Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Employer's ability to dictate your life

Paul has looked for jobs quite often over the past few years due to all the layoffs and we both have appreciated the ability to apply for jobs via the internet. But in my opinion the new requirements of prospective employers have gotten ridiculous.

Increasingly we are coming across employers that want to speak via cell phone only, it sounds simple enough but we don't have cell phones. Today Paul received an invitation to apply for a position, part of that application process involved a personality test. This is something I don't like but it's really common, the catch this time was that you have to have some type of broadband!

Okay this is ridiculous, the cost to just apply to these jobs by having all these things is just stupid! We don't have cell phones because we can't afford it. We live on a very strict budget and the money just isn't there. We don't have DSL available in our area and we certainly can't afford satellite. Even if DSL were available, I don't know that we could afford the monthly premiums.

When did employers start dictating people's way of life? I know that this is part of the reason Paul lost his job in CO, his boss didn't like or agree with our lifestyle. I thought that was pretty invasive and wrong but I also thought it was a freak thing. But now these prospective employers, ones that haven't even offered you a job, require you to have a private cell and broadband! If this was just a one time incident I wouldn't be so upset but it's not. It's like we are stuck in this vicious cycle, without money we can't have these things but in order to obtain a job that will allow use to afford these luxuries we need money.

Maybe I'm just whining but it's frustrating. Maybe we are an oddity because we want to live without credit card bills. In order to do that we don't have all the latest gadgets but we aren't living in the stone ages, we do own a computer :) So what's the solution? I don't know but I do know that we aren't going to do the easy thing and bow to the pressures of society to take on needless debt just so he can apply for jobs!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Decisions, Decisions

After talking it over for a few days we have decided to order another yurt for our new property. We have some money saved and decided instead of trying to add on to the new house, a yurt was the more economical way to go.

We are all very excited as we really miss living in a yurt. There is something really neat about living in a round structure. So now that we have decided that we have to figure out where to buy it from. So many decisions, but at least they are good decisions :)

We think that we will get a 16 foot yurt to use as a school room/office and bedroom. We desperately need another bedroom and our daughter very enthusiastically offered to have her bedroom in the yurt. We will be attaching it to the house so that you can exit the house and walk through a breezeway into the yurt.

We have narrowed it down to either Rainier Yurts or Spirit Mountain Yurts. We like the finished aspects of the Rainier Yurts but like the price and options of Spirit Mountain. We have found a number of platform plans online and will be pulling the best aspect from each of them to hopefully get the best deck for our money.

I just can't stand to be normal! This seems the perfect way to live in a house but still be different :)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Perceptions of isolation

A few weeks ago a well meaning friend mentioned that we isolate our kids too much and wondered how they would learn to live in the "real world". Of course this is in response to the fact that we homeschool. According to this friend they would encounter the "real world" if they were in school. I, of course, took up the usual banner and countered that the real world doesn't segregate us by age and job. He couldn't really argue with that since he is 15 years older than me. But on the whole he didn't seem to agree.

Fast forward to last night and an email list I belong to. A few participants were discussing the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. One warned of the possible inappropriateness of the movie since there is implied sex and the man proposes while lying in bed with the woman (she is clothed at the time and they don't show him below his shoulders). I was pretty shocked, I honestly think this movie is very clean. There is no nudity, no foul language, and although the sex is implied nothing is really shown.

So I guess it's all perception. By many's standards we isolate our kids but by other homeschooling families' standards we allow our kids to watch inappropriate movies. I find the whole thing very interesting!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Home update

Well, the seller signed the addendum extending escrow through the end of this month and the water tank is finally in. Supposedly we will be closing at the end of this month.

I have mixed feelings about this whole thing. We found an area we would really like to live in but it's just a tad bit out of our price range. We even found a home in our price range that we love but it has virtually no lot and we couldn't keep the horse on it. That seems to be our biggest problem, finding a property that is zoned for horses. Even if we boarded the horse, where would the kids play? I am afraid we are really picky and want a place with some "room to roam".

Paul has been actively searching for a new job since his is going to disappear rather quickly. At first we thought about just uprooting and moving across country again but we decided that we should at least attempt to make this work for a couple of years. Something I had not anticipated with jobs here are how little they actually pay. The cost of living here is so high compared to other places we have lived but the jobs don't pay any more. How do people live here? I was beginning to think it was because we live on one income but then I was reminded of how expensive it is to work. With the extra added expenses we can't afford for me to work. Paul is looking for a job that will actually make it so we can squeak by on the one income but it looks like he will ultimately end of with two jobs again. It's not the end of the world but it's not a comfortable thought.

I'm still plugging along with our wedding scrapbook. Every time I think I'm just about finished I find more pictures to add. As soon as I'm done with it I will pick out a few pages and post them here :)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Mass Dumbness

"Mass dumbness first had to be imagined, it isn't real." -John Gatto

I'm currently rereading a book called The Underground History of American Education which is where the above quote came from. I decided to pick it up again after having a discussion a few days ago with a friend who decided to challenge our reasons for homeschooling. He wanted to make me think long and hard about our current priorities, it worked. What I came up with was that our number one priority is our kids. We may have changed the reasons why we are homeschooling but we are still committed to this lifestyle.

I call it a lifestyle because our schooling doesn't stop when we close the books and "school time" is done for the day. I have *gasp* become more of a believer in unschooling over the past 2 years. We are still structured but that structure has more and more taken a backseat to life. I have noticed during this time that the kids have learned more than I could have ever imagined! Our son went from not reading to reading chapter books one day, it just finally clicked. Now he has read most of what we have available in a week or so. We have read about giant squids and whales because the topic was in a magazine article we saw. We have done an extensive amount of reading on bats because we have a colony living in the attic. The kids remember what we read because it has a connection to the real world, that doesn't always happen when we read things for "school".

So what does that have to do with mass dumbness? The friend I mentioned earlier wanted to know why we don't just put the kids in school. One of the big reasons I mentioned was that our son would be labeled and stuck in a "special ed" class. He thinks differently and that is just not valued in today's society. I think this is part of that mass dumbness, because someone is different they are labeled as dumb. The assumption is that kids need to be taught not that they will actually learn just by living in the real world. I disagree. I think they are kept in ignorance by being taught in a classroom. They are fed only what the experts think they need or can handle, in short their abilities are grossly underestimated. Unfortunately, the mind and ability to think are like muscles, they need to be used and exercised. This type of schooling only allows those muscles to atrophy and eventually they wither.

We now have a society where mass dumbness is a common belief. It's so sad!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Good Day

We had a great day and I just had to share it here.

We spent the morning at church, which is usually great, and the afternoon with friends. Even though all of our friends are so different it's great to get together and be with people that can accept us for who we are, especially since we are so weird! It's not often that we are accepted and we feel so truly blessed to be with people that do so readily.

To top it off we had a great lunch at one of our friend's homes which made dealing with our kids so much easier. It's just so much more relaxing to know that I can talk and not have to worry about the kids getting into trouble. That's not always the case when we go out, they are normally well behaved but I constantly worry that their boredom will drive them to misbehave.

Just an update on the house in escrow...

The date of closing has been rescheduled for August 31st. Supposedly all the agreed upon work will be completed and everything will be in place so we can close. We found an absolutely perfect property in between all of this but even if we had the ability to pull out of escrow this new property cannot be financed. It does give us something to dream about though, some day I want to live like that!

In case you are interested here is the listing.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What I've been making

I realized that my last few posts have been so negative and that was never my intention so...

I've decided to post a few pictures of my latest projects. I normally sew and have been very busy the last few months making new dresses for our daughter. But I've taken time out of my sewing to finish my first scrapbook. Since I was able to finish our 8x8 album of the yurt I thought that it should take me no time to finish our wedding album. I know it's way over due since we just celebrated our 12th anniversary but I thought it shouldn't take longer than a week or so. I was wrong and honestly haven't gotten very far. I do have an excuse though :)

My mil asked me to make Thank You cards for the business. I was very happy to do so since this would allow me to make a little bit of money to buy more paper and tools for my scrapbooks. So here are a few pictures of the completed cards.

The pictures don't convey the texture in the paper or the true colors but it gives you an idea of what I've been up to :)

Home buying and other minutiae

Have you ever had one of those times when nothing seems to go right?

Our life has been like that for a year and a half. I'm really hoping that we are at the end of that stage right now and maybe headed for some normalcy, whatever that is :)

As I mentioned before we have a house in escrow. It was supposed to close on July 31st but it didn't. The seller didn't have all the work completed and we refused to close no matter what kind of assurances she wanted to give us. She also wants us to sign an addendum to the contract for a couple of things and we have refused. I don't understand waiting a month into escrow and wanting to change something in the contract! We have asked to extend escrow through the end of this month, August, and close on the 31st. We will lose our interest rate lock but at the moment that would be to our benefit as the rates are slightly lower. We can't close after the 4th in any month because we would owe an entire month's interest which is substantial.

Both Paul and I are tired of fighting this and, in many ways, are kind of hoping she will just let the contract expire so we can go our separate ways. All of this for a house neither one of us is thrilled with, a property that isn't ideal with a ditch running through the middle, and in a state that neither one of us wants to live in. The whole thing seems stupid.

At this point I'm sure you are wondering why we put an offer in on this house to begin with. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. But let's just say that things here are not working out the way we planned. The promise of a living wage has yet to be fulfilled which makes this whole thing seem pointless.

I know that we are difficult people asking for a lot. We want to live on one income in a society where that is all but impossible, and we don't want to live hand to mouth but have enough for necessities and a little savings in case of emergency. We want to have animals and eventually raise most of our own food. We want to be left alone but be within driving distance, 2-3 hours, of a decent church. In my mind that doesn't seem like a lot to ask for but in reality it has been next to impossible to find.

I think maybe I'm just at the end of my rope. All the moving and upheaval over the last 3 years is finally taking its toll and I'm tired. I want to find a place we can settle down and plan on living there the rest of our life. I just wish there was a place where we could live without having to struggle financially. I'm sure that's a wish most people have.