Lots happening and lots to do

I participated in my first Petaluma community event yesterday, which is called Butter and Eggs Day, in reference to Petaluma's farming roots.There was a parade and I rode on the decorated hay wagon truck as part of my college's entry. There were staff with their kids, as well as students mostly dressed in graduation caps and gowns. Everybody in Petaluma and many beyond Petaluma came out for the event and I had a great time. I got to know one of my students a little better who was riding next to me, and on the other side was my supervisor and her two young boys who were super cute and involved. I bought a small bucket of freshly cooked fried chicken (I shared!) to start the event off, then later got snowcones with my supervisor and her kids. Yum!

 As this event implies, I'm feeling more comfortable in my newer job and have an increased sense of competence and belonging. The bad news there is that there is current budgetary uncertainty for the summer, so I'm not sure what if any hours I'll get for June and July. Fingers crossed.

I have three pieces of good news to report, however: First, after being called in for an interview at the College of Marin – which is next-door to my nonprofit in Larkspur, about 30 minutes from my new home – I received the thrilling call that I was hired as an adjunct counselor! I don't know whether I'll have summer or fall hours yet, but it's wonderful to not just depend on one college for counseling hours. Also, the College of Marin is smaller and seems like a fun department, as well as having handy proximity to my nonprofit. Oh, and I can have eight more hours a week at the nonprofit this summer if I want… Of course they pay considerably less.

Second, I landed a new (phone) client for 1000 bucks! This gets me partway there to covering less hours or time off in summer. I also changed my Meetup group location to Petaluma and plan to have a Meetup sometime in the next month, in hopes of landing another client or two. There is reasonably-priced office space to rent here, too, like I was doing previously.

Third, my townhome complex manager, after I assertively reminded her of her promise, was able to schedule my washer/dryer enclosure to be built next week. Woo hoo! The weather has turned nice and sunny finally, but  I was still worried about my washer and dryer being out in the elements. 

In addition to landing summer work, my plate is chock-full of to-do's, it seems. Feel free to skip this next action step section, but I find it helpful to list intended actions on my blog to reference and, in a way, hold me accountable. My current to-do's or action steps:

Adoption action steps 
  1. Research child care in Petaluma
  2. Put together crib and hang decals/art on the wall
  3. Purchase a changing table or use the table I have with a changing pad
  4. Find a small children's dresser in white or red
  5. Complete CPR class Second Saturday in May 
  6. Fill out replacement forms for Homestudy
  7. Make a visitation appointment with the social worker for end of May
  8. Prior to the appointment, make sure safety latches on necessary drawers and cabinets and medicine lockbox is working  
Home actions. Except for unpacking, which I'd like to finish up in the next week or two, none of these have a set timeline 
  1. Finish unpacking few boxes downstairs
  2. Unpack bags and suitcases in my room
  3. Hang art
  4. Buy bathroom rug, towel bar, and hooks for bathroom and bedroom
  5. Re-finish blue end tables or paint myself - new handles
  6. Get a vanity table and chair for bedroom
  7. New mattress for me
  8. Buy new dog bed for Zoey

Per last post, actions to get involved in meaningful activities locally: 
  1. Start going to farmers market Saturday afternoons
  2. Attend swing dance workshop and dance in May
  3. Try out a new church every first Sunday of the month until find one that clicks
  4. Attend upcoming local activism fair/tabling event -  contact and attend meeting for local political organization or closest transition town group


Unpacking Physically and Mentally

I'm slowly getting unpacked and tired of dealing with boxes! I only have a few left of current items. Thank God I have a space under the stairs to store a lot of boxes that were in the attic. At some point I have to pare down some of the memorabilia from my mom and grandmothers, which is hard as I'm sure you know. I also have quite a few plastic bins on a utility storage shelf on the back patio. Praying they're waterproof! They are supposed to be. Kitchen is pretty much unpacked, which feels great.

The management promised me they would build a structure to protect my washer and dryer on the right side of patio within a couple weeks, and tomorrow is two weeks. Unfortunately, we've continued to have greater than expected rainfall here in California. I think they are OK so far but don't want them to get rained on further! Ironically, the manager is talking about the rain as an obstacle to them completing the project, aargh.  Rain rain go away.  Sorry for the boring moving updates… Hopefully this won't be the center of my focus much longer.

On a reflective note around moving, I was talking to S, who has provided some support for the move, and he shared his hope that I connect with local activities, like I did when I was living in Oakland. He said that when I was living in Martinez, it seemed like I was remote, and my involvement dropped off. I didn't really enjoy hearing that reflection! I did ask him to consider what his own feelings and motives may be around bringing that up, but I want to take in the essence of truth that may be there. I think there were several reasons why I didn't get more engaged locally in Martinez and that my activism, dance, and theater activities dropped off, including:

  1. The commute time was doubled to get to dance or interplay in Oakland/Berkeley.
  2. For a good amount of time, I was focused on my business marketing training and getting business clients.
  3. I injured my knee at the end of 2015, which  prevented me from dancing for several months and I never really got back into it. 
  4. Roommate and relationship drama sucked my energy for part of my time in Martinez.  
  5. The last half of 2016 and beginning of 2017, I was working toward completing my homestudy, which also takes focus and energy.

So some of the reasons were out of my control, while others relate to my priorities at the time. I do notice that the activities that dropped off the radar, were related to creativity, soul enrichment, and community that goes along with that. I want to make an effort to reengage with at least one or two of these activities, both for my own enrichment, but also because I think they will make me a better person and a better mom. And I see the role they can create in providing community and support when I have a child.

On that note, I researched swing dancing in my area and contacted the instructor for a workshop I hope to take May 20th, followed by a dance. One thing I did do in the last few months in Martinez, is find and attend a (spiritual) church a few times.  I looked into this type of church in my area, but didn't find anything. Ideally, I would really like to find a church in Petaluma because I want to be grounded as much as possible in where I actually live.  So I might attend a Presbyterian or progressive Christian church, if I can find one near me.  I want to keep this intention in my awareness going forward.

 Off to unpack more boxes and maybe even put together the crib! Wish me luck.


A little worse for the wear, but I made it!

I survived the move! It took most of the day and into the evening on Monday, but I'm in Petaluma!  The commute was wonderful Wednesday to Friday of last week, though now commuting to my nonprofit job is not so great – 35 to 40 minutes from Petaluma. After April I'm going to request we follow through on the idea of working from home on Fridays, so I'll only need to do that Mondays and Wednesdays.  Overall, it's a giant improvement in commute time and quality of life.

Last Tuesday, I wrapped up my business in Martinez with my landlord, grabbed the last few items from the house and did some cleaning up, which added up to a sense of relief and closure.

My Internet was set up yesterday, and I've unpacked a few necessary boxes, but there's lots of unpacking to go!  I was looking forward to settling in and doing a lot of that this weekend, but unfortunately, yesterday at work I started feeling really sick in the morning, with an upset stomach, headache and achy-feverish feeling that intensified over the next couple hours. I left early and took vitamin C, rested, and went to bed very early. In the middle of the night, I woke up all hot and sweaty and felt like my fever had broken. This morning, knock on wood, I feel much better. Hoping it lasts! If so, I can unpack a few boxes today, still taking it pretty easy, then follow through on my Easter plans for brunch tomorrow.

Once I get settled in a little more, I will be excited to start walking downtown for movies, drinks and meals, and just figuring out my life in Petaluma as far as favorite stores, farmer's market routine, etc.  I will also be excited to get the kid's room set up! The bedrooms are both upstairs and carpeted, so it feels more cozy and I'm looking forward to getting it put together.

A down note, is that this complex does feel a little low-end...it's in a great location, as I've mentioned, but the grounds are not kept up very well- not much landscaping and groundcover and there are little bits of paper trash sometimes on the ground. The townhouse itself is more like an apartment, I would say. It has two stories, but the units are side-by-side and I can hear noise from my neighbors. It's quite small, as mentioned, and the carpeting is worn. From what the manager said, I get a sense that it's gradually being upgraded, so we'll see how things evolve. It has the necessities of what I need, including two bedrooms, a dishwasher and garbage disposal, a back patio area with space for Zoey to use, and located not far from a great downtown. I wish it were nicer, but for now I think this is definitely workable.


i'm moving!

This is the week I move! I decided to take the townhouse, mainly because it ended up being the only choice. Luckily, it is walkable to downtown and I really like the location.

 For fun, here are the pros and cons:

  1. It is walkable to downtown! And to a park and all kinds of restaurants and a river path, etc. 
  2. Has two bedrooms that have pretty nice views. 
  3. Has a back patio, that while not big, has a dirt strip in the back which is key for livability with a dog. The original unit I looked at didn't have this, so I'm so glad I didn't end up taking out one.
  4. Has nice countertops, a dishwasher and garbage disposal. Again, the kitchen is small, but it will work for me.
  5. Has a washer and dryer in an enclosed structure on the back patio. 
  6. This unit is second from the end, so it's close to the pretty, well landscaped street the complex is located on. 
  1. Bathroom is OK but not quite as nice as I would like or as nice as one of the other units I viewed. 
  2. Not much storage space. For now I may use storage shelving on the patio, and eventually I may get an enclosed storage unit. I could pay $200 for a garage eventually, as well, but am definitely not going to do that right now. I can't help but think of the two small houses I looked at that had backyards and garages for the amount of money I would pay if I added the garage payment to this unit. Not equitable! 
  3. It's not particularly special or unique – a pretty standard townhouse  
  4. The living room window looks out onto the driveway/parking area of the complex, though as mentioned it's also near the end and I can see the street and some nice trees as well.
In other news, I had my first review at the nonprofit, and I admit it hurt my feelings. I think I've shared that I struggle with reviews in general. This review was more personal than any I've had in the past, however, in the sense that I feel like I'm friends with my supervisor. I care what she thinks and in many ways have worked to make her happy in ways that feel go above and beyond at times. I have generally felt comfortable and accepted working there, and like we're part of a family in many ways. 

As an example of going the extra mile, the last couple months, after I got my other job, it's been tough to come there two days a week after a full day at the college. But I continued doing that because I know she preferred that, and I wanted to stay connected and do right by the nonprofit. I work hard there, and while it's not a perfect fit, I feel I am overqualified for the job and excel at the main tasks, i.e. serving the clients and assuring they get the resources they need and are brought into our programs in a timely way.  

So in a long list of 1-4 ratings on various aspects of the job, getting mostly threes, some twos, and ONE four felt surprising and painful. I've tried to justify it in the sense that she is a hard grader, which she basically admitted. In talking some of the ratings through with her, the way she was interpreting things was in some cases inaccurate (e.g. she took resourceful to mean what brain injury resources I know on my own, versus the resourcefulness to find the information I need) and often based on where she was thinking I could grow, versus actual performance. She foresees a lot of growth in my future. LOL.  

The thing is, this job, as mentioned, does not pay well, and I'm overqualified. I really do work my butt off trying to serve the clients well and in a timely way.  I don't feel adequately appreciated or recognized for this, after this review.  And honestly, it makes me feel just a little less loyal and I think it will make it easier to quit in the near future when I get a placement.