Rob is gone to Salt Lake City right now for his interview. We are feeling pretty excited about the possibilities there; it seems like the practice could be a really good situation for him to get involved in professionally and the more we learn, the more positively we feel about the city as a place to live. For starters, it is a beautiful, beautiful place with mountains and four lovely seasons (snow! fall colors!) and all these national parks within driving distance. I would be ALL OVER exchanging the drab north Texas prairie for something better. As far as the culture and vibe of the city, at first I had a lot of reservations because I wasn't sure I wanted to live somewhere with a dominant Mormon culture and I wondered what it would be like to raise non-Mormon kids there and whether I would just exchange my frustrations with über-conservative Dallas for über-conservative Salt Lake City. We've been doing a lot of research, though, and I think it could be a good place for us. Apparently, if you stay within the city proper (away from the suburbs) and in the neighborhoods close to the university, the vibe is a bit progressive and indie and, I guess, bohemian, which would all be a good match for us. The houses in those neighborhoods are generally ADORABLE, as all the time I've frittered away on real estate websites has shown me, and would be within our reach financially. It's not a really pedestrian friendly city, but it does seem like there are some pockets with parks or little shops or whatnot that you can walk to, and there is a farmers market and a half dozen CSAs to sate my hunger for local food. I've thought about what it would be like to be a Christian who takes her faith seriously there, and I don't see the situation as entirely negative. In my poking around, I found this essay by a Christian pastor who lives in SLC and as I read his thoughts, I can see myself being content as an outsider and a "listener" and in a position of cultural weakness as a Christian. Heck, the times I've been happiest with where I've lived have fit exactly that description, although it was more in secular/atheistic/agnostic spots than a place dominated with a particular religion different from mine. So yeah, we'll see. Rob returns on Saturday and we'll see where things go from there, as far as this job and the other jobs Rob is pursuing in other cities.
Of course, Rob being gone means I am doing the single-parent thing again for a few days. I made a tactical error last night and cooked a real dinner, leaving me with too many dishes to do and wailing, exhausted children and no one to help. Tonight I chose more wisely and we all ate leftovers, and tomorrow night I am hanging out with my friend Christy, who is also flying solo for a few days, when we will allow our girls to distract each other and eat dinner somewhere all together. The afternoon and evening do stretch out very long when you've been with little ones all day and no one is coming home to shake things up a little.
Getting into bed alone last night made me realize how much our lives have changed since residency; I was glad to be reminded of how much better things are now. For most of Rob's residency, I slept alone every 4th night while he was on call at the hospital and there were a lot of dinners eaten by myself and putting Grace to bed without her seeing her dad. Now, he rarely misses dinnertime and he never has to stay at the hospital overnight, and yet somehow I have gotten used to it and I don't remember what it was like before and I am greedy for yet more. I was thinking about this today when Beck wrote about being sick, seriously and then not so much. We do get used to things, and sometimes it's easy to forget how good I've got it, even compared to just a few years ago. And there's a very good possibility that things will get even better for our family starting this summer, both as far as the hours Rob works and our financial situation. Gratitude-- it's the way to go.