I guess the calendar keeps turning over whether I make progress or not.
No, 2013 was OK. We’re still in this rental, which is hitting that point around 15 or 20 years when a house starts to fall apart but since the landlord doesn’t live here every day he doesn’t have to work around the absolute-opposite-of-low-E windows or the carpet pulling up in shreds when I try to vacuum it or the way the wall texture in the kitchen gets all full of water when it rains. To the dude’s credit, he has had estimators come out to look at the roof, but I told him this was happening in SEPTEMBER, during Monsoonami. At that time, he decided the worst of the weather was over and he’d wait until a less-busy time to maybe get a better rate, I guess. Since then, it’s snowed twice and frozen once, which is only making it worse, and — guess what? — the more they have to fix the more you have to pay. No, it’s not my responsibility at stake, and none of my belongings are being directly affected, but I guarantee the leaky roof is a sign of or a contributor to the draftiness factor in this kitchen.
But really we anticipated being in this house until late spring anyway, so it’s not like still living here is a failure on our part even though it sometimes feels like it. We are starting to look at houses to buy, but the market is pretty slow right now and some of the seller’s agents we’re encountering are rather slimy. I’m sure we’ll find something, but at the same time we don’t want to settle for “good enough to get out of this place.” We want what we keep calling “our forever home” — the place we’ll be comfortable living until we get too old to take care of it and it’s time to downsize. Because holy crap am I sick of moving. Counting this one upcoming, I will have moved, on average, once every 2.3 years since 2000. The last four of those included an entire HOUSE full of stuff. Considering I only moved twice BEFORE that (not counting dorms), and the first time I wasn’t two years old yet, it’s a legit problem. I want to be settled, but more important I want my family to be settled.
Anyway, I didn’t mean this to turn into a post about houses. I wanted to talk about progress, what last year did for me. And there’s been a decent bit. To risk sounding like one of those at-home parents who define themselves by their kids, Avery and Miles have grown leaps and bounds. Not just size — their social and mental progress is pretty astounding. Avery can write: where this time last year she was content to copy letters, now she’s keeping a diary and writing stories out of her brain. She doesn’t know how to spell everything yet, but that’ll come. And Miles started a new gym class that doesn’t include me, and he totally dove in and loved it. Yeah, yeah, independence is the first step away from home, but I refuse to freak out about my baby growing up and leaving because a) he’s ONLY THREE b) a strong family foundation will ensure he wants to see us as an adult and c) the way things are going economically, chances are good he’s going to move back home after college anyway.
I did meet some minimum requirements for engaged adulthood, though — you know, not rocking the yoga pants with Uggs and comparing pediatricians with other moms over chai lattes at the playground. I love my kids and I will never regret or resent the time I’ve spent at home taking care of them, but it sure as hell ain’t my permanent career path. Sed talks about me going back to work like it’s not a big deal, like it will not completely rock how the kids see the foundation of our family when I take a job outside the house. But I do eventually need to do it, for my sanity and mental acuity more than to support us financially. The baby step was my first grad school class, and I did well in it despite all the misgivings that I didn’t belong. More important, now I have some contacts within the department and some timelines for goals that are maybe more realistic in pursuing the degree than the ones I’d made up just reading the catalog. (Did you know they don’t even print the course catalog anymore? My brain had to work hard to wrap around that.)
I do have a couple goals for 2014. Not resolutions, I don’t make those, but some stuff I want to do.
- Read 70 books. (I came so close this year, but didn’t have time to sit down and finish the last one.)
- Complete my grad school and TA application for 2015. (This involves taking the GRE, polishing my paper a little and cultivating relationships with people in a position to recommend me for the program.)
- Participate in the Patriot sprint triathlon. (Sed and I are going for this together. I think I can bike 15 miles, run three and swim eight laps by September if I actually practice.)
- Write one long-form post per week. (Admit it, you’ve missed me. Besides, the mega-paper I fought to put together for my class confirms the need to get back into the practice of writing.)
I might give myself a summer reading project, too, but we’ll have to see what schedules look like and how upside-down we are after moving. Oh man don’t make me pack.