As I hinted at in my latest Homestead Weekly post, we have a Big Life Decision we’re trying to dissect over here. Although it’s not 100% sure at this point, it’s looking pretty likely that the company Matt works for is moving the business three hours south of us to Central Utah. If we want, he still has his job…if we’re willing to move down there.
The way I see it, we basically have three options right now:
1 – Move with the company and keep his same job,
2 – Find another job here in Cache County and stay where we’re at, or
3 – Find another job somewhere other than Cache County and move to wherever that is.
Quite frankly, I would have liked a 4th option at this point where nothing had to change RIGHT NOW during this already-stressful time–where we could just stay where we’re at and deal with just one Big Thing at a time rather than adding the stress of a job search and/or moving on top of everything else.
There would be pros to moving with the business–
You know that homestead dream we have? The whole reason I started this blog? The one where, just a month ago, I talked about how it would probably be years and years before we were able to afford a “true” homestead? Well, Central Utah has cheap land. And if we’re willing to go with an older home that needs a bit of updating and TLC, we could afford to buy a property that included multiple acres (something we could never do here with our current budget). Matt could have his animals–his goats, even more chickens, *maybe* his dog (as long as he keeps it in the barn, since I really, REALLY don’t want a pet in the house…um, ever). I could have ACRES of flowers—we could even try out our little flower farm idea.
Is this the way we get everything we think we want?
Not so fast.
See, we value living close to both our families, and right now, we live just over an hour away from them. It’s a comfortable distance to easily drive down to see them whenever we so fancy, but not so close that we’re expected to be at every family thing, which could get crazy considering we have 9 siblings (and 4 step-siblings) between the two of us, many of whom have kids of their own. We also have three sets of parents and three grandparents, many of whom live right close to where we both grew up.
Moving with the business would mean more than a 2-hour drive anytime we wanted to see family, and depending on where we settled, we might have to drive to see much of anyone at all since we’d definitely be in “the country” at that point.
There’s also the question of living close to certain amenities—right now, we live an easy 15-minute drive from a bigger city, which has everything we could want in the way of stores and entertainment and healthcare professionals. In our potential new county, the biggest “city” is actually a town even smaller than the one in which we currently live, and we only have about 8,000 residents here. There is a Walmart (just one in the whole county), but that’s about it as far as the “big” stores go—anything else, you’ve got to drive about an hour north. Since we only go grocery shopping a couple times a month anyway (one big trip and then a couple smaller trips later), I could learn to live with that.
But one of the big things pressing on my mind?
The distance to the next “big” hospital. Luckily, none of us right now currently have any health conditions that need constant monitoring (as my autoimmune disease is currently in remission), but my pregnancies and subsequent labor and deliveries have been, well, complicated. The only OB-GYN in the county (as far as I could tell, anyway) is a very recent graduate of medical school (we’re talking in the last couple of years) and works at the one small hospital down in the county. I would be scared to death of having someone so new have to deal with the complications that have come up in my pregnancies and deliveries, so I’d have to get a doctor an hour or so north, which would just be a logistical nightmare, not to mention super stressful if I had another super-fast delivery like I did with my second.
There are also the questions about the county schools, the extracurricular opportunities, and the work and internship options for our kids growing up (which aren’t going to be as plentiful as in a more populated county).
But of course, it’s not just about the unknown we’d be going TO, but about all that we’d be leaving BEHIND. We have close friends up here–friendships that we’ve been building for years and years–that we can (and do) turn to regularly not only when we need help, but also for weekly play dates (well, when we’re not quarantining, that is), monthly friend dinners, and for frequent advice and catching up. If you’ve ever tried to build close friendships as an adult (especially once you have kids), then you’ll already know that it’s hard, so the thought of having to start over? Not super palatable, though I know that there are good people wherever you go, and I’m sure we would make more. We would just miss THESE friends.
There’s also our immediate neighborhood, which is friendly and old-school (in the best possible way, like the fact that everyone’s kids still go trick-or-treating and there are neighborhood potlucks and play dates and parties and people do neighbor gifts at Christmas and we almost never have the chance to shovel our driveway because someone usually beats us to it). Our children all have a TON of other kids their own age around, so they would be able to grow up with a wide array of friends to choose from, some who live right next door. And my book club! I’ve waited my whole life to belong to a book club that would be a good fit for me, and here I found it, and it has been AWESOME.
There’s also the community of professionals we’ve built up over the years—we love our kids’ pediatrician, I love and trust my OB-GYN (and the other doctors at that same clinic, who have given me care many times as well), we found a dentist for both us and our children (and really like both of them!), I found a chiropractor who basically did a miracle with my back, and I found a general family doctor whom I trust and respect (after going through quite a few mismatches). I know the layout of the grocery stores, which parks are the busiest at which times, the best restaurants to go to (and we actually have several to choose from), and we even have a local nursery we frequent often for all our plant and yard needs. We live in the middle of three huge canyons, which means that a hike is only a five-minute drive away, and we literally have the mountains at our back.
And, as silly as it sounds, we would hate to leave this house and yard itself—we’ve put in sooo much work to build up our little homestead here, and we were eager to see the fate of all the dozens and dozens of perennials, bulbs, and seeds we put in last year. We had our plans to build two more garden beds, to try our hand at doing a mini backyard flower farm just for fun, and to finally get better at maximizing our space for the best harvest and then learning to preserve what we’d put in. Now, in a time of so much uncertainty, we’re asking ourselves—do we go ahead and plant our seedlings anyway, even if we might be moving in two months? Do we go forward with our plans for the garden, just in case we stay (so we’re not a year behind)? Maybe to some people, the garden seems like such a small thing to consider, but there is a reason this blog has the focus and the name that it does!
And also, THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE YEAR THAT NOTHING “BIG” HAPPENED TO US!!!
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Honestly, I don’t love the thought of moving (in case you couldn’t tell). But if we WERE to move, I’d want to be moving closer to family, not farther away. (There are problems with that, too—the property prices in the county our families live in are INSANE—even with all the equity that our home has gained over the past 3 years thanks to a hot market would only net us a tiny, outdated home in Davis County, with very little yard to speak of.)
We haven’t even gotten to the part about how THIS IS A TERRIBLE TIME TO BE LOOKING FOR A JOB (if we end up going that route).
I wish this was something that I didn’t have to decide at all—that we could just get by and do nothing and that life could continue on as normal. Obviously, that is not an option—there must be a decision, and it must happen relatively soon. (Or who knows? Maybe his work will decide, at the last minute, that this was all just a nice exercise in stressing ourselves out and that we’re staying put forever.)
For now, I’m putting our seedlings out to harden them off each day (our snapdragon plants are looking awesome, thanks for asking). I’m changing the chicks’ food and water out in the mornings and trying not to think of what their fate might be over the next few months. I’m making to-do lists for mulching and weed control and harvest times.
But through it all, the looming question—
Do we go for our homestead dream NOW, at the cost of so much else? Or do we stay put or move elsewhere, and risk it never happening at all?