Thursday, August 16, 2018

Bat Zero

So last time we met I was preparing for my final round interview the next day. After my last round of interviews, when I was forced to wear my mismatched black "suit" because apparently my body isn't exactly the same size it was the last time I bought a size 0 tailored suit in 2011, I vowed I'd have a real suit before the next one. I was about to buy one at Ann Taylor when I went through Landon's closet to determine whether he needed a new ski jacket for our next trip and I found a gorgeous navy blue suit wrapped in plastic that actually fit me! I was so excited- it was like I had my own fairy godmother in the form of myself circa 2013 doing things I totally forgot about. So last Wednesday night I went to my closet after the kids were in bed to put it on and test out the right shirt and shoes and jewelry and possibly practice a few interview questions in the mirror because a potential assistant director likes to be prepared.

But I got to my closet and my "new" suit wasn't there! I looked behind every hanger but it was nowhere to be found. And then I remembered I'd taken it to the dry cleaners to be steamed and pressed two weeks before when I found it. And it was now 9:30 at night and the cleaners was closed and my interview was the next day. So back to my $24.99 mismatched Ross "suit" I went. And though a friend offered to pick up my suit from the cleaners and bring it to me in the morning, it felt right that the fake black suit and I remained together.

The interview went well, I thought, though it's a bit of a blur. My prep paid off. It lasted 65 minutes and when I was done I walked directly into my friend's office, slumped against the wall, and proclaimed I'M SO SWEATY. And I was.

I texted my mama friend chain, because they've had my back since the original suit situation, and at their offer to meet for margaritas after work, I jokingly said, "well I'm teaching barre at 7, but if anyone is up for one after 8, I'm your girl."

"I am!" one said. James had to work on swim lesson scheduling for fall, so after debriefing with him for a bit, I found my sweaty post-barre self sitting at an outdoor patio table at 9 p.m. at a neighborhood restaurant just down the street, celebrating being done with the interview process with two of my favorite people. It was all night happy hour and we didn't even know. These were $5. And then two more friends rolled up as a surprise.

It was so fun. It so perfectly encapsulated why I feel so happy with my life right now. A new potential challenge at work, a barre class full of people I got to make sweat and groan and laugh with me, kisses goodnight to the kids, time on the couch with my husband, and an impromptu laughter and margarita-filled night out with friends. I'm so very glad I got to have it.

Particularly since I found out the next morning that I did not get the position. Many compliments on my performance were given, genuine and thoughtful commentary was made regarding my future, but after getting so close and waiting so long (the original application was due before Memorial Day), the blow was sharper than anticipated. There are very limited opportunities for advancement in my division and promotion aside, this was a position I genuinely wanted.

Then one of my best friends at work announced she was leaving to join other friends who left and that blow was sharp as well.

Luckily, in a bit of accidental foresight, I had already booked a fancy dinner date for James and I on Friday night, intending to celebrate being done with the interview process and instead used got to use it as recovery self-care.

It was an absolutely wonderful evening. Of all the things I love, sitting at a small table with a dressed-up-James and a dressed-up-me eating a long, lingering, delicious dinner is probably my very favorite.

And before we went out, when I texted the news to my mamas, knowing the old me would have felt too vulnerable and wished she'd never said anything at all rather than risk a public failure, it felt so good to know that they were the second text I sent. And I got such sweet, supportive comments back. And from my parents. And even my baby brother. Vulnerable can be good. Trying something you're not certain to succeed at is good. I'm not going to say failing is good, but it's not so bad when there are so many people to catch you.

Coincidental Friday errand

In other news, the kids were at climbing camp last week and it was their very favorite ever (besides Papa Gigi camp of course, and Claire's Greatest Showman jazz camp).

Landon, who has read every book on Everest I'll let him open, is OBSESSED. He was invited to join the competitive year-round climbing team at the end of camp and he was SO EXCITED. We immediately went to buy climbing shoes.

And ordered a chalk bag and chalk ball from Amazon. These are not things I previously knew existed.

He'll be climbing every Monday and Wednesday night from 5:30-7. There are competitions. And seasons. It's a whole new world. My new life's goal is to keep him off Everest.

On Saturday we woke up to pouring rain and lots of snuggling. Then Cora wandered in and decided to snuggle too. That's me underneath her.

The girls danced to Claire's new obsession, One Direction's "That's What Makes You Beautiful" for several hours. Dresses were donned, brothers who were just trying to read on the couch were bothered, and moms were deeply amused.

There was also an audience.

It rained all day. I feel like we handled it well. Lots of laying about, a little yoga, games, reading, and other indoor activities.

For dinner we did make your own pizzas.

It was really kind of a lazy approach to dinner, but the kids thought it was the greatest thing ever. Landon's pizza had about 5 tiny pieces of cheese on it and he declared it to be the best he'd ever had. I told him it wasn't even pizza.

We watched a Lemony Snicket marathon on Netflix (the kids are LOVING that show, and James and I are too), did an Ice Cream Sundae bar for dessert, and then tucked our ducklings in bed after a genuinely fun day and prayed for the rain to STOP because we absolutely could not do it again.

The week progressed. I squared my shoulders and was back at work on Monday still in the job I had before Friday that I liked quite a bit before I thought I might get another one. It's like touring a new house and discovering you can't actually buy it. But I'm super busy right now and I ate a delicious lunch with one of my few remaining work friends and so the world keeps turning. It rained again, and since the kids are doing James's swim camp this week, he got to spend extra indoor time with them and I'm pretty sure his noise canceling headphones were involved. Landon made a fort and declared it "EPIC" and I have to admit that it really was.

I taught more barre, did more work, made more dinners, and then on Wednesday I paid off my last two law school loans. $160,000 in principal, plus 10+ years of interest, over 15 loans spread over 7 different lenders because they kept going bankrupt as the country inched closer to a financial crisis at the same pace I inched closer to my JD. I got an email from the registrar's office the day after I had Landon. Sitting in my hospital bed with a baby fighting to breathe in the NICU who I hadn't even been allowed to hold yet, I found out that my lender had gone bankrupt so my loan was gone so my tuition was not paid and it needed to be paid in seven days or I would be un-enrolled. I contacted the financial aid office, secured a new loan at a higher rate (9%!), and felt lucky to have one at all.

Years and years of paying more for daycare and loans than our house and it's all down to 0.00. It was a more emotional moment than I anticipated.

James was coaching late, so the kids and I gathered a few more of my mamas to celebrate.

Now we just have $14,000 left of James's MBA loans, which is a tiny and adorable figure by comparison, and Cora will be done with daycare forever in July and then James and I will have been married for 15 years and we are going somewhere AMAZING to celebrate all these things.

But for now, I'm here. I bought a new pair of leggings that I wore to teach barre tonight. I'm the VP of Membership this year on the PTA Board and have Meet the Teacher night tomorrow night. The kids have selected spaghetti as their night before going back to school dinner. I'm so excited about the new school year for them- Landon's last in elementary school, Cora's last at Montessori. We're in such a good place right now, I'm really just trying to soak it all in.


  1. Congratulations on the loan! Someday for me... I am so sorry you didn't get the job. I know some places you have to go up for that kind of thing a couple times before you get it? Also, their loss!!!

  2. 1) I love your perspective
    2) I love public failures. I am actually more likely to text a whole mess of people about something bad than good. It helps so much to have the reassurance/love back at you!
    3) I have no doubt you will progress in the direction you want in time!
    4) Climbing - so cool
    5) Does C actually play guitar?
    6) SO many things to celebrate, I'm excited to see where you go!
    7) We are done w/ loans next year, can't WAIT!

  3. Congrats on the loans! That’s fantastic. Bummer about the promotion, but there will be other opportunities. It sounds like you are in a great place right now.

    Has Landon read a book titled Peak? It’s about a kid climber. I read it with one of my boys last summer. It’s enjoyable.

  4. CONGRATULATIONS on the loans! Damn, that is such a wonderful milestone. I have four years to go, and it will also coincide with our youngest being done with daycare (though never done with camps/aftercare, of course), and my head spins a little bit when I think about how much extra money we'll have minus those enormous monthly expenses.

  5. Happy for you, despite the job thing. Enjoy your weekend and the last days of summer break!

  6. Congrats on the student loans! I am sure that job will be yours one day. Thank you for sharing.

  7. So sorry about the job! I’m a planner, so I totally “see” myself in a new opportunity before it happens. Not getting a promotion/new job within your organization really stings. Hope the margaritas helped - glad you have a tribe to cheer you on in good & not so good.

    Climbing sounds like it will be awesome for L. I climbed a lot in college & it’s a good scene. People love feats of strength - so his 12 minute planking will fit right in!!

  8. Congrats on paying off your law school loans. That's such a hardfought, awesome milestone to reach!

  9. Woohoo! Slaying those student loans is a huge celebration. I remember the day I made my last student loan payment. It is a big deal.

    I am sure that you not getting this job is actually a good thing and will allow you to jump at the next (more right) opportunity. :) Although I have to say from what I know about you via this blog, I literally cannot believe there is a job you wouldn't be great at, so....their loss. Ha!

    Have a good first day of school!

  10. DUDE. The loan balance $0.00 screenshot gave me literal chills. I'm so far away from it that I can't even comprehend how amazing that must feel! So sorry about the job - it's their loss!

  11. 1) Congratulations on paying off your loans!!!! And thank you for posting real numbers. That gives me hope that there may actually be an end in sight for me (a long time from now, but still)
    2) I’m sorry about the job. I had a couple of those situations in the last year and it really sucks. One thing that made me feel better is the clarity that it brought about what kind of job I really wanted. You’ll have another chance and it will be at the perfect time.

  12. Climbing is so awesome! I’ve been climbing for 2 years now, but there was a pregnancy in there so I’ve only been properly climbing for 12 months really. I love it, and wish I’d found it sooner. My four year old son comes with me now too. He’s hypermobile and has low muscle tone associated with it, so we are really aware of strengthening his core. Climbing and gymnastics are doing wonders for him. I’ve found climbing to be a super inclusive, social community too.

  13. Congratulations on paying off your student loans! How awesome!!! Sorry about not getting the job. Give yourself time to mourn it. It can be hard to hear "No". I heard your husband on the radio this week! Thanks again for sharing.

  14. LOL "My new life goal is to keep him off Everest " good luck !

  15. I teared up reading this one. The disappointment, the friendship, the success, the adrenaline, the stress, the dress up dates (also my very favorites) - but mostly brave, loving, beautiful you. I am sorry about the disappointment. As always, I feel so honored to be allowed in on your story and I learn so from you. I just started my own private practice two weeks ago and the jump has been a terrifying mix of exhilaration and holy crap how do I do this?! You gave me courage and you gave me your all-will-be-well, too. Thank you! And I'll be here rooting for you when your ship does come in. I feel so sure it will.