Sunday, June 13, 2010

Midland, Part One: Preliminaries

I'm moving to Midland, TX.  I applied for the transfer about three or four weeks ago.  It seemed unreal; it seemed like a long shot.  But suddenly it was real when my new supervisor called and offered me the job.  The wheels had been set in motion.  I couldn't safely say no, now.  I had thought it over when I applied and decided, yes, I will go if I'm offered.  So here I go!

The Company is moving me, so no trouble there.  They pay for closing costs for my house here and for a new on in Midland if I so choose.  They hand me some cash for inconveniences and I think they cover a month or so of housing, car and food expenses.  I'll have to drive my cars (2) out to Midland and pull my trailer with my various power toys, which they won't ship.  That's ok.

I start pretty soon, like in July.  I have a vacation scheduled for early July, and I'll probably pass through Midland on the way to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.  The job is a good one.  It's worked from Midland because of company history issues.  The job itself is working assets in a northern area.  More details on that later.  It will involve a little bit of travel up north.  Also probably a few times to Houston.

I have mixed feelings about leaving Houston.  I don't love my house, but I love my neighborhood.  I love all the shops in Houston, and the highways and the business.  The humidity I've grown to tolerate, and the flowers and plants can't be beat.  Midland is in the middle of a flat, treeless, nearly featureless plain.  But the city has some surprises.  It has a downtown with skyscrapers, maybe in the 20-story range.  Around downtown are homes built beginning in the 1920s, then 30s, more in the 40s, lots in the 50s and so on.  There is a price inversion.  In Houston, you can get a nice new house in the suburbs in the mid to high $100ks.  If you want a 30s house in the Heights, you can now expect to pay well over $300k, probably more like $400k for redone places.  In Midland, you can get 40s and 50s houses in the high $100ks to $200k, and new homes begin around $300k.

Midland is near mountains.  I love mountains.  To the south (4.5 hours) is Big Bend National Park, and state park.  Three hours south are the Davis Mountains.  Three hours (and change) west are Carlsbad and the Guadalupe National Park.  Beyond that are the Lincoln National Forest (in New Mexico), a number of canyons and a wilderness area north of the Guadalupes.  Five hours west and you are atop the crest of the Sacramento Mountains, a range that tops out over 12,000' on Sierra Blanca Peak.  Here you will find quaint and cool vacation towns like Cloudcroft, NM.  To the north in the same range is Ruidoso, home to downhill skiing in winter and some fine hiking -- almost Arizona-class.  North of Midland is Lubbock and Amarillo.  Dallas-Fort Worth is 5-6 hours to the ENE.  The halfway point between Houston and Midland is Enchanted Rock State Park.  Houston to Midland is about 8.5 hours.  All the hill country of Texas is 4-5 hours east of Midland.  Farther afield, you have all of southern Arizona, with Tucson only 9 hours to the west.

Things to do in Midland?  Cycling seems popular, although roads are long, straight and windy.  There is a soaring club and a number of airfields, pointing to the popularity of aviation.  There are reservoirs to the east.  There are a handful of dirt bike areas nearby.  Everything else is a drive: hiking, skiing, mountain biking, canyoneering.

I got the job in Midland on Friday.  On Saturday I was freaking out, thinking of all the things I must do to move.  I went to Starbucks to clear the mind and, while sipping an iced mocha, made a prioritized list:

1. sell or donate unnecessary clothes, furniture and other items
2. pack books, papers, and extra things
3. tackle yard work projects (hire and/or DIY)
4. tackle house fix-up projects (hire and/or DIY)

First things first.  Took pictures of stuff and listed on Craigslist.  The company moves all my furniture, so no stress.  Still, nice to get rid of stuff I really don't need or want in Midland.  A change to clear out the life and the clutter and begin fresh.  Or fresher.

Second, packed boxes.  No idea I had 2,000 lbs worth of books.  But I do.  Tired of packing boxes.  Actually, much of my stuff is already in boxes or crates due to on-going organization efforts.  Papers from school, outdoor gear, files, camera stuff: all neatly packed in boxes.

What's next?  This week I guess I'll hear from the company HR about moving details.  They'll tell me what I need to pack up, when I'll move, and how much they'll give me for storage or an apartment at the other end.  Next weekend will be more packing and then preparing for my 10-day vacation coming up soon.  Then I'll come back and work another week or so before boxing up my office for the more to Midland.

The next few weeks are going to be a wild ride.  Here it goes!

1 comment:

Mom said...