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An Honest-To-God Update

I’ll skip the “omg so busy and that is why i haven’t updated in a billion trillion years” part since I’m pretty sure no one is reading this anymore.

Not much has changed since my last update. I am still working hard, still loving most of it and not so much the rest of it.

Things I love –

The kids. They are so cute and so much fun. Even when I’m tired and dreading work, being in class with the kids always perks me up because even if not all of them are on point, at least a few of them are going at life full tilt at any give time. That sentence is terrible, but I don’t feel like fixing it. Plus I feel that it gets my point across anyway.

The teaching. I find the subject matter interesting and I enjoy the process of teaching.

Things I don’t love –

Grading. Uuuuugh. No teacher loves grading. If you know a teacher, you’ve heard them bitch about grading. It is so boring, but it has to be done!

Coworker drama. I haven’t had any direct drama myself, but I’ve witnessed some. There is something specifically ugly about seeing teachers be ugly to each other. Most of my coworkers are lovely, but there are a few who could stand to chill out. People can also be weirdly competitive and insecure about their subject area and how much teaching time they get. It’s exhausting. The kids are fine! They are learning all the subjects just fine! If they like your subject, they’ll pursue it regardless of how many hours they spent on it in elementary school. But what do I know.

Things I hate –

Paperwork. Working in a public school means you have an insane amount of paperwork. As you slog through forms designed to hold you accountable for any small failure you might encounter, you have the odd sensation that you are doing someone else’s job as well as your own. Not to mention the fact that this is yet another in a long list of amazing plans to make each teacher the best teacher ever, and it will soon be followed by a new plan that means you have to recycle all your paperwork and start again. On the upside, I can complain about it. The administrators all have to pretend that they thing it is all an awesome idea. I’m frustrated, and I know that every single one of my fellow teachers is frustrated. We spend twice as much time filling out paperwork and sitting in pointless meetings as we do planning lessons, teaching, and grading.

All in all, I find it hard to believe that I’ll stick it out in public school for my entire career. The pay is much, much better (I’m talking nearly 20,000 a year better). But is it worth the trade off? It doesn’t feel like it right now.

And so I sit, the things that I don’t love and the things that I hate revolving around my mind, making me wince at the idea of going to work tomorrow. But I can find comfort in the fact that my classroom feels like a haven, even when invaded by evaluators, and I like standing in front of that room. It is tiring to think of standing in front of a class for hours tomorrow. In reality, however, I’ll be energized  by the subject and the kids, and too busy to think about being tired or hungry.

But I can’t just talk about teaching all the time, there are other things going on in my life! Just kidding, there really aren’t other things going on in my life. The cats are basically the same. They are cute and fluffy and scratchy and annoying and totally spoiled. SleepyHusband used to pretend that cats were, like, fine, like, I guess. But now he’s totally mushy about them.

I haven’t read anything new lately. Too busy reading stuff I’ll be giving the kids. Things I’ve read before. Soon I’ll be teaching a book that is totally new to me. It should be exciting, but frankly, it is just freaking me out at the moment. I keep feeling like I might snap if I’m given one more challenge, but so far I’ve just kept chugging along. Let’s hope my nervous breakdown is not incoming. And now I’m talking about work again.

I saw my whole immediate family for Thanksgiving, which was something that hasn’t happened in about 5 years. Amazing how time can get away from you like that. It was fun, and it was quite nice to be able to escape to our own house when the festivities were over.

We have a Christmas tree! SleepyHusband dragged me out on a Friday afternoon to pick out a tree and I may have lost my shit a little bit in the Christmas aisle of our local Walmart. But our tree is lovely. There is something soothing and charming about having a Christmas tree in the room.

I won’t end with a promise to post more. This blog is one of the last things I think of when I thing of ways to spend my free time. I’m also willing to admit that the recent release of two sequels in two of my favorite video game series ever has eaten up a decent amount of my lazy weekends. Uncharted 3, which I got through relatively quickly, is the last of a great platformer with fantastic voice acting and engaging plot. I don’t know if I’d say this was my favorite of the three, but the game play was noticeably improved and I was thoroughly entertained. Bethesda has also, FINALLY, released the next in it’s line of Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim. It is truly a game unlike any other. Apparently it is supposed to take 250 hours to finish every available activity in the game. I haven’t gotten even close to that, but I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it when I find the time. I’ll try to write a proper review sometime soon.

It has been awhile since I reviewed a book. This is partly because it has been awhile since I last read a book. That is to say, a book besides Lord of the Flies, which I pore over constantly when planning lessons. I was in serious need of some literary variety in my life.

I recently got an iPhone, and like so many before me, I am greatly enjoying it. One of the first apps I downloaded was iBook. The app store was advertising it, and while I thought my phone was a bit small to read a book on, I downloaded it. I figured it was free, why not? Then the other day I had the sudden urge to read something new, something good. Since I now live on a small island, it now takes about half an hour to get to the nearest bookstore. It isn’t so much the distance as traffic and finding parking, a pain in the neck all around.

So what to read, and where to get it. I decided to poke around the iBook store, but the way they organize their books didn’t really lend itself to browsing (or at least not the way I was doing it, I should play with the app a bit more). Then I remembered that a friend (hi Mike!) had recently mentioned a book on twitter that sounded interesting. He described Ready Player One to me as “Dan Brown for geek fanboys,” which could mean a lot of things, but it sounded fun to me. The book was in the iBook library and I downloaded it, hoping that the small screen wouldn’t make me insane.

Reading a book on an iPhone wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I would certainly say it slowed me down a bit. It was harder to get immersed in the story when you had to turn the page every 20 seconds. But eventually my brain would get the rhythm, and it didn’t detract from the story.

Anyway, onto the actual review. As usual, spoilers will be written in white text so you can highlight and read them if you choose too. I will try to indicate if they are major or minor, in case you just want to be mildly spoiled.

Let me start with a brief plot summary – It is 2044 and the world is in seriously bad shape. This is your typical distopian future, fires in the street, poor living conditions, a beaten down populace, the haves are few and far between and they have everything, the have-nots are barely scraping by. Our hero is a have-not, albiet a resourceful one when it comes to his main hobby – a virtual world called Oasis. Oasis is a fully (depending on how much equipment you have) interactive virtual world. The sad, beaten down people of earth use it to escape the horrific real world; they go to school, work, carry on friendships and romances, battle for virtual money and status, and generally enjoy things reality can’t offer them. When the creator of Oasis died, he left behind a massive puzzle to be solved by players. The prize for solving this mystery is the “egg,” a symbol for unimaginable wealth and control over Oasis itself, everything that the creator of the game, James Halliday, left behind when he died. This leads to huge amounts of the population devoting themselves to solving this puzzle, the clues of which are deeply rooted in 80’s culture of all kinds. Our main character, Wade, devotes any time that isn’t taken up by virtual high school  to solving the puzzle that so many people have obsessed over. After the contest drags on for 5 years without anyone finding the first of three keys, some people lose interest. But not Wade, and not thousands of other “gunters” as they are called (egg hunters).

What’s bad – The author has a little bit of a wish-fulfillment issue going on. Since the story is immersed, literally, in technology, he occasionally dives off into long tangents about the cool and mostly imaginary technology on offer. Suits that allow you to physically feel what is happening in the real world? Fine. Boxes that release scents into the air so you can smell what you are seeing? Silly, especially when placed in a chapter that is devoted to describing how people can feel, smell, order food that really arrives at your apartment, blah blah blah… It is like the author made a list of everything you would need to make virtual reality as real as possible, then wrote about all of them. And no one told him to cut it down. Leave something to the imagination, not many people are sitting there thinking, “but what about smell!”

The writing itself also leaves something to be desired. The author’s desire to describe everything is related to bigger issues with “show don’t tell.” If Cline wants to tell you what something looks like or how someone feels, he just tells you. All too often there is no effort to integrate information into the story, instead it gets its own descriptive paragraph. Most of the time Cline has taken the time to describe something because it comes up later in the story, but he doesn’t seem to realize that its place in the story is description enough. Everything doesn’t need its own detailed introduction.

What’s fine – 80’s 80’s 80’s! Any connoisseur of 80’s culture is going to enjoy this book. The sheer number of movies, videogames, bands, songs, actors, pop culture icons, etc. that are mentioned in this novel is staggering. Me, I’ve never been overly into the 80’s. I was seven when the 90’s came along, and even then I’m really more of an aughts girl when it comes to music, movies, and gaming culture. I did enjoy some of the name checks, like Wil Wheaton, but I can see how someone who is more into the 80’s would get more out of the book in general. In order to “win” the game and collect all the keys, gunters have to be encyclopedias of knowledge about the 80’s, a decade James Halliday was obsessed with. Puzzles include things like (minor spoiler) reciting entire movies and successfully playing through Pac Man without making a single mistake, and only the most obsessed will survive.

Another mention for wish-fulfillment for the “fine” catagory. What annoyed me about some of the other wish-fulfillment was that it was too much “listing” and not enough story. But there is another, romantic comedy-esque style that also shows up. (Minor spoilers to follow). Our protagonist starts off the novel looking like what one might expect someone who spends all their time in a virtual world to look like. He’s spotty, pale, and overweight. But after suffering a soul-crushing setback, Wade downloads a program that forces him to exercise in the real world before he is allowed to play in the virtual one. Thus our chubby nerd transforms into six-packed hero, just in time to do something that demonstrates his willingness to leave the virtual world and kick ass in the real one. This is the kind of wish fulfillment I don’t mind. The authorial urge to take an ugly duckling and swan him up a little is strong, if not original. Taking care of ones’ self physically is a tried and true sign of growth in fiction, so I’ll give the author a partial pass for leaning a bit too much on the “training montage” school of character development.

But also, let’s face it, it undermines his “it’s not what’s on the inside that counts” message a bit.

Another thing I’d have to put in the “fine” catagory is the ending. After working our way through this book of incredibly complex puzzles and epic battles, the story seems to end quite suddenly. But perhaps that was just me. Also, (major spoiler) the big red button that destroys the entire online world? Mmm, not sure what to make of that. Clearly the message is that part of the reason humanity is going down the tubes is because everyone spends all their spare time in a virtual world where they can be and do anything they like. Wade will presumably be pressing that button at some point, thus forcing humanity to face what they’ve done to the real world and work on solutions to the disaster that is Earth. But if you are going to introduce a major button like that, wouldn’t that fall under the Chekov’s gun rule? For those who are unfamiliar, the rule basically means that one shouldn’t put a gun on stage if it isn’t going to go off at some point later in the story. Can we not even get a quick conversation where Wade and the virtual Halliday discuss the pros and cons of the button? No? Just going to throw it in there, say “you might want to push this at some point, up to you, moving on”? Ok… If the author writes a sequel that features the button, I officially retract my complaint. Spoiler over.

The good – This is a really engaging story. I think the comparison to Dan Brown is fair – the writing is weak (better than Brown’s, but still weak) but the plot is really, really fun. James Halliday and his cohorts were clearly based partly on real world characters like Jobs, Wozniaki, and Gates. I think Cline has a strong grasp on human nature that shows in his character development. The main characters tend to be a tad overdramatic, but then again, they are teenagers. I wouldn’t say their drama queen tendencies aren’t a fair representation of your average 18 year old.

I really enjoyed learning about some neat pop culture history. As I mentioned before, the book is awash in 80’s nostalgia. While I couldn’t always relate to the obsession, it was interesting to learn more about the Atari, or hear a story about the man, John Draper, who discovered you could make free long distance calls by blowing a penny whistle a particular way.

I also found myself in the rather unique position if being midway through this book when Steven Jobs passed away. Suddenly, the anecdotes in the book were showing up in articles about Jobs’ actual life. One article in particular, on Slate.com, mentions what a large impact John Draper and his whistle had on Jobs and Wozniaki in their youth – inspiring their first foray into the technology business (You can find the article here). My first computer was an Apple, my current computer is an Apple, and I was reading Ready Player Oneon my iPhone. The sadly premature death of Steve Jobs lends the book an air of poignancy I’m not sure it would have had otherwise.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the book was the twist it took about three quarters of the way through. I was genuinely surprised (major spoiler) not only that Wade was dragged out of his apartment by the evil corporation he’s been battling, but that he’d carefully planned the whole thing to gain special access to their system and save his friends. It was a level of badassery I hadn’t expected from Wade, and a pleasant break from the near constant immersion in the virtual world. Glimpses of the real world are sprinkled throughout the book. Wade’s rare forays outside are quite engaging. Cline doesn’t engage in over-description when Wade is outside Oasis, and this is a very good thing. Because the reader has spent so much time thinking about the 80’s, most of us are probably picturing some cross between Blade Runner and Back to the Future II (the ugly future, not the shiny one) anyway. The jarring differences between Wade’s real life and his virtual one make for some of the most interesting moments in the book.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this book to pretty much anyone. Especially since most people my age have an undying affection for things like The Breakfast Club (when it comes to 80’s movies I’ll take Aliens over John Hughes every time, sorry!). I’m a little surprised this book isn’t listed as a young adult novel. The themes and writing seem very YA to me. Cline has included a lot of really dark themes here – murder, terrorism, evil corporations, suicide, a distopian future, racism, sexism, homophobia, and on and on… But when it comes down to it, the book can’t help being fairly gleeful and happy. This may be due to how much fun the author is clearly having with his subject. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the tone of the book did mean that I never once (spoiler) had the least doubt that everything was going to work out just fine. There was just no way that Art3mis was going to get murdered or the corporation was going to gain control over the egg. It just wasn’t going to happen. Nothing wrong with an upbeat tone, but it didn’t really lend itself to suspense. 

Here ends my rambling review. As usual, my attempt to put things into good, bad, and fine categories just meant I put everything all over the place anyway. But hopefully I got my point across. If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend it. And go into it expecting what is basically YA that is a billion times better than Twilight, but not on the level of something like Hunger Games or A Wrinkle in Time.

Edit: I should probably mention that I am often mildly annoyed by books written in the first person. I think it is tough for a lot of writers to write a solid protagonist without the “I did this, I did that, this is how I feel, me me me” making the character seem a lot more self obsessed than they are actually meant to be. But this is a personal preference and might not bother other people at all.

So much to say…

It has been a looong time. Turns out I had plenty of time to blog when I had a part-time job, but when I have a full-time job that is crazy busy, it becomes less important to record the minutiae of my life.

That was not, incidentally, a crack at bloggers. That was a crack at how pointless my blog is/was. I have lots of friends who do cool things with their blogs, and I still read several of them every day despite being too busy to write in my own.

I last wrote here over a month ago. So short version since then –

The apartment search continued to be a complete nightmare. At one point we planned to move to a place down the street, then into another place after that. Then the one month place emailed and said they had found someone to rent for longer instead. So bleh.

Then I had an interview with a school where my parents live. While I didn’t think I had much of a chance, I was more optimistic than usual. To explain –

There is one cliche in my life that has usually worked out for me. When one door closes, another opens. My husband and I got together a day after another relationship fell apart for the 20th and last time. When I got this interview, I had the feeling that apartment after apartment had fallen through for a reason. This isn’t to say I was walking around thinking, “hey, no problem, I totally got this.” It’s more that I felt that if this job worked out, it would make sense.

Lo and behold, I got the job. It couldn’t be more exactly what I was looking for. But, to balance out the universe, I got it in the most complicated way possible. For awhile it looked like I couldn’t take the job because of licensing issues. Then I had about 6 days to prepare. The coworkers are the nicest, but they can only coddle me for so long. I pop into various classrooms a million times a day, probably making them crazy, to ask a million questions. The kids are a.maz.ing. I mean, all 8th grade kids are going to drive you crazy here and there, and they do. But there isn’t a single student in this (admittedly, quite small) group who hasn’t made me smile and/or said something interesting and insightful in class.

When we got here, we stayed in my parents guest room. Another apartment was acquired and fell through. This was a moment where I really had just had enough… And when I got home that day, after hearing the “perfect” place we had found wasn’t going to work, I arrived and discovered that my mom and grandmother had cleared out all the stuff stored in the guest room and put away all our clothes in the dresser and closet, so we could stop living out of suitcases and feel like we were at least semi-home. They couldn’t have found a better way to keep me from melting down. At this point, SleepyHusband was still working at his old job and staying with our friends, so I was on my own.

At last, we found a place that is just great. While I’m sure it will have it’s downsides and quirks, so far the biggest problem is that we don’t have enough furniture to fill it.

As for my job, it is almost harder now that I’ve settled in. While I was working every waking moment to prepare and keep up, looking for some place to live, moving, so on and so on… That was adrenaline. I didn’t really have time to be stressed, tired, or frustrated. Now that things have calmed down, I feel all of that! This is not to say I’m not enjoying myself. I know how lucky I am, I really do. And I value my weekend sleep more than I have in years.

I did not see my life going in this direction. I loved Boston. I thought we’d be there forever. The apartment search led us further and further into the suburbs and I thought that would be a huge change, weird to be living so far “out there.” Now we are in a house (because here a house goes for what a nice one bedroom would in our old neighborhood) in a tiny, tiny town. Depending on whether the former teacher who had my job comes back, which is about a 10% chance, this could be my life for awhile. I couldn’t imagine being here forever, no matter how idyllic it is, but who knows how things will go.

No matter what, I’m taking cliches as my friends right now. One door closes and another opens, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth…

We have nowhere to liiiiiive! Aaaaaagh!

At the beginning of the summer I told SleepyHusband in no uncertain terms that we were not going to stay in this apartment for another year. It is too small, too dark, too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I hate everything about it, especially the hideous wall colors they asked us not to change. And the flesh colored tile in the bathroom. Ew.

So when the time came for our landlord to ask us if we were resigning our lease, I said no. I saw a few places here and there at the beginning of July. Mid to late July, I was told, was when things really started to pick up. Then in mid-July I got a job interview an hour away. It went brilliantly and the interviewer told me I’d get a call early next week letting me know if I would get a follow up interview. Needless to say, like most job opportunities they didn’t call when they said they would. I took this as not good news, but called to see if I could get any info. Nope, no one was around. Lots of people on vacation, etc. It wasn’t until the last week in July that I got a letter saying that I seemed swell but they were looking for someone with more experience.

Sigh. Ok. No moving an hour away, time to start the search in earnest. I played phone tag with the agent I’d been working with before. He didn’t seem overly excited to show me anything so I called the main line and found someone else to show me places. He came up with a grand total of 1 apartment to show me. It was a dingy, half in the basement mess. No thanks. All this futzing around brought us to midway through the first week of August. Time to start feeling nervous.

At this point I gave up on this particular realtor entirely (I’d chosen them due to good reviews and the fact that they didn’t really work with the college students since they are a little out of the geographical circles of local schools, hence the places are a bit more “adult.” So much for that). I found a new place and met a lovely realtor named Katherine. She proceeded to show me 5 apartments the very first day we met! Exactly what I was looking for. Two of them were fine but just not what I was looking for. One was another one of those “half in the basement so we call it garden level which is ridiculous” places that I hate. One was really nice but a little remote. And then there was one that I absolutely loved. Sure, I knew that she was doing that realtor thing where you shows you the dream apartment a liiiitle out of your price range. But it was truly a fabulous place. SleepyHusband talked it over and applied. A few days later the landlords, a couple, came back with a big fat “no.” They’d been burned by a pair of tenants a few years ago who seemed like they could keep their head above water, only to find themselves unable to pay bills. Not only that, but they were skeevy about it, took off, and did their best to avoid paying back the money they owed. As a result, they now only rent to people who are very comfortably off. SleepyHusband and I are fine, but we are not rolling. Alas.

Ok, setback. First week of August was over. Katherine was still very nice, but now seemed nervous about the lack of selection. I think she really felt bad about showing us a place we wanted but couldn’t have, so she offered to tear up our application fee. Over the course of the week we emailed back and forth about places on the companies website. While I still think she is trying to find something for us, apartments are slipping away and she knows I don’t want to end up in another apartment as crappy as the one we are in now. That would make all this stress pointless. In the meantime, I became addicted to a website called padmapper.com. The weekend descended into a whirlwind of emailing 21 year old realtors on craigslist with terrible banners that look like they were made in MS Paint.

And here we are. The plan right now is still to randomly find an amazing place for September 1st. The backup plan is to rent some crappy place for a month and start looking for an Oct 1st apartment. Not ideal, but better than settling for a place we hate for another year after this much work and stress.

Friends and family have been extremely generous about offering us places to stay. I would like to avoid that if at all possible. Not only is it an imposition on their space and privacy, but our furniture would still need to go somewhere.

August will come to an end in two weeks no matter what happens. So things will be resolved one way or another. I’m just hoping the resolution is somewhat painless.

Many thanks to all the people who’ve been reading my whining on every social media site I can get my hands on, now including wordpress, for not unfriending/unfollowing/throwing tomatos at me. Especially since this blog entry, while calming for me, has got to be painfully boring to anyone else.

I like this…

I really liked this quote I saw today. It is apparently from Doctor Who which I don’t watch. I probably should, it looks like something I would like, but it seems like it is a pretty complicated mythology and I would want to do it properly when I have time to concentrate on it.

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.”

Always a good thing to remember.

OK, New Plan

Yesterday I wrote a syllabus for the job I have lined up for the Fall. It is a job I’ve done before. It is a job I even like most of the time. Unfortunately, it isn’t really the job I wanted. I’ve been avoiding writing that syllabus all summer, hoping that when it came down to it, I wouldn’t need to. I was hoping that I’d have full time work somewhere else, somewhere that was going to lead me down the path I want to take.

There were times this summer when I felt guilty. The woman I work under at this job is really nice, and very helpful. She’s gone out of her way to assist me when it comes to syllabi, students, and finding the right materials. It felt sneaky to be applying to jobs without telling her. I’m sure that is a little silly. I’m sure she knows I’d like to have a full time job. I still felt a little bad though.

So now comes the part where I accept that I am where I am. There is no perfect job coming along before September. Instead I will be teaching two classes (I hope, fingers crossed I get enough students in both) and making respectable money for doing it. I’ll probably post on craigslist or something and offer my tutoring services. We really want to move to a nicer, bigger apartment in the Fall so we really have to redo our budget. Not even sure where to start, as we admittedly live paycheck to paycheck and everything tends to work out ok. That isn’t going to be the case when our rent is higher. We’ll actually have to keep track of our money… Ha. We aren’t big spenders, just disorganized ones.

It stings not to have the income from my old ESL job. I liked that job, and the longer I go without working the more annoyed I get that I was fired in favor of cheaper teachers. They didn’t even ask if I would work for less, maybe there are rules against telling someone you are going to pay them $5 less an hour and if they refuse they are fired. I really have no idea.

The last couple days I’ve been cleaning, which makes me feel a bit more accomplished. I’ve adopted a strategy my mother uses to get my butt in gear. She’ll tell herself she’ll do a certain number of things, and when those things are finished, she can stop cleaning for the day. The number is usually high, in the 40s or so. But each shirt she folds or scrap of paper she picks up will count as one thing. That keeps her house, currently occupied by three of her children, three dogs, and three cats, relatively under control. For me, doing 40 small things a day keeps everything pretty much clean. Most of the time getting started is the hard part for me.

I also tend to leave small messes until they become big messes. One dirty tea mug on the table is no big deal, I can get to it later. But then there are two, also no big deal. Then there are three, really should get to that… Next thing you know our entire mug collection is sitting on the table and then it is a big job that I don’t want to do. Don’t even get me started on vacuuming the carpet. With our terrible vacuum and our shedding cats (a definitely downside of hot weather) and too much furniture… I have to berate myself into doing it every two weeks.

So, long story short, my life is just as boring as usual. Our anniversary had some good, some bad. We went to the aquarium during the day and had a great time. Unfortunately, our dinner was really subpar. Bleh food, bleh service, bleh drinks… It was kind of a bummer to have a crappy dinner on our anniversary. We might do a bit of a redo on Sunday, when SleepyHusband has a day off.

Relationship Recap

Since tomorrow is our 3rd anniversary, I thought I’d write a little bit about SleepyHusband and me.

We met in college in a language class. It took me a couple of weeks to notice him, since he always sat all the way in the back and, ahem, missed classes here and there. Once I noticed him, I really noticed him. Partly because his hair was long and crazy curly, but also because he was cute and really good at talking the teacher into giving us less homework.

We were both clearly interested, but it took awhile to do anything about it because he was a senior in his spring semester so most of his social life revolved around hitting the bars with his friends. I was only 20 at the time, so no bars for me. Eventually his roommate, who was also in our class and apparently also interested in me (awkward), called and invited me to hang out with them. We ended up at a party, had our first real conversation, and the rest was history.

This was a little over seven years ago. He graduated, but moved back to the area to see where things would go between us. It was big, him moving halfway across the country solely because of me. I wasn’t nervous about it though, it really just strikes me now as being a little crazy. We’d only gotten together in April, and been apart all summer. We weren’t even really “serious” before I left for the summer. When I found out he was coming, however, I was 100% happy about it. Being young college/just out of college kids, we had a few ups and downs. As of my senior year we were together for good.

We moved in together when I graduated after about 2 1/2 years of dating. We were engaged 1 1/2 years after that, and married only 6 or 7 months later thanks to my mother’s crazy wedding planning skills (more than one of my friends asked if she was renting out her services). We spent our first year of marriage in another country. Can’t believe it’s been 3 years, it’s cliche but time really does go so fast. Soon, SH will be entering his last year of his 20’s.

Tomorrow we are going to the aquarium, and then a restaurant. No clue where we are going to eat yet. I’ve been poking around restaurant ratings. We want to try something new instead of the same old favorites. They are favorites for a reason, but the same places year after year get a little stale. As I’ve gotten older I’ve also found that fine dining to a college kid isn’t necessarily fine dining at all.

Like any couple, we have our arguments and flaws. I’m always reading that men want to solve problems while women just want to be able to vent and get some sympathy. It is the opposite with us, I want to solve every problem logically while SH sometimes just wants to complain about something without getting 20 suggestions of how he can fix it thrown at him. Despite this, we’ve been happy together and I think we will continue to be happy together.

SH and I have an in joke together that we have to ask for relationship extensions. Marriage was at least a two year contract, with extensions given when the current contract runs out on our anniversary. Right now we are debating whether we should have a one year or two year extension. Of course none of this is serious, just teasing. But I think the two year extension is looking good 🙂