Gazelle Intensity: The Bus Blues

Tonight I realized that my sister, Chelsea, and one of my best friends, Erica, are rockstars. First off, my sister moved to Chicago when she was nineteen and mastered public transportation and impressed me with her fearlessness on the EL. I was always pretty scared when I would go visit her because everything having to do with public transportation is just foreign to me. Then, there is my friend, Erica. She has never ever owned a car, which is impressive in itself since she is a college graduate and has gone this long without car payments, car insurance, and gas prices. She, too, has recently mastered public transportation and frequently takes the bus to work.

So, the time has come for me to hop on the bandwagon and hop on the bus. Ha ha. It all started with Mr. Team Blue's Jeep (which we lovingly call Bulldog) breaking down, leaving us with Carla (my beloved Saturn). At first, we managed okay since I had only one job and was able to drop Aaron off at work and pick him back up. No biggie, right?

Well, now I have three--yes, three--jobs and gas went up to $3.85 this week. Going along with our Gazelle Intensity, it has become so expensive to drop Aaron off thirty minutes away and drive back times two. Bleh. So, tonight I took the bus. I would really like to sound noble and cool and say that I did it of my own free will, out of sacrifice for our debt free dreams, but that would be a lie. I really didn't want to. I have been prolonging my bus riding for a couple of months now. Months.  Knowing the whole time that we could be saving tons of money if I would just take the bus. Today just so happened to be the first day that we couldn't possibly get both me and Aaron to work with one car.

It wasn't so bad, really. These two men got on the bus and one of them said, "Hey, there, pretty lady," sans friendly cowboy accent. Another creepy old man sat in front of me and pulled out his phone and started typing "Butthole itching" into a text message (yeah, I definitely learned my lesson on that one. Don't look at other peoples texts, it's not worth it...). And this other guy talked to the bus driver the entire time, telling stories of his lady-friends, his daughter, all the while loudly proclaiming his age every fifth sentence (which, by the way, is either 41, 52, or 97...not sure which).

All this saying, it was an adventure. And when we passed by all the gas stations screaming that gas went up 40 cents, it felt more worth it. If you are on the edge of embracing public transportation, it's not so bad. Just keep chanting in your head "Debt free. Debt free. Debt free." And don't forget to take pepper spray :)


Lentil Love: Getting out of debt one bean at a time

Team Blue has recently embarked on a journey to become completely debt free. That's right. No more debt. Ever. No more school loans, Sallie Mae, and unlike how most of America feels, we are never ever ever getting a credit card.

So, if you have ever read Dave Ramsey, you have probably heard of the term "gazelle intense." Well, that's us right now. Rice and beans for us--well, in this case lentils.

Have you ever had lentils? They are jam packed with nutrients and are my current legume of choice these days. I just sprinkle a few with whatever we are eating...lentils and spaghetti, lentils and rice, lentils and baked potatoes, lentils on top of lentils. Lentils. Lentils. Lentils. The life of a gazelle intense couple is not easy, nor very tasty. But whenever I get discouraged, I think about how awesome being debt free will be. One day, I will cook deliciously vibrant and nutritious meals, I will go to Disney World, I will give freely and generously to those who need it, I will live in the freedom that God can do whatever He wants with us because we are no longer in bondage to the lender. One day, I will put lentils behind me and cook them only when I am craving lentils, or need a reminder at how faithful is our Jehovah Jireh.

If you are on this journey too, be encouraged. I hope to share more about our journey in becoming debt free, because I really feel strongly that people need to hear it is possible.


Fight Club: Substitute Teacher Edition

Today has been a wild, wild day. It was my very first day EVER of being a substitute teacher (after graduation, it took me forever to get my ducks in a row and I just kind of floundered around before getting the sub-train in motion. But I digress...) and it could not have gone worse.

First, as a little background, I was always the kid in high school who found out about fights a week after they happened. And then I had no clue who the kids even were. I never even saw a fight with my very own eyes before today. That is how inexperienced I am with the whole fight scene.

So, I was in a fourth grade classroom in a rough neighborhood school and I knew the kids were pretty testy. Actually, when I first walked into the office and told them who I was subbing for, they all looked at each other as if deciding who was going to tell me "the bad news." The bad news being that I was going into the class from hell. The day started out pretty well. I took attendance, I didn't lose my cool, I got to know their names quickly, they did their science homework quietly. But things went downhill once we got to the computer lab. To make a long story short, I had my back turned for about an eighth of a second, when I hear chairs being tossed and lots of yelling. I turn around and these two boys are on the floor choking and punching each other!

Okay, let me break down my thought process here in a numbered format, since it took about a second in real time:

1. Oh my gosh! They are really fighting!!!!
2. Is this really happening to me?
3. What do I do?
4. I can't think of ONE thing my professors said about fights!
5. Do I... a.) break up the fight? b.) leave and go to the office for help? c.) send a student to the office while I helplessly yell at them to stop?
6. Is there any way that I could get sued for any combination of the above actions?

In the end, I yelled at some kid to go to the office while breaking up the fight. Everything happened so fast, but I do remember feeling like I'm probably trampling these kids to death (do you remember that scene in Mean Girls when all the girls in the school are fighting and Lindsay Lohan says "It was full-tilt jungle madness.And it wasn't going away"? Well, I thought of that, too, during this whole fiasco.) Anyway, the office person came to the rescue and I was no more Mr. Nice Guy the rest of the day.

Phew! And would you believe it, I am subbing again tomorrow?! Yep, another long day ahead of me. But I am determined to do well and be the best teacher I can be. I know that somewhere in all of that craziness, God was totally there and had my back. And praise the Lord for coming home to a hot cup of tea and a loving husband after all was said and done!