Posts tagged: Saint Louis

Bad writer

Oh I have been absolutely terrible with updating lately, haven’t I?  Well, I’m not one of those weirdos who feels like I have to apologize to you people for not entertaining you for a few days so just deal with it.  I’ve been busy.

Muse and I have been using every available minute of our realtor to look at houses.  We looked at eight or so last night and will be up at the crack of dawn to look at another eight tomorrow morning.  So far we’ve found only a couple of decent places and a whole lot of crap.  Nothing really that just says “Spend $200,000 on me!” as soon as you walk in though.  It’s getting a little depressing.  The agent is a good sport about it all but he did gently let me know that after this weekend we will have looked at around 70 houses.  Wow.  That’s insane.

I remember all of our friends and family telling us how great the housing market was and how everything was dirt cheap.  Of course they also said that about cars and we found that it just wasn’t true unless you want to buy an SUV that guzzles gas.  The housing market sucks ass.  At least here in St. Louis, Missouri.  Sure there are a lot out there to choose from but a bunch are in financial or physical distress.  Many are still over priced and “haven’t gotten the memo” about the economy.  Others, are just a bad fit for us for one reason or another.  Sometimes many reasons.

Well, I’m hoping we find an ace tomorrow.  We both are.  We’re running out of time and that baby is getting big!

Shutting down

The movers are scheduled to arrive at 9:30am tomorrow morning to pack everything up and haul it away for shipping.  Muse’s computer is all broken down already and mine’s next.  I had to look up some phone numbers and back up all my data before the big move and that took some time.

I’ve got two giant suitcases to check in at the airport and one tiny suitcase to use as my carry-on.  The carry-on case pretty much is completely filled with my XBox 360 and Playstation 2 and one of my external hard drives for backups.  That and some towels and t-shirts for padding.  It’s the only way to be sure.

Tired.  I was up till 1:30am last night packing and had to get up early to go to work early.  I was falling asleep in a vendor presentation this afternoon.  Considering they were presenting to me, that was probably kind of rude.  I’ll probably be up again late tonight as it’s almost midnight.  Then the circus starts tomorrow morning.

I won’t be in front of a PC again till I reach the office on Thursday morning.  I’ll try and give another update then.

Garsh Dangit

Garsh Dangit: Space Ranger.  Hehe.  Sounds funny.

It seems that I never got around to making a post yesterday.  Which is pretty damn lame if you ask me.  Which you didn’t but if you had that would have been what I would have said.  I have a stash of jokes and pictures that can be used in cases of post emergencies just like that but it does no good if I just plain forget.

Yesterday at work was insanely busy.  I had a big implementation of a Cisco ASA 5510 firewall/Intrusion protection/VPN system for an affiliate company and it took much longer than anticipated to complete.  I didn’t even really get to sit in my own office till about 3:00pm when I finally kicked the installers out so I could get some lunch.

Today has been busy catching up on all the things that didn’t get attended to yesterday as well as some things that needed to get done today.  I spent some time talking to the guy who will be replacing me out here in Hong Kong once I leave to go back to St. Louis.  He’ll be another ex-pat from St. Louis just like me and he has tons of questions just like I did when I was planning on coming here.  I think he’ll do OK out here.  He’s got some size 10 shoes to fill.  Seriously, I’m going to leave him a pair of my shoes.  No, not really.  I’m all hopped up on sugar right now so anything I say can and will be held against me tightly and I won’t let go.  What?  Don’t mind me. My teeth hurt.

A Sort of Homecoming

I believe Muse has already let the kitteh out of the bag, so to speak, but we will be coming home to St. Louis this year.  Muse will be leaving Hong Kong before me to get the pets all sorted and safe.  I was the first to arrive between us and I’ll be the last to leave.  I suppose I should take some comfort in that I’ll get to live here in Hong Kong for just a bit longer but I also remember the loneliness of my first month here.  But that was a long time ago now and I’m no longer a stranger in a strange land with no idea of what to do/where to go/what to eat.  I no longer need to subsist on ham sandwiches and cans of soup.  Although I may just because.

Now, when the time comes, I’ll probably spend my free time leisurely walking the street markets and shopping malls without the worry of wasting Muse’s time or needing to feed or walk the dogs.  Maybe I’ll go directly from the office to a local bar with people from work and see what the night life is like before I leave.  Maybe I’ll go for a hike without worrying about time constraints or anything but my own ability.  Or maybe I’ll just sit in front of the computer and play World of Warcraft all night.   It’s hard to say.

Actually when I say we will be coming home this year that makes it sound like something that will be happening at some far point in the future.  But really it’s nothing like that.  Muse may be leaving in a month or less.  I won’t be here any longer than mid-August.  It’s scary close to those dates already.  By the end of August we will be back in the United States of America and trying to figure out life once more.  This time with a baby on the way.

When we moved we did so on short notice and also threw in our wedding because it wasn’t a stressful enough experience.  Now with a baby coming, I see now that we just really like to complicate things.  I can offer no other explanation.  We sold our house and our cars and most of the rest of the stuff we didn’t ship to Hong Kong.  So add in another layer of sphincter-clenching in that we have a baby coming and we need to buy a house and at least one car but really we need two and baby stuff and furniture and Oh My Gawd what are we insane?

Yes.  Yes we are.  Nice to meet you.

Another blow to St. Louis

I just read that Wachovia is buying long-time St. Louis powerhouse A.G. Edwards. Even though this deal will leave the retail brokerage business based in St. Louis, it means that St. Louis has lost yet another world headquarters of a major corporation. They’re trying to put a positive spin on this but, considering all the other financial and commerce problems that St. Louis has fell upon in the past few decades, this is just one more nail in the coffin for St. Louis. I’m not saying it’s going to roll up the sidewalks and become a ghost town any time soon, but with automobile factories closing, global corporation either leaving St. Louis City (who can blame them with the continual punitive tax laws for businesses) or the St. Louis area altogether.

There are still some very lucrative reasons for companies to stay in the St. Louis area though. One of those which helps the most for them is what hurts the most for the residents. St. Louis salary surveys have consistently shown that salaries are among the lowest in the country for comparable jobs elsewhere. Luckily this is coupled with one of the lower costs of living, especially housing, but it still makes for some hard times in Missouri. This should be a draw for new companies though but it never seems to work that way.

I’ve also wondered if the low cost of living and matching local salaries also contribute to the fact that most people born in the St. Louis area never leave the St. Louis area. I know personally that our housing costs make looking at a relocation anywhere else in the world seem intimidating. Especially if you are looking at getting paid basically the same St. Louis based salary which is common in people getting transferred for their jobs. If I hadn’t gotten a significant portion of my housing paid for in my own relocation contract to move to Hong Kong, I couldn’t have done it. Granted, housing here is comparable to the prices in Manhattan but that scope is frightening to someone from the Midwest.

Before moving out of St. Louis and into Hong Kong I’d been looking for an escape for a long time. I wanted to move many times, but it’s that cost of living that kept me planted. Maybe someday some new big businesses will see the same thing and help to continue the cycle. It may not be a great cycle but it’s better than none at all.

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