When Max was first contacted about the Alabama job offer by an executive recruiter earlier this year, neither of us actually took the situation very seriously. There were a lot of what-ifs (like if he'd even be the one chosen) and we were happily enjoying springtime in the desert (by far the best time of year here). However, come April when my husband was actually offered the job as CTO, it finally became real. Within a few days of the job offer, Max's now-new company had us on our way to Huntsville so that I could check out the town (I had previously never set foot in Alabama, or in the south at all for that matter!).
We decided to leave little man behind in Scottsdale. It was a super hard decision, as this was the first time we'd be leaving Parker overnight and it would be for three days. While taking him along with us would have been better emotionally for me, we felt that he would do better being at home and on his own routine, rather than being carted through four flights and a two-hour time change. I may have cried on our morning drive to the airport, but by the time we were there, I was fully enjoying all the perks of child-less travel. Max and I had packed our clothes into one duffel that he was carting, and I simply carried my purse. I had forgotten what it was like to fly without a carseat and diaper bag, what it was like to not have to check bags. We arrived at the airport twenty minutes before our plane was scheduled to board, walked through security with TSA pre-check, and even had time to pick up a coffee before boarding early with Max's priority status. My purse seemed so empty without baby toys and baby snacks (I'm not sure what I used to carry in it pre-baby?) so I had plenty of room for my hardback copy of Gone Girl. Yes, I realize I'm about two years behind on jumping on the Gone Girl train. Sadly, this book had been left in my nightstand drawer since summer 2012! I'm so happy I remembered it was there and picked it up for this trip.
What did we do with little man, you might wonder? His GiGi flew in from Texas to stay with him! We peeked in on him via Max's iPhone shortly before take-off, and he was already napping sweetly in his crib. We missed him so, however flying by ourselves felt so luxurious! A coffee and a book?? Oh, my!
We had a super-tight connection in Texas and, though we were missing our littlest man, it was so much easier to run through the airport without a baby. We made our flight and had another leg of relaxing travel. It's so funny to remember what life was like pre-baby!
After about an hour in the air, I had my first view of Alabama as seen through the airplane window. I just kept commenting on how green it was! Five years living in the desert and I have forgotten how much I love green!
Max's now-new job had us taken care of with all the details for the trip, right down to a rental Mustang which we picked up at the Huntsville airport. And by "picked up" I mean we received the keys at the rental car desk and walked across the street, hopped in the car and drove away. Perks of "small town" living!
The company also set up a date night for us! Here we are pre-dinner and drinks, walkable from our hotel.
After our date, we returned to the hotel room and attempted to FaceTime with Parker. He saw my face and got really excited and tried to touch it, then realized that he couldn't and started bawling. So. Sad. Gigi had been sending us video messages of a happy little Parker all day long, so I knew it was just seeing me that threw him off. Of course I felt terrible and wanted to fly home early, however Max convinced me to sleep on it and see how our big guy was doing the next day. He in fact was having tons of fun with GiGi (she even took him to swim lessons!), he just couldn't see me without losing it.
While Parker and GiGi were at swim, Max and I had a full tour day where we saw all the different areas of Huntsville. It was a gorgeous day and I was loving all the green!
That night we dined at Cotton Row with the president and a VP from the company and their wives. I didn't snap any photos at dinner but I did snag this picture from Cotton Row's website of one of their stunning entrees. Yum. The restaurant is very focused on seasonal and local food, and uses farmers and foragers from the area. Love that! We certainly enjoyed this literal wining and dining portion of the trip.
Then it was time to return the rental Mustang and head home. Except that when we tried to return it, I quite honestly could not understand the rental car employee. Apparently I am not fluent in southern and Max had to jump in. Max says my California accent is sometimes hard to understand, so I will just have to practice my southern drawl, y'all. We cut it a wee bit close (once again) arriving at the airport forty minutes before take-off, however with TSA Pre-Check, we again walked right through security and right on to the plane.
We had another layover in Dallas where I decided that we both needed milkshakes, as this was a very heavy and emotionally weighted trip (you know, with the whole transcontinental-move decision and everything). I thought I was holding it together very well, until the ice cream employee spilled milkshake over the side of my cup and I started to cry. Yes, cry. At DFW. Over spilt milkshake. It spilled because there was too much and the guy was trying to cram it in, it's not like half of it was gone, so obviously it was not really the milkshake, rather the enormity of the looming life-change that pushed me over the edge. Luckily I had a very full cup of rocky-road goodness to comfort me. By the time we boarded for Phoenix I was in much better spirits and ready to jump back into Gone Girl (which, holy cow, was one crazy journey of a book!).
It also totally helped that we were upgraded for our DFW-PHX portion of our travel. Thank you to husby for his elite status! Real glassware, a good book, and warm nuts...
I could write pages and pages on the warm nuts they serve, I love them so.
I love them almost as much as the airplane meals. Don't judge. Max thinks I'm super weird but I love airplane meals. Love, love, love.
So over our airplane dinner, we discussed Huntsville and the neighborhoods we toured, and we talked about Scottsdale and the many, many things we love about the city. In the end, Max couldn't not take this job. As much as we love living in Arizona, and as much as we'll miss the life and friends we have here, this opportunity for Max's career is just to big to pass on. As I reminded him, he will have a "the" in front of his title. The CTO. There's only one. It's pretty big, y'all! And really, Parker and I are on board 100% for this new life adventure - a new state, a new town, a new house, and everything else that comes with it! Alabama, here we come!