Friday, August 30, 2013

Survived the first week

It’s been an exhausting, but productive first week of school.  I finally got some hired help for the past two days and my library almost looks like a library again.  On Monday I pulled textbooks and cleaned.  I continued this throughout the week.  Once I got some hired help and a lot of boxes, I started packing up discontinued textbooks.  My circulation desk area is now clean and clear.  I still have a few things to get done on Tuesday and should be able to open the library by Wednesday.  This will be the earliest that I’ve been able to open the library.  It makes a difference having some hired help.  Matt also came to school today because he got the day off.  He had some “use it or lose it” vacation time that he needed to take. 

Josh started grad school this week and he discovered that Houston traffic is horrible.  One day he made it to class barely in time.  He discovered that he needed to leave by 6:45 a.m. to get to campus in time for his 8:00 class where he is an assistant.  I think he’s enjoying it so far.  I’m glad he has a roommate.  He took Felix (the cat) with him and I’m actually missing the little shit.  He was a pain, but made me laugh.  Of course I miss Josh, but I’m just proud that he’s getting his master’s degree.

I’m competing in a Scrabble tournament this weekend.  There’s only six players in my division but I’m still not very confident.  There’s some good prize money attached, but we’ll see how it goes.  I haven’t studied since before nationals and I feel like I’ve lost everything that I thought I learned.  I’m going to cram a little tonight and hope for the best.  I’ll do ok if I draw well.  I played Matt at club last night and had a very good game.  I beat him about 445 to 415.  I had three bingos in that game alone. 

I got to shake hands with our superintendent of schools today.  He dropped in our campus for a surprise visit.  Luckily he didn’t stop in the library – I met him in the hall while I was monitoring between passing periods.  It’s kind of strange working in such a large district.  My last district only had one high school so the superintendent sort of knew who I was – especially when I started dating the business manager.  But here there are 10 high schools, 14 middle schools and a lot more elementary schools.  I still get frustrated with the way some things are run, but I like the fact that I kind of stand out because I’m good at what I do. 

Matt’s friend, Cesar, is staying here tonight.  He is a Scrabble player that is running our tournament for us.  They’re watching a college football game on tv.  Since that’s not my thing, I just brought my laptop upstairs to my bedroom.  I’m going to listen to music for a little while and study some cards.  Then I’ll read a little Harry Potter and call it a night.  Luckily I don’t have to get up quite as earlier as I have to for school. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013


I got an email last week that stated that I was going to be recognized at Friday’s convocation as a district “champion” and would have special seating at the event.  At first I thought it was just because I had received the foundation grant and that they would be recognizing all those people.  When I got there on Friday though, it was just about 20 people that were being recognized and none of them seem to have been grant winners.  So I had no idea why I was being recognized.  It was kind of awkward sitting there since I didn’t know anyone else around me.  When they finally announced the “champions” it seemed they were announcing people that were nominated or won some district awards during the year.  I thought that it might have been a mistake – maybe they emailed me by accident.  Finally at the end of the teachers they announced my name and mentioned that I had started an innovative Scrabble program and competed at the Scrabble nationals.  I didn’t think that was quite noteworthy, but at least my school cheered loudly for me. 

Students come back Monday.  My library isn’t ready, but it will be closed the first week anyway.  Matt will come in to help on Monday and I may have some hired help as well.  It will be a busy week as always, but a good kind of busy. 

My air conditioner is finally fixed.  It went out again on Wednesday night.  I had someone come out on Thursday to look at it but the price they quoted was fairly expensive.  The air condenser motor was shot and needed to be replaced.  The company wanted $586 for that and tried to talk me into an “overhaul” for $1500.  I told the guy that I’d think about it but I’d have to get more estimates.  I called a friend from Scrabble club who owns rental houses and got the name of another guy to call.  He came out yesterday and said he could replace the motor for $325.  I thought that was a better deal though maybe still a little high.  But to get it fixed right then would be worth it.  He ended up having to put in some Freon which added to the cost, but at least it is up and running.  It was really hot in here night before last.  It was 89 degrees in the house and probably 10 degrees hotter upstairs since the heat rose. 

Well, Matt sent a letter to his mother asking her if she would be interested in us visiting during Thanksgiving.  He finally got her reply:

“I already have plans for Thanksgiving.  Don’t you think you’re about 25 years too late to be bringing someone home?  Can you really have a future with a divorced person?” 

Well, I guess that’s enough.  He won’t try any more and I won’t push him to do so.  I really couldn’t believe that she would be that judgmental about someone she had never met.  So I guess we’ll head to Albquerque for Thanksgiving instead.  At least we will be with family that loves and appreciates us. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Not as tired today

Of course I didn’t work quite as hard.  I got the equipment in all the classrooms by lunchtime today.  I spent my lunch working on my book order.  After lunch I pulled textbooks for teachers.  Tomorrow we have more inservice meetings.  At least it is with other librarians so it should be more relevant to me.  When it is with other teachers they often go over things that don’t apply to me like grade book information and such.  Friday is the convocation for the entire district.  I got an email today that I have special seating at the event.  I’m sure it is because of the grant I received.  The students return to school on Monday.  My library won’t be ready for another week, but hopefully I’ll get it done. 

Matt is working late again tonight.  I made some roast beef, pasta, and had some leftover salad for dinner.  It was pretty yummy.  I’m having some chocolate oreos for dessert.  Not sure what else I’m going to do tonight.  I “should” do some cleaning and/or laundry, but I think I’ll save that for the weekend. 

The temperatures are dropping – under 100 degrees for the first time.   Luckily the air conditioner still seems to be working so I’m hopeful that it was just a one time issue and that it needed to rest a bit.  It was working hard this year.  My bill last month was the highest it’s ever been.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Worked my Tail off Today

I came home thoroughly exhausted today.  It was a work day for me and that’s all I did.  I moved equipment back to classrooms, pulled textbooks, and made a start on my large book order.  I also lost my school ID badge in the process.  I was in so many places that I couldn’t really backtrack very well.  I sent out an email to the staff to see if landed in someone’s classroom, but haven’t heard from anyone yet.  Tomorrow I have to deliver the rest of the equipment and pull more textbooks.  Yeah, I’m still doing textbooks.  The librarians were told at the end of last school year that we wouldn’t have to do it again, but that didn’t happen.  They did tell us (on Friday no less) that we could hire subs to help us at the beginning and end of the school year.  Of course that was too late for me to get anyone in to work this week. 

We got Josh moved to Houston this weekend.  We loaded the truck on Friday after work and headed out around 7:30.  We got to his apartment by 10:30 and unloaded it.  Matt and I stayed with some of his friends that live there for the evening.  Even though I could have slept in, I was awake at 6:30 of course.  We went to breakfast with his friends and Josh then went to get the truck to return to the rental place.  When I got there, it showed that I drove 900 miles over the amount I was supposed to.  I told them that it was impossible as I drove straight from San Antonio to Houston.  Yeah, I’m going to go joy riding in a large gas guzzling rental truck.  Luckily the agent just gave me unlimited miles so I wouldn’t be charged. 

On Saturday evening we met some friends of mine from Amarillo that were in town and went to dinner.  We ate at a restaurant called the Iron Cactus.  Food and drinks were decent, but the service was slow.  I finally got to sleep in on Sunday.  Matt had to work since he took off on Saturday for moving Josh.  I didn’t do much of anything on Sunday.  I did some laundry and that’s it. 

So today was busy at work and I’m tired and sore.  I think I may go take a hot bath in a little bit.  I did have a bit of a scare last night.  When I got home from the store the air conditioner wasn’t working.  I troubleshot the issue and determined it wasn’t the blower or power to the outside unit.  I finally just turned it off and slept with fans in my room last night.  I turned it back on this morning and it seemed to work and was still working when I got home this evening.  I picked up dinner and now I’m contemplating going to bed extremely early tonight. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Comment Replies

It seems strange that I get a comment on a post I wrote in 2007 complaining about being poor. 

“37k, and you have a kid?!? Jesus christ 37k is almost poverty. Did you flunk school or something? I hope you can at least feed and clothe your kid properly!”

Of course this random person was not a regular reader and had no idea that I’ve lived off far less.  One year when I was on welfare receiving food stamps, I made less than $5000 a year.  My first teaching job I only earned $13000 a year.  Before I went back to teaching in 2006, I only made $26,000 a year.  At the time of this post in 2007, I was making 37K, but that was the most I had ever made in my life.  I had enough to pay the bills.  My house payment was only around 650 a month.  Before leaving Hereford, I was making around 42,000 a year.  When I moved to San Antonio, I got a raise of over $10,000.  Of course I also had to start paying back my student loans from school.  I don’t think that making 37k is really poverty.  I know poverty.  It may not have allowed me to do a lot of extra things, but the key is that I survived and pulled myself out the financial ruin brought from my divorce.  Rest assured, even in 2007, Josh was well fed and had plenty of clothes.  And no, I didn’t flunk school – I graduated with my bachelor’s degree with a 3.82 GPA in 1995.  I was making 37k in a professional job as a teacher. 

Now that Matt is going to move it, I’m going to have more financial freedom.  I hope I don’t go completely crazy.  We’ll have to watch ourselves when we go to home depot.  We talk about stuff we want to buy for the house whenever we go.  By moving in, he will save about $300 a month and I’ll gain about that much as well when he starts paying some of the house expenses.  That’s why I was able to go ahead and get a car for Josh.  I think we’ll do more traveling when we can on probably play in more Scrabble tournaments from time to time.  We are trying to plan a trip to St. Louis for Thanksgiving to visit his mom.  I don’t know if she will allow that or not.  He’s going to send her a not with his monthly obligation that he sends her.  If not, we’ll go to Albuquerque and see my aunt and uncle.  They’re buying a new house that I’d like to see. 

Today was exhausting.  I went to bed late and didn’t sleep well so I was tired this morning.  I’m definitely going to bed early tonight.  I need to get to school early to make sure everything is ready for our meeting in the library tomorrow.   

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to work

Today was the first day back to work for me.  I really tried to make the most of the weekend by being completely lazy.  I was able to sell Josh’s car on Friday to another deal for $150 more than what I was offered at Car Max.  I did that and then had them drop me off at the library downtown where Matt works so he could take me home.  I found a couple of books to read while there.  I’ve started reading Rick Riordan’s adult mystery novels that are set in San Antonio.  (He’s the author of the Percy Jackson series.) 

I intended for Saturday to be an all day pajama day, but I had to get out to deposit the check for the car.  I knew it would take a few days to post and thought it would be in my account by now.  I still goofed off most of the day, however.

Matt and I tried a new church on Sunday but I didn’t like it much.  It was supposed to be and English service which technically it was, but the choir sang all the mass parts in Spanish.  The priest was also hard to understand even though he was speaking English because he had a thick Spanish accent.  After church we took Felix to the vet to get fixed so that Josh can take him to Houston when he moves this weekend.  After that we headed to the store to get groceries since I was out of pet food and soap among other items.  The rest of the day was spent doing laundry. 

I took a sleeping pill last night to force myself to go to bed early.  I had been staying up past midnight.  It seemed to help.  I was able to get up before 7:00 this morning with no problem.  I even had to wait for the secretary to get there because I didn’t have any keys to get in the building. 

I was busy all day today.  I worked on getting equipment ready for teachers to check out.  I didn’t quite get finished, but I’m close.  I should have that done by mid-morning tomorrow.  Then I can work on cleaning and moving other equipment out as needed.  I also have to work on my Scrabble presentation that I’m doing for librarians on Friday.  I talked to the foundation that awarded me my Scrabble grant today and they really want to push Scrabble clubs so I’m going to really talk it up in my session. 

After work today, Matt and I went to eat at a burger place in town as a social gathering for librarians in our district.  It was nice to see them again.  Now I’m home and I’m exhausted.  It’s hard to work all day when you’ve been mostly lazy during the summer.  I need to do a little more laundry and them I’m going to call it an early night again.  I need to get back into normal sleep and wake times.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Josh has a new car

I think I made a good deal today.  After yesterday’s excursion, we decided to focus our search on an Altima.  We looked at the one I posted about yesterday this morning and it seemed to be in good condition.  Josh took it for a test drive.  The company wasn’t a big dealership – it was a smaller used car company.  There wasn’t any haggling with the “let me see what my manager says” crap that usually happens when buying a car.  I thought the price of the car was reasonable as it was.  It was about $1500 below the Kelly Blue Book value.  I got them down another $1000 just by pointing out that there was another car a year newer at that price available at another dealership.  I probably would have bought the car for just a few hundred less than their listed price, but was happy to have a lower monthly payment than I expected.  I’m going to have Josh take it to the Nissan dealership tomorrow and have them take a look at it since it is still under warranty.  So I feel better about him moving to Houston in two weeks with a reliable car. 

I couldn’t sell Josh’s old car to Car Max until his registration sticker came in the mail.  Luckily it came today so I’ll be able to go do that this week.  I’m going to use that money to pay off my credit card.  Matt and I have been talking about living together for a while now.  He is here most of the time and it seems pointless for him to spend rent on an apartment that he rarely uses.  When his lease came up in March he only renewed it for six months.  His original plan was to extend it for another 3 months after that and move in at the end of the year, but he’s going to go ahead and move here in September.  It seems more practical and it would be easier to save money that way.  That’s the reason why I went ahead and bought a car for Josh. 

My vacation is coming to a close too fast.  I went to the the local library today because I had some books due.  I found two more books to read.  Hopefully I can finish them before I go back to work.  Luckily I found out today that I don’t have to do one of the workshops that I was originally going to do.  I have to make some adjustments to my Scrabble workshop that I am doing, but fortunately most of it is already done. 

Food, Friends, Car Shopping

There’s nothing like having company come over that gets me to clean my house.  My friend Brent from Austin came over this weekend so we could go out to dinner.  He hadn’t seen my new place so I at least tidied up some before he came over.  We went to eat at La Gloria and had a great time.  He really enjoyed the food and the margaritas were nice and strong.  I’m so glad that I moved down south so that we can hang out.  Here’s a picture of us while waiting for a table:

lagloriagroup Can you believe that my hair is getting long again?  I think I’ve decided to grow it out, but you know me, I could change my mind at any time. 

So Josh and I went car shopping yesterday.  His car is falling apart – literally.  When he took us to the airport in July to go to nationals, his back window broke where it would not roll up.  So now it’s duct taped.  It would cost about $400 to fix, but there’s still a lot of other issues that need to be addressed and I don’t think it is worth it on a 14 year old car.  We took it to Car Max yesterday and they offered us $1200 for it.  I might get as much or more as a trade-in, but I think I’d rather just get the money from Car Max.  That way I can pay off my credit card and then hopefully I can afford a car payment.  I was pre-approved for a loan by my bank but I may use that information to negotiate a better interest rate with a dealer if I can.  The rate is actually pretty good – 2.44% for a used car at 60 or 72 months.  I’m trying to keep the payment down to about $200.  I’m going to pay for the car while Josh is in school, but he will take over payments when he gets his first job as a music professor. 

We looked at cars while at Car Max but I thought they were a bit overpriced.  We stopped at a Nissan dealership up the road, but nobody even came out to talk to us.  They didn’t have any prices listed on their used cars and we didn’t see anything that interested us so we left.  We went up to a Hyundai dealership next.  Josh test drove a Hyundai Accent which was ok, but it was very simple and again overpriced.  He then test drove an Altima which is what he ultimately wants and loved it.  We talked to the salesman about it and he couldn’t get the payments down to where I needed them so I told him we’d think about it.  At least I think that narrowed down the search to finding an Altima because that is what Josh really liked. 

So last night I searched for Altimas on  I think I’ve found one that is a good deal.  It’s $1000 less than the best price we got yesterday and it has lower mileage and is two years newer.  If they will work out a deal where I do not finance more than $15,000 with everything included (taxes, fees, etc) then we’ll seriously look at that car.  We have an appointment to see it around 11:00 this morning.  I have a list of other Altimas available in town as well as several others within a 200 mile radius. 

This is the car we are going to look at first today:


Friday, August 02, 2013


I went tubing for the first time yesterday.  What’s tubing, you ask?  Basically it’s floating in an inner tub down a river.  You can rent a tube at a local place and then you relax as you float down the river for a couple of hours.  I went with some friends to the Comal river in New Braunfels.  Though I put on lots of sunscreen, I did get burned on my arms in patchy spots yesterday.  I think I missed some spots when I reapplied lotion after our first go around and some of it rubbed off.  I stayed in the water for most of the second trip but my arms were exposed from holding on to the tube.  We were going to go out to eat after we got back, but I wasn’t feeling up to it.  I think the excessive heat caused me to get dehydrated and I just wanted to head home to shower and eat.  I sent Josh for food while I showered and put aloe vera on my arms.  I felt better after eating but it was too late for me to head to Scrabble practice so I just read my book instead.  I set a goal to read 50 books this year on GoodReads so I’m trying to catch up.  I’m about 7 books behind schedule at this point, but I still have plenty of books to read. 

I was planning on not doing much today, but I have to get dressed at some point and turn in some equipment at the school.  I guess since I have to get out, I’ll head to the library to return my books.  Just a little more than a week of summer left.  It’s going to go by way too fast.