Ugly-ette

So here we are at our little “Homeplace Inn + Suite”. What a lovely name. There were some major selling points in choosing this place, like the abundance of ants, the grubby neighbors knocking on the door at ungodly hours of the night, the low-on-juice smoke alarm that keeps beeping in a random manner, the room deodorizer that can’t decide whether wants to cover up the moldy smell or one-up it, their lack of tolerance for pets of any kind, oh, and the lowest price on the market.

One of their biggest selling points is that their rooms include a “kitchen-ette”. Such a lovely word. Like a dinnette, for instance, is a nice word for a nice thing- a small, cute, European trademark. Or Paulette. Reminds you of that sweet diner waitress who served your first Georgia waffles and called you “Hun”. Adding ette onto the end of a word should automatically imply that it’s fancy or wonderful in a modern way. It’s referring to the fact that precious things come in smaller packages. Things that have “ette” on the end should have unrealized, undiscovered potential.

Let’s look at the suffix “ette”. Here are the definitions that I found.

-ette

suff.

1. Small; diminutive

2. Female

3. An imitation or inferior kind of cloth

I would have to say that our “kitchenette”(let’s just call it this for lack of a worser name) takes after #3, minus the cloth part. Our kitchenette is just enough of an imitation that it feels like a joke, like it’s mocking us with its semblance of potential without any of the usual perks, like convenience or usefulness. We have just enough cupboard space to make me want to put stuff away, only to realize that none of it fits. There’s also enough counter space on which to rest a teaspoon, but of course, that would be exaggerating.

Basically, this kitchenette is like camping without the trees. Like a slip-n-slide with just a belly flop. Like Oreos without the lard.

But all in all, it will get us by for five days. As long as we can hide Mirabelle and keep her from sitting on our windowsill (THAT would be a dead giveaway). Perhaps we need to see the potential as it lies in the future- the promise of our nice, luxury apt. awaiting us on Friday. Perhaps all of this is meant to be dissatisfying to make sure that we appreciate what is to come.

And so, until then, we will continue to stuff all the food we can into our refrigerator. Or should I say, “refriger-ette” .

Operation: Not Be Homeless

Well, as most of you know, Jesse and I were extremely interested in buying a house when we got out here to Dallas. We did a ton of research ahead of time and realized that it’s a definite buyer’s market out here- ripe for the picking. Whenever I told anyone about the cheap prices of houses in Texas, they always said things like, “Well, that’s because it’s ugly out there”, or, “Oh, anywhere with that big of houses- you know it has to be just MISERABLE weather!!”

Well, surprisingly, neither of those is true- it’s flat out gorgeous out here! Just 10 min. north of Dallas are beautiful towns sitting on the edge of lakes, nestled amongst trees. Not only that, but most of the construction (even the apartments) that they do out here is brick, so all of the houses look superb, in my opinion. Plus, they are huge. And I mean huge. For less than $400,000 you can own a house with 3 separate wings (around 5,000 sq/ft). Many of the homes that I teach piano in are actual castles, complete with moats.

ANYWAYS, we were very interested in buying a house- both as a long term investment, and as a place to live in the meantime. However, we came to the long and drawn out conclusion that as good of an investment as this might be, it was not conducive to our lifestyle. For example, the areas that are the best for investing are those with the amazing school districts like Southlake, Grapevine and Coppell. When I say amazing school districts, I mean amazing. Some of this is measured by their athletic teams (Southlake football games are frequently broadcasted on ESPN) with facilities better than most State colleges.

Now, their is no such thing as income tax in Texas. So how do they pay for the schools, you may ask? HEFTY PROPERTY tax (up to %25). And guess which 3 cities have the highest? Bingo. The three that are the best for investing. Now, if we had kids to send to these great schools, it would be worth it. But then…we would have kids. And that’s not conducive to any lifestyle, is it??

Other things that were not conducive to our fast-paced lifestyle included house maintenance. We thought about solving this problem with a townhome, but the HOA dues in the nicer areas are to the tune of $300-400/mo. There was also the option of buying a brand new home on the outskirt of town for around 80k (yeah, for real), but again, our lifestyles include a ton of driving that DOESN’T happen on the edge of town.

So, as investments go, it was a good idea. As far as the way our lives are structured for the time being, it would have been a distraction from the academic reasons that we moved here. So, after three weeks of searching, we turned to renting. We knew right away that we didn’t want to rent a house, mainly because the apartment complexes are soooo dang good around here! They are like mini cities with everything you could ever need. One complex’s fitness center actually included a boxing ring! Most have free tanning salons, a few dry cleaning services, restaurants, grocery stores, and even car washes on the premises.

So, we turned our attention to the nicer, more luxury style apartments, since even these are not comparable to prices in LA. We realized that if there was ever a time in our lives to live it big in something like a loft or penthouse, this was it. I mentioned what we were doing to a few of my piano lesson moms and they got this wistful look in their eye and said, “Man! If I didn’t have kids and could go back and do it all over again….”

Sooooo, we put in our deposit for one today! Here’s the website, iffin you want to see. tuscanvillasapartments.com. Our floorplan is A2 with the optional sitting room/office. We’ve decided to stick with this floor plan for a while, and then upgrade to a two bedroom after 6 months if we decide that we would like more room. There’s also a sweet 24 hr. fitness center right next to the lobby, so I won’t need a gym membership!

Anyways, this completes Operation: Not Be Homeless for the time being. Tune in later for more!

The Texas Conspiracy Part 2

Well, it is time to commence with the end of my story. I will make it brief, seeing as 40 hrs. a week is definetly taking it’s toll!

So there I was, standing outside Dallas Presbyterian without an umbrella. Actually, I should say that I was running, for I heard somewhere that if you run, the raindrops can’t catch up to you. Don’t look at me, it’s Science! (that was for you, Buddy).

Anyways, the interview was everything that an interview should be, probably the best one that I have ever experienced. The doctor was a sweet Christian man who fights abortion in his spare time (we managed to talk about this for like forever!). The nurses were all sweet and courteous. The benefits package was sweet- 100% covered and paid for dental and medical. Of course, this is to be expected when you work private practice in a hospital. This is so they can avoid: “Hi, I’m Kelly. Don’t shake my hand, I have gangrene.”
2 hrs. after I left, the Dr. called me and personally offered me the job, starting at 40k/year. It was too perfect.

And I turned it down! For some inexplicable reason, after 24 hrs. of intense deliberation, God told me very clearly that I was supposed to stay with my prior commitment to Melodie. After talking to her again, it seemed that we could get things situated such that all of my work/driving would be consolidated to Tues./Thurs. days and Mon./Wed. evenings so that I could get a MWF parttime job. Not that I had one or anything, but hey, that’s why it’s called Faith!

When I told Jesse, he was flabbergasted. He had a hard time seeing my rational in turning down what looked like a total Godsend. “Come on Jesse”, I said, “it’s not every day that you get to throw a perfect opportunity in the dumpster!!! Look how fun and totally wise this is!” <insert a toss of the ponytail >.

For some reason, I just knew that I had to trust God’s leading in this area. I knew that He didn’t give me a love for teaching just to go sit in an office on the phone with insurance companies. I knew that He would provide, and that until he did, I would just have to settle with making only five hundred dollars a week for the two of us. We would be poor, broke, but hey, there would be piano music!!!

No less than 24 hrs. later, God handed me the perfect part time MWF job I had always wanted- teaching 11th grade American Lit. I had my interview last Friday, and started on Monday. At first, I am subbing for a teacher who just had a tumor removed from his lung. Once he is back from recovery, they are dividing their English classes in two so that I can teach 3 of them. Here’s the school website, if you want to see it: http://www.bohs.com/

So there it is. I did what was potentially one of the stupidest things in my life only to find out that it was one of the smartest. I have exactly the type of resume building job that I need for my career, and I am now making more than I would have at the Medical Office. Plus, this way I don’t have to work for a Monkey Doctor!! (Gynecologist for those of you that don’t know my strangely acquired terminology:)

Intermission

Before I continue with what happened in the job saga, requests have been made about some of the more day to day details of our new life. It doesn’t occur to me to talk about them, because they don’t seem as dramaticly narrative:)

As far as friends go, we have met a few that seem pretty awesome. When we went to our new church last weekend, St. Seraphim OCA Cathedral in Dallas, we met this lady named Katy. We saw her the week before at Saturday Vespers when we were with Mike and Courtney, but we didn’t get a chance to talk to her. The next Sunday (a week ago), she came up and introduced herself. It went something like this, but much more bubbly: “Hi, I’m Kaaattty!!! Are you guys Russian? I didn’t talk to you last week because I figured you didn’t know any English!” Apparently, I now look Russian. Maybe you’re right Mom, I am too pale!!!

Anyways, she introduced us to her daughter, Christiana, who is a 15 yr. old high school student who is very beautiful, but a pure Plato nerd through and through. She also knows Latin like it’s her native language. This was very illustrated when we walked out of church and one of the deacons walked up to her and said, “Christiana…..I have a present for you!” and handed her the Vulgate. She stopped, grinned sheepishly, and took it saying to us, “What. This is who I am. Now you know. Don’t judge me!” She explained that she likes to do her morning and evening bible reading in another language so that she can be solidifying two things at once!

Katy also introduced us to her young adult friends and godchildren Benjamin, John, Curtis, and James. After bringing us upstairs to see her bible memory game that she had put together for all of the Sunday school children, she invited us out to lunch at Madeleine’s, this great cafe restaurant chain that they have here. Sure enough, all eight of us went and ordered lunch (every single worker in the entire restaurant knew Katy by name and kept giving her free stuff). And you know what? Five hours went by and we were all STILL THERE! It was crazy, we kept talking about stuff forever, from church to movies to books that we had read. It was awesome, it felt almost as good as home. At one point, Katy leaned over to me and said, “Do you have a cell phone? Can I have your number? You are so new here, you must be lonely!” I nodded yes, and she went, “Ohhh!!! I’ll be your friend!!” It was very cute.

As far as other friends, I still haven’t been able to get in contact with Jeanne Luthi, my old friend from junior high who goes to the University of Dallas. But I will soon.

Other stuff….Jesse likes his classes a lot, although Greek is “kicking his butt” (he says this, but he was in the measly 12% of the class who passed their quiz last week!). The teacher is a former student of Al Geier’s, and is HARDCORE. Jesse says it takes him at least 1/2 hr. after class before his butt cheeks start un-clenching. Uh oh, he probably didn’t want me to say that. Anyways, apparently it’s harder than normal Greek because they are learning all of the accents and it’s Attic Greek. It’s seriously taking him a minimum of 2 hrs./day studying (even weekends- like right this minute!) But they said by next year he should be able to read the Plato’s Dialogues. He is also taking Ethics, and Philosophy of Being, and looking for a job.

Mirabelle is back to her old self again, only a lot more cuddly and lovable. Her favorite new toy, and I kid you not, is a water bottle (something about the fact that she can bite it and it bounces back again…). She also has learned to play fetch with her new feather toy. There was one time that we almost lost her, I opened the door and there was this family of midget cats right outside. They are the weirdest looking creatures ever, a phenomena in and of themselves in that they have no joint in their legs, just 4 inch stumps. They also have phylasoraptor meows. Anyways, Mirabelle heard them and went to kill them like the courageous lion that she is. Only, I picked her up and threw her back in the house.

That’s it for now!