Tag Archives: college

The Laundry Room (or playing catch-up, part 2)

So here we are in Savannah. Did I mention we’re in a small apartment? Oh, I did. Well, sorry to repeat myself but its small. We don’t even have our own washer and dryer. We could get one of those little apartment-sized sets, but they cost more than the big ones we left in Nashville and wouldn’t do half the size load. So here I sit on my day off in the laundry room of the apartment complex doing laundry. I haven’t used a laundry room – or lived in an apartment, for that matter – for a very, very long time. Life here has taken some getting used to, and I’ll admit I’m probably not really adjusted yet.

But all that aside, Savannah is a great town. I really don’t get downtown much since I’m working retail and still getting used to the hours and days off, but when I do get to get out it’s a beautiful place to be. We’re actually living on an “island” between downtown and the beach on Tybee Island. We chose this area to live in because of the great elementary school for the Wildman. It’s a small, quiet community, and its a big change of pace from good ‘ole Nashvegas. I never really thought of Nashville as a big city until we moved here, but in comparison it certainly is.

There are so many other things to get used to here, like sand under the topsoil (or instead of it) as opposed to the solid rock foundation of Middle TN, being on the Eastern time zone again, and the fact that I’ve worn shorts everyday I’ve been here and it’s past the middle of October. But some things are the same: Kev is working hard at school, the Wildman is – well, wild – and the crazy dogs keep us entertained. I’m getting involved with Scouting here locally and Kev is a tutor and mentor for undergrads through the college. We haven’t found a replacement for hockey for the Wildman yet, but we will. We have to find some way for him to expend some of that endless energy!

Well I need to check my washers and get the dryers cleaned out and ready. I also have a parent/teacher conference at the elementary school this afternoon, and those are usually quite interesting…


Playing Catch-Up, part 1

As I mentioned at the open of my last post, many things have changed since I last wrote here regularly. I also mentioned that our new home is in Savannah, GA.

Yes, the 2 boys and I have relocated even farther South. Kev graduated with his BFA in the spring, and from the time he enrolled in school we knew he’d have to get his MFA in order to fulfill his long-term plan – to teach photography and related courses on the college level. After investigating many different programs, different possible living arrangements and looking at the situation from every imaginable angle, we determined the best way for him to accomplish this goal was to move the family to Savannah, GA so that he could attend SCAD. It was by far the best program and the move made the most sense of any of the scenarios we considered, so we started sorting through all the things we accumulated in the 10 years we’d lived in our house to make the move 8 hours down the road to coastal Georgia.

Now, I only wish it was as easy as that line made it sound. First, let me say that we were not really prepared as we should have been for this move. I’m a planner, and an organizer, but I was so preoccupied with finding a job and a place to live in Savannah that I didn’t do any of my usual preparation for this massive undertaking. And I also underestimated the amount of stuff we had. We started selling, donating and giving away anything we didn’t think we’d need. Oh and did I mention that we were moving from our 3 bedroom home to a 900 sq ft apartment? So most of our stuff wouldn’t even fit in the apartment. We got down to the last few days before the move and realized that we weren’t possibly going to be ready before it was time to go. Kev really kicked into overdrive and worked to get things taken care of, and we managed to get a moving truck packed full of the stuff we needed.

At the same time we weren’t doing such a good job of planning the move, I was sending out resumes (easily 100 of them over 3 months), making connections on LinkedIn and writing introductory emails. If you think it’s hard to find a job in a town where you’ve lived for a while, then you should try to find a job in a town you’ve only been to twice and you know no one! Fortunately, I finally received a job offer the day before we were picking up the moving truck. So now gainfully employed, apartment lease signed, moving truck packed to the rafters, we hit the road.

Now, just because the moving truck was packed doesn’t mean the house was empty. Or that we had someone ready to rent it from us either. It actually took 3 more trips back to Nashville to get it empty, and we’ve had two renters back out on us at the last minute. But we’re here in Savannah, ready to start the next chapter in our lives.

Stay tuned for more…


Savannah College of Art & Design Library

Time to celebrate

This weekend is Kev’s college graduation. Well, his undergrad college graduation. It’s a pretty big deal, considering he’s no spring chicken and he’s been doing the whole working-two-jobs-while-going-to-school-and-being-super dad-at-the-same-time thing for the last 5 years. So a celebration is in order.

My mom got here today, and Kev’s sister and family and his parents will all be here by the time he puts on the cap and gown on Saturday afternoon. Words really can’t express how proud I am of him and of how hard he’s worked to achieve this. But the party on Saturday night isn’t just for him. It’s for him, the Wildman and me, and everyone else who has supported us over the last 5 years. It’s a time for breathing a sigh of relief before we embark on whatever the next step holds for us.

We’ve invited everyone we know to come to the house on Saturday night. There will be much revelry and goofiness, but there will also be thanksgiving and fellowship with those who have understood why we haven’t had much time to socialize for a while. I’m looking forward to a good time.

So to Kev, congratulations. You’ve worked so hard and you really deserve this moment to shine. We love you!

Ignorance and Confidence

All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
Mark Twain

I’ve always thought my husband Kevin is a smart guy. Except when he’s not. But this post is going to be about when he is. When I met him, he was taking pictures at the local dirt race track on the weekends. He was young and good looking and I was young and had always liked photography as a hobby so I started talking to him. I found out he was a professional photographer and worked in a photo lab. (I also found out he drove a cool truck, which I liked a lot, too.)

Fast forward about 10 years and he’s still working in a photo lab, but now it’s a large commercial lab and he’s pretty much a jack-of-all-trades around the place. We’re married and I also work at the lab, and I’m seriously impressed with his knowledge and confidence at work. A co-worker tells him they are looking for instructors for photographic classes at the local community college and after much prodding and reassurance from friends, co-workers and me, he takes the job.

This might not sound like all that big of a deal, but the fact is Kev hated school when he was in it. When he was in his early 20’s he found out he was dyslexic and had spent his life up to that point struggling with a learning disability that left him thinking he was just too stupid to learn. He found photography in high school and it became the love of his life. But the idea of teaching it to others scared him to death, and I can still remember how nervous he was in the very beginning. I also remember the joy he discovered in teaching the subject he loved to his students. He probably wasn’t halfway through the first session before he started talking about wanting to teach more. He was only teaching evening classes in the Community Education department, but he found it incredibly rewarding.

He continued to teach over the next few years, even as we added our son to our family. In the spring of 2007, he began teaching in the Community Ed department of an art college and immediately fell in love with the school, the facilities and most of all the faculty. With the photo industry in a decline and knowing that there won’t always be jobs for lab techs, he decided to take a major leap and enroll at the school to get his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in order to some day be a full-time college instructor of photography and be able to continue in the field that he loves.

Once again, this probably doesn’t sound like a big deal – people go back to college all the time, right? Sure they do. But Kev was a father to a 3 year old son, worked full-time, has a learning disability and was 40 years old. He hadn’t taken a class in 20 years, and then he had gone to a technical school, not a full-blown college. He was nervous. No, he was scared to death. But with my blessing and support he started school that fall. Even with transferring credits and being given credit for work and life experience, he was only a sophomore when he started. We knew this was going to be a long and winding road, but we decided he was in it for the duration. Because not only would he need to get his BFA, but he would need to have a Master’s degree to teach at the college level.

So here we are almost 5 years later. It certainly has been a long and winding road. Since he enrolled we’ve both lost jobs due to the decline of the economy and had to make some significant changes. Kev took a job working nights in order to be at school during the day, and in addition to attending school he’s worked there for the last few years as well. Our son is now 8 years old and is active in many things, including playing ice hockey. So Kev strapped on skates for the first time when he was 40 years old and is now a certified hockey coach. There are some days when he doesn’t sleep any more than a power-nap here and there for over 30 hours. But he’s never missed an important event of our son’s, he’s been on the Dean’s list at school since he enrolled, and I’m proud to say he’s graduating Cum Laude in a month.

Tomorrow night is his Senior Thesis Exhibition reception. His show is an amazing collection of images he has captured at our son – The Wildman’s – school over the course of the current school year. Again he’s a bundle of nerves and I’m anxiously crossing things off the list to try to make his night as memorable as possible. I want this night to be special for him, because he’s earned it. I’ve never seen someone work so hard and sacrifice so much to real a goal.

Words can’t express the admiration I have for what he’s accomplished. And this is still just the first step. We’re not sure what happens next as we wait to hear from graduate programs, but whatever it is we’ll approach it with the same ignorance and confidence as we did on the first step. I’m sure the success will continue to follow.

Starting all over again

I really had no idea it had been so long since I posted a blog. The truth is, I’ve thought about it quite a few times – so many, in fact, that I think I convinced myself I had posted some of them. And they were really good, too. Great, I dare say. There was the one about Thanksgiving, and the excellent one about the Christmas tree. Oh and that other one about the family…

Of course all of those would be outdated now, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to write them as well now as I did in my head a few weeks ago. So instead I’m starting over. It’s a new year and while our routine is about to settle back into the “normal” chaos this week, it is a time of new beginnings, right?

Actually, this time of year isn’t a new beginning for us. We’re in the middle of both Wildman and Kev’s school years and hockey season. We’ve had a nice change of pace for a couple of weeks with the holidays, but starting tomorrow we’ll be doing the same things we were doing 3 weeks ago. That doesn’t mean the beginning of the year is insignificant though. It is a good time to make a point to start things, or rather, start things over. Like this blog. My healthier eating. Planning meals ahead of time and living within our budget. Cleaning the house more often.

Ok, so maybe it is a little of a fresh start. But while January 1 may not be a big, new beginning for us, 2012 will likely be a pretty significant year. There will be a presidential election, an Olympic games, and it’s a leap year. Kev will turn 45 and I’ll have a milestone birthday of my own. There is the potential that the world is going to end, although I’m not really planning for it. Oh, and a little event in the spring in which Kev will graduate from college.

Beyond that little event, I’m not exactly sure what life is going to throw our way. That may be the actual “New year/New beginning” time for us. But right now we don’t know. And really, I don’t have too much time to think about it at this moment because tomorrow is back to school and hockey practice, and there’s Den meetings on Thursday and hockey practice and games on Friday and Saturday. And I don’t have anything planned for dinner.

So while I’m starting over on a few things, I’ll continue along with all the usual things as well. I hope your new year isn’t more than you can handle, and that it brings you some laughter and fun along the way. That’s what I’m wishing for my new year as well.

It’s not the how, it’s the why

The photographer at work

Whenever someone hears me talking about our typical schedule with Kev working two jobs (with one at night) and all the things we’re involved with, I’m usually asked how we do it. My answer typically has something to do with lots of coffee and my Google calendar. But lately I’ve been thinking more about why we do what we do than the how of making it work.

Why does Kev work 4 nights a week at the airport and 3 days a week at the school? So that he can finish his bachelor’s degree this spring and at the same time remain involved in the work he loves in the photo lab at the school. Why does he go without sleep for almost 24 hrs straight some days? So that he could work in his classes into the shortest time possible and coach the Wildman’s Mite hockey team. Why do we leave the house at 7am every morning to drive the Wildman to school all the way on the other side of town? To give him the opportunity to fall in love with school and learning. (Which he has!) Why does Kev dedicate hours a week to hockey and I dedicate hours a week to Scouting? Because we believe in these programs and what they (and us by our involvement) can offer not only our child but many other children whose parents may not be able to commit the time.

But even without breaking it down to the individual elements, I can look at it like this – why do we do all the things we do, sacrificing our time together (mostly Kev and I’s time together as a couple) for various obligations? Because in the end we’ll all be better for it. Wildman and I miss spending time with Kev when he’s at work or sleeping, but we know it’s only temporary until he graduates, gets his Master’s and then gets to focus on the career of his dreams – teaching and working in the photography department at a college. It’s crazy running from place to place, always meeting up somewhere and barely getting there on time, but we’re managing to make the activities our son loves a priority for both him and us.

And in all of this, it makes the time we do get to spend together a little more special, and I appreciate it more now than I did when we lived the opposite life – Kev and I worked for the same company for almost 8 years and were almost always together when Wildman was an infant. It would be nice to somehow fall a little more in between the two extremes, where we have the time and the chance to have our time together as a family but also have time to pursue our own interests, but I know that day will come.  Until then, I’ll continue to spend most of my time in the car driving from one place to another, drinking coffee and checking my calendar on the phone. Or doing laundry at 10pm when I’m home and Kev’s at work. Is it ideal? Not at all. Is it going to be worth it some day? Yes, I absolutely believe it will be.

And…We’re Off!!

It’s amazing how quickly our lives went from fairly relaxed and manageable to completely insane once again. One week we were hanging out, enjoying our evenings at home after days of Kev and the Wildman working or playing around the house, and the next week all *heck* is breaking lose. I think I may even have gone a couple of days without looking at our Google calendar there for a bit.

Well the lazy days of summer are officially over and we’re off to the races once again. Wildman started 2nd grade a little over a week ago at a new school. There wasn’t anything wrong with his old school, but our school district offeres some “magnet” school choices and we decided to give him a little different school experience. One of the newer magnet schools in the district is a Museum themed curriculum that partners with the variety of museums and institutions here in town to offer the kids a more hands-on, project based experience. As an added bonus, the school is within minutes of both the college where Kev spends the majority of his waking daylight hours and my office downtown. I feel better having him closer to me  during the day, and it makes it easier to get him after school.

The drawback to him going to school where he does is that it’s a longer drive to get to school in the morning. When he was at the neighborhood school, we left the house and within 7 minutes we were at school. Now we have to take into consideration traffic and leave much earlier. I won’t say we’ve got the morning routine worked out quite yet. Sure we’ve gotten him there on time every day so far, but it has dissolved into slight chaos a couple of times. I’m hoping that will smooth out with a few more runs.

Over the summer Kev picked up additional responsibilities and a few more hours at his job at the college. This really isn’t too bad and between the days he works and his classes he’s able to take Wildman to school 4 days a week. What did get a little screwy is his class schedule. When he registered for classes it was all carefully worked out to fit within the insanity of our lives. Now, both of his classes were rescheduled. Without going into the minutia of it, lets just say that Kev is going to be lucky he doesn’t collapse from exhaustion at some point before this semester is over.

To make matters even worse, Wildman’s hockey schedule this fall will be way more time intensive than in the past. He’s moving up a into a competitive division and so he’ll have practice once or twice a week in the evenings (it varies every other week) and games on Saturdays. Add this to Scouts during the week, and our evenings are pretty much full.

As for me, I’ve taken on the role of Den Leader for Wildman’s Scout den and it’s a role I am thoroughly excited about. I grew up in Girl Scouts and was very active, and I credit Scouts with much of what I learned and experienced as a girl. It helped that I had a dedicated and enthusiastic troop leader, who also happened to be my mom. I want to live up to the example she set for the girls in her troop, so I’m jumping right into Boy Scouts. This coming weekend I’m going to the first of a two-part leadership training  program to really immerse myself into the culture of Boy Scouts. I know a lot about Girl Scouts but not so much about Boy Scouts. I’ve got some catching up to do.

So that’s where we were now in a nutshell. Yesterday Wildman and I spent the day running errands all over the place. I think we were technically in 3 different towns  and 2 counties. Then we had a great dinner with fresh veggies from the farmer’s co-op (Fresh Harvest – if you’re in Nashville you have to check them out) and the company of our neighbors. Today, I’m taking Wildman with me to go purchase some school clothes for underprivileged kids using funds provided by the charity arm of my employer. This is one of the reasons I love where I work – we continually strive to give back to the surrounding community. Then I’ll start packing for my Scout adventure next weekend.

Because with our busy schedule, who knows if I’ll have another chance to get anything done this week.