Spring into the Future

It is cool and crisp this bright Tuesday morning, and the sun made driving difficult as I rushed to reach the train station in time. Today (or maybe yesterday) is the first day of Spring … fittingly, we had the first frost that we have had for some time, today.

Kathy has been encouraging me to take these alfalfa tablets recommended by one of her friends in the Homeschool Co-op … I’m not sure they’re helping, but my allergies don’t seem as bad as they have been in previous years. Last year, of course, I was clever enough to be invited to Michigan for the celebration at Trinity Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and missed the worst of the allergy season.

It is funny to think of what a difference a year has made in our lives, remembering that at this time a year ago I was at the end of a 17-month period of unemployment. Now I have been working for my current employer for nearly a year and am anxiously awaiting my first annual review … I wonder where I will be a year from now?

Over the weekend I continued my unpopular ‘No field trips until the WNW 2004 DVD is finished’ program, much to the dismay of my children and (perhaps even more) my wife. Kathy managed to snatch a quick visit over to Julee’s house but otherwise missed her down-time on Monday grievously. Joshua cleverly persuaded me to read a few chapters of The Hobbit between DVD burns, but the others were largely neglected. My ‘Dad ratings’ are plummeting, and the pressure is on to come up with something really fun for next week’s outing. I made a wry comment to Kathy that I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I ever finished this project … the kids all agreed that I could use my spare time planning our Monday field trips. How kind of them to think of a use for all that (otherwise wasted) time.

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There is just something really cool about having a sister, as Kathy often laments.

I was off on Friday and haven’t checked my e-mail all weekend … I’m a little worried that something may have come up over that time that needed my attention. On the flip side, I’m a little worried that I wasn’t missed at all and that I am not very essential to my employer. I guess you can’t have it both ways. Today is my last day of alternate on-call … how nice that the pager hasn’t woken me up once during these last two weeks.

As the summer approaches our thoughts turn to the question of where we will live once our lease runs out on this house. We’ve been fairly happy here but are not eager to continue paying rent at this high rate. I’m of the mind to purchase a home in the Puyallup or Sumner areas, depending, of course, on a favorable performance review and some modest increase in pay. Kathy is very happy in Lakewood, though … maybe we could find a home that is a little closer to the train station yet still in easy range to the YMCA, the Homeschool Co-op and Julee’s house. Yesterday we scored a bag of chocolate-chip cookies from Kathy’s friend … such advantages are not to be overlooked in choosing a home.

The older kids continue to pray that we could move back to the Duckabush, but my work situation does not seem to be moving toward a work-from-home arrangement. Truth be told, I am not so inclined to push for permission to telecommute now that I see how happy Kathy is, living in the suburbs. Of course, it is non-trivial to buy a home when we are already paying a mortgage on our home in the Duckabush … house prices in the area are up as interest rates continue to be low. I think that space is one of our biggest priorities, although proximity to a train station looms in my thinking.

Neither Kathy nor I are big savers, so coming up with a 20% down-payment is pretty much out of the question. One possibility is to take advantage of my eligibility for a VA loan … but the funding fee of 1.5% – 2.25% is a bit of a deterrent, and even there it would be to our advantage to come up with a substantial down-payment. I guess if God wants us to own a home rather than pay rent, He can work out the finances.

The train is fairly full today, although initially it seemed very empty when we started out in Tacoma. People must be tired … a much higher proportion of people are dozing than usual. Or perhaps they are just closing their eyes against the slanting rays of the sun, unaccustomed as we are to its glory.

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