Okay back up to the "then we turned it down" part.
We thought we would turn it down. We planned to turn it down. We maybe should have turned it down.
But after a week of thought and number crunching... and then finding out Mr F didn't get the other job in Des Moines (and we cannot underestimate the influence of that)... and thinking... and number crunching... and negotiating with HR...
We accepted it.
Are there downsides to this new job? Yep. Big time.
You see the reason we were going to turn it down was because after offering him the job at X pay the magazine put the offer through to corporate HR. Then HR said "wait we changed that position to Y pay". Let's just say the difference between X & Y is 30%. For real. Taking this from a no brainer "take it" to... "what is this move worth to us personally?".
That was a really hard decision. Y pay is not moving us out of our current financial situation. But staying here isn't either.
Staying here means losing money every month on housing we cannot afford.
Point blank... we cannot stay here. We'd be leaving on the next job offer that came along. We'd have to. No matter where it was or how much it paid.
That could mean taking Kid out of school after this year (one transition) then homeschooling her or getting her into a new public school only to pull her out and move mid year to another school. Got that? That's three transitions in one year. Not ideal.
Oh did I mention that as much as Mr F likes his job that his work load is borderline undoable and that he often works until 3 AM? And that he comes home and complains about it to me... when I don't even want to live here... when we're living here for him to have this job? And that he doesn't make enough to pay our bills?
Ann Arbor offers:
CHEAPER (vastly) housing
MUCH better schools (even the outlaying towns... we're talking rated 10 out of 10)
MUCH better early childhood options & recreations classes for kids
MUCH better doctor/hospital system
MORE job opportunities for Mr F & Mrs F (he already was contacted about another job there)
(Oh and Mr F gets the perks of driving the fleet of test cars with free gas & insurance)
The potential to go bankrupt.
For one thing any other job Mr F might get while we lived here he could pursue from Ann Arbor as well if he wanted to, so there is no reason to carry this house while he does that.
Also, this is the best time of year to sell our house. If he was offered another job in 6-9 months we would not stand as good of a chance of clearing our equity. The timing of this move is perfect. Mr F leaves in a couple weeks. The girls and I will stay here until the house sells or the end of the school year... whichever comes first. The reality is that in the last 20 months it is unreasonable to expect to have made money on this house. We are looking at eating the realtor fees which at our house level are a huge pill to swallow. BUT housing is so much cheaper in Michigan right now that we couldn't be moving there at a better time. Any loss we face here will be more than made up for in the rock bottom prices in Michigan. We're looking at getting a house for 1/3-1/2 of our current house price. That is amazing!
Plus, the new job is with a major magazine. This is, while not a step up financially, not a step down career wise. It is a definite step up, even his current employers could concede that and understood his decision. The new magazine is also willing to let him work freelance to offset the paycut. They are even going to give him freelance. So that is encouraging. When we were in MI before Mr F made more than half of his income in freelance and his biggest paying clients are... where?... oh yeah... in Michigan. We don't have any options like that here.
The scary part is walking away from a house & job that are known and on some super lame level working. You know? We don't know what is going to happen next. We don't know how much equity we'll lose here (hopefully none!!! positive energy peeps). We don't know where we'll move (house or town specific) or when. We don't know how stressful being separated for 3-4 months will be on our family (especially stressful to Mr F if it turns out I like it). We don't know if I'll gain 50 pounds and start drinking Margaritas for dinner.
But we do know that next year we'll be in a better place. Physically & emotionally. Maybe even financially. Worst case scenario I have to supplement our income (wait I already do!)... and at least there I'd be doing it while benefitting in every other realm of our life.