Sunday, July 20, 2008

LOUS's and the Long Journey Home...Wherever That May Be

Here's the word for now: Columbus, IN is officially out of the offing, Arkansas is officially in, and the other two are still an annoying question mark that could mess a lot of things up for a lot of people. Yikes! In the meantime, we are frantically attacking the mess that is our beloved home, tidying, packing, sending things off to storage. Next week we will contact a real estate agent. Whoa there, stomach!

But I must document our journey out West a little. I've mentioned the LOUS's, Landmarks Of Unusual Size, though I suppose the first one is not technically a Landmark since it's mobile. Imagine my surprise as I'm driving down the Pennsylvania Turnpike, winding through our mountainous terrain, enjoying the ripples of summer foliage, when out of nowhere appears a giant head. Not just any head. EDDIE MURPHY'S HEAD!! Holy Freakin' Cow! No white line fever on this trip. If that doesn't wake you up...
There's something just a little disturbing about that frozen, gap-toothed smile—mustache and all—wending its way through the Pennsylvania landscape in front of us. It was a promo for his latest movie (cough), and the van hauling this tricked-out trailer (Ha! Pun intended...totally!!) was covered in info and images from the movie. It's unforgettable, I'll give them that! Sadly, it doesn't make me want to see the movie any more than the video trailers did.

We dropped the kids in Indiana and then Ghost Hunk and I lit out for the West. Of course, on our way to the Natural State we had to go through St. Louis, MO. Truly a LOUS. I've been to MO before, but never through St. Louis, so it was fun to see this classic landmark up close and personal...okay, from I-70 anyway. And St. Louis definitely looks like a "happenin'" town. Our journey continued on through the Show Me State on to Branson and Springfield where we encountered another LOUS, although my memory is a bit blurred, and this could have cropped up somewhere in Illinois on the way back East. They don't mess around! There were other LOUS's, like the 3-story high farmer in a red-checked shirt, spinning his arms and touting the best pies in three states, or the 15-foot tall family of hamburger-toting campers, circa 1950, perched atop an old mobile home. Quite an interesting trip.

The day after we returned to Indiana and the Ghost Kids, we got the official offer from Arkansas and word that GA would not let us know until July 21st or 22nd. And wouldn't you know, AR wants an answer by July 18th! One job in hand...can't squander that on the indefinite hopes of another. AR is a beautiful place to live. But this job means the end to Ghost Hunk's career as a scholar, which breaks my heart. Now he becomes a Social Worker for Academia. The pay is not good, the retirement plan stinks, and there's no room for advancement and no time to continue scholarly pursuits. But it is a job and the people are wonderful there. It's also in a beautiful part of the country. We'll see if any other questions get answered...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Can a Girl get a Decaf Soy Java Chip Frappaccino in Indiana?

So far, the answer to that one is "no." Yes, it's sad to say that even a Starbucks can't offer that in Columbus, Indiana--holy quacking cow! It's been one of those days, when all the emotion of 9 months comes crashing around my hypoglycemic brain and pushes me to the verge of tears over the dumbest things. It wasn't just the coffee, but it does give me pause about the degree of civilization that we might be diving into.

Of course I know that this little city is civilized, but it has really surprised this farm-grown country girl how citified I've become. Most of me aches for those 5 acres and a barn and my horses again. It always aches for that. But another twisted part of my brain asks, "but what about the bookstore where I can sit for hours with my cup of tea?" "What about being able to pop down the road a tiny piece for a gallon of milk?"

So is this our future home? Or is it Arkansas. Or even Georgia? I have to say that Arkansas seems to offer the best of both worlds, the country and the civilization, and at a decent price. But the job is not the most enticing. We have yet to receive any other offers, so it may be a moot point. But what if Columbus offers a little more money and a slightly better position? or Georgia? Is the living going to be as sweet? What exactly am I hoping for at this point? Yikes!

More questions from the road that need a little more time to play out. Keep those prayers coming--please...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Notes from the Road...

UPDATE: Early this evening we got our first offer, from Arkansas. We have to turn the other irons in the fire before we make a decision, but at least we have one option right now. Let's see if we have any others.

Well, we have returned to Indiana, a little road weary and a lot confused. Arkansas is beautiful, and the Bentonville area is a wonderful place to live. Unfortunately, the job doesn't pay as much as we would like and it is not exactly what Ghost Hunk was hoping to do.

However, he is interviewing with the school in Indiana on Tuesday (so I guess we're going to extend our little vacation a bit.) Again, it's not ideal, but it's something. Still waiting to hear from Georgia. And still more confused about what to do "if"...

I'm afraid I dropped the ball a little on my WFMAD pledge over the last 2 days, so I'll have to work 45 minutes today. And wouldn't it just figure that I left my laptop at home! I didn't think I'd be ready for the actual drafting before we got back to PA, but I'm itching for it, now. But when it comes to the actual writing of the first draft, I'm a computer slave. Just can't function the same way with a pencil and paper. My fingers can't keep up with my brain unless I have a keyboard under them. Anyone else have that trouble?

Stay tuned for the LOUS's...that will put a smile on your face.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Notes from the Road...

The kids (and the dogs) are safely ensconced with Grandma & Grandpa in Indiana, and we arrived in Arkansas just after dinner time. It's been quite a trip so far--beautiful scenery and LOUS's (I'll explain this in another post). But can you believe, as we are driving somewhere through Illinois (or maybe Missouri), we check the messages on the home answering machine.

Ghost Hunk got another call for an interview at a college in Indiana. Yes, you read that right. INDIANA

I'm heartbroken to be leaving the East, but I wasn't really hoping to end up in Indiana. Yes, our family is there. (In my case, 'nuff said) :-) And Ghost Hunk would love to be closer to his parents, so would I. But I had started to get used to the idea of the Big Move. Okay, nothing is decided yet, and there is a lot left to be discovered about each of the jobs. Tomorrow GH has his interview here in Arkansas. The interview in Indiana will probably be on Thursday. And still no word from GA, other than no final decision has been made...but any day now.

WFMAD Update:

I have managed to keep up with my writing on the road. And...I have a plot!!!! Finally, I've figured out where to go with this one. Ghost Hunk is great for that, too. He helps me bounce ideas around and come up with a direction. Yep...Love that hunk!

More later...

Friday, July 04, 2008

On the Road...

Yes, we are striking out to find our fortune. Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic, but with the crazy poverty-driven elements of our latest job search, we have decided to drive out to AR and maybe GA (fingers crossed). We'll be stopping off in Indiana to leave the kiddos with Ghost Grandma & Grandpa while Ghost Hunk and I head out to Arkansas for his interview. Some of you may have heard that they called him out, but at the last minute said they couldn't pay for his flight. Neither can we!

The town is supposed to be one of the best places to live in the US, though the job isn't all that GH was looking for. But it could be a good job. So why should a college's lack of funds and our poverty line keep him from potentially getting real work in this economy? So we're hitting the road. We may also get a call from GA, and with any luck, it will be a good call.

It all works out because I get to see the place and evaluate housing potential, schools, etc. AND the kids get to see their grandparents, who haven't seen them in almost a year and a half.

Will Ghost Girl be writing on this trip? You bet cha! I'm living up to Laurie Halse Anderson's WFMAD challenge. So far, I've started mapping out the main characters and some of the plot. Yikes! The Plot! That's another post. Are you WFMAD-ing?

Wish us luck in the Midwest and South East! (And pray really hard...)