I told you I was out of practice with the whole journal thing. It's been a few months, very BUSY ones, and I completely forgot to continue writing.
First thing; we are no longer in Kansas. As soon as we received news that the Therapist position in Escalante was ours we began completing projects on the house. Mark's parents were such a huge help with this, they both came to Kansas and helped for weeks at a time. I am sure the things would not have even been presentable without their help. We were planning on putting the place up on the market, the real estate agent was secured and we had signed a "cancel anytime" agreement with him. I wasn't really happy with the real estate agent, mostly because I felt that he was undercutting the market value for our home (75,000 instead of 80,000) and with the realtor fees and inevitable closing costs it looked like we were going to be lucky to break even. We had spoken with a member of our ward named Rich, who had suggested we try renting-to-own instead. He has several ren-to-own properties and said that they can be pretty profitable, especially when so many have a hard time being approved for new mortagages. It seemed like a really intriguing idea, but with so much to accomplish and so little time, we thought we would try out the real estate agent until we had moved, and then possibly re-weigh our options.
On the day before the move, the young men and their leaders from our ward volunteered to load everything into the Uhaul. It literally took them an HOUR to empty my garage and house. I couldn't believe how fast it went! During the move, I noticed one of the leaders really taking his time through the rooms and looking things over carefully. After everything had been loaded, Rich intoduced him to us as Alex. Alex was currently looking for somewhere to live, he had 2 kids and another on the way, as well as a great big dog. Up until that point, their only living option had been apartment buildings, usually not in the best neighborhoods. He was interested in our house because it is in a nice quiet neighborhood, has a 2 car garage and a big yard, perfect for a young family. I know, because these are the reasons we had wanted it so badly a year before. Well, Alex brought his wife and mother-in-law by later that afternoon, and they decided right there that they were sold and wanted to buy it.
Even now I cannot believe how blessed we were. Instead of moving the next day, we spent all day drafting a rent-to-own contract and working out the kinks of the arrangement. They came by in the evening and signed the papers and the house was sold. No real estate agent fees, no price negotiation, (they had immediately accepted our price of 80,000) and a tidy deposit up front for security. Now we stand to make a profit of (roughly) 10,000 even AFTER we have paid off remaining debt. Booyah.
This to me, was confirmation that we really were meant to be making this move, and that God really does need us out in Escalante. Just writing it again and going over it in my head reminds me of what a miracle the whole situation was.
Anyway, so we drove and drove across the FLAT of western Kansas and eastern Colorado. I was exhilerated when we began climbing the rockies on I-70. It had been 2 very long years since I had seen actual MOUNTAINS! Growing up in the rockies of Montana (quite literally IN the mountains) this type of terrain always feels much more like home than the plains. In fact, I do not think I would like to live in the plains ever again. What I was not prepared for, however, was the AMAZING scenery that I would discover once we left the freeway and began approaching our new home. We drove through Loa and Torrey (also teeny Utah towns) and were so taken with the backdrop of Capitol Reef that we completely missed our turn and drove about 30 minutes out of our way before we even noticed we were on the wrong road. Words really don't describe quite how breathtaking the drive was, and I know I will never forget how amazing it felt to know that I would soon call this place my backyard.
It is lucky that the drive was so beautiful, because the house that we are renting is a little short of stellar. It is very old, there is even a historical marker out front stating the home was built around 1920. It is carpeted with ancient blue carpet, even in the kitchen, and the only downstairs bedroom has 3 doors. Their is a toilet installed in the upstairs closet, even though no water is available in there. But this is just quirky inconvenience. The real problem was the SPIDERS. One the day we arrived, there seemed to be at LEAST one spider in every corner of the ceiling, and plenty more scurrying around. If you know me at all you know that this is a loose description of my WORST nightmare. For some people it may be mice, snakes, or even cockroaches that terrify them, but for me it is the eight-legged variety of terror that does me in. I don't think I had a solid night of sleep for the first month as we were moving in/exterminating thousands of creepy-crawlies. I made myself sick with the constant fumes of raid, but I continued to spray because I would rather die of poison than by spiders. Fortunately since it has gotten colder I think they are mostly dead, since I have not seen any for a few weeks. (whew)
Mark has been adjusting to the new job. He works a lot of hours, but gets 3 days off a week. This makes our weekends feel like an eternity, and seems to make up for the other 4 long days. I can tell he is doing a great job like I knew he would, and I am sure that his bosses are noticing his extra effort. I think eventually he would like to do therapy with couples and families instead of focusing on youth, but for now, and for the pay, this is by far the best job I could imagine for us.
While work has kept Mark very busy, the lack of work on my end has made Jarel quite lazy. For the past few months I have felt myself stray from enjoying the break and instead find myself becoming somewhat of a lump. Since I can wake up whenever I want, I usually sleep in. Since I can clean the house at any old time, I don't do it all all. I make excuses that I need to save it so I have something to do later, but instead waste my time farting around on facebook or watching hulu. I do not feel very proud of myself when I am so unproductive, and this increases my sense of despondence and a feeling of uselessness.
This spiral of events (or non-events, you could say) has led me to feel like I need a job, school, or both to provide some structure. I know I am an achiever when I have a job to do, but it is hard to meet or exeed expectations when there are none. On this motivation I signed up to take the ACT test at Southern Utah University so that I could enroll for spring 2010. The test was last Tuesday, and I was a nervous wreck before taking it. I grew up "homeschooled" but honestly, school was not a big part of my home. Most everything I know I have learned on my own, by being a bookworm as a child, and feeling that I was not good or smart enough drove me to learn more. That same desire led me to enroll for public school during my junior and senior years, despite parental disapproval. This was valuable for my self esteem, and also helped prepare me for formal test and school settings I have faced since then. Even so, I put off taking the GED for YEARS because I was embarrassed that I was not a high school graduate, and mortified that people would judge me. I only recently took the test (still embarrassed, so I won't say HOW recently) but I can still feel the relief of a weight removed from my shoulders once I realized I had passed.
But back to the ACT. I was terrified of going back for another standardized test. I felt that failing would prove I am not as intelligent as kids my little brother's age who are about to graduate high school and enter college. I felt like I would let my siblings down. I do not know if they look up to me, but for then, I hoped nobody would be looking in case I embarrassed myself and them. I don't know even now why I decided to do it, despite the hysteria. But I did do it. I drove through a blizzard Tuesday morning all the way to Cedar City (2 hours on normal roads 3.5 in those conditions) all by myself and took the 5 hour exam. It sucked. But I am pretty proud of myself today because although I bombed math, like I knew I would, I still earned a composite ACT score of 26. My reading score was 33 out of a total possible 36, and I had a high score in English and Science Reasoning as well. High enough to earn (I like to say "EARN") admission to SUU. I still have to appeal to the school for residency, but as long as I can resolve that I should be a full time student come January.
I also sent in an application today for a job opening at the phone/cable company as a Wireless Sales Associate. I hope that something will come of it, I would like to have a job again, and the money would be really nice. I like to daydream about how quickly our debt could disappear on 2 incomes.
If I am able to land both job and school I will go from being possibly the most lazy person ever to a full time employee AND student. I know that should sound scary, but right now it actually sounds refreshing.