jesshartley: (Default)
2009-03-03 07:41 pm

In which we update and plan some major changes...

I'm glad it's only the first part of March, not April, otherwise folks might not be believing me.

Our lives are going to be taking some huge changes in the next 5-6 months.
Let me lay a little groundwork.

For the last year, Autumn's been having some serious health issues. She missed 5 weeks of school (not straight, but being in school only one or two days a week) just after the first of the year. We're still researching causes, but the docs are leaning towards a combination of bad allergies and psychogenic/stress. The stress, in part is due to continually worsening conditions in her school. Teachers are leaving and being replaced by "bottom of the barrel" folks who shouldn't be teaching at all. Parents are fleeing town for places where they can make a decent living, and taking their kids with them. Three out of five of Autumn's close friends have left town in the last year, and her best friend Lizzy is moving at the end of the year. Next year, her school is cutting down to four day weeks, and they're talking about cutting all the arts and music programs, just to keep the schools open.

Thi is, as you can imagine, not an ideal situation for a kid who wants to go on to college and lives for art.

However, at the same time, the economy has dumped in the year and a half since we bought our house. We cannot hope to sell it right now for what we still owe on it. And, Pat really loves his job here... Not only that, but having picked up and moved to Massachusetts three and a half years ago, and then moved here a year and a half ago, he really needs to put more time into his job here before he can really think about relocating, without ending up looking like a total flake who leaves his job every two years (He's the CIO/Director of Technology for the county here, so it's not like a call center job or the like where short-job-runs might be more acceptable.)

So, we've been looking at options.

After lots of consideration, we've come to a conclusion (we think) that, while not ideal, is the best scenario that takes all of the factors into consideration.

As of July 1, Autumn and I will be getting a small apartment in Chandler (about 3.5 hours away from Bisbee) and she will start school there on July 27th. The high school we're targetting is amazing. Hamilton High is in the top 5% of high schools in the country, rated 10 out of 10 by Greatschools.net, has an extensive arts, science and extracurricular program. (Check out their course catalog! It's better than a lot of colleges I've seen.) It's also got 3000 students (That's half as big as our entire town), so the "all my friends are moving away" thing is less likely to happen. It's a newer school (10 year And they have all kinds of fun clubs, including... a scuba diving club, a Super Smash Brothers Club and a DDR Club. It's got its own pool... with a waterslide.
(Okay, the waterslide is just icing on the cake, but... waterslide!)

We considered several options, such as having her and I move back to the Pacific NW and Pat stay here (seeing him once every month or two just wasn't a good option for a 3-4 year plan), home schooling (I really think it's important that she gets the socialization high school will provide), or looking for other schools close to home (there's nothing with above-average ratings within a daily-commuting distance from Bisbee.)

Living in Chandler will mean that we're close enough to get together with Pat every weekend (or almost every weekend) either there or here. We'll be close enough to provide support for each other in case of emergencies, and Autumn can stay in contact with her friends who have moved to Tucson over the last year. Autumn can flip back and forth between the two houses during the summer and breaks, and Pat can be there for support when I've got to be out of town for a convention or such. We have a lot of new and wonderful friends in the Phoenix area, and there is a plethora of cultural and recreational activities to keep us busy, including libraries, museums, the zoo, games, shopping, etc.

On the down side, I'll need to find a full time (daytime, no weekends) job to afford the apartment, which is going to cut severely into my writing time. But I'll continue to write in the evenings (it'll keep me busy) and it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make to ensure she gets a good education and a good spring-board to college.

So... If you're reading this and have any advice/insight/think of something we haven't, please feel free to drop a comment. We'll start looking for apartments and jobs up there in a month or two, but we'll be scoping out ideas/neighborhoods/honing my resume, etc between now and then.

jesshartley: (Default)
2009-03-03 11:19 pm

In which we add the sad part...

As an addendum to my last post...

We're going to have to find new homes for Kodi and Lobo. While Anubis is older and slower and doesn't mind being home all day on his own, the puppies really need/want/deserve more attention than that. Plus, the sheer destruction level of two lab-mix puppies and a sprightly shepherd home alone all day is... well, too much for one person to deal with alone.

So, if you know of someone who is looking for a wonderful, sweet, 4-5 month old lab mix* let us know. We're willing (happily) to pay for their neutering (which should be done here in the next month or so) and to send them off with collar/lead/bowl/bag of food/toys, etc.  Ideally an adoptive home would have a fenced yard, but not for leaving them out in all the time, as they're used to being indoor dogs. Both are sweetly demeanored and playful, good with kids, cats and other dogs (might be a bit big for a toddler household, just out of sheer energy and the body mass they will quickly put on.) Neither have any health issues and are learning basic commands ("sit", "kitchen", "cookie", "get busy", "outside", "put down my sock", "quit stealing my sock","where did you hide my sock you little monster...")

We definitely won't be returning them to the pound, as we feel it is our responsiblity to find them a good forever home when we couldn't provide it ourselves. I'll post updated pictures of them tomorrow, but here's their early months pictures:


*Despite being told they were husky/shepherd mixes, we think Lobo's probably lab/beagle from his awesome "talkativeness" (not barking, he just makes all kinds of awesome noises) and Kodi may be Lab-chow from his curled tail and the little bit of ripple in his coat.