Homegrown Texan

Born and raised in Texas, I've found the home of my heart and soul in the Pacific Northwest. I love trees, cool weather, and rain. I'm a back to basics kind of gal just trying to raise my family and find a bit of time to slow down in this hectic life.

My dad used to sing this old Stones classic to me when I was  a little girl and wanted something that I couldn't have.  This used to piss me off immensely, but now I just chuckle.

This post is going to be about me sorting things out "out loud" if you will.  Probably a lot of rambling.  Feel free to move on, but if you care to read and care to comment, I'd certainly welcome it.

I know I've complained before that I don't like living in Arizona, I miss my parents, and I really want to live in the forest.  I know those last two things are mutually exclusive; my parents live in central Texas, not even in the hill country, but on what used to be flat farmland.  Compared to here it's a rain forest, but really, I have to admit that living near them would not satisfy my craving to live amongst tall trees.  You know, the kind that are so tall that you can hear the wind in the tops of them while the air hardly stirs down below.  I *love* that sound.

When I'm in an environment like that, I feel like I'm complete, like some piece of me that is normally missing has locked into place.  I yearn to have that feeling all the time, but does that mean that I *need* it?   Probably not...I've never lived in that environment (aside from a short stint in New Caney, Texas, when I was 3-4, which I barely even remember), and I seem to have survived so far.  In my more dramatic (read: whiny) moments, I can imagine myself living my life, never fulfilling this dream, and what a tragedy that would be.  People could write sad poetry about me and shed tears for the woman whose life dream was never fulfilled.  I could die a martyr, sacrificing myself for the wants and needs of my family.  Bleh.

And then there's my parents.  This desire/need is probably more realistic, certainly something I can ascribe more validity to, although I don't always feel it as strongly.  I really, really miss them.  Especially my dad.  I get back to visit twice a year if I'm lucky.  I could possibly make it more, but what  I really miss is being able to drop over for a visit on the weekends.  They still work a lot, so when I do go back to visit, I really have to stay a long time to get to spend much time with them.  Fortunately, at least for now, I can telecommute from their house almost as well as i can from mine (I do have phone issues, but nothing I can't work around), but there's only so much time I feel comfortable spending away from my children, and that I feel comfortable asking Jim to stick it out alone with the kids with.  Sure, he *can* do it, and plenty of people put up with far more (I'm specifically thinking of my friend who has two kids and a husband who is deployed in Iraq).

So, what to do.  Jim doesn't really want to move to Texas.  I think if I really put my foot down, I could make it happen, anyway.  Realistically, he doesn't have a valid reason to say no.  I haven't wanted to live here for several years now, so it's only fair that i get a turn to get what I want.  But it's hard for me to want to play that card; I'm not generally that assertive and I'm not so sure it would be good for the relationship.  And then I have this "live in the forest thing" always hanging around in my head, and lo and behold, he tells me he's willing to try living in the Pacific Northwest.  This certainly meets my forest need and is something he says he can live with.  The down side is I am no longer  a day's drive (and I'm a *long* day's drive now...16 hours minimum) from my parents; far from it, in fact.  Plane tickets are increasingly expensive, and to take all 4 of us or even just me and the kids is a substantial expense.

While I was laid off in November, I interviewed for jobs in Seattle.  I absolutely loved it there...everything just seemed to be falling into place.  I *really* thought I was going to get one of the jobs.  And I really don't think it was just a matter of  me wanting it (even though I did), everything just felt like it was coming together.  Then it didn't work out  and I almost felt like the universe was just toying with me at that point.  To let me get so close to escape, and then rip it away from me.

But the truth is, it's a terrible time for us to move.  Our house isn't ready to sell or rent, and I'm not even sure if we could rent or sell it in this market.  We *cannot* afford two house payments.  And I'm adamant that my kids go to an alternative school.  This is not at all about me getting them away from certain types of people, and all about the fact that I have huge issues with the format and methods of mainstream public education.  My point being I don't necessarily want them in a private school, not only because of the expense, but because it almost automatically brings along a certain amount of snootiness for the ride, which I *don't* want.  But if my choices were regular mainstream public school or private (a private school that I agree with), I'd do my damndest to get them into private.  I've had a strong feeling since Michael was small that I needed to find something for them.  And you know, I've found that here in Phoenix.  I have them in a public charter Waldorf school.  It's not perfect and there are some things I'm not crazy about.  But overall I like it.  My children seem to be thriving there.  There is a wonderful community there.  I feel good about sending them there every day.  And that is really the huge thing...my other options in location  would require (based on my personal requirements) that I pony up and send them to private school.  Jim could get more work to pay for it, but it seems silly for him to generate more income just to throw it at a school.  We both agreed that if we moved that's what we'd do.

So that's my conundrum.  My choices are:
- Texas (Austin): gets me closer to my parents, housing is more affordable, it's possible for me to live some place wooded and beautiful there.  But I'd have to do the private school thing.
- Seattle: gives me that whole forest thing I want (need?).  I think I can eventually get a job I want there (my current one allows me to telecommute, but I don't know how long it will last, so I have to think ahead).  Jim would be happier here.  But I'd be further from my parents, and I'd have to do the private school ting.
- Portland: again, gives me that whole forest thing.  I could telecommute from there now, but I'm not so sure I could find a suitable job for myself if I needed to (no worse than here in Phoenix; when I looked at the end of last year I wasn't happy with the options, either).  Portland *does* have a Waldorf charter school, which is a huge plus and the only reason I'd choose it over Seattle.  And again, I'd be much further from my parents.
- Stay here: probably the best decision financially, simply because we don't have to incur a moving expense and/or deal with changing housing.  Kids get to stay in the school that they love and that so far we are happy with.  Still far away from my parents, but closer than the NW.  The real downside here is that I feel smothered and it feels so lifeless here.  When I put it down on paper, it just seems like I'm whining.  But the feeling is very real, and it's bothered me for years, so I'm not so sure I should just ignore it either.  Edited to add:  The other huge thing about staying here is that I have family and a lot of friends here.  I know some people in Austin (besides my parents) and Jim has a brother in Seattle, but it would definitely be a huge deal to leave our circle of friends.  At times that seems unbearable; at other times I think that I would miss them dearly, but I would also make new friends.


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