What's with all the Moving Trucks?!

Awhile back I posted a picture of us and a UHaul. Earlier this year, I asked my mom if I could move back in to my family’s house. I travel (well, did travel) a lot for work and on top of that to see Kate in Seattle. It didn’t make sense for me to continue paying for an apartment I was never staying in. It would also be much easier to leave Prudence at my parents’ when I travel than at my apartment alone. My lease was ending at the end of June and I planned to move in then. Little did we know, a pandemic would hit and we’d be staying there sooner than I thought. Kate came back to St. Louis with me and together, with Prudence and Oakley, we stayed at my parents’ house from mid-March to early July. I never thought I’d be furloughed but can we really be surprised by anything these days? That said, I got really lucky that I already had lined up a free place to live (and that I even had this opportunity at all). At the end of June, I packed up my apartment and Kate and I moved my stuff out. That’s what the UHaul picture is from.

Fast forward a few weeks. Kate was contacted by a friend from her former job in Moscow, Idaho. He left around the same time she did to pursue a GM job at a lumber yard in Denver. The recruiter who had recruited Mark to Denver was looking for someone to fill a GM position in Salina, KS. Mark passed Kate’s name along. Kate wasn’t looking to leave Seattle as she had only been there about a year. I tried convincing her to come to St. Louis but her project at work was still going on for the next few years (and would open a lot of doors for her) and she wasn’t finished exploring Seattle. I had planned to move out there after another year (hoping my job would let me work remotely). Kate was a little reluctant about the GM position but the stress of her current job drove her to take the call from the recruiter. She learned a little about the job and provided detailed information about her background. From there, we sat down and updated her resume so she could forward it on to the recruiter. There were a couple calls back and forth that week and, with a little guidance on some updates to her resume, the recruiter ultimately passed it along to the Regional Manager. He wanted to set up an interview. The recruiter sent over information on the company and the hiring manager. I helped her review, highlighting things I thought were most important to remember. The recruiter also sent along some questions to be prepared for. Kate and I reviewed, came up with answers, and she was ready for her phone interview. The interview didn’t last long and wound up being more of a conversation. In the end, they wanted her to come for an in-person interview and see the store.

At this point, Kate had a flight booked back to Seattle for July 5. I was supposed to fly there on the 9th. Thankfully, she was able to switch her flight to be on mine, giving her time to get to Salina for an interview.

On the morning of the 5th, Kate and I took off on a little road trip. We decided to stop in KC to enjoy the city a bit before going to Salina. We stopped in our favorite local stores (Made in KC, Charlie Hustle, Westside Storey, and Bunker). We walked around the Boulevard and grabbed dinner at a BBQ restaurant called Jack Stack. We picked up some beer and made our way back to the hotel to watch Dexter and prepare for our travels to Salina the next day.

Monday morning came quickly and Kate worked most of the day from the hotel. We hopped in the car around 3pm and she was able to work from the car while I drove. It’s only a 2.5 hour drive from KC to Salina and it was an easy trip. When we arrived in Salina, we came in the north side from I-70. We learned this was not the way to take into the city. While driving through, we both thought “oh lord, what did we get ourselves into?!”. The town looked old and rundown. Most houses looked abandoned or poorly maintained. The train tracks were out of service and weeds were growing in. There were, what looked like, old industrial facilities no longer in use. It looked like no one lived here. As we made our way to our hotel, which was downtown, things started to look up a bit. The downtown consists of one, main street that has shops, restaurants, bars, etc.

The hotel was gorgeous. (Side note: I’m a hotel snob. I absolutely love staying in hotels and I certainly splurge to find some of the best.) It was a brand new Homewood Suites. And, when I say brand new, I asked one of the staff members when it opened and it had only opened the week before. They were still putting on finishing touches but it was wonderful. The staff was incredibly friendly and you could tell they were genuinely happy to be there. The whole place felt cozy - from the decor, to the room, to the hotel staff, even to the breakfast offered in the morning. The room was spacious with a nice kitchenette including new dishes, a full sized fridge, a stove, and a dishwasher. There was a tv mounted on the wall that you could swing out over the bed to enjoy while you snuggled up. It was perfect.

Before making the trip, we did some research and found out there was a brewery in town. We decided we’d try it out for dinner. Unfortunately, Monday nights were the only night it’s actually closed. We drove around the town for a bit - checking out houses, neighborhoods, and the local country club. We were pleasantly surprised when we found the not run-down part of town. As it was the evening, everyone was outside walking - families with kids, couples with dogs, individuals - it was so great! There were youth baseball games taking place in the large sportplex and it looked like such a family friendly area. We drove by some houses for sale to see what our options might look like and fell in love with a few from the outside. We then made our way to dinner at a place called Chuck’s. Think: sports bar mixed with hunt club. Very interesting decor but the food was SO good and it looked like a fun place to hang out and watch sports year-round. They have a nice patio with over-sized yard games for patrons to enjoy and a very reasonably priced menu.

After dinner, we made our way to Target to get a few snacks and a notebook for Kate to take to her interview. The Target was about 5 miles down the road and this area had everything - Target, Walmart, chain restaurants, gas stations, gyms, Marshall’s, a mall, etc. We had finally found the area that looked most populated. We drove through the neighborhoods in this area to get a feel for it. They seemed equally as family friendly and nice as the ones we had seen before. We made our way back to the hotel and enjoyed some Dexter before getting to bed.

The next morning, Kate and I were up early. She had a few things to accomplish for work and she also wanted to eat and get showered before her interview. We had breakfast and I ironed her clothes while she got ready. We kissed goodbye, I wished her luck, and she was off! The plan was for her to meet the Regional Manager at the store - he would give her a tour of the store and the yard, introduce her to the staff, and take her around the town. They would then finish with lunch. Around 11ish, I got a call from Kate. She was on her way to lunch but she had already received the job offer! I couldn’t tell if she was excited or shocked or conflicted or all of the above. I was so happy for her and proud of her. When she finished up lunch, we packed up the car, and made our way back to St. Louis.

We had a lot to discuss in the car. I wanted to hear all about the morning and the offer, what her thoughts were, where her head was at...everything. We talked about the opportunities Salina would offer and what it would mean to leave Seattle. The job offered more money in a town that was 1/4 the living cost of Seattle. Salina meant being closer to both of our families. The GM position also hopefully meant less stress for Kate in her job. We both struggled, however, cause neither of us were ready to give up on Seattle. Seattle is the place we met, it’s beautiful, the seasons aren’t extreme, there’s so much to do (tons of restaurants, shopping, different areas, hiking, exploring, etc.). We’ve built a close friendship with another couple and Kate loves her gym. The project Kate is working on at her job is extremely cool and this new job would mean taking a different career path. However, Seattle is expensive. Seattle means we won’t be able to afford a house. Building a family would be hard. As much as we want to explore and be active and do all the things, it’s not always easy and there’s not always time. Plus, we want to do these things together and it’s hard when I live half way across the country. It rains over half the year in Seattle and it’s not good for Kate’s mental health (and most likely wouldn’t be good on mine if I moved there).

After a week of deliberation, some tough conversations, some tears, but with a little bit of hope, Kate accepted the position in Salina. We made the decision to pack in as many Seattle activities as we could before leaving and we will most certainly come back to visit. We started with a day at the wineries with two of our favorite people. We hiked to goat lake (which was beautiful). We went back to the Market one last time and did a day at the breweries. We had a picnic with wine and charcuterie at our first date location - Gasworks Park. We took a trip back to University Village - an outdoor mall that we’ve walked around so many times. We spent our last weekend with close friends, celebrating Kate’s birthday at the wineries. There was a lot we wanted to do but we packed it all in.

Kate’s start date is August 24th (tomorrow) - which gave her a month to give her notice, pack up, adventure, and make the move. We’re excited. I think she’s probably a little nervous but the stress of the job she’s leaving gives her the reassurance that she made the best decision.

Making a big decision like this is hard, I know. I think there was some fear for awhile on if it was the right one but I know she will do great at this new job and I think she will truly enjoy it. If not, she can always look for a job and go back to the field she’s in now. She’ll be closer to home and will have the resources to do it. I’m so incredibly proud of her. I know it was a big, tough decision to make. I know it’s scary. But, first of all, she got this freaking job! They know she can do it, I know she can do it. I’m excited for this next adventure with her and I’m honestly happy I was furloughed so I can be here for her during this process.

Are any of y’all in Kansas? We’d love to meet some people in the area!

Has anyone else had to make some big life decisions lately? How’d it go? How are you feeling about it? Let us know!

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