Thursday, April 01, 2010


So, I accepted the transfer.

But I'm not completely settled in my decision.

While the job security is good and working for a solid blue chip company with a fantastic benefits package and pension and excellent salary is good, the thought of being in an office five days a week is not so good. Nor is the thought of commuting to that office through some of the worst traffic in the whole United States of America. I've driven through just about every city in this country and I'm certain the traffic on the roads surrounding Fairfax are among the most congested.

Ten years ago, nay - six years ago, before I was a mother, I would have JUMPED at this opportunity. To work alongside some of the top thinkers in my business, to be in the thick of it, where the decisions are made. There would have been no hesitation.

But these days, my dream job is to be home with my children.


Not shored up in an office for 40+ hours a week whilst wearing hose.

On the upside, change is exciting. And I do love the idea of being closer to family. In Virginia, we'd be just close enough that we could spend special occasions together. But not so close that rogue relatives could just drop in any old time and raid our refrigerator.

Not that they'd ever do that.

(Unless there were O'Henry Bars inside.)

This morning at our house was absolutely surreal. My boss sent an e-mail that indicated he needed a decision today. Moments later, I received a voicemail message from someone I know asking if Charlie (and possibly me) would be interested in a job in Southern California.

(And no, I don't think he reads my blog.)

The timing really couldn't be any more incredible.

My sister, Eileen, and her family arrives from Michigan tonight. They will be staying with us over the Easter holiday while my niece, Emily, talks to a handful of the 35 west coast colleges and universities that are trying to recruit her in to their women's golfing program.

(Note to self: Sign the kids up for golfing lessons and 12 years from now, watch the scholarships come rolling in.)

From the time I was an impressionable teen, Eileen has been my career role model. She is an environmental chemist and is the reason I got in to geology in the first place. Over the years, she has successfully managed to be a highly respected professional in the industry and a lovingly devoted mother at home. It is Eileen that frequently tells me, "The days are long but the years are short. Enjoy them while you have them. They grow up so fast, you'll blink and they're gone to school. Your company can easily replace you. Your family cannot."






I don't think it's a coincidence that she, of all people, will be here for the next week as Charlie and I attempt to navigate this next phase of our lives.

Today, while Charlie and I were debating all of these incredible options we have before us, our neighbor came over with a shopping bag full of canned soup. She has an allergic reaction to corn starch. She didn't know the soup had corn starch until after she got it home and threw away the receipt. Surely we could use 16 cans of chicken noodle?

She could see that we were totally preoccupied, probably because our children were running around the house in their underwear, things were flipped upside down everywhere, and we the both looked like we'd been hit by a freight train of indecision. Complete with wild hair, frazzled looks, and mismatched clothes. As we relayed to her the life changing choices that were currently before us, she looked at us for a moment with wide eyes before dropping the bag full of soup cans and saying, "Quick. Let's PRAY."

So right there in the living room, while the children ran around the house in their skivvies pretending that they were pterodactyls and other prehistoric creatures from the Triassic, my husband, Sydney and I, stood in a circle with our heads bowed and we prayed.

And we prayed and prayed and prayed some more.

At the moment, I'm still awaiting divine direction.

Hopefully, it will show up when my sister arrives, later tonight.


  1. Oh, I get it... APRIL FOOLS! haha! good one!

  2. Well, I can't say I'm surprised. Being closer to family is a big plus and change is so exciting. On the other hand sitting in that traffic and being cooped up in an office 40 hours a week is a big negative for me. As terrible as this sounds, I'm so glad I'm not in your shoes. Although twenty years ago I was. I moved away from my family, friends, and the only world I knew and made the move cross-country to California. That was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make. I prayed and listened for direction and here I am. I am so positive I did the right thing. You will too!
    Praying and listening for direction is the best thing you guys can do right now. Please know that we are praying for your family and will support whatever decision you make.
    By the way, did you find the Red and Chocolate?

  3. We live very, very near Fairfax, just south on the interstate near Quantico MCB, but my husband commutes to Fort Belvoir near Alexandria. We have lived here for 6 months, giving up our home in GA to move to a unit here that is non-deployable, avoiding another deployment. If you really need someone to talk to about the area, I can give you the honest truth, and how we feel about living here. Let me know.

  4. Wow! Lots of decisions!

    I've spent some time driving through VA - got stuck one Friday on the beltway in DC for 4 fricking hours and promised myself I would never again drive through there! However; you will be closer to family - there are changing seasons (IE SNOW) - and you will have what sounds like a very secure position. Hey - go for it -the kids are young - they'll adapt easily - you can always go back to CA if things don't pan out the way you want!

    Shall we start the Congrats? Congrats!

    Say hello to Eileen!

  5. Good luck and sending prayers. I'm sure you'll make the right choice!

  6. Happy Easter. It will all be fine. Your kids are resilient, and your love endless.

    It will all be fine. (Commuting isn't wonderful, but I've learned to cherish the only alone time I get, even if I hate to drive.)

  7. I often find that God speaks to me through the feeling of peace. I will pray that you and Charlie find a "peace that passes all understanding".

  8. I'm sorry you're faced with such a tough choice! I'm in NOVA if you need any help or info. :)

  9. Wow! Congrats to you for taking the leap. Change is always tough, but my guess is that you all will be happy!
    Can't wait til next winter to see pics of your kids in snow! They're going to LOVE it!

  10. I think it would be perfect if you go to Virginia and Charlie takes the position for you, so you can BOTH have a dream job :)

  11. Lorie,

    This isn't an April Fools joke, although I really wish it was. I'm more stressed today than I was yesterday. Today, all I want to do is resign, let Charlie take over and homeschool the children.

    Wait. Isn't that what I wanted to do last year at this time???

    Yeah, well. I need to just pull the trigger.

  12. If you will be commuting in the Fairfax, VA area, you should check out the Greenbriar neighborhood (in zip 22033). It has smaller homes from 1500 sq ft ramblers to 2200 sq ft colonials, large yards, lots of trees, two elementary schools to walk/bike to, and great neighbors. Good luck with everything. I think you guys will enjoy a change!

  13. Jen, when you're 6o how do you want to look back on your life?? What will you be proud of?? Will you be proud that you raised 4 loving, capable and confident children or will you be proud of the career woman that you were!! I think you know in your heart what really matters you to most. Trust in God and everything will fall into place!!!

  14. change is hard... my advice to you: don't look back. don't regret it, don't question will be fine... all 6 of you

  15. We live in DC. Yes, the traffic can be horrific, but you know that already and can confine your house hunting to a reasonable distance/time for commute.

    I was reluctant to move here when Dh was transferred 3+ years ago. All the wonderful things that the DC area has to offer makes it worthwhile. We spent most of today walking around the Tidal Basin for the Cherry Blossom festival. Our twins ran up and down the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. We had a lovely picnic under the trees by the FDR memorial, strolled by the White House on our way back to the Metro and even had the President fly over our heads in Marine One. A couple weeks ago my twins and I attended an event with Nancy Pelosi and had our picture taken with the Speaker. No matter what your politics are, it's pretty cool to be "inside the beltway".

    Experiences like this are unique to this area. What I know about you from your blog leads me to believe that you and your family will find the adventures where ever you live, so you will easily take advantage of all the fun things.

    Two resource suggestions for you -
    1. Subscribe to the weekly newsletter for DC. I think the fee is $26 per year. There is also a facebook page with great suggestions for area activities, many of which are free!!

    2. check out DC Urban Moms (and Dads)
    It's an anonymous forum and there are some crazy posters and threads, but if you ignore that, it can be a good resource for school info, neighborhoods, etc.

    I wish you all the best with the move!!

  16. Hi Jen :) Praying for you obviously... But also wanting you to know that we still live here in VA. Just outside of NOVA in the Shenandoah Valley. I'll be homeschooling the kids next year, we belong to a great church, there's a ton of homeschooling options here, and the beauty of VA surrounds us... Is it CA? No. But I'm happy to not pay their taxes, or deal with a lot of the other little headaches that come along with living there.
    Anyway, drop me a line if you need anything. I can certainly give you an idea how it is out here in my neck of the woods...

  17. Well, are you really coming or are you staying?? You know how I feel about it, but I would really LOVE to have you closer, just think, Noni will be hopping on one foot, we will come and help you unpack, I will take the kids out and you and Noni can work your little tails off. Seriously Jen, do what is best for you and Charlie, that is what it is all about! Excited about Eileen's news, hope we see her soon also.