Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What changes make You so insightful?

In my first entry, I alluded to some life changes that prompted this 'blog. I ought to share them.
In 12 months, I went from a college senior to a married homeowner/landlord with a child on the way.
In May, 2004, I was harassing a professor of Sociology at the University of North Texas. His class was an elective for me, pass or fail, and I had opted to skip on the mid-term or the final. There was no sense in me working too hard--I already had a bout of shingles from my first semester in college--but there was equally no sense in me accidentally failing his course. I was an English Composition and Lit. major--social groups and cult-studies were a bit out of my area of interest, and I was busy in other things. In fact, I taught Freshman English courses, composition and grammar mostly. They were seminars--not for college credit--but I got paid for it. I even tutored on the side, as well as offered an occasional 'proofreading' eye. I lived in the college dorms--Bruce Hall, if you're curious. I only drove on weekends because everything was within walking distance. I cut my own hair even. May 2004 happened to be my last month in that independent life.
By May, 2005, I was harassing the Spokane Housing Authority, trying to find the loophole to get my bad tenants out from under the home I had just purchased. The tenants, a welfare case, came with the property. Lynné, my wife, was doing a lot of home touching-up, in spite of the life growing inside of her: She painted the unit we lived in, decorated the 'community hall,' and was knitting a wedding shawl for a mutual, though distant, friend. I was living in Spokane now. The journey up is a story itself, and too long to go into here. I was a landlord to these bad tenants, and the delicate finances I had set up were being continually undercut by their antics. New dryer, new locks, new light-bulbs, replace the doors, replace the light-fixtures, fix leaks in bathroom floor. It was a mess at the time, but we got them out eventually. All this while, since August 2004, I was working at Starbucks... the lowest rung of barista there is.
I didn't give myself the luxury of reflection at the time; there was so much to reflect over. Rather, I continued pushing forward with life.
Here is a list of the major changes I went through...
  • Location: I went from Dallas, Texas--big city, very hot--to Spokane, Washington--small city, very rainy
  • Job: Without a university to offer tutoring skills to, I went to the only job I thought I could get: Starbucks. Funny how fear works. The better options were the riskier to me, and the lowest job I felt qualified for was the surest--and provided the least, giving me ample time to fear other things.
  • Marital Status: I did have a fiance-ship, but long-distance fiancés can do very little to interrupt life. I did cling to a cellphone the entire time...
  • Fiancial Status: When I was living in Dallas, I lived month-to-month (or semester-to-semester, depending on how you looked at it)... each month's auto-insurance bill worsened my worry-wort. By May of '05, I was living semi-month-to-month. That is, I paid this month's bills with half of last-month's check. I was building a savings--and occasionally dipping into it to solve the house problems.
  • Social Standing: This one's kind of weird, so follow me on this. As a college student, living in borrowed dorms, eating borrowed food, I carried little clout with the world. I was another potential gear in the cogs of grander machinery... Now, I am the machinist. I bought a home this past April and it is a Triplex. I'm a landlord over two tenants now (soon to be three)... and, along with the trivial fact that I could legally vote over 100 years ago with the other male landowners, I carry just a little bit more weight in the community. Since the tenants pay the mortgage and I can forfeit a 10% of the earnings to a land management company... I'm not as tied down as it may seem.

All in one year... that, dear friends, is a lot of adjustment.

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