Thursday, December 03, 2015

Hunting Season

It is with some degree of nausea that I write this post. Over the last week or so, Melanie and I have been actively house hunting. In addition, I have been job hunting. In many respects, this is an exciting time. But it’s also a stressful time, and there have been moments here and there when I want to run and hide and/or cry. (I probably should be medicated, but that’s a post for another day.)

As far as homes are concerned, there is only one that we have acted on in any significant sense. The price range was right, the location was great, and the features were phenomenal. It was a three-level townhouse. It had three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms (which is sort of ridiculous), a living room on the main floor, a family room downstairs, a patio balcony off the master bedroom, a ground floor patio in the back, covered parking for two, and an unbelievable amount of closet and storage space. An absurd amount. It also came with access to a pool, a playground, and a clubhouse. Melanie and I had an appointment on Monday to see the townhouse. Over the weekend, we drove by it to check it out and found the neighborhood peaceful and pleasant. The boys loved it. They kept talking about living there. When Creegan woke up on Monday morning, the first thing he said is, “Today’s the day we go see the new house!” When I picked him up from preschool a few hours later, he asked if we could drive by the new house to see how long it takes to get there from his school. I obliged, and when we got to the townhouse, he wanted us to get out and walk around the building a bit. In Creegan’s mind, we were definitely moving there. We kept telling him it might not happen, but he was completely sold.

Creegan at the back entrance to the townhouse.

Our appointment to view the townhouse was in the late afternoon. The boys were excited to go see the inside. They ran through the home on their own, checking everything out much more quickly than Melanie and I did. They loved it. And I loved a lot about it. But three serious concerns arose during our visit. The most forgivable is that the woman showing us the townhouse did not instill in me any confidence whatsoever that the townhouse would be well-managed. She was in another world, mentally. She didn’t even acknowledge us or say hello. She just opened the door and then went in and seemed entirely distracted the whole time. Only when we asked her questions did she seem to realize we were there. And within a few minutes of our arrival, more people showed up to look at the townhouse. This woman said she scheduled multiple people at the same time for her convenience. I was not impressed. It made it kind of awkward.

The next concern I had, which was a bit more serious, is that the townhouse was constructed in the early 1970s and might contain lead. I don’t know how much this really matters, but the woman said we would have to sign something saying we willingly and knowingly take the risk of living in a residence that might contain lead. I don’t know what the odds are that it does, but when it comes to my children, I don’t really want to take that chance. When I lived on my own before marrying Melanie, I had to sign a similar waiver. But I don’t want to mess around when it comes to my kids. I just don’t.

The greatest concern I had, and only because I thought it had the greatest chance of actually being a problem, is that we might be too noisy. The woman showing us the townhouse said that the previous residents had been kicked out for making too much noise. She then said that you can basically hear everything through the walls and that the neighbors are really picky about noise. With three kids under the age of 10, this was a dealbreaker. In Florida, I used to have a hard time relaxing because I knew our kids were loud. And yes, we did have a couple of complaints from neighbors. My kids are older now, but we’re definitely going to make some noise. And I hate the thought of feeling uncomfortable in my own home, like I can’t completely relax. Like I have to worry when I turn up the TV. Like I can’t play guitar without having an unappreciative audience on the other side of the wall. Like we can’t turn up the music and dance. Like my kids can’t act like kids.

It was super disappointing not to find the townhouse perfect. It was a bit dated inside, but it was awesome anyway. All except for the crappy management, the potential of inadvertently poisoning your children, and having the neighbors complain that your kids are making too much noise as they die. I was woefully depressed afterward. It was one of my I-want-to-run-and-hide-and-bawl moments. What’s worse, the kids were extremely disappointed that we weren’t going to pursue the townhouse after all. Creegan cried about it. He was heartbroken. And that sucks for me.

So, shall we talk about jobs?

In the last several days, I have applied for three jobs. Not a lot, perhaps, but it’s something. One of the jobs is at a company where two of my good friends work. I wouldn’t work with them, but they both say the company is really good and laidback. They are also flexible with your schedule, and that would be nice with Creegan still in preschool. I have been looking at this company for a while, waiting for a job opening I thought I might like. Finally, I saw one. So I applied for it.

Soon after Melanie and I left the townhouse, feeling depressed that it wasn’t going to work out after all, one of my friends who works at this company called me to tell me not to cross my fingers concerning the job. He had learned that, for whatever reason, the person in charge of the job has never hired a man to do the job. He said he didn’t know why, and he questioned the legality of it, but he said he had reason to expect the trend to continue. On top of my experience with the townhouse, this was yet another reason to feel like adulthood sucks and I want to crawl back into my mother’s womb and stay there.

Fast forward a couple of days. I find two job openings that sound quite promising, both at the same company (as each other, but not the company where my friends work). I consider applying for both jobs, but feel more certain about one than the other. I stay up incredibly late working on an appropriate cover letter, going through the online job application process, and clicking submit. When I get confirmation that my application has been received, I realize that I have applied for the wrong job. I applied for the job I was less certain about—which is fine, except that the cover letter I included spoke specifically about the other job. I was so tired and worn out that I could barely care. I just threw my hands in the air and said, “Oh well. Either they call me or they don’t. I’ll just let it be.” I never submitted another application to that company.

The next day, I am looking at job postings for the State of Utah. I’m very intrigued by one of the jobs, but I’m also worried it will be a highly negative job. The job posting specifically mentions dealing with hostile and/or irate customers. This makes me quite leery, but I know someone who does this exact job. I reach out to her and ask her about it. She makes the job sound pretty good. In fact, by the time I’m done talking to her, I’m feeling super excited about applying. I want the job, and I want it bad. The pay is almost $5 more per hour than the first job mentioned above to which I applied. The benefits are great, including a flexible schedule, a TRAX pass (which might come in handy), and holidays off with pay. But, most importantly, if I work for the government for 10 years, my student loan debt will be 100% forgiven. That, in and of itself, is a gigantic pay raise that I don’t even dare quantify for you. And finally, I was told that they usually hire several people at once in order to train them all together. That means my odds of being hired are even greater. I’m crossing my fingers so tightly, I’m about to break a bone.

The application process for state jobs is quite laborious. They ask tons of questions that require near essay-length answers. It took me several hours to prepare my application for the state job. And that’s just for one job. But I really want it, so I did it. I submitted my application late at night, two nights ago. I don’t know how soon I might realistically hear from them, but I’m eager and hopeful. Which is why I felt sick to my stomach when the second company to which I applied—the one with the screwed up cover letter—called me today to set up an interview.

Normally, a job interview is a good thing. But I do not want to let go of the government job. If there’s a decent chance I can get the government job, it would be insane to accept this other one. Even without the student loan forgiveness, the government job pays between 15% and 20% more per hour. If we include the student loan forgiveness, the difference is astronomical. I won’t specify, but it comes surprisingly close to double what I’d make from the non-government job. How can I turn my back on that??

So, yes, I have a job interview tomorrow morning. But I’m not excited. I’m nauseous. Literally. I don’t want to be forced to decide. I don’t want to accept a job with one company only to bail on them a few days later. That would suck for both of us. I’d rather just say no, as Nancy Reagan admonished. But can I say no? Should I say no? If the government job doesn’t pan out, this would be the next best thing—unless I could get another government job, and yes, there are a couple of other ones out there that intrigue me. Considering the student loan debt, I don’t know if it makes any damn sense to accept a non-government job. But I hate having to figure that out. I hate it.


  1. Wishing you the best and that it will all work out. Let it be their problem if you accept one job only to quit next week for a better one. It will be OK and I've seen it happen...they won't hate you.

  2. Yep, when buying a house built before 1978 you have to sign a lead based plaint disclosure. It's good to be concerned, but don't worry about it too much. I assume your kids have grown out of the habit of sticking everything is their mouth. Lead based paint doesn't become a problem unless you disturb it or it's flaking off. We renovated our house and our kids are okay.