Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Once Upon A Time...
Sorry folks, no free cars here today- just a simple story of finding home...
It's hard to believe that it's been a little over 5 years since my husband came way too close to losing his very life. (you can read about that here but I must warn you it's a very long and involved post.) It was not long after that moment when the two of us decided that it was time to start living like we really meant it. No more dreaming of 'one day' as we had safely been doing from our little corner of the world. It was time to really put it all out there.
Naturally, for my husband and I who met online way back in the day- when only researchers and supergeek college students lurked among the interwebs, this involved an internet search. I guess we figured after finding a spouse online we could certainly find a suitable place to live. We decided that a good bold move for us would be try to find a place where we could make our own way in this world, a place that felt like our very own to call home. And not to simply rely on one of the places that either one of us had happened to land on, when we arrived on this planet. My husband was far ahead of me in having already left his place of birth and NOT having so many people clamoring to assure him that the place he was born in was really the ONLY place to be. I was excited to join in a new adventure and to find a 'home' of our own.
After a thorough internet/map/ideas of what appealed to us search, it was Texas, and specifically Houston, that came up as what might be the answer. So we visited and we enjoyed and loved what we found. Many people said we were crazy and that Houston was certainly not desirable, even Texas people said so. But we loved it anyway and we set about to get there. I felt sure we would do it. I even started this blog. And for those who have hung in there reading said blog, you know how much this has meant to me. And also how hard this has been to achieve as we have come up against some major roadblocks- things like a nasty recession in which we would have had to sell our home at a huge loss and simply finding a new job anywhere was near to impossible. But we pressed on, never giving up and remembering how awesome it felt to realize that one really could live in an affordable place where the sun shone in the sky far more often than in Seattle.
During this time, my husband and I learned a lot. As our frustration grew we tried different angles. We opened up our search to other sunbathed yet affordable cities and even purchased a vacation home in sun-guaranteed yet job poor Palm Springs, CA where we visited as often as we possibly could. We even tried to secure some sort of remote position to no avail. Meanwhile, we figured out that not all cities in the sun would feel right and that long drives to Palm Springs would get old. So there we were having found a place we loved that we couldn't live in and still searching for a way to depart from the grey that we still felt we were paying too much for in Seattle.
Last Spring, we seemed to come up with at least a partial answer to our connundrum. Having secured a job and sold our house, my husband and I would move to southern California where we could wait out finding a job in Texas while being close to our Palm Springs home and certainly getting our fair share of sun. It would be fun; it would be like one big extended vacation! We felt good and jumped in.
And we were right. It has been good in many ways and very much like a long vacation. Some of that has come as a surprise that we probably should have seen coming. Have you ever noticed that after a long vacation there are lots of bills to pay and by the end of it you get a bit cranky and the only thing you really want to do is go home? Yup, that's the point we got to. Only now we felt like we didn't really have a home to go to and the closest we could find was our vacation home for the weekends. And about a month ago, my husbands job took a turn towards watching many people in the organization lose their jobs and the offices being downsized in several locations. Naturally, we realized the 'vacation' time was over.
But never fear, all that is good in the universe did not bring us to the land of Disney and crystaline swimming pools only to dump us on our butts and leave us bitter. Oh no. Suddenly all that work of making connections all over Texas was about to pay off. My husband got a call from a firm in Dallas that had previously filled their position from within. They were looking again and remembered him. We were thrilled and my husband impressed them for the second time. We were quickly in the throes of negotiation and planning a move to Dallas! Finally, we would find ourselves in Texas!
But wait, our story doesn't end here.... While we were super excited about finally getting to Texas, my very selfless husband suddenly had to admit that there were things about the JOB itself that left him concerned. He wondered aloud at whether he was really a good fit for this particular job and if we might not find ourselves possibly needing to make changes yet again. He was just not totally comfortable and decided to seek more information. In talking things out with the Dallas organization, a truly amazing thing happened. (Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up!) Although the people from Dallas were convinced that my husband would do well with their company, one of them suggested that he check out a more traditional type of position in another location that might at least give my husband a good comparison. This location had been looking to fill their position for a long time and it couldn't hurt to make sure everyone was happy in the end. I was in shock yet again at just how nice those Texans are!
So it was off to Greensboro, North Carolina, where we had once visited my great aunt. A whirlwind of interviewing, neighborhood touring and sincere consideration followed. We had to take time back on the west coast, away from all of the excitement and possibilities, to really weigh out the choice. There was Dallas- where we would be in Texas, the place we've been trying to get to for several years now. There was Greensboro- where the job felt like a better fit and we realized could also be a wonderful home for us.
In matters of choice over the years, I will readily admit that my husband usually very smartly defers to me. I am decisive, don't spend time regretting stuff and usually have the stronger opinion. This story would be a true fairy tale if I told you that this time we gave the decision to my husband. I would also be lying. But I know he still got what he really wanted, because he told me so after the fact. And I believe him.
In the end, the choice is easy. In January we will be at home in Greensboro, North Carolina! The job is just right. The details of the offer and benefits will be life changing. And after 2 years, my husband will be free to tranfer to any other office within the company that he chooses, including offices in Texas. It's nice to know that offer exists, but somehow I doubt we'll need it. After everything we've been through we've managed to find a place to call home that has a wonderful cost of living, a greater percentage of sun than Seattle ever saw, and is much closer to my husbands relatives and best friends. There's not much more we could ask for.
Sometimes we dream of home being something like this: