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Onward and Downward

My Beautiful Wife and I had our first conversation about possibly moving to Florida over two years ago. It was just an idea. We’re empty nesters, so why not get a jump on the next phase of our lives? Where do we want to be? Where are we best positioned for retirement? She wants to be warm. I want a sailboat. Her mom lives in Florida. My company has offices in Florida. Why not Florida?

Over the last year, MBW put in for a few jobs in Florida. Testing the waters. One series of job interviews got as serious as her flying down to interview in person.  It looked like it was really going to happen!

But then it didn’t.


About six months ago, I heard the first rumblings at my job that the St. Louis office might be repurposed to a different division of my company. Those of us not in the aforementioned division might have to relocate to one of the 17 other offices across the country. “Really?”  “Yes. Really.”

Well okay, then.

MBW redoubled her efforts to find a job in one of the cities where my company has offices in Florida, just in case the rumors were true. (The rumors are never true.) She already had to start her career over once when the railroad HQ left town for Omaha. She went from a big dollar executive position to working in a collections boiler room for barely more than minimum wage. From there she clawed her way back into a real, meaningful career, step-by-tenacious-step. It was so hard. I am so incredibly proud of her. She didn’t want to start over from scratch again. It’s always easier to find a job when you have a job.

Alas, it did not happen in time. I got my notice that I need to bug out of town as soon as I can sell my house. She’s screwed. I just lost a big chunk of my household income. We’re moving to a city where we know no one and neither of us has spent any real time.

I’m moving her into a hotel in a couple weeks so she can spearhead the effort to find us a new house. I will return to St. Louis for a while to clean-up, fix-up, paint, and put our St. Louis homestead on the market.

It’s all so very… Terrifying. Surreal. Stressful.

It came right on the heels of my father’s passing. I was already an emotional Tilt-a-Whirl. Now this.

Four months from now, everything will be unpacked in our new house. Our new city. Our new state. We’ll be teasing our hometown peeps with pictures of us frolicking on the beach while they are digging out of that late March snow dump that always breaks your heart when you think winter has passed. I’ll still be a Cardinals fan, but I will shed my Neutrogena peel-thin Rams patronage and become a Buccaneers man in a heartbeat. Hopefully by that time MBW will be among the employed once more and we won’t be pinching pennies. Until then, I’m walking in a circle, scratching my balls and wondering which part of this elephant I should sink my teeth in first.

God bless MBW. She looked around, pointed at six pieces of furniture she wanted to keep, and said “Sell the rest. We’ll start over. A room at a time, we’ll put it all back together. Don’t drop eight grand on a moving company to ship our crap across country. We’ll buy new crap. Or different crap.”

That makes my life a lot easier.

It’s a chance to hit the reset button. We needed to downsize our big house anyway. We don’t use half of it, now that the kids are gone. Housing prices in our St. Louis neighborhood are up and housing prices in Florida are still way down. Zillow says we’re going to come out ahead on the dollars-per-square-foot thing. Interest rates are still low. No state income tax. This could be a win.

If only MBW wasn’t crying all the time.postcard


  • Pop

    November 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm


    • Shawn

      November 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Whoopsie. The plan was to talk to you about this tomorrow night, Pop. Come on over for a drink so we can work through this with you.

  • Vanessa

    November 24, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Aw man! What a huge change! I’ll be praying for success in everything – selling the old, buying the new, finding work – so many changes! Stress and excitement wrapped into one lovely package.

    On another note though, perhaps this will be a chance to kind of put your grief into a different bin for a bit while you deal with all of this more immediate stuff. That’s the funny thing about grief – it doesn’t really go away, it just sits in the corner, waiting.

    Things will be fine once the dust settles. And just think – no more shoveling snow after this winter! That qualifies for at least 3 woo’s! 🙂

  • Linda Williams

    November 24, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    We’ll miss you Shawn. Hope it all goes well. Please keep us envious with your pictures. Good Luck to both of you!!

  • Dane Tyler

    November 26, 2015 at 1:29 am

    Wow! just…just wow. Sorry, Shawn. I really am. I’m in one way envious, but not very much. Moving stinks, my man. I’m sorry about the hit-and-run life truck bulldozing over you.

    I’ll say a prayer for fast feet-first landings for all.