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The Positives & the Negatives

Sunset from the tree house

I compared the two list, counted the positive and the negative to each. Would I move or would I stay? While I make this decision today, this choosing has been long ago planted and grown along the way.

The July heat had gotten to me. I wasn’t sleeping well and decided it would be a good day to drive up into the mountains and go for a hike. Transfer Campground has a number of trails near and is only a short drive away.

I filled my water bottles, grabbed some snacks and headed out the door.

I also brought along a pocket notebook. I needed to make a decision. Two days ago, I interviewed for a teaching position at Jemez Valley High School. I’d be teaching social studies to secondary students. I’d felt the interview went well, but hadn’t heard from the school.

As I followed the sandy dirt path between the Ponderosa Pines, I considered things like- work load, cost of moving, packing, salary, benefits, possibilities and challenges. I needed clarity and hiking in the cool would give me as much as I’d find anywhere.

I’d thought about the interview. The assistant superintendent’s first words to me were, “There’s no need to be nervous.” I took a deep breath and thought, does he realize I just drove five hours nonstop in the heat without AC? The interview questions were often special education related. There also seemed to be reluctance toward discussing housing. I made it clear I would want to live locally and could not live in the nearest sizable city Bernalillo. In any case, the interview committee learned much about me and I learned some about them.

I kept my little notebook in hand and jotted down thoughts as I wandered along the trail. I decided to create a means to compare my current workplace and Jemez Valley. What were the positives and what were the negatives. In the end have a quantitative summary and comparison would be helpful.

The cool air settled my brain. The heat of the summer has been extensive and temperatures have been in the mid-90s for most of the past month. Considering my discomfort with the heat sidetracked my thinking with- do I really want a beach house in Costa Rica?  Yeah, I was off. I needed to take a breather and stay focused.

The job hasn’t been offered to me yet. Maybe it wouldn’t be. Maybe I was jumping the gun. The one impression I did get from the interview was if it was offered, I would have to make my decision fast. They would want me there for orientation in just over a week.

What are you doing? A Blurred cat impression

So, the pressure was on. I had already contacted a property manager as, if the job was offered and if I decided to take it, I would want to rent out most of the house (I’d put my belonging into storage in the basement apartment and workout room).  There were many pieces to consider.

I also had contacted a realtor to discuss possibilities for living arrangements. If I took the job, would I want to buy? Would I be able to find a place to rent?

And what exactly does all of this have to do with History & Mystery? Here’s the thing. I actually interviewed with this same school district five years ago or so. The area has a very rich history layers with geologic, prehistoric, Puebloan, Hispanic and Anglo history. Santa Fe and Albuquerque are each a little over an hour away; both cities have a rich history of their own but also have personal appeal.

I have never taught high school students. I’ve taught every other age group and yet haven’t had a class of teens. I think the challenge is a good one. The areas covered in a high school class are the same as in middle school.  So, this is part of what I consider.

It is somewhat terrifying to uproot my cat and I, but staying in the stagnant and somewhat abusive current professional relationship brings little comfort. All of these thoughts whirl around in my mind. I keep track along the way- what are the positives and what are the negatives?

After my hike in the cool, I cruise back home and sit down to my list. Jemez Valley is the clear winner in this competition. I look at my landline phone expecting a message waiting for me. There is none. Maybe the school is not interested in hiring me?


On Monday after a weekend of wondering, I get a call from the school’s Principal. “You will need to be here next Monday. I need you to submit paperwork to the Dept. of Education.”

“Are you offering me the job?” I ask a bit stunned thinking about all I would need to accomplish in the coming week.

“Yes. Yes. Yes. Of course!”

I took the job. I worked from daylight to dusk packing, cleaning and shifting from one life to another. Friends stopped to help me move the big things. The couches ended up in the landfill (Habitat for Humanity did not want any more couches). Everything I would keep went into the basement apartment and the workout room. These would be locked. It was an exhausting week!

Empty rooms sound and feel weird

On Sunday, six days after the job offer, my packed van and caged cat drove out of Cortez and off to a new adventure. I would rent a two-bedroom house on a lake in the mountains. It was new life. Maybe the many struggles of Cortez life would dissolve? Maybe I would find myself returning to Cortez with my tail between my legs? Who knows? This is life. It is never predictable.

1 Comment

  • Eric
    Posted August 17, 2022 at 4:15 pm

    I’m interested to hear how this next step in your journey goes. We’d love to see you again.

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