Friday, October 25, 2013

A Conversation

Me:  I can't believe we will have been married for three years at the end of next month.

Darren:  I know!  What should we do to celebrate?

Me:  Hmmm ... I know the third anniversary is not considered a big one, but I think we should do something exciting. ((Thinking))  What if we took a trip somewhere?  Somewhere really fun?  ((More thinking, and then hesitatingly...))  We have talked about wanting to visit New York together ... ((Searching Darren's face for subtle signs of distress))

Darren:  You know what, I think we should go for it.

Me:  Really?!

Darren:  Yes.  The weekend after Thanksgiving would be perfect timing with my schedule.  Let's do it!

Okay, so I can't remember the conversation verbatim, but the point is that we have made reservations  to visit NYC at the end of November/beginning of December!  It turns out that Angie, Scott, Annalyse, Natalie, and Doug (Darren's cousin) also had plans to visit NYC before Christmas.  We decided to combine efforts and make travel plans together.  I can't wait to explore New York again with people that I love.  I have already started making lists of my favorite places to visit/things to see/food to eat.  I am seriously counting down the days!!

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Sunday, October 6, 2013


This weekend was General Conference weekend.  How I love these opportunities to curl up on my couch with a blanket and some hot cocoa (now that we're in Pinedale, that is) to soak in the inspired words of prophets, apostles, and other Church leaders of our day.  As I listened to the messages that were shared, I realized that I have let too many days go by without recording how grateful I feel for the events that have brought us here to Pinedale.  As generally happens after watching Conference, I feel that I view many things in life with a renewed perspective--thank goodness Conference comes every six months!  It is amazing to me how a place like Pinedale, that initially felt so foreign, can so quickly feel like home.  After nearly eight weeks here, I almost fear ever having to leave.  Quite a change from my last post, isn't it?

Let's start at the very beginning, shall we? (I have an urge to quote another Sound of Music song here, but I will resist.) At this time last year, we were living in Gilbert, Az, and Darren was in the middle of his first semester of law school.  While we were/are grateful for the opportunity Darren had to attend law school, a goal he had had for himself for several years, we agreed after a while that a life in the law was not right for us.  What followed was a few months of not knowing what path we should take.  I was in my fourth year of teaching 5th grade and Darren found a job that seemed like a good choice for the time being.  We began looking at homes in the Gilbert area.  Although we loved the area (who wouldn't love 70 degree temperatures in the winter, wonderful people, a relatively short drive home to family in Ca, and the opportunity to participate in the open house of a temple almost across the street from us??), we continued to hesitate in making these big decisions.  Darren began looking for other job opportunities and reached out to someone he knew from a ward he had lived in in Utah.  This friend had an unexpected connection with a company called Clean Harbors.  Darren got in touch with the Clean Harbors contact and after a phone interview, was asked if he could come to Wy for an in-person interview.  It just so happened that we were flying into Salt Lake that weekend for a family reunion with some of my dad's extended family in Manti.  We could take a 2 hour detour into Wy and then meet up with my family in Manti.  In order to keep this post from becoming a novel, I will bullet point some of the significant events that happened after that:
  • Something that NEVER happens to this slightly obsessive traveler happened with our flight to SLC--we missed boarding our flight by 10 minutes.  I did not handle this event gracefully.  As it turned out, though, the next flight got us into the SLC, and then Wy, at a time that worked much better for the person interviewing Darren.  He told us he had had things come up during the day that would have prevented him from interviewing Darren at our originally appointed time.  He ended up taking us both out to dinner after work and interviewing Darren at the restaurant (a slightly nerve-racking experience for me, but Darren did great!).
  • Darren was interviewed Friday night (July 19), we attended the Wintch reunion Saturday and Sunday (which was a lot of fun--see picture below), we both returned to work on Monday, and on Tuesday Darren received a call from Clean Harbors being offered the job--a great opportunity in their Pinedale, Wy location (a place I had previously never heard of).  It was going to be a big change, but it was a better fit for both of us in many ways.  We felt it was the right step to make.  Going to talk to the director of my school once we had decided to accept the job offer, however, was one of the scariest things I had ever done.  Not that any of my administrators inspired fear, but we were in our faculty training week and my fifth year of teaching was to start that following Monday.  I felt horribly guilty about bringing this change to my administrators the week before school started.  One tender mercy?  My administration and coworkers were extremely gracious.  They were excited for us.  Some of them knew of Pinedale and had only nice things to say about the area.  I told them that Darren had to leave for Wy the week of August 12, but that I would be willing to stay until mid-September if they needed that extra time to find a replacement.  Another tender mercy?  It worked out that my last day was on August 8, just in time for me to visit Pinedale with Darren to find a place to live and make the move with him!
  • Darren had an old truck with "a few mechanical issues"that we wanted to try and sell before moving.  Right before we left, someone with an understanding of all of the truck's issues and who knew how to fix them offered us our asking price, which covered most of our moving expenses.
  • The weekend of August 9-11, Darren and I flew to Pinedale to find a place to live.  We had an appointment with a realtor to show us some apartments for rent.  The apartments she showed us were pretty sketchy and in areas we didn't particularly like.  A few tears may have been shed (by me, not Darren).  At the end of our meeting, the realtor mentioned that there was a house for rent off of Fayette Pole Creek Rd, an area we had yet to explore.  Darren and I drove out there on our own and I immediately fell in love with the road and community.  We really wanted to make something work in this area.  We were shown the home and jumped at the opportunity to claim something on this road.  We secured the deal and traveled up to Jackson Hole to celebrate my 30th birthday (a day early) and this new chapter in our life.
  • We returned to Gilbert, packed up our massive moving truck, and drove for two and a half days to become official residents in Pinedale.  We moved into our home on Pole Creek Rd. with the help of the Cornelison family (thank you Scott, Angie, Annalyse, and Natalie!).  After a week and a half of living in that home, however, we discovered it had some issues as an old home that we were not prepared to handle.  When we addressed our concerns with our landlord, we were once again met with a very gracious response, and she let us out of our rental agreement.  We then were looking for a new place to live, a somewhat daunting experience after our meeting with that initial realtor.  We went to our new ward on Sunday and I shared our situation with some sisters in Relief Society.  After listening to me, one woman gave me the name and number of a family in the ward that was moving and wanted to rent the apartment attached to their home.  Guess where they lived.  This beautiful home and apartment was half a mile up the road on Pole Creek from the first house.  We contacted the family and were able to move (again!) with the help of our new neighbors that following week.  Needless to say, we felt very blessed.  We have loved and been very comfortable in this new home.
  • Finally, the people here in Pinedale, and more specifically in our Temple Peak Ward, have been amazing.  Within a week of living in our new home, we were invited to several Sunday dinners and were given opportunities to become more involved in the community.  My parents have had the opportunity to visit (which always makes a place feel more like home), and Darren and I have already started drooling over a plot of land close to where we're currently living.  I have even forgiven Pinedale for its first snowfall that came a week ago, while we were still in September!  We are home!
Riding horses at the Wintch reunion--Darren was there, too, but he's hiding behind my dad in this picture.
Moving Day--Leaving Gilbert

Wyoming sunset
Downtown Pinedale

30th Birthday Dinner in Jackson

View from birthday Gondola ride in Jackson

Autumn in Pinedale along Fayette Pole Creek Rd.

First snowfall in Pinedale (view from our balcony)

New truck for Darren--with 4WD!
Mom and Dad next to Pine Creek during their visit to Pinedale 

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