Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Chapter 1: Newly Weds in Tempe
Chapter 2: New House, Twins and ASU
Chapter 3: Olive and Austin
Chapter 4: Virginia and Grad School
We are just beginning the fourth chapter and can barely contain ourselves. Today was my last day of work and tomorrow we will begin the two day trek to Arizona. After a couple of weeks there we will go across the country to Virginia for at least (and probably) a year.We have painstakingly managed to sell all of our furniture, store somethings at our peeps in Globe and downsize much of our possessions to be able to make the move in one Kia Sedona.
We will be leaving Kimball behind to finish up our 6 month lease. I am still amazed that he is here in Austin, essentially doing the job I did here, and making just as much if not more (He gets overtime at 1.5 rate while I stay at my normal rate for overtime. I think it's weird. If we both work 40, I make more. If we both work 50, he makes more.). Four months ago neither of us knew Austin and now he occupies the same desk as me. We are both learners of GIS (Geographic Information Science), he from the geography discipline and I from the engineering. It is so wonderful to have family around. I think he feels a little overwhelmed by the expectations they have for him but I am sure that he will get a lot out of these next 5 months here.
Lately, I have become a devoted supporter of Google. It came by no one's persuasion. It simply started as a realization that I can do so much with simply a Google account. For instance, I get online and begin to Google something (typical). I'm already here so I sign in. What do I want to do? Check my email? Read the latest news customized to my interests and past history (who better then Google to draw from a variety of legitimate sources?). Okay, not a whole lot new going on. Federal budget talks continue to get closer to finding bipartisan solutions (I hope) and tablets and smartphones continue to permeate the market.
How about I check out the news going on among family and friends? I could use Google+ (Google's version of Facebook, but with a format that I find more appealing) for some fun, harmless chat. But I've already talked with the same 5 people on there and there isn't much else going on (It has a long way to go to even compete with fb.).
No, I'm feeling like using Google Reader. Here I can quickly see which blogs or news feeds have new items that I haven't read without going to each sight and checking them (You have to try it to appreciate it). Depending on my objective I am a click away from my calendar (which syncs with my phone, but only one way. I need to look into that), YouTube, maps, books, etc. Now if only Google would manage my money.... Is there such a thing as Google Bank? That'd be nice.
Anyway it sounds like a way to waste even more time online than we already do; but, despite my attempts to convince, it has actually made my Internet time more purposeful and effective. I feel like I am in the driver's seat of my computer seat.
And if you stuck around here is a photo of our kids, each with their blanket from Granny Goose (i.e. their Great-Grandma, being their dad's dad's mom).
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Per Jana’s request, we are moving on to what we’ve been up to in Austin, Texas. The following is an attempt by be to document our time while in Austin. I am breaking it up right now into days just so that I can go through it all in my head.
1st Week in Austin Texas
Sunday April 3rd, 2011 – Arizona to Texas
This was the day that we have awaited and prepared for since finding out that Austin, TX would become our new home. I had to miss General Conference due to Air Force duties. At 7:10pm that evening we boarded an airplane with a way one ticket to Texas for the whole family.
The airline was very accommodating to us having our whole family fly. They shipped our car seats (3!) for free, gave us priority check-in, priority boarding, the first row in the airplane (2 seats on the left, 2 on the right and a lot of leg space), and more.
I broke the No-electronics-On-During-Takeoff/Landing rule to get this video of Heber bidding farewell to the Phoenix city lights.
Heber Bidding Farewell to Phoenix
Just in case you couldn’t guess, it is pretty tough trying to move around an airport with an infant and 2 curious toddlers. At one point Heber escaped and the more we called to him the faster he ran. He made it all the way to the top off this luggage ramp (in the upper right where it enter the wall) just enough to peep his head inside before I ran up there and swiped him up.
Monday April 4th, 2011
We got in after midnight on our flight, so by the time we got out of the airport and into our rental it was early Monday morning.
This would be our ride for the next four days, a 2011 Mazda6. I had fun using the tip-tronics option which allows you to put it an easy manual mode.
We got to our Hotel, The Red Roof Inn, and it was pretty ghetto. We didn’t feel very safe and were happy to only be there one night.
We went straight to our new apartment after getting a late breakfast. Once again, it was pretty ghetto, too. I guess I should’ve taken my coworkers advice when they said to stay away from anywhere near the office. Oh well how bad could it be...
Tuesday April 5th, 2011
The next several days would be full of trying to survive in an empty house with a broken AC. You don’t realize how much little things you need to function normally until you try to get by with everything that you brought in one bag.
Here are some pictures of the apartment, as well as kids air-drying in the front room (WARNING EXPLICIT CONTENT), and easy meals using plastic-ware.
I like to tell people that we live in the ghetto, that over 90% of the people speak Spanish (according to our repair guy), and our neighbors play mariachi music that you can hear out our windows and feel through our floors. However, we really like the place, for several reasons:
- I love being close to work and being able to ride their in my work clothes. It’s actually just as fast by bike if not faster because of the all traffic I can bypass and shortcuts I can take.
- I think Rachel would agree that it is nice to live in a smaller place. It’s plenty big enough for our family (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms) and is so much less to deal with. Now our house works for us instead of us for our house. Or something like that…
- There is a nice little play area (photo), pool, workout room, and mariachi music.
4. It’s also very close to church. It takes about 5 minutes to drive there.
5. Mariachi Music!!
6. It’s a great opportunity to learn Spanish, even all of the cusswords!!
Okay I’m done. We are looking for the positive. We only signed a 6 month lease. So whether we go to graduate school in Virginia or keep working at Fugro it will go by like that.
Wednesday April 6th, 2011
Finally, we get to the reason why we uprooted and came to this foreign land. Today I started my job. It is nothing like I’ve ever done. For instance they expect me to work 40 hours a week!! Actually, I wish it was just that. I can already tell that they are going to take advantage of my salary status to get me to work more without paying me for it. Am I complaining? No. They are very generous in other ways.
The OasisMy kind and friendly boss, Jerry, told me of a nice place to take the family out to (and to make sure to put it on our reimbursable moving bill as “Meal during move”). He didn’t lie. The restaurant sits and the edge of a cliff that sits over a big lake.
Thursday April 7th – Saturday April 9th, 2011
By Thursday our moving truck still hadn’t arrived but we did receive our van and some familiar faces. Rachel’s parents, Claudia and Gary, kindly drove our van to Texas for us. Gary went to Texas on his mission and has the Texas look and attitude down. Some would even argue that he was born a century too late. Anyway, he has wanted to take his wife on a trip to Texas ever since his mission and now almost 40 years later he did. They stayed until Monday morning and were very helpful and enjoyable the whole time. In fact, we enjoyed them so much that we didn’t have time (or at least the awareness) to take a single picture the whole time.
Sunday April 10th, 2011
We managed to get together enough of our clothes to look decent for church on Sunday. We left Arizona feeling adventurous and special and got to our ward just to be another typical move-in. I’m pretty sure some people rolled their eyes as I explained with excitement how we moved for a new job and left our families in Arizona and blah blah. It seemed like everyone was from Utah, had graduated from BYU as an Engineer (or Lawyer) and is now working (or going to school) in Austin. I even tried to add how both Rachel and I graduated from ASU together with degrees in Engineering, just to be shut down by some couple who both had PhD’s.
Okay, I might be exaggerating. While it is true that many people seem to be in the same situation, it is not true to say that we weren’t well received. We have made some good friends already.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
We stayed in a hotel for two weeks while I had NCOLDC (Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Development Course--the military loves acronyms). We did a lot of team building activities.After that we had the honor, nay, the privilege of spending two weeks at Brandi and Mckay's. They housed and fed us happily. In return we watched netflix and march madness on their humongous HD flat screen. The kids loved playing with their cousins. It was fun to see Heber and his white head among all of the dark heads.
Before I knew that I had a permanent job I was considering all of my options so that if things didn't work out I'd have a way to support my family. One of these options was inspired by my football coach from high school, Coach Schenks. He coaches at San Tan Foothills High School which is just a few miles from our house. He suggested I get my substitute teaching certification which I did. After getting certified I received no calls to substitute until our last week in Arizona. Ms Schenks gave birth to their fourth child (congratulations!) Which meant that Coach Schenks would need a substitute. He specifically requested me and I got to be PE teacher/football coach for 3 days.
Since high school I've contemplated teaching/coaching at that level. It was a blast! I really enjoy working with kids that age. The football program is doing great and the kids are all so respectful. They only had 3 wins last year and have high hopes for the coming year. It reminds me of a team I once played on.
Back to substituting, it was hard to get the non-football weights class motivated to do anything. I fought it the first 2 days and had all the students doing the Air Force PT test. However, the last day I gave in and like Coach Jonovich just let them play basketball all period.
My favorite class, though, was the special needs class. It consisted of Christa, Miles, Adriana, and Tory.
Next post I'll get to our new life in Austin.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The first option is a job offer from Fugro Consultants. I previously worked for them as field/lab technician and now they are offering me a position as a Graduate Engineer. The pay would be good, the work is very close to my undergraduate studies (Civil Engineering/GIS), and we would get to move to Austin, Texas (which I hear is a pretty cool city). "In this economy" it would be crazy not to take a job offer with a reputable company doing what I want to, right?
However, option two is not bad either. I applied to four graduate schools back in December (Virginia Tech, George Mason, Purdue, and North Carolina State. In order of preference). Not only did my top choice accept me, but they have offered me a Graduate Research Assistantship that will pay for my tuition (which would have been out-of-state rates), will pay me at about the same rate as Fugro would (only I would only work 20 hours/week instead of 40) and I could research anything a topic of my choice (as opposed to doing a specific project that they have for me.)
Since I highly value the opinion of my family members I discussed with a few of them my dilemma. I got responses for both. "Take the job. The economy's only gonna get worse." "You'll have the rest of your life to work." "Take the job you have a family to support." "You can never get too much education." I could see the value in each and Rachel and I were not sure which one to do. Like many things, we try to think about it logically and systematically and weigh all the pros and cons. Additionally, we decided to fast and prayer about it over the weekend.
Ladies and Gents, we have made our decision. We have decided to take Hannah Montana's advice and "get the best of both worlds." We will be moving to Texas in early April and 5 months later going to Virginia. I ran it by my boss and he said it was fine. We are very excited to close one chapter of our life and open another.