Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Details... AKA... no you didn't miss something... we just didn't tell you

Remember when Mr F was interviewing for a job in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Then after 6 agonizing months they finally offered it to him?  Then we turned it down?

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)

Asheville offers:
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.


Marie said...

That is so exciting! While I am NOT envious of the moving/packing/no hubby part, the moving back home to friends and family, cheaper housing (YAY!) and better schools (DOUBLE YAY!) all sound terrific!!

And after this experience moving back will seem even better now that you have done without the "extras" (like, um..a good school? normal/low house prices?). Can't wait to hear more!!

Oh..are you still going to watch the other kids despite being a single mom for a few months? Cause you might need those nightly margharitas.. (bowing down to you..) lol :)

julie said...

Yes, Yes, Yes. Awesomeness that you are doing this. This just feels like such a good decision.

Hey, you always have us as companionship. Someone is always bound to be around when you need to vent or talk:)

Being alone with kids until the move...You can do this. You can totally do this.

Mrs F, the bad ass mama, is coming back!

Deb said...

I have been in this situation. I promise that in a year, you will not regret the move, even if you lose your broker's fee on this house sale. I can assure you that we do not EVER look back on that particular home sale as an unwise financial move, and that fee was... well... enough to make me choke if we lost the money any other way.

It sounds like the best decision. I hope the house does FAR better than you expect.

G in Berlin said...

Yeah for you! We are wondering when and if to move back to the US, but in the interim, we moved last week and changed my older daughter's school to boot. Change may be hard, but sometimes it's the best thing.
I'm a single mom T-R (better than last year's M-F) and it's doable. In fact. I think I get more sleep that way than when the spouse is here. Schedule exchange nights with a girlfriend to survive, though.
Your house looks great, btw.

BsOnlyToots said...

I'm so happy for you guys! Finally you are getting the breaks you guys deserve!

Elizabeth said...

awesome. It sounds like you'll be a lot happier 'back home'.

Andrea said...

Sounds so good when you lay it all out.hope that the move is as easy as can be.Purge baby Purge dont take it if you dont need it,its just stuff.

Smitty said...

The Smitties can't wait to meet you! Congrats on the decision, good luck on the temporary solitude.

I'd tell you that I'll keep an eye on Mr F while he's here, but honestly, I am not the person you want watching over anyone who needs to be "on their game." ;)

If there is anything we can do that's within reason or means, let us know. And welcome back to MI!

katieo said...

Woohoo! Here's to closing the door on Asheville, and opening a new one in familiar territory!! :)

(no offense Ashevillians)

katieo said...

haha. perhaps "Ashevillians" not the best choice of words...

katieo said...

And dude, if anyone can do the single-parent-while-trying-to-sell-a-house thing, YOU CAN!

Liz said...

Congratulations on taking the job! The house looks great, it will sell and you will be in a happier place very soon. I'm a big believer in taking risks and choosing to change your life when you're unhappy (and feeling broke!). We just sold our house in Vermont yesterday- in February! Miracles do happen:)

Mrs Furious said...

yes I will still be watching kids. Just two (hopefully). The part time baby (3 half days) and the toddler (1 full day... once in awhile two full days). They both know what's going on and are cool with me giving them notice when I have it. The baby is no biggie the toddler makes a lot of mess so that one's harder. I think I'll plan more long times out of the house with him now that the weather is getting better.

I think Ashevillians is actually the right term funny enough.
And thanks for the vote of confidence. I feel up to it but I know I'm going to need my down time and can't burn it on both ends trying to make sure I exercise, etc. I'm going to try and make wise self preservation choices... even if it means the kids watch TV EVERY SINGE afternoon. We'll all live.;)

Thank God I have the blog. I am absolutely going to need to let some feeling out as this goes along! ;)
I agree I really think this is the right move.

" I can assure you that we do not EVER look back on that particular home sale as an unwise financial move"
For sure for us if we aren't going to stay here for at least 5 years we might as well take the loss now. I've almost gotten in the place where I can walk away from it and just let it go.

So would, say, driving a semi down here and loading up our hoard stores be an unreasonable request? ;)

G in Berlin,
" I think I get more sleep that way than when the spouse is here."
I am actually counting on that. When Mr F works late I go to bed about 2 hours earlier than when he is home.

It's been a strange turn of events (never thought we'd be going back there) and we hope that with this house sale our luck finally turns and we can make up for the last two years!

I'm hoping. Either way I've made up my mind that I'm ready to just settle and I can deal with it. It might not be my absolute dream location but it is more than good enough for all of us. We're ready to commit!

Yeah we need to start on the basement now. We've got the house good to go and we just need to be really brutal with all the stuff we've been saving down there.

Mrs Furious said...

"I'm a big believer in taking risks and choosing to change your life when you're unhappy "
Me too!
Congrats on selling your house!!

Nicole said...

Welcome back to Ann Arbor!

Mrs Furious said...

You can look for me soon stocking up on Tomato Soup and Chocolate Croissants at Trader Joe's!

P.O.M. said...

I'm so happy for you. It must be a relief to have decided and to share it with us. Because I know you just sit around thinking of all of us. ha ha.

What a great move for your family though and (like you said) next year you will be in such a better/happier place.

Enjoy a margarita - just one (maybe 2).

gooddog said...

That's awesome!!
I'm so excited for you to be back in a better place for you guys.
Your house really is gorgeous. If I was moving to AVille I'd buy it! Here's hoping someone will ASAP.
Yay for you guys and your decision!!

wootini said...

Wow, congratulations! That's great news - how fantastic to be moving into such a great buyers market AND back to family and friends (and Trader Joe's).

And I guess you can always look back on the move to Asheville as a positive step for Mr. F's career, in getting him into a position where he would be a candidate for this new job.

You can do it - sometimes I find it's actually easier in some ways to be on your own with the kids.

Mrs Furious said...

you and me both.
If I'm going to be handling extra outside stress it is best for me to be handling it without the added stress of Mr ADD. The kids get used to it and they don't mess with me as much.

Mrs Furious said...

Oh I think I'll be having a margarita... or maybe a spiked coffee... best of both worlds ;)

I'm staying optimistic that someone else will see the value of our house that we see in it.

Staci said...


You're house beautiful. Hoping it sells quickly!


inkelywinkely said...

Does this mean we get the happy posts and videos of you making dinner again? I miss those.

Nutmeg said...

Seriously, I wish I had your house, it really is gorgeous and spacious and as much as I love my house, and my neighbors (which make moving an obvious problem)... I'm starting to feel a little cramped... of course, this seems to happen every winter and i come up with some extreme plan to reorganize and store things differently and then it gets better but maybe that's just because it isn't winter anymore... Sorry for that randomness, it all just came to me just now!

I hope things go smoothly! I'm happy you'll be moving back to an area you enjoy!

Mrs Furious said...

If it helps for comparison purposes our house is 1700 sf. Our bedrooms are 12x12 but our living rooms and kitchen are huge. The truth is without our staging it and getting rid of Mr F's desk and tons of toys our house doesn't look this organized. Getting it here though has made me want to keep our toys to this level. The kids don't really miss the other stuff. Then again I was just looking at a house online that is 2400 and I told Mr F "we could all have an office!"... but it's a god awful subdivision house so we'll never go for it in the end.

Thank you! I'm excited to come home.

You betcha. I've been really missing that I don't have the time or energy to put up those kind of posts anymore.

Gigs said...

Mrs. F., so glad this is working out for all of you. While I admired your willingness to sacrifice for Mr. F.'s creative happiness, this decision sounds like it has something that makes everyone happy, which has got to be the best thing in the long run. I'm guessing the separation will be hardest on Mr. F., since you are a force to be reckoned with, and he will be alone and missing all three of his girls... but I know you guys will pull it all off in your usual style, and with a sense of humor. Congratulations all around!

Mrs Furious said...

I am actually hoping to write an in depth post about that today (if I get the time). This was a major personal breakthrough for me. I went back to my New Year's Resolution to put my interests first and had to really question why I wasn't placing my happiness at the same level as his. And the truth is this new job is not exactly chopped liver he'll be the Design Director at Automobile Magazine. He'll be fine. and he won't have to drive his early 90s turquoise junker anymore.

Kiki said...

I am so happy for you guys you cannot imagine....I know what it is like to be completely unhappy in a place....and what a relief that there is a decision made and a plan in place.

I am also excited to see the house hunt unfold and all the decorating choices....its always a fun adventure (maybe just for us readers) to see how it all plays out.

Yay for the exciting future of the Furious Family!!!

Missives From Suburbia said...

Dang it! You're going to be living near Nicole?! You have no idea what a lucky duck you are, Mrs. F. Nicole is one of the wisest, funniest people in my life. Hunt her down when you get back home. You won't be disappointed.

Claire said...

Glad to hear your good news - I am out of commission as I knocked my laptop off my coffee table and the screen is smashed internally. Thinking of you all!

workout mommy said...

congratulations! I agree with all the other comments, I don't think you'll regret this move. you have never been happy down there and it's better to take a "hit" now then pay later.

crossing my fingers that your house sells quickly! :)

Leenie said...

Glad to read that something is looking up! And even though you don't know me (i read your blog daily) I'm excited that I may live near a real life blogger (I'm in Toledo). I'm rooting for ya!

Mrs Furious said...

We are members of the Toledo Zoo. Love that place! We'd be happy to meet up sometime once we're back.

Leenie said...

That would be fantastic! We love it there too, especially in the winter! Just let us know and we'll be there.

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