Acade(me)

The dissertation was only the beginning.

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T: Amazing Husband
ST: Three-year-old Wonder
Prof. G: Advisor I
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Monday, April 24, 2006
Something's Gotta Give

The feeling of stress and tension is so thick in this house you could cut it with a knife right now. I hate this feeling, but I know that I'm in for a few more weeks of it, if not a few more months. To recap (you've heard it all already):

Stress 1: T's job. We haven't heard anything from anyone, and T isn't working on it very diligently. There's a Very Important Task that he MUST complete, and soon, and so far he's just not doing it. I keep nagging him about it ("Did you get anything accomplished on Very Important Task yet?") which is just about the WORST thing I can possibly do, but it's on my mind all the time. It drives me nuts that he's not putting more time and effort into the job search, although I know that time is not something he has in abundance these days. His annoyed final words to me last night: "The only thing YOU can do to help me right now is to stop pestering me about this because it's getting old."

You'd think I'd know this about T by now. He does not respond well to nagging, which is why I rarely do it. Very rarely, in fact, and that is probably why he's so peeved at me about Very Important Task and the job search. (I can tell he's peeved because he's "cordial" to me, but not "affectionate," as he usually is.) I will try to be better about this and stop reminding him every five minutes that he needs to find a job. BUT: he needs to find a job!

Stress 2: House Issues. First, our neighbor's house is not yet sold, and it must be sold by June 15 in order for the contract they have on our house to be valid. Granted, it's only been on the market for three weeks, but still. Apparently, they have had two offers on their house, but both of them fell through for financing reasons. Hopefully something will pan out very, very soon so I can stop thinking about it.

Second, T, ST and I are traveling to New Town in two weeks, just a quick trip after we see my brother's college graduation. We've been looking at houses online and have a list of about eight that we'd like to see in person. Fortunately, T and I agree on every house on the list, and the prices are just about right. The source of disagreement: realtors. T despises realtors, thinks they're lazy scam-artists, doesn't trust them at all. This hatred comes from the type of work he does, so at least I understand the source. My thinking is that, since we will only be in New Town for a day and a half, we should have a realtor show us the houses that we're interested in seeing -- easy as that. T refuses to do this; instead, he wants to email all of the listing agents and schedule private tours of the houses WITHOUT having an agent of our own. Sounds like a big hassle to me: making appointments with eight different realtors to see eight different houses? Ugh. T is convinced that buyers without a realtor are more attractive to sellers since the selling agent doesn't have to split a commission, and he's also sure that buyers without an agent receive a better price on a house because of this. I am NOT convinced of this, and would rather play the real estate game like normal people do. But there's no persuading him, especially given his line of work and the stories from the "real world" as he knows it.

Third, there was one house that we both fell in love with online, and although it was not exactly where we wanted to live, we would've sucked it up for this house. The price was a little steep for us, but we're both willing to sacrifice for a home we love. Last night, however, we discovered that the house is in an area with SKY HIGH property taxes -- taxes that would add $500-600/month onto an already large mortgage payment. So, it's out. For now, at least.

Stress 3: stupid dissertation and defense. Actually, I shouldn't complain about the dissertation right now since it seems to be going pretty well and I'm actually looking forward to finishing Chapter Seven this week and beginning the conclusion. My goal is to have a mostly-complete, unrevised draft ready to hand to my Mom when I say goodbye to her after my brother's graduation (I actually want to leave it on her seat in the car). I don't think she'll ever read it (I wouldn't, either!), but she's been so wonderful at asking me about, trying to understand it, keeping me on task, and encouraging me that I know she'd be so proud to actually see the document in person.

On the defense, I can't get an answer out of the department's administrative assistant. I've emailed her twice and she hasn't gotten back to me yet -- I've heard that she does this to everyone, though, and that the trick is to keep pestering her about it. Grr. I just want a solid date so I can mark it on my calendar and count down the days.

That's enough for now. The only way I can feel better about any of this is to press on, pray, and have faith that things will come together at the proper time. It always happens that way for me -- God never lets me down. In the meantime, I'll think ahead to the fall, when I can smile and look back on these sources of stress and think, "Why did you waste so much energy on this stuff?"

Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 4/24/2006 10:50:00 AM  
5 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 2:30 PM, Blogger ArticulateDad said…

    It's good that you can write them all out, contain them, specify them. I think the million things we always have to do, or which weigh on us, or what have you, are normally diminished by the simple act of enumerating them.

    (As you often advise), eveything will settle down, and level out. Resolutions will emerge. If T is that insistent on avoiding an agent, and he's willing to make the calls, and the arrangements, I'd say, just let him. It's not worth a fight, and I think he is right that buyers without their own commission requirements are potentially far more attractive to buyers.

    Agents complain (because there may be extra paperwork involved), but then... they'll be making an extra 1-3% commission for just a little hassle. Since the commission is always negotiable, and the agent's only true incentive is the commission, there's good reason for them to take on the extra work, and the seller can potentially realize the same or more net with a lower selling price.

    My experience with realtors is that, yes there are a few honest and decent ones (few and far between), but the overwhelming majority of them are simply good at roping you in, getting you to sign their exclusivity contract, then simply sit on their hands as much as possible. The work for them is getting the contract, then hoping a sale occurs.

    Unless they truly have expertise in that particular neighborhood, their knowledge, information, and experience amounts to what most of us can manage with a few hours on the internet, and driving around the neighborhood.

    The important thing is finding a wonderful house that you'll love, at a decent price that you can afford. And it will happen.

     
  • At 2:35 PM, Blogger Prof. Me said…

    Thanks, AD, and you're right. I just emailed a bunch of realtors today (fortunately, two of the houses we want to see have the same listing agent!) and started setting up appointments for the weekend we'll be in New Town. It didn't take too long, after all. (I didn't leave it for T to do, since it would detract from the Very Important Task!) Hopefully we'll have a full schedule of showings in New Town and it will work out.

    T said he's on a personal mission to drive realtors out of business for good! (And, since you know what kind of work he does, you can probably understand why!)

     
  • At 9:16 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Your situation looks a lot like ours 2 y years ago (my husband was finishing and defending, we had to sell our house and buy another one here) except that I didn't have to find a job, since I have to finish my dissertation first.

    Main difference - we had a newborn and a 2 year old. Good thing we also had my parents :)

     
  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger Peri said…

    Wow. I can't imagine how you will get it all done, but I KNOW you will. I'm sending good thoughts your way and hoping the house hunting process is much easier than you expect. More than anything, for your sake, I hope the VERY IMPORTANT TASK gets completed!

     
  • At 10:53 AM, Blogger phd me said…

    It will work itself out, but hang in there, girl!

    I've actually had very good luck with realtors - feisty women who were completely looking out for my interests, all. (Okay, all but one, and her services were no longer required after one day in her company.) I'm hoping for the same with my realtor in PRU. Good luck, however you work with the ones in New Town.

     
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