7/24/2015

Housing Update

I have an update to share about housing and my ongoing transition...

The friend I have been house sitting for is returning on the 30th but said I can stay until the 1st, which works out great!  At that time, I will be moving to a month-to-month rental at a town a little farther away from some of my activities but only a 20 minute commute from my work.

Initially, I had investigated this place from a long-term perspective but then the landlord bomb-shelled both me and my potential roommate by letting us know that he and his wife, who sadly has progressing Parkinson's symptoms, will be moving in to the house in three months.  I felt worse for the other woman, who has been living there a few years and was already feeling stressed with the change of roommates, etc.  She and I had talked openly about my plans to adopt, and she had been supportive about that and even suggested that in a year or so she planned to move to Hawaii, at which time I could likely take over the two-bedroom house.  She has been very supportive of her daughter, who lives not far away and is a single mom of a two-year-old, though I don't think she's an SMC.  The landlord's news put the kabosh on all that, although theoretically we could look for a house together after leaving this one.

To add complexity, when I went over there last night to talk about the option of staying there for a month or two - which would benefit the landlord, as he would receive full rent and likely not be able to find anyone else for so short a time - he informed us that, legally, his wife has to agree to selling their current house and moving into this one, and she is currently resistant and far from saying yes.  Hmm.  So, the timeframe is really unknown, but I'm not willing to roll the dice and spend the time/money/energy moving all my furniture and stuff into the house not knowing if it's just for a couple months or six.  And even if it were six, moving again in a few months sounds horrible, as well.

Sooo, the landlord is currently reviewing my credit and application and if it's okay (I told him about the identity theft and he seemed understanding), then I will move in on the first, sans furniture.  This is actually great for me, since I should know about the results of my interview - possibly interviews if I get a second interview at a college I applied for in Oak.land - within the next month and can then decide if I will be moving North or not.  If not, then I'll likely stay there a second month and continue to seek stable, long-term housing in this area.

As I write all this out, I can hear that it sounds kind of crazy, but after my last few months of uncertainty and living in three different places, all belonging to other people, this feels pretty stable and sensible to me.  Paying rent again will stress my finances, but my income will go back up mid-August when Fall semester starts, and it all should be do-able.  Fingers crossed, I'll be making a big move up North very soon! :-)

7/17/2015

Thriving vs. Surviving

This will be a summary of the ups and downs of my recent dating/living situation with C, as well as an appeal to send me some good thoughts about an exciting upcoming event.

So, I lived with C for a couple of weeks and, let's just say, what I thought would happen, did.  Our chemistry ignited and we ended up fooling around several times.  It was fun - really wonderful actually - and I don't regret it, even though it led to hurt feelings, as I also predicted.

When I asked him about staying there, he warned me that a long-time friend - a girl - would be coming into town during that time and he was concerned about awkwardness (there's that word again).  At the time, we were not dating and, frankly, I was somewhat desperate to find a place to stay... plus, I missed him.  So, I over-optimistically reassured him I could handle it, and it would not be a big deal.

Well, when the actual event transpired, we had been hanging out and connecting physically, and I felt more attached.  Plus, I assumed she would spend time there but had no idea she would be spending the night. :-/  Also, he didn't give me enough warning so that I could have made arrangements to stay somewhere else.  Basically, it was really stressful and, yes, awkward and uncomfortable, for me at least, even though she had her 7-year-old daughter with her and I don't think anything sexual happened.  She still slept in his room.  In his bed.  With me down the hall.  Yuck.  I felt he should have done more to acknowledge the impact on me and try to alleviate it - at the least by giving me a couple days warning.

The deeper issue is that the intimacy we shared (not sex but intimacy that felt increasingly loving) didn't change his feelings about commitment and moving forward to being in a relationship.  It didn't seem to increase his attachment to me; whereas for me, it definitely did.  That was a sad and painful realization.  Thus, it was probably good timing to leave for Tahoe and from there move into my house-sitting situation.  We have had a couple of processing conversations since then, but I have decided I am done trying to break through his wall and make him realize he loves me and can't live without me. ha  I faced reality that this will not be happening any time soon, and likely not ever.  I'm moving on and putting my energy towards more productive and mutual situations.  I actually have a date tonight that I'm looking forward to (sort of - ha).

The exciting upcoming event is that I found out yesterday that I have an interview for the full-time counseling position in San.ta Rosa on the 28th!  Yay!  I actually was pumping my arms and exclaiming, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" when I got the email.  Please send me good thoughts at 3 and 4pm on the 28th.  There is a writing part of the interview at 3:15, and the actual interview is at 4... I'm sure it will be a panel interview again, but last time (I interviewed for another position a few months ago) I remember thinking these were the nicest people - and this was the most enjoyable interview - that I had ever experienced in this context.  I do plan to spend a lot of time preparing!

Both professionally and personally, I'm setting my sights on "thriving" versus just "surviving."

7/11/2015

Family Time in Tahoe: Wonderful and Awkward

It's been so long since I posted!  In a way, I wanted to wait until something positive had happened on the housing front but nothing significant has happened yet.  The 4th of July week was spent with family in Tahoe.  We spread my Mom's ashes out on the lake and some off the dock at the house, where she loved to have coffee in the morning and sit out in the sun with my Dad.  My Dad said some nice and loving words about Mom and broke down a bit.  I tried to hug him and comfort him at one point, but he is not one to receive much comfort, at least from me.  We all shed a few tears.  For some reason, I felt very protective and loving towards the urn while it had her ashes.  No one else seemed to really feel that, so I was the "bearer of the urn" and held it while the boat was going fast and bumping around.  It did feel like more closure - for all of us I think.

Being with the older kids - J is seven now and E is five - was special and fun of course.  They, especially J, had really planned out the 4th with lots of decorations and cards and brownies sprinkled with an American flag design.  J had special outfits, and they all wore 4th of July pajamas, including little 4-month-old D, my brother's new daughter.  Her older sister, V, is three now, and is much more fun to be around.  She used to cry a lot and only want to be held by her mom and dad.  Now she adores and plays with the older kids and is very brave and acrobatic, doing jumping somersaults on the big couch.  One day, we went out and anchored the boat, then swam around, playing in the water and laying out in the sun.  Fun!  Another day, we drove over to a hotel across the lake and had lunch, then hung out on the beach for a few hours, sipping cocktails while up to our waists in cool water as the kids played and paddled little kayaks around us.

The sadder or more awkward parts of trip: realizing that I felt more of a sense of comfort and belonging with my family without my Mom there. :-( I feel grief and confusion about this.  When my Mom was there, she often responded in prickly or sarcastic ways in the context of everyone being around (except with the kids), and I was generally aware of being a lower-class family member in her eyes; less deserving of respect and love than my two siblings who were her "real" kids.  I  know I have explored this topic before on this blog... I take responsibility for my part in rejecting her attempts to communicate with me when I was a teenager, and even pushing her away more passive-aggressively when I was younger, for reasons I don't fully understand but likely have to do with unresolved grief for my birth mother and that she "wasn't my real mom."

She was definitely much different than my birth mom in terms of emotional intelligence and expressing affection and love, as well as being playful - my birth mom was a teacher and loved kids, loved playing with kids and with me.  Anyway, it must have been hard for her.  And maybe this caused much of the unrelenting awkwardness and rift between us.  I can say that when we were alone the last couple/few years, there were some really nice, comfortable times - caring for the kids, making food, catching up on stuff.  I'm grateful for those times.  But when we were with the whole family, this undercurrent of rejection that I perceived really hurt.  Perhaps I was the proverbial "scapegoat" of the family, and she took out her unhappiness with my Dad on me, to some degree.  I don't know.  My Dad has anger about things that happened between he and I in the past, so they likely bonded over their disapproval at times.  It's not a pretty thing to see or think about.  In any case, this trip there was still the family culture of drinking, and my Dad was still generally focused within and difficult to talk with, but somehow, I felt more relaxed inside and comfortable in my own skin.  I had a "place" in the family, equal to others.

That said, I talked to my Mom at times, expressing regret about how things were with us - that we weren't closer - and telling her I loved her and wished things had been different.  Also, I felt more understanding and appreciation for how much she loved Tahoe and how much effort she put into making it a beautiful place (there are three houses there - the main house, the guest house, and the apartment over the garage - all comfortable and decorated beautifully).  I felt deep sadness that she died too soon, with so much time left on the table in which she could have enjoyed the place.  Life is not fair.

The last awkward part: all my immediate family except my Dad left Sunday, which I didn't know was the plan.  I stayed until Tuesday, and my aunt (the one my Dad has "taken up with") and her son and his wife came on Monday to spend a week there.  Over the weekend, my Dad was obviously thinking about her and texting her.  And sometimes he wasn't present with our family because he was thinking of getting the place ready for them - making sure things were clean, talking about replacing the barbeque, etc.  My sister said something at one point about him being present, which is unlike her, but I'm so glad she did.  I need to tell her that.  Anyway, then they came Monday and... it wasn't as awkward as I thought it might be.  A little weird at times like when she's cooking dinner, like my Mom used to, and my Dad is sitting in his chair watching TV, as he used to.  But we got along fine - she made an effort to be nice it seems - and my cousin and his wife drank a lot, but were comfortable to be around, too.  I even surprised myself by thinking she and my Dad were kind of "cute" at times, like new couples are.  Weird, I know.  It helped that they weren't physically affectionate with one another in front of me.

So that's my Tahoe trip, the good, bad, and ugly.  I'm in the July house-sitting situation now and so far, so good.  It's "rugged" but not as rugged as where I was last month.  I have my own studio room with half bath out back, which is great.  Her neighbor is in the house but is gone a lot, as he lives nearby.  We are sharing the eco-minded house and garden chores, as well as cat care.  This cat is on his last legs for sure.  I hope he makes it until she returns. :-/  I have some stuff to report about my last days at the guy's house but maybe later.  Focusing now on house-hunting and simultaneously praying I get this job I applied for up North...

6/24/2015

Some cliffhangers resolved, others continue...

Sorry to leave several questions hanging and not post for a while... it's been a bit of a bumpy ride.

The place with the woman I mentioned who was open to living with a child ended up going to another candidate.  She was open, but it wasn't her first choice to share a fairly small home with a child and all the necessary equipment.

For the last couple weeks I've been living with the friend I mentioned in the last post; the one I've dated.  I knew it would be challenging navigating the feelings of attraction I still have for him, and sure enough, it has been.  The first week, we ended up making out a couple times (intense! intimate! fun!), which made me feel "mushy" and more attached; not so with him.  At the end of the day, I can be sad and frustrated with him, but it is my job to protect myself.  He does not make it easy.

I leave his place in a week and head to Tahoe to be with family and spread my mother's ashes.  When I come back, I will live in the house-sitting situation... yup, the flea-ridden one, but I guess I can't be picky if I don't want to pay a large sum.  She said she will have cleaners come before I get there (I did mention being concerned about the fleas), so fingers crossed.  A neighbor of hers will be staying in the main house, and I will be in my own studio room with a half bath in the back but sharing the kitchen and full bath, as needed.  She described the neighbor as a bit "innocent" and young for his age, which I'm thinking means a bit slow?  We shall see.  This could lead to some awesome stories later...

I'm engaged in focused searching for a home for August.  I have met two times now with my potential housemate, who is actually having her IVF transfer today, the second time an overnight slumber party visit last Friday.  We ate dinner, watched a movie, and hung out the next day running some errands.  I like her and feel comfortable enough to move forward.  She's a bit more self-contained and less emotionally expressive than me, but that's okay.  We share values, not to mention our ttc journeys.  She actually asked me to give her the first PIO shot!  Crazy, right?  But it was easier than expected.

I'll share more soon, but wanted to give an update.  Some of my life seems in suspension for now, as I just have so much energy and mental space, and not a lot of room to work.  I will come back to it when I can.

6/13/2015

Cliff Hanger

If my life was a show, it would be cliffhanger... I'm about to go meet with a woman who is open to living with an infant/child to see how we get along.  If it were a good match, then I would need to apply with the landlord, have the credit check done, etc.  If for whatever reason, we are not a match, then I may stay with another friend for two weeks OR hit the road and travel for a couple weeks.

The friend I am staying with now has been crystal clear that for her own reasons - which include wanting to get her own dog which relates to her taking a year-long road trip next year which relates to her coping and moving on from the loss of her beloved husband, and just being done with sharing her space in a cramped way with me and the nephew that lives here, which I understand but wish she could tolerate another week or two - she needs me to leave by Monday.

I'm not sure which decision above I prefer or which one is best for me.  There are pros and cons of both.  It would be great to see my family and see friends down on the Central Coast, but I would need to miss work which means losing money.  And because my job is so important to me, I don't want to jeopardize it in anyway.  I'm pretty sure I could find another Counselor to cover for the few summer shifts I would miss, but I would feel flaky.  Staying with the friend would allow me to work, but to be honest the friend is someone I have dated - we are not dating now - and I still have feelings for him.  Things have the potential to get a little bit messy, but don't necessarily have to with the right emotional boundaries.  Sooo, today is a big day, and by the end of it, I will know my fate for the next couple weeks. 

Oh, and please think good thoughts for me to find a place - the one I see today or another one - by July so I don't have to stay (or don't have to stay long) in the flea-ridden, dirty house that is my house sitting alternative for July.  I just saw it last week and was pretty disgusted.  This is a friend who is very "earthy," but I don't know how she lives that way.  I would need to get it cleaned beforehand or right away.  Poor Zoey had to have a flea treatment a few days ago after just spending an hour there. :(  I have looked for other house sitting or subletting alternatives, of course, and inquired about a couple of them, but nothing has worked out yet.  Most subletting options demand the equivalent of full rent, which would prevent me from saving more money for my down payment.

One bit of happy news, as I feel much of this is negative!  I know two fraudulent items have cleared or will be cleared very soon from my credit report, and one was the charged off C@pital 1 credit card, which was one of the worst.  I stayed on the phone with them for over a half hour the other day, but it was worth it!  Yay!

6/07/2015

A Rough Day

After gearing up for my workshop yesterday on "Career Building as an Introvert," using information from the book, "Quiet," unfortunately no one showed up. :( Last time I did a workshop at this bookstore, I got about 9-10 people but the workshop was more general on career exploration and resumes and the bookstore was at it's old location.  Now, it's downtown, bigger and nicer, but I thought that would be a plus not a minus?  And I assumed they had the same mailing list as before, which they said they did when I asked. 

I don't think it was promoted well - I saw the poster on the outside and it was handwritten and not very clear.  There was a typed one inside but for some reason there were no pictures, when all the other promotional speaker posters had nice pictures.  Maybe that's something I'm supposed to do myself, but I don't think so because the guy who made the posters said something about the owner saying not to put a picture on it because she wanted the title bigger or something (?).  Anyway, it was very blase looking compared to the others. 

But one of my main questions is does the word "Introvert" speak to people?  Will you give me feedback on that for yourselves?  In my workshop context, it's taken from the MBTI personality assessment definition of introvert, and that's what the book is referring to, as well.  Introversion and the needs of introverts can be undervalued and sometimes we need to advocate for and take care of ourselves around work.  Also, needing to choose careers that don't completely wipe us out and to network, if we are job searching, in a way that works for us - focusing on finding like-minded people or quality connections versus a fist full of business cards.  So that's a taste of what I was going to talk about and since something like 35-40% of all people are introverts, I know there are plenty of people who could benefit.  But I need to find the language that speaks to their problems and concerns.  Is it exhaustion and overwhelm?  Do I need to say, "people who are more reflective and deep thinking/analytical and need time alone to recharge" or "more low-key, reflective, quiet types" instead of introvert?  I would love to work with this niche, so any thoughts and feedback welcome.

A couple good things did come out of the experience.  One woman came to the bookstore who didn't know about the workshop so had other plans, but she said she definitely was interested.  We had a nice conversation, and she took my card and said she would like to talk about individual career counseling.  I hope she follows up!  Also, just connecting to the space and the staff at the bookstore was good.  I have another workshop coming up on the 27th that will be more general career exploration, "do what you love" kind of focus, so it was good to talk about promoting that and realizing I need to get them some copy about it, as well.  I mentioned needing a way for them to sign up for it online, and it sounds like that might be possible.  This all feels like a big experimentation/learning process!

Yesterday was a rough day, too, because I had a conversation with C, and he basically said he is afraid of another break up and doesn't want to go through that again.  He said he is clear that he's basically not going to be ready for a relationship for a while and needs time on his own - like to go away on a solo vacation and figure some things out.  I asked if it was that he saw things with us that would not work in the long run, and we would end up breaking up and he said sort of - he wasn't a clear yes on that.  Of course, he would be willing to hang out and likes the "cuddling" (why do guys call it this?  It's basically code for fooling around), but I'm not down with that and said as much.  This all came up because as we spend more time together, attachments are naturally starting to happen and it was feeling more "serious."

I think he does have commitment issues based on past stuff, but I think a piece of it is definitely what happened around me getting "triggered" or emotional and wanting to process at times.  He's just not down with that.  I definitely need someone who is down with that.  And who shares there own feelings, too.  Not in a critical or disrespectful way, but with some consciousness and taking responsibility for our own "stuff."  Anyway, I'm sad.  Even though I see the logic in it, I'm sad.  Because I was attracted to him, and we had a lot of playful fun when we were together.  And the dancing, don't get me started on the dancing.  It was so incredibly awesome.  But you can't build a relationship on dancing, right?  So, yeah, no way around it, I'm sad and I'm going to miss him. :(

5/30/2015

Ongoing Trials and Transitions

Just riding along on this freaky transition train, holding on as best I can!  I met with the owner of the co-housing home again a couple days ago to introduce her to Zoey.  Everything went fine on that front.  Then, we talked for a while and she explained why she was kind of ungrounded when talking about it before.  Basically, her partner has a great job and loves living in Canada, and they have a great house up there, but she has reservations and for understandable reasons is still attached to this area.  One of her two sons works in SF and the other, as mentioned, will be attending UC Davis in the fall.  As if that wasn't enough, her mother is also living in an independent living facility in a town not far from the cohousing community (but she's not totally independent and needs some regular help). 

She is under a lot of pressure with this whole medical situation, too, and the timeline of the surgery, etc.  In our last contact, she said she has a doctor's appointment on June 2nd which may give her a better idea of her immediate future in the Bay Area and asked if she could talk to me after that.  I said okay.  For my part, I got clear in talking to friends that I would like to have the opportunity to housesit for two months, regardless if we went forward with the housesharing step after a month or so.  That would at least give some stability and time to connect with the community to see if I might find other opportunities there.  Or alternatively find another place.  So, it's a waiting game until after the 2nd. 

Meanwhile I continue to look and follow up on other places, like the Albany house.  No word on that yet, either.  I connected with a lovely single mom who has a 17-month-old little boy.  But her budget is pretty modest and there are a lot of unknowns with that scenario: how will we get along in terms of lifestyle?  Can we even find a place in that rent range (I can pay 300 or 400 more, which makes sense considering one extra room would eventually be my kid's but still doesn't give us much to work with)?  How will her little boy do with Zoey?  etc.  But I think we will still meet up later this week, as we had a really nice first phone call. 

I'm feeling worried because I am now officially over the one-month mark negotiated with my friend (unless there was a set date to move into a new place sometime in June), so I guess I need to bring that up with her.  Some good news from one of the credit agencies that one item has already been removed from my report.  Yay!  I don't know which one but each one matters in the score.  They have until about June 21st to complete their investigation though.

I also am ready to share that I am pissed off at the guy I was dating.  We did talk Tuesday and Thursday but haven't heard a word from him yesterday or today.  On Thursday I asked him to go to dinner with me (using this Amazon deal I have that I had mentioned to him before), and he immediately started scrambling and saying something to the effect that he didn't know about this weekend or he is busy this weekend or something.  Yuck.  Not the response you would like to hear when putting yourself out there and making a romantic gesture. 

We have had ups and downs the last couple weeks, basically around me wanting more reassurance and communication from him - to know what's going on with him.  He's not very communicative emotionally and definitely lives on the side of the less words needed to communicate something the better.  When we are in person, as mentioned, I have felt a lot of attention from him, chemistry, connection, ease of communication overall.  I know his job is super demanding and time consuming, but I don't think that prevents him from communicating here or there if he were truly interested, does it? 

I think he has doubts and maybe has decided he doesn't want things to go forward based on a conversation we had, after spending some intimate time together, in which he was kind of distant and matter of fact, which triggered me, and I pushed for connection and to have the chance to ask what was on my mind.  It did not go well.

So then it was touch and go, with conversations about compatibility and me wanting to "process" more than he does... then we got together last Monday and, as it always does when we're together, it felt fun and just flowed well, so we decided to keep seeing each other but take a step back and not be as intense physically.  He said he wasn't ready to "dive into" something at this point.  I asked him if he saw that potential with us, though, and he said yes and said a couple other nice things about having a family.  I wish you guys could be a fly on the wall when we are dancing or just hanging out together because to me it shows a lot of chemistry and that we like each other.  But maybe he is scared and that outweighs all that. 

So, yeah, I'm sad and hurt and confused, even though I have guesses as to what's going on.  I know two days isn't theoretically all that long to not hear from him, but I also wrote him an email about a dance class, so those two things are just sort of hanging out there and it doesn't feel good.  Thanks for listening, and I'm open to feedback.