Crossroads

When life starts pulling you apart, what do you do? Until today, we were at a crossroads. Both of us had job offers come our way. Sounds great at first, but the jobs are not in the same place. One is out of state. The out of state job would have been much more of a challenge up front because moving takes a lot of time, effort and money, but it would have brought us closer to our family and friends, and most likely would have lent to a less chaotic life a large city provides. The other offer would keep us here where we are, and give a good pay boost (not as good as the other one), but would help out, and possibly help enough so that we can at least fly home every once in a while instead of driving 19+ hours. Continue reading “Crossroads”

Importance

The holidays always pose as a time of reflection and solitude, although sometimes the solitude part can be difficult in the mad rush of gift getting and travel plans. We decided to surprise the family with a trip up north. This included a lot of sneaking around questions, pretending the presents were on their way, and a 20 hour road trip with two dogs. We got Dylan’s brother in the loop so he could help us plan where to be. The look on my mom and his parent’s faces were priceless, and the feeling of being home during Christmas-time, was a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time. A feeling of warmth and contentment, even after an exhaustive trip. We realized again how important being near old friends and family is, and although it’ll be sad to leave Austin, with it’s nearly unlimited supply of restaurants, things to do and things to see, and usually great weather, but if you can learn to be content in any situation, decisions like these aren’t as difficult.

We decided to make the slow move to Omaha. Omaha, you say? Why you ask? I know I wrote a little before about Omaha, but expanding on it won’t hurt. I’m sure there’s a lot of people laughing or wondering why you’d move to a “flyover state”.

Well…Omaha is a good size city. Around a half million people and under a million with metro. The city did a good job prepping for growth, so the roads aren’t packed and traffic jams are rare. Here in Austin, they’re an everyday occurrence and something to be expected.

Omaha is 6 hours to home in Minnesota so getting to visit will be much easier and we won’t need to use so much vacation each time. It’s also 9 hours to Denver for rock climbing and hiking, 9 hours to Little Rock, where some friends of ours lives, and hours away to the badlands of South Dakota. Overall, being in the center of the country gives us a wider berth for more diverse travel. Yeah, we won’t be near a beach, but I think we can handle that.

Omaha’s cost of living is good. Housing costs are much lower in Omaha than Austin and overall prices of a night out on the town is lower as well. Getting to a nice restaurant (which there are many), is much easier and less stressful. In Austin, there are hundreds of great restaurants, but there’s usually a line, or it will take you an hour to get to it due to the terrible traffic. I’d miss the beer and bar scene here in Austin, but Omaha’s scene is starting to grow. There are a few good breweries there, as well as one of the nation’s top pubs in the nation. The job market is good and the pay for our lines of work is good, and actually a little better than here in Austin.

So there’s a few points in a nutshell. I’m excited, but nervous and scared. Big change is always nerve wracking for me, especially after spending four years in a new place. The thought of uprooting again feels exhausting, but if I think about what it will mean for us financially, personally, and even professionally, I think it will be a great thing. Fear will always be there. I just have to make sure it doesn’t control my decisions.

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Vacation, friends, family, weddings, and exhaustion

**Note: I’ve been delaying writing this but I think I’m just going to have to push forward as I haven’t written anything yet this month. I planned on writing this and adding some great pictures I took over the week but I can’t seem to find any of my cables for either camera. I did find a couple on my phone so until I find those dang cables….

We made it back in one piece from our whirlwind “vacation”. It was definitely a vacation in the sense that I used my vacation time to go up to MN to visit friends and family, but it didn’t quite feel like vacation. I didn’t get that relaxed, vacation feel. Don’t get me wrong, though. I enjoyed visiting with people and seeing Minnesota in the peak of summer, but we were so busy that it never really got too relaxing.

We got in to town Saturday mid-morning. We visited with the in-laws for a couple of hours before the hubs had to take off with friends for the Bachelor party, so off he went into the woods to go camping after driving for 20 hours. I went over to my mom’s house and hung out there the rest of the eve.

The next day, Sunday, the hubs came back and we went down to the Twin Cities to have lunch with his brother. We were there for most of the afternoon. He and his new wife and just bought a little house, so we got to tour it and chat with them about upgrades they wanted to make. It was great seeing him and his wife, and the life they are just starting to create together.

The next day, Monday, was our only day really of just doing something “recreational” or vacation-y. We went back down to the Twin Cities and went rock climbing at an indoor center called Vertical Endeavors. I hadn’t done any climbing for almost a year so my arms quickly fatigued but it was a lot of fun. We grabbed some lunch at Pizza Ranch, a delicious pizza buffet chain we do not have down here in TX sadly enough. Then we went back up to shower, change, grab some Texas beers and head back down to the cities to see an old friend we hadn’t seen for years. It had been years since the last time I’d seen her and since then, she’d divorced, remarried and had a little girl. Time is crazy that way. You don’t see someone for a long time, so you have no reference when you finally do get to see them again. Things are never the same. We had a good time catching up and getting to know her new husband and baby, then left late in the night. We got back close to midnight and crashed.

The next day, we headed back down to visit the hubs old work buddy. We had lunch at an old diner called Cecil’s. They made great sandwiches. It was one of those old-time diners that never changes, which brings in all the old-timey people who’ve been going there for forty years. It was great. There wasn’t a hipster to be found, probably because they didn’t use any organic materials and the chickens didn’t get to run around and lay their eggs wherever they wanted to. After lunch we met up with an old college friend who had recently moved to the cities with his brother. He’s now lumber-jacking for an energy company and seems to really enjoy it. I bet no one, including himself, ever saw that happening, but that’s the great thing about life. We can’t predict it, but if you keep yourself available to anything, life will open itself to all kinds of possibilities. We had some great local beers at the Yardhouse, a restaurant with more than 130 beers on tap. We sat outside under a covered patio for a couple hours, reminiscing about college and life. After filling up on food, then a couple of beers, and sun, we were headed back to the house to work off our food coma.

Wednesday was dedicated to spending with my mother-in-law and Thursday was the day for my mom. We wanted to make sure to get a day in with both moms while we were up. Spending actual time with your parents is so important, especially when we all start getting older and older and time seems to keep moving faster and faster.

Friday was the day of the rehearsal. We drove out to WI, and got our first intro to the wedding venue. It was beautiful (again, wishing I could find those dang cables and attach some pictures – I found a few on my phone at least). The wedding was outside, and the dinner was to take place in a beautiful rustic barn. Lights were strung in various places for the evening light, hay bales littered the area for seating. The place we stayed at overnight was a lake cabin that is rented out during the summer. It’s a beautiful lodge overlooking a lake, with a hammock and canoe ready for use. Two of our friends plus myself rode the canoe out to the middle of the lake and shot off TX fireworks. It was great to let loose and have some good old immature fun.IMG_5009

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On Saturday, the wedding went off without a hitch (from what I could tell). The weather was perfect, the vows were said, tears were shed, and celebrations began. Toasts were made inside the beautiful (albeit hot and stuffy) barn, but we were not in there long. Soon after the dinner, we all went outside for cupcakes, dancing and feeding goats.

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We got back into town around midnight, slept til around 6am and heading toward TX at 7:30. The trip was long but we got back into Austin around 2am Monday morning, slept for another six hours, then went to work. It’s been crazy and non-stop, but memories were made and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.