relocating - tangent from my KC, MO thread

gibby2015August 25, 2008

Okay, DH's prospective employment opportunity is now progressing to the psychological testing stage. So what started as kind of a whim might actually turn into something. This weekend we talked more about what it would take in terms of offer, etc. to actually up and move. We've relocated once - in the 80s - actually twice. Once out of MN and once back.

Now I'm starting to feel like some others who have posted questions about up and moving for various reasons. Is this a crazy idea? It has pros and cons and you never really know what you're getting into until you're into it. For that reason I'm thinking if this came to pass, I would not leave my job or sell our house until he had been there long enough to "know" if it was going to be a good thing or not. At least then the major changes wouldn't be made before he had a pretty good idea that this was going to be a good career move.

So is this nuts? Two fifty somethings with no kids - up and moving after we thought we were pretty much settled until we retire? What prompted all this is that DH has just not found the right career oppty since downsizing out of large company after 15 years. He has worked for a couple small but either financially distressed or troubled family owned companies. He loves the smaller company but needs to find right one. In the meantime I have a very good job in corporate America - but very demanding - increasing responsibility and very long hours. He's really passionate about work and business and doesn't mind an all consuming job as long as he's making a difference. I don't want an all consuming job of any kind but I have one and can't just drop out of the rat race until he gets settled. I just can't see us living as we are now for the next 15 years until we retire and if it takes moving to get settled into a more "peaceful" life then it seems like that would be a good thing to do.

So this has been going on for about five years now and I did mention one time that maybe we will need to relocate for him to find the right thing. When the last of our four parents passed away earlier this year we then felt that we really had nothing keeping us in MN except real estate (house and lake cabin). So here we are - perhaps close to an offer on a position that so far appears to be a very good match.

What do you think - is this crazy?

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Gibby, It's not crazy at all. It's my feeling that if you don't try something, you'll never know if it was meant to be. Since you're both open to it, it could be just the opportunity you're craving. We've also made long distance moves (in the past) and I believe there can be something good about every situation. If it looks like a good fit, then maybe it will be. Moving back to the midwest was a very good choice for us when we did it, and the people are friendly here, much like where you're living now.

There are lots of good things about living in the Kansas City area...the climate is somewhat temperate, and although we don't live in the woods, there are a lot of trees. We've had the best August that I can remember in a long time, with highs in the 80's and lows in the 60's. (That's a little unusual as it's typically a bit hotter, with higher humidity.) Speaking of humidity, it's probably not as high here as what you're used to, being from the land of 10,000 lakes! It also sounds like you don't have to leave it completely behind, if keeping your lake place is an option for you.

My dh is looking for ''something different'' at this stage of his life as well, so I know exactly where you're coming from. There's something about this period in our lives that makes a calculated risk seem rejuvenating...even with all the unknowns. We spent some time recently making a ''vision list'' of what we'd like the future to look like, as far as we can see. It sounds like you really just need to come and take a look around for yourselves. That will give you a first-hand advantage of seeing whether or not the opportunity is truly exciting for you. In the meantime, you could possibly drive yourself crazy wondering about all the pros/cons if you don't know what you're truly up against!

At the very least, you ''kind-of'' know someone (me) from the area, whose kitchen might be somewhat familiar! I'd love to sit you down in it and make a calming cup of something (with or without a little kick; you decide!) Speaking of which, how hard would be it be to leave your beautiful A&C style kitchen?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:42AM
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gibby - I just happened upon this thread out of curiosity but had to chime in. We *just* left MN (okay, it was 2 1/2 years ago but I still feel *new* here) and although it wasn't totally on a whim, it was definitely an as-much-as-we-want-to-stay-in-MN-we-can't-stay-for-career-reasons decision. I was the only person in my family still in MN so my house was considered "home base" for my sibs and parents when they came to town. We had just settled where I grew up (Orono) and built our dream house - even better, our kids were going to school w/ their cousins from DH's side of the family and I was putting down more adult-roots (as compared to those from my childhood) in my hometown. I had just stopped practicing law after 7+ years and DH had a high profile career with a large financial firm in Mpls. YET, due to the industry changes post-9/11, things were not as certain as they used to be and we felt a weight on our shoulders that things could change at any minute and we'd be at the mercy of a corporate decision-maker. We started to feel something along the lines of "we're too young to feel this settled into such a quiet (nearly perfect) life"....SO, we surprised even ourselves when we decided that in order to keep DH's career vibrant and exciting for him (hugely important since I was no longer working), we needed to do something drastic to put him in control of it, before someone else made a decision for us.

Thus, after a whirlwind 6 weeks of putting out "feelers", we ended up in the Boston area. We had our house for sale but due to the lackluster Mpls real estate market it sat, fully furnished at our realtor's request, for 9 long months (we started out here w/ a rental and rented furnishings - yuck). Looking back, having the house still there for a while was like a security blanket for me - during those 9 months, I never had to really, fully, sincerely, engage in my new surroundings - instead, I went through the motions and secretly kept one foot still in MN. When it finally sold, I have to be honest and say that it was a good kick in the arse for me - there was no way I could honestly evaluate whether the move was working for us while we still had real estate in MN - MN was safe, known and easy...the slightest discomfort in my new life had me thinking "well, if this doesn't work out, we can always go back" and yet how was I ever to know whether it could work when I wasn't really ever giving it a real chance, you know?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you know that you need to do something but in order to really do it right, you need to do it fully, completely. For that reason, I'd say if a move would be good for your DH's career (and possibly get you into a better way of life) than by all means go for it - but 100% and with no crutches!

I lived in KCMO for a while (I was a grain trader for Cargill on the KCBOT) and I love that town. We even considered it again when we were looking around. For us, it was a little too small-townish but then again our careers were/are Wall Street-oriented and for our kids we wanted a little more of a metropolitan setting for them. Still, KC is like a baby Mpls and the people couldn't be more wonderful (like Minnesotans, IMHO). I think that if the opportunity is right, you'll love it.

My mantra, after having made this big move/life change, is that neither one choice nor the other, when made for the right reasons, is better or worse... they're just different. We still have days that we long for MN but I can't say we'd move back at this point, either. Instead, we consider ourselves lucky because we have two places to call home in our hearts and because we grew so much as individuals (and as a family) by taking a risk and going for it. I think you'll be very happy (and rejuvenated) by making this switch :-)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 8:27PM
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Thanks claire and hockeymom - good thoughts and nice to hear I'm not the only one to deal with such matters. I think the things that most make me question this are leaving my job and dealing with the whole real estate situation right now. I'd seriously love to leave my job and retire - at least to something less demanding - but I've been the bigger earner for quite a few years and at times the only earner as DH has moved about over the last few years. I think it would be pretty hard for me to find comparable position so once I go it will be up to him to sustain our current lifestyle.

And the real estate situation makes me nervous. We're in a great situation now - been there a long time so no risk that we paid more than we can get for the house - very desireable area, etc. I'd be concerned about buying a house - paying too much - and then being stuck with it. However I wouldn't really want to rent for very long - that would be added expense since our current house is paid for.

I feel like a nervous nelly. I have a very financially secure situation and I'm somewhat risk averse. I'd be risking the security for a better quality of life. I'm not really concerned about not liking a new place - I can adapt to that. I'm more concerned about the job not working out for DH for some reason and then not having flexibility due to my lack of income and/or a real estate problem. There is a lot of peace of mind in having two incomes and knowing you could live on one.

Hockeymom - did you get relocated by DH's company - if so can you tell me more about how that worked out? We did corporate relocation in the past but life was much simpler then - no real estate, etc.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 12:39AM
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gibby - yes we did get relocated by his company but corporate relocation packages are not anything like they used to be. Essentially we got realtor's expenses/closing costs, including attorneys fees, on both ends of the move (sale in MN/purchase in MA). We also got a "signing bonus" which was intended to cover initial costs like utilities hook-ups, etc. The physical move was covered completely and included a VIP pack and unpack on both ends. Last, in the event our house in MN didn't sell in the first six months after we moved, we got a guaranteed stipend towards housing expenses in MA (so that we weren't paying two mortgages or one mortgage and one rent payment). In the end, because our house took 9+ mos to sell, we did have 3+ mos of double expenses (housing plus utilities...over the winter, no less!) and because we opted to rent and then buy, we really had two physical moves (MN to MA and then rental to purchased house) but only one of those was covered. We had just closed on our MN house only 18 mos before the move and with the downturn in the market we ended up selling it for $250,000 LESS than we paid our builder for it - BIG OUCH. Suffice it to say, the move cost us a fortune and put us in a place with 3 timse the cost of living and a lesser quality of life so I was very, very, very bitter for a long time about it. I finally just let go emotionally of all of it so that I could move forward but I do look back and wonder what the heck where we thinking!

I would be nervous if I were you too. I guess I'd be inclined to have him get a job there and a small rental place and then commute on weekends for a few months - I don't think it's the move or change of residency that concerns you (while it was for me) but rather the uncertainty of the career track for your DH there. Having him commute for 6 mos would seem to cover that risk - he could test the waters and make sure the new position is right for him, you two would not be heavily invested real estate-wise in KC, you would keep your secure and lucrative position until he was certain and stable with his new one, and you could wait a little longer to sell in MN in the hopes that the market there recovers a bit - how does that sound? The drive between KCMO and MN is VERY easy - my DH and I commuted between KC and Mpls for 9 mos and don't regret it at all. Just something to think about. :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 8:37PM
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hockeymom - thanks for that add'l info on the relocation - very helpful. WOW - you have really been through some significant turmoil with your move. I'm glad you have adjusted - you are maybe younger and this is an investment for your family for the future.

Ya, I'm thinking I would stay put for at least six months until he and the company had time to "evaluate" each other. That is what he's thinking too. It's expensive for a company to relocate someone - I would think the company would want some kind of arrangement like that as well. He lived in Japan for about six months at one point in his career so we have experience with that kind of arrangement. Plus he has about a million frequent flyer miles so we could burn a few of those to get together.

Well, I imagine he will hear something soon - and then I can find out if all this hypothesizing was necessary or much to do about nothing.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 9:04PM
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gibby - good luck with everything. It sounds like a change would really breathe new and exciting things into your lives but I can completely understand the hesitation, nonetheless. Good people are hard to find so if they want him, make sure they make it worth your while :-)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:45AM
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Well, I guess he passed the psychological inspection as WE have now been invited down for a visit.....YIKES!!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 1:03PM
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So...the worst thing that can happen is that you'd like it and want to move! This may just be the beginning of a brand new life.

I'd like to invite you to meet for lunch/coffee/afternoon libation, since I'd love to meet you. (I've never actually met in person any of the KF, so this could be fun. BTW, we're the same age/no kids as well so there's that, besides having intimate knowledge of your kitchen!) No pressure, in case you want to keep the trip and time to yourselves, I completely understand. If you decide to live dangerously, e-mail me; I'm always up for meeting someone new!

Good luck to you and your dh. I'm certain that the trip will reveal everything you need it to, and who knows? Soon, I may be able to welcome you to Kansas City...

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:59PM
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I saw your mention of KCMO and couldn't help but look in to see what was up.

DH and I are in our late 30's, no children and did the same thing. Except, we moved away from KC to the Houston/Galveston TX area. It was a good opportunity for him, so we left all of our family and most of our friends behind. Things have not turned out quite as I would have liked, but we do like it here and the move was worth the few years away from home.
You really have to take the long view with something like this.

If you do move, the area is very nice. Missouri is a very pretty state and I urge you to do some site seeing, especially in the fall. I highly recommend a trip to Atchison, Kansas in October. Not only is the drive absolutely lovely, but there are some very nice shops in the downtown area owned by Mary Carol Garrity (Nell Hill's) that are a lot of fun to go through. Weston MO has several antique places, which is on the way. Garrity has a branch in North KC that's supposed to be quite large.
There is a winery with spectacular views in Rocheport, MO less than 2 hrs away. Herman, MO has Octoberfest. You can take the train from KC to Herman for the day.
MO has tons of lakes, rivers, caves, trails for the nature lover.

Good luck to you in whatever you choose :)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 2:02PM
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Hey Gibby, I wanted to pop in and wish you and DH the best of luck with whatever you decide to do! I'd appreciate it if you'd tell DH to look for a job in MA, though ;)

We are *hopefully* finally selling our home (getting it ready to market - almost done), so maybe we can hang out @ the B&SH forum together!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 7:49AM
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Thanks all for your good thoughts and tips.

Alex - you sound like us! When we relocated previously we moved to Houston from MN. That was a very exciting time but also did not turn out for us as we expected and we eventually moved back but some very good things came to us as a result of that move.

claire - you are so sweet - I would LOVE to see you and your kitchen in real life. What part of KC do you live in? Assuming we make this preliminary visit I'm not sure what the schedule will be like. I think it will be kind of a quick weekend trip and I suspect we will have to spend some time with people from the company and I would also like to look at some real estate to get a better feel for the area. I'll let you know what comes of that.

Paulines - thank you for your good wishes. Ya, I've already started looking at the B&SH forum. I've been thinking to myself over the past year or so how thankful I am that I'm not buying or selling a house right now....oh well. And I was thinking more recently - I'm glad I'm good about keeping clutter under control. But DH is not and I've been shoving all his cr@p in various closets and drawers....which I'd now have to deal with. What's the story on selling your house - where are you going?

So we'll see what happens. DH also has a local business opportunity in the works that he would love to do and I think he would really prefer not to move. That hasn't yet reached the go/no go decision yet though so timing on all of this is going to get pretty interesting I think.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 9:57AM
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Hi, I am in the Kansas City metro area as well. I grew up about an hour south of here and all my teenage / college years could not wait to move away. DH and I moved to Wisconsin for some training of his and when he finished, there were two jobs available for his speciality in the country - one in Hartford CT and one guessed it, Kansas City. We tried to love Hartford on our trip there but just couldn't, so we grudgingly moved to Kansas City.

11 years later, we are still here and have no intention of moving. It is a very livable city with great neighborhoods on both sides of the state line. People who transferred here back in my working at Hallmark days would marvel at the great values in the housing market here compared to the coasts. I'm not sure what it is like where you are but it wouldn't be sticker shock moving here, I'm pretty sure.

(Missouri schools stink if you're close to State Line which isn't an issue for you, right). We get four great seasons here with a milder winter than up north. Summers can be a bit brutal, though not this year.

Kansas Citians complain about traffic and people who moved here from other cities laugh and laugh...what we call bad traffic is a 15 minute backup on the interstate. There is an easy commute to just about anywhere in the metro area.

I won't claim there are great mountains or natural lakes close by, but there are some fantastic lakes within a days drive that make for good weekend / vacation trips.

I describe Kansas City as a very big small town. I am constantly amazed at how everyone seems to know everyone else somehow or another. (Claire, it wouldn't surprise me at all if we found out that you and I know each other - that would be such a Kansas City thing.)


    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 10:14AM
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Hi Anita - where abouts do you live? The only concern I have about schools is that I would actually prefer to buy in a good school district since in my experience it's better for property values. The town I live in now has two school districts and there is a definite adverse affect on property values on the side that has the less desireable school district. From what I've read it sounds like Parkville and Liberty schools have a good reputation - the northland area is the general vicinity we would choose I think since job is on that side of town and involves air travel.

From what I can see from online real estate shopping the cost of real estate looks to be lower there than it is here. There was quite a run up of real estate prices in Mpls/St. Paul area during the pre-RE bust. Of course it's dropped here like everywhere else.

Yes, I was looking at annual avg temps, highs, lows - it seems like your summer weather is worse than it was when I lived in Houston!! Winter doesn't really bother me so overall the change of climate probably wouldn't be a plus in my case. But weather is a relatively minor factor.

Do you have mosquitos?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 8:04PM
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I would love to tell you we don't have mosquitos but I would be lying. They aren't the state bird like when I was in Wisconsin, but we do have them.

Our summers can be rough because it is humid here in the summer. In the winter we get some snow, not tons and tons, and we get ice storms occasionally.

My cousin lives in Parkville. It is a very cute town and has some great real estate, both older homes and newer suburbs. School-wise I think you're in good shape up north; it is really just KCMO proper where the schools are dreadful. I live one block from the KS-MO state line (on the Kansas side) just a little south of the Plaza.

If the job involves air travel you're very smart to stick to the northland. Even though the airport is an easy commute from anywhere (25 minutes maybe for me?) if I were doing it several times a month, I would want to be closer.

I don't know much personally about Liberty or Parkville but I have friends who grew up in Liberty and my cousin in Parkville so if you have any specific questions let me know and I can ask them.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 9:05AM
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Gibby & Anita...I think I might live in Anita's neighborhood! (At least from the description anyway.) Of course, I would be willing to drive to Liberty if you have any extra time (it's not that far) but otherwise, if you want to focus right now on the particulars while you're visiting, I completely understand.

I don't want to hijack anything, but I'm wondering if there's any interest in a Kansas City Metro area get together? I really didn't realize there were so many of us! If there is, I'll start another thread...

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 10:17PM
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Hi, Claire. I looked at your kitchen photos the other day and from the view out of one of your windows I thought "she's in Fairway". Am I right?

I would love to have a Kansas City get together. Not sure how much I want put on this thread about exactly where I live, but you can email me privately -


    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 12:24PM
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Anita, Check your e-mail!

Gibby, Enjoy your ''research''! Whatever you do, don't put too much pressure on yourself to try and figure it all out at once. If it's good for both of you, I think it will be an obvious choice and just Feel Right. I'll keep good thoughts for both of you.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 1:55PM
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Anita, I tried to send you an e-mail which came back as ''undeliverable''. Send me an e-mail via Gardenweb, by clicking on My Page, and I'll resend when I hear from you.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 3:26PM
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My mother would say, "it can't kill you!"

If it turns out to be a bad move for your DH, in terms of the job, how is he really worse off? You don't have the life you *really* want NOW.

If it turns out to be unpleasant from an emotional standpoint--starting from scratch to make friends, etc.--there are things you can do to influence that.

And if you realize that it's not working, you *can* move back. Maybe not right away, but you can move.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:52AM
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Just reporting back on what happened with this. We are going to go for it. DH will move to temporary living quarters and I won't quit my job or sell our house until he's sure this is the real deal. I suspect it will be at least a year before we'd actually move - lots of time for me to start going through all my (his?) junk and purging before we move.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 8:33AM
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Best wishes!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 8:12PM
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This is pretty exciting! Have you been for a visit yet?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 8:22PM
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Hi Claybabe - Yes - I've been there - and DH is now there working and living in his temporary apartment. We are three weeks into our "commuter marriage". So far so good. He loves the new job - granted it's early - but he is like a new person. I'm very happy for him. I'm holding down the fort at home. He will be home for Thanksgiving for about five days - I'm going there for company Christmas party in early December - then he will be home for a week for Christmas.

It's an interesting adventure so far. I'm happy not to have to sell our house or quit my job right now with all the economic uncertainty. An acquaintance I was talking to seemed to think this arrangement was kind of crazy. I told her it really isn't that bad when you think about people in the military whose spouses are gone for long periods and risking their lives. This seems like a walk in the park compared to that.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 11:57PM
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