11 July 2007

Moving to Oregon

I've been working on this entry for weeks. I guess I should go ahead and post something, even though it's not finished yet. Things are still pretty hectic. We finally have an apartment, but we're still living out of boxes. Stay tuned for, to coin a phrase, "the rest of the story."

For several years, my wife and I have talked about the possibility of moving to the Pacific Northwest. Her mother lives in Auburn, WA, a suburb of Seattle, and has for about 25 years, although she was born and raised in Memphis, as was my beautiful wife, [my now-ex-wife]. We visited the Seattle area several times in our marriage, and I fell in love with it on the first trip. Yes, it rains. A lot. Or more precisely, often. The actual rainfall is not that much more than Memphis. But where Memphis will get 10 inches in 2 hours, then go two weeks without a cloud, Seattle will get 2 inches in 10 weeks without a break in the clouds! Interestingly, the average Seattle temperature is only about 5 degrees cooler than Memphis, but much more moderate. It rarely gets below 30 or above 85.

For about 14 years, I have worked in the trust department of a bank. I never really set out to be a Trust Administrator, it just sort of happened. In 1993, I was a Facilities Manager at NationsBank. Someone in the corporate headquarters, who probably got a bonus, decided that my job could be done from Charlotte, NC, and my job was about to be eliminated. [my now-ex-wife] and I had been married for less than six months, and she was three months pregnant with our first child. On the way to my mom’s house that day, I took a slightly different route than usual and passed a church sign. On that sign was this verse: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. I felt like God was telling me that my job was no surprise to Him, and that He would take care of us. About a month later, an old boss called me out of the blue and offered me a job in the trust department of his bank. I never looked for a job at all, one came to me.

I enjoy doing what I do. But it is a very specialized field, and job opportunities do not come open often. Over the years, I watched the job market in Seattle off and on. Nothing much came along. Last year, [my now-ex-wife] and I went through a difficult period in our marriage, and a change of scenery seemed in order. Combined with some issues at my current job, the time seemed right, so I stepped up the search.

Back in November, I flew out to Tacoma for an interview with a bank there. All seemed to go well, and we got really excited about what seemed an ideal opportunity. But it ultimately fell through: they went with a local candidate. We were disappointed to say the least.

A couple of months later, I found a small bank in Salem, Oregon who was looking for a Trust Administrator. Salem is about 200 miles from [my now-ex-wife]’s mom, and easy weekend trip. After a successful phone interview, they flew me out for a face-to-face interview. The following Wednesday night, on the way home from work, they called and made me an offer. I countered and they said they’d call me back. By the time I got to church, they had called back and accepted my counter. That was mid-May, and they wanted me to start the first of July.

I gave my current job two weeks notice, which would leave me with a month off between jobs. We began packing, making plans to move, reserving rental trucks, etc. We decided to take the opportunity to visit some family [my now-ex-wife] had not seen in several years. We mapped out a route through Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington on the way to Oregon.

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