this is the story of the road that goes to my house

Back in August, we did something we’d been waiting YEARS to do – we made an offer on a house. A real house! With a front door! That opens to the outside! After living in dorm rooms, apartments and condos since leaving our parents’ homes as young adults, our dream was to someday have a house. And it finally happened!

The house was put on the market on a Friday, we looked at it the next day, we put an offer in the following Monday, and our offer was accepted the next day. When we saw the house, we just knew it was too good to pass up. The whole process was much smoother than when we bought our condo in Chicago – painless and quick. Everyone we worked with was great. I was beyond excited to close and move in!

The house is in a neighborhood of green and modern homes – they’re all colorful, unique and designed by local architects. The community is full of artistic people – photographers, designers, actors, etc. Our neighbors have been really friendly.

I finally have my front door!

The first night at the house, we had no furniture. Just a few folding chairs. And some wine to celebrate.

Yippeee! I haz a happy!!!

We moved in at the beginning of October and have been extremely busy since. Owning a house is a lot of work! It was pretty move-in ready, but there were a few odd jobs that we wanted to tackle, plus all the unpacking.

One job on Drew’s list was to install his surround sound speakers. It was a hard and dirty job, but he was so proud that he got them working!

We’ve spent most of our weekends working outside on the landscaping, yard and deck. The only outdoor space we had before was a balcony. The Texas summer is pretty harsh on landscaping, so we’ve just tried to maintain what is there, but will give it a revamp next spring. The outdoor space is one of our favorite features – we’ve spent a lot of time on our porch and deck and can enjoy them almost year round.

It is now early November and we are still able to eat dinner outside on our deck. Something tells me this will never get old.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “July, July” by The Decemberists

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it’s time to leave this town, it’s time to steal away

After my last day at Discover, I tearfully drove home and finished packing up the condo. The moving company came early the next morning and had all our stuff on the truck by lunchtime. Then it was time for me to get to work cleaning the empty condo. It was harder than I imagined – cleaning every single surface inside and out. But after cleaning all day and night, I made the place shine like the top of the Chrysler building. I even shampooed the carpets. Our tenants came the next day for the final walk-through and I gladly handed over the keys and said “Good luck. I’m outta here.”

I got an early start the next morning on my 2-day road trip to Austin. Luckily, my sister sent me a few audiobooks to make the drive go faster, and that’s exactly what they did. I don’t think I would have made it if I had to listen to my collection of 80’s music the entire way.

The halfway point to Austin just happened to be Memphis, the home to some of my extended family. So I asked my uncle if I could crash at his house. And he took me to dinner. What a deal! It was great seeing my aunts, uncles and cousins whom I don’t get to see much – and I got to meet my cousin’s baby, Isaac!

I narrowly missed a huge storm that hit Memphis hard and caused a big power outtage that affected my uncle’s house. Luckily my cousin let me stay at their house. The next morning I got an early start to finish the 2nd leg of my road trip. I hit a little traffic getting out of Memphis, but it didn’t last long.

But soon enough, I was in the exciting state of Arkansas where I passed through towns like Arkadelphia and Texarkana. Arkansas is not that big of a state, but for some reason it felt like it took forever to get through.

Then I hit beautiful green rolling hills and knew I was on the home stretch!

My car’s navigation does not recognize the address of our apartment in Austin because the area is too new (newly developed on the old Austin airport.) So I got close enough and then took a little bit of a round about until the building magically appeared. I was home!

Drew met me outside and we ran slow-motion into each other’s arms while a choir sang down on us from the heavens in perfect harmony. Reunited and it feels so gooood! Then he took me out for Mexican and I downed one of these.

And to celebrate this new phase in our lives, the physical labor I endured packing and cleaning the entire condo myself, and the fact that I made it down there in one piece – we opened a special bottle of Cakebread and toasted in our empty apartment. Here’s to our new life and adventures in deep in the heart of Texas! Cheers y’all!

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Road Trippin'” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

she’s leaving home, bye bye

Yes, I’m leaving Chicago, my home for the past 7 years. In fact, I’m leaving Illinois, my home for twenty-some years. We are packing up and moving to Austin. As in Texas. As in a completely different state. In the south. Where they speak with southern accents and have warm winters. I will miss Chicago and my friends, family, and coworkers here. But, I can honestly say I won’t miss Chicago winters.

What prompted our move was that Drew accepted a job transfer with his company, KPMG. We discussed it and it sounded like a great opportunity and an exciting adventure to pick up and move. That meant I was on the job hunt.

I’m leaving my beloved Discover after 7 years. I’ll miss the work and the people and the culture of Discover. I really enjoyed what I did there. I still remember that fateful day in college when I took a quick walk through the job fair and saw that Discover was hiring web developer interns. I had already found an internship in Seattle, but I thought I’d take one last look. So glad I did – I was invited to headquarters for interviews, was offered the internship, and went on to have the best summer ever. It didn’t even feel like work.

I hoped that I could find another job that I liked as much. Leaving is harder than I imagined, but I’m taking with me a lot of memories, some awesome ninja web skills, and lots of friendships. You never know when you’ll run into people again. Since I’ll be living in a tech hub, I’m bound to run into someone at a conference or festival.

I’m leaving behind a lot of family and friends, but that just means I have plenty of reasons to come back to Chi-town to visit. And now they all have somewhere to visit during those harsh winters!

Drew’s been in Austin since early March and already started his new job. He moved into our apartment with just an air mattress and a few other things. I told him he couldn’t do anything fun until I got there. So I’m left to pack up the condo, which I’ve spent the last few weeks doing. The moving company comes in on Saturday, then I’m outta here. It’s a 2-day drive down and luckily I have family conveniently located halfway down in Memphis, so I can crash at my uncle’s house. Then I’ll be hightailing it to Austin to finally see my hubby after a month!

After I settle in, I’ll start my new job at Dell and start becoming a Texan. Which should be easy because I’ve seen a lot of Friday Night Lights episodes. I’ll let you know if I run into Sandra Bullock or Lance Armstrong. I suppose I need to get me some cowboy boots?

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “She’s Leaving Home” by The Beatles