Friday, June 30, 2006

The continuing story

Of a quack who's gone to the dogs. Brownie points if you know where that's from.

(Lifted from my personal blog) (Knitting content to resume soonish)

Let's talk about housing and life changes shall we? The chaos that comes after deciding to drop out with a masters (sorry, leave early writing a long thesis to graduate with a masters). The rush to write a document summarizing a year and a half of work in words big enough to impress people who have the degree you were supposed to get. The hurry to finish experiments and analyze results and make charts that make sense. Finding the right grade of paper and quality of printer to avoid any confrontations at the research library. Edits. Revisions. The thesis that never ends.

Combine this with a job hunt. Research companies, rewriting your resume, coming up with a cover letter that balances selling yourself without sounding full of yourself (or other things). Signing up for job alerts, perusing the listings, applying like it's your job (don't let anyone tell you looking for a job isn't a job in itself). Waiting.

Add in nannying. Staying up late doing research and job hunting, getting up early to drive kids to school. Coming home from work early to a small room with no kitchen to switch bags to go pick up kids from school. Trying not to go crazy listening to teenagobabble on carpool days and listening to whatshisnames awful "So you've had a bad day" song or the new Green Day b/c they like it. Shudder.

Then the interviews and job offer. Accepting the offer. Looking for someone to replace me at the house. Looking for housing of my own.

I want to pause here and comment on the lack of intelligence of some of the replies I got to my ad on Craigslist for my place. If I say that you MUST be a UCLA grad student and that driving kids is NOT optional, do you think I'm going to reply to you when you tell me you're not in school and have a job that isn't flexible enough for you to be able to drive? Right. Probably not. So stop emailing me.

In short, it has been insane. And rather emotional. Graduation, whether I admit it or not, is a big deal. Even though I'm still working at UCLA (today's the last day), it's the end of an era (I think 8 years of education qualifies as an era). No more walking across campus to check out a book (or 40 in my case - I need to return those....). No more laughing at the undergrads walking by the window, having to turn off the 'A/C' so I can hear on the phone. No more late nights waiting for an NCA reaction to finish. No more working my own hours. Additionally, no more being poor. I won't be well off, but I'll be able to live on more substantial food and not feel like a charity case anymore.

It hasn't hit me really. I've been so busy worrying and stressing over finding a job and housing that I haven't realized in less than a week I'll be earning a paycheck. The housing hunt was awfully depressing. Not until you drive around to you learn what the different areas of the Valley are and which you should avoid. Then you realize why rent was so cheap when the interior looked so nice. Be prepared to slap down your life's savings and firstborn to get on a list of the desperate for housing. It's been such a struggle to find a place without a paystub. I know that there are some less than honest people out there who lie about their employment. But I'm not one of them. I have a job (actually 3 right now). I would put down an extra deposit just to get a place until I have a paystub. But no. The search went on.

Luckily, I had found someone to move into my place. The mom called her references to finalize things yesterday. The new nanny's apartment manager asked if she gave the new nanny a bad reference, would she get to keep her as a tenant. The mom told the manager she felt the same way about me. And, by the way, did they have any openings?

Turns out a studio had just come available that day. The mom called me, I called the manager, and I raced up to Sherman Oaks to get in an application before the girl the manager talked to could FedEx one in. What a nice surprise. Good area, gated building, gated parking. Within walking distance to Trader Joe's. Within 2 miles of Target, Costco, and BevMo (for the alcoholic in me). 500 square feet (4 times the space I have now), lots of cabinet space, built in shelves. Air conditioning. A bath tub. A FULL KITCHEN. Pool, sauna, gym, huge laundry room. And no problem about no paystub - she trusts me (as she should).

I was able to sleep.

In the last 10 days, I have interviewed, been offered a job, accepted a job, finished the final chapter of my thesis, made samples for our collaborators, found someone to take over my place, and found a place of my own (unless the credit check falls through).

Busy, no?

(From cleaning out my old class notes in my desk at work. Today's the last day)