Thursday, November 8, 2012

Meet Me In Montana: Missoula, MT

I haven't posted in 3 weeks.  It honestly seems like longer.  I have struggled with whether I was done with this, at least for now, but today I find that I am not.  Not yet.  And a LOT has happened.  Some good, some bad. 

Relax, this isn't the bad.

There is a company in Missoula, Montana that David talked to about a job a few years back.  At that time, our daughter was preparing to move in with her daughter.  The job would be a slight step back in pay (but a step forward in a lot of other ways) and we just didn't feel we could do it while taking on two dependents and with no way of knowing how long they would be with us.  A year and a half turned out to the be answer. 

Then, the opportunity presented itself again.  I encouraged David to go up there this time and at least talk to them.  Then he could make a more informed decision.  Once he went to Wichita, Kansas to interview for a job and on the way home he called and said, "I don't want to live in Wichita."  Maybe that would happen again.  So he told them he would come up.

And they said, "Bring her too."

I think this is a totally smart move on their part.  What if he took the job and then I moved up there and said, "What the hell were you thinking?"  This way we both know what we are getting in to.

David already knows someone at the company he will be interviewing with.  Gerry worked with David where David works now before Gerry and his wife relocated to Montana a few years ago.  We are surprised when Gerry meets us at the airport.

But not as surprised as I am at the huge bear in the lobby or the various other animals stuffed and mounted on the walls and in other cases.  You definitely wouldn't see that at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.  This is also an "international airport".  I think they might have one flight a week to Canada.

Gerry wants to make sure David knows how to get to the office for the interview the next day.  The office is on the airport property.  Here in Dallas, that might require a tour and a map and a call saying you will be late the next day when you get lost.  I don't think that will be an issue here.  Gerry's wife is along for the trip and I like her immediately.  In fact, when we get to the parking lot, the boys go in one car and she and I go in another and we have known each other less than 15 minutes.

The next morning, David and I head to WalMart on the way to the office.

As an experienced packer it is somewhat unacceptable that neither of us managed to get here with a toothbrush.  At Walmart we buy a big pack of Swispers.  I will put the excess in my laptop bag for future packing lapses.

Once we arrive at the office, Gerry takes me on a tour of the facility and it is really interesting.  After that I leave David there and the plan is that I will come back around lunch and in the meantime I will go check out Missoula.  I have three things on my agenda:  look at some neighborhoods, go to the quilt store and go to the art museum.  I never made it to the art museum.

I find this pumpkin patch in the first neighborhood I go to.  The view is spectacular as it is most everywhere.  Even in the WalMart parking lot we had a great view of the mountains.

At the quilt store, I browse around and one of the ladies asks if she can help me.  We start talking and I mention that we are thinking of moving to the area and I just wanted to see what my choices were in town for quilting supplies and fabric.  She ends up giving me her HOME phone number so that if I move and have questions, I can feel free to call her.  Let me just say, that would NEVER happen at home and at home I would never do this myself.  The more we met people on this trip the more we realized that things here are just different.  More trusting.  Slower.

Even at Hooters, which David was happy to see they had because "the food is so good".  After one drink and some fried cheese we had to hunt the waitress down so we could leave for an appointment as we had been there about 45 minutes and no one had taken our food order.

I am starting to learn that people believe that nothing exists in Montana but Missoula isn't a tiny town.  They had a lot of the stores we have where we live now.  I saw an Old Navy, an Outback Steakhouse, a Lowe's.  The difference is that where we live now there are 2 Lowe's within 5 miles of our house and another that is about 8 miles away.  In Missoula, there is 1, the next closest one is in Helena, MT, 118 miles away.  I am pretty sure I can live with just 1.

Although I am not sure if David and I can handle all of this traffic. 
Especially during rush hour like it is now.

We met with a realtor who gave us some areas to explore based on our budget and what type of home we would want.  One thing David and I are in agreement are is that we want a VIEW.  Maybe in part due to what happened at dinner.

Diana & Gerry had us over.  While waiting on Gerry to arrive, Diana sat with us on their dock.  Ducks came by.  An eagle flew over.  I felt a little like Cinderella with all of the wildlife coming out to greet me.  I think if I move here maybe little mice will come make quilts with me.

After going inside, I looked out the front windows and see a group of deer grazing across the way, 6-7 of them.  I get excited and point it out to David.  He says, "huh".  Apparently David is unimpressed by a stand of deer hanging around the house because when he was "a kid" he "saw that all the time".  I have known David a LONG time and I know that he spent his entire school career in the Grand Prairie district - a suburb of Dallas.  Not a town known for the free roaming deer.  So at some point before he was 5 he was apparently surrounded by deer to the extent that he became desensitized to beauty of them roaming wild.

(Update:  After reading this David said there were only 2 deer.  I said there were 8 and he accused me of exaggerating since I said 6-7 above.  He also said they were just standing there but the way I remember it they were frolicking along the water's edge and the little ones were playing freeze tag.)

The next day when we saw a single deer standing between two houses? NOW he is impressed.

On that note, I think this is a good time for my favorite one liners, which I have noticed are always better when David is around (you cannot even imagine the ones I don't put on here because our mothers might read this):

 - I can both inspect it and work on it, like a gynecologist.
 - Watch out for the duck poop.
 - Oh, I thought you were talking about sex.
 - I bet bus people suck more than airplane people.
 - We are at Nebraska you stupid heifer!

David went back for a second round of interviews the next day but we still had time for a little exploring.

We stumbled on Saint Mary's Mission, the oldest mission in Montana established in 1841. 

This was an Indian mission until 1891 when the Indians were moved to a reservation.  It was an active church until 1954 when a new church was built and it became a historic site.

When we went to the airport to return to Dallas, the TSA agent looked at my driver's license and said, "Texas?  No one lives in Texas anymore, they all live up here."  I said we might too soon.  I am pretty sure that I would be on a first name basis with this guy if we do because the airport is so small.  A woman sat down next to us and asked me if there was a gate number on my boarding pass.  I said no.  What I didn't say is:  Why do you need one?  You can see all of the gates from right here where we are sitting.  DFW has 5 terminals with between 30-40 gates EACH.  I think there were 4 total gates at this airport.

And a gift shop where I considered the purchase of these Moose earmuffs.  I decided against since we came home with no decision.  David bought some huckleberry licorice and jam.  He is a little obsessed with huckleberry.

The waiting was agony.  Diana is posting pictures on Facebook (we were FB "friends" the day we met) of Blue Heron and Big Horn Sheep from her hiking trips and I can only assume her commute to work.  In the meantime I had to set off for Nashville and then Edwardsville, IL.  My phone was practically glued to my hand.

I called David on the way to the airport in St. Louis to check in and I didn't even ask.  If he knew, he would have told me.  Less than 30 minutes later I miss a call from him (damn you 80's station on satellite radio!).  Later, I check my phone and there is a text:  Looks like I need to go shopping for some winter boots.

So today, this is the view from my house because WE ARE MOVING TO MONTANA!  As of today my house is officially for sale.  Soon I hope to trade this view for this one:

Between now and then, I have some catching up to do here as I never wrote about Pittsburgh, Miami, a visit to the local corn maze and a trip to Baltimore with my mom to see my daughter and granddaughter.  Be patient with me and I will get to all that but get ready for some moving stories along the way.  There are bound to be some interesting stories when you decide to move from Texas to Montana in the winter, right?

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