AKA “How I drove Mr. Folk to drink.”
Back in July had you asked me, “where would you like to live?,” I would have told you anywhere but Florida. The battery of bad news that had recently come our way only added to the list of complaints that I had about Florida, regardless of it being the only place I’d ever known. Once Mike and I discussed our options with people whose opinions we care about, and each took the time to think about what we wanted, we had come to a decision. I gave him a piece of paper and told him to write either “Tampa” or “Montana” on it and I did the same. We exchanged papers and opened them together. They both said “Montana”.
I called Jen and told her that we’d made a decision and then we started packing. We dove right into everything that we had to do to get going, as we only had a few weeks left on the lease and would have to visit both of our families before we left. In addition to packing, I was also on the hunt for a job for Mike. I was scheduled to be getting my unemployment soon, and would be able continue to collect it in Montana until I was able to find a job. We both decided that it would be important that he find a job first so that we would technically have two incomes. Amazingly, I had a job interview lined up for him within a few days. This meant that we had to get our asses in gear.
Everything was moving right along. I think we were both too busy to really be nervous about what we were doing. The week before we were scheduled to leave, we went to visit my parents in South Florida. While we were down there essentially saying our goodbyes, a major wrench got thrown into our plan. I found out that my former employer had appealed my unemployment and that there was a chance that whatever money I received could have to be paid back. Because I’m a
neurotic cautious person, I immediately started wondering if we’d made the right decision. A million “what ifs” popped into my head and I felt like I needed to take a step back and think some more. Again, we consulted with our families and got a really mixed bag of advice. The entire way back to Orlando I made Mike want to leave me on the side of the highway talked to Mike about maybe having made the wrong decision. After four hours of listening to me go back and forth, I had somehow convinced him not to leave me in the woods that Tampa was a better idea. I sold my case out of fear of the unknown and really told myself that this was the smarter, safer decision. It really was.
The next day we rented a U-Haul, loaded our entire apartment, packed up the cats (not in a box) and moved to Tampa. We tried to settle in. We looked for jobs, researched different academic programs in Tampa schools, and spent a lot of time watching TV (we didn’t have cable at our apartment in Orlando). It wasn’t easy, though. Mike’s mom has lived alone for a long time and is allergic to cats. We were newlyweds living with our mom/in-law. I guess things weren’t going horrible, but in the pit of my stomach, I knew it wasn’t going to work. Don’t get me wrong, I am forever grateful to my awesome mother-in-law for letting us disturb the peace and live rent-free in her house. She welcomed us with open arms even though we knocked her out of her comfort zone.
By week three, I had to say something to Mike. I was overwhelmed and just overall really stressed out. I brought up moving to Montana and his initial reaction was “are you kidding me?” After everything we had just done, the packing, the moving, the decision making (and reversal), I wanted to change my mind AGAIN. I wasn’t doing to it to stress him out. I just needed to get my emotions out. For ever point I made, he countered it. He had a lot of valid points. He wanted us to get settled and really give it time in Tampa before making the decision to move again. He had given up his job interview in Montana and we didn’t have anything lined up. We could make it work in Tampa if I would just give it a chance. He asked what would happen if I had to pay my unemployment back and we couldn’t find jobs up there. The same argument I’d used when I changed my mind the first time. I knew that he was right, but I just couldn’t deal with it.
It had been three weeks that we were sending out resumes in Tampa and neither one of us had gotten an interview. I started to get scared. I talked to Jen again and asked her if the offer was still on the table. She graciously said yes and I told her we were considering it. I looked for jobs again in the Billings area to see if there was anything else we could find for Mike. Within a couple of days someone called him for an interview. The kicker, they wanted him there in a week. Awesome. We went through the whole thing again. The talking to our families, making pro/con lists, etc. In the end we had to make our own decision. We did the paper pass again. Montana. Mike told me that this was the final decision
or he would divorce me.
These Folks were headed west!