. He's not answering my messages. If I can't reach him soon, I'll track down his son in Mississippi. I'm hoping that Amos already went back and is just embarrassed that he didn't say goodbye or give me his things to sell like he said he would. I hope nothing bad happened.