Been awhile, hasn’t it? That’s because life has been a nonstop action-packed adventure flick for the last few weeks.
After chewing my nails for weeks waiting to find out about jobs, I got not one, but two job offers! It came down to choosing between Midwestern State University and University of Mid-Atlantic, Flagship. My preference was clear; I used the offers to negotiate a slightly better package (and my offer was already pretty stellar) and then sealed the deal at Mid-Atlantic. In a few months, we’ll be moving our nest south of the Mason-Dixon, where I’m pretty sure they eat Yankees like me, to a sprawling metro area. In August, I’ll officially become an assistant professor.
It’s both terrifying and exhilarating. I haven’t had enough down time for terror to really sink in, though. As soon as I signed the offer letter, we started the mad race to get our house ready to sell.
If you’ve never prepared a house to list, you probably have no idea what kind of horrific endurance test I’m talking about. For nearly a month, every day, evening, and weekend has been filled with scraping, scrubbing, painting, repairing, upgrading, and facelifting our 86-year-old bungalow. In the process, I’ve triggered a carpal tunnel flare-up that requires me to wear a brace at night (minimum) if I want to sleep.
In addition to overhauling the kitchen, touching up all the things, disposing of tons of stuff we don’t plan to move, and packing away everything we could possibly live without, we shelled out for a staging consultant and a pre-listing home inspection. There’s nothing for the ego quite like getting multiple professional opinions on the deficiencies of your home.
As a result, we still have a to-do list for repairs after the inspection, and we pretty much completely rearranged our house. Only 2 or 3 pieces of furniture remain where they were before. It’s disorienting and frustrating to live in a space that feels so foreign and temporary. It’s also nerve-wracking to try to keep everything spotless, depersonalized, and perfectly orderly for unknown visitors who may descend with minimal notice at any time.
But that’s just the beginning. The really stressful thing, which I try to ignore, is that we need to sell our house fast so that we have a down payment for new living quarters. And boy oh boy is housing expensive in our new neighborhood. Like, three to six times higher cost than we currently pay. Ouch.
So despite a 50% raise in my pay, Mr. Chickadee hasn’t yet had time to secure a job, and we have very little buying power. We can only finance about double the house we have now, and you can’t touch a house like ours in the new locale for less than five times the value of our current property. What that means for us, because renting is even more absurd, is shopping for condos and townhouses instead of traditional single-family homes. But it looks like we’ve found a decent area for our needs, so we’re planning to take that university-funded house-hunting trip later this month.
At the same time, I just had an article in the crème de la crème scientific publication, got invited to facilitate a workshop in Italy (yes! yes! yes!), and got sucked into heading up Mid-Atlantic’s end of an NSF proposal with only a week to write the grant. My travel schedule for the next few months is off the charts: six trips before we move, and a few more after that. It’s stressful and exciting, and it’s really all good, so long as I can keep my wits about me.
It’s been mind-boggling, kids. Wish me luck! I’ll try to check in again soon.