I try to be transparent with my family about what’s going on in life, and lately that also means I’ve been blogging about things. That also means I assume my family reads my blog. But I also know that blogging is very public and anyone from friends to enemies to strangers or coworkers can access this, so some things have to stay under cover until I’ve really thought them through a little bit better.
Though I don’t really write about it that much, I really love my job at the non-profit that promotes civics education to high school students not only because I was a student in the organization, but because it’s a fairly small group and I support the goal. I absolutely love working on-site with students as well as doing the back office operational things that keep everything running. Busy seasons are nice but we also have some down time. It should say something that in February I’ll have been with the organization for a year–my first post-college long term job– when I was unable to be a recruiter for a full year (I probably would have been in marketing for a year if it hadn’t been in Massachusetts).
However, despite my enjoyment of the job, it doesn’t pay much. I made a significant amount more when I got right out of college and was a recruiter in Boston where typically salaries are a little lower. Also, I’m on the bottom of the totem pole right now, somewhere I don’t mind being as long as it’s temporary because I like climbing ladders. But in an organization with 17 other people, where do you go? Now that we own a house, it’s important to make enough money so that I can contribute to the mortgage, bills and home improvements equally.
With that in mind, I decided education would be a way to improve my skills and perhaps eventually make a move. In the summer I decided to apply to grad school and chose one that required no graduate exam ( a big perk), is only 20 minutes away, and has a Master’s in Clinical Psychology program that ties in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) courses to pass the license exam to do counseling and therapy. The school is tailored to working professionals and is not Stanford or Berkeley, but it’s a private school that seems to have a solid program.
An essay, two academic and one professional references, an application fee, and interview and some other paperwork got me accepted (after one deferral). I am officially accepted into a graduate program. But I’m not convinced that I wan’t to attend. I like my job and I see the light at the end of the tunnel with a possible change into an official Project Manager (instead of Program
Lackey Manger) or operations role, something I’m very interested in long-term. On the other hand, if I were to complete the M.S. and MFT programs, I could one day have my own practice and make my own hours entirely (although it doesn’t seem like the most likely thing that would happen with an MFT).
Maybe I should just slow down for once. My mind is always moving onto the next challege. Complete high school, go away to be a camp counselor, go away to college, finish college in 3 years so I can work, move back east because staying in NorCal is so simple, move back to NorCal with boyfriend, get a job, buy a house…
I don’t have to get a master’s. And if I do, while I know I would be fine with a MS in Clinical Psych, I’m not 100% sure it’s what I want to do. Plus, I have a mortgage and make very little money. School loans is something that I’m not sure I want to do to us right now. I’d rather spend that money on fixing up the house. It would also effectively eliminate all my free time that I spend tearing out hedges, cleaning house, cooking and on other household tasks.
As I did during my admissions process, I will defer again, this time until Fall of 2010. By then I will be able to finish my financial information to see what help I can get as a fairly poor woman. This doesn’t mean I’m ruling school out completely. I just want to continue to think about it. Now, if the organization or another company came along and offered me $10-15k more a year, then it would be a different ball game.
There you have my full disclosure. Yes, I have the opportunity to go back to school. No, I’m not doing it right now, but that isn’t my final answer.
Hooray! We got the house ready enough for a housewarming party last weekend that was very successful and fun. Our ever-wonderful real estate agent brought us an awesome (and delicious) cake, we had lots of friends and family, and I only exploded one glass dish! Here’s the cake, and for those of you who missed it, note the blue bird on the upper right side– so cute!– and it was chocolate inside:
Now for the part I’ve been waiting for because I love before and after pictures. Yeah, that and pumpkin. ;0)
I wanted to keep the same style front window when it was replaced which our windows guy did a great job of, even those little slats on there have a shape to them like the original window. I took this picture in the middle of the house so the perspective is a little different.
The yellow room had new paint when we moved in, and it’s hard to tell in these pictures, but it had a pretty strong undertone of green. It also was the room with the greatest stains on the floor, and while the after doesn’t show it, they came out pretty well.
This after shot is a little bit of a different part of the room, but it has new paint– again, really hard to tell but it’s a warmer color– and the dark red really looks good with the new floors and yellow.
Our bedroom didn’t have a whole lot of work to do, but I made a bold color choice. I wanted gray. Not just sort of the color of white with a shadow, but a gray that contrasted with the white trim. And I got it!
Ah the bathroom. Check out that toilet in the before picture! Lovely. You know, a lot of folks might tell you to keep the pink and black because it’s retro, but I don’t miss it at all. It was really jumping into the deep end of home remodeling though, and I’m very glad we’re through with it.
The biggest transformation, I think, has been the bathroom. Sure it’s the same layout, but everything is new. Oh, wait, the bathtub is the same one, except we had it refinished so it just looks new (really happy with that decision). Notice even that crazy rose bush outside the window has been trimmed below the window.
Finally, our work in progress, the kitchen. This was the most noticeably gnarly room in our house. The linoleum was disgusting, the cabinets were disgusting, there’s still a funny smell. I cannot wait until we tackle this project more thoroughly.
In order to make the kitchen workable and livable, we tore up as much of the old linoleum as we could and bought one of those rolls from Home Depot to put down in the mean time. We bought a refrigerator and the stove has been thoroughly cleaned, enough so that we can use it (it’s only about 4 years old) until we remodel. I took the doors off the cabinets on the left, painted everything in the entire kitchen white and the inside of our new display cabinets to match the living room curtains.
There you have it! We’ve been hard at work and still have a long way to go, but it sure has come a long way in a short time.
It’s hard to see this picture, sorry. Last night this image just made me so happy, though. Our dog in front our new fireplace. It just seems so perfect. Boo was so cozy and kind of irritated that I woke her up for a picture. Not cool!
Part of me wishes we could get another dog for Boo to have companionship– she may not get along with most dogs, but we know she does get along with some. When she broke out and ended up back in the shelter, she had to share her space with two other dogs (one was a chow) and our neighbor has shared that she gets along or ignores his little tiny toy dogs. We also think she is pretty much oblivious to cats unless they try to attack her.
Fortunately (yes, not unfortunately) Carlos is allergic to cats and Boo doesn’t like most dogs… otherwise who knows what would happen!