We are roughly two-thirds through the calendar year and it has been been a ride.  With the start of 2012, my sights were set on the middle of March – my scheduled trip to Japan.  On the way to March, things at the office went south (this is not the place to go into detail of what exactly that means).  Melissa was feeling the same tension and stress at work, as well.  My mental health was lagging and I would really feel the stress.  Japan would be a great diversion from reality.

The crescendo came the day before I was to fly out to Japan.  The thought of change – real change – had popped into my head a while before this, but between mental and physical health, the idea of massive-change had, frankly, frightened me.  However, the prospect of leaving for Japan for two weeks was liberating.  What if we were to press reset?

The University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, had several job openings in my field.  There was even an opening in a department that I had interviewed with and had been offered a position with two years prior.  An all around spectacular department, the offer, at that time, was just wrong timing.

Before flying out to Japan, I told Melissa that I wanted a new job.  I would be completely down with moving out of the Duluth area – only if she was down with the idea, as well.

As I reported in a several blog posts, Japan was wonderful, it was calming, it was grounding.

As I mentioned in another blog post, we quit our jobs in Duluth, moved south to Saint Paul and in with Melissa’s parents.  We brought hounds Sarge & Henry (Sarge has since passed on) with us and settled in for what could be a very long summer with the in-laws.

I was offered and did accept a position at the University of Minnesota in the Minnesota Population Center as a senior software engineer.  Melissa did a stint at a local home brew supply company and has since accepted a position at an independent advertising agency as a senior digital developer.

While living with the in-laws was never intended as a permanent solution, the itch for a our own place to call home was quite strong.  I never quite felt like I could comfortably sit in their in living in my underwear; we needed our own place to call home.

We looked at many, many places.  While looking, we found some that we liked, and others that would have been best to be pushed over, burnt and never spoken of, again.

The primary criterion was land and associated criteria for the land.  We wanted at least an acre (0.40 hectare) relatively shallow incline (hound-Henry has a bum-leg, and does not traverse steep inclines well).
Located in West Lakeland Township, near Stillwater, MN, we found a pleasant little home on 1.1/3 acres (0.54 hectares); two stories, nice garage, and nice oak trees.  It had issues, though.  Very steep hill, but more discouraging – was a short sale.  Our realtor was not keen on this, and neither were we; we kept looking.

I planted monarda plants at our new place yesterday.  We are semi-settled in; half of our things are still in storage in Duluth.  Located in the southeastern corner of Saint Paul, we found our place on 1.09 acres (0.44 hectare) of low, gently sloping hill; single story, stucco exterior, and hardwood floors inside.  Even though our zipcode says “Saint Paul,” and and designation is “urban” – we still have the things that happily remind me of the not-so-metropolitan: whitetail deer, wild turkeys, bear, and coyotes.

It feels quite nice to have changed directions; new city, new job, new house, new yard.

What’s next?  Plat out where the vegetable garden(s) will go; prune the many fruit and nut trees on the property, remodel an old garage on the property, remove the hundreds of buckthorn trees, rehabilitate two of the apple trees, and just try to be happy.