Tar Heel Adventure

So I have been in North Carolina now for exactly three months.

The process of packing and moving went relatively smoothly. I had taken an extra week off and used that to box up and mark boxes so that I was certain I could locate specific items when I needed them later. this proved to be only partially successful as it turned out, but for the most part, we have been able to recover items from storage as we need them.

We spent the first three weeks in Charlotte staying at a hotel, all paid for by the relocation company, part of a very generous moving benefit offered by Husqvarna. The hotel was a Stay2Suites, part of the Hilton chain. the accommodations were nice and this offered a sense of stability as a home base. Our dog and cat adjusted nicely to hotel living as well.

I had a week between our arrival in Charlotte and the start of my work so we started on the important task of finding more permanent housing. At first we looked for rental homes, with the idea of finding a place to house us as well as our household goods. This idea was quickly dismissed as the price of nice rental homes was too high and those within our limited budget (limited due to the fact that our home in Fort Wayne has yet to sell) were not exactly places where we wanted to live. So we decided to seek out apartment living instead. We spent one afternoon before we found the place. It is a newer apartment complex at a decent price and in a good location.

The next order of business for me was to start my job. Husqvarna is a good company. It is large, much larger than any place I have worked before and it is international with headquarters in Sweden and locations all around the world. The division in which I work, Consumer Brands, is based in Charlotte with manufacturing facilities in Georgia and South Carolina. The work is interesting and very similar to what I had been doing for Murray Equipment. It has been an always interesting and sometimes daunting experience to go from the proverbial big fish in the small pond to the opposite. Especially intimidating has been going from being the acknowledged expert on all aspects of the operation to being the new guy having to ask questions about, well, everything. Now after a few months, I am finding my sea legs and am getting more comfortable in my intended role as subject matter expert.

Natalka arrived here without any idea of where she would work. However within a week of the commencement of her job she had a half dozen interviews lined up and within another week, she had several offers. She ended up starting in an ICU position in early December.

Moving from the hotel to the apartment was a relatively smooth process although it took place in two stages - first to move our household items to the apartment from storage and then to move some (unfortunately not all) of the remaining items to the garage at the apartment once it became available. So now I have a house payment in Indiana and monthly rent payments on an apartment, garage and storage unit. Thus, a major downside of the move.

Learning the lay of the land has been a slow but steady process. We know now where all the necessities are - church, groceries, car repair. We've also found some nice restaurants and movie theaters. There is an abundance of board game stores in the area, but unfortunately very few good used book stores. I have joined up with a group of historical gamers and have made it to a number of sessions for miniatures gaming as well as some board games.

In the short time we have been in the area, we have made a few day trips to explore the surrounding area. The Blue Ridge mountains are particularly beautiful and there are a number of really nice wineries in the area.

Both kids were able to join us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This has been the hardest part of the move, being far away from the children.

Going forward, once the house in FW sells, we will look at maybe building a new home, smaller than the one in FW and with a payment more similar to the rent payment we have now. This would be the ideal situation, but we need to sell first.

Overall, the experience of making a job change with a complete relocation has been a positive experience, although one not without its share of stress. This is the sort of thing that if one waits for the timing to be exactly right, you'd likely never do it. So that this opportunity came up suddenly and the wheels were quickly set in motion was a blessing.

I miss Game Nights in Fort Wayne. Even though I was not a regular attendee, it was always good to be able to participate when I could.
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