An Opportunity for Change, the Decision to Move
It all started years ago when I read Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks. “Wilmington sounds like a quaint, attractive place to live,” I secretly thought.
Lo and behold, several years later my brother and sister-in-law happened to move to this very spot. “Hey, wait a minute—I want to go!” I thought. Then, last year my parents, too, fell in love with the area and had a home built here. Okay, so when was our turn?
The only thing I could not figure out was how I could convince my husband and kids that we should move from Annapolis, Maryland. Time passed on and eventually this problem seemed to take care of itself.
Don’t get me wrong. Maryland definitely has its perks and having lived there all of our lives, it was scary to think about leaving everything and everyone that we have ever known behind. But there was one thing that really pushed us over the edge. My husband and I were both working full time at decent paying jobs (me, a special educator working in a private school, and my husband, an auto technician at a Chevrolet dealer), but the long hours we worked and the fact that we still couldn’t afford a house was taxing us.
We knew we had missed the boat when it came to finding affordable housing and we saw no way back in. The market continued to escalate with no hopes of coming down to a level we could afford. Trying to find any home for less than $400,000 was just about unheard of. We were struggling as it was and we didn’t want to be even more strapped with a high mortgage payment. We found ourselves feeling so drained and on edge all of the time. I was beginning to hate this person who I had become. My frustrated attitude and lack of patience was taking a toll on my relationship with my family. I knew that we both needed to make some changes — and big ones!
Things started looking up this past June. We traveled to the Wilmington area to visit the home my parents had built. Unable to move yet themselves, my parents were getting their house ready to rent. We hung out, helped add new appliances to the house, went to the beaches, relaxed — in essence, had a great time. Towards the end of the visit, I started to feel anxious — not just the normal emotion you get at the close of a vacation, or the old feeling of dread of getting back to work and into the daily grind; it was deeper than that.
On one of the last days of our vacation, my husband told me that he had a job interview in Wilmington. Now, this didn’t totally surprise me, since he often inquired about jobs when we traveled. However, this too, felt different. Maybe he was serious this time!
We headed back to Annapolis and dove once again into our hectic lives. One week into July, my husband received a phone call from Wilmington. He got the job! Needless to say, we had a serious talk that night. We agreed to take the plunge and move. I just had to tell my boss. To make sure there weren’t any second thoughts, I said to my husband, “You know, once I tell my boss, we can’t go back — this is it!”
He replied seriously, “I know.” With that, it all started to seem real. We were actually going to do this!
Much labor ensued. While still working full time in July (I taught in an 11-month school), we sorted, purged, sold and packed the remains of our belongings — all in three weeks! It was a whirlwind and we could never have done it without the help of our family and friends’ time and muscles.
Packing up the moving truck didn’t go without its difficulties. My husband’s toolbox fell over on its drawers in the truck (apparently, the straps holding it in place came loose). It wasn’t easy lifting the toolbox back up. It literally weighed a ton. (Just ask the six fellas it took to right it again). This fiasco set us back and we actually left a day later than planned.
Need I mention we were doing all of this packing during a heat wave? Talk about unpleasant. This being another reason why we delayed our official moving day — just so we wouldn’t over-exert ourselves to the point of heat exhaustion.
The moving truck was finally packed and my husband’s Jeep (a work in progress) was on its trailer ready to go. Smooth sailing from this point on — or so I thought.
My husband got the honor of driving the moving truck with the attached “Jeep on trailer.” I, however, got the better end of the deal driving the mini-van with our three kids and two big dogs. My father-in-law, bless his heart, drove our other car down for us. (Did I mention it didn’t have air conditioning?)
About an hour and a half into the drive, my husband called saying that the Jeep was unstable on the trailer and he’d have to stop and find someway to fix it. “Go on without me,” he said. “No need for you to stop, too.”
As it turned out, the first place he could pull over happened to be at a motel, conveniently with a garage located on the road behind it. A kind man who happened to own the garage (and apparently sells cars at the popular Barrett-Jackson Auction), offered to provide some supplies and help my husband stabilize the Jeep.
Meanwhile, my kids, my father-in-law and I safely made it to my parents’ home (where they graciously offered us to live so that we could have some time to scope out the area and find a home of our own). However, I just couldn’t relax until my husband finally arrived a day later. At last, we had made it!
A few months have passed since we first arrived here and we are doing great. I am not saying that there aren’t times when we still struggle, but I can tell you that my husband and I are more relaxed and my kids love their schools. I am able — at least for the time being — to stay at home and attend to the demands of my family. Plus, we are in the market for buying a house. We have been given opportunities here that we could never have had if we had stayed in Maryland. For us, this move was right.
Our financial matters have eased, but this isn’t the only reason why we love it here. I need to share one last story.
The first week or so upon moving here, my children and I were eating at a fast food restaurant, when a sweet woman, age 78, (I know this because she told us so) came up to us at our table, introduced herself and started chatting about the area and her family, etc. When she bid us adieu, all three of my children looked at me in bewilderment and said, “Why did she come to talk to us? That was so nice!”
This type of friendly interaction with a complete stranger was unbeknownst to them. I quickly explained to them that they had just received their first dose of Southern hospitality. I thought, “Now, this is medicine that we can all use.”
It was at this moment that I knew we were finally home.