A Wrench

Something both unexpected and overwhelming happened yesterday. Patrick got a call, but it wasn't from Salt Lake as I initially expected when he called me. He got a call from from a college in Southern California which he applied to a couple of months ago. Frankly, we had given up on any contact from them, so this was a complete surprise. They want him out there for an in-person interview and a teaching demonstration toward the end of April.

So now we have three potential places where we could move exactly one month from now. Whaaaaat?

The shock of this affected us threefold:

  1. We were so set in thinking that we were down to two locations that suddenly adding a third this late in the game was a mind-blower. But this is how life works, isn't it?
  2. The timetable for this college in California is so different from what we've experienced in Salt Lake. They're going to move much faster, and it's entirely possible we will have a final answer from them the week before we leave Fargo. That's a big part of why we're even considering this.
  3. STRESS. This is a good form of stress, of course, but it is stress nevertheless. Our minds were both spinning with the implications of going through with an interview in CA (or not). First off, going out there is on our dime. The good news is that a round trip flight out of Minneapolis isn't that bad, and Patrick will go alone to keep costs at a minimum. The bad news is that this interview is scheduled *right* after Patrick comes back from a conference in Missouri where he's giving a presentation. It'll be incredibly hard on him; he will be remarkably well-traveled over the course of that week, no doubt sleep-deprived, all while pulling off a successful interview/demonstration and keeping up with the classes he's still teaching on top of it all.

However, nothing is locked in terms of jobs right now, so he's going through with it, because what if this is what we've wanted all along and we just didn't know it? We spent the better part of yesterday mulling over this, and we will no doubt continue talking about it ad nauseam tonight.

Up next on the blog: The pros, cons & concerns of living in California. Again, whaaaat?

Buy My 17-Year-Old Stereo...Suckers!

If you're wondering about the title of this post, it's derived from what is probably a long-forgotten program called The Sifl and Olly Show. It was a sock puppet sketch show on MTV that aired in the late '90s. One of the regular skits was a home-shopping segment with Precious Roy. He sold everything from chicken-flavored air conditioning to luxury coffins and ended every segment with, "Buy my [whatever]...suckers!"

This was just a really long way of saying that we finished pricing everything for the yard sale today, so huzzah! We're all ready to go there. :) Now we just really need to know where we're moving so we can do things like secure housing in the new location, reserve the moving truck...NBD. We're expecting a call from the folks in Salt Lake early this week, so here's hoping that we reach that turning point soon.

The Blandest Mexican Food Ever

One thing we don't appreciate about living in the Upper Midwest is the lack of bitchin', screamin' Mexican food. Spicy food doesn't agree with the Scandinavian taste buds of most of the residents here, so the vast majority of the Mexican restaurants you'll find in the area serve milder and sometimes downright bland versions of Mexican food compared to what you'll find just about anywhere else.

I bring this up because Patrick has been in Minneapolis for the last couple of days, and on his way home tonight, he stopped at a place called Taco Gringo for dinner. Yes, such a place actually exists, and yes, he says it was as bad as you imagine. We figure that only Canada could serve Mexican food that's even more tasteless than the Upper Midwest due to its even worse proximity to Mexico, and yes, we're fully aware that we just insulted Canada with this statement. Sorry, Canadians. We love you, and we know that you really aren't this lame, but just go with the joke, please.

We'll call this place Yukon Taco. It's the same combination of tasteless rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, and iceberg lettuce in every item on the menu, varied only by a hard or soft shell. Spices? Who needs them! You can only get salt this far north. (Well, you can get pepper, too, but it's too spicy.) Sharp cheddar is also out of the question. Mild cheddar is more than enough.

Menu Items

Burritos
The Calgarito
The Manitoburrito

Tacos
The Edmontaco
The Torontaco
The Albertaco

Others
The Vanquesadilla
Reginachos

Dessert
Churchill Churro
Saskatchapillas

Every meal comes with a yellowknife.

"Which Do You Prefer?"

Many people have asked since the "we're moving" announcement if I'd prefer moving to Salt Lake or Phoenix. The truth is, I don't favor one over the other. Both have their sets of strengths and drawbacks, as I outlined in the pros & cons posts.

If I knew more about Salt Lake City, then maybe I could say "yea" or "nay" with more decisiveness. The fact that one of us could have a job waiting for us there balances out my uncertainty. I feel that either way, we're ready for a new chapter, a fresh start...insert some cliche phrase here. We're ready, and I definitely hope we find out which place we'll call home very soon. The limbo of not knowing is not only getting old, but it's holding us back from things like finding a place to live, reserving the moving truck, etc. 

Have I mentioned yet that I suck at patience?

Pros, Cons & Concerns of Living in Phoenix

Finally, on to my list for Phoenix.

Pros

  • I love the desert landscape. Palm trees and cacti are among my favorite things in the whole world. No exaggeration.
  • 70+ degrees in January. I absorb heat like a reptile, so I don't really feel alive unless I have some sunshine warming my veins. This is a problem for several months in Fargo, but it wouldn't be here.
  • Snow in Phoenix is a freakishly rare occurrence. Any questions?
  • As a major city, Phoenix has professional sports teams (including the Arizona Coyotes, so I could see my beloved Avalanche when they come to town), several airports, and plenty of entertainment options. We'd have access to anything we're looking for — night life, comedy clubs, concerts, festivals, etc.
  • Lots of options for day hikes and short day trips.
  • Affordable housing. We could rent or buy a house in the 'burbs for a reasonable price.
  • If my husband doesn't get the job in SLC, we're moving here. We've already been in the area a couple of times and know what we'd be getting into. We love it. Even more important, we can envision ourselves living the rest of our lives here.

Cons

  • As much as I consider myself a heat junkie, I must fess up and admit that I've never experienced 115+ degree heat for a prolonged amount of time. Of course it's gonna feel hotter than hell, but I'd still rather deal with three months of intense summer heat than 6+ months of cold and snow. Living in Phoenix would just be the opposite of what we're doing now: Instead of going from heater to heater, we'd be going from air conditioner to air conditioner. And drinking lots of water.
  • Crime is higher in Phoenix compared to other places we've lived.
  • No jobs lined up here. Not even an interview yet.

Concerns

  • The whole not having a job thing is a concern, obviously. Most people don't move someplace without a job or some sort of plan in place; that's just common sense. However, we've built a decent safety net cash-wise and we'll be okay if we move to Phoenix and we don't have jobs right away. We'll also be okay if we start off working jobs that don't pay as much as what we make in Fargo.

If you've lived in the Phoenix area, what are your likes and dislikes about the area? Please leave a comment!

I'll Drink to That

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Just a quick post today. We had some friends over for a game of Cards Against Humanity tonight. On top of the crude humor, gratuitous amounts of alcohol landed in our bellies and good times ensued.  

It won't be long before we won't have evenings free for these kinds of shenanigans, so I'm glad we did this tonight...just in case it was the last time with these friends while we're still here.

She's Just Not That Into You

I'm postponing my pros/cons/concerns of living in Phoenix for today because something is dwelling in my brain, taunting me, and therefore I must write it out. With just under a month left before I leave my job, I've come to the realization that two months' notice is just too damn long.

Mentally, I'm checking out. No, no, let's be really honest: I started checking out last month when I handed in my resignation letter. I did it so early because once we put the house up for sale, I knew word would start getting out, and my boss deserved to know what was going on right away. The fact that this is not just the end of a job, but also a career track I've worked in for the last eight years, compounds this feeling. Not only is this a move to a new place, but it's the beginning of a new chapter for me work-wise, with the overall end goal of opening my own coffee shop. Aside from projects of my own for fun, I'm done with designing professionally.

Only I'm not. Four full weeks to go.

I know that things could be worse. I could have a truly lousy job, a horrible boss, or any number of things that could make my life at work a living hell. Or worse, I could be unemployed/underemployed and under financial stress. While no job is perfect, I don't deal with any of those things. I know that it's only four more weeks and I should appreciate these last moments as much as I can. To some degree, I will. At the same time, I am also not really interested in doing anything else besides finishing my current projects, tying up loose ends, and saying goodbye. That's just where I am at mentally and I'm not sure what I can do about it.

In the meantime, the one place where I can take action right now is in preparation for a moving sale later this month. We plan on combing through every room and getting rid of as much as we can, so we'll start the process this weekend. Finally, some action in all this static of waiting!

Pros, Cons & Concerns of Living in Salt Lake

No place is perfect. Since we're down to our "finalists" of Salt Lake and Phoenix, I thought I'd outline a list of pros, cons, and concerns about each place in the next couple of posts. First up is Salt Lake, or SLC.

Pros

  • Beautiful, majestic mountains.
  • Utah still experiences four seasons, but doesn't experience extreme heat or cold.
  • Visiting family is one short, direct flight or a six-hour drive away.
  • They have a minor league hockey team, the Utah Grizzlies, as well as plenty of other sporting events.
  • The metro area has nearly two million people, so concerts and other events come to SLC regularly. I'm sure there's also plenty of other fun, local events that I don't know about yet.
  • Lots of places for day hikes.
  • If we move here, it means my husband got the job he's interviewing for. It would give us peace of mind if we moved, knowing that least one of us was gainfully employed from the start.
  • Job opportunities for me shouldn't be a problem here.
  • Probably a bunch of other stuff I don't know anything about yet.

Cons

  • Housing in SLC doesn't seem as affordable as Phoenix. For the price of a 900-1000 square foot condo or apartment in SLC, we could get a 1500 square foot house in suburban Phoenix.
  • No cacti or palm trees. It's not located that far south.

Concerns

  • In the winter time, pollution stagnates in the air and creates inversions, which drastically affects air quality. I don't know how much of an impact, if any, this has on the average person, but it is a concern.
  • I haven't been to Salt Lake many times. In fact, I've only passed through twice, so I'm not sure what we're getting into if we move here. Should my husband get a job offer, we will most definitely visit SLC and not only make sure the job is mutually a good fit for him and the workplace, but for us in general as well. We don't want to move to a place where we don't feel like we belong just because of a job.

Have you lived in SLC or otherwise know the area? What can you tell me, both positive and negative, about living in Salt Lake? Please leave a comment!

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