Wednesday, October 31, 2007
When I left there on Sunday, I felt great about how I left it. My only guilt was about a couple of pieces of furniture that we didn't end up taking to goodwill. Thing is, I knew the landlord's niece was moving in on the first and was anxious to get in and get it ready, so I figured I'd get out, hope she could use the little bit of furniture, but if not, the worst they would have to do is take one trip out.
The place was about a hundred times cleaner than it was when I moved in. Before I left, I scrubbed the whole bathroom and kitchen, wiped down counters and cabinets, dusted baseboards, mopped floors, and vacuumed. While I was there, I got and installed blinds which the landlords had offered to pay for by having me take it out of my rent. I didn't bill them for those, and even though I had to get blinds for my new place, I left all the blinds there. We replaced one of the disgusting ceiling lights. I also replaced the disgusting toilet seat and fixed the toilet. I put in fire alarms while I was there. I got carpet cleaner for the nasty floors, and a steam cleaner to try to get into the dirt filled corners and crevices. I also relined all the cabinets and drawers, another task the landlord had started before I moved in, but never finished.
The house the apartment is in is 100 years old and horribly maintained. I didn't even meet the landlords until I had been there a year. They kept saying they'd bring over a lease, but they never did. So I never signed anything or was told and rules or found out what it was that I should have agreed to. Once each summer, someone came by to mow the lawn, but the rest of the year the lawn was a forest, and we never heard from anyone. When the upstairs neighbors were killing each other, the landlords said they were going to get rid of them, but they never bothered. I heard that the landlord thought both of the other apartments were disgusting- that the tenants didn't take care of them. I couldn't help but think that if the landlords showed any interest in the property that maybe they'd get more respectful tenants.
This time I moved into a managed place- a new development with a million rules about noise and cleanliness. I wanted to live somewhere that the landlord actually cared.
So anyway, when I left the old place, I felt good. I noted that two of the small bedrooms would need repainting, but everything else looked great. I thought I might get a call about the furniture and was prepared to make that apology, but I fully expected the landlord to be happy otherwise. I'd wager a bet that I'm the only tenant they've ever had who removed all the trash and left the place clean. I know I'm the only tenant they've ever had who paid the rent on time every month.
So imagine my surprise when the landlord raged at me-not about the furniture-but about the fact that there were some holes in the walls from hanging things up. She informed me that had I paid a security deposit, I wouldn't be getting it back.
I was proud of myself though. I hate conflict, and I usually get too flustered to handle it at all. Instead, I was assertive without being rude. My general message was sorry about the holes, but I left the place in much better shape than it was when I moved in, and I may have stayed longer had I not had to deal with the upstairs neighbors (because the reason she was upset about having to repaint is because I was only there for a little over a year). I reminded her of some of the work I did (but forgot about the blinds) and that I got out earlier than I had to as a convenience to her and the relative moving in. She did eventually calm down, kind of apologize, and tell me she'd still give me a reference if I needed it (I never will.) She finally did acknowledge that I didn't do any real damage to the place and that the holes from hanging things up were the only thing in the whole place they had to fix up.
I was pretty annoyed the rest of the night. We never wanted to deal with them or that place again because it was such a run-down uncared for place. It's not that I think a landlord shouldn't expect their apartments to be maintained, but as a landlord, you send a message about how much respect people show to your property. If you aren't with it enough to go meet your tenants, have them sign leases, maintain the outside (BTW, the three-family I lived in is their only property), keep the inside in good order between tenants, finish working on the place before moving people in, etc., then you can't expect your apartments to look like no one ever lived there.
I really hope I've heard the last from them.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
I love this new place. The difference is amazing.
Yesterday we had to go back to the old place to finish getting everything and to clean it up. (Thank you, Jay! Sorry we drove you crazy!) All three of us were cranky and exhausted. Yet, when I got back home, I felt peaceful. We even had the energy to do a few more things here.
The unpacking doesn't look nearly as bad as I thought it would. Amazingly, the furniture fits beautifully, including a few random pieces that have been given a new purpose here. I'll even have room for more of my books than I thought I would.
We still need to take one more trip from our old apartment: cleaning supplies, plants, groceries, curtains, random little things. I feel pretty good about the condition I'm leaving it in. Two of the bedrooms could use a nail-hole filling and repainting, but the rest of the apartment looks better than it did when I moved in. We left most of our shelves and had a good laugh about how the shelves are the nicest thing in the place.
I won't really be able to post before and after because I avoided thinking about the appearance of the old place for the last few months. I'll work on getting pictures of my new place though.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
My stomach is in knots.
It's supposed to rain today.
We had cable and internet hooked up at the new place this past Tuesday, but it doesn't seem to be working.
We're going to have a busy weekend.
I have a ton of homework to do, but I can't do anything but think about moving.
I hope it goes smoothly.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Right now our house is a disaster.
I'm staying home today because I have to be here for the gas man. It worked out nicely because I really need to finish packing.
We've spent most of the last two weeks pre-moving. We got the keys to our new place two weeks ago so we moved all of our clothes, and toiletries, and kitchen stuff. Yesterday, I moved some light furniture there.
I'm hoping I'll be able to move more things over there today. We hired movers, but I'd rather leave the heavy stuff for them and take the weird and small stuff myself.
Yesterday it really hit me how much of a step up the new place is. I had only been thinking about the increased rent, but as I brought stuff into my new place, I finally felt like it was really worth it.
I won't be here for the actual move. I was trying not to miss any work so my beau planned to take the day off. It's better that way anyway because it would stress me out.
I did remind myself that our current home is ours until the 1st so we can come back here to get any stray items and clean the place up. It helps to know that I can concentrate on getting all the furniture ready to go rather than worrying about the stack of board games in the closet or the pictures on the walls.
My upstairs neighbors have been especially fiesty (meaning lots of loud fighting) making me that much more excited about leaving this place.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
It started because one of the kids didn't want to go home. He usually goes to his dad's store, but today he was going straight home and he doesn't like his stepmom. Another boy offered that he often doesn't want to go home, and that he doesn't like his stepmom either.
This beginning morphed into a discussion of how the kids are punished. A lot of it was disturbing. I didn't stop the conversation because it was appropriate and respectful, but I did keep my ears perked up. All of the worst stories were from previous living arrangements. One girl described her mom throwing mashed potatoes at her.
One of my rowdier boys kept his eye on me and made a comment about me listening so that I could write up all my counseling referrals. I did confirm that I was listening closely.
I got an earful.
The worst part was that the boy with the worst stories really believes he deserved all that happened to him. Although his peers and I both suggested otherwise, he was adamant.
All in all, it was an interesting bonding time for my otherwise rambunctious homeroom, and I suppose it's good that our school feels like a safe place. Still, I'll be listening closely tomorrow.
Friday, October 12, 2007
When I think back on my best teachers, none of them had the same style. While I do think there is some benefit to learning new methods for instruction, I believe that ultimately the decision should lie with the teacher.
Effective instruction is not an absolute.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
My beau and I are moving into a beautiful new apartment within the month.
Goodbye crazy neighbors.
Goodbye unmowed lawn.
Goodbye beautiful ocean view.
Goodbye police visitors.
Goodbye dirty carpet.
Goodbye favorite dive restaurant.
Goodbye nice lady at the convenience store.
Goodbye breaking toilet.
Goodbye breaking refrigerator.
Goodbye lousy water pressure.
Goodbye smoking window.
We're off to better things.
Friday, October 05, 2007
It wasn't my first visit to the eye doctor. Several years ago, I went. At that first visit, I got glasses even though the doctor informed me that I could wait. I wore them part time until three months later they were lost on a school field trip, and I decided it wasn't worth another investment.
Since then, my eyesight seemed to be getting worse, and despite two moves, I still received reminder cards from the eye doctor. I finally made the trip, and picked out my new glasses, much bolder than anything I ever thought I'd wear. I love them.
Although I loved the look, I didn't expect to notice much difference in my vision. I assumed my eyesight was still not that bad. I could see without glasses- I just squinted sometimes.
I can't get over the difference.
I never feel the need to squint. My eyes no longer sting.
I also invested in Crizal lenses. I chided myself for being suckered into an expensive option that I probably wouldn't need. I was wrong there, too. I love the Crizal lenses. All the lights that drove me crazy during nighttime driving are no longer an issue.
I'm so pleased with my new glasses.
Plus, they came in a snazzy red case.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
This week's vent-worthy stuff (and it's only Tuesday):
Yesterday, old math teacher sent all the team leaders a schedule for those extra after school meetings we have to run. One of the dates was this Wednesday. Last year there was one total meeting per month. This year, there are two every month but none in the spring. I suggested, due to the late notice, that we move this week's meeting into the spring and asked about the odd schedule.
We went back and forth a few times until I said that last year there was definitely only one meeting each month. She responded with a big "You're wrong." and added that she was going to forward the exchange to the executive director. I was polite in all my emails so that didn't bother me. The thing is, I have a copy of last year's meeting schedule. It's attached to an email she sent last year. I know I'm right.
I didn't respond back, because I'm really not looking for a fight. I actually didn't plan to respond. She can keep feeling like she got me good.
I've changed my mind though. I've decided how to do it politely, but I will send last year's meeting schedule and I'll CC all the administrators she included in her CCs.
You can all be jealous, but I teach half a class. For math only, every class divides in half. There are two of us who teach the same class at the same time, to half the students all the other teachers see.
Every spring, the two math teachers sit down with the Vice Principal to create that split. Every spring, I volunteer to type it up. Every spring, I send an electronic copy to every single person in the school who might need it.
Changes are often made during the summer. When I get the kids, I adjust my own list and move on. When I asked for an official list from the administration, nobody had one.
I don't see all the kids, so I can only adjust my half of the class list (yes, technically, I could check with the other teacher, but we're on our third one and he has yet to be given email). We don't get master lists of all the homerooms either.
The executive director contacted me several times today because there were some homeroom errors in the list I created. It's not that I minded checking for him (though I am feeling overwhelmed), and he was very polite.
I was simply amused that with all the people in the building, I'm the one expected to have the master list. It wasn't even a question about which math teacher the kids had; the question was what homeroom they were assigned to.
3. This is about a teacher.
We have several new science teachers this year. They all seem great though I hear there are some issues. Still, I'm going to assume they are great teachers unless I observe differently.
But one drives me nuts.
He is on my team. He shows no interest in our team meetings or in being a team player. I rarely hear anything positive out of his mouth; in fact, he seems to look for moments to add a little dig to the proceedings.
Our school's focus is science so the students have extra science classes. This was his complaint today. According to him, they hate science because they have it too often and they love math because they only have it once a day.
Meanwhile, I've been pushing for extra math classes for years. Personally I think that's the only way to get some of the beauty and joy and real-world stuff back in while working in an educational climate that is so focused on testing.
Because I didn't want to offend him, I didn't say that it was all about the instructional activities and the teaching, not the number of times they meet in a week.
He went on to complain about our class sizes (24 max), our additional responsibilities (partially justified), and the fact that teachers at our school are respected based on quality not on years in (wondering who he has been talking to).
For a first year teacher brand new to our school, he really should reconsider his attitude.
Monday, October 01, 2007
Amazingly, I also have almost an hour before I need to leave and the only thing I have left to do is eat breakfast.
I got a lot of rest this weekend (finally!). I did have a professional development day to go to Saturday and some homework to complete, but I still feel like I got a break.
I'm hoping today's positive start will translate into a positive day. I'm also hoping that I can keep up with the morning routine (except on Wednesday when I go in early and don't get home until 10 PM). My big hope is that the noise didn't disturb the downstairs neighbors. I didn't do any really speedy parts because of that (though I'm still alternating jogging and walking) so I hope it was enough.
I also need to heal my hair so I need to wear it in a braid for awhile. I've been wearing it down every day and it's definitely taking a toll on my hair.