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Enjoy diverse perspectives from West Michigan women.

A couple days ago, I was attending the National AfterSchool Association’s national conference and heard the best keynote speaker I’ve heard in a long time. While his presentation was a geared toward the afterschool professional, his message resonated with me in several ways because it could apply to just about any industry.

Our house hunting fun began about five years ago while my husband and I were living over on the East side of the state. Every house we looked at, the price was either in our "jaw dropping" category or it was a full HGTV/DIY special in and of itself. Frustration set in and we decided to take a break from the hunt.

Later that year we got engaged and moved to Grand Rapids. We packed up our stuff and moved in with my sister and brother-in-law, then decided to start the hunt again. We were getting married that May and wanted to finally get a place of our own. But, once again, nothing was calling our name so we moved into a one-bedroom apartment.

This weekend I gave an alumni talk for an organization with which I was heavily involved with in college. The talk was part of a weekend retreat where I myself retreated every semester while at MSU. I've given talks on those retreats before, some in the exact spot I gave this weekend's, in fact.

ErikaWhy does a woman living alone need a gallon-sized jar of pickle spears, you may wonder. How could this purchase merit any sort of sense? To these questions I say first, I love pickles, second, buying in bulk allows me to practice time-tested frugality, and third, when I buy enough for thirty-seven, it makes the one sitting alone at the dinner table feel a little less lonesome.

StephanieYes. That would be me. Let me explain. I don’t live in a college town. I don’t live downtown. I live in suburbia, actually country suburbia. We are definitely in a neighborhood–a typical suburban neighborhood.
Saturday night, my husband and I hit bed around 11 p.m. Not too late. Not too early. It was hot so our windows were open. (I am refusing to turn on the air conditioning in March!) I noticed that our neighbors, several doors down, had friends over and they were hanging out on their driveway. This has happened before, and I can typically fall asleep without any problems.
That was NOT the case on Saturday. I tossed and turned in bed for about an hour and a half. I tried everything–tummy, back, pillow over my head. I could hear every word they were saying. I could hear the pounding of their music. And then to top it all off, someone decided to start honking their car horn. Not just once. Not just twice. But probably twenty-five times.
So after all that time, my blood was boiling at a new level. I went through my options…I could scream out the window. I could call the cops. I could drive my car over there and shine the brights on them. I could walk over there in my nightgown and give them a piece of my mind. And then I started to make deals, “One more honk, and I’m going to…” Honk. “Ok. One more time, and I’ll…” Honk…that was it. I got up and stuck my head out the window and screamed at the top of my lungs, “SHUT UP!!!” The party didn’t end all at once after my burst of frustration, but it definitely got better. I believe I was up for at least another half hour, and I may have fallen asleep with the pillow over my head.
The next morning I was SO tempted to drive my car over to their driveway early in the morning and lay on my horn. I had to contain myself!
I must be getting old. I hope I didn’t overstep my boundaries. I did feel that of all my options, this was the most reasonable and respectful. What do you think? What would you have done in this similar situation? The crazy thing is that this couple has five small children. I don’t know how they do it!

Written by: Stephanie Teslaa excels at using both the right and left sides of her brain, and that’s exactly what makes her so special. Stephanie calls Hudsonville home and is a lover of numbers and also a talented photographer.

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