Sunday, July 10, 2005


Someone is going to WORK on Monday morning. Whew. What a load off my mind. He's got some mixed feelings about it, but I guess that's understandable. This same job had made him a great offer two years ago and then retracted it. It was a hard situation. His pride was hurt, and after all was said and done and it was sorted out, there was no reason for it.

I do soooo wish he'd never taken his last job. He is soooo spoiled. He used to roll out of bed at 9:45 every morning, throw on shoes, shorts, and a wrinkled shirt, and head in to the office. He still beat everyone else there, who would show up between noon and one with similarly wrinkled clothing, if not the clothing from the night before, and plastic flip flops. It was a "real" design house, not a single department in the engineering headquarters of an automotive supplier. Big difference.

Thoughts have been fleeting on the propsect of leaving Michigan. Yeah, I know how crazy that is... But it's not the first time. Every time I've visted the south, I've thought in very generic terms, "hey - it would be so cool to live in a place like this." I've been down there for full weeks, several times, and it was just this very last trip that made me wonder, why not move there specifically?

So I'm thinking it over. Hard. Contemplating every reason I've ever had to stay in Michigan for my entire life. The biggest was because my family is here. The whole entire family except for one aunt, uncle, and cousin who live in Florida. Each time I'd ever wondered about moving somewhere warm or just somewhere "different" I was also concerned about the difficulties of transferring credits between schools so far away. And last but not least, is my career. I've been part of the automotive industry for over eight years. My masters degree is very specifically an automotive degree. Not only would it be difficult to jump into a new industry, but there is a deep rooted belief that it wouldn't pay the same either. Last of all, there was always the difficulty of having to sell property in one state while purchasing property in another state. That never sounded like a fun thing to contend with.

However, things are looking a little different now. I truly don't see my family much at all, and I'm within a ten mile radius of almost everyone. I see my parents once every two to three weeks, if that, and it's for a couple hours at a time. I see my grandparents once every two months or so. Everyone else I see on major holidays. How much different would it be if I had to hop a plane to come see them? Not much different at all. Except that we would probably plan things to do together and have more quality time together. Not a bad deal. School is not really an issue anymore because I'm finished. My home is soon to be on the market to sell whether I buy another one in Michigan or elsewhere, so the property issue isn't a big deal either. So the only big issue left is the job thing. That tells me that if an offer comes about that I can't refuse, I'm so outta here.

The south is just a whole different world. You can walk through the downtown area and not feel like you are being sized up to get mugged. Sure, there are places that you don't go alone after dark. Every city has that. But Detroit seems to have a really bad ratio of downtown places you'd go and feel safe compared to downtown places where you just wouldn't. We've got Greektown, the adjacent area with Comerica Park and Ford Field, and possibly Mexican town if you park really close to the door and don't dawdle in the parking lot. That's it. These are very small areas. Atlanta has huge full neighborhoods with separate shopping and activities that are just gorgeous. You just park and walk wherever you want to go. And a huuuuge house there is half the cost of up here. Our friends just bought an incredible house with acreage, on a major lake, with a boathouse, walkout basement, the whole works for just over 400K. Up here, firstoff that house wouldn't exist as it is, but if it did, it would be about 1.5 million. Pretty big difference if you ask me. And the suburbs are the same story. Our other friends paid just over 200K for a home that would be at least 600K up here.

Most importantly is the lifestyle difference. People have more energy down there. Seasonal depression doesn't rain on everyone's parade. We sent a thank you gift to a friend last March, a fleece jacket, and we were really confused when she called to tell us she'd received it and would enjoy using it next year. Next year? She had flowers blooming in her yard. We were still busting ice off the windshields and shoveling endless snow. It was dark, cold, and miserable. It's dark when you drive to work, and dark when you drive home at night. Life gets so sad and monotonous.

Then there is the subject of children. We're gonna have some. We've talked in the past about sending them to parochial schools. The truth is though, with what our house payment will be, and what our lifestyle will be in the next 1 to 3 years, I doubt that will be realistic. We won't be able to afford it. The public school system up here has gone down the toilet. I've watched a lifetime of the districts closing down and bulldozing schools and bussing kids to other neighboring schools to save money. Then when there are 34+ kids in every classroom and 98% of them are from either single parent or dual working households, the teachers have quite a job. (I'm not saying that being from a single parent or dual working household makes a child *bad* in any way - but they are more of a challenge according to the friends I have that teach school.) When I was in high school, the idea of having security guards roaming the halls was fairly new. Now they have actual police. Some have metal detectors at the doorways. All I can say is - no f-ing way will I willingly send my children into that environment. If I had no choice, I'd deal with it. But I've been careful not to have children before the planned time for a reason - to be able to raise them right. Be sure that they'll have a decent father in their life who will make them feel secure and teach them how to be good citizens. Be sure that they'll have a college fund and a head start in life. Not having that head start is what has made my life so difficult. I don't want my kids to have to work three jobs and have NO social life at all. It's not fair. So since I may be stuck with public schools, I better get on top of things and make sure they are born in a place where the public schools are decent. We have a friend who just moved from Florida to Georgia, and says that the differences in the children themselves, the enforced rules, and the parental involvement are just huge.

If I did get a job offer, it would have to be in the city. Once you get too far away from the city, liberal yankee chicks aren't quite so welcomed. :-)


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