Meet Opal | Clear The Shelters 2019

Opal | Clear the Shelters 2019

Saturday, August 21, 2019 was Clear the Shelters 2019, a national event in which adoption fees are waived at animal shelters. During this event you can visit a shelter and find a number of adoptable pets who have been vaccinated and spayed or neutered and are ready to meet their forever family. Even though I’m still in the process of moving, I was aware of this event ahead of time and knew that I might stop by and try to find a dog that would be my new companion in Austin.

I have been looking at pet listings online for our local animal shelter for literally months, probably since May. I was hoping I may be able to trick my parents into adopting, since Ty was adopted in June 2013 on whim to be a companion to our German Shepard Apollo after we lost Max, my childhood dog. Of course, Ty is much more of an independent spirit while also being the most cuddly of any of our previous pets. He would probably be fine if he stayed an “only child” the rest of his life.

Once I realized I could likely move out on my own this year, my search became more fevered to find a pet for myself. All my life, my parents have warned me not to get dog before I can fully provide for it financially. As someone who is fully aware of the cost of a dog and the time commitment it is, I have still longed for one to call my own. Even if it might make my life tougher financially, I felt like the benefits far outweigh the challenges. But as consequence, I did not feel safe sharing my plans with anyone! I refused to give anyone the chance to talk me out of it.

Even though I have yet to move into my apartment and will not yet have very stable income, I decided to visit the animal shelter this weekend and see if there was a dog I felt would fit into my life. I knew it would be a challenging week, but I was certain that if I found the right dog then the short-term challenges would be nothing in the grand scheme of things.

With all this mind, I wanted to share my Clear the Shelters 2019 adoption story and my first weekend spent bonding with Opal.

Clear the Shelters 2019

When I arrived at the animal shelter, I could tell it had already been busy. The shelter had been open just about an hour thus far and many of the smaller dogs were already taken. It was a little discouraging because I know I could not handle a big dog on my own and also that I couldn’t take on the responsibility of a puppy. Puppies are adorable, but they are much more work than I am currently willing to take on! Plus, mutts can be like a slowly unveiled mystery box. You don’t know how big they might eventually get if you get them when they are puppies!

I wanted a slightly older dog from the beginning, because I knew its energy level would be lower. An adult dog would be far more likely to be fine lazying about the apartment while I went to work and not cause much damage.

I found her in the last room I almost missed. Opal was one of the dogs I had seen online over the last couple of weeks. There had been a few dogs on my mental list to try to find in person, and I only managed to find about 3-4 of them. Her kennel mate was jumping over her in his/her own excitement. While Opal was interested in the people who walked by, she didn’t jump at the door or bark. She remained calm and collected, and I felt I had found my match the moment I laid eyes on her.

After grabbing her kennel card and getting a Clear the Shelters 2019 volunteer to help me get her out, we took her outside to see how she acted one-on-one. She didn’t pull on her leash and walked really well. One thing we talked about really early is her health condition. She had tested positive for giardia and heartworms when she arrived at the shelter. She was also showing possible signs of kennel cough, which can be contagious to other dogs. That was a little concerning, but from her walks she did not seem to be too badly affected by anything yet.

She was on some medications but hadn’t started heartworm treatment yet, despite being at the shelter for almost a month. I learned about options for her treatment and decided I still wanted to adopt her. It wasn’t ideal, but I felt I was doing a much bigger service by adopting her now that I was aware of the reason why she was probably still at the shelter. There is a foundation that helps pay for the heartworm treatment of pets adopted from shelters, so I am currently eagerly awaiting their response to my application and email.

Our First Weekend Together

We had a lovely weekend together after Clear the Shelters 2019 before I needed to return to Austin for work. Opal slept much of the time, and after she learned she was allowed in my bed it was hard to get her downstairs! I wanted to let her outside a bunch so she knew she didn’t ever need to pee or poo indoors, but she showed little interest in the outdoors. When I would hang out downstairs to cook and eat, she would often wander off by herself to go back up the stairs to get into my bed. When I would walk into my room, her tail would immediately start wagging, even if she wasn’t facing the door. She is such a sweetheart.

Opal In Bed
Lori’s New Dog Opal Resting in Bed

Our first night in the bed together, there was a lot of space between us. However, she gradually inched closer, and by daybreak she was in my face ready to say good morning. The next night I had realized that personal boundaries were now essentially non-existent. She had me laughing when she ended up shoulder-to-shoulder with me, both of us on our backs. When I was barely ready to sleep, I found she had repositioned herself so she could rest her head on my neck from behind me. I didn’t want to disturb her, but her hair was so ticklish!

I already love her so much and was devastated to need to leave her so quickly, especially since she is sick. She is already exhibiting a few of the symptoms of heartworms, including lethargy and significant weight loss. She has trouble going up the stairs and definitely seems lethargic beneath her excitement to be in a proper home. When she’s napping, she breathes pretty heavily and sometimes needs to sit up to cough. It’s like there’s something in her throat, but nothing ever comes up.

I really hope that the heartworm foundation will get back to me by the end of the week. I would like to start her treatment as soon as possible. I’ll have my apartment at the end of the week and would like to bring her back with me, but I need to know how much her treatment will cost. If it will be cheaper, I would prefer to get her treated over there.

But then there’s also the concern about travel. I don’t think she likes the car too much right now and I don’t have a crate for her yet. She’s a little big, so I am hesitant to buy one. My car is not very bit anyway, so it probably wouldn’t fit. Never mind all the stuff I need to cram into it!

I plan to make at least two extra pit stops for her, just to make sure she knows she does not need to relieve herself in the car. She threw up in my car Monday morning right as we were leaving to drop her off at my cousin’s. I felt so bad. For one, I was leaving her. But I also felt because it was definitely my fault; I fed her right before we left, not thinking about how nervous she was to see me pack up.

Her Name

For those curious about her name, I changed it. She did not respond to her kennel name, so I had complete freedom to rename her myself. I had more boy names than girl names in mind ahead of time, because I grew up with male dogs! But I didn’t go into Clear the Shelters 2019 with any specific name I wanted to use. I believe in getting to know the dog before picking a name if you have the luxury of the option.

Opal’s name was inspired by the little girl in from Because of Winn-Dixie. I’ve always loved the name Winnie, but I didn’t think it didn’t suited Opal. When my mind fixated on Opal in the car on the drive home, I felt it suited her. She’s a beautiful dog, but I didn’t feel like giving her a super cutesy name. Also there are not a lot of human female names I would like to give a dog for some reason. Neither could I think of any character names I would have liked to give her. With more time I might have, but a name was not high on my list of priorities!

Her name is that there are so many nickname possibilities, which was a decision-making factor in picking a name! I had a lot of fun calling Apollo, even Ty, by several different names other than his own. Many of Apollo’s nicknames would also work for Opal (e.g. Polly, Pollywally, Opie, Opalrooney)! I mean, her name is a kind of anagram of his, which I’m just now properly realizing! So I got to honor that big doofus with her name in a way.

End Note

I am so excited for this weekend. I’m bringing Opal to the vet on Saturday, so I’ll be making the trip back Friday evening. I had my doubts about bringing her back to Austin this week, but it seems necessary now because I do not want to continue to impose on my cousins. I’m lucky they offered to watch her for me this weekend, because I would not have asked! Regardless of cost, I will be paying for her heartworm treatment. I am so scared of losing her. I’ve quickly given her my heart and cannot imagine to prospect of replacing her. It would be hard.

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Why I Stopped Bullet Journaling

It has been a while since I shared my bullet journal online, and today I am finally going to share why. I love bullet journaling for many reasons, one of the main ones being that it helps me look a month, or even a week, holistically. I can make notes in advance and fill in the blanks after a day or week has concluded. And at the end, I have a beautiful record of the time to look back on.

All summer my life has been uncertain. When I think back to May, I can still remember how I honestly thought I would be following my parents to their new home, even after starting my new part-time elections job. It alone would not have allowed me to survive on my own. However, my life plans have evolved since then as new developments were made on the job front. It’s crazy to think how much can change in just two months’ time.

The blog and my other activities have shifted in priority. But now with summer near its end and my decision to move final, I think it’s a good time to finally summarize my summer bullet journal experience and share what I came up with this weekend to get me through August.

June & July

I did not enter the summer season thinking I would step away from bullet journaling. On the contrary, I had planned ahead on themes and even spent several days working on the monthly spreads for both June and July. However, when it became clear I would not finish on time and was growing frustrated with little mistakes, it just became easier to step away.

In June I was going to do a beach wave theme inspired by the The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai. I referenced a great many bullet journal spreads I found online in my weekly spreads, and got as far as week 3. I’m not terribly proud of them, so I’ll just share the cover spread.

In July I wanted my theme to be an homage to Stranger Things since the third season was to debut on the 4th of July. I put a lot of thought and work into those spreads as well, only to lose interest after making one too many little mistakes that honestly are not that distracting now that I’ve taken some time away from it!

I never finished a weekly spread, but I will share the monthly trackers along with the cover spread for July.

Maybe it was a problem of becoming too ambitious with my designs. It didn’t help that June and July were months of tumultuous life change either. Ultimately I decided to take a break from the monthly routine of investing hours designing bullet journal spreads ahead of each month and focus on preparing for fall. I have also resolved to return to basics so that I don’t have anymore lost months for the year.

August

I did not think that I would do an August spread this month, but this past weekend I realized I really needed one. It did not have to have an amazing theme or even much detail, but I wanted to have a planner to help me organize my thoughts once I realized I was taking the plunge and moving to Austin at the end of the month. There are so many little moving pieces involved in moving and starting new jobs. I needed something to help me feel a little more control over this crazy adventure.

Weekly Spread for August 12-18
Weekly Spread for August 12-18
Weekly Spread for August 19-25
Weekly Spread for August 19-25
Weekly Spread for August 26-31
Weekly Spread for August 26-31

End Note

I did not realize this weekend that there are still three full weeks ahead in the month given how much has been going on since the end of July. I will be traveling a lot in the next two weeks, starting one of my new jobs, and gradually moving into my apartment and making it a cosy home. I can’t wait for this new chapter of my life and to be able to start a new chapter of The Inky Saga.

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Well That Escalated Quickly

As you may recall, I had to move out of my parents’ house last week. Thankfully I had requested the week off of my part-time elections job, because last week was bonkers. Before I start explaining why, it might be important to note that the Saturday before I had spent the whole day applying for UT Austin jobs. It took me all day because I was tailoring all my cover letters to each specific job based on the information I was provided about the job listings. You know, as is typically recommended.

As silly as I know it sounds, I have tried to avoid applying for jobs that require a cover letter in the past. It always seemed like a lot of work to me when I have hoped my resume might speak for itself. Honestly, I could kick myself for being so clueless. In total I have already received three interview requests thus far from just the ten applications I completed last weekend.

I had the first two this week, one on Thursday and one on Friday. Thankfully they were both offered virtually! I was able to complete them in between work (at my tutoring gig), packing and moving boxes, and cleaning out my parents’ house. I only got good vibes from the first one, but I know from experience that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The third interview I have is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14th.

However, I also received word on Thursday morning that I have finally been offered the temporary part-time Office Assistant position which I applied for in April. It’s not official yet; they still for need me to take a drug test (which I have nothing to worry about, for the record). But I had already been debating whether I would take this position or not after learning in June that I would only be allowed to work about 25 hours a week.

Yes, there is a possibility it could become a full-time position after six months, but how can I know if I would really be happy there long-term? It’s in a criminal justice-type department, so they’re likely to be really serious and strict in the way I’ve not enjoyed at the elections office. They’ve not told me exactly what I’d be doing since I had the interview, if they did at all. I cannot remember much of the interview since I wasn’t too optimistic about my odds and did not think about it much afterward.

Now here’s where things start to get complicated. As the Fall 2019 semester is about to start, there are not many good options for apartments in Austin available anymore. I feel like the options are only going to continue to get worse, so I have been considering accepting the part-time job and keeping my fingers crossed that a full-time one will come through in the next couple of weeks. But if one doesn’t, I’ll need another part-time job to supplement my income if I am going to uproot myself from the two part-time jobs I still currently hold.

With that in mind, I applied to a writing tutor position at a community college nearby yesterday. It did not require a cover letter, but since I have gotten the hang of writing them I wrote something and I got a call a couple hours later! I now have an interview lined up for Wednesday, assuming that I am able to find out if the hours as an Office Assistant would be flexible enough to allow me to also work about 15–19 hours somewhere else.

I also realized as a consequence of needing to go to Austin so quickly, I would not have much time to do a proper final two weeks at either job. Thankfully, my presence at these two places is not absolutely essential. There is still enough time to find a replacement before things start to get busy this fall. But if I am going to need my supervisors’ references, I might run into a little bit of trouble. I have a feeling both will be understanding based on how well I’ve gotten to know them. I hate that I’m leaving them both so soon, but I need a full-time job and even if one is not immediately on the horizon just yet I will now be living where I want to finally start my life.

I know that I am moving to Austin this month no matter what, but it’s hard to look for apartments when you’re three hours away and do not know how much income you will have for living expenses. The common sense thing is to rent somewhere cheap, but most leases want you to commit for close to a year and I would rather move into a place that I know I would be happy living for at least a couple of years. I am ready to start making a place a home of my own.

So here are a few things that will be happening over the next week as I prepare to start a new job in Austin at the earliest around August 15th.

  1. Turn in resignation letters to both of my job and complete some courtesy hours. I already submitted my resignation to the elections job, which is a job I hope I don’t need to keep working past this week since it’s now so far away and pays so little. At the writing tutor gig my supervisor is on vacation, so I hope he is able to check his email. Ideally I would like to work as much as possible this week at this job so I have one more really good paycheck to help me with my first month’s rent.
  2. Finish fixing my car. I had to have my brakes fixed this weekend, because they were in really bad shape. I was also told I’d need to have four-wheel alignment and a CV axel (?) either fixed or replaced really soon or my tires might be in trouble…? The service repairman explained it all, but I am not good with cars so the technical talk went a little over my head! But I have worried about my car giving out on me, so I’ll pay for these things for the peace of mind.
  3. Ask about hours at Office Assistant job on Monday. The person I am potentially interviewing with Wednesday has requested I find out what kind of hours I would be available to tutor.
  4. Complete drug testing. That shouldn’t take long, but it needs to be done Monday as well so the processing is completed quickly and I am able to start that part-time job August 15th.
  5. Look for an apartment! Once again, I am not sure what my budget could allow, but I do feel I find something right now so that I am not in a bind mid-August and worrying about a place to live on top of starting a new job.
  6. Apply for more full-time jobs. There have been a few more listings pop up on the UT Austin job board and it might be a good idea to apply to a few more in case nothing I’ve already interviewed for comes through. I can also start to look for specific companies based in Austin that might have full-time openings right now as well.

My mind is still blown by all these developments this week. If I hadn’t been forced to move out of my parents house this week, I may not have considered gambling with my current job situation and used the time I can live with my aunt and uncle to save. But I can’t help but feel this is the right move. I am so ready to live on my own and officially start my professional life. Moving is not fun, so I feel like if I can avoid unpacking right now just to pack up again in a month or two it will be worth it.

End Note

I will continue to work the blog this month whenever I can! I’ve been doing some blog maintenance while I think about what I want to produce. I hope I’ll be able to breathe new life into this blog this month. If you poke around, you may discover a few changes I’ve already made and make guesses as to where my blog focus will be once I am able to properly jump back into it next month if not sooner.

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