Last Wednesday, the stress of working two jobs, commuting two to three hours a day, and looking for housing possibilities in Petaluma resulted in a small breakdown. Well, all those things plus not being able to sleep and taking a sleeping pill two nights in a row. I guess it could've been worse…my break down looked like arguing with one of our consultants at the nonprofit during a program meeting when he responded to my request for strategies to work more effectively with a very difficult client by saying, "You have to not take it personally, you have to remember the person has a brain injury, you have to not react when they swear," (all things I believe that I already do). He has responded in this unhelpful way before, which I think is because he manages his own frustrations by telling himself these things. Then my supervisor – who I normally get along wonderfully with - tried to talk to me about how I should've handled the situation differently, leading to me going back to my desk and breaking down in tears. Argh
Friday I felt much better and talked with her about it in a productive way, ending with us clearing the air and hugging, but I think that whole scenario is a warning flag that I'm not able to sustain this level of stress. I need to make sure I am practicing better self-care through going to bed earlier, and, even though in the short term a move will be stressful in itself, it really nudges me in the direction of moving sooner rather than later.
On that front, I have looked at several places now, including houses, townhomes, and apartments. My searching so far has helped clarify what I hope to find in a new place:
- Located in Petaluma, within walking distance of downtown
- Two bedroom home but don't care about the size
- Accepts my dog and has an enclosed yard or patio where we could be outside, ideally with at least a small area of ground ( versus all concrete) for Zoey to do her business.
- Dishwasher and washer and dryer or washer/dryer hook-ups
- Solid, relatively modern construction, especially in the kitchen and bathroom
- A functional bathtub that lends itself to bathing a small child
- Rent between 1800 and 2300
I am finding places that fit most of the criteria, but it is challenging to find options that fit all of them. I found a small house that would've worked pretty well. Ideally it would've been a little closer to downtown, but it was workable. Unfortunately, I found it too late and other applications have been submitted previously, one of which he ended up accepting. A few places I've looked are just not well constructed or finished in a way that I would feel comfortable with when I am parenting a child.
I also looked at a couple of townhouses within a fairly large complex located an almost ideal distance from downtown. I liked the inside okay – pretty standard townhouse floor plan, with a nice enough kitchen, small dining area and living area downstairs and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The landscaping and common areas outside were not kept up super well. A lot of the ground was just dirt, versus ground cover or bushes, and I even saw one beer bottle laying on the ground. :-/ But apparently there are quite a few families living there, and the woman who manages the site was very friendly and nice. She had adopted through foster care herself and offered to help me get to know the area and local restaurants and recreation. Unfortunately, it only offers a concrete patio in the back. This place is my back up at this point. I'm continuing to look for a small house that would be a better fit, but I feel more secure knowing I can fall back on one of these townhouses if necessary.
My brother has been super helpful in talking things through with me and helped me realize a one bedroom apartment would not be functional for myself and a child. I was trying to imagine ways I could put up a screen or something and separate the bedroom into two spaces, but that wasn't realistic. The location was perfect and it was nice construction so I was trying to imagine how it could work.
Hopefully I will have some good news to report in my next post. Next week is spring break at the college, so I will have some extra time to search and catch up on sleep and me time. Yay