What happened was…

This is a personal post meant for my most loyal readership (hi Mom and Dad!). It requires a lot of patching different events together to form a mental image for you of a cohesive tale.

Remember my recent trip to Leadville, the highest town in the U.S.? It was for a job interview!

Now rewind to July 2016 when I posted a warning on Facebook for my voting family and friends:



Now that the whole internet has seen the post, I decided I would go ahead and blot my name out. :/ Anyway.

Notice that the post is linked to an article with evidence.

I said, “A vote for Trump is a vote for me being out of a job!” Yet, on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, half of America voted Trump into office. Therefore…

…drum roll…



Effective four days after my 40th birthday because timing is everything…





Despite my company’s participation in the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign…

# …foreign students deciding where to study, perceiving that they are NOT strictly welcome in our country during this current isolationist era, are taking their money to Australia and Canada to improve THEIR systems of higher education instead of bringing it here to the USA. #ThanksTrump

I don’t know if I ever mentioned this fact before: I LOVED my job. LOVED it. However, now it’s over, it’s in the past, and it’s time to move on.

But first, think about where you were in 2004.

I was personally just (voluntarily) leaving my first post after college to move across the country and get a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. There will always be children, and children will always need teachers, therefore no matter what and despite the hustle and the struggle during the in between times…a teacher with a pulse will always have a job.

I will always be able to get a job. It might take a year, or a few years, but the job will come. And so I interviewed in Leadville. I also interviewed with a school in Morocco. As sexy as that job would have been, I decided that the final offer wasn’t the best fit. Around the same time that I made that decision, I made another with the help of my family and friends: I would dig in my heels and try to stay in the one place about which I immediately said upon arrival, “I never want to leave this place.” I violated that decision by applying for jobs in Vermont and (!) Fresno (Fresno!), but I mostly interviewed in Denver, Cortez, Grand Junction, Craig, and many other little cities. My job search began in March and ended in July.

In the end


I accepted a post teaching French in Glenwood Springs, CO. Glenwood Springs is about 1.5 hours east (toward the mountains/Denver) from Grand Junction. Rental space in Glenwood Springs is 99.8% full. Compared to Grand Junction, you can get 1/3 the space for 3x the price.

So the hustle continued.

While my friends CELEBRATED OUR 40th BIRTHDAYS at the cabin in Michigan, I drove back and forth to Glenwood Springs and environs every other day looking for a place to live. I finally found one.

This was the scene at my place in Grand Junction shortly before my dear friends the Ramirezes showed up to whip me into shape.

scene on Texas Ave

I moved across the country in 2004, then again in 2013 (it was a good run in Las Vegas while it lasted). Then I moved across the country again in 2014 to take my awesome it’s-over-now job. Then I hopped over the mountains in 2016 to continue my awesome job in a new place. Now it’s 2017.

As I was writing out the check for my security deposit in Glenwood Springs, the landlord said, “Just think of this as a good opportunity to downsize.” I’m too seasoned a mover to ever actually punch a landlord in the face, so I calmly told him, “I have downsized every 18 months since 2012, and not by choice.”

The new place MIGHT be 500 square feet. Maybe. It might be less. It was hand built in 1890, and walking through it is a way to feel intoxicated for free. The bathroom (added in the 20th century, no doubt) is small and sloped. The back of the toilet seat, which is affixed sideways to the to toilet, is cemented to the wall behind it.

If you step out the front door and look down the street, you can see a roller coaster on a mountaintop. Here’s the shack  cottage exterior:

crooked cottage

My former boss brought his 4-year-old daughter over to my apartment in GJ to help load the U-Haul, which Ace drove. There’s an adorable photo of the 4-year-old sitting on the high heel shoe chair inside the U-Haul, but I’m not fond of putting photos of kids on the internet, so you’ll have to be satisfied with these images of the truck.


After we caravanned to GS and unloaded the U-Haul, all but the donation items and the last of the flotsam were successfully relocated.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate my former boss (also no longer employed by our former company). How many bosses have you had in your life who have volunteered to help load your U-Haul?

I donated three giant tubs of clothes and flotsam to the Salvation Army along with my beautiful sage green couch with the rivets, and my futon chair and futon mattress.

Why would I give away all of my furniture and leave myself with nothing to sit on except for the fabulous high heel shoe chair? The landlord’s late grandmother’s love-seat is in the shack cottage, and he has nowhere else to put it, so it is non-negotiably included.

For a minute, not having any furniture was entertaining. Here’s a selfie:

no furniture selfie

Soon enough, it became slightly painful. The Ramirezes chose a room at the Super 8, which allowed me to vinegar the insides of the kitchen appliances and cabinets.

On the morning of July 21, I loaded the last three (random) tubs into the Subaru, turned in the keys to the place in GJ, parked and unloaded in GS, got into the Ramirezmobile, and hitched a ride across the Rockies to the Hoosier state to practice for having a summer vacation.

Here’s the scene at the place in Glenwood Springs as I left it:

scene on Palmer Ave

I’ve watched enough Mad Men to know that everything is going to be OK. As I told my friend Dana, I will go on social media (like this blog) and pretend that it’s awesome, even if it sucks.


I was going to end this post with the African proverb, “The ax forgets, but the tree remembers,” so you know which way I’ll vote in 2020 (Kanye?) and hear, somehow, all of the muttering, screaming, and crying that I left out of this post as the life that I loved was thrown into upheaval and chaos for the 5th time in as many years.

Then I recall:

It won’t suck. It’s the Western Slope. With a roller coaster on a mountaintop.

It’s okay to be jealous – of the job that I left, of the one that’s coming up, of the U-Haul loading boss, of my vacation to Indiana, and of the friends I have who dropped everything to drive across the country to move me. Again.

So I will leave you with this funny little graphic I stole from the internet, which I will introduce to my language learners shortly after the school year begins:

Image result for expectations v reality growth mindset

And that’s the way it goes.




2 thoughts on “What happened was…

  1. We wait each month to be amazed by your excellent writing abilities. The posts never cease to amaze us even though we’ve heard it in pieces along the way. We are so proud of you in all areas of your life. Continuing with the attitude you’re presenting is going to keep everything in perspective. The cottage is great with so much character and history, we all know how Tiffany loves History! Keep up the good work.

  2. I often remark to my students about how life will take us on a journey and our goal is to try and enjoy the ride. Thanks for being willing to share both the good and the bad!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s