Well, for those of you we keep in touch with on a regular basis you know we have moved, and for those of you who we don't keep in touch with on a regular basis...well we have moved. Me and the kids are in Texas. I accepted a position with FEMA Region VI in the Risk Analysis Branch located in Denton Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth Area) I had set my sights on a FEMA career about two years ago but Engineer positions come open very rarely, and when I saw this one open up in February I applied for it. I was still gainfully employed way back then. I was interviewed in April, and I relaly thought I blew it. Actually, the first thought that crossed my mind was that it was a good thing I was still employed because I did nothing to help myself secure that job. I knew if I got a call for even a second interview that it would be a total "GOD THING". I was laid off in May, the day before school let out. I decided to take the summer off and spend it with the kids. By this time I had totally given up on the FEMA position. In late June I started throwing some resumes out to private firms and the Corps of Engineers, and even another FEMA job in Atlanta. Much to my surprise, I received a phone call the first week in July with a job offer for FEMA in Texas. It was a tentative offer pending a background investigation, but an offer none the less. Five and 1/2 long weeks later I cleared security just in time to give us a week to make a trip to find a rental house, pack up the house and get the kids here to start the first day of school here in Texas. God was with us the entire way. We were able to find a house on a weekend trip, even though the rental market was hot and every house we looked at had 10 applicants ahead of us. We were able to get the house packed up, spend an awesome evening with some very special and awesome friends the night before we left town, and get here the Sunday before school started (which was the following Tuesday). We had just enough money to get the move done, get set up and have just enough left over to get us by to my first paycheck (although it does not feel good to be down to no saving). There were a few other circumstances that clicked into place that made it obvious this was the direction God was moving us. Chris will join us in a month or two while he finished up some projects on the Georgia house. But we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We have been here three weeks today. Much to my surprise Griffin, my very OCD structured child who hates change, has adjusted extremely well. He was none too happy with me about leaving Sardis Elementary back in Georgia. Phoenix has had a rougher time. She's had girls tell her that her hair looks like a boy (not sure where that one came from), she has had a few emotional outbreaks in class when trying to keep a certain student out of ore trouble. She has a learned a very valuable lesson, sometimes you have to let someone get in trouble even if it bothers or hurts you to let it happen. The consequences are always based on decisions that person makes, not you. Lo and behold, the day she decided to not try and help him, he ended up in the principles office. She said she finally got it, and she decided it was not worth it to try and help someone who would not listen to her only to get very frustrated and disruptive in class (she was yelling at him at the top of her longs in class) and end up very upset and in trouble. To the teacher's credit instead of penalizing her she pulled her out of the situation for her to calm down. But she does miss her classmates and teachers who know and lover her so well at Sardis.
From what we have seen of the area we are pleasantly surprised. We think we will like it a lot. Every area has its upsides and downsides. The downsides of the immediate area is not very many trees. After four years in Northeast Georgia and lots of trees, it is hard to get used to. We have not gone exploring to see if there is any hiking or outdoor opportunities we like so much close by. The other downside is it is so BIG. The biggest downside is that being a Gator Fan out of enemy territory is no where near as fun. But on the upside anything we want is within 10 miles, and the traffic is awesome. The transportation network is amazing. I drove to Dallas Fort Worth airport in rush hour to take Chris to the airport, and it only took me about 25 minutes.
The neighborhood we are renting in is a traditional neighborhood, houses close together, garages on the back of the houses, with alley access, small backyards, sidewalks on both sides of the street. A resort style pool and water park in the neighborhood, hiking and biking trail, a fitness center, fishing ponds, and lots of parks. However, the kids have made it clear, they prefer a large backyard over all the bells and whistles. So we will likely buy somewhere else.
Once my job gets into full swing it will be something I enjoy. the people in the office all seem very nice. I am part of a team of four engineers overseeing Risk MAP (Map stands for Mitigation, Assessment, and Planning) for Region VI. I will be overseeing projects with the end result of helping people and/or their property (although in many cases they do not realize it). There will be some travel involved for meetings with communities, but once Chris is here, that will not be a problem. I am one of those weirdos that does not mind (actually enjoys) public speaking. There will be some stress too, the high profile counties will always turn congressional and I will be dealing with a communities congressional representative and/or their staff. Of course, all this is secondary to disaster response and recovery. When disasters happen in our region (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico) I will be deployed.
We miss all our friends in Georgia. In some ways leaving Georgia was so much harder than leaving Florida. But we are excited to see what adventure GOD has in store for us.
Love you all (even you DAWG fans)!