Last winter I was cleaning toilets because the Austin job market was IN the toilet. As a freelancer, I had reached the point where I had no money coming in and it pained me to take a job that paid minimum wage. Cleaning toilets started at $15/hr and had a schedule flexible enough that I could continue to work with clients that were struggling to get by.
Life handed me lemons, I was making lemonade. I moved up cleaning toilets. I started making more money, I was given a false sense of security as I churned out gallons of lemonade. [ I also got a clearer picture of the economic situation in Austin. I was thoroughly disgusted by the fact that dual income families had to have housemates.] Last spring, I realized, if you are going to make lemonade, there should really be a lemonade stand to go with it.
Yes, when you are drowning, you seek out the first thing to keep your head above water, but eventually you have to check to make sure that the thing that you are holding onto isn’t going to get sucked under the current as well.
In May, I resigned from cleaning toilets. I had gone to Chicago for the weekend, and after several failed attempts to get back to Austin, I decided that maybe I was due for a change. I started scavenging for the next thing. I could hit the road with my housemate and go west. Then what? Stay there? Go back to Austin? Maybe Head east and watch my friends kids until I found a job? Move to Dallas? I packed my things in storage and I went west.
The whole process of getting out of Texas and to California taught me a valuable lesson. When life starts to look like the scene in the “B” horror movie where you are squirming in your chair telling the innocent teens not to go into the basement, run back up the stairs and get the fuck out of the cabin in the woods.
I knew exactly how much stuff I had with me, I could call a friend to come and get me or my credit cards could get me a rental car and a hotel. In the end, I was picked up and the credit card paid for lunch. Now to figure out life. I had planned to go back to Austin in August and meet with a bridal client and pick up my car. But did I really want to drive back to California only to turn back around? Meanwhile my Bay Area friends told me that I should look at jobs in the area.
I had too much with me to to just pack it all up and take in on a plane so I forged ahead with both plans, I went back to Austin for the car and the bridal client. I had job interviews scheduled for my return. I spent the summer crashing with a friend. I had given myself until August to figure out a plan to stay in California, or head back and set up camp in Dallas. I was officially done with Austin.
After a month of freelancing, applying for jobs and going on interviews, I got a job offer. After a month of commuting, I found an apartment. Things were looking up. Even better, I am NOT settling. I have a job that is currently using all of my brain, I make more than minimum wage, and I have health insurance.
So lesson learned, when life hands you lemons, if you are only making lemonade, you best learn how to swim or you will drown. Keep swimming until you can get yourself a lemonade stand.
So, I am officially free of the government shackles that held me steady for the last 10 years. As of December 1st I am a free agent. So what does that mean? Infants and Hipsters is a reality. I watch Scout three days a week and I stitch at Frock on Vintage on Fridays and Saturdays. Most importantly, I have a weekend.
The last month of transitions was rough (the last 6 months of engineering this plan was rough). I think everything is in order. I have health insurance, a dba, a new bank account, and I applied for a sales tax permit. I managed to get it all done before Mercury went into Retrograde (I am not into astrology, but it is more than coincidental that something in my life goes wrong during this time).
What’s on Tap for December? I’ve already crossed off decorating for xmas. I need to convince Scout that napping is a good thing (she is opposed to sleeping in general). Getting my business stuff in order for filing taxes. Making a suit for M. Writing. Reading the stack of books on my nightstand. Researching bands for SXSW [BTW. They released the third round of artists.] Working with Savannahred on her plus sized clothing line.
Whether you are 34 or 14 it isn’t any easier telling a boy that you like him. I did so this past weekend (via email because I was too chicken to say it out loud). It was that or be stuck living the life of Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful (One of my favorite John Hughes films. I have a thing for gingers.). I had a hunch that I would not get the same ending as the movie (below). Instead I had a panic attack related to the “I like you” email and ended up day drinking with Meg and Chris. Then there was the long wait until that evening when the let down email arrived.
With all the stress affiliated with the sale of the house, I look back and think that I was more stupid than brave to take this on. I now had one less person to lean on. But at the same time, I really needed to rip the band-aid off or risk an even bigger let down when he found someone else.
So here’s our girl Watts snagging the hot ginger. I am off to figure out what plan B is. So far it involves Speed Dating on Saturday evening (hopefully I end up with more than a blog post after this one).
My house is no longer my problem. The last 2 months of waiting on baited breath that the deal doesn’t fall through were hell. It got worse as closing day got closer. Cutting that $4k check to the title company hurt (I lost my underpants on this sale). Papers were signed on Monday, and after several panic attacks I got the news that afternoon that it was a done deal.
So what now? If we are tossing out long term albatrosses, I suppose the next thing to go is my day job. Ten years of government employment is decreasing my net worth.
Life is busy as usual. But if it wasn’t, why get out of bed in the morning?
As I try and figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I’ve been working more hours on things that aren’t my day job in the hopes of keeping my options open. I’ve even taken on a few bridal clients, but in between these jobs I managed to have some fun projects roll though.
A friend of mine asked me if I could make a Harry Potter robe. I asked if it was for HP7.2. He said yes, but it was also for life in general. I laughed and decided it would be fun to make that happen. I made his robe and then I gave in to the HP hype and made my own robe (Ravenclaw of course). Then we joined the rest of the fans at midnight to see the show. It was good to have a night off. Life is short so why not make the most of it (even if it means wearing a polyester wizard robe in 90 degree weather). I don’t plan on discussing the movie. Other than OMG! Neville got hot.
The next day I got word that a friend of mine had passed away. She had been sick for several years but you always try and hope for the best in situations like these. It was a strange day. I felt like I was on autopilot. As much as I wanted to be of help to her family and friends, I wanted to be selfish and revel in what I had. I ended up spending the afternoon with Meg. Then I drowned my sorrows in the world of Harry Potter (The Highball threw a great party to mark the end of an era).
Last night Passion Pit played “Dreams” by the Cranberries. [For the most part their set sucked. I love PP, don’t get me wrong, but the sound was horrible. M and I walked around to a few different spots on the way back from the port-o-lets and the sound was bad everywhere. ] I was a big Cranberries fan in highschool/college and that song manage to restore my faith in PP and remind me that life is hard and sometimes you just have to fumble your way through it in order to get where you want to go.
Main Entry: 1fum·blePronunciation: \ˈfəm-bəl\
intransitive verb 1 a : to grope for or handle something clumsily or aimlessly b :<fumbled in his pocket for a coin> c : to search by trial and error d : blunder
to make awkward attempts to do or find something 2 : to feel one’s way or move awkwardly
3 a : to drop or juggle or fail to play cleanly a grounder b : to lose hold of a football while handling or running with it
So here’s the deal, when I turned 33 I was told by my Yenta that it would be the best year ever. But it was unclear as to whether I had to make it my best year, or if I could sit back and just have it dished out to me. I decided I didn’t want to wait. I had things to accomplish. 1) Sell my fucking house before it was Africa hot out (mowing the lawn in 100 degree weather is not cool. 2) Live irresponsibly in someone else’s property (aka apartment) somewhere in the numbered streets. 3) Leave the country.
Here’s the part where I think it is appropriate to add “flying by the seat” of one’s pants to the definition of fumbling.
Here is a snapshot of what has been going on in my life:
It’s been a hectic six months. Stay tuned for what’s to come
I get that this picture doesn’t make a whole bunch of sense, but it does if you think about it. I took this with my iPhone after lunch today. It was all I had on hand, and it’s the best version I could have expected. Something caught my eye and I snapped it. Get it now?
I’ve been in school now for just about 2 and 1/2 years after screwing up more than I’d like when I was younger. I have straight A’s now. I’m on the dean’s list, and am poised to graduate magna cum laude. Who would have thought I’d be here?
I’m writing code, which isn’t natural for me. It’s the other side of my personality that I’ve never fully explored. I’m better at it than I thought I’d be. I’m actually enjoying it more than I thought I would too. I first signed on to the CS business because I thought it would make me more well rounded. After only a week, I can see why all my dudes do this for a living.
I’m learning to balance my time with friends and other responsibilities better. I truly think all this has come with some distance and age from my former self. Yes I do go out, a lot, but I also get my stuff done. I’m a better friend than in the past when I’ve been in relationships. I don’t ignore my friends for my SO anymore.
And that won’t happen again. My friends are such a part of what makes me who I am. I now realize it was silly maybe even juvenile to devote all my attention to whatever was the new thing. I know that I like to dive in head first, but there’s a better approach that than I was capable of before.
(This is a side note, but also, listening to Mono makes my life seem super epic. Maybe they also have something to do with how I’m feeling.)
Not only the developing of closer/better relationships, but valuing them more. I always valued relationships in the past, but now it’s not about what I can get, but instead they are becoming more about what I can give.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an altruistic saint or anything, but I understand now, more than before how I can get something by giving. (Sorry this is a bit sappy dudes. I had a super nice weekend, and am feeling all warm and fuzzy.)
Yeah, so I’ve been a little MIA recently. Well truth be told, no news is good news. There has been some things going on recently, but nothing really to note. I finished my application to UT the other night, just in the nick of time. Whew. I had Meg’s husband, Jen, and Owen’s dad go over my essays. They were OK, but I feel like the real reason why I’d get into UT is my resume. I mean, I’m 27 years old, I have some real life experience, and I’m not some punk kid anymore. (OK, so yeah, I still have purple hair, but… you know what I mean.)
I was thinking about it, and I’ve now officially lived in Austin for 6 years. Hard to believe, right? Feel’s like it was just yesterday that Carla and I packed up my little corolla with D in the back seat and hoofed it down here.
It’s pretty cool for me to think about how much Austin has been a place that’s facilitated my growth into an adult. Yeah, I’m not totally an adult yet, I don’t have a career, or a house, or a kid… but you know there’s so much about who I am that has changed since that fateful day 6 years ago.
I’ve been through a few “serious” relationships. I’ve been through a few “non-serious” relationships. I’ve had a few different jobs, lived a few different places, and made a few friends. It’s not that I have it all figured out, I don’t really believe that anyone does, but I now at least feel like I have more of a path than I did before.
Maybe that’s what growing up is really all about. I don’t want to have the end point all figured out just yet, but I feel a little better knowing the general direction I’m heading. Finishing this application to UT is just that step. Who knows for sure if I’ll be here when I finish school, I don’t even know if I’ll get into UT. I hope so, but it’s not an easy school to get into, and I’m much better in person than I am on paper.
Yep, just sayin’, keep yer fingers crossed for me (but only one hand because two hands is bad luck).
So last night I went to yet another clothing swap. 3 hours of fun. Hanging out with some friends in my underwear trying on things from each others closets (Sorry guys, swaps are usually ladies only.). Discussing life, discussing the effects of gravity…
I brought 5 or 6 bags of stuff and left with 2 (I had some leftovers from a previous swap along with some stuff from my closet.). Meg left with a large bag of stuff along with about 7 or 8 layers of clothing on her body (Yeah, we decided that it would be fun for her husband to unwrap her.)
So how does this swap thing work?
Yep. I don’t really think this is the best medium to describe the exact situation, but suffice it to say that I had a very awkward moment this afternoon. I ran into some people that are no longer part of my life but did affect me in the past.
I was out with someone else, and didn’t expect to run into them, but you know, it’s OK. I think I felt a little awkward in the moment, alright a lot awkward. But then next thing I know, I’m laughing. If you can’t find any humor in the situation then it’s all over. And to be totally honest, this wasn’t a spiteful humor, I don’t feel that I need or do have any ill will. It’s just the reliving of the shenanigans that are my life.
There’s a part of me that now thinks that I should be grateful even for those people. If things hadn’t transpired the way they did then I would not be where I am. I have no regrets, I look back on the choices I’ve made, and I do have the courage of my convictions. Every day just keeps getting better.
Just wanted to let you guys know, that if you ever feel awkward, angry, or just plain uncomfortable it may be a good time to take a step back and have a laugh.
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