Thursday, March 28, 2013

Extra Work

Last year, I read an article on MSN that gave suggestions on how to earn a little extra money. Being the avid shopper that I am, said article piqued my interest. Most of the suggestions, however, fell beyond what I was willing to do. One item of the article even suggested coming on as adjunct faculty at a local community college. Ummm...I already do that full-time, so no, that would not work for me.

I had pretty much written off the article as crap and decided that, if I wanted to earn some extra money beyond the paycheck awarded to me on the second to last working day of every month, then I would just keep my eyes and ears open for possibilities. I had also resolved to just feel grateful that I had full time employment, and that the only debt I have is my mortgage, which we'll pay off several years before Jude starts driving. Believe me, I know people who have it much worse than I do, so if opportunities to bring home a little extra bacon don't routinely fall at my feet, we won't starve or go into foreclosure. Even so, I always feel guilty about spending money on frivolous things. I love frivolous things. After all, I am the girl who flat out refuses to enter a Wal-Mart. Therefore, earning a little extra money would possibly make the guilt I feel toward frivolity subside if only a little bit.

Jeffrey, however, is the king of financial opportunities. It's the musician in him. He regularly gigs and writes music on top of teaching full-time. In fact, he does so well with his side jobs that we usually end up owing the government come tax season. That's right. Two teachers apparently make too much money according to the government. Anyway, the only problem with Jeffrey picking up all of these odd jobs is that he constantly works.Whereas I've been able to use my time at home playing with a baby or reading a good book, Jeffrey sits at a computer or plays at some seedy bar. Of course, he never complains, and certainly he has never pressured me to pick up some of the slack.

However, I wanted to help alleviate some of the strain; I just didn't know how. Then back in January, an opportunity presented itself. I received a call from the Director of Evening Programs on the Ridgeland campus of Holmes asking me to teach an eight week English composition course two nights a week. I would get paid the same as if I was teaching one night a week for sixteen weeks. (This is in addition to my salary.) Also, I already teach some eight week classes on the Goodman campus, so I already know how they flow. I gave the opportunity some thought, talked it over with Jeffrey, and finally made a commitment to do it.

I am concluding Week 2 of the course and so far, so good. The class is much smaller than what I am used to, so grading will be a cinch. Also, I now have only six weeks to go! Even though it takes a good bit of time to prepare and a three hour a day course can be daunting, I know I will be glad at the end when I see that extra money. Perhaps we will take a vacation, or maybe I'll use some of the money to finally get those Tory Burch sandals I've had my eye on for years now! Regardless, I feel glad that I can bring in an extra paycheck so that my family can enjoy a little fun every now and then. Funny how a full-time community college professor can supplement her income by teaching a course she already teaches in her day job. Maybe that MSN article was on to something after all!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ole Miss

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I'm raising Jude as an Ole Miss fan. Besides loving the works of William Faulkner-- Oxford's native son-- beyond what is normal and earning my degree there, I met his Daddy at Ole Miss, accepted my marriage proposal in the Circle somewhere between Ventress and Bryant Hall, got married in Paris-Yates Chapel, and began the first few weeks of married life still living in Oxford with my then new husband. For many reasons, Ole Miss will always remain my favorite place on Earth. I may never live there ever again, but I do have hopes that Jude will some day, even if only for those four glorious years (or six if he's anything like his father--Jeffrey never did believe in rushing through his college experience, but then again, he did graduate cum laude).

This past Sunday, our family, with the exception of the Weezy-cat, donned our red and blue in support of the NCAA tournament. I dressed Jude in his Ole Miss fleece jacket, Colonel Reb shirt, Ole Miss pants, and Ole Miss tie up shoes. Yes, some brilliant mind thought up the concept of embroidering the Ole Miss logo on white baby shoes bringing completion to Jude's ensemble. Call me biased, but Jude sports the whole Ole Miss look like no one's business. Red and blue suit him. Unfortunately, his overall dapper appearance served as no kind of good luck charm for our Rebels as they lost to LaSalle in the last two seconds of the game. Oh well. There's always next year.

I really shouldn't care where Jude goes to college so long as he goes. I will love him no matter what he decides, and that goes beyond where he chooses to further his education. Of course a third generation Ole Miss Alum would do me proud, but ultimately, I just want him to be happy. Since he hasn't the capability to make those choices right this second, I will continue to dress him in rebel rags and encourage him to proclaim "Hotty Toddy" at any given moment.

No matter where he goes, I think he will have a place in his heart for Ole Miss because without that fine institution, who knows if Jeffrey and I would have ever met. I argue that Ole Miss is as big a part of Jude's history as it is mine and Jeffrey's. As I said before, I'll support Jude no matter what, although I'll admit it will sting if he chooses to trade red and blue for maroon and white, or worse, purple and gold.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blessing on a Coffee Mug

Every time I open my "cup cabinet," a new mug or glass or plastic cup from some restaurant seems to find its way in there. Somehow, this cabinet shares the same parentage as the bag from "Mary Poppins" because I have no idea how all of these cups fit in there. As I peer into the cabinet, I'm reminded of a time nine years ago when Jeffrey and I stood in the households department of excitedly scanning (and unscanning) the perfect glassware, flatware, dinnerware, etc. Unsurprising to all, I found myself more concerned with making everything precisely match to mine and Jeffrey's personalities than Jeffrey, as he just wanted to point the scan gun and shoot. People from near and far proved beyond generous since we did score everything we asked for on our wedding registry, and not to mention, additional gift cards and cash and such. Of course that first year of wedded bliss and making our first home visually reflect the perfection we found in our marriage has over the span of almost nine years proved incredibly futile. Forget Waterford goblets and let's get real here. Want something to drink? Just grab whatever Newk's or Mugshots cup you can get your hands on. Almost nine years of marriage and one baby later, no one gives two cents about whether or not the cup you're drinking from matches the Fiestaware (now chipped, by the way). The other day, I came across one coffee mug in particular. I guess one of us had gotten it for Christmas because its overall look did not appear as something Jeffrey nor I would have bought for ourselves. (Plus, as previously insinuated, the only cups we buy for ourselves as of late come from whatever they serve us at Newk's or Mugshots.)The coffee mug states in cutesy bold letters, "Whoever came up with the phrase 'Sleep like a baby' obviously has never had a baby." At first, I just kind of snickered and went on about drinking my coffee. However, about the third time I drank coffee from that mug, I got to thinking beyond just the "Truer words were never spoken" remark. After all I do hold two degrees in English which automatically makes me an expert at overanalyzing anything, including a blade of grass. Seriously, though, how ingenious is it to print such words on a coffee mug? Before Jude, I had not enjoyed a cup of coffee in two years! I didn't drink coffee at all while I was pregnant with Jude because I totally eliminated caffeine from my diet (yes, I know pregnant women are allowed a little caffeine, but I went cold turkey, and bear in mind that I did have a perfect pregnancy. Note that I said "pregnancy." Labor and delivery proved a bit less than ideal.)The year before I became pregnant, I wanted to get pregnant so badly that I did everything I could to keep my body as healthy as possible, so I cut caffeine out completely. Also, I had perfectly white teeth. Now that the baby is here and has been for going on 22 months, I cannot live without my coffee! One and sometimes two or three cups a day will do me just fine. I have found two aspects about parenthood that no one could prepare me for--the erratic sleep patterns and the amount of love one can have for her child. I didn't need that coffee then, but boy do I need it now! The mug said something else to me as well. There are two kinds of adults in this world: parents and nonparents. For years, I wanted to transition from nonparent to parent. Years ago, if I had seen the words on that mug, I would have rolled my eyes, muttered some sort of downer comment, and celebrated a teeny pity party about how I might never become a mother. I still feel the sting of that past sometimes. However, now I look at the words on that mug and think, "I completely understand. I'm finally part of what so many have talked up for so long." It makes me happy to drink out of that mug and read those words on it the same way it does when I see Jude's toys take over every room of my house. I'm finally a mama, and perhaps that's why I don't feel bothered when someone asks, "When are you going to have another one?" Believe me, comments like that are much less biting than just "When are you going to have a baby?" I know one day, I won't need as much coffee and my pearly white teeth will resurface, but for now I'll keep on drinking my coffee in a mug with words that clearly reflect why I need the coffee in the first place. I couldn't feel more grateful for it, either.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Separate Ways

This weekend will not be the first I've spent without Jude. Just a few weeks ago, I went to Natchez for work and left Jude and Jeffrey to their own devices. I came back home to find junk food in the fridge, the television on, and the stench of testosterone wafting through the air. It was a man weekend in deed, and did those two have a blast! Almost a year ago, Jeffrey and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in New Orleans. We opted to take advantage of the free baby-sitting services offered by Jude's Nana and Pops. This event occurred back before Jude had mastered sleeping through the night, so Jeffrey and I slept for most of the trip, and I must say, it proved as one of our better anniversaries! The fact that I didn't return home pregnant once again only added to the success of the trip. (Don't get me wrong. We want more children, and now that Jeffrey and I do have full nights of sleep, we have opened up our minds to the possibility now.) This weekend, Jeffrey and I are packing up and headed to Saint Louis. I have never gone to Saint Louis before, and I'm pretty excited, even though Jeffrey has been and didn't like it the time he went. Anyway, we scored some tickets to see Muse, and believe me, a rock concert is no place for a baby. Therefore, Nana and Pops will bring Jude home with them to enjoy the weekend. Jude will also be heading to New Orleans with them for a few family festivities. I knew the time would come when Jude would go to New Orleans without us. However, I just assumed he would go at twenty-one years, not twenty-one months. I know he will have a great time, get spoiled beyond belief, and party it up with his binge banana eating and whole milk shots. Our trips have not even happened yet, and I miss him already. I know that Jeffrey and I will have a wonderful time in Saint Louis. We always have a blast when we travel. Also, a weekend with just us always seems to recharge my soul, but still. I sure will miss my Baby Jude!