A reader asked “How’s it going in town?”
My answer – It’s going well. And it’s an adjustment that’s still in progress. We can’t say we are settled just yet – we are 85 percent moved out of the country place but still have some larger furniture and the washer and dryer to move (as well as all of the things in the storage shed). And we aren’t entirely unpacked here, either, partly due to the lack of those larger pieces of furniture (bookshelves). And oddly, given that this is a larger space, we have less storage so we are still digging through boxes when we need things. Fall break is the first week in October and I anticipate doing more moving, sorting, discarding and unpacking then.
Living in the city has many benefits – we are closer to everything so commuting time and expenses are less. I’m closer to my school job and I can walk to work at the library and the kids sometimes walk the mile home from school rather than waiting the extra half-hour for the city bus. Being in the city means more activities and choices for the kids after school as well. When we lived in the country the kids couldn’t stay after school unless they could get a ride home with friends since I was working late at the grocery store. Now when I work until 9 pm at the library I frequently walk home with my son who has spent the evening in the teen center.
The downsides are also characteristic of cities – traffic, noise (loud parties, sirens from the nearby police and fire station, music festivals in the park down the road), difficulty parking and more encounters with shady strangers (like the fellow on a bicycle who emerged from our drive/alleyway late one night flashing a light around. I asked him if he lost something and he replied, “Yes, my girlfriend’s gold heirloom necklace in a baggie.” I told him if I found it I would turn it in to the police station.)
In addition to not being physically settled we haven’t yet found a balance in our routine. I think those things are partly connected but as well we are feeling a bit unmoored. While school is going better for the kids than it did in the early days they still haven’t completely found their footing (and friends). I see progress though – my daughter now sits with a regular group at lunch instead of by herself and my son has signed up for the robotics club. The animals are not happy having to stay inside and no longer being free to roam and the cats are more short tempered and aggressive with each other. We are trying to provide more toys, attention and stimulation for them.
I myself, am very tired. At school we are experiencing yet another new set of leaders in administration (there hasn’t be a year yet since I started where we haven’t had a new principal, assistant superintendent or superintendent). That can’t help but add pressure which heightens the level of tension among co-workers. We have about a dozen new teachers in my two buildings meaning new folks to train and get on board with our initiatives and unfortunately the loss of some of the more committed teachers. All the STEM Coaches are going through a national accreditation program and have to build a portfolio and I’m in charge of getting two Makerspaces up and running so school work is very busy.
Three days a week I work from 4 to 9 pm as my library shifts follow directly after school gets out. I put in a 6-hour shift on Sundays as well. The library job is not as stressful as the grocery store was and the extra income is invaluable – we wouldn’t be able to afford to live in the city without it but the schedule takes a toll. Some days I wake up needing a nap!
Meanwhile my older daughters are doing well in their senior and freshman years at college – so many transitions this year! They are both busy with classes and jobs and friends. My freshman daughter turned 18 yesterday and we drove down to college to surprise her and take her out to dinner. It was nice to have the whole family together for a little bit.