Our nanny e-mailed me last night asking when we plan to take a vacation this summer, so that she can plan around us. We realized that, if I am really planning to quit my job, we couldn't keep it from her any longer. We thought about telling her to just go ahead and make any plans she'd like, and we'd arrange our schedule around her, but it would be pretty awful of us to let her make plans and then later tell her that I'm planning to quit and she's out of a job come the end of the school year. What if she can't afford it then? What if it means that she has to start a new job that won't let her take her planned time off? So, a decision had to be made.
After all the research we've been doing and a lot of talking and agonizing over everything, we made the decision last night that we are definitely moving and I am definitely quitting my job this Spring. We aren't sure where we're going to go, but we decided that my husband can't continue banking much longer and we don't want to struggle to eek out a living in NJ with just me working (or him having to take a different job while we are still living here), especially if we can live out our long-time plan comfortably and happily somewhere else. So, the decision to move was made. And since we are definitely moving, I might as well quit my job for all the reasons I initially had: to spend more time with the boys, offer them the additional support they need, and have time to find a new home and job, get pre-sale work done on our house, and work on all the projects I've been putting off (lifebooks, readoption, stuff around the house).
So, this morning, I sat down with the nanny and explained everything to her. It was the first time I've ever had to tell someone they were losing their job, and it was quite difficult because she's been so amazing to our family and the boys absolutely adore her (and she adores them). Of course we'll keep her on as a babysitter whenever we need someone, but it will be a big change in our lives and hers.
It's also the first step in our big plan! Now, we have to narrow down everything else. I think we're going to end up in Vermont. I've been going there since I was a kid, my husband and I met there, I've been involved as an adaptive ski instructor with an adaptive sports organization there for 7 years, we've had a ski house there for six years, we've made many friends there, gotten to know the area, what it has to offer, and made lots of contacts in the special services industry. And we've fallen in love. As much as M doesn't want to move and lose everything in NJ, when we're in VT, he's always asking if we can just move there. I know he's not been serious, but it is a sign that he could be happy there.
Now, I'm finding out that VT schools rank really well nationally. And in 2011, VT was the best state for providing disability services. It was fourth in providing disability services in 2012, but still awesome, and way ahead of Maine. I've heard that they have pretty decent special education services, but I haven't seen that quantified anywhere.
We talked last night, and came to the tentative conclusion that as much as low taxes are important to us, if we have to pay a little more in taxes to receive the services we need, it's a valuable trade-off. Even the ski conditions are typically better in VT. So the only thing left that ME has over VT is that there are far nicer homes available (and many more with pools, to boot!). We don't need a castle, and I'm sure we can find our "dream home" in VT if we bide our time and really consider what's most important to us.
Thank you everyone who read my billboard post and offered other ideas on where we could move. My husband's from the South (AL), so it's not completely unknown territory to us, but I need to be near skiing to be happy. This is supposed to be the home we retire in, and skiing is my passion and a hobby the whole family enjoys. Also, I can't handle the heat; I literally get faint in hot climates. I love the outdoors too much to live half the year confined to air conditioned spaces. Western Virginia was an option far down our list of places we were considering, but to be honest, the skiing is much better in the Northeast, and this is where we are already established (my entire family is in the Northeast, and I have a feeling half of my husband's is moving this way, too), so it just makes sense to stay in this corner of the country.
Thanks for giving me a place to work all this out and bounce ideas off of you. If you want to see where some of my school/disability services stats came from, check out these links. I thought they were really interesting!
and of course