Housesitting

I mentioned yesterday that Mesa would be our new home...at first. What I mean by that is that we won't be at our first Phoenix residence for long because it belongs to someone else. One of Patrick's aunts lives in Mesa and we will stay at her place as housesitters while she spends the summer in cooler pastures. (Reverse snowbirding, I guess?) This saves her the expense of paying the bills while she's gone since we'll take care of them, and it also eliminates the cost of her paying someone else to take care of the house. As much as this benefits her, it's even better for us. Staying at her place buys us time to find a place of our own, line up jobs, etc., with less of a financial burden than if we started renting a place right away. This is one hell of a break and we know it. We are beyond grateful.

Narrowing It Down

With all that's going on right now, Patrick and I mutually agreed that flying out to California on Monday (on our own dime, no less) for a job he *might* get just isn't in the cards right now. So it's back down to Salt Lake or Phoenix. We still haven't heard from Salt Lake, which probably means than an offer is in someone else's hands right now. That's okay. Even with no job prospects (currently) on the horizon, Phoenix would be one hell of a place to live.

The World Turned Upside Down

When I started this project, I said I would write something daily, even if it was just a sentence.

Clearly, I've fallen back on that promise, albeit for good reason.

Late Thursday night, my husband got a phone call that changed our lives forever. His mother had died in her sleep at the age of 61. Too young. We now know that she died from a massive heart attack that struck so quickly, she might have barely felt it happen.

The days following this news have been a whirlwind. We took off for Wyoming, where we both grew up and where both of our families still live, on Friday. We took care of arrangements for the memorial service on Saturday. We drove back to Fargo all day yesterday, and today I worked, floating through my day in a zombified state due to lack of sleep. I suspect that sleep will be a rare commodity this week, as we fly back to Casper Wednesday evening, carry out the service on Thursday, spend time with family on Friday, and return to Fargo late Saturday evening. Maybe we'll sleep on Sunday.

The week following all of this is my last week at my job. The reality of that is hitting me, as I will probably (and unfortunately) have to leave unfinished work with my colleagues. My time will be up far sooner than it seemed just a few short days ago. Before all of this happened, I had everything perfectly timed and I planned on making an exit with all my tasks completed, but life is rarely so organized and will often turn your world upside down as a reminder that you're not really the one in charge. Life is messy. And I hope they will graciously accept the fact that my life is exceptionally messy right now.

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!

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