Plot Twist

A few weeks before Luke graduated high school, the company I work for announced the closure of one of their San Antonio locations. It wasn’t the store I was going to transfer to, but the people who were losing their jobs in the closure got preferential placement in the other nearby stores. The position I had planned to step into was filled locally by someone else.

This complicated our relocation plans. I reached out to my district manager, explained that my kids and I had no desire to remain in DFW but that I would prefer to remain with the company, and asked if he could offer any guidance or suggestions. He said that due to the closure there were no openings at my job grade in San Antonio, but there were openings in two Austin stores.

So the kids and I discussed that. We really wanted to move to San Antonio. But the thought of starting over from scratch at some other company was unappealing, and Austin does meet our basic list of requirements: public transit, plenty of wild green spaces, garden-friendly.

Cost of housing was almost a dealbreaker. I did a quick apartment search and didn’t find anything in our price range. So I contacted a local apartment-finder service and explained our situation, and an agent got back to me right away with a very decent apartment in a nice location. After another family council, we agreed to give Austin a try. Elizabeth and I drove down from Bedford a few days later so we could take a look at the apartment and I could interview for the new position.

The apartment was super cute, but its lack of washer and dryer hookups was less than ideal. I do not miss the laundromat life at all. Almost everything else about it was good though, especially for the price, so we agreed to take it if the job offer came through.

A day or two after that, I got a call from the man who had shown us the apartment. Not the apartment-locator agent, the actual dude behind the desk at the leasing office. I clarify this because the reason he called was to say that he had noticed how concerned we were about the lack of washer-dryer hookups, and that he was about to go on his lunch break and would be happy to run out to some other places that his company operates and see if he could find a better fit for us, unless we really had our hearts set on that particular apartment. Once I got over my astonishment, I gratefully accepted his offer, because laundromats suck.

So a couple hours later I started getting photos of apartments texted to me by this splendid fellow who had gone forth on his lunch break to find us a place that fits our needs and budget. And he found us one, and we signed the lease online based on his photos, and it turned out to be everything we needed.

There was a time when I would have been deeply comforted by how smoothly everything transitioned in mid-stride from a move to San Antonio to a move to Austin. I would have felt like everything was falling onto place exactly as it was meant to; like the hand of God was moving in my life to keep things on track. Old Me would have felt securely validated in her faith that things always work out for the best.

New Me was…not comforted. New Me felt slightly railroaded and mildly resentful at the collapse of my well-laid plans. New Me would still prefer to live in San Antonio, despite my very real gratitude for everyone who helped to make our departure from DFW possible.

I’m not going to list the people who helped us, because a decade of blogging has taught me that there’s a baffling number of misanthropes out there who have nothing better to do than harass people who are identified on the Internet. But I’ll happily recommend A+ Apartment Locators to anyone looking for help finding the right Austin apartment. And a big shoutout to Einstein Moving Company as well. We hadn’t planned to use a moving company, but packing and loading up the U-Haul was more of an ordeal than we expected. So many books. So much solid oak furniture that should not live in an upstairs apartment. So many trips up and down stairs. Getting my oversized front-loading washer down the stairs almost did me in, and the thought of dragging it up another set of stairs in the Austin heat made me want to weep. So we called ahead and hired movers to unload the truck into our new apartment. A few hours after I made the reservation, I got this email:

Due to availability issues with our car dolly, on the morning of our move we were sent to a different DFW U-Haul location than the one we usually use (which I also recommend if you’re in that area and need a U-Haul). The new location was a logistical clusterfuck that put us a couple of hours behind schedule in getting out of town. But instead of cancelling, Einstein Movers accommodated our new arrival time by sending out different guys later in the day. Great company, great service and they unloaded the 20′ truck into our new second-floor apartment faster than I would have thought possible. 10/10, would use again.

We have just begun to explore our new city, but so far we’ve found more to like than to dislike about it. The water tastes good right out of the tap, which is a luxury I will never again take for granted. Compared to DFW the people here seem less polite but more authentic, which I prefer. The green spaces are lovely and plentiful. Our apartment patio is perfectly suited for a small potted garden. My work commute is short and easy. Elizabeth has already begun to explore the local bus routes. The brand new Central Library is amazing.

The kids and I are still sort of pining for San Antonio, but I’m hoping that we’ll learn to love living in Austin for as long as we end up staying here. We’re all about embracing the new experiences. I think this will be a good one for us.

Categories: Family, kids, Life, Travel, Work Life | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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