Saturday, April 28, 2007

Now it's Lisa's turn...

And so began the final stage of Lisa's employment search. Being an elementary school teacher with advanced specialized certification makes the task a little easier than my job search. Although it is easier, it is no less stressful. Here is how it all went down.

After a district-level interview last Friday, Lisa mailed out resume packets out to the schools that had openings or the schools where she was interested in working. She even called a couple of schools, leaving messages about her district interview and stamp of approval.

The calls began rolling in Monday, starting with a problematic elementary school approximately 25 minutes away from where we would like to live. There seems to be some upheaval in the administration, and there will be a new principal next year. And it looks like a lot of the teachers will be leaving with the old principal. However, this school will offer the exact grade and teaching style that Lisa prefers.

On Tuesday, another school calls after opening Lisa's application packet. They are very interested, says the principal. This school doesn't have a position open at the time, but they could have one open in the next few days. Although a better school than the first, it is still 20 minutes away from our planned home. Lisa schedules this second interview Friday morning, with the other interview in the afternoon.

Tuesday afternoon, a third elementary school calls Lisa's mobile phone. They are very interested in Lisa. This is an academic magnet school -- generally a good place to work because the students are the cream of the crop -- and it is a little closer to the planned homestead. Maybe slightly less than 20 minutes. Would she be interested in an interview Friday? Of course, responds Lisa. How about midday? They agree, and we have three interviews booked for Friday. This principal calls back later in the week and asks Lisa to not make a decision about any job until she interviews at her school. Nice to be coveted, eh?

At this point, my head is already spinning. Being that I'm going to be the chauffeur and security blanket, I'm trying to grasp the logistics of three interviews all over a city that I'm not familiar with. Then more interviews come in.

Lisa decides to call some of the other schools she sent information to. Most don't return her call, but one very close to our planned home contacts her late Thursday morning. At first, they weren't even planning to interview anyone until next week (which might be too late if the other schools offer her a job), they call back and schedule an interview for Friday morning. So we're now at four interviews.

Finally, on our way to Florence, my cell phone rings. Our Realtor knows some one at another school close to our intended home with an opening. This is arguably the best school in the district and literally 5-6 minutes from most of the homes we have been looking at. Although a great school with a wonderful administration, she was offered a special ed position. Lisa is wary of getting back into that field, but she is not ruling anything out.

So that makes five interviews in one day. They all went well, and she was offered a position at four of the five schools (the other school is still interviewing). I got to sit in the car all day -- listening to Sirius and trying to read a terrible book I'm supposed to review for Against the Grain. Honda's lower end vehicles are not known for their creature comforts, like seats that a human being can sit in comfortably for a couple of hours. My hamstrings are killing me.

Well, now she has some decisions to make concerning her employment. The excitement never ends around here, does it?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Charleston Envy

In the seventeen-plus years I've lived in Charleston, I've had an opportunity to travel around the southeast quite a bit. It never ceases to amaze me how impressed people are when you tell them you are from Charleston. Even hardscrabble Yankees -- avid Pat Conroy and Anne Rivers Siddons fans no doubt -- are even impressed by the Holy City. The conversation always ends with some version of "OOOOhhh, Charleston!" after I tell them where I live.

So it shouldn't be a shock that Charleston has a far reaching impact across the South. For instance, in Hendersonville, NC (one of my favorite places to visit), there was a large indoor Charleston Market retail store. It was setup like the Charleston Market, with separate vendors in kiosks selling various local art, gourmet food items (including the Benne Wafer), and so on. Each aisle was named for a famous Charleston street (King, Meeting, Broad, Market etc). The entire store was painted in Charleston Rainbow Row pastels. The restaurant in the back of the Market was called the Charleston Grill, and it served Shrimp and Grits and She-Crab soup among some other Lowcounty favorites. A novel idea, but evidently not a profitable one -- it was closed the last time we visited Hendersonville.

Further up I-26, Carolina Crew copied its own famous restaurant-- the Boathouse on Breach Inlet (on the Isle of Palms) and put a Boathouse on Lake Lure. Similar menu, but on a lake off the beaten path and close to Asheville.

Even in tiny Hartsville, we looked in a subdivision that was based on one of the new developments in Charleston. I'm thinking it looked like one of the newer subdivisions on Clements Ferry Road. Small houses -- similar to the traditional Charleston Single floorplan -- on tiny lots, close to town, and painted in pretty pastels a la Rainbow Row. The one big difference is that we could very easily afford this particular house, although it was too small for us.

Lastly, they are re-zoning some old vacant retail stores in the downtown section and turning them into to Condos. According to our Realtor up there, this is something that "is very much like Charleston." She is absolutely correct; most of King Street has been renovated for condos -- at least the upper floors of some of the retail shops.

People just love Charleston.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mr. Mom

After some careful calculations, Lisa and I decided that working two part-time jobs essentially for daycare and gas money just isn't worth it. Basically, we break even after daycare and the fuel it takes me to get downtown each day. That's if I work all of the available hours, which invariably I miss work for appointments or I don't get put on the schedule for my entire availability at Starbucks. We will be having a lot of work done on the house in the next ten days, so I will probably wear out my welcome anyway. Well, not really...everyone loves me!

So, I put in my notice(s) at both jobs and I will become Mr. Mom in two short weeks. I'm excited and anxious about it -- I've never spent that much time alone with Owen. Sure, a vacation week here and there, but Lisa or her mother were always close at hand. When Lisa goes out of town, she always takes him along. So it will be me and the boy -- quality bonding time. Is that an overused, tired phrase or what? I think it's even heading to clicheville. At any rate, it is true.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I had a "perfect storm" of job offers, so to speak.

It began Monday afternoon when The Citadel offered me the Reference position. Knowing that Coker was a better fit for me, I decided (under advisement) to call and see how their budget process was coming along.

Once I mentioned I had another job offer, but I really wanted to work at Coker, the ball started rolling. The director said that they were at 98%, but she wanted to call her boss and get to 100%.

It turns out that her boss called the president of the college to sidestep the budgetary process to get me hired. They called back later that evening with a generous offer plus moving expenses. Also, the current job will gradually phase out and turn into the job I originally applied for -- Electronic Resources Librarian. Can this be a more perfect situation?

I start July 1st or so, and I will know more when the Letter of Intent arrives today.

We are meeting with the Realtor this afternoon and hopefully she will give us some good news about the housing sales market.

Lisa will be applying for jobs tonight, and hopefully we will hear something soon about her employment prospects.

What a ride!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Attic Cleaning

I had a fairly interesting day Saturday.

The day began at home, cleaning our attic in preparations for a potential move. Even if we end up staying here, the attic was in dire need of organization.

Any trip into an attic is always full of decisions -- keep, sell, or throw out? Also, the flood of old memories comes roaring in with some of the boxes of childhood memorabilia. It was kind of ironic that I would be attending (and be a part of) my sister's wedding later that afternoon. Both events bring back a lifetime of memories, although at a wedding one usually does not collapse in a fit of dust induced sneezing.

I'm very happy that I have a huge crate of Lego blocks to give to Owen when he is old enough. I can remember countless hours of fun building creations with my brother and sister on the card hardwood of our house in Massachusetts.

There was a box of sports paraphernalia from our time in Pittsburgh: baseball and hockey trading cards, baseball glove, autographed baseball and so on. I kept the glove but plan on selling the rest at our garage sale in a few weeks.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Waiting... News Sort Of...

I've been trying to put this video on here for a week. Evidently, no one told Google Video or YouTube (both owned by Google) that Blogger (also part of the ever growing Google family) has been updated.

I guess it is still appropriate -- I'm still waiting for a final job offer.

Here is what has been going on in Jobland this week:

I find out that both schools added the database I presented: one even had it listed as a new database on the library's main webpage. Very flattering!

Then on Monday, I hear from a little birdie that my presentation went over very well at The Citadel, but this individual did not know whether or not a final decision was made. Even if a decision was made, the director is out of the country for an unspecified amount of time (at least this "birdie" didn't know how long she would be abroad). It goes without saying that a final decision on two new faculty members would not be made until the director returns home.

Coker's news is a little more interesting. During my interview, I was asked if I considered applying for the other librarian position -- the Instruction Librarian. I answered that I had considered it, but I didn't want to hurt my chances for the position that I would rather have (and interviewed for) -- the Electronic Resources librarian.

Fast forward to Monday night when the director calls and asks me if I am interested in the other position. Apparently, there is a budget issue with hiring two librarians. They absolutely need the Instruction Librarian to begin teaching a new class in January -- so they have to fill that post.

When I responded that I wanted the job, she replied "Oh Good!" Now her boss is checking with the various college officials who control the money and so on. I'm still not 100% sure this is a job offer, but most of my people at the Addlestone seem to think it is a firm offer. She promised to get back to me by Thursday. Another few days waiting by the phone won't hurt anything, will it?

I really do hope I get the job at Coker. Even if it isn't what I applied for, the idea of going to a new library is very exciting. Living in a small town is also very enticing, especially after driving in heavy traffic in Charleston this afternoon at 2 PM! Traffic issues at 2 o'clock in the afternoon...enough already!