I haven’t done a very good job of explaining why we left Houston, so here is the 30 second sound byte version: I loved my job(s) in Houston. Loved them. I worked with awesome staff at both the Elementary school and the private practice. I had the best little kids and really liked going to work. The district I worked for, Houston Independent School District (HISD), is/was MASSIVE. Per the 2009-2010 census there were over 202,000 students in HISD. A large number of students within that 202,000 required speech and language services resulting in the caseloads in Houston getting up above 65. Being responsible for this many students is ridiculous and ultimately leads to crappy quality of treatment and astronomical amounts of paperwork. Very few speech pathologists jump at the opportunity to drown in paperwork and provide crappy therapy to hoards of children, so the district needed a solution. contract speech therapists. I signed on as a contracted therapist that worked for a contracting company instead of directly for the district in August 2010. This meant that while my salary was significantly higher, I had great benefits, 401-K, etc I also was significantly more expendable.
In April, Matt and I had a big talk about what was next for us, and had decided to stay in Houston for one more year and move to California in the Summer of 2012. We found a new apartment, got our dog, and had a plan. Around that same time, HISD did a bunch of reorganizing after looking at the massive budget deficit (side note: there is no income tax in Texas, which causes a myriad of problems that I’d love to get into, but then Matt will remind me that this isn’t a political blog and to cut the sass), and ended up having a plan of their own, which resulted in reorganizing (read: cutting) my job and the jobs of about 110 other contracted speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc. That was enough of a sign for Matt and I, so that is why we packed up our zen-gardened apartment and moved across the country. ROAD TRIP!
To finish up our cross-country trek, 13 months later we decided to stretch out our road trip and see as many people as possible! We stopped in Albuquerque, to stay with Nicole and Dr. Major, my dear friends from Marquette, Phoenix, to stay with my extended family including a stop at this guy’s warehouse, and San Diego to see our good friends Kelly and Cedric (who introduced Matt and I) tie the knot.
Enjoy the condensed slideshow version of Road Trip Adventure Part II!
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The Boneyard Drinkery in Houston, TX is an establishment based on pure genius. I found a picture of it hiding in the depths of my iPhone and wanted to give it a shout out. It opened right before I moved to California, but the couple of times I went, I loved it and so did Steve. The Boneyard Drinkery is a dog park and….a bar! Brilliant! It is the perfect locale to socialize with a delicious craft beer or glass of wine on the patio, while your dog burns loads of energy in the 7,000 sq ft fenced in property. I’d love to shake the hand of the genius who thought this up!
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I was really nervous about raising $2500 in order to participate with Team in Training and run the Nike Women’s Marathon. I had flashbacks to middle school when I had to sell candy bars in order to go to Montana and West Virginia on mission trips with my church. I ended up selling a pathetic number of candy bars and just started eating a ton of it causing me to be indebted to myself…loser! The fundraising costs to go on those mission trips was a fraction of the $2500 sum I was supposed to raise by October for TNT. Being the world’s worst fundraiser I had to come up with some ideas and fast!
One of my most favorite ideas and one of my most fun times in Houston was hosting a wine-tasting and food pairing party at my apartment. My friend Nikki had found this wine and cheese party inspiration, and I thought it was perfect for a girlie fundraiser. I fronted the wine and cheese and then asked my guests to make a donation. My original plan was to go to local grocery stores and wine bars to see if they would donate a bottle of wine to our cause, but I ran out of time. If I were to do it again, I would definitely man-up and petition vendors for free wine.
I had such a blast learning about different wine pairings and decorating with butcher paper and chalk (easiest decorating tools ever!). I even made little introduction cards for my guests that said their name and then two bullet points of interesting conversation starters about themselves, so everyone could get to know each other. I attached the card stock name cards to wine corks (that I sawed in half…that took forever…that I’ll be never doing again…) and we drank, and ate, and raised money for LLS! We raised $155 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that night, which is a pretty good fundraiser if you ask me!
Other ideas that I had for fundraising:
- Spring clean and host a yard sale
- Jeans/Flip Flops day at work- $3 to wear jeans & $2 to wear flip-flops on a non-casual day at the office (caution: clear with boss first)
- Zumba-a-thon- this one was courtesy of Rachel. If you have a friend who is a pilates, zumba, yoga instructor, etc, ask them to volunteer to host a class for your friends while collecting a $5 donation
- Car Wash (old school)
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What the heck happened to April and May? What happened to March for that matter? Let me go ahead and dust the cobwebs off of this blog! Yikes!
Now that school is out and I’m as excited as a 2nd grader for summer vacation, I plan to get back to my blogging roots. I don’t think there will be any New York City pig roasts and *hopefully* there won’t be any floating cars in our future for this summer, but I’m sure we’ll get ourselves into something crazy!
Over the past couple of months, we’ve seen some awesome shows, had some great visitors, and have been getting back to our road-trippin’ ways. I put these pictures together to give you the 20 second sound byte version of our last couple of months! Enjoy!
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A couple of months ago, we took Steve McQueen swimming for the first time and my goodness was it hilarious! A bunch of the puppy parks around Houston have dog pools to help our favorite four-legged friends beat the heat, which I think is super cool! We initially had taken him to parks without pools, but after dealing with the dust ball that comes home with us afterwards, we thought we’d find a dog park with pools and outdoor shower/hose off stations for that matter!
I usually consult with my Magic 8 Ball, aka Yelp.com, before leaving the house, so this was no different when trying to find the coolest pool-filled puppy park for Steve! Houstonians seem to love 2 things: oil and their dogs. The extensive reviews on these dog parks around Houston was amazing! We finally decided on a good one and off we went!
Feeling it out...
Steve goes ballistic upon entering the dog parks- jumping, pulling, continuous tail wagging. He didn’t even seem to notice the large body of water in the middle of the park, but was more interested in taunting all of the other dogs and convincing them to chase him mercilessly around the park. After one of his dog friends jumped fearlessly into the pool, Steve finally took notice and decided to put his feet in.
A bunch of dogs and their owners practice retrieving in the pools. Some of the more manly dogs jump right off the edge and fly through the air into the water. It’s really cool to watch! Steve doesn’t retrieve (he is an embarrassment to his breed), but he likes to chase other dogs that retrieve, so that was the ticket to get him to casually wade into the pool (no jumping through the air for this dog).
Since Steve’s inaugural swim, he seems to LOVE going in the water! He doesn’t even hesitate at this point. There’s still no Olympic style jumping off the doggie diving board into the water, but we’ll work on that.
Steve McQueen on his birthday with his best dog friend, Kaya.
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