I’m a little late in mentioning here that Jessica and I are moving to Denver after we return from Peru. The possibility first came up a few months ago, but we just signed a lease this weekend, so it’s fairly certain now. I also signed a contract this weekend, to become a web developer at the Integer Group. Astute readers will notice I am already a web developer at the Integer Group. I’m just moving from the Des Moines branch to the Denver branch.

I’m also moving from working remotely back to an actual office. For much of my life, my dream job was to work from home online. When Jessica found work in Illinois after searching for teaching work in Des Moines, I actually had the opportunity to work from home online. I was surprised to discover it wasn’t all I had hoped. It was certainly a luxury to be able to fold laundry while thinking about issues at work, but it was also somewhat of a burden to be thinking about issues at work while folding laundry.

And living in a small rural town didn’t help much either. I wasn’t especially excited about Denver itself until our visit this weekend, but now I am. There’s a lot more going on near our new place in the middle of Denver than our old place twenty minutes outside of Carbondale. I wasn’t really happy with working from Carbondale, and Jessica wasn’t really happy with working from Des Moines, so hopefully we can both be happy working from Denver.

My work transition is actually a bit more than just moving between two branches of the same company; my job will actually be changing slightly. For example, I’m currently one of three full time web developers in Des Moines, but I will be the only full time developer in Denver. The company is twice as large in Denver, so I’ll have a bit more responsibility. But I also won’t be doing any work for client websites as I do now, only making internal tools for the people at Integer.

So I still have two more weeks in Des Moines, helping to train my replacement, Dan. Then we have a week and a half in Peru for vacation (scheduled before Denver came up). Then I head out to Denver, with Jessica to follow shortly after. Hopefully I’ll be done moving and travelling for a while after that. It’s exhausting to be in a different city almost every week. But Denver was certainly worth the visit this weekend, and I have high hopes it will prove worth the move later this month.

 

Last month I assembled all of my earthly possessions in Des Moines, IA, gave some of them away, put most of them in a truck, and left a few in kitchen cabinets as an accidental gift for my former landlord. I drove the truck to Bloomington, IL and slept for a night. The next morning, my brother-in-law loaded a roll-top desk (that two of me couldn't lift) onto the truck all by himself. I was impressed.

Then I drove the truck to Carbondale, IL, and through Carbondale to Murphysboro, IL, where I now live in a duplex between a dirt road and a forest. I don’t really want to live in a large city, but I also don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere, which unfortunately means I’ll likely be moving again within the next year. Hopefully I’ll manage to lose more stuff before then.

Boxes were left unpacked as Jessica and I drove back to Bloomington, where we spent Christmas. On the day after Christmas, we celebrated “fake New Year’s Eve” (as they call it) with Jessica’s high school friends. One of those friends works for NBC news, and informed us of Gerald Ford’s death hours before you knew about it. I forgot about it almost immediately, only to be reminded of it hours after you knew about it. I remember reading something about how there’s no point in watching the news because you’ll be told about anything newsworthy anyway whether or not you’re interested. I think that’s mostly true.

From Bloomington we went to Peoria to spend “fake Christmas” (as only I call it) with some of my family. We talked briefly about Gerald Ford dying and played some Scrabble. We also watched Charlotte’s Web, which was pretty good for a children’s movie. No wait — we went to Peoria first between Christmas and “fake New Year’s Eve,” then back to Bloomington, then back to Peoria. On the first trip to Peoria, my friend JJ gave me some music by his friend Mitch Ure after we shot BB guns at empty cans.

After the second trip to Peoria, we went back to Bloomington again, where I saw some of Cars while falling asleep. Then we went to Iowa City, IA, where we celebrated actual New Year’s Eve, among my college friends, who — when together — refer to it as “New Yars” due to our shared interest in piracy. In Iowa City I watched most of Wine for the Confused with John Cleese (of Monty Python fame). It was more informative and less funny than I expected. I also watched a few episodes of Firefly, and I expect I’ll watch it all eventually.

From Iowa City, we went to St. Louis, MO where I sang in a recording for a song by Mitch Ure along with a girl whose name I’ve forgotten, but whose picture can be found in the January issue of Guitar Player magazine in the section on MySpace musicians. Also in St. Louis, I watched Factotum, a movie based on books by Charles Bukowski, who I only know of due to a song by Modest Mouse. It was okay. We stayed (and watched the movie) with JJ. Jessica’s grandma called and talked at length about Gerald Ford. She wanted to make sure we saw his funeral procession on TV. We didn’t.

From St. Louis, we got on a plane to Reno, with a layover in Denver. No movies nor discussion of Gerald Ford in Denver. At the boarding gate, we sat near two Japanese girls who spoke to each other in Japanese. My Japanese is very rusty, but I did catch one of them saying she doesn’t like Americans. In Reno, I watched both Children of Men and 28 Days Later, both violent distopian stories set in a future Britian. I preferred 28 Days Later, not least because it involved zombies. We stayed with my brother and sister-in-law, who played a lot of Scrabble with us, took us to visit my cousin in Sacremento, CA, took us skiing in Tahoe, and discussed Gerald Ford with us.

I spent a lot of time in Casinos and eventually succumbed to gambling $1 in a penny slot machine while we waited to be seated for breakfast. At one point I was up to $1.07, but I lost it all in the end. Then we flew back to St. Louis, and attempted to drive back to Murphysboro. Unfortunately, all access to Interstate 55 was closed, so we had to take what ended up to be about a two hour detour through St. Louis to find another bridge over the river. But we eventually got back to a house in the middle of nowhere full of unopened boxes.

I’m working from home now — right now, in fact. So far it’s not as different as I was expecting. I’ve opened a bank account and established new health insurance, but I haven’t watched any movies in Murphysboro yet and the one person I’ve talked to — the cable guy who spent an hour here beforing telling me he couldn’t get the cable modem working on the jack in my office — did not mention Gerald Ford. I have a three day weekend, so odds are pretty good that I’ll experience a movie, Scrabble game, and/or discussion of Gerald Ford. I’ll keep you posted.

 

I’ll be playing at the Continental Lounge in Des Moines again this Wednesday, and then next Wednesday, and I suspect the Wednesday after that, but I didn’t want to push my luck. The owner of the Continental Lounge seems to like my music, so I expect to play there regularly, until I move. Which brings me to the other news:

Jessica has a job that starts in a few weeks teaching at Southern Illinois University. It’s not all finalized yet, but it seems likely she’ll be leaving for Carbondale in a couple weeks. “But Scott,” you say, “SIU is in Carbondale, and your job is in Des Moines. How is that working?” It’s not really. Not yet, anyway. For now, I’m staying here in Des Moines while Jessica starts work in Carbondale. Interesting honeymoon, I know, but I’m confident it will work out.

There’s a small chance Jessica will still find a good ESL teaching job in Des Moines, in which case I won’t move to Carbondale at all. There’s a slightly more likely scenario that I’ll find a job in Carbondale in the next few months and move there then. But neither job market seems very good for our respective vocations right now, so the most likely scenario seems to be that I’ll stay here until the end of the year, then join Jessica in Carbondale and be unemployed do freelance work.

So the next few months will double as both a stalling tactic in making a major transition and a chance to save up some money with both of us working full-time jobs at the same time before I no longer have steady income. It will also give me a chance to hone my musical skills if I am left with no choice but to become a world-famous musician for a living.

It’s all rather up in the air right now, but worst case scenario: Jessica works full-time, I try to make more than I spend online, and we adopt a lower-cost lifestyle than we’ve been living lately. I trust we can get by without the money fires.

Photo from slight clutter