Iowa Mississippi


[Jan 8: 2.2 miles on Watson Road]

We had a complicated week last week. On Monday we connected with the renters and found they were actively moving out. Tuesday we acquired some food and an air mattress, arriving at the house to find the power had been shut off just that day for non-payment! But the power company got us going again and we spent the night. Wednesday the movers arrived and got everything unloaded. Thursday and Friday were something close to normal.

Also a week ago (did I mention it before?), on the first day it was publicly for sale, we had a couple of offers on the house in Dubuque and accepted one of them. So that load was lifted off of our shoulders.

While these things were happening we also were fighting off a head-cold type of bug with coughing, tiredness, temperature swings, stuffy heads. When the movers were done on Wednesday we just kind of crashed.

Over the weekend we regrouped from our moving activities, and I enjoyed spending some time with our son, sitting in his blind/tent watching for deer at Noxubee Wildlife Refuge.

It has been kind of strange to be back in this house. We formerly lived here from late 2009 to summer of 2019. At that time I was worried that my job was going to dry up, so in the spring of 2019 I pushed hard to come up with something else. I did some interviews and even a few trips. Eventually I was taken on by RFA, my current employer, as an embedded systems engineer (programmer) and we vamoosed for Dubuque, Iowa.

It has been gratifying to have started something new. I hope to be able to continue doing it for a few years.

My old job still exists because the replacement system that was always just around the corner has yet to materialize. But my old employer has taken on other people to do the work. My contribution dwindled over a period of about two years and now is completely done.

The old house is mostly in better shape than we left it. The tenants did some minor modifications that we will tidy up as time goes by.

We have had many people notice and express some pleasure on our return.

I feel sad about leaving Iowa. I’m kind of a homebody and I feel like my roots are where I grew up. I like the people in the upper midwest. Southern people are kind to me and I’ve probably taken on some of their mannerisms and patterns over time. I don’t think I really speak southern, but it is hard to tell. The parts I particularly like are probably more country-vs-town things more than north-vs-south things.

My parents are getting older, and, although I was still 3 hours away from them in Dubuque, it is a lot closer than where I am now. I feel like I have some opportunities to be of help, both with the elderly parents and with our new grandson, but somehow I’m at the edge of the activity and unable to really participate. So I am relegated to being a doorman for the cat.

But I have some hope in that my employment is once again detached from a locale. I am a remote worker now and I could potentially be anywhere. Maybe if someone needed me I could do something about it.

And I’m employed, in an interesting career, with smart and interesting co-workers. I’m able to make some small contribution and they seem inclined to pay me, which gives me opportunities to do various things.

My wife’s family is nearby and I get along well with them. And our son is about an hour away and I always enjoy being with him.

One reply on “Assessment”

Congrats on doing so much!

You didn’t focus on north vs. south things but I think four seasons makes a difference for a couple reasons. (I have not experienced in over two decades so drawing some of this from memory.) One is the euphoria of spring. The other is something an Asian classmate from grad school told me when I asked why he chose UW Madison (and later a job in Minneapolis) instead of somewhere warmer: “Bacteria doesn’t grow in the refrigerator.”

Also, I think ditching the tiny death trap restoration project was a *great* idea. I miss my 900 Saab SE convertible turbo with stick so get the appeal. Stick shift in open air is fun! (Five years ago I sold it to a neighbor across the street, a Saab mechanic, when the clutch pedal went to the floor and we opted for something better for hauling dogs. It is still there and he almost never drives it.) Maybe another similar car with airbags will come along?

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