Well, I'm back in Vegas. We left Minnesota on Monday a.m. and pulled into town Wednesday at 10 p.m., with stops in Kansas City and Frisco, Colo., along the way. I knew we were getting close to "home" when I saw a billboard featuring an AK-47, pimping a local establishment where you can go and fire said weapon. As we neared the Strip, the billboards flying past my face became even more symbolic of this den of iniquity -- beer, adult superstores, personal injury lawyers. Add it all up, and nothing says Vegas quite like deadly weapons, alcohol, sex, and frivolous lawsuits.
Which leads me to my next point. This blog might be in for a name change, because our future in Henderson is currently in doubt. Kris returned to Vegas in early August, two weeks ahead of the rest of the family, to get back to work. The next day, she was laid off.
I can't remember who I've told about this, either in person, over the phone, via e-mail or Facebook, etc., so I'm just putting it down in this blog post and asking you all to keep us in your thoughts. We've got a few months to work with thanks to severance and unused PTO, but in this job market, you never know how quickly things will move.
Actually, I'm far less concerned with my wife finding suitable employment than I am with selling our house in this foreclosure-saturated market. Talented people don't stay unemployed for long, and Kris is the most talented person I know, so I'm fully confident she'll find something even better soon enough.
But her job was the reason we came to Vegas, and even after four years, it's pretty much the only thing tying us here. Sure, we've made some good (great!) friends, gotten involved in our church, found a wonderful school for our kids, and enjoyed the mild winters. But when we look at what we truly value, it's pretty clear that we're ready for a return to Minnesota.
We're not in the position to be terribly picky right now, of course, so we're exploring opportunities in all major metropolitan areas (major-league sports is a must this time around, so I can jump-start my sports reporting career). Still, the Twin Cities offer all of the tangible benefits we're looking for (proximity to family and friends, pro and college sports, good schools, summers that don't reach 115 degrees for three months, lakes, biking trails, a vibrant arts/music scene) and the one intangible that Vegas never seemed to represent to us: Minnesota is home. It just is.
We're never going to regret moving here. It's been a wonderful four years in so many ways. Kris learned a lot and gained invaluable experience in her career. We've learned a lot about ourselves, our values, and what family means to us (both extended and nuclear). I wrote my first book here. I started my first blog here. Our beloved cat, Twilight, lived out the last of his 16 years in the warm, dry air here, prowling our fenced-in back yard with a freedom he'd never experienced before. I completed my first triathlon here. Fiona became a soccer star here. Nora lost her first tooth here. Kris started running half-marathons and also completed her first triathlon here.
No regrets. It's been a great run. But change is in the air. We'll keep you all posted.