Sunday, April 27, 2014


Decisions. Lots and lots of decisions. Decisions have been threatening to overwhelm me since returning from nationals. It hasn't helped that the bronchitis I was lucky enough to get has made doing anything quite difficult.

But I am starting to make some decisions on what the future holds for me . . .

For starters, I'm moving. Hopefully June 1st, but if I find an apartment I love that isn't open until July 1st, I'd move then. But the point is. I'm moving. I could wait until I sell, but that would just continue to keep me in limbo - and that's not a healthy place for me to be. I've prayed about this, and it feels like the right decision.

And I'm selling this mobile home. For cheap. It has repairs that need to be made, but I'm selling it cheap enough that a person would still be able to afford the repairs. I don't know how long it will take to sell, but again, I'm going to have faith that it will sell when the time is right.

I've been doing some online apartment searching and will start calling around on Monday. I have 4 absolute requirements: 1. Must allow cats 2. Must have garage 3. Must have washer/dryer hookups 4. Must have A/C. Then, I have some "preferences" which I would ignore for a great place, they are: 1. Is on 1 level (no stairs) 2. Has a patio or other outdoor space 3. Has additional storage space.

I'm going to try very hard to avoid being overwhelmed in the apartment search, and I'm praying that I'll know when I've found the perfect place for me and the cats. In the mean time, I'm starting to pack! I got some free boxes at Books-A-Million that are the perfect size and also collected boxes I've been saving for a while from my storage unit. If I pack a little every day, it shouldn't be too overwhelming.
Convenient that I have space in the flooded bedroom for stacking boxes!
One other thing . . . remember when this blog started out as a dating blog? Well, I may have some "date-ish" posts in the near future as I've been messaging a couple of guys on PoF. And I may have asked one out for coffee . . .

Thursday, April 24, 2014


There is this phenomenon known as "tournament hangover," and it is especially a problem when all the national tournaments are finally over. After a 10 hour overnight bus ride, we arrived back in EC at 7am. I then proceeded to sleep 19 of the next 24 hours. Typical tournament hangover response.

But then, the coughing started. And I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed.

Then I attempted to teach my listening class between coughing fits. Then I went to the doc who diagnosed bronchitis. I was put on a Z-pack & prednisone. I requested Tussionex, which is a super-strong cough syrup that is the ONLY thing that quiets my cough so I can sleep. The doc (actually a nurse practitioner) didn't think I needed it, so she told me to try Mucinex. So I did. And guess what happened all night? I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed and I coughed. And got pissed.

So I made ANOTHER appointment in Urgent Care so I could get the dang cough syrup. After waiting an hour and 40 minutes, I had to leave and take Karen and a student to the EC airport so they could head to the last tournament of the year. I raced back across town to Urgent Care and waited another 30 minutes for the doctor to see me. My appointment that was supposed to occur at 11:30 occurred at 2:35. But at least I had a doctor who understood the reason I needed this prescription (it could have been the hysterical crying that occurred in between coughing fits.)

So now, I am finally home, back in pajamas, already coughing less a mere 30 minutes after taking the cough syrup. I have so much grading and paperwork and laundry and housecleaning to do . . . but it's just going to have to wait until I am feeling better . . . Until then, I am in bed with my laptop propped up on a pillow and a kitty under my arm, watching a Law and Order marathon courtesy of Hulu.

Monday, April 21, 2014


I was honored to be asked to speak during the non-denominational Easter service held between rounds at the National Forensics Association National Championship Tournament. I was asked to address "What Easter means to me." Here was my answer . . .

"I had a heartbreaking conversation with my niece several years ago. She had made the very hard, very brave decision to "come out" as a lesbian to her family. Their reactions left her wondering if she still wanted or needed God in her life, because the beliefs she had grown up with were being used as a weapon. After being warned that she was a sinner over and over, she was exhausted. I remember taking her in my arms, holding her tight and reminding her that we are all worthy of God's love. It was a reminder to me as well, that even though others may judge me, I am the only one who knows where I sit with God.

So, what does Easter mean to me? It's a reminder that we have all sinned, we have all questioned our relationship to God and we have all doubted if we are worthy of God's love. Easter is also a reminder that thousands of years ago, before we all came into the world, we were loved. And God sent Jesus so that we would understand the depths of that love.

Next summer, my niece will marry the love of her life. She and her soon-to-be wife have asked me to officiate. And while I am honored, I am even more thrilled that they want to speak their vows before God, knowing that their love for each other is only possible because God loved them first."
After the service, I had several gay students approach me and thank me for my inclusiveness. It made me sad that my words are the exception to what they normally hear. I really, really hope they feel loved.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I got a call from the claims lady . . . and it's a good news/bad news scenario . . .

The good news is that the insurance company is going to do a flat cash-payout for the mobile home repairs. That means they are sending me a check for "X" amount and I can do with it what I want. The amount is close enough to what I was hoping to profit from the sale, that I'll take it!

The bad news is, I'm still stuck with the trailer. And selling it in the state it's in could be challenging. In the short time I've had to process all this, I came up with the idea of wondering if I could donate it to a charity organization, and maybe take a tax write-off. I asked one of my colleagues about this, and she asked what I would want to sell it for . . . then she said she might be interested in buying it for one of her kids to live in. Since I leave in 9 hours and 13 minutes for Michigan, we are going to talk more when I get back.

The other good news I got was a call for an interview. The place I've always worked summers at isn't hiring seasonal help, and I applied at a place that I have literally dreamed of working at for years. I'm not going to name it because, well, I don't want to jinx anything! My interview is Friday, April 25th and I'm SO EXCITED!!

And now, I'm going to forget about all my house drama and focus my attention on my forensics team, who head to NFA tonight. I'm relieved to not be in as much limbo as I was yesterday, so I can give them my full energy and attention. It's going to be so much fun!

Monday, April 14, 2014


Today, Justin from Mobile Home Stuff Store came to figure up an estimate on repairs. While Servicemaster has done a great job with drying things out, they are less familiar with the wonkiness of a mobile home. Justin, an expert in mobile home repair, immediately found several damp areas Servicemaster had missed. I should have an estimate from him in a day or so. Currently, the mess looks like this:

Tomorrow the appraiser comes, so, that should be fun. I'm still doing OK managing my anxiety of being in limbo, but I'm not sure how much longer I can last.

On top of that, I had to go to the doctor today because I thought I had a pinched nerve in my neck or shoulder. Turns out I had 4 pulled muscles through my neck, back and arm - probably from moving furniture out of the flood zone. Since my trusty Vicodin wasn't touching the pain, I got Percocet. I'm happy to report it helped the pain tremendously, but didn't make me sleepy or goofy. At least, I don't think it did. I was told to not lift anything heavy and to ice my shoulder 3 times a day. This is nearly impossible because 1) I have packing to do and luggage to load and 2) I won't have great access to ice on the bus to Michigan.

Oh yea . . . I get on a bus in 50 hours and 16 minutes to head to the NFA national tournament in Ypsilanti Michigan. I'm sure that will be good for my aching body.

Friday, April 11, 2014

At least . . .

I have been awake since 4am, worrying about crap I can't control. This is life with anxiety.

I'm now convinced that the repairs will be $2 and take 4 months to complete and I'll be so exhausted from the repairs taking so long that I'll have no energy to try and sell the trailer so 20 years later I'll still have my mobile home because I never sold it and I will end up with more and more cats because I'm depressed I never sold the trailer and there's no one to stop me from adding to the posse and eventually I'll become an episode of Animal Hoarders and when they interview me I'll be wearing a sweater made of cat hair and I'll repeat over and over "At least I have the trailer title! At least I have the trailer title! At least I have the trailer title!"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Emotional Rollercoaster

The past 48 hours have been turbulent. Get ready, because this is another post about another home disaster. But without revealing too much of the ending, I'll just say there is light at the end of the tunnel. So let's go 48 hours back in time and explore my latest overly-dramatic adventure . . .

I arrived home from Phoenix at 5pm on Tuesday. I was exhausted and oh-so-proud of my forensics team, which placed 18th at the AFA-NIET. GO BLUGOLDS!! I was met at the door by Tonks & Luna, who demonstrated how much they missed me by head slamming and body slamming me over and over again. As I scratched their ears and answered their meows in my high-pitched-kitty voice, I slowly became aware that I was hearing something odd.

I listened more closely, and realized I was hearing water ping against metal. Time stood still for a moment as my brain worked at decoding what this meant, and then started to panic as I realized what it was. There was water dripping into my heating vent. BOOM! The bottom dropped out of my stomach. I ran through the living room to the guest room, which was the source of the sound. As I stepped across the threshold, water lapped over the top of my foot. Crap. My eyes went from the water I was standing in, to the water covering the floor, to the water standing in the guest bathroom, which was coming from the overflowing toilet. I splash-ran across the room and turned off the water at the base of the toilet. Then I grabbed a blanket off the day bed and threw it on the ground, thinking I could sop up the water. The blanket floated for a moment, then sank, completely submerged in water.

With the background noise of water dripping into the vents, I ran back out to the living room to retrieve my cell phone. I called my insurance agent (Dan Flynn with American Family - I HIGHLY recommend this company!) who gave me a list of things to do. Next, I called the claims number to start the claim process. Then I called Servicemaster and spoke to Mike, who said he would be to my house within the hour.

I hung up the phone . . . and completely fell apart. WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING??? What had I done that screwed up my karma so badly that I continued to have this string of bad luck??? How was I going to survive another disaster?? I called my mum and then completely freaked her out by crying so hard and talking so incoherently she had no idea what was going on. She finally figured out I wasn't injured and something horrible had happened to my house and she just kept repeating, like a mantra, "You'll be OK. You are a strong woman. You'll be OK." After hanging up with her, I continued to hyperventilate and cry for another 20 minutes while I started moving stuff out of the guest room.

All the stuff from the guest room & bathroom, sitting in the kitchen!
Then I realized Mike, the Servicemaster guy, was going to show up any minute. I really didn't want to ugly-cry in front of a complete stranger, so I pulled myself together.

Mike arrived with his son Mitchell, and they got to work doing moisture readings. It was worse than I originally realized. I hadn't even noticed that 1/3 of the living room carpet was also wet as the water had seeped under the wall. Mark and Mitchell used a bunch of equipment to extract as much water as possible.
Then they set up a dehumidifier and 5 air-movers to start the drying-out process.
He said he'd be back on Wednesday with more guys to remove carpet and get to work on the water in the vents and bellypan of the trailer. They were here over 3 hours. By the time they left, it was after 9pm and I was physically and emotionally exhausted.

Monday morning, Mike and Sam showed up. They got to work removing carpet and freaking me out. I kept overhearing things like "Well, that doesn't look good." "Oh, that doesn't look good either." "Yikes, that's really bad." Sam was able to shimmy under the mobile home and make some holes in the bellypan, and tons of water poured out. Mike was getting ready to call in a rough repair estimate in to the claims adjuster, and I was shocked when he said $17,000 was the estimate.  (Why so high? Because 3 rooms need new sub-floor & carpet plus the insulation and bellypan need to be completely replaced.) I told him this 30 year old mobile home, while in good shape, wasn't worth that much.

Today, I got a call from the claims adjuster. She said an appraiser was coming out early next week to appraise the value of the home. If the home is valued less than the repairs, the insurance company would do a "cash buyout" - kind of like when you total a car. I may have "totaled" my house. But in a way, this could be good news.

This summer, my plan was to sell my house. Now, it's quite possible that the insurance company may take care of that for me with a cash buyout. Wait - WHAT?? As I've been processing this today, it occurred to me that this could become a big mess because I still don't have my title. I've been trying to get the correct combination of paperwork in to the state so they will finally send me the title with the correct name on it (not my married name!)

When I went to get the mail today, guess what was in my mailbox? Yep. The title. I feel like God is telling me "Yes. All the angst of the last 48 hours leads to this. Perhaps you should have trusted in My plan from the get-go!"

In all honesty, I have been praying for guidance and calm in selling this mobile home. But it seems I forgot to actually listen for an answer. There is still a lot up-in-the-air regarding my water disaster, and I have many questions and decisions to make, but already I feel calmer. I'm going to remember that when I ask, God always answers. I just have to remember to listen.  

Thursday, April 3, 2014


I'm packed. I've weighed my bag to make sure it's not over the 50 pound limit. I've checked my list and am certain I'm not forgetting anything. Classes are done. Grading is caught up. Cat/house sitter has a key . . .

I AM READY TO HEAD TO THE 2014 AFA-NIET!!! For those of you who don't "do" forensics-speak, that means I'm heading to nationals. It is the time of year we have worked towards since last August. I am so excited. Yes, there is the excitement of competition - of watching my students get to put their hearts and hard work on the line. But there is also the excitement of seeing old friends - former students, coaches I've known for years. There will be so many hugs.

But it is bittersweet. Students have to say goodbye to speeches and pieces they have been working on for 8 months. Seniors have to say goodbye to an activity that shaped the person they have become. Coaches have to say goodbye to the team as they know it. Next fall the dynamics will be all new.

I predict laughter. I predict tears. I predict lives will be touched and lives will be changed by the performances.

And so many memories will be made. Memories that will become team lore. Memories that will be brought up by alumni and coaches and shared with new forensic teams.

I just can't wait for it to start. But once I starts, it begins to be over . . . so I'm a little torn . . .