Sunday, August 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before School Starts

Tomorrow the freedom of summer ends for me. Gone are the nights of staying up late, because now I will have to get up early. Gone are the days of wearing pajamas for half the day and not putting on makeup until three in the afternoon. I will have to be ready before seven in the morning, and I have to wear makeup so I don't scare the adolescents under my care. I am not a morning person, so these facts sadden me. I am excited to be starting my new job, but I'm also full of first day jitters. I'm trying to remind myself that I survived my first year, and survived it pretty well, but I'm still nervous. I kind of feel like a first year teacher again because I'm starting at a different school, and everything is so different, and

Anyway, all of this nervous, before school starting stuff has reminded me of the night before school starts experiences of my childhood, and particularly of my adolescence. And the back to school of my childhood would not have been back to school without new school clothes.

At the end of the summer each year, my mom would take us school shopping. This meant we got new clothes for the upcoming school year. Keep in mind, I grew up in middle-of-nowhere-central-Washington. Buying school clothes was a much grander affair than your typical car ride to the mall. We had to go out of town to go school shopping. Sometimes, that meant a two hour trip to Spokane. If we were lucky, it meant we'd get to go to Seattle where our ultra cool, trendy relatives lived. We would shop all day, and, if it was a Seattle excursion, we would play with the fun toys the aforementioned cool, trendy relatives had at night. In true Beadnell fashion, we would stay up late, drink Pepsi, and order pizza. And of course, I would always be introduced to cool music that I could take home and jam to. As an added bonus, these out of town excursions insured I wouldn't show up the first day of school wearing the same Maurice's shirt as three or four other girls.

As if buying these clothes wasn't exciting enough, my mom added intensity to the practice. Once we came home from the shopping trip, we weren't allowed to wear our new clothes until the first day of school. In my closet, they would hang crisply from their hangers. Tags still attached (to remind me of their utterly complete newness of course). The new clothes' smell spreading its joy to my closet.

Before school started, the clothes would come out, as I planned and re-planned outfits. What would I wear on the first day? Choices were limited, as a lot of my new clothes would be for the fall, and it would still be hot on the first day. What shoes went best with this shirt? I would try things on over and over. I wouldn't beg and plead to wear my new things, because I just thought it was a fact of life. I thought ALL kids had to wait to wear their new clothes until the first day of school. I don't think I fully realized that wasn't a universal rule until I got married and found out Chad's mom had no such policy.

Once I had my first day's outfit planned, I would move on to mapping out the entire first week. That's right, I would know what I was wearing, Monday through Friday, before I even set foot in the school.

Sigh. Oh to be young again. Tomorrow, I will see my students, decked out in their first day of school attire. As for me, I haven't a clue what I'll be wearing. In fact, after looking at my laundry basket an hour ago, it became quite clear that my choices tomorrow are going to be limited to what's clean. Even so, it's fun to reminisce and remember the magic of new school clothes.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Adventures

Well, after careful consideration, we've decided to go ahead and announce to the world that we are buying a house! We are under contract and set to close by September 23rd. So, if all goes well, we will be renovating soon. Exciting? We think so!

The house needs some love (OK . . . a lot of love, but not as much love as the last house we made an offer on), but we are excited to make it our own, and we got a great deal on it (it was in foreclosure). We made an offer quite a bit under the asking price, so we were trying not to get too attached, because we knew we most likely wouldn't get it. I couldn't believe it when I called Chad on Thursday night and found out that Snow had called to tell him our offer had been accepted.

Pictures of our future home follow:

The outside of the house from the front of the lot.

House from the side (sun room/reading room side)

Other side of house and car port

Back of house and deck

Workshop and storage area attached to car port

So, hopefully you are envisioning some landscaping improvements, because I certainly am. Those will probably have to wait until the spring, because the inside will be the number one priority. Plus, I'm going to be counting on my Dad to work his expertise and give us some pointers on transforming the yard.

The inside of the house is a little over 2,000 square feet. It has four bedrooms and two full baths. There is hardwood throughout the entire home (some of it hiding under yucky carpet, and all of it in desperate need of refinishing), except in one area that we want to tile anyway.

When you walk in the front door, you are standing in a poorly wall papered entryway (think Miami Vice/1980's color palette) and to your right, you find the living room:

The door on the right is what you just entered through (the Miami Vice entryway)

Straight ahead is the dining room, to the left is the hallway to the bedrooms, kitchen, etc, and to the right is my FAVORITE room in the house, the READING ROOM!

Seriously, I am in love with this room. It is the spot that made me willing to deal with the less than satisfactory kitchen space (pictures to follow). I cannot WAIT to transform this sun room into my reading sanctuary. Just look at all of the beautiful natural light! Doesn't it make you want to run to the library right now, so you can plan what to curl up with? I KNOW!

This is me basking in the glory that is my future reading room. Notice the handy-dandy built in shelving waiting for paper backs? And how about those precious double doors leading into the living room? Charming.

The other side of the reading room

OK. Now that we've toured where we are going to read, it's time to move on to the less important features of the house: like where we will eat and sleep. Let the picture tour continue. Follow me, please.

Going through the charming double doors previously mentioned, and passing through the living room, we enter the dining room.

Not huge, but room enough for a nice dining room table, which we do not own, but someday will. Oh, and you can also get a more up-close-and-personal look at the condition of the wood flooring here. I know what you're thinking. "Have I seen floors like that before?" And the answer, folks, is yes. Yes, you have seen them. If you've ever seen a shiny gymnasium floor, you've seen the travesty that someone has put the hardwood in this house through. There is this horrid glossy varnish covering all of it, most of it put on so quickly that there are lovely little bubbles dried into it. It is shameful. But it will be remedied. Hopefully, without any swearing on my part.

Go through that swinging door (which we aren't huge fans of, but will probably keep) and you'll find yourself in the kitchen.

If you're thinking it's not too bad, I must say the pictures make it look better than it does in person. It needs some help. I think there are a total of two actual drawers (any advice, Meredith???). Although, I must say, I'm such a FAN of the wallpaper, I really don't know if I'll be able to part with it (insert sarcastic cough here).

That little window area looks into this room:

This is the only room in the house other than the kitchen with no hardwood hiding underneath. We are planning on tiling it the same way we do the kitchen, and making it into a kind of breakfast room/extension of the kitchen.

The door straight ahead leads you onto the deck out back, or you can turn left and enter the room that will be our master bedroom.

There is a closet, you just can't see it in this photo.

Through the master you can enter a Jack and Jill bath

which connects to the house's second bedroom.

This room will probably eventually be used for the first mini-Reese who joins our family.

When you leave future mini-Reese's room, you enter a hallway.

If you go directly to the left, you see the second bathroom.

If you go straight ahead instead, you will encounter the nightmare that is supposed to be the laundry area. This is going to be enclosed into a closet space capable of holding a side by side set, instead of a stackable, after we rip out a section of cabinets in the kitchen (the first project).

Remember, you are still in mini-Reese's room, looking into the hall, trying to decide where to go. Well, if you choose the right, you enter the third bedroom.

The window AC unit will go. There IS central air (we are not silly enough to buy a house without it in a place that has ridiculously hot and humid summers). And YES, that IS a vine growing through the window into the room. Think Jumanji; I did. This room will eventually be the guest bedroom.

Down the hall a bit further, and to the right, is the fourth bedroom.

Wow. The design choices. Wow. This room will probably be used as an office.

And if you continue down the hall, you're done and back to the living room again.

We are really excited to be embarking on this new adventure together. The best part of all has to be that after paying our mortgage payment and utilities each month we are going to be paying substantially less than we did to rent our two-bedroom condo from our crazy, Asian landlord in Orem. Now, that is a good feeling.

I don't think I'll feel completely un-nervous about the whole thing until the deal completely closes, but at this point the only way the deal won't go through will be because of unforeseen termite damage, or some other insane thing. We have already been pre-approved for our loan and are under contract. The inspection is on Wednesday, so as long as everything goes well, we should be in good shape.

Once the renovations begin, please prepare yourselves for boring blog central. I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of before and after shots. I'm just excited to get started. I can't wait to watch the rooms transform as we make the house our own.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cute Girl at Hardee's

Tonight Chad and I bought an area rug at Lowe's. It was $35. That's right, folks. I thought it was cute, but after I saw the price tag, it became MUCH cuter.

On the way home, we stopped by Hardee's (the equivalent to Carl's Junior for you westerner's . . . complete with the smiley faced star) and bought two double cheese burgers. We were hungry, and they were $3. Well, if getting such a good deal on dinner, after buying a fabulous rug for ridiculously cheap, wasn't enough to make me smile, the girl working the drive-thru certainly was. She was adorable. Completely darling. Really, I have never been so impressed with a fast food employee in my life. Her voice over the intercom was cheery and excited. Her expression at the window was the same. She was just so darn CUTE! I am now regretting not telling her just how adorable she really was. She was such a nice contrast to the usual person you encounter at a drive-thru: testy tone of voice that seems to be saying, "I DARE you to ask me if you can get fries with that." As we left Hardee's, I thought how sad it was that everyone can't be as happy doing their job as that girl was. Let's be honest, she doesn't have the most glamorous job in the world, but she had made the most of it and seemed to genuinely be happy doing what she was doing. Chad and I both decided if we were wealthy, we would have handed her a $100 bill just for making our night.

That's it, really, just a happy story about a cute girl at Hardee's.

P.S. Just a quick update--Chad and I have been house hunting lately with the most amazing real estate agent in existence. (Snow, if you are reading this, I really do mean that -- thanks for all your help so far.) We found one place we loved that didn't work out, which was probably for the best. It needed a lot of work and probably would have cost a lot of money to fix up. We're looking at another place right now that we really like as well. I don't want to go into too many details, because I'm trying not to get too emotionally attached to places in case they don't work out, and I don't want to jinx us. Let's just say that the current find has a sunroom that has me completely sold. It will be the reading room. If we buy it, that is. Even if this one doesn't work out, I'm sure we'll find the right place for us soon. Rest assured that I will have photos posted immediately after we actually buy a place.

P.S. Again --I still have not finished Breaking Dawn. I know, I know. It's a Stephenie Meyer. How did I stop myself from reading it in two days? Things have been a tad bit busy, and the Olympics have forced me to stay up late watching television instead of reading. I can't say no to watching Phelps go for another gold, or praying that Alicia what's her name won't fall again and ruin our chances at beating China in gymnastics. I've only got about a hundred pages to go, so be looking for a review sometime soon.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

In My Possession

I thought I was the first person on the list to get this book from the library. That is why I called on Monday morning (I was in a wedding on Saturday and the library is closed on Sunday) to make sure it had come in. I was informed that I was the FOURTH person on the waiting list. That left me, of course, with only one option. I went to WalMart and purchased my copy an hour later.

If you haven't read the Twilight series, I don't know how to explain my slight obsession. My friend Laura has perfectly captured my feelings about the books on her blog here. Considering I have recently devoured about a tier of wedding cake, I think her analogy works for me.

This is going to be my last week of fun reading, because I really need to get planning for the upcoming school year which starts in just a couple of weeks. I'll let you know how I feel about the end of the series in a few days.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Good News, Sad News

Good News:

OK. One of the main reasons I've been desperately trying to finish the Italy blogs is so I can actually give an update on our job situation. As some of you know, we moved to North Carolina in June. We packed up a Uhaul and drove across country. I do not want to again relate the travesties of that journey. It was terrible. After job searching through part of July, I was starting to envision moving back to Utah, where I still had a teaching job. I didn't quit my job in Utah, because we weren't sure how things were going to pan out, and let's face it: one job with an income and benefits is much better than NO job at all. I let the assistant principal know before I left that I may not be coming back next year, but that I would let them know as soon as I could. Well, here's where the good news comes in: I found a job in North Carolina! I'm going to be teaching at a high school in Chad's home town. I WILL BE HAVING MY OWN CLASSROOM! AND I get to teach HONORS classes in addition to the regular sections I will be teaching!!! Chad also has had very successful interviews with two banks in the area, and we are waiting to hear what the actual offers may be. Things are not going quite according to plan (when do they ever), because we had talked about and envisioned ending up in the Raleigh area, but I know that this is where we are supposed to be right now. I don't feel like it's coincidence; it's been quite clear that our prayers are being answered in the way Heavenly Father sees as best. Things are finally falling into place, and I have such good feelings about my new job and where we are going to be. I have a calling in the primary now, and the kids are adorable and have the cutest southern accents alive. Our ward is completely amazing, and I feel so loved and welcomed. I could not ask to be surrounded by better people.

Sad News:

Finding a job here meant I had to call and quit my job in Utah. First of all, as much as I wanted to pull out my hair at the end of my first year of teaching, I also fell in love with most of the kids I taught. I loved the people I worked with. I loved my time being a Lehi Pioneer (despite our cheesy, Mormonish mascot). So, needless to say, I cried on the phone when I told one of the assistant principals I wouldn't be able to come back. Also, none of my students from last year know I'm not coming back. I feel like I am abandoning my children. Some of my sophomores from last year had requested to have me for Junior English, but now I won't be there. While I recognize that someone just as capable as me will be hired to take their place, I still feel guilty, and I'm sad that I didn't get to say goodbye.

I'm starting to wonder how much longer we can impose on my in-laws hospitality. We are living upstairs in their home and have been waiting to see where Chad gets a job so we know where to look for a place. Since it's taken all summer just to find jobs, we haven't really been looking, which means it might take a while to find something. They have been wonderful and will never kick us out, but I still feel guilty. Also, it would be nice to have my belongings organized in my own space, instead of stacked in the garage. Last time I had to get something out of there, Chad had to help me move every box out before we found it -yes, it was the box at the very left hand corner of the pile.

For being a very independent child, I never thought I would miss my family so much, especially my mom. The thing is, it's not like I spent every day with my mom when we were in Utah (she still lived an hour away) but it was the fact that I COULD go spend time with her pretty much any time at the drop of the hat. That is not so much an option right now, particularly when I keep looking at plane tickets that are over $500 a piece. I am a bit homesick for my dad's crazy proverbs, laughing with my mom, and my two crazy brothers. Not that I don't love my family here, but I am still crying as I type this post. I've had a few such weepy moments lately.

All in all, the good news far outweighs the bad, and I feel like we're finally starting our real life together. After three years we are finally done with school and have so much to look forward to. Chad talked to someone at the little bank (where he did his internship last summer and possibly may end up working) who invests in real estate here and he told him that a house in the area was recently priced at $33,000 in foreclosure. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! It's already sold, so it's not an option, but we drove by it today just for the heck of it. It definitely needed some TLC, but it could be so adorable with just a little love. It makes me excited to be getting our first place soon. We've been planning on buying a duplex as our first place, living in one side, and making it our first investment property. If we can find a steal like the one above, we might end up getting a house (which makes me giddy with excitement) and eventually using it as a rental property later on. We'll see how things pan out, but I'm excited to start looking.
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