Thursday, June 19, 2008

Seattle or Bust: The Story of Our Time in Oklahoma

Okay, so I have been silent about this long enough. We have been in Oklahoma a little over 2 years now (having moved here from Seattle, WA) and I felt like now was the time to rant about our time here and what we have been through and what led to us deciding to move back.

To begin with a little background, my parents live in the area. They were going to sell their house in Midwest City and move to another part of town. So while me and the wife and kids came down to Oklahoma back around April of 2005 to visit for a bit, my dad told me that he wanted us to buy their house. It really sounded like a good idea. The cost of living in Seattle is, I admit, a little outrageous and the idea of owning a house up there would have never occurred to us so the prospect of actually owning a house sounded like good. So we talked about it (a lot), not taking a decision like this lightly. When I found out that my job (at the time I was working for Cingular Wireless) was opening up in office in Oklahoma City. With that on top of the housing and cost of living equation, we finally decided to go ahead and do it.

I really thought that this was the best decision for all parties involved. So I got approved for a transfer from work, we rented a U-Haul, packed up all of our stuff, and left our family and friends and drove for 3 days to get to Oklahoma.

So we get to the house, spent a couple of days looking it over. We knew that the house was not in perfect shape but we had no idea how much work really had to be done with it. No problem though. We are young, we have the energy to do it. I was making the same salary in Oklahoma as I was in Seattle so we definitely would be able to afford the renovations needed. No big deal. It will be a big project but we can do it. Right?

Wrong. After two weeks in Oklahoma one very early morning, Jesi woke up in immense pain. So much in fact that we took her to the emergency room to have it checked out. The doctors had determined that there was a cyst about to burst in her ovary. They did surgery, hospitalized her for a few days and sent her home, thinking it was just a cyst they removed. The doctors sent the cyst away for pathology. No sooner had she gotten home from the hospital, we were informed that it was not a cyst at all, but a cancerous tumor. Two weeks into living in Oklahoma and we find out my wife has cancer!

OK, hold the phones. Stop the home-remodeling. There is no way that we can deal with the immensity of such a project when we have cancer to deal with too.

So after thinking about it, I told my dad there was no way we could buy this house now. We just won't have the time or energy to deal with fixing it into a livable situation. I did, however, sell the house for my dad to someone else.

But now, we are in Oklahoma. I have already transferred my job. We have already moved all of our stuff down here. Where do we live?

We looked around in an area where some friends of ours lived and checked out some rentals, which we found. So we rented a house on the Northwest side of Oklahoma City.

We spent a few months in that house. One evening after work, I took Jesi and the kids out for a walk around the block. Just to spend some time walking and talking. We passed a house that was for sale. Jesi really seemed to like it. We had never really thought about trying to buy another house but why not? We can afford it. I called the number on the sign, asked for the asking price and basically decided against it because for one, I really did not like the house and two, thought they were asking too much money for the amount of work that we would have ended up needing to do. Not as much work, mind you, as the house in Midwest City would have been, but work, nonetheless.

So we moved on and continued our walk. We got just around the block from where our rental house was and saw another house for sale. Jesi just all but fell in love with this house. We looked in the windows and liked what we saw. I called the number on the sign again and the real estate agent was actually in the area so she drove up within a couple of minutes and showed us the inside. We both thought the place was perfect so we inquired what the asking price was. She told us and also told us she could help us get financed for it through a company she dealt with a lot.

By some miracle (our credit is not the best in the world) we were approved for the place and moved into just after New Years in 2007.

While this was all going on by the way, things at work were starting to get on my nerves and the job situation was beginning to deteriorate. I won't get into details but to make it short, I was promised a lot that was not delivered on and frequently lied to about my future with the company.

Moving forward, that summer, Jesi had another surgery to remove her remaining ovary (they removed the first one when they removed the cyst) and her other girly organs. They did this to prevent the cancer from spreading anywhere else. After she had recovered (for the most part) from this surgery, she was essentially given the all clear from her oncologist. That is, they have run all of their tests and they can see no more cancer. Great news!!!

Then comes the fall. The aforementioned job situation has really come to a bad place. Again, no details but the lies and promises continued to be for naught. I finally decided that I could take no more and to resign my position there. OK, bad idea, mostly because I did not have another job lined up. Then I found out that I could get hired at a job where a couple of my friends work. It was work I was familiar with and thought I could do it well no problem. So I resigned with Cingular (now called AT&T Mobility). But oops, the position at the new company did not start for another month. Crap! I'm unemployed and still have a mortgage.

I am not going to go into any details about our problems with the mortgage company so I'll make this part short. I called them during the time I was unemployed to let them know I would be a little behind on my mortgage payments. Didn't seem like it would be a big problem but after several months turned into a very huge problem that resulted in the mortgage company essentially trying to file for foreclosure. Again, way too many details to get into so I won't bother. We are on the verge of losing our house because our mortgage company is a very bad company to deal with.

And oh by the way, remember back in the summer Jesi was given the cancer all clear? Well, come February, she starts having pains again. She goes to the doctor to have some tests run and guess what? The cancer is back. She has another surgery and they have decided that this time they are going to start doing some chemotherapy on her. All of this during a big battle with the mortgage company.

Shortly after she started chemotherapy, I got transferred into another section at work. Oh wait, first of all, I forgot to tell you. I was at the job about 2 weeks and ended up getting transferred to another section. The job was actually a little easier for me and the money was way better.

Anyway, shortly after chemo, I got transferred back into the previous section. To say the least, I was not very happy about this and still don't really understand why I was moved. The company's excuse had something to do with less stress in that section than the other but to tell you the truth it has been more stressful.

So I was about to give up on the housing situation and just let them take the house but the problem remained. If I let them take the house, where will we live? We can't be homeless during chemo. On top of that, nobody is really happy here in Oklahoma. Jesi is not, she is going through cancer treatment without the support of her friends and family. I'm not really happy down here. I'm just stressed out all the time. Heck, even our oldest isn't happy being here. Which by the way, leads to another part of the story. Back in December, we pulled her out of public school because of some very big problems we had with the school specifically (on top of the fact that I initially had a problem with the school district anyway) and decided to home school her. That hasn't worked so well however since Jesi's cancer came back.

After some serious thought and much prayer, I finally came to the conclusion that we did not belong down here. We need to be back home in Seattle. So while on an afternoon drive one Sunday, I told Jesi that we need to consider moving back home. Well, that began the process and it did not take long for the consideration became a reality. We decided that for the better good of the whole family's emotional well-being that we were going to move back to Seattle.

So that was that. We started selling all of our stuff to make the move back easier. Basically, we are intended to start fresh out there. No furniture. No big stuff. Just boxes of clothes and toys for the kids and what not. We are only moving boxes.

So now, here we are, the day before my last day of work and we are all so ready to get out of here that it is not funny.

I can't really think of anything I am leaving out but if I think of it later, I will add to this post.
Anyway, after a little over two years, we are going back home. Goodbye Oklahoma. I can't say that we will miss you (although I will miss a few friends that I have down here - goodbye Lefty, I'm sure we will talk in cyberspace!)

No comments:

Post a Comment