It has been nearly a year since this “greenie” moved to Central Wyoming from Northern Colorado. There’s a long backstory I’ll eventually get to, for now the short version is my fiancée lived in Lander, has children from a previous marriage and could not relocate. My children and I did not have those restrictions. There were a few other factors but that’s for another time.
For someone who abhors change (*points to self*), 2013 proved to be a massive challenge. It took months to pack, several trips back and forth (600+ miles round trip) moving those wretched boxes and I have to admit, the purge alone was mind boggling. How I acquired so much “stuff” (that’s the G rated version) is still beyond me. The six months my home was on the market and the contracts that came and fell through were incredibly stressful for all of us. If I could turn back time I would skip that whole track.
We lived in my fiancée’s home, the perfect size for himself, his boys and their dog but it quickly became overcrowded when the three of us arrived (with four dogs in tow). Trying to parent children and blend a family while living on top of each other got old quick. We considered a remodel/expansion but time was of the essence (we were ½ way to the nut house) and decided to look for something larger, keeping his home as a rental.
My first small-town-living challenge was discovering the low inventory of homes for sale. If it had been just the two of us (adults) and our herd of dogs, home buying would’ve been a breeze. However, we had a 4, 6, 8 and 10 year old to consider and that, my friends, raises the stakes. Our kiddos needed their “own space” but room to romp together, away from traffic and the such. We looked at several underwhelming houses and circled back to one. It was in a great neighborhood, had sufficient bedrooms but left us with a, “meh” feeling. Deep down you know you’re supposed to have that excited, we’ve found “THE ONE!!” moment but settled and knew it.
Total house-buying buzz kill.
We got back to our realtor (with zero enthusiasm) that we were seriously considering one. Aware of our needs and wish list, she advised us to sit tight … she had something up her sleeve. The following week I was back in CO wrapping up loose ends, she called my fiancée as soon as she was the official listing agent of the “must see” property. Aware a showing couldn’t wait the weekend for me to get back (the house would get snatched up fast), he went alone with her, videotaping each room, the front and back, emailing the results to me. It was perfect. At the end of a quiet cul-de-sac for the kids to safely play in, a large lot with a great deck and backyard, big kitchen, open floor plan, all the rooms we needed plus an office and a two car garage. It got a huge thumbs up and he wrote an offer that afternoon. It was quickly accepted.
We had the kids at “hot tub”..
With all those balls in the air, including acclimating my children, I still had another huge mountain to climb. Go big or go home, right? I left a job in an industry I had been in for 25 years and decided to start a business doing something I was vaguely familiar with (and thoroughly enjoy) here in WY. Genius, right? Instead of being a 40something pounding the pavement for the first time in a decades, I created a job of my own. I put the question of old dogs learning new tricks to the test and a lot was on the line. In my former position I was knowledgeable, confident and enjoyed a wonderful rapport with my customers. I had been there forever and I think (hope) well liked. Now I had to start from scratch, prove myself to the company I was representing with little training (but a great support group having my back). There was a major learning curve glaring at me and I tried not to look it in the eye. For the first time in a long time, I was the new kid on the block and in a small town at that, where everyone knows everything. Could I pull it off? Could I get them to like and accept me? My kids were watching, I couldn’t screw up. I tried not to listen to those negative whispers in my head and pressed forward.
Exhausted? Yes. But I’m a mom.. I got this.
We visited Lander many times before actually moving here. My kids loved it and I fondly refer to it as, “Wyoming’s Best Kept Secret”. Tucked next to the gorgeous Wind River Mountain Range, it’s an outdoorsy, family friendly community. Bonus: Hardly Any Wind? Woot! That being said, there’s a huge chasm between visiting and actually living somewhere. In the 90’s I lived in a farm town in Northern Colorado with a population of around 1500. As the years passed, the farmers started to sell off their land and subdivisions were built. By the time I moved, it had grown to nearly 8000. I loved the small town vibe but was always 10 minutes away from big city conveniences. Target, King Soopers, Olive Garden, Coopersmith’s, PF Changs.. the whole kit and caboodle. Hardly rural living, although I thought so at the time (laughing at myself now in my head).
Confession: The one thing I do miss is Kohl’s, it was my Mommy’s Time-Out retail therapy. Countless hours spent aisle wandering, filling those netted buggies with everything from candles, to kids’ clothes and housewares. I’m sorry but come on, their online inventory sucks. Most of the products I chose are out of stock and the reality is it’s just not the same. It sounds superficial I’m sure but I think most of the ladies understand.
The closest Kohl’s now is in Casper, 2 1/2 hours away. A day trip (or entire weekend) to shop is something families here do naturally and a concept I am getting used to. Although I have not had any free time yet, something that is on “the list” once I hire employees is a weekend shopping getaway. A 30% off coupon in hand and Kohl’s Cash back would be the cherry on top.
Hey, a girl can dream, right?
For all the challenges and changes we continue to face, moving to Central WY was the best decision for my little family. My fiancée is an amazing man and this is a beautiful community with educated, patriotic, hardworking, kind, quality people. Lifestyle may be different and adjustments made but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just part of our new and exciting chapter.
(PS Yes, I’m still unpacking)