Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Once Upon a Time in New Jersey

You’ve been waiting all day for this, haven’t you? Checking in to see if I’ve written yet. No? Well, anyway, I’ll think of something.

Okay, where’d we leave off on the tale of our days back east? That’s right. Panic attack on the plane with a newborn Sierra. Well, with that behind me, we arrived at our new home in Ocean County, Lacey Township, Forked River, New Jersey. Mom stayed for a bit and helped us unpack and then we were on our own. In the middle of the scrub pines and summer cottages.

Our house backed up to The Woods but my biggest fear was actually deer ticks, not the Jersey Devil. In truth, the real menace was the wild turkey that took up residence somewhere in the thickets beyond our backyard. That was the real Jersey Devil. At first it was cute to see him perch on our deck or wait outside our front door. Unfortunately he was aggressive and I remember throwing snowballs at him just to allow a neighbor to get into her house. The kids thought he was cool but he was definitely a jerk. Someone really needed to have him for dinner.

I think Michael liked living and working in Forked River. We lived maybe two miles (closer as the turkey trots) from Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station where he worked and he made a lot of friends right away. For me, it was a little different. I really wanted to be out west but if we’d at least had some family or friends nearby, that would’ve been something. We belonged to a small branch with no couples our age. Additionally, it was so spread out geographically that the only other member living anywhere near us was an older widow. I’d never heard of M.O.P.s so my days consisted of Michael Jr. and Sierra and the occasional trip to the grocery store.

Jim Barton began work at the plant when Michael did and he and his wife Pat became our closest friends there. They kept me sane. Another bright spot was the Young Women at church. I was the Young Women President and the girls, especially Loretta and Liz, were over all the time playing with the kids. They’d babysit, have sleep overs, and even accompanied me on a trip to Yelm one summer. So anyway, I had these folks. These folks and the hope that something would bring us west.

Almost two years after we arrived two job offers materialized. Job #1 was here , working for Energy Northwest. Job #2 was outside of Boston, MA at Lavastorm (an internet company—they created Monster.com and FamilySearch.org). On the one hand, the job here seemed like a no-brainer. It was so much closer to most of our family. It was a good job. The thing is, the Lavastorm job seemed to have way more potential for growth. And Michael would be working with his best friend Rick. And it paid way more. In the name of Hey, We’re Young, we decided on Lavastorm.

I remember a busy summer before we moved. Michael and I spent several days in California by ourselves when we attended Ruben Navarrette’s wedding in Santa Barbara CA—one of only two times we’ve gotten away without the kids since we’ve had them. When we returned we put the house on the market and sold it within a month. Just like that. We packed up our life and moved up north into a Marriott extended stay sort of place (paid for by Lavastorm) and a storage unit and started our house search.

Again, apartments and rental houses were out of the question. Nothing available within an hour’s drive of the job. We decided on Salem, New Hampshire because New Hampshire is AWESOME and it’s not Massachusetts. Also, no income or sales tax. Our town was right on the border and it had every store imaginable and a million tattoo parlors (because you could get them at a younger age). What we found was that although Michael was making way more money than ever, the housing was just way, way, way more expensive. Way. We finally settled on a home built in the 1940’s (just like we’ve got now, I guess) on a half-acre lot. It faced The Woods this time but the GPS in our new (at the time . . .) Honda Odyssey showed that there was a body of water not so far in. Worlds End Pond to be exact. I meant to hike in there at some point. When I finally found my boots.

After we decided on the house, I took the kids and headed to Yelm for a month or so. The house would take time to close on and Michael could move in with Rick and Elizabeth for the time being. Well friends, I still haven’t reached the part of the story that involved multiple cold sores but hey, the one on my lower lip is still hanging in there. Seventeen days later. Wow. I guess I’ll pick this up another time. I need to go give Michael the Evil Eye—he just mentioned buying a new Tivo machine.

No comments:

Post a Comment

So, what do you think?