I Confess...Apartment Living Is...

I had been hewing and hawing about posting this post for no other reason than because I didn't want to come off whiny. But its my blog and I will do what I want to. #beginrant

I confess...

.our apartment sucks.
For those who don't understand the way it works here (Austin), demand exceeds supply of affordable, good, livable apartments in this city to the point where if you don't sign a lease sight unseen on your future apartment 2-3 months out, you're going to end up shit-outta-luck. And the older/shittier complexes can basically run just north of slumlord status and still be in business because fuck you, they say so and what are you going to do about it, some California immigrant will probably pay twice what you will so suck it. Well, shockingly, our apartment that was "move in ready" on Saturday was a steaming pile of dogshit. Who needs working locks on East Riverside? Or a ceiling fan that hangs at less than a 25 degree angle? Cabinets that aren't rotting, and don't contain roach traps from the previous tenant? A/C vents that aren't so filthy that they're clogged? A dishwasher that you can actually open all the way, without it banging into the refrigerator? Ahhh that's all way too much to ask. The mister's words.

.our apartment leasing office managers are incompetent and downright rude.
On Sunday we walked through the apartment with a employee after the Saturday shit show we walked into, he took multiple pictures and even said "I wouldn't even live here" and told us it would be fixed 110%. The catch: he isn't a a manager so he has no pull. Monday we were told that our work order had been complete for our mailbox keys...no mention of anything else by the assistant manager. The actual manager of the apartment complex final contacted us with tons of bullshit lies. They are all looking and talking to us like we are crazy or seeing two different apartment complexes.

Today I stopped by to check on their progress...zip, nadda, nothing changed...so I stopped by the leasing office and the manager blew me off and the assistant manager pacified me. Apparently they will only deal with the mister...even though my name is on the stupid lease. I walked away before I could burn too many bridges...

.I am stressed to the max with the apartment 'issues', packing, spackling and such.
And I have probably taken it out on my students and mister just a tad too much this past week.

.I am trying to find positive items about the apartment that we our stuck with for the next 15 months.
The storage unit on the patio is very large...you know if it would lock and all.
The odd angles of the apartment mean the mister won't be recreating his TV room...so I will get my own: TV/workout/craft/dressing/beauty room. And he gets the living room.
There is only one window in the whole 2 bedroom apartment...so less curtains to buy?

.I have been wasting entirely too much time on pinterest looking for items to 'spruce' up the apartment.

Life Story Print by TwoThirdsHazel on Etsy, $10.00  cozy

gorgeous print  Bedroom Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodels and Decor

   Love the yellow, grey, and white. Also really like the frames above the bed.

There is a possibility that when the movers come this weekend and we move all of our belongings across town the apartment complex will have come through and provided us with a move in ready apartment...but I am not holding my breath. #endrant

Linking up with Because Shanna Said So and Vodka and Soda.

- The Babbling Box!

What Doesn't Break You: Our First Home

October marked the two year anniversary of the mister and I moving into our first house together, aka we survived two years without killing each other.

And since this Saturday we get the keys to our new place I thought there couldn't be a more fitting most to link up with Helene and Sarah's #firststotalsocial link up. 

I have never been the type of person to get emotionally attached to a home, considering I have moved 10 times in the 10 years I have lived in Austin, its a good thing too.

And honestly, I have been begging the mister to move since the day we moved in but that's really besides the point. Well it's not the point of this post. But either way as we start to close the doors to this house, this particular place will always hold a special place in my heart if not for any other reason than 
'it was our first home together.'

Let's travel back in time two years ago and relive the amazing story of how we ended up in a house that was too large for our needs, way over our budget and in suburbia no less.

The mister brought up the moving in together topic in March of that year, a year after I originally brought it up, and the timing worked well considering my lease was up in August and Erica would be leaving the state.

The mister had a few rules: we had to have a house and he had to have a TV room. I would have said yes to anything considering I had given up hope that he would get to that stage. Story of our relationship: I am always a year ahead of where he is emotionally.

In August we said goodbye to Erica, loaded my amazing amount of crap into storage and I moved into the mister's one bedroom apartment. We had six weeks before his lease was up, we could totally make living on top of each other work. 

Until I saw his closet and I cried, there was no way this was going to ever work. 

But I channeled my mom and squeezed ever last hanger into his closet, yes I couldn't get anything out of the closet but I made it fit. I tried to tell myself that this was 'cozy' and what normal couples do when they move in together but the reality is I was waking up at 5 am and trying to dig through a dark closet that was literally right next to the misters bed hoping that I could put together an outfit presentable for the corporate world. Don't get me started on the guilt I felt at starting my blender or the fact that the bathroom was also right next to the bed...awkward.

I should mention that I was also applying for teaching jobs as well, why not make two large life changes at one time.

Every weekend I was going out looking at places and hating all of them, the truth was our realtor didn't get our needs desires. We probably looked at at least 20 places and hated all of them. We were just leasing, it wasn't like we were making long term commitments, but I will forever be the 'princess' when it comes to living situations.

Our first guest bedroom.

And then like magic, I landed a teaching job. I told the mister it was now up to him to find us a place, my priorities were being pulled elsewhere.

And as luck would have it we got a different realtor and the mister found the most amazing townhouse two days later. Cute, perfect location, granite, hard woods and no backyard. The mister was pestering me non stop via text to leave my training and come look at this place. I was already ready to cry I was so overwhelmed at starting teaching when the school year had already started my feelings towards him were very bitter.

Regardless, I went and saw the place, swooned and we completed the paperwork. The catch, because there is always a catch, I didn't have a contract yet because getting fingerprints on file was impossible that summer. Technically I was still employed at the law firm, I was on their insurance, owed two more paychecks, 100+ hours of paid time off, promised I would be a contract employee and I gave them my blood sweat and tears for three years. But technically I was already a teacher and had keys to a classroom. Reality was I was jobless for the worst three days of my life, timing wise that is.

I supplied all of this information in our paperwork and here is the gut wrenching part of the whole thing: the rentors were nervous about us as rentees. The owner of the law firm refused to answer the phone and provide a reference, went as far as contacting me via email to tell me to not provide her name. WTF?

On top of all of this my old apartment complex told the rentors that we didn't pay our damage dues upon moving out. Technically we owed less than $150 and they had failed to send us a bill yet because we just moved out, thanks apartment complex. 

Needless to say we didn't get the townhouse. 

We now had less than 15 days before we needed to be out of the mister's apartment. Thank goodness the complex allowed us to stay for 15 extra days or we could have easily been homeless. I should mention it was the same apartment complex that just fucked me over on their reference of me as a rentor. The mister took charge of finding us a place since I was coming home in tears every night of the week as I learned an important lesson: middle schooler's are mean. 

At this point I didn't care where we lived, as long as we moved out of this tiny apartment and I could possible cry in private. Small demands really.

We looked at five places in one night, I was mad because I needed to be lesson planning or eating dinner or sleeping...not driving all over Austin looking at houses. But we saw a few that might work and of course the very last house fit most of our needs.

Was it way over budget, yes. Was it basically in Buda it was so far South Austin, yes. Was it a three bedroom, two bathroom with a formal dining room that could easily house a family of five, yes.

But we liked it and decided we could make it work...aka...we needed a place to live and we were out of time.

The best part of the whole thing was that we had one day to move out and move in. So Saturday morning we got up at the butt crack of dawn and moved both the mister's apartment and my storage unit into our house. A sign we had too much crap: it took two truck loads with movers. And we cleaned the mister's old place and turned the keys in. 

We worked for 16+ hours that day, exhausting is not even a word I can use to describe the whole experience. 

The only real memory I have of that time is the mister had his whole TV room set up before I could even unpack the kitchen. Priorities. 

The mister's TV room.

One of the many 'issues' with making so many life changes at the same time was I was so focused on my new job that I couldn't really enjoy setting up this house, our first house. My closet was not unpacked for two weeks and that right there is a sign of pure craziness.

Our first living room.

I wish that I had a blog back then so I had documented those emotions and taken pictures of the crazy roller coaster that was the beginning of the new chapter in the mister and I's relationship. But the joys of having a blog now is I can go back and retell the stories.

Not every relationship could have handled all of the stress of moving into together and I feel like if we weren't as strong of a couple as we were/are we could have easily allowed the stress and set backs to break us BUT we survived and it will always be a constant reminder of what we can handle.

The only picture I can find from that entire three month period of us.

And as we begin to close this chapter in our lives: the one that contains our first house, our first move, our first arguments over dishwashers and brita pitchers, our first Christmas tree and many more wonderful memories I can't wait for our new adventure to begin...no matter how much crap we have to move across Austin.

Venus Trapped in Mars

- The Babbling Box!

The Old Song and Dance Routine

Let's face it, as teachers we pretty much rely on the song and dance routine to keep our students engaged, entertained and motivated to work. And right around this time of the year my song and dance routine is downright old and pathetic. 

There are basically three versions of my students at this point: 
.the ones who do work because they know they are supposed to; 
.the ones who know they don't have to do summer school and have now quit working completely; 
.the ones who know they have to do summer school and have now quit working completely.

I blame it on state testing...lets spend all year preparing them for a test and then leave six weeks of school after said test...but that's a post for another day.

Around this time last year I decided to try a new unit in my web design class: video game design. And I posted about it here. What I didn't foresee at the time was how amazing this unit would go, how many students would eventually sign up for web design just to do this unit or how truly engaged it keeps them. aka no behavior issues. zero.

The program we use is Game Star Mechanic
Scholastic approves it so it must be decent.

Here are the highlights aka why you should try it out like yesterday:

.it's free. 
teachers love the word free

.it's easy.
all you have to do is set up a account and provide the link to the students for them to create their own username: no downloading software, no adding usernames, no maintaining lists

.students must play through five quests in order to publish any games.
this takes about five or so class days if you were doing it for the full period, it requires no instruction from you except to start the quests

.students will seriously be playing video games in each quest.
a student's dream.

.prewritten lesson plans. 
.if you want to ensure that it is all educational like there are prewritten lesson plans with handouts and extension activities aka no extra work on your end.

.thinking planning and attention to detail.
.once the students have played through all of the quests they can then design their own game from scratch with as many levels as they or you see fit: this is going to end up taking us about two weeks of class time.

.students get to play each other's games and provide feedback.
.be warned students might spend the entire unit begging you to play their game. its like a tug a war of your attention.

.core subjects aren't left out.
.there are also extension lessons that can incorporate the core subjects into the final video game design: .A Mythical Tale. The Deep Earth Explorer.

.You could have students tell a story through video game design about any unit you are studying.

And because sometimes it nice to be able to brag on how awesome my students are here are two of the many amazing games I have seen designed over the last three semesters of using Game Star Mechanic in my room.

So if you are tired of the old song and dance routine and looking for a way to keep those kiddio's engaged as the end of the year creeps closer, wanting a way to reward the students for being awesome or just want to have your students think you are the absolute coolest teacher. ever.
 might I suggest Game Star Mechanic! 

How are you keeping your students engaged?

Linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper.

- The Babbling Box!

Hit It!

"It’s a 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes; it’s dark and we’re wearing sun glasses."

It might have taken a week but I am finally getting around to recapping our Chicago trip, blame it on the fact that my students lost their f*cking minds while I was away or the fact that I didn't sleep more than four hours a night while in Chicago...or that we get our new keys Saturday and possible need to prepare for the move.

Thursday we arrived into Chicago and took the train to our hotel, I learned a valuable lesson over packing and public transportation do not mix. 

This is just a few of the clothes I brought... 

The mister had the bachelor party that evening so I was on my own. I did what any smart girl would do: shopped. I walked down to the Magnificent Mile and did a little light shopping, cause my luggage couldn't hold too much more, and then walked back and picked up dinner and wine.

I decided to do a little pampering and wash my hair, blow it out and do my nails. But the reality of our 'cheap' hotel started sabotaging me one step at a time. The water pressure in the shower was the equivalent of pouring a glass of water over my head, so washing my hair easily took over an hour and I certainly didn't feel all that clean. The heater started making this noise that sounded like a animal was trapped inside. I basically felt like I was trapped inside a hotel straight from a horror film. 

Thankfully I survived...and Friday morning around six in the morning I was awoken by the rattling of the train as it went by. every. 15 minutes. Perhaps hotels.com might have mentioned the location of the building and the train.

Since we were already up and at it, the mister wanted to check out his old stomping grounds so we took the bus out to The University of Chicago. Checked out his dorm, the campus and ended our adventure with delicious pizza.

Friday evening we had the rehearsal dinner which I completely failed at taking any pictures and I really liked my hair...go figure.

Saturday I was super excited to meet Erin for the very first time, you think I might be a little nervous about meeting someone I have only emailed with over the last year but from the second we hugged the conversation never ended and it was amazing. Certainly wished she lived closer we could get into all sorts of shenanigans. Her boyfriend was also kind enough to drive me to my hair appointment, and thank the lord because I learned how awful I was with public transportation.

My hair appointment ended at 3:15, I arrived back at my hotel at 4:45. They were 5.6 miles away. I perhaps took the wrong bus... I was supposed to leave for the wedding at 5:00.

Needless to say I almost missed the wedding...I arrived just as the bride walked down the aisle, pure class this one.

Once I finally calmed down...I had pretty much been on the verge of tears from frustration the whole time...aka had a Jameson and sprite, I was able to really enjoy the wedding.

Sunday the groom's family hosted brunch which was delicious and filled with yummy mimosas. And then we took the bride and groom to the Cardinals vs. Cubs game. I might have finally broken my St. Louis curse because they actually won!

Monday we said goodbye to Chicago and made our way back to the world of high water pressure, buildings that don't shake and zero buses to mess up. I thoroughly enjoyed our trip and certainly wish we had more time to see the sights and/or visit with Erin but there is always next time!

- The Babbling Box!

05/2014 Goals

It's the seventh of May and I am just now getting around to setting my May goals, I could blame it on being in Chicago for five days and then returning to a mess, a story for another day, but the truth of the matter is I procrastinate. There I said it.

When I first started this monthly link up I assumed setting monthly goals would be rewarding in the whole crossing things off the list each month feeling I love and I wouldn't have goals from five months ago that I had clearly forgotten about.

Reality is that it doesn't matter if I set the goals 100+ days ago or 30 days ago, I am going to procrastinate and try to accomplish everything on the last possible day. Or just add the goals to the next month. And the next month. etc.

I am not particularly sure why I procrastinate because in my professional life I strive on to do lists and I work my butt off each and every day to cross each item off. And I do. But once the work clothes come off and the yoga pants come on all bets are off and suddenly I am using the words later or tomorrow, I let the social media world distract me or I get lost in hours of HGTV in the pits of my couch. 

If I just took a minute to respond to that email, make that phone call or make a blog comment instead of making a to do list to do it later I would probably be a whole lot less stressed and would probably need a few less to do lists. No matter how much I love to do lists.

With all that being said I am still hosting the monthly link up, because no matter who wants to link up I have learned a few things about myself over these last five months and I certainly have determined what goals I should focus on and what goals are just getting in the way of the bigger picture.

Without further ramblings lets take a look at my April Goals:

one. I am participating in Erin's #1800minutechallenge my goal should be to log at least half of my minutes in April in order to stay on track. Failed.

two. No credit card purchases.  Failed.

three. Blog once a week, this month will be busy so I making my priority working out and not blogging. Failed.

four. Respond to all blog comments by the end of the week. Failed.

five. Find a place to live, sign paperwork and book the movers. Success.

six. Go through the rest of the house, pull out items for garage sale and price items for garage sale. Success.

seven. Plan all outfits for Chicago and purchase accessories, shoes and makeup bag by the 20th. Send back whichever dress I won't wear to the wedding. Failed.

eight. Pack for Chicago. Success, but it wasn't pretty how much I brought. Not pretty at all.

nine. Get ahead in lesson planning and grading so that when I miss three days of school I don't hate myself...refuse to go back to that mess...cry!  Success.

ten. Tackle one project at a time, one week at a time. Failed/success?

There really isn't a need to elaborate on any of that so it's onto goals for May!

one. Work out or something like that.
Since its May 7th and I just made it to 900 minutes of my #1800minutechallenge, its time to kick it into high gear and start actually going to the gym and not just coming home and doing a yoga routine.

two. Complete the Goop Cleanse. 
I was looking for a juice cleanse but those are super pricey, I have done the goop cleanse before and enjoyed it so I am leaning that way. All I know is my body is screaming for a break from carbs, cheese and booze.

three. No credit card spending! 
For reals this time.

four. Return a lot of shopping item! 
A bunch of the items I didn't use for the wedding need to be returned and I need to track down items I returned to make sure balances are returned to my accounts. I am crazy and admit it openly.

five. Make an end of year check list for school. 
I had wanted to prep my room for next year but I found out to save money they are turning off the AC for the whole summer so I can only imagine any work I do would have to be redone as it melted off the walls. It's all about packing smart and prepping what I can.

six. Be a more active blogger:
either blog more often, comment more, respond to comments, just do something.

seven. Pack smart, move smart unpack smart. 
I have this horrible tendency to literally pack up the house as is and unpack the house as is, thus never purging or organizing things in different ways. I want something different this time, a place with less things, less clutter and less...well just less.

eight. Be a better friend. 
I just found out my sister is moving in with her bf through my dad, I haven't talked to my bestie in almost a month and don't get me started on people I know here in the city. It's time to connect more.

nine. Get crafty!
I want to create something special for my SEL class that is promoting to the 9th grade, I need something free but special for them to take with them when they leave. I obliviously don't have to do this, but it is very important to me!

ten. Stop procrastinating!

So now its your turn to join the party! The rules are simple, cause there really aren't any, write out your May goals, grab the button and then link up to the party.