• Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

Riding the backside of 2018

Rather frightening, the changes of this year. For over a year, I kept quiet about my plans to move away from Topeka and be in the mountains but I started buying tubs and packing. Right around Halloween 2017, I rented my first (of many) storage units.

The plans changed, though, because Boulder was just too expensive.

It was always Boulder. My parents even knew I was going to move to Boulder after Kevin graduated from high school. It was always the plan. And a bit of side to the plan, Dad was going to move to Colorado with me and Mom was going to move to Texas with Drew since Dad liked the cold and snow and Mom did not… and then we’d all get together for the holidays.

I even created a blog called Right Now in Boulder. I watched the weather in Boulder all winter. There wasn’t as much snow as I thought there’d be. Also, the temps weren’t as chilly as I figured there’d be.. but that was okay.. there would be mountains.

So hubby and I traveled to Colorado. A few times. April and then again in May. Memorial Weekend. Although it was lovely.. it was sooo expensive. I gotta admit. I started freaking out. There was no way we could afford living there. None. Zero. Zilch. I would HAVE to get a really high paying job and MAYBE we could afford a mediocre house. I was seriously depressed. I thought about sharing a room with someone, even contacted a few from some weird app. Did get a response and it probably would have been okay but.. hubby and I had a lightbulb.

Minnesota!! Minnesota has snow and the weather is cool (literally, not slang)!! It doesn’t have mountains but at least it is cooler! And after monitoring Boulder for a year, it might actually even bee colder than Colorado!! :) That very instant (we were staying at the Louisville Courtyard by Mariott right outside of Boulder. Really liked the place and the people who worked there) I called Mom and explained. She was thrilled and said of course I was welcome to come stay with her!

I’m not really sure June-Mom believed me. But she didn’t say no.. and she had a spare bedroom for me. And that was that. We had a plan. The options were better. We started looking at homes for sale and I updated my resumes on Monster, Dice, LinkedIn and Career Builder.

LinkedIn was the winner. Seriously, if people say that LinkedIn is just a glorified Facebook for job hunters, well, it’s a lot more than that! I am proof!!

Anyway, I got one call on the actual Memorial Day holiday. Yeah. It seems that the Minneapolis area is so desperate for programmers, the scouts work on holidays and weekends. The day AFTER Memorial Day, I got some emails from another gentleman. And later, a 3rd headhunter contacted me. Ultimately, another group of headhunters contacted me. I ended up with three phone interviews in one week and four different head hunters searching for a good fit for me.

Which is really good because I had already given my (more than 2 weeks) notice.  Yeah. I gave my notice stating that June 15th was my last day on the 21st of May because my boss was going to be out of the office and then I was going to Boulder. So when I gave my notice, I was still planning on Boulder. It was quite the surprise when I came back from Colorado on Memorial Weekend and had decided to go to Minnesota instead. But I digress.

It was nice not having to hide my “interviews” from my co-workers. Also great that I was able to ask them to be references. The first phone interview went really well, but, I’m not a front end programmer. I don’t enjoy doing the front and and to be honest, I’m not that great with designing. My passion is coding in C# so the second interview with a different headhunter was along those lines. Sitecore even! (I have since discovered the Sitecore is HUGE around here and there seems to be a lack of programmers to work with it. Thank you to John R and Tim from my old job for going the route of Sitecore because WOW!!!)

The second interview, with another headhunter, went really well and it was for a Sitecore job! I was pretty excited because it basically sounded exactly like what I was currently doing except a lot more room for growth! Soon after the interview with the headhunter, they wanted to set up an interview with the hiring manager. His name was Scott. (Meanwhile, I was also phone interviewing with Andy because the headhunter and I hit it off really well so he was hoping to find me something. We did end up having lunch one day. He checks in with me regularly to make sure I’m happy.. I am totally happy!!)

Because I’m weird like that and because I can, I googled Mr. Scott. It turns out I was interviewing with Sabertooth. (Dear goddess do not let him ever find my blog).  That first phone interview was 10 days after the headhunter contacted me. June 8th 2018.

That first interview went extremely well. I was really excited at this point. (The house was mostly packed up and was almost ready to be on the market. Hubby had his office moved into my old yoga room. I interviewed on the phone from there.)

On June 11th, I heard back from the headhunter. Scott thought the interview went really well and wanted to schedule me for more interviews. June 15th was my last day at Ogden and I was already planning on driving up to Minnesota that weekend.

June 15th was also the date our home was supposed to go on the market. (I was instigating the change, but Kali was making sure that the changes were not completely in my control. Hubby was rolling with the changes. So proud of him!!)

Headhunter Jon and I set up the interview to be Tuesday June 19th. He wanted it to be the 18th but I was like, hey, long drive. I wanna be rested for an in-person interview! He agreed that might be the best choice so he set it up and sent me the details. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was interviewing with four different people!! Scott, as the Senior Manager of IT Applications, again of course. It would be our first time meeting face-to-face. Then I was interviewing with the Corporate Recruiter,  the Senior Project Manager and the Senior Interactive Developer and Designer. Mildly overwhelmed and nervous, who me? Hell ya!

I didn’t have time to dwell on the scheduled interviews, though, because our house was scheduled to go on the market on Friday. We were still cleaning and thanks to my son’s girlfriend’s awesome mom, we were able to get the house completely clean and ready for photos and showings. (We couldn’t have done it without them. I am forever in their debt.)

Friday came and we had two people scheduled to see the house. Hubby and I went out on the town and then after the last scheduled viewing came back home. It was so weird staying in that house when people were looking at it. Our cat was there for the whole thing. Too bad she couldn’t talk. We did hear back and both were not impressed. Oh well. We already had another viewing scheduled for 10am the next morning. After the first two disappointments, we had resigned ourselves to a long haul of people tromping through our house. 8pm that night, I heard from a friend of mine. Apparently a couple of friends of hers contacted her saying that they had fallen love with our house and were actually going to make a bid. (SMALL WORLD!! Oh and of course SYNCHRONICITY!) Hubby and I were cautiously optimistic and lo and behold, a late text from our Realtor, Jessica Shepherd, and we had a BID!! 11pm at night!! BARELY 24 hours after the house went on the market! HOLY SHIT!

After some negotiations and such, everything was settled.  Less than 48 hours on the market and our home was SOLD! (A plug for Jessica, I highly recommend her. She is a wonderful realtor plus an honest woman who cares and isn’t in the profession for the money. Yup, buying or selling, she’s a fantastic agent.)

Monday morning, bright and early, I headed to Minnesota. Job interviews were on Tuesday!

Made it and got situated at my Mom’s. I cannot express how appreciative I was and am that my biological mother allowed me to move in with her this late in our lives. We had, of course, known each other since my 18th birthday, but we had only “visited”. Moving in was a huge step and let me tell you, she is an amazing woman and I am so proud to be of her DNA!!

I had printed the route I needed to take into the city. (Mom lives in Stillwater). My interviews started at 9am. I decided to leave at 7 and get there early. 2 hours to drive 50 miles. No problem right?

Wrong!! SOOO wrong.

I also used google maps to help me out. The ride into the city wasn’t bad, but, once I got on 494, things started going down hill. The traffic was bumper to bumper barely moving. I’m like, OMG! This rush hour is insane!!  The google maps kept trying to make me leave the road, but I was like, no no no, I had this all figured out. I don’t wanna leave the main road. It was going to take me right there!!

I stayed on 494 (turns out there was an accident and that road isn’t normally even half that bad..) and made it to the Normandale Park Office Complex.
and was instantly even more lost. Google was no help. (Later, using Waze, it’s no help either). I drove around the buildings twice. By this time it was 8:45. I was going to be late to my interview!! OMG!! I saw a driveway and I pulled in, next to the 8300 sign. But it was a loading dock. A really awesome guy was outside smoking. He said I looked lost and I was like YES! I’m so lost and my interview is at 9am! And he said, “park here, no one will notice!!” SO I did. Thank GOODNESS!

Rushed up to the 4th floor from the skyway and walked up to the front desk. NO idea what time it was. Was not going to look at my phone to find out. They told me to have a seat. Scott came out soon after and introduced himself and then took me to an office where the interviews were to be conducted. Turns out it was the Corporate Recruiter’s office and they had me sit behind her desk. So strange. Scott and I had a nice talk and then the interviews began. It was fascinating. They were more like just casual discussions. I felt so comfortable with everyone I spoke with. Everyone I interviewed with. It just felt so right.

I had another interview after lunch. This one was okay. It didn’t feel as great but I was just thrilled to have options. I heard back from Collegis the next day. They were all very excited and now wanted me to interview with the IT Director (who is in the Chicago office). THAT was a fun interview on June 21st.  He is British and we ended up talking about Doctor Who, after we got the main stuff out of the way. Yeah. At that point I was 99.9% certain I was going to get an offer on the job.

June 22nd. Less than 4 weeks after we decided that Minnesota was a better option than Colorado.
June 22nd. Less than 4 weeks since Jon the headhunter contacted me.
June 22nd.  ONE WEEK after my last day at my old job.
I was offered a position at nearly double the pay that I was getting at my old job.

In one month’s time, my son graduated from high school, I quit my job in Topeka, gave up my dream of Colorado mountains, put our house on the market, sold it, and applied for, interviewed and accepted a new position at a job that was almost the twin of my old job. If you dream it, you can live it. I trust synchronicity and I’m living proof of the Law of Attraction and envisioning my dreams.

My son was turning 18 in three days. At the same time, there was a house that I wanted to see, so I hung around to go through the house. We did facetime so hubby could see it at the same time. Unfortunately, we had some connection issues, but hubby got to see most of it. It was a beautiful house and I was excited and wanted to make a bid for it. They were asking 390k but I wanted to bid 350k because it needed work. After some negotiation, they agreed to 380. I wasn’t happy but I liked the home. I hired a brilliant home inspector, KP Home Inspections. Kevin found a lot of problems with the house, worst of all, mold. We began renegotiating but it came down to they refused to fix the problem and they refused to lower the price to allow us to fix the mold situation. We pulled our bid at the 11th hour just in time to get our earnest money back. Normally, I wouldn’t have shared these details so explicitly, but I wanted to point out that 6 months ago all this happened. The house is STILL on the market and they have dropped the price to our original bid 355k. Too little too late.

On July 8th, I started my new job. It was fantastic and fun and crazy because they had a Go Live deadline of October and had gone through four different programmers. I jumped in with both feet and made it work!

Meanwhile, we were devastated about the Hemingway home. The house in Topeka was closing on August 1st and we no longer had any place to live. Hubby had been staying and cleaning the garage at the old place but once closing was complete the home was theirs and it was done. Hubby was prepared to stay in the RV but in all the excitement and stress, he was too tired to drive the RV on the 1st, so he and Stitches drove up in the truck and we got a hotel room (the spare room at mom’s had a single bed… not enough room for tw0).

Staying in hotels was getting expensive. Because of my job, I opted to continue staying at mom’s and hubby stayed in the RV out at one of Mom’s friends in nearby Wisconsin. For 30 days we searched, well, hubby searched and I worked. 50-60 hour weeks to make up for lost time to meet the deadline that was put into play sometime last year..

Hubby and I would see each other a few hours in the evening and then he’d drive back to Wisconsin and I’d go to bed. He tried to head out so that he wasn’t driving in the dark. As time passed, he had to leave earlier and earlier in the evening. I feared the days I would never see him at all.

August 28th we texted Tina. We found a couple houses we wanted to see. One was gorgeous but perhaps too far away from my work.. The other had weird property lines and no fireplace. We adored the house that was too far from work. But, yes, it was too far from work. Also, the neighbors were too close and the dog was barking at us. That was one of the things I wanted more than anything, after 10 years of listening to the neighbor’s dogs at all hours, I wanted to not have dogs nearby.

The other house was beautiful and amazing. It had a pond with a fountain in it! It had evergreen trees everywhere! It had a paved driveway. I was in love. We decided to walk around the property first. There were a few paths through the trees, but we took the one by the shed.

We walked around the pond and then beyond the pond to the property line, there was another path, followed it around. Saw some deer. (!!!) and finished up coming in from behind the detached garage aka Man Cave. It really had a bar in it!! A bar and a second level in addition to a lot of parking space. Hubby was in heaven. There was so much he could do with it. I bequeath it his (after all, I didn’t need what happened in our old place to happen again. Give him space, a lot of it and hopefully it won’t spread and reproduce and take over like it did before…)

By this time, we had noticed all the cameras.. No more sneaky photos by me. Apparently it’s either rude or illegal or something.. so.. outside, of course, is fair game, mostly, but I stopped. In fact, I stopped being excited. Poor Tina had no clue until later my thoughts and feelings of this property.. (Which, she told me later, bummed her out. I’m very expressive normally, after all, my *happy dancin* isn’t just a virtual thing and neither is my *happy huggles* but again, I digress.) Stupid cameras.

Huge porch, walked around it, wanted to come in the front door. And a beautiful front door and foyer it was. To the right was the kitchen. WOW!! Marble counter tops anda breakfast bar area, then on the other side was the dining room. Up the stairs was the living room with a huge TV. It’s a fairly open design with the living room over the kitchen. I wasn’t impressed with this in other homes, but at least with it being upstairs, there is a separate that not many other homes had. On this upper level to the left was a hallway to the bathroom, master bedroom and a small bedroom. The carpet looked and felt new. (Oh! btw, in Minnesota, everyone takes off their shoes at the door. Visiting, house hunting, everything. No Shoes. New concept. Totally loving it. I always hate shoes) Figured the small room would be a great meditation / yoga room. (You know you’re in trouble when you starting planning out what rooms are what)

Downstairs, was a big room and then off to the side was a bathroom, a blue bedroom (TARDIS ROOM!!) and a pink bedroom (why oh why is there always a pink bedroom?!!)

Then there was a subbasement with the washer / drier and furnace / AC, a well pump and a water softener.

Poor Tina was confused, so we bopped out into her truck, I covered my face with the paperwork and SQUEEED!!  (Hey, did I mention stupid cameras) We talked about stuff and then we left. We should have all met somewhere but instead hubby and I went to Village Inn (we’d planned on eating there a lot, the pies are great) and we talked about making a bid. We decided that we wanted to bid on the home AND ask for the 4 wheeler, the golf cart, the HUGEMONGOUS TVs and the lawn mower (the yard is not small).

Selfies We took these special selfies figuring people would laugh at us. I don’t think a single person noticed that we took our selfies with a OLD PHONE and not a cell phone. OY! So disappointed!! LOL Anyway, a great real estate agent and I highly recommend her. You can find Tina W here

A coupla days of negotiating and we settled on a price with the extras being purchased under the table to keep the total out of the mortgage. (shhh, don’t tell, I think of it like a garage sale and we just bought them separately so they wouldn’t have to move them to their new location). There were some plumbing issues found by our wonderful inspector, (the same Kevin who did the Hemmingway house) and some electrical issues. They apparently handled the plumbing and AC and then took 1k off the under-the-table price to pay for the electrical work.

This is for those of you who always think that everything is so easy for us. It’s not. The bank did their appraisal and on September 15th, it came back FIFTEEN THOUSAND SHORT of the negotiated bid. WOW!!! That totally threw us all for a loop. Totally stressed about it for the entire weekend. Then nothing on Monday. Nothing on Tuesday (I was in contact with Tina the whole time) The sellers did not want to go down in price, WTF??? Nothing on Wednesday. Finally on Thursday they offered to split the difference. I would have to come up with an extra 7.5k at closing to make up for the difference. Assholes.

Almost a full week. ONE WEEK of stressing and freaking and crying and worrying and lotsa huggling my hubby. Actually kinda half-assed started looking at other homes for sale…

Through all this, I was still only seeing my hubby a couple hours a day.

We still wanted the house. We decided we’d do it. We plan for this to be our forever home so it’s value on the market won’t be as important, especially with a possible 7.5k difference. Plus, we still planned on putting in a wood burning pot bellied stove. That would up the value, right? Maybe not 7.5k but it still would help.

Unfortunately, that 7.5k difference put a damper on other work we wanted to do. *I* wanted to remodel the upstairs bathroom and put in heated tiles. That wasn’t going to happen any time soon with the money gone into the wind. Greedy bastards. (Oh well, the universe knows how to take care of people like that. This home was going to be OURS and there was no going back.. and it does sound like perhaps there was some sellers regret.. but again. not our problem! The universe gave them multiple opportunities to back out, not just with ours but with a bid that failed before they lowered their price to 399k) That whole thing was now a SEP as defined in HHGTTG.
10 days before closing day and we were back on track. A little poorer but we were content and allowing ourselves to get excited again! I had some personal time available from work so instead of taking a half day and working from home, I just took the whole day off. Oct 1st the day we came home.

We had to sleep on an air mattress and had zero furniture but hey! We were home and we were together!

Movers were scheduled to come the following Friday.

We didn’t bring our bed. It was an OLD bed. I really really don’t want to discuss it’s history.. but it was at the old place and the place before that. Anyway, we ordered a bed, a kitchen table, a TV stand (that we’re not using as a TV stand but are using to hold DVD/BlueRay player and the ROKU Premier and our special movies as well as our TV speaker) from Slumberland. Those didn’t come until the following weekend. Two weeks on an air mattress. Ouch. But it was worth it!!

The following Monday, we had our wood burning stove installed. Tradewinds are some awesome folks!

On October 20th, our trees were planted. We got 3 willow trees, 4 different maple trees and two lilac bushes. The tree nursery folks did find a sprinkler line. We’ll deal with that in the spring, I guess. LOL

Meanwhile, an upcoming deadline was looming at work. Yeah. While all this crazy stuff was going on at home, while hubby and I were buying a new home and getting settled, I was working. I logged over 300 hours in October. Seriously, reading this, I must have had a time machine or that gadget that Hermione had, the time turner. There’s no way I could have done this much! Hubby must really love me because I had to have been a bear! So glad we got into the habit of going to sleep at 10pm because I was getting up at 5am and leaving by 5:30am.

A little before midnight on October 26, 2018, my website that I worked the Sitecore CMS for (after it had gone through 4 other programmers) went live successfully. Rasmussen I’m very proud of this site. I only did the background coding and got the servers to work. Yes, I’m doing servers. I actually had to contact my old boss, Tim, for some server help. Mostly to copy, backup and bring back the server databases. I created a staging server that connected to Live, but the development server I kept totally separate. It made no sense whatsoever to have a development server syncing with live. An accident waiting to happen. The servers, when I started working with them, were totally corrupted. My only option was to move the dev servers up to the live environment before go live. I also came up with a brilliant plan to have the live servers point to a subdomain until we were ready to go live. future.rasmussen.edu became a thing and again I was proud. (Hey, good thing I’m not Christian, I’d likely be going to hell for all my pride! Instead, I patted myself on the back and moved on. Seriously, how can pride be so wrong when one works as hard as we do sometimes? A discussion for another day, perhaps)

That led to an exciting weekend of tweaks but finally the website was stable and I could relax. Now I could concentrate on unpacking and new home stuff.  I opted to work from home on election day so we could vote. I also used that day to update my driver’s license, my automobile tags and get a library card. I couldn’t get the passport / driver’s license because I didn’t have a copy of my marriage license. And the photo that i had taken for that particular license isn’t as good as the one for my current license that I got back in June. OH! I never mentioned the licenses. My first  full week in Minnesota, I went and got my MN driver’s license. I had to take the test (electronic, took it cold, BUT all the high school students were doing it that day too. The lines were horrible) and I passed first try. (Proud of myself again!!) The paper license is only good for 2 months. Beginning of September, I still hadn’t gotten my license back. SO I had to go in and get it stamped. Apparently MN is really REALLY far behind on issuing licenses. That was also the day I got my tags for my KIA Rondo. Amusingly enough, the lady at the license place did not know of Ronda’s. She was fascinated to learn of a new vehicle. I FINALLY got my license in the mail at the end of September. Seriously, just in time to move to our new home. Murphey’s Law!

On the Winter Solstice, Yule, we finally started a fire in the wood burning stove. Yeah, love how that worked out. Perfect

Okay, three days of writing this and I think I’m finally winding down. Lets see, key points, kid graduated, decided where to move, quit job, house for sale, house sold, moved to Mom’s, got new job, found house, house horrible, found another new house, house wonderful, sellers bad, bought home, finished website started by others, made GoLive date, celebrated 10th anniversary, voted, Thanksgiving with brother’s in-laws, celebrated Christmas at brother’s and now it’s New Year’s eve eve. And there is snow in the forecast! (In fact, my radar app says it’s almost here)

I’d talk about my future daughter-in-law but that’s a story for another day. Or maybe I can convince her to write it. Either way, I will say she and my son are spending the holidays (and college break) in Mexico. I miss them so much.




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