True exchange with my boss, as we were driving back from a meeting today:
He: "I have a recurring nightmare that you are going to go to North Carolina next month and not come back."
Me: "I have a recurring DREAM that I will do that."
And because he is a truly sweet, sensitive guy and a friend, and not a jerk boss, he threw back his head and laughed.
I reassured him that my vanishing to NC was not likely. I'm flexible about my job choices and willing to take a hefty pay cut to get out of FL, but day-um, I really can't live and save money to retire on $30k a year there, and that's their paralegal salary range, so low it's like a time capsule from 1982. Boy says everybody he knows has two jobs- one to pay the rent, the other the one they care about. That's fine if you're under 30. I'll be 50 next year and I need things like sleep and health insurance.
I adore that area. I really do. Asheville felt like home the minute I got there, I saw myself sliding into a happy life there in a funky little West Asheville cottage, me and the Murphster, and surrendering to my long suppressed artsy-fartsy side after doing a reasonable 40 hours at a job that won't suck the life out of me. But that whole needing to eat and keeping a roof over my head and not eat cat food in my old age practical business gets in the way here. Lack of jobs that pay enough for even that funky old W. Asheville house - yes, that's a deal killer.
I held back the thought that going "home" (after 25 years) to MD is looking like a smarter choice. Lots of jobs, decent salaries, and cute condos with fees that aren't the GDP of a small African nation. Unlike here, where the condo fees are terrifying, because you can't get insurance on a condo for less than the GDP of a small African nation, even if it is many miles inland and not a highrise. I know exactly what my cousins are paying in MD and it's a far, far better deal, and their neighborhoods are lovely, and they have good jobs.
My shoes arrived from Zappos on Tuesday. Both pairs are perfect. I think the fact that size 7B hiking shoes are heavenly comfortable on my feet, while 7B office shoes are tight and make me miserable, there may be a message there. I will go hike around Asheville for a week next month. Please visualize a decent paying job. Or a condo in MD and a good job there. I'm flexible.