Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Trip - Getting Ready Again

We've been in Cisco about a week and a half, getting things done. Doctor visits for my mom (everything is fine), two new tires for the motorhome, oil changes for the motorhome and my car, haircuts for my mom and me, and visiting with family and friends.

We unloaded the motorhome, cleaned it, and then reevaluated the stuff we brought with us for the Western Loop. Now it's loaded with what we expect to use for our Northeastern Loop, including clothes for cooler weather.

One of the things we did after we got here was pay bills and look closely at our finances again. Especially since there hasn't been a nibble on the sale of my house (besides an initial, unserious low-ball offer), we won't be able to stay on the road as long as we had hoped.

We're looking at two more loops. We'll see some of the Midwest on our way to the Northeast, and come through the northern part of the South on the way back. Then, after Christmas, we'll go through the Deep South to Florida for our Caribbean cruise with friends, and that will be the end of our trip. My mom will stay in Texas, and I'll go back to California to wait for my house to sell and to try to find some gainful employment while I take more classes for my future medical career.

I've tried looking at my options for a career choice. If I go to school in California, I can live at my friend's house (assuming my house ever sells--the market is flat as a mirror) and either study Respiratory Care or Radiologic Technology (X-ray Tech), provided the Rad Tech waiting list isn't too long. If I want to become a dental hygienist, which pays really well with flexible daytime hours, then I'd probably have to move someplace closer to one of the schools that teach it. Plus I'd have to change the way I hold my dental floss. I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

Or, I could go back for my Master's in Psychology and get licensed for Marriage & Family Therapy (and probably have to move to go to school). Or, as one of my mom's friends suggested when we visited during our Western Loop, I could become a Dorm Mother at a college campus, because I listen well. And if that makes me a college employee, I might get free tuition to continue my education (not sure in what, though).

Trying to nail down a career path has felt like trying to catch hold of a cyclone and tuck it into my pocket. The medical career that really rang my chimes when I was getting my Bachelor's in Psychology was the PET scans, which is Nuclear Medicine. I could study that at Loma Linda University (I'd have to move), but they require that you already have your Associates in either Rad Tech or Ultrasound, so that would be four more years of school, once I got to the top of the waiting list for Rad Tech.

But while I was looking at college medical training on the internet, I discovered a Nuclear Medicine program at Indiana University in Indianapolis that DOES NOT require Rad Tech. You take your prerequisites, and then it's a 22-month program. Sweet!

However, their prerequisites include lots of science that I haven't had yet: Two semesters of Chemistry, two semesters of Anatomy & Physiology (or one semester of each)--so the A & P class I already took wouldn't count--and a semester of Physics. And that means I'd have a lot of hard work ahead of me before I could even start the Nuclear Medicine program. Which I wouldn't want to start until after I established residency, because the IN-STATE tuition there is ten times higher than California's in-state tuition. Out of state tuition is thirty times higher.

I don't know. I haven't decided anything. I'm still thinking about all of it and praying about it and not getting any clear answers. When we go through Indianapolis, I might try to get an appointment at the university with a counselor who is familiar with the Nuclear Medicine program and see what I can learn. Maybe it'll help me decide something.

But I did make one decision.

When we'd drive around Cisco, I'd see these glorious old, classic homes for sale, one in particular. It cried out to be converted into a Bed & Breakfast. I'd play with the idea, let it roam around in my mind. A main street for visibility, lots of bedrooms. Then I looked up the listing on the internet, and it's only $125,000--peanuts compared to most of the rest of the country. I played some more.

But let's be honest. This is Cisco. Tourists don't come here much, and when they do, they don't usually have the money to spend on a nice B & B. My market would probably be high school football fans who would come to town on Friday nights to cheer on the visiting team. And what I learned in the past about running a B & B is that if you have fewer than ten rooms, DO NOT expect it to support you. You'll need a day job to stay afloat. And stay-afloat day jobs are hard to find in Cisco. Plus, if I lived here, I wouldn't be able to go to school for a medical career. Not to mention that little detail that I don't have the money to buy a house. So, no, I won't be opening a B & B in Cisco. I'm done playing with that idea.

We leave on our Northeast Loop first thing in the morning tomorrow, bright and early so we can get to Dallas and meet with a former co-worker for lunch. We'll be heading to (and missing) Tulsa, then on through Joplin and St. Louis and Indianapolis, making side trips as we need to for seeing sights and friends.

We would like to meet you, too, if you're anywhere sort of along our route. Email me at: skyepuppy77 at yahoo dot com, and we'll firm up the dates.

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