Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Houston, TX - anyone?

We're going to get a (very competitive) offer for a job in Houston (a bit south, actually). Of course, I know nothing about Houston. Anyone ever live there, any insights, advice, etc.? What did you love, what did you hate? Tell me all about it! :o)


Kermit~the~Frog said...

You should ask Shelah, she lives there now.

Loved: our ward, being close to family. Houses are cheap.

Hated: our pediatrician, the weather, the air quality (Scooter was so ill until we moved to where you are now; the allergist said the best thing we could do for him was to get him out of Houston), the complete lack of public transportation (Houston grew too fast with poor planning), the highways...

Seriously, I just don't like Houston. We will never live there again, we made that commitment as a family. I like TEXAS just fine, and would happily live in and around Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, even hurricane-ridden Corpus Christi...but never Houston. The air quality is a deal-breaker. The inversion where you are never affected him the way the industrial pollution did.

There is a homebirth community.

Someone who loves it needs to pipe in here for you!

Doreen said...

Hehe, I read Shelah's "love letter" she posted on her blog a while back. It made me so not want to move there. At the same time, the money they're offering is going to be hard to say no to... Oy...

Lari said...

My parents live near Dallas. And they love Texas. I only spent a summer there, so I'm not the best judge of things, but the people are really nice.

Science Teacher Mommy said...

I actually second a lot of what Kermit said.

However, I found a pediatrician that I loved. And my midwife (I also had several friends who did homebirth). The humidity was actually quite good for my kids' skin. Ammon never minded the heat too much, but I think it would have been really hard for Cael had we stayed.

The city itself has a lot to do, but it is not very attractive. When people came to visit, we often, would go somewhere else. Like San Antonio.

About a year before moving to Utah, Jeff and I had a heart to heart. I basically said that if we stayed in Houston, he could not longer work for the Church because I felt like we needed enough money to

a) buy a second vehicle so I wasn't stuck home all the time.
b) travel home (either Utah or Colorado) once of twice a year via plane and not have to spend the next six months paying off the credit card.
c) buy a larger home within a few years in a neighborhood with a pool.

There is no way Jeff would have made enough money working for the church to meet those requirements and make Houston a continued option for me. He agreed, but as he looked around at other jobs he realized that the only thing he really enjoyed about Houston was working for the church.

So, if it was me, I would look at a few things:

1-Does Dave LOVE the job offer? Is it what he really wants to do? (A happy husband compensates for a lot.)

2-Will he be paid enough to buy a really nice home with lots of space? (You can get into a fabulous house just about anywhere in the Houston area for 200,000.)

3-There is a lot of pressure about tests in the schools there. Can your kids, and you, deal with that? Some districts are better than others. If you get really serious then I can be a big help that way.

4- Are you a real outdoorsy person? Mountains, camping, hiking, etc? Swimming is about the only REALLY pleasurable outdoor activity in Houston. There are a couple of state parks, but it is a hard sell most of the year. Also, because there are so few of them, the get really crowded. You can garden--we did, but it is hot. You have to be an early morning gardner and expect to shower after. :)

5- Where exactly is the job? Would you be able to live on the Northwest side? The ward there are incredible: close to the temple, tons of kids, members in your neighborhood. I know that you don't have to be surrounded by members (aka Utah), but our area now is pretty sparse. We have few kids in our ward, lots of inactive teenagers and Ammon is the only member in his entire grade. Frankly, it scares me a little bit as my kiddos get older. NW Houston is a really happy medium for this kind of thing.

6- Oh, and the politics are ultra-conservative. You are in Bush-land, make no mistake. I know this is a reason that MOST LDS people like it there, but it was not a plus for me.

7- And while housing is cheap, it can really hurt you on the selling end. If you go and decide to move on after just a few years, you won't make ANY money on your house. Most people I know who came down temporarily and ended up staying a long time all stayed because they couldn't afford to move somewhere else.

I would have never said when Jeff and I got married that we would have lived in Houston. It was never on the table. Still, we felt really impressed that it was the right place to be at the right time and there were a lot of blessings associated with taking the leap of faith to move there.

I know you'll do the right thing!

Doreen said...

Thanks STM, lots of things to consider! We'd actually be south of Houston, the job is very close to NASA. And pay and job both would be great, so money isn't really something that would hold us back. I'm definitely going to have to go over some of the points you made with Dave. Thanks again!

miranda said...

Good luck! My experience with Texas consists of Dallas. Which is different from Houston. But Houston never appealed to me. I think the only place in Texas that does is Austin...

Kermit~the~Frog said...

Of course, I'm also totally biased to where I live now, is he looking down here? We're quite close to Arizona... and I have firsthand knowledge of how rockin' the natural, AP, homeschooling, and birthing communities are. You could do excellent midwife schooling here.

Doreen said...

Kermit, we looked into it a while ago. Unfortunately, one place is on a hiring freeze right now (at least so Dave's sister told him, she used to work there pre-kids), and the other place is too military oriented (is it funny I have such a conservative husband, but he doesn't want to be involved in military work, haha). I would love love love to move where you live. Even though people tend to knock it, I think it has a lot of perks. And yeah, we'd have some family there, and be really close to AZ. Maybe I should do another round of looking, just for kicks... said...

You don't know me... I also read science mommy's blog. I live hear in H-town (that's its gansta name.) I second most of what Science mommy said. I have lived here on and off my whole life and I like it a lot. Most people take a little while to warm up to Houston but a lot of people end up loving it. I lived near NASA for about a year (a couple of years ago) and LOVED it down there... it is much prettier than the rest of Houston and there are a few more things to do down there. Houston is like any place I have ever lived (and I have moved a lot) it has good qualities and bad ones and it just depends on what is important to y'all. GOOD LUCK!

Houston -
Food - good
Bugs - BAD

Science Teacher Mommy said...

OTR would be a great person to hook you up with Doreen. She knows the area really well. I've still got a lot of people that would be a huge help to you down there if you make the call. There is a lot of good--as long as Dave is making the bucks for you to spend six weeks in Germany every summer and to see other, more temperate, parts of the country when your sanity demands it. And yes, the bugs are VERY bad.

Doreen said...

OTR, thanks so much for your input! Dave's work would be right by NASA, so that's the area where we would be living. Sounds like it wouldn't be so bad. :o)

STM, yes, we'd be making enough for the kids and I to take our yearly 6 week trip to Germany, haha. Our family usually chips in for that, anyway, as there's no way we could have afforded it ourselves these past, oh, 9 years we've been in school, hehe. We shall definitely take those trips during the summer months (and maybe extend to 8 weeks...). I do have a friend who lives down in Houston, her husband works for NASA. I called her yesterday and talked to her, and it was great to get some positive input. I feel much better about everything now, especially if we do decide to go. I feel like between the comments here and talking to her, I've really gotten a well-rounded idea (does that make sense???). I suppose I better just make sure I get good pest control and keep some bug repellent on hand, and I should hopefully be okay. :p Thanks again for all your input!

Sabrina said...

You must think I am stalking you today, but I just have a few moments to catch up on your posts. . .didn't know Dave was in Space. . .my DH grew up in Clear Lake (I grew up closer to Galveston) and I taught in Clear Creek ISD for 6 years so e-mail me for more info when you get a chance. sabrinakoogler at gmail dot com. Houston is not that bad. Really. There are some great spots in the League City/Clear Lake/Webster area I'm assuming you will be checking out. We do a lot of fishing and kayaking and outdoorsy stuff among the concrete jungle! But I will say the summers are not my favorite!