Welcome Back!

Well it seems that sarahlovestyler.com has had it’s first hiatus  from the Internet.  Rather than apologize or get too defensive, I’d just like to paint you a brief picture of what life has been like since our cruise in August.

  • The week before school started in August, I contracted a nasty cold (with laryngitis) that turned into bronchitis.  Because I was a fool and didn’t take any time off, this lasted for SIX WEEKS.  I couldn’t sing, I coughed constantly, even had some nasty chest pain that forced me to make an emergency doctor’s appointment (which I still refused to do until after school was over).  Needless to say this whole experience just screams “Rookie Teacher” and I’m going to do my best to never repeat that.  It was literally my hell.
  • This seems minor, but has effected my daily life – In September while at a wedding in Eltopia I dropped  my beautiful smartphone on a dirt road (which apparently had a rock underneath it) and shattered the screen, rendering it useless.  To replace the part itself was $300 and to purchase a new one outright was $600, neither of which we could justify.  Thankfully, a dear friend agreed to give me her old Verizon smartphone which, though it has been a welcome gift, is much slower and frustrating than my last phone.  But until our upgrade in July I am making do (but am daily infuriated).
  • In mid-October while driving to see Disney on Ice with my mom and teenage sister, the check engine light in my van went on and the temperature gage flew off the chart.  Thanks to several kind men who were my knights in shining armor, I was still able to get to Disney on Ice (a breathtaking experience) but my van did not live to see another day.  The little blue egg, tragically, said her goodbyes to this world.

Thankfully, we were able to replace the blue egg with a 2002 Honda CR-V which we love and adore (and still haven’t named, now that I think about it).  We are so grateful that we are able to replace our vehicle so quickly with a car that we really wanted.

  • However, our joy did not last long.  Within a week of having my van die, someone broke into our house.  It was a day that Lucy was at the groomer, and we happened to leave our kitchen blinds open that day.  They went through our back gate, threw a rock through our bedroom window to reach the latch, climbed in through the window, took the iHome and iPod right next to said window, dug through my jewelry box (though didn’t take anything – not much to take anyway), grabbed the laptop that was within view of the kitchen window and walked out the front door.

All said and done, it could have been much worse.  If Lucy had been home, they might have done something to her to keep her sedated while they robbed us.  They could have taken much, much more or done more damage to our house.  We are grateful that it wasn’t worse, but the invasion of privacy and more costly tragedies to our life was a lot to take all at once, and it shook me.  It also didn’t help that our property management didn’t get the window fixed for three weeks, a constant reminder that a stranger walked in through that hole in my house and helped themselves to our belongings.

Suffice to say, Team Butler has had a rough fall of 2012.  Another major contributing factor to my despair was that I was pouring myself into my job.  As a first year teacher last year, I had been warned to steer clear of burnout – to go home on time and leave what work was not done for the next day, which I dutifully did pretty much the whole year.  And though the job was overwhelming at times, I did successfully avoid feeling burned out for most of the year.  This year, however, I decided that the “First Year” excuse was over.  “Sure, teachers get burned out, but there is way too much to do at school for me to just leave at 4:00pm every day.  It’s just not being the best teacher I can be.”  So I stayed until 6:00pm.  Every night.  I was working 11 hour days, every single day.  Especially after the break-in, being home by myself at night was not appealing, so I would just stay at school for however long it took for Tyler to get home.  I wrote an entire blog post about how burned out I was feeling, but it was too depressing, so it stays in the archives.  Here’s a little snapshot of what that chapter of my life was like, quoted from October 12th (before the car-tastrophe or the break-in):

Lately, I just feel like I’m stuck in neutral – revving my engine and trying to get somewhere, but my car isn’t moving.  If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be rundown.  I wake up late, get to work barely in time, pour myself into my job for 11 hours, go home, watch some TV, eat something that’s heavily processed, fall into bed, wake up late (again) the next morning and start over.
That’s it.
I’m so exhausted all the time.  I’m sleeping fine, but somehow I’m just not well rested.  I’ve been at work from 7:00am until 5:30 or 6:00pm every day this entire week.  And even though I feel like I live at work, I still feel so behind.  I still haven’t finished selecting music for our next concert, my desk constantly feels so cluttered, and I can’t remember if I finished grading those practice journals yet.

By the end of October, I was really in bad shape.  I hated my job, I hated where we lived, and I just wanted to get out.  Life was pretty miserable, and I felt so alone in all of it.  My saving grace came in early November when we had the District 6 Honor Band and Choir event.  While my students had the opportunity to work with outstanding peers and exemplary conductors, the rest of the band and choir directors mostly get time to spend with each other.  I was open with my colleagues about how I felt and they were all gravely concerned.  I was so moved by how much people really, truly, cared about me.  I was able to set up appointments with other directors to go observe them in their classrooms, arrange for additional performing opportunities for my students, as well as organize some much-needed social time with the directors who live closest to me.

It may be a bit early to call, but I feel that I have come through the other side.  I still stay late at work often, but it’s no longer every day.  I again feel connected to other band and choir directors who know exactly what I am going through and want to see me succeed (as I want them to succeed).  My car is replaced, my window is fixed, my cell phone is functional, and my voice has completely healed from my six week illness.  We even bought a treadmill off of craigslist so that we (and Lucy!) can be active during the dark winter months.  Team Butler is eating healthier, working out more, and trying hard to be well-adjusted people in the midst of this madness.  And we might just make it yet.

One Response to “Welcome Back!”
  1. Damomma says:

    Lofu babbetje(s)! You did not get much help from damomma this fall, you lived your own life, and had your own problems, and are figuring things out your own way. Good for you, TRULY!! It’s sad on the one hand, but am also so amazed how you are processing and problem solving. You are loved, and I am SO proud of BOTH of you!!

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