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I’m slapping my own wrist in anticipation of this post.

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Yes I’ve been gone a while. I think some of you might have noticed. I’m not sure. I don’t know who actually reads this thing.

I have been ending my school year and moving out of my house in preparation for moving to Hiroshima Japan, the state not the city. I don’t actually know which city I’m living in yet.

The school year is over in t-minus one week at which point I will be back to writing regularly.

I have also started a second kid friendly blog for my students to be able to be a part of my Japanese adventure. It is linked below.

More to come shortly!


46. Where do you go to escape?

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This topic actually couldn’t be more fitting for my life right now. It wasn’t until I asked myself this question that I realized it was really what I was doing though.

I can always tell when I am really getting stressed or overwhelmed. The number of pagers I consume goes up. It’s not the same as pleasure reading. It becomes a stress induced mania. I don’t even have to find the book addicting. I can actually find it innately flawed. All the same, I’ll find myself reading for hours on end, even when I don’t have the time to spare, just to be somewhere else for a little while.

At the moment I’m reading Empress by Karen Miller. I’ve found countless typos. The prose is rushed and undescriptive. I’m constantly wondering at the motivations of the characters. That isn’t to say it’s a bad book. It has more to do with myself and my sudden urge to be overly critical. Yet for all these things I take issue with, I’m somewhere around page four hundred after five busy days.

I’ve done this before. The last time I can remember myself reading with such fury was during my student teaching. I devoured every last book I could find. It take much more than an interesting cover to get my into the book. I’d walk up an down the dinky local library rescuing books no one had touched in years for my mind to eat. I’ve forgotten half of the books I read in that time, but the worlds stay with me as vivid as ever. Then, I was running from what I already knew about myself, but hadn’t decided to admit to knowing. Deep down I knew that the degree I was about to go work for two years to get was not what I really wanted from y life. So instead of practicing and making myself into the musician I “should” have been, I read.

I realize now that the decision to set myself up for failure would have no real bearing on the outcome. I never did get to go to grad school for that degree I realize now I didn’t want, but I’m getting off track. Instead of running from what I know but don’t want to admit, I’m now running from the implications of the massive life change I’ve decided to make. I’m running from the fact that I’m having to wait for it to happen.

Each world, well crafted or otherwise, that I can drop my restless mind into is a sanctuary from all of the constant responsibilities swirling around me threatening to drown me at any moment. It might not be healthy, or maybe it is. I guess having a bad book habit is better than I bad drinking habit.

Just like being an addict though it begins to cut into my normal life. Instead of working I think about that world. I think about those characters. I get very cranky if I don’t get to visit them. My husband has a hard time peeling me out of bed during the weekends because of this. As of late, it’s been even worse.

I suppose I feel that when this real world gets to hard to bear that living in another of someone else’s creation can make it easier if only for a little while. I’m sorry to be rambling. I try to stay away from that as much as I can, but in this case it’s because my mind is a tightly wound ball of yarn. Pull on one string and your likely to upset another.

Where do you go when you need to escape? What do you do?

More house selling/moving to another country fun

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After deciding that I would wait until next week to do my physical for the JET prgoram, I figured, yay, I can just go home. Not so says the universe. I am home, in a way. The problem is that I cannot get into my home.

Earlier today we had the appraiser come to give us a final price for the house. Fingers crossed, I’m hoping that he appraises it for what we sold it for. We’d like to make a little bit of money. Every little bit helps.

The problem is that when the appraiser left not only did he lock the inside garage door, which we never lock, but he also took the box key and did something with it. I have no way of knowing if he left it on the counter or took it for some reason. All I do know is that the key, the only other extra key to the house by the way, is inaccessible to me. This means that I am sitting outside on my back patio listening to my cat crying to get outside as I type this. My dogs are just going to have to keep holding their little fuzzy legs together a little bit longer.

Where is your husband you ask? He is at a meeting at his school and won’t be leaving for another few minutes. Then it will take him twenty long minutes to get here, depending on the traffic.

Such is life. I’m actually quite amused about it. Shouganai.

45. A tree from the point of view of one of its leaves.

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Honestly I’m stealing this idea from my husband. He thought it would be interesting to write the leaves with a sort of big brother perspective about the branches. I liked it so here we go.

I am subservient to the branch. Where it goes; I go. It’s always watching me, controlling me. I want to know what goes in in the below land.

Waving above I can see the strange things below. They seemed interested when I was just a bug, but now they don’t notice me. Apparently I’ve grown to mean less as I’ve gotten bigger.

It was nice when I was a bud. There was room to see the sky. The branch didn’t seem so in charge then. Then, all I wanted was to push through the thick shell of my bud. The sunlight and sky waited to keep me warm and help me grow. The branch supported me and kept me safe.

When my leg grew, everything else became awkward. It was then that I truly realized that I was stuck. I waved and pulled. I wanted to fly with the breeze that pulled me into it’s whirling dance.

The branch always held me down. It kept me stuck ruthlessly in place. No matter how much I wanted to dance and wave upon the wind I could not. Now I am crowded together with thousands more like myself. Their minds are quiet. They don’t see what the branch has done to us. They don’t see that we are prisoners to it.

We bathe ourselves in the sun only to feed it. Like a leech, it feeds of off the power only we can provide and for what? Sometimes when the day is slow I can feel the fluids within me moving into and out of it. It always needs more from me.

I wonder what the motivation is of such a creature. Why would it need all of us? What does it intend to use us for? Is thisall it will use us for.

I know that I can’t bear to be a part of such a thing anymore. I ache to dance on the wind and see what the creatures are below. What purpose do they serve? More than that I want to see what else could be out there for something like me. How can I make this happen? What would it take to free me from the branch?

A breeze comes. It tugs and I tug with it. I pull into the wind and feel a tear. Success!

Breeze after breeze comes, and I tear a little more with each passing gust. Then I am hanging by a thread. The barest breath of air will be enough to set me free. I wait hanging but it doesn’t come for the longest time.

I hear it before I feel it; the breeze that will set me free from my keeper. I lean into the breeze. It doesn’t take much, and I am free.

Swaying, lilting, floating, I waver toward the below land. I feel excitement course through my leafy veins. Freedom. I am free from my branching oppressor. The wind tosses me dancing through the blue and white of the sky. Nothing could be better than this moment.

Then I settle onto the black river of the below. It is solid. I did not expect that. I thought that it would flow like it looks. From down here the sky looks no different. I lift, push against the ground.

Nothing happens. I want to weep. I am trapped again. More than that something strange is happening. I feel unusual.

The realization hits me. I am dying. I was trapped against the tree because it needed me. What I did not know is that I needed it as well. Without it I will not be able to grow. Without it I am one of the dead brown things scattered along the black path. They crackle and rustle but they no longer think or breath in the sunlight.

The end of my freedom looms before me. I look up into the darkening sky and think of the clouds and the wind. The breeze catches me, and I am lifted away, another dead leaf in the wind. I fade, twisting and turning, a dancer disappearing into the blue of the vibrant sky. The edges of me brown and curl up, and then I know no more.

I’ll be honest; I’m still not quite happy with this ending. I wanted to make it somehow more poetic and slightly longer. I hate it when you can feel the writing in your head, but you can’t find the words to embody them. Don’t you?

44. Describe a room in your house

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Since I’m in the process of selling my house right now, I figured now would be a good time to talk about this room. I’m feeling very nostalgic about it and a little bit like I’m going to miss it.

Pleasant pale green walls reflect the light through the one long window, softly. White shelves crawl asymmetrically across the walls. Books tumble or stand tight where they have been packed together by a thirsty mind.

A few have thrown themselves across the bed below. They’ve buried themselves deeply into the plush, golden beigey comforter. Indentations have run together where a devoted reader has switched positions. Comfort changes when you’re too caught up in another world to stop.

Along the other wall two white tables stretch. Notebooks, pens, and paper spill across them in a tumble of half remembered ideas and projects. Blots of inch scratch the surface of a half neglected paper towel. Beside it, a prized creamy white and gold fountain pen rests inches from it’s ink bottle.

Various pieces of whimsical art rest against the wall smiling inspiration down where words are want to pour. A list, blotted with red ink, stares down at the seat of the author with all the things to say except for said.

This is how the room was at it’s most inspiring. The image of it being so still remains. Now the books have been stacked randomly across the tables. They are ready for a new home, to feed a new hungry mind. Papers and projects have all been sorted through. Some will go half way around the world. Some worlds are so well made that they deserve to travel so that others might get to know them. Others will wait until they can again be taken up.

Change takes with it the cleanly peace of a place, but with it comes momentum and hope for the future. Where once there was a motionless place of peace there is promise of newer things. The emptiness of an emptying house fills quickly with the promise of all the new things waiting in days ahead. Where space is made something always comes to fill it.

43. Five things that always get you into trouble

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Again sorry for my slow posting. This whole moving to a foreign country thing is a bit time consuming. I’m also not exactly sure how I’m going to make it through the next two and a half months with exploding from the excitement. For crying out loud, I get to be in Tokyo on my birthday. It’s a literal dream come true.

These are not in the order of severity; just the order that the occurred to me in.

1. Procrastination

I often refer to myself as a procrastinating perfectionist. This means that, while I have the grandest of ideas and intentions, I often come up short. I get distracted by a plethora of other things. Often this means I don’t finish things when I should. Perhaps that’s part of the reason I’m forcing myself to do this blog post today. If I continue to put it off, then I may never finish it.

I’ve often had moments where I’ve been fascinated with things only to have my interest peter out. It’s real ongoing struggle.

2. Going one step to far

This particular problem often lends itself to my greatest talent. My greatest talent is stopping any conversation dead. You know that silence when everyone stares at you in disbelief? That silence that says what the hell is wrong with you? This particular problem always causes me to have that stare leveled at me. I often look at the line, laugh, and leap miles to the other side of it. It’s never really inappropriate just strange, or it only makes sense to me.

3. Being overly self confident

I have, throughout the years, prided myself on being a very independent, well informed individual. I was also raised to like myself and not worry about who am I and what that means. In my experience this can be threatening to others. Couple this with wanting to make my own mistakes and the confidence to just figure stuff out and you end up with a recipe for disaster. Last year I ended up alienating a whole bunch of people at my work place because they didn’t feel like I valued their help or opinions. I’m unfortunately oblivious to the effect my own personality has on other people. I was just trying to do my thing and keep afloat. Very problematic.

4. Not knowing when to ask for help

This comes close on the heels of number three. I like to do things on my own. I even usually manage to figure things out without help. This makes it just that much harder to ask for it when I really need it. I’m also really good at coping which means I often don’t realize that I’m over burdened until it’s too late. I’ve had to learn to let a few things go and get over not being able to do everything on my own this year. I still hate asking for help, but at least now I know to do it.

5. Assuming people won’t be assholes

Last but certainly not least. I really like to think the best of people. I know that there are jerks out there. I’m a teacher; I see the souless before they get old enough to really effect people. Generally I like to think that people are good until proven assholes. Unfortunately, it’s not always safe to assume that people are anything other than what they are. To often I’ve gotten myself into trouble just for my inability to be devious or play the game. I like to do my work, get it done, and go home. The rest tends to escape me in the worst ways. You’ve got to learn who’s ass to kiss and who you need to make feel good about themselves. The lack of self confidence in others means that you sometimes need to spend time making sure they associate you with feeling good about themselves. If you don’t then they don’t think well of you when it really counts.

The whirlwind life of someone trying to sell their house, make it through the end of the school year, and move over seas.

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I realize that my posting is way down. I apologize. I would really like to be writing more, but to be honest, my brain is just fried right now. Even now I feel like I am eeking out these meager words just because the last couple of days have been so insane.

As I mentioned before, I’m now in the process of moving to Japan. Nothing about that process has changed. Unfortunately it seems like everything else has.

First, I have to say that getting fingerprinted is a lot more difficult than it has any right to be. Right from the get go we knew we only have a finite amount of time to get our materials put together and sent in for our FBI background checks. We are relative amateurs at this process.

My husband, being the forward thinking and planning fellow that he is, made a point of calling ahead to our local police station. Honestly when I say local I’m being a bit sarcastic. We have the unfortunate honor of living in a part of Houston sandwiched between other towns. Our closest option was to actually go to the nearest police station in the town where we worked. This was still a half hour drive. I digress.

My husband talked to a wonderfully helpful officer who told us to come in at a specific time and not to worry about getting a hold of finger print cards because they had plenty on hand. They did. Unfortunately the front desk staff didn’t know this, and apparently were too busy to check.

Tuesday we spent a rather uneventful morning being turned away, even though we were told we wouldn’t be, and then referred to a company to get finger print cards, who wouldn’t give them to us and only did fingerprinting by appointment a week later. Obviously that wasn’t going to work for us.

There went my half day off. It turned into a frantic scramble to find somewhere else to get our fingerprints done. We found a place. It was on the other side of town, which in Houston is not exactly a small problem, and we were going to have to drive there during rush hour.

Nervously I made my way through the rest of my day. I rushed out the door and had gotten most of the way into the process of driving through downtown Houston during rush hour when my phone rang. Turn around my husband says.

Officer Dudley, now upswing in my stressful day, was so annoyed that we’d been turned away that she offered to meet us at the door and let us in. She had told them to make sure we got fingerprinted and fingerprinted we got. We also discovered the boxes of fingerprinting cards they apparently didn’t have. Hooray! Mission accomplished.

We went home for an evening of getting our house ready to show because moving over seas means selling your house. I’ll get there in a minute. Everything was going swimmingly until my husband yelled, through the bathroom door, to come out and look at the email on his phone.

The email was from our JET coordinator. Our first names got switched. That meant that my husband was the one on the wait list and I was the one who was in the program. Yay for me, but not so much for the 85 dollars we’d already spent to get my husbands tax exempt form. It also meant we had to redo our paperwork. I was over the moon, and he was understandably upset.

I wish I could say this was the end to my crazy story but no. We came home, got dinner with some friends, and then the dog threw up. He continued to do this until three in the morning on Wednesday. Needless to say neither of us went to work on Wednesday and thank god we didn’t.

Our house listing went up at ten o’clock pm Tuesday during the midst of the madness. I was just sort of waking up on Wednesday morning when my husband’s phone went off. Someone wanted to see the house, at 10:45. We tried to put them off until later, but they didn’t get the memo. So myself, my husband, and my sick dog all went to Starbucks. We attempted to make some sort of plan attack, but that was quickly going to go to hell in a hand basket.

Coffee and a cheese danish helped me feel a little bit better about my sleep deprivation and the overall sickness of my dog. He’s still not entirely himself nearly a week later. We packed up after yet another discussion about all of the things that needed to be accomplished that day. We finally managed to get back into our house. Finally we could clean and eat lunch. I called Officer Dudley and made a meeting time of 2:30. I should have known it was too good to be true.

We ordered sandwiches and continued to clean. Halfway through a look around of the back yard the dog decided to void every drop of water he’d managed to keep down in the last six hours. He turned into a gushing dog fountain. Since we’d had a call for another showing at four, I was unkindly thankful that he’d thrown up outside. One phone call to the vet later had us and the dog set up for a five o’clock vet appointment.

Three quarters of the way through my Jimmy John’s sub, god they are delicious, I got a phone call. Officer Dudley was done early and on her way to meet me. I threw the lamentable bites of sandwich back in the fridge and off I went. Thankfully our meeting place wasn’t far away. It would have gone a lot more quickly if I hadn’t stopped at the wrong gas station, across the street no less. When I pulled up, she was ready and tapping my door with a pen. Time, I knew I had at least a little time.

Wrong. My phone rang. On the other end was my husband informing me that another showing had been scheduled at three thirty, so back I rushed to get him and sick dog. Packets of materials in hand, we bolted out the doorway before would could catch sigh of the greedy vultures so desperately in need of our house.

A small digression. If ever you need to get something done at all three major shipping companies at once, I highly recommend a Postal Annex. I don’t know if they have them everywhere, but damn they should. They put the real Post Office to shame. That’s where we took our four folders of precious gold paper work to, and sent them off with all the fond wishes of those hoping for no more bullshit than already experienced in one day.

Next stop curtains. At the behest of our realtor, we had been advised to purchase curtains. With the already ridiculous number of showings scheduled, we were a bit leery, but hell what do we know? My husband stayed in the car with the sick dog, just in case he threw up again, and I ventured into the somewhat deserted Super Target. My mission, cheap curtains. I succeeded in getting a cheap, and rather cute, set for under forty bucks. I also picked up diet coke because drinks were going to be in order.

With the coke and curtains safely store, we drove off again for, well at this point, who knew what. The dog wasn’t doing particularly well at the point, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to call and see if we could get the vet appointment moved up. Thankfully, it must have been a slow day because they said yes.

We drove the thirty minutes, the vet was a holdover from when we’d first moved to Texas, to the vet’s office. They took us right and looked over our dog. The diagnosis was dehydration, which wasn’t too surprised considering the fountain he’d been only two hours before that. They produced a bag from the magical back rooms every vet office has and hung it from the ceiling. To my credit my dog was very amiable about the giant needle that they stuck into his side. We waited as the saline solution slowly dripped beneath the skin of our dogs back. What it served to do was to create a strange, leaky, bulbous bulge on our dogs side. Our poor sick pathetic dog now looked like Quasimodo, and to make it worse he was leaking.

He leaked the entire way home. Of course we didn’t find this out until we got to the bar. Since, you know, we’d had another showing scheduled for our house at six fifteen. They showed up at ten to six. That comes later. During our drive home my husbands phone rang yet again. This time, we were glad to see, it was our realtor. I listened to my husband with growing interest as he seemed to get more excited. An offer had been made on the house. Less than twenty four hours into our showing, we had an offer. Apparently it was one worth considering. On a high that only a first time home seller can have, we raced home only to be kicked out by a man and his toddler, remember the early people I mentioned earlier?

To the bar we went. Wednesday was almost done except for the fact that we didn’t get back into our house until seven o’clock that night.

Thursday ended up being about the same. Five more people came to see the house, and two more offers were made.

Friday, we decided to except the offer on our house. Our realtor met us at the same bar we’d been to before and proceeded to pay for our time “signing”. Signing really just meant sitting at the bar, signing the paperwork, and then shooting the shit for four hours about video games. I like to think we might have come out of the experience with a good realtor for next time and maybe even the beginnings of a friendship. I’ve always been to quick to jump to conclusions on that score. At least one other realtor called to bitch about not being told soon enough that the house was option pending. Two other offers were made Friday. The first offer was still that best and it was what we signed. Less than two days later we had a house in the option period.

I’m sorry for my lack of posting, but as you can see it was warranted. Also as a small side note, I’m fairly sure that the person who made the offer drove by, no fewer than three times on Sunday, to stare at the house. The last time the woman, who is eight months pregnant, drove very slowly and stared at us. Needless to say, the lock box key is sitting on our dining room table for the time being. It is still sort of our house at the moment.