Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Alexandria, VA and the Dream

Alexandria, VA is a suburb of Washington DC

Back in Alexandria, VA, long before our transfer to the plains of  Southwestern Ohio, my wife Amy and I have always dreamed of having a beautiful home to raise our family.   We started our married life in a 1500+sq ft townhome in Alexandria and it was quickly outgrown with the birth of our sons, Michael in 2007 and Matthew in 2010.  As a family of 4, our townhome was quickly bursting at the seams.  With the real estate crash of 2009 and falling home prices, we were quickly underwater in  home value and weren't able to upgrade our home to a bigger one.  The equity deficit on our present home was way over $50K and upgrading to a suitable home that possessed everything we wanted would quickly result in a $500,000 mortgage---barely affordable and scary.  There was no way selling this house was economically feasible.

With the high cost of living in the Washington DC area and the stress of everyday life in this rat race, we often  wondered out loud how great it would be do have a decent job in another part of the country that had a lower cost of living, affordable real estate, and a reasonable commuting times.   "If we could have all of that, we'd jump on it", we pondered.   Maybe someone was listening, or maybe it was a prayer answered.

Someone Was Listening

My corny, but comforting mental view of our Lord and Savior.
In September, 2011, I ran into a colleague that worked in Dayton that told me that he was about to quit his job and move to another company.  After noting my attentive pause, he asked me if I was contemplating a transfer to take his old position.   Carpe Diem, I thought, and rushed home to discuss with Amy about the opportunity that lay before us.   Amy had noted my misery about living in DC all these years and quickly said yes allowing me to put my name in for the open position in Ohio.

In my company, I had been through some ups and downs, but I've always had mentors that believed in me and helped me through some of my toughest times there.   I found myself calling on them again to help me with something that would greatly impact my work life, family life, and my quality of life.   Without hesitation, they answered with resounding approval and after some interviews, I was slotted in for the new position in Ohio.  Smitty, Neal, and Caroline, you have always been there for me.  On behalf of me and my family--thank you.

On My Way

After the graceful approval, I was slotted for transfer as soon as the  replacement for my present position achieved all of his qualifications to take my place.    By January of 2012, I was cleared for takeoff and scheduled to arrive in late January to my new job in Dayton, OH.   Amy and the kids were to stay until June to tie things up in Alexandria.

Dayton, OH--Back in the Midwest!

Datyon, OH Skyline

I arrived in late January to a cold, Dayton, OH, ready to lay the groundwork to what will become our new hometown.  While here by myself, I would try and score some cheap living arrangement and spend my time searching for a rental for the family for 1 year by checking out the areas suitable for raising a family with good crime stats, shopping, and most important of all, schools.  

Work was everything that I imagined it to be.  I had a great boss, super co-workers, and the hours were consistent.   My contentment developed with a great environment, like minded team, and most of all, an easy commute.  In Dayton, traffic is never horrible--even on a bad day and I was liking it already.

I rented a room from a guy named Eric in what I found out to be in one of the not-so-best places in Dayton.  There was a plethora of boarded up houses and stories of drug related gang activity to match.  Though I was not too keen in living in such an area, Eric had a decent house and allowed me to have a short lease.  He turned out to be an exceptional roomate and very good company in the months when I was by myself.

It was during this time that I started visiting all of the areas of Dayton in order to find a good home for the family.   My first targeted area was the Oakwood area of Dayton.  The houses were old--and definitely living there was not one of my dreams--I wasn't too keen about keeping up some house that was built 50+ years ago.   As May crept closer, I did secure a lease to hold us for a year  in this area but the landlord rescinded the lease to my dismay.   I ended up finding a house in nearby Kettering which happened to have been built by Ryan Homes 10 years ago.  This was the place where we were going to hang our hat, giving us a year to get fully acquainted with Dayton and really KNOW what place was going to suit us and our family.

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