Snapshots of Life

Friday, April 17, 2009

University Life or Cow Town?

For several years now, probably about 10, I have had a goal to get a PhD.  I haven't been sure about the direction of the degree but I wanted to pursue it.  I applied to several programs in late 2007 for admittance in Fall 2008.  I was accepted to a couple of them without funding and the timing wasn't right with the progress I was making toward obtaining the LCSW (which is the licensure that allows me to practice independently).  I deferred at one program and applied again at another to enter Fall 2009.  Just over two weeks ago now I received a notification of admittance to a PhD program at the University of Utah, this time with funding!  

I thought this would be an easy decision, but when it came right down to it, Tania and I found ourselves grappling with what we should do.  I notified my bosses right away about my predicament and asked what my future would look like if I remained at the Comprehensive Treatment Clinic.  After significant reflection, discussion, prayer, and fasting we decided that I would turn down the PhD program and remain in Cache least for now.  This was one of the most difficult decisions that I have ever made!  We both felt that both options were very positive and promising.  We ultimately made our decision based off of the following (in no particular order):

1.  A move to the U would require that Tania get a new job and that I find a part-time job.  No school districts are hiring and options for therapist positions are very limited in this economy.
2.  I am beginning to establish a niche in the mental health community in Northern Utah and gaining (slowly) an expertise in my field with some cutting edge training.
3.  We are excited to settle and get a home.
4.  We are not particularly excited about drastically cutting our income and living as poor students again, particularly considering that this would delay buying a home until we are close to 35!
5.  My bosses are willing to provide some funding and flexibility for a doctoral degree at USU or a distance learning institution.
6.  We love Cache Valley, our little town, and our great ward.
7.  Tania just got called into the Relief Society presidency and the circumstances are such that it is clear the call is of the Lord.

Though this decision has been very hard, I've never been one to look back and continually second-guess myself.  We are moving forward and immediately started looking to build a home.  We have looked around quite a bit over the past year, mostly for fun.  We found a builder that we really like almost a year ago and haven't found anything we like as much since then.  So, that was the easy part.  We wanted to stay in the ward, which led us to look for lots inside our ward boundaries.  There are several for sale in this one-stop-light town but most of them are large lots outside of our price range.  I would have loved to buy a .8 acre lot and have a huge garden and fruit trees, but finances simply won't allow.  Our ward has a brand new subdivision full of younger couples and families.  Several lots sit empty in the neighborhood, so we called to see if any were available.  To our disappointment, the last lot was picked up the previous week.  Just as we were beginning to think staying in the ward wouldn't be possible the selling agent for the subdivision called to tell us that the contract had fallen through.

Everything has moved very quickly!  In no more than 5 months we hope to be saying goodbye to great-grandpa Olsen's shoe shop, which has actually been a nice little place...

...And moving onto a .3 acre lot in "Richmond Meadow Estates" (which sounds much more fancy than it is).

 A view of the lot from the west.  It is a corner lot and stretches from the street to the white fence.

A view of the lot from the south.  Again, the lot stretches from the street to the end of the white fence.  If all goes according to plan we will be building "The Magnolia".

It will be primarily light blue with some darker blue and white.  We will also have more rock exterior.

We are huge fans of the exterior and the floor plan.  The "office" will actually be a parlor/living room/home teacher room.  We will also have an unfinished basement with cold storage.

An offer was made on the lot and accepted.  We are now in contract for the land and construction.  Now, it's just a matter of picking everything out and preparing specific plans.  Once plans are submitted to the lender and we get the pre-authorization they can start digging!  We are hoping to get this done as quickly as we can, mostly to get locked in while interest rates are low.  I know this is horrible to say but we are really hoping the economy stays in the dumps for another 4-5 months so that interest rates don't begin to rise.

We are excited and scared to death all at the same time!