Monthly Archives: January 2014

Two Paths

My little sister is four years younger than me and yesterday was her 27th birthday. My sister and I are very similar in terms of our personality and our features. However, one big difference is the life paths we’ve chosen. Neither is right or wrong – they’re both just very different.

We both started out on the same path, engaged to our high school sweethearts. In my sister’s case she started dating her husband when she was in 8th grade. They were our prom and homecoming dates in high school and who we spent much of our time with. While my sister was in high school she got her CNA license and worked at a nursing home for some high school income. I faint at the sight of blood and worked at a few different places in high school, including the grocery store and an office supply store/RadioShack. My parents had instilled in both of us a strong work ethic, so it was normal that we didn’t play sports or do much for extracurricular activities – just worked.

As our paths continued on we both pursued associate degrees at a local technical college – hers in nursing and mine in computer programming. Neither of us officially graduated and we both decided it wasn’t the right career path for us.

During this time was when our paths split and we both chose different routes, not even realizing it. I decided during this time to end my engagement to my high school sweetheart. She chose to continue her relationship and get married. Her path was more traditional in my hometown and continued on with having two children and a dog with her loving husband. They bought a house and work in my hometown. It’s not to say they don’t have obstacles on their path, but they have persevered onward. She’s settled into her life and for this I’m envious.

The path I chose was less familiar and unpaved. Even in the unfamiliarity of it I was merely exploring, knowing I could turn around at any time and go down the other path. After technical school I moved to Madison and pursued some men along with my bachelor’s degree. I dated a man for 5 years before again feeling unsettled and ended it. I’d become very curious about the world and that curiosity veered me off the path and led me to pursuing my MBA overseas. I traveled to many countries before moving back and assumed my path would continue on as it was before I veered off again. However, I realized I wouldn’t be able to just pick up where I left off and that I was now too far away to turn back to the familiar path. I’d visit my family often, but realized that with everywhere my path had taken me I wouldn’t be able to go back to seeing the same scenery, regardless of how beautiful it was and how much I yearned for it to make me happy.

During this time I was rescued by my Knight In Shining Armor (KISA). He had explored this path and was more familiar with it than I was. He showed me things I’d never noticed before and told me stories of life very different from my own. He was so different he made me yearn for the familiarity again, fearful people on this path would know I was lost and didn’t belong.

He convinced me to veer off the path again to go down another that he knew of, but we were both unfamiliar with, and moved to San Francisco. For some reason you don’t feel quite as lost when you’re no longer alone and I found that in moving out here with him. We don’t know if we’re going to stay on this path or veer off again, but thankfully that decision isn’t required yet as we’re not at the crossroads.

No matter how far down this other path I go I can’t help but wonder how different and possibly simpler my life would be if I hadn’t chosen to break off onto this path. I look at what my sister and brothers have from taking the more familiar path and have an idea for what my life could have been. Hopefully one day soon my path will be running parallel to theirs. While my path took a little longer to get to where I wanted to be, it’s been very scenic.

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Work to Live or Live to Work?

In my adult life I feel like I’ve always defined myself by my job. I’ve been fortunate to have jobs that I was very passionate about and therefore worked very hard at doing my job well. I always thought that my work was the sole reason for my success and that maybe one day all my hard work would pay off and I wouldn’t have to work quite as hard.

In many of my past roles I did the job of multiple people and waited to be recognized or promoted for my work. Instead I am now doing the job of one person alongside another person. I have 1/5 of the sales team I used to have and about 1/5 the responsibility while being paid double and getting a manager title, instead of my former specialist title. Because I wasn’t used to this I would spend a lot of time being paranoid I’d be fired once they learned that I wasn’t insanely busy. Instead, I’ve realized that what I’ve worked my ass off for in the last decade is finally paying off. Yes, I don’t feel as busy, but part of that is because I’m more efficient and strategic with the work I do because of all the practice I’ve had. Along with that I don’t have to try as hard to prove myself because the work I do shows it for itself.

You’d think all this would be great and I’d think I had life by the horns. Instead I find myself addicted to the drive and busyness I became accustomed to. I entertain inquiries from recruiters if they talk about the prospect of me creating a training department or running it. In talking to my coworker tonight I’ve realized I’m just not challenged at work. But is that necessarily a bad thing?

Since my work has always defined me I find myself perplexed by this and wondering what other things in life I can do to challenge myself. Our motivational speaker yesterday said, “Work harder on yourself than your job.” I agree with that. I’ve been given a gift of no longer having a job that defines me, but now I need to figure out what I’m going to do with this gift.

Slowing Down

I once read an article that resonated with me, talking about how smart phones are going to harm our creativity and our minds. The article talked about how important down time is and being lost in our thoughts, but unfortunately with the mobility of smart phones (mini computers) people immediately pick up their phone and check social media, their email, the news, etc. I find that I’m not often bored or lost in my thoughts because I either have my phone or Kindle accessible to ensure I have something to do. But what’s so bad about being bored? Are we afraid of our own thoughts?

Some people say they do their best thinking in the shower. It’s quite possibly because that’s the only time they have down time. We’ve created an environment of movers and shakers, but is that making us lose our creativity as well?

This past weekend my KISA was going crazy because I spent about 10 hours total in a car. There wasn’t much for cell coverage, so I couldn’t catch up with friends or family. And, radio stations were very spotty except one tribal Native American one. That left me alone with my thoughts for quite a while. During this time I let my creative juices flow and was scheming up plans and ideas. When I’d share them with my KISA, who had a friend in town and therefore had no down time to think, he’d laugh and tell me he couldn’t keep up and that we could talk about all those things later. In person. (He knows how to handle me.)

The last two days I’ve been at a National Sales Meeting with literally no down time. Not only am I attending, but I’m also helping host, which means the breaks most people get are times for me to send emails to the RVP’s to inform them of dinner plans, or to run reports of the results from a challenge, or to explain to the blackjack dealer how we want the competition run. By the time I get back to my room at night I’m exhausted and burnt out. And left with no creative juices and being forces to be reactive with everything instead of being proactive.

I’m starting to think that maybe my February challenge should be to not only stop all social media for the month, but to use my phone for only basic needs: texting, calling, GPS, and emails. Maybe then I’ll find the time to respond to emails, write the post cards from India, call back friends, Skype with my nieces and nephews, etc. Or, you know, get bored and lost in my thoughts. Do you think you could do it for a whole month?

Sarah

What kind of effect does your name have on you? My mother tells me that when her and my father decided to name me Sarah they checked the spelling in the bible to ensure it was spelled properly. That’s it. That’s the story of my name. I wasn’t named after a family member or friend, nor is there some long story on how my name came about; it was simply that they liked the name. Unfortunately for me, the year I was born there were millions of other parents in the world that also liked the name Sarah, making my name the popular for 1983. Some decided to be trendy and dropped the ‘h’ at the end, which only added to confusion when people would ask me how I spelled my name. I find myself ignoring my name if I’m out in public or in a group setting, assuming the person is probably not calling for me, but another person named Sarah; statistically speaking they probably are.

Growing up I also hated the fact that my name could in no way be shortened. No one calls a girl named Sarah – “Sar” for short. There’s no nickname or cool thing that rhymes with Sarah. The only things I remember from my childhood that had the mere mention of my name was a book, “Sarah Plain and Tall” (which I hated because while I was tall I never felt I was plain), and a song my older brother would cruelly sing to me about a whale in San Francisco named Sarah. (In Frisco Bay there lived a whale; they fed her oysters by the pail, by thimble, by teacup, by bathtub, and by schooner. Her name was Sarah and when she smiled she just showed teeth for miles and miles and tonsils, and spare ribs, and things too fierce to mention.) Even the song “Sarah Smile” was ruined for me when I had a creepy customer that used to sing that song to me every time he called.

My first name gave me no choice but to always feel common. Everyone knows someone named Sarah. Everyone knows someone that is named Sarah and is a brunette. Hell, in my 5th grade class of maybe 90 people there were three Sara(h) R’s and they all had brown hair. I wasn’t unique.

My last name, on the other hand, is one that is not common for most people. Or else if they know someone with the same last name it’s definitely not pronounced the same way. There’s no ‘i’ in my last name, yet it’s pronounced as if the ‘e’ were an ‘i’. Anyone that passed first grade English class wouldn’t pronounce it correctly, especially since it’s the only vowel in my name. I used to spend time correcting people when they pronounced it incorrectly, but when I was about 16 I made the conscious choice to stop correctly people and to respond to however anyone pronounced it. I started to feel self-conscious and worried that maybe people thought I changed the way to pronounce my name because I wanted to sound cool. It has gotten to the point that when someone asks me for my last name I just spell it. If I say it and then spell it correctly, no one listens to what I say and just spell it like it sounds. When they ask me how to pronounce I’ll typically pronounce it the way it looks, not wanting to have to give an explanation on why there’s an ‘e’ and not an ‘i’.

In September I will officially be taking my KISA’s last name and dropping my maiden name. Is it terrible that I’m really excited about this? Not to say the legacy of my maiden name had been bad, but my name will definitely be smoother. Now I just need to figure out what I’d want to change my first name to… 😉

Touring the Majestic Grand Canyon, Part 2

I got to watch the sunrise over the Grand Canyon this morning. Well, kind of. I wanted to do the Desert Drive and head East this morning and I’d read Yaki Point was one of the best places to view the sunrise; it also happened to be one of the first stops on the drive. Well, my attention to detail was lacking this morning and I failed to read the part that said Yaki Point could only be accessed by bus. I pulled onto the road for Yaki Point and half the road was closed off with a sign saying buses only. I knew if I backtracked I would miss the sunrise since I opted to not wake up with my alarm clock, even though it was persistent in reminding me it was time. I found a parking lot just off the entrance road to Yaki Point, ditched my car, and started walking. I noticed an Asian girl that was at the parking lot, but seemed timid, so I ignored her and headed on my way. About 2 minutes later she was calling out to me, wanting to know where the best place was to take pictures. I shared my inside scoop on Yaki Point and informed her I was walking there now. She asked to join me and I agreed. (It would really be rude to not.) She was super sweet and I learned her name was Jong, she was from Shanghai, 36, had a 12 year old son that was also at Yaki Point (apparently I wasn’t the only one aware if the inside scoop), her son wanted to move to LA, and she wanted to move to San Francisco. Her English was broken, which was still better than my Chinese. She kept asking how far it was and I kept telling her it was coming up, even though I didn’t have a clue; it could have been 5 more miles. Approximately a quarter mile in we saw a sign saying Yaki Point was .75 of a mile. I relayed to Jong that it would be about another 15 minutes of walking, but I think that might have gotten lost in translation. Jong was doing her best to keep up with my quick steps (she was maybe 5′). At one point in time she asked if we could run, I’m guessing half to warm her up and half because she really thought we were almost there as I kept promising her. I laughed to myself, knowing I could run that far, but wasn’t sure she could, and agreed. About 30 seconds later she asked if we could walk again.

We finally made it to Yaki Point. The sun had already risen, but wasn’t much over the horizon. I started taking pictures and Jong started taking loads of pictures…of me. Yep. I became a celebrity as she wanted me to move to different angles so the sun was just right on my face. I think some of the other Chinese people were worried they’d miss out on taking pictures of a possible celebrity and would join in at different times. I’m sure I should be flattered, but I was super uncomfortable. Jong and I exchanged email addresses before we parted ways and promised to write. As I left to walk back I was worried she would be leaving shortly afterwards and we’d have to do the second awkward goodbye, so I decided to run back. Apparently that’s not normal. A couple cowboys at the mule ranch I ran past yelled out at me to make sure I was ok. I told them I was, without slowing down to answer them. Shortly after that I spooked about a half a dozen elk from my running. I’m not sure who was more scared – them or me. I successfully made it to my car without an awkward encounter, but definitely sweating.

I then continued on in my vacation style of stopping at every place possible, snapping a dozen pictures, and then getting back into my car to get on my way. This was in part because it was cold out and in part because the Grand Canyon was starting to lose some of its allure. For many of the stops I was the only one at the overlook and was making great time. In my head I was thinking about how I should try to get to Antelope Canyon sooner than my 1:00 tour, even though it was still a two hour drive.

My last stop was at the Desert Canyon stop, which also had a watch tower. I took my time climbing the watch tower, taking pictures, and then buying post cards at the little shop in the bottom. As I was walking out of the Desert Canyon I realized Jong was up ahead of me on the path. She was fumbling with her camera, so for a split second I thought maybe we could pass each other and not notice. As quickly as the thought flew into my head Jong noticed me and excitedly called out to me. We greeted in an awkward hug as I remembered after I’d reached out to her that Chinese people don’t really hug. We had a brief interaction, again talking about my trip to the Antelope Canyon when one of her friends informed us that they were going there too. Shit. After some exchanges back and forth her friend informed me they were going tomorrow. We did our final goodbye and parted ways, as I rushed out of the park, happy to get on the road heading out of the Grand Canyon.

Shortly after I got out of the Grand Canyon I decided to stop at one of the Native American stands that was set up to scope out the goods. I ended up buying a turquoise necklace charm that was hand crafted to look like a horse and was supposed to bring good travels. Apparently since I wasn’t wearing it on my neck it didn’t work.

I was making good time and would be to the Antelope Canyon by noon to do an earlier tour, which I was really excited about. 23 miles outside of Page, AZ, the last town you go through before getting to the Canyon, there were barricades letting you know the road was closed. Puzzled, I called the number on the Antelope Tour to find out what was going on. Apparently I was supposed to know that Hwy 89 was closed going into Page and I was supposed to have turned 40 miles back onto a Hwy that should be labeled 89A, for alternative route. I backtracked the 40 miles to the turnoff (which had no signs to warn you that the road was closed off, I should mention), and still had another hour until I was going to make it to the tour. I decided the only possible thing to do to make the tour and not lose out on my entire day was to drive 100 mph. Which I did. I made it to the tour with only a few minutes to spare.

The tour was supposed to be an hour, but it ended up taking an hour and a half. Since I hadn’t eaten lunch it felt like it was 4 hours. The other people on the tour felt it was necessary to stop and take multiple pictures of every angle of the canyon. Thankfully it’s only 1/4 mile in length, but it still took rather long. The longer it took the more claustrophobic I started to feel and felt it necessary to get out of there.

By the time we made it back to the tour headquarters it was 2:45 pm and I was supposed to be in Phoenix at 5:15 pm. Per my GPS I was destined to arrive at 8:15 pm. I raced into town, fueled up with gas, grabbed a sanity snack, and started speeding back to Phoenix. I saw multiple cop cars pull over other cars on the other side of the road and knew it to be inevitable to be pulled over. I was making great time and made it until 2 hours outside Phoenix before I was pulled over. The cop clocked me going 98…in a 65. Whoops. Thankfully I do sales training for a living and was able to talk my way out of the ticket. I set my cruise control for the last two hours of the drive back.

Touring the Majestic Grand Canyon, Part 1

Arizona is one state I’d never been to before, so I was really excited to scope it out, especially the Grand Canyon. Obviously I’ve seen pictures for the Grand Canyon before, but I’d never been overwhelmed by its beauty in the pictures. I’ve realized that while it’s remarkably beautiful, it just isn’t super photogenic.

My morning started out perfectly with a chat with my friend Jeni after I flew into Phoenix and had rented my car. As I was talking to her there were seas of cacti alongside the ride. I’m pretty sure I squealed in excitement as I was talking to her. There’s something about being alone and going on an adventure that puts me a state of nirvana like nothing else on this earth can. The drive flew by quickly and I opted to not even stop at my hotel to check in before going to the Grand Canyon as I knew I was already cutting the trip shorter than most people do. I got there shortly after 2 pm and took my time reading the maps and information at the visitor center. I allowed for a certain build-up as I followed the path to see the Grand Canyon.

I have to admit – The Grand Canyon was nothing like what I was expecting. I envisioned it as being a giant hole in the ground, like a meteor had hit. And, I’d also excepted the colors to be very dull since it was in the desert. Now having seen it, I would explain it as standing at the top of a mountain and being able to see down the mountain and across to other mini mountain tops. Only you didn’t have to do the hike up to get to it. After seeing it and taking it all in for about an hour, I was unsure if I really needed to go to other parts of the Grand Canyon for views; you kind of got an idea of what it looked like. However, it’s like the seaside cliffs in California or Australia where it doesn’t matter how much you see – different areas look just a little bit differently, and no matter how many views you’ve had it still takes your breath away.

I proceeded to drive West, knowing I wanted to settle on a viewing point by 5:00 so that I could be ready for the 5:30 sunset. I stopped at every view point along the way, scoping it out and where the sun was in the sky to try to predict where the best spot would be. I made it all the way to the end of the road and the last stop before I knew for sure where I wanted to back track to. I made it back shortly after 5:00, put my headphones in, sat on a bench, and watched the sun set as the sky changed colors and lighting over all the buttes in the distance. The best part was shortly after the sunset when the entire sky lit up in pink. It was a pretty remarkable site to see.

Tomorrow I’m heading out early to see the sunrise at the Canyon and then doing the drive East to check out all the views. I’m not sure two days are going to be long enough for me to drink it in and remember what it looked like; after one day I find myself going back through my pictures to remember the degree of the beauty. And, I have to admit that my little iPhone pictures doesn’t do it justice. Here’s a little sneak peak:

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Becoming Your Mother

Growing up I remember always worrying I’d become my mother. I’m sure there are statistics out there pointing out an insanely high chance you have of becoming your mother, but I always thought people chose to follow in the same foot steps as their mothers or else didn’t try hard enough to not be exactly like them.

Growing up I remember people fearing my mom. She had a reputation for being a lady you didn’t want to cross. Some people would tenderly refer to her as a mamma bear – others would go as far as calling her the b-word. Regardless, that’s not how I planned to be.

At 30.5 I’ve realized how much I am just like my mother. When we’re wheeling and dealing my KISA will make me be the bad cop because, as he says, I’m so much better at it. I also notice I picked up on little habits that my mom had, like my inability to leave the house when it’s dirty or to have clutter of any kind.

As an adult, and looking bad on things, I don’t know why I ever thought becoming my mother would be such a bad thing. Yes, maybe I worry too much like my mother and butt in on things I shouldn’t, but I always have the best of intentions. And, you can bet no person had ever dare cross my children or else you’ll see what kind of b-word I can be. I think I’m starting to embrace this whole becoming my mother concept.

The Grand Canyon

This weekend I’m going on a trip to the Grand Canyon. I’ve wanted to go to the Grand Canyon for some time now and this is the second time I’ve booked the trip. The last time I was supposed to go was in October of 2009 because I heard the changing of the leaves made the view even more extraordinary. I had planned to go with my current flame, Brett, but only one of us made it out there.

Exactly one week before we were to leave, a Friday night, I made one of my final attempts to break up with him. Things hadn’t been going well with us and I was trying to understand things from his perspective. We sat on the steps of his vacant house in Madison, as we’d come back to visit for the weekend to go to the Badgers football game. It wasn’t really finalized, but we were both recognizing that we wanted different things in life. There were no tears shed, just calm conversation. We had always been more friends than lovers and the lack of passion was evident even in our fights.

The following day we went to the Badgers football game, in our typical tradition. While there, Brett’s best friend, Thompson’s exgirlfriend from high school showed up (did you catch all that?). We were hanging out with Thompson, among other people. Well, this exgirlfriend also brought a friend who was also single. (I should mention Thompson, however, was not.) Both the girls were super rude to me as I was the only girl there hanging out. I didn’t think much of it. One of our single friends, Tito, was with us and tried striking up a conversation with the girls. They blew him off as well. The friend made it very clear to Thompson that she was interested in Brett. Thompson made it very clear to her that Brett wasn’t single.

After the game we stopped at a bar to tailgate and the girls somehow found their way back to our group of friends and the flirting began. At one point in time I saw Brett with his cell phone out as he was talking to this friend, Steffi. I walked over to see what was going on and he told me that he was texting his grandmother. Who’s almost 90. Apparently Steffi had just moved back to Madison from Arizona and he wanted to ask his grandmother something about Arizona. I had my suspicions, but I didn’t let it get to me. We left that bar and continued barhopping and meeting up with some friends. However, we couldn’t seem to shake those girls. Around midnight I left to go home so that I could catch an early flight out the next morning for Toronto. Brett walked me out of the bar, but opted to stay with his friends since he didn’t get to see them a lot since we left Madison. The next morning he bid me farewell and it was my last time ever seeing Brett.

On Tuesday I got a job offer from a company down in the Quad Cities, where we’d been living. I didn’t want the job, nor did I want to be down there permanently. Brett also knew this. I told him of the job offer while he was at work. I was getting ready to start conducting a sales training that afternoon, so we didn’t have long to talk. 30 seconds before I started the training I received an email from Brett saying that we should break up. During breaks I would try to email him back, asking if he wanted to talk and to see what was up. That evening, between the training and the dinner, I called Brett and chatted briefly with him. He said that in knowing I couldn’t give him my full support and blessing for him to continue his dream of competing in Ironmans that he didn’t think it was going to work. It seemed like a practical answer as we’d been talking about it quite frequently; his training season had just ended and the stress on our relationship was enough to make me incapable to support him in future trainings.

The next day, Wednesday, I contacted American Airlines to receive a credit for the flights on Friday. I’d considered still taking the trip and doing it alone, but decided instead to use that time to pack up all my things. I had paid for both the tickets on my credit card, so the flight credit was issued back to me. Later that afternoon I got a call from American Airlines. Apparently someone was trying to reinstate the tickets. I learned after calling Brett that he still wanted to go on the trip and said he was going to do it alone, which seemed very unlike him. After some further probing I found out he was actually going to be going on our trip with Steffi. Apparently they had their first date the day I left for Canada and had been making plans. She had some stuff in storage still out in Arizona, so they were going to fly out there together and then drive back with a U-Haul. I was immediately nauseas. Granted, things hadn’t worked out with him, but I was in no way prepared for him to have already moved on from things.

I didn’t have to wonder how the trip went as Steffi posted pictures all over Facebook. I never had to see the pictures as the reaction from all our mutual friends was enough for me. Unfortunately I allowed this to taint my desire to see the Grand Canyon. Or at least until now. I’ll be taking a solo trip on Saturday and Sunday to check out the Grand Canyon and all its glory…while being able to reflect on how fortunate I am that fate was working in my favor.

Work Anniversary

Today is officially one year of working at my job. I can’t even begin to explain the range of emotions I had leading up to my job and my first week of work, so instead I’ll just tell you what happened.

I interviewed for my job in December, while I was still living in Wisconsin. I had done an initial phone screening with the recruiter and was convinced he hated me. He was short with me and was very vocal about his dislike over even interviewing me since I didn’t already live in the Bay Area. I was also interviewing for another position at the time in the city and wanted a job downtown anyhow, so I dismissed it. The recruiter of the second job also did a phone screening and loved me and wanted to get me in front of their hiring manager ASAP. As the week went on that recruiter didn’t call me back. I finally followed up with her and learned that the hiring manager didn’t feel my bovine industry background would be relevant in the tech industry. I couldn’t really defend that.

Because my first choice job fell through I entertained having a second interview. This time my interview was with my future boss, not the recruiter that hated me. She was very casual and asked a lot of questions. I was trying hard to feign excitement for the position and weigh out the pros of working there. My biggest hesitation was that I would no longer be heading up the training department, even though I’d now be holding a manager title. And, I wouldn’t be working in the city, but rather commuting 40 miles one way for the job.

I guess my future boss was impressed with me and really wanted me to continue on in the interview process. I somehow convinced the recruiter that since my job would be to work with the sales team, who were all remote, that a Skype interview would be a good test of how I come across in a virtual environment. Really, it was because it was approaching Christmas and I already had plans to go to Vegas and Colorado between Christmas and New Year’s, immediately followed up with a work trip to Nebraska. How would I be able to fit San Francisco in there and afford the inflated holiday airfare costs?

For my interview I had planned to go into a conference room at my current employer’s. As fate would have it we ended up with a blizzard that day and our office was closed. It was a good thing, too, because I ended up spending four hours interviewing . Their computer audio didn’t seem to be working, so it ended up being Skype video on a computer they set up in a conference room and then audio on a speaker phone. I interviewed with the recruiter, the recruiter’s assistant, my future boss, my future boss’s boss, a superior that was in the same department, and the VP of Client Marketing. It was a long day, but as the day went on my excitement over the job grew. Or at least until my last interview. My final interview was with the VP of Sales Operations (my boss’s boss) and he seemed even less interested in me than the recruiter was. He asked me tough questions, seemed distant, and never smiled. My heart sank as we were winding up the call. When we finished we hung up the Skype portion, but I had forgotten that we did the audio portion separately on the phone. A couple seconds after I ended Skype I grabbed my phone to hang up…just as the VP said to the recruiter: “Hire her!” I immediately hung up the phone in fear they’d realize I had still been on the line and had blown my chances. I raced downstairs and told my KISA the news.

As we were out in Colorado I finally got the official job offer. I couldn’t get the extra week of vacation I wanted and instead negotiated for more pay. We had officially decided that I would start on January 22, 2013, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. day, since it was a holiday for them. I then started working backwards on the dates: if I started the 22nd I’d need to be out there the 20th or 21st. I’d need to give at least two weeks’ notice to finish up my work at my present job. I had a work trip to Nebraska I would be leaving for on January 1st from my vacation in Colorado for the remainder of that week. Oh, shit. I realized my next day in the office I’d have to put in my resignation and move in less than 2 weeks.

On January 7th I put in my resignation at my job and also got our house listed on the market. It was now becoming a race against the clock. We wanted to go back to my hometown at least once to see my family before I left. We needed to figure out how we were moving our stuff out there. I needed to book a flight out to San Francisco. I needed to find a rental car and a hotel to stay at while I looked for a place for us to live. I was in charge of finding us a house out there until my KISA could join me at the end of the month, so I started researching apartments. I had so many loose ends to up wrap up that I started to panic. This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for a cross country move. The day before I left I went through all my things and packed everything in boxes. I also packed a checked bag of things I’d need for an indefinite amount of time. When I left I never expected it to be the last time I’d ever walk in our house.

Thankfully our house sold in four days, so the biggest hurdle was taken care of. I planned my return flight for February 1st and my work had agreed to give me time off while my KISA and I finished packing up the house and driving cross country with a U-Haul and our car. I was also going to sign the closing papers in advance and have everything taken care of. I was actually excited and looking forward to the drive cross country as I’d never done that before.

The evening between my second and third day at work I got a call in the middle of the night from my KISA. He’d gotten into an accident with my car. Thankfully he was ok besides a mild concussion and some stitches. The car was less than ok. I spent the next few days looking for an apartment, getting our credit information, bank stubs, and my offer letter in line, and dealing with the insurance company as well as the car repair shop. They determined that my car was totaled and not salvageable. I was crushed. I traded in my return flight ticket for one for my KISA to fly out, realizing I wasn’t going to get to officially say goodbye to my family. The only reason we’d planned the cross country trip was because of the car, which we no longer had. We started researching moving companies and opted to have a moving company take care of loading, moving, and unloading our furniture. And, that was the end of my first week at work.

When my KISA got off the plane on February 1st he had a suitcase with our air mattress, blankets, and a couple of pillows. I met him at the BART stop and walked with him with our keys in hand to our new apartment. We had four days until the movers would come with our stuff, so we planned to camp in our apartment as we began our life in San Francisco.

New Apartment

What Kind of Parent Do You Want to Be?

As a follow-up to yesterday’s posting, I wanted to share some insight I received.

My dear friend Jenny shared with me a video from a girl dubbed the “World’s Ugliest Girl”. This is a girl that has every reason to hate the world because of a disease she was born with and the cruelty of the world she has endured. However, instead of being a victim she chose to write her own life and became a motivational speaker. Her story and courage are incredible and she attributes it all to good parenting.

Today my friend Jeni and I were talking about my posting and she brought up a really good point: “I don’t think worrying about those external factors is as important as being the type of parent who can cultivate tools for their children to thrive in the face of any adversity.” (Yeah, she’s super wise; why do you think I keep her around?) My reaction to racism and hatred is more hatred, but what would that teach my children when they are faced with any cruelness people hurl at them?

I can choose to be angry at every racist person my children may one day encounter or give my children the strength Lizzie has to help them define themselves instead letting others define them. I need to focus my energy on learning how to create that environment instead of worrying about what city we end up in.