Trevor and made the trip to Tulsa last Saturday to look for housing, schools, daycare and a church. It was also a chance for us to reconnect as a couple without the stress of day to day living with children. I mean, we love listening to them argue about facial expressions, proximity to one another and whether or not a girl movie or a boy movie is going to be put in the DVD player, but we felt like some alone time was in order. Did I mention that his company paid for everything?? Airfare, hotel, food....it was like a free vacation!
The weather was unseasonably cool and wet, but we weren't complaining at all. The low humidity and temperatures that never broke 65 were a pleasant break from the current conditions in Houston. We met up with Trevor's boss and his wife for dinner at a local restaurant, and had a great evening together. I had met Ed and Carol a few times before, but it was good to get to know them a little better.
I had found a church on the Nine Marks website, and decided to attend there Sunday morning. From the moment we stepped out of our car, we were made to feel welcome. Before we even got in the door, a deacon was waiting there to greet and direct us to our class. He walked us to our Sunday school room and introduced us to the teacher, who was warm and welcoming. As class members arrived, he introduced us and it felt like we were already part of the class. Everyone was very easy going and open, wanting to make us feel comfortable.
Before class even started, we had been invited home for lunch by a couple named Paul and Tracy. We had been hoping that someone would be interested in going out to lunch so we could get to know them, but we never dreamed that we would be included so completely by total strangers. The people in this church are truly the body of Christ...working and serving in His name.
The church service was wonderful, and the pastor used scripture to interpret scripture and the preaching was expositional. It was all that we could have hoped for in a church, and we felt right at home. I lost track of the number of people who spoke to and welcomed us that morning.
Anyway, after church we followed Paul and Tracy home for lunch with their family. As we ate and enjoyed fellowship with them, I was struck once again at how lavish God is with His mercy and grace when it comes to His children. These people didn't know us from Adam, and yet they opened their home and hearts to us. It turned out that their two youngest children were close in age to Nathan and Grace, and their oldest were old enough to babysit. We had a good visit with them, and Tracy and I exchanged Facebook information and email addresses before we left.
Monday morning we met with a realtor to look at a rent house that we had found online, and with one appointment we settled the issue of housing. We decided to go ahead and rent for a year until we become more familiar with the area. The house is in a planned community, with a non-existent backyard, no trees and minimum storage...pretty much the polar opposite of our current house, but the rent is reasonable and hopefully we will only be there a year.
So, with a new church and house checked off the list, I went to my first interview that afternoon. It was for a PRN (or "as needed" for the non-medicals out there) position, and it went very well. The facility was beautiful and it would really fit the kid's schedules so that I could be home with them for the most part. The only drawback is that there are no guaranteed hours since it's PRN, which makes it difficult to plan a budget.
We spent Tuesday looking into daycare, enrollment for school and going to the local grocery store to see if there was anything that we needed to stock up on before the move. Lo and behold...they sell Blue Bell ice cream! There is actually a creamery in Broken Arrow, so it makes it feel more like Texas for us. We'll have to take the kids for a tour once we get settled. The only thing that we couldn't find in the store was a particular brand of syrup that we like to eat with our biscuits, so when I got home I bought 2 large vats to include with our moving boxes. Because you know how we Southerners are about our biscuits...
We met Ed and Carol again for dinner at this really good Greek restaurant called Helen of Troy, and the chef was very informative about the different sauces and whatnot. He brought out a sampler tray so we could taste them and decide what we wanted to order. I ended up with an incredible Greek salad that looked nothing like what they serve at Panera Bread, but was out of this world.
Wednesday morning I went to my second interview, this time for a full time position. I loved the center, the staff was very friendly and laid back and I really felt like I could see myself working there. The interview went well, and I am waiting to hear back from the manager. The only problem with the two job interviews is that they had to fill the positions before I was able to get up there to meet them, but both hospitals are pushing to have additional positions opened because they are so busy. It's sort of a waiting game right now, but I am confident that God has all the details worked out and that I just need to patiently wait.
We flew back home Wednesday afternoon, and the sweetest sight in the entire world was Gracie's face as she opened the front door and saw us sitting there. I missed them while we were gone, but we were so busy that the time sort of flew by. But when I saw her little face shining with joy, I realized how much I missed seeing them and was so glad to be home. They were full of news about their few days without us, and it was good to just sit and listen to them talk.
We accomplished pretty much everything that we set out to do on the trip, and were also able to see a few movies and spend some much needed time alone. Our overall impression of the Tulsa area was incredibly positive because the people were so friendly. I don't know if I just was interacting with people who were all having great days or what, but I don't think I had one rude experience the entire trip. Even the teenagers at the local Subway seemed happy to do to their job, instead of the standard "I'm too cool to be here what do you want so I can get back to texting my boyfriend" or the "I can't be bothered to do my job" attitude.
The only obstacles that we need to overcome now are selling our house and nailing down my job in Tulsa. My last day of work here is June12th, and we are planning to move that weekend so we can be in the house the following week and get settled. My mom is going to take the kids home with her to Louisiana for that week so when they arrive, all of their stuff will be moved in and arranged so that it's less of a shock for them. We want to make this transition as easy and painless as possible, and they are both excited about the change.