Friday, March 26, 2010

Why Does My Wife Not Want to Be a DJ?

I had the most brilliant idea tonight.  See one thing we are worrying about right now with me going back to school is money.  I really want (and quite possibly will need) to reduce my hours at work in order to go to school.  But there is NO money to spare as is, so G. is really going to have to start earning more.  Currently she is doing childcare in our home, which is working out okay, but it won't be enough to cover our behinds when I go down in hours. 

So tonight I was talking to a member of the church I serve, and he was explaining to me how he got into DJing as a side business.  He stumbled upon it when he needed to recoup some money that he lost when he bought sound equipment for a band he was in that broke up shortly after.  He picked up one extra piece of equipment, DJ'd a few gigs for free, and batta boom, batta bing, he had himself an easy way to make a few extra hundred dollar a month.  He doesn't do weddings, as he is a teacher by day and keeps to the more low key gigs (things like kids parties and school dances LOL).  He gets all of his jobs via word-of-mouth and his initial investment was a couple thousand dollars, but he said that his charge is generally around $400.  Apparently he knows some folks who DJ at weddings for up to $1300 per job.  You have to be GOOD to charge that and still get jobs, of course (personally I think that is a total rip off to charge that much), but I was amazed when he said that his friends use the same equipment he does.

So I thought, "Aha!  That is a crazy great idea for G!"  We could invest now from our tax refund (assuming we are getting one, but that is another efile has now officially been rejected twice and the reasons given make NO sense), and G would have a great job.  She LOVES music, she LOVES chatting with people, she enjoys the party atmosphere.  She doesn't like being "in front" of crowds, but having interviewed a bunch for our wedding a number of years ago, I know that some DJs are billed more as entertainers and some more as masters of music...she definitely qualifies for the latter.  I have a fair amount of confidence she could get jobs here with the number of folks we know, but I am even more confident she could get a ton of jobs out where her parents and her sister lives.  She has a lot of good networks down there, and I know she'd LOVE the excuse to head out that way on a regular basis.  (And heck, when I am in school, maybe the student network would be another good source of jobs.)

At $400 per job she could make $1200 a month with only three jobs.  Meanwhile, it wouldn't likely interfere with classes or work for me, and would really reduce concerns around the cost of childcare that we have as we look at her returning to a more traditional job.  At this point, she can't earn enough to pay for both kids in care, let alone extra on top of that.  Which means we wouldn't put the kids in care and instead both of us will end up with twice the work (I with school and she with a new job).  And as a DJ, she could even keep doing childcare in our home if she wanted.  The business side of being a DJ, as it was described to me, sounds easy enough, and I could take care of a lot of the business stuff.

So why doesn't G want to be a DJ?  Right now she is out on a job for her sister.  She worked a 15 hour day priming an apartment that she is going to paint tomorrow in another 15 hour day.  She is making $500.  Not bad for a weekend of work, but two 15 hour days like that is really hard on all of us.  I spent all day today working (including attending a church function) with two kids under foot.  She is going to get home late Saturday night, which means she is working right through my normal crunch time as I get the church set for Sunday morning.  How are we going to manage when I have the stress of homework for school on top of it all?  Knowing how sore she was tonight from painting, I am surprised she didn't feel the least bit tempted by my idea.  Instead she balked at the idea of being responsible for people having a good time. 

I wish I had half G's knowledge about music.  If I did, I would jump at my own idea in a heartbeat ;-P.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Great Visit

This won't be long.  I just arrived home from work a little while ago, and I am exhausted.  Totally exhausted.  Today I spent most of the day over at one of the schools.  It was a great visit.  (And by the way, G. came with the kids and joined me for part of the afternoon, and she loved the school.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Pendulum

My poor wife!  Every day I go to her and say, "You know, I think I've figured out where I should go [for school]," and I name a school and give her 100 reasons it is the best fit for me, and then all day I'll be researching and figuring stuff out about the school.  And she'll try to be supportive and research and figure it out with me, and we'll start to form some kind of idea of how it might turn out.  We'll talk it over, and I'll feel a little more at peace, and...

...then the next day I start all over, but it won't be the same school.  And round and round I go.

It's becoming predictable, and my darling wife is clearly growing weary.  She's at the point now where I will say something to her in the middle of the day such as, "This is what I think we'll do about [our family's schedule, etc.] for this school," and she will just nod and smile so as not to engage me too much.  I think she's hoping the school visits will be the end of it.  The last visit is just before the first decision is due.  Eeeks!

Honey, I know you occassionally read my blog, so let me just tell you how much I love you, and how dear I think you are to be so patient, supportuve, and engaged.  I am so lucky!

(P.S. to everyone else, can I just say how awesome "G" is?!  You know how I know that she reads my blog?  Because the day after I posted that I wanted to go to sleep for a month, she let me sleep in and gently told me I had been heard and that she knew how overwhelmed I was.)

An Explanation of Blog Changes

I added some pay-for-clicks ads to my blog because, well, I am going to need money anywhere I can get it now that it looks like I am going to pay books and fees a couple times next year (aside from the bigger stuff).  The plus side is that I get to share some book recommendations with you through an Amazon widget!  But I still half-feel that I need to apologize for the extraneous content.  So take this as my apology.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Advisement Conference Call

Since I began receiving school acceptances, a sense of dread has accompanied all celebrations.  Saying yes to one offer means saying no to the others when there are so many reasons to say yes to each.  I am, in a word, overwhelmed. 

After considering hiring out my life decisions for a while ;-), I finally realized that I could take advantage of the fact that I am surrounded by a network of really smart people who have my best interests in mind.  While I ultimately have to make this decision on my own, from my own gut, I can first seek guidance and wisdom from these people I trust.

For this reason, I am planning a conference call of advisement!  I am very excited, and if you are in my circle of "in-real-life peeps," I hope you will plan to join me.  I so very much appreciate collective wisdom of family and friends.  I am taking votes for dates and times (perhaps a Saturday, evening EST), and I'll be sending out an evite soon. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Presidential Scholarship!

Forgot to mention that one of my acceptances included a Presidential Scholarship!

Funny Pyschology

Since last night's notices, I have been compulsively re-writing my essays in my head...from a school to which I was admitted.  The essays were good enough, but they could have been great if I only had written them now and not then LOL. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

More News

Came home tonight to more news.  One acceptance (waahhhooooo!) and one rejection (the rejection didn't feel surprising...this was the school with which I had difficulty in the application process, and they hadn't been sympathetic).  I feel very happy about my acceptances, and completely 100% overwhelmed by the decision ahead.  I have no idea how to make this decision.  It feels impossibly difficult.  I want to go to sleep for a month.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I got my fist acceptance letter today.  Wow!  Just wow.

The grad school applicant's secret fear: If I get accepted to multiple schools, how will I make a decision?  I chose each of these schools because I wanted to go.  It's a secret fear because it feels like saying it outloud would ginx any possible acceptances LOL, and it also sounds like an outrageous hope.  Still...


I received an email regarding my FASFA tonight.  It said my corrected FASFA was available online and to my schools.  I haven't yet finished my taxes, and thus haven't yet sent in a corrected FASFA.  Huh?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pondering Motherhood and Grad School

Here is a post I started yesterday but finished tonight...

I am sitting on the deck at the home of my mother and father "in law."  My kids are playing in the sun, and we are all soaking up some much-needed vitamin D.  Even as I write this, my daughter has climbed on my lap and is taking in the moment with me.  It's a beautiful day!

My daughter K's birthday was on Thursday, and now I have two four-year-olds in the house.  I think back to last February, and remember that we had just found out for certain that she would be with us forever.  When K's birthday arrived, we were still insecure in our reality, emerging from nearly three years of regularly having our life turned on its head while we road the roller coaster of K's case.  And yet here we are, a year later, with a solid place to stand.  K is here for good, and is now a happy, healthy, active, bright, and precocious little girl.  She makes up complex imaginary games.  She reads at a young first grade level...heck, she read her own birthday cards this year.  She says things like, "that is not an option" and "I think that would be appropriate."  She ice skates, and I am pretty sure she is about an inch away from learning to swim.  

As M and K approach kindergarten, and I work on these grad school applications, school is a big topic around our house.  Today we were taking a walk, and as we went by the school where M used to attend his therapies (he now attends elsewhere due to problems there with the school therapists), he said "Mama, that's my old school!  I am going to go kiss it," and he ran up to the building and kissed the front doors.  The kids still love school, and M is proud to attend several (church school, Montessori school, and his therapy schools).  K calls the ice skating rink her "skating school."  But it goes beyond an enthusiasm for school, as those positive associations with school are in fact positive associations with learning.  They have a voracious appetite for information and for skills. I hope they never lose it.

I remember my father going to school when I was a kid.  I have a vague memory of going to a class (?) with him when I was about K's age.  I remember the look of the lecture hall, though I don't remember going in.  I remember sitting outside the room with at least one of my siblings.  I don't have a context for the memory, so it is probably inaccurate in numerous ways, but accurate or inaccurate, it is nonetheless something I have carried with me now for many years.  It has undoubtedly become a part of the stories that shape me.

I have been thinking about this lately, about how formative it was that my father went to school during my early childhood.  I don't know the details, nor how he did it with a family: four kids, a wife, a dog (at least at one point), and a job.  Maybe because he finished school while I was still quite young, I remember him as having been fully present in my childhood.  I remember a lot of family time with both my parents around...probably even more than my own kids get now.  So my memories of my dad going to school are very positive, and I have no doubt that these memories have influenced my drive. 

I also have memories of my mom returning to school for a period of time.  When I saw my mom do it, the work looked fun.  She was motivated.  I remember in particular a class she took, and a study-buddy friend she made in the class who she would invite over to the house.  I think I might actually have my mom's textbook from that class. 

When I start to worry about how I will juggle it all, I think of my parents and the gift that I can give my own children just as they gave me.  By watching my dad complete his schooling, I saw that possibility in myself, and I saw a reason to do so.  By attending school now, I have the potential to do the same for my kids.  I have thus involved my children in my decision to go back to school from the very start.  They were involved in the conversations between me and my wife about which schools were a "good fit."  They have celebrated each of my visits to schools and looked at the schools online with me.  They have been there through readings of my application essays, as I tried to help myself edit by reading outloud.   They quizzed me with my flashcards when I was studying for the GRE, and they cheered me on through testing.  They have been forbidden from entering my bedroom for a couple hours at a time while I have sequestered myself for "application duty." 

I know this is going to be a busy few years to come.  It is going to involve a lot of work and surely some heartache.  I also know that as I do this, my children are watching.  They are discerning in their own minds what work is worthy, and how much effort it deserves.  They are gathering information about our family's values, our approach to life, our optimism.  They are gathering information about differences between my wife and myself, and how we support and question one another in pursuing wildly different paths in life.  My children each have unique, individual challenges, but I can control the example I set.  It is a privilege and a potent power I have to be able to influence my children through my own action as they grow.  May I be worthy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Andover Newton Update

I received a personal phone call from ANTS yesterday.  Bless them!  They wanted to let me know not only that my application packet had been sent to the admissions committee but that they were going to try to rush things so that I get my answer by March 15th when I hear back from the other schools.  This is another school for which the admissions process has been a pleasure, and it reminds me of one of the reasons I chose the school.  That is, this is a school in which ministry is embodied throughout.  I remember calling my father, very excited, after attending the school's open house late last winter/early last spring.  What had impressed me was the level of genuine hospitality exhibited throughout the day.  I thrive and learn best in an environment in which study and practice are well integrated.  As "radical religious hospitality" is a special interest of mine, the hospitality exhibited at the open house -- if it reflects the school as a whole -- is a particularly exciting thing to have observed (even if my father had a more moderate assessment: "it sounds like they ran a really effective open house"). 

I did re-read my application essays yesterday, having had the perspective provided by relief from the pressure to work on them.  I worry about those essays because they are the least cohesive of all my essays, partially because one of the elements I used to tie together my other statements I left out of this essay.  I also see other ways I could have/should have explained why I chose the school.  On the other hand, I really like some aspects of the essays that were unique to this school, and I was glad for the opportunity to write about those things. 

Overall, I am feeling good, even if a bit worried about my delay on my last school application (MLTS).

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Real Life" Education

So I am having one of those moments when I feel slightly out of step with my congregation.   I've noticed that as I walk in service together with them, that there is a rhythm to our shared work.  Even when we come across a landscape through which we have to muddle our way, there is a rhythm to the negotiation of unchartered waters.

But somehow recently I got just a half-beat off from the rhythm.  I think it started a couple of weeks ago at a board meeting, and its just flowed right into everything else.  Time to focus on my own spiritual practices so I can come into rhythm at least with myself.  If I am not in a rhythm with myself, there is no way I can be with my congregation.

This is life.  It is messy.

Puff Puff Choo Choo...the Little Engine Chugs Along

I am pleased to say that I completed my ANTS application tonight.  I do have to email them my essays tomorrow.  Hard to let go because I know the writing isn't 100% yet, but I've gotten to the point where I need to finish something.  I could spend a lifetime on these essays, really.  I think I've also decided against submitting supplementary material to the school, which was not the decision I expected to make.  I feel that by submitting only what I have already submitted (along with the essays in the morning), I will have a "tighter" application packet overall.  I don't want to dilute what I have submitted.

My YDS financial aid applicaton is also complete and submitted, but I have to submit a copy of my taxes and W-2s via fax ASAP (note to self: tomorrow I also need to submit M's birth certificate to the charter school for which we entered him in the lottery).