Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lessons From Ogden

This post has been a long time coming.  I've been living in Ogden for a month and a half now, and I think I'm finally in a good enough place to write it.  Had I written it 6 weeks ago... it wouldn't have been very nice.

Lesson #1:  A rental is just a rental.  No need to get worked up over it.

Originally, DJ and I were planning on buying a house this summer up here.  However, we ended up deciding that renting for a year would be in our best interest so we could get to know the area better and decide where we wanted to live for sure.  Over the course of the summer when we were in Lovell, I basically stalked the KSL home rental page for good houses.  There were a few new houses for rent that I really loved, but then one day this one came up on the website.  It's 1500 square feet, $300 cheaper than others we were looking at, and only 1 mile from the high school.  It was pretty much a no-brainer for us-- we wanted this house.  We prayed about it and it felt right, so we got under contract without ever having seen it in person.

The day we came up to get the keys and pay our first month's rent was not awesome.  We had just driven back to Utah from Lovell the day before in separate cars, on the way to Ogden to get the keys we got rear-ended (by a cop!-- another story, another day), it was hot, I was a little freaked out cause we had driven through downtown Ogden and it seemed SOOOOOO ghetto (in my defense, I had just moved from Lovell, so... it's way different), and things were just not going super well.  Also remember, I had just sold my brand new house which I got to have finished exactly how I wanted.  I'm used to really nice stuff.  When we walked in the house I nearly died-- the carpets had just been cleaned that morning, so it smelled weird and was super muggy.  Everything just seemed so dirty and dingy.  After walking through the whole house, I melted down.  I did NOT want to live here.  I was panicked because I had already paid my deposit and first month's rent and signed a contract.  Also we had already rented the moving truck to get everything loaded later that day.  I knew I was stuck.  We headed back to my parents' house in Provo and I felt completely defeated.

The next morning I got up early and made the trip to the new house by myself so I could get it cleaned up.  I bleached every surface in the house except the carpet.  I opened all the windows (which, by the way, don't have screens-- super classy) to air it out.  By the time DJ, my dad and brother got here with the moving truck I was feeling slightly better about my life.  The head football coach from BLHS came with a bunch of the football players to help us unload the moving truck.  It was a tad overwhelming to see all my stuff piled around in boxes in a space that was significantly smaller than my last house.  Over the next week I worked on getting order in my life, and I calmed down a little about the fact that I was living here.

Now-- 6 weeks later-- my attitude is better.  I still don't love the house.  It's old.  It's a granny house.  I would NEVER buy it or anything like it.  BUT-- it's a rental.  I only have 10 more months in it.  And because the rent is so cheap, I can save extra money for the down payment on my next house.  It's worth it to me to live in something old for a year so I can afford a brand new house that I really love next summer.

Lesson #2:  Different doesn't mean worse

The demographic here is very different than anything I've lived in before.  Lets be honest... I lived in Utah County for 13 years before moving up here.  I've become sheltered.  After living here for about a week, I took Lex up to a splash pad and when I looked around I realized I was the only white mom there, and the only one without tattoos.  I didn't feel uncomfortable about this.  The other moms were nice and I talked to some of them and it wasn't a big deal-- just different.  I used to take Lex to the splash pad in Springville all the time and it was crowded with white Mormon moms.  That's cool too.  It's just different.

I had to go to the post office to fill out a change of address form and the lady in front of me in line was homeless, and was also doing a change of address form.  I had no idea that was even something you would do if you were homeless-- I guess your mail can be sent to a shelter?  It makes sense that people on government assistance need somewhere to have their stuff sent to.  I just never ever considered it before.

When I see someone with a baby who looks like they're still a teenager, I have to remind myself-- they probably are.  Unfortunately, it happens around here way too much.  I took Lex to lots of football practices during the summer and there were often girls there with their little babies and they were there to watch their boyfriends practice.  It's sad and obviously it's not a good situation or something I agree with or condone, but it doesn't mean these are bad people.  There are so many people here who just need a good support system.

Going to football games up here, I hear WAY more bad language than I ever did at Spanish Fork.  The interesting thing is, though-- it's just as much from the parents as the kids.  It's just a very different community here than the one I came from.  There are a lot of good people around, they just don't have the same background that I do, and that's okay.

Lesson #3:  Your ward is your family

Let's be serious... ever since I got married, I've lived close to family.  I didn't have to rely on ward members to be my support system because I had parents and siblings living close to me.  I never really made an effort to make friends, cause I just hung out with DJ's siblings.  Moving up here changed that.  I honestly haven't been very outgoing since I met DJ, cause I didn't feel the need to be.  Now I do.  And it is HARD to get back into the bubbly, outgoing phase when you've been out of it for 4 years.  Seriously-- when I needed to be outgoing in wards before I was married, I just flirted a lot.  It totally worked.  Things are slightly different now... haha!  But I've been blessed to meet some other young moms in my ward and spend some time with them.  Everyone is really nice, it's just hard to get to know people when you only see them for a few minutes on Sundays.  That's why I have to make an effort to do things during the week with them as well.

Lesson #4:  Expect the unexpected

Last winter when DJ was coaching basketball at SF, his team made it to the state playoffs.  I took Lex and went up to watch the games at Weber State.  I watched them play one game against Ben Lomond High School and thought, "Who the heck are they?  I've lived in Utah for 13 years and have never even heard of that school!"  Now, 6 months later, DJ is the JV Football Offensive Coordinator and Head Girl's Basketball Coach for the Ben Lomond Scots.  I never would have seen that coming.  I go to football games and listen to a bagpipe band {which is WAY better than the SF band, for the record}.  My husband wore a kilt for football team pictures.  I was a little shocked when I saw that, honestly.  I go to Ben Lomond High School every day to take DJ lunch and eat with him.  Life just changes in ways you don't expect, and you might as well get used to it!!!

Lesson #5:  You might as well be happy

This phrase started as a joke in my family-- when we moved to Utah, our Young Women leader gave Meggin a slip of paper that said "You might as well be happy," on it, and we thought it was the stupidest thing.  We started saying it to be bratty about stuff, cause it was all just a big joke to us.  The older I've gotten though, the more it's become a real thing to me.  Happiness is a choice.  I can choose to be miserable in my granny house with no family living by me and new situations all around me, or I can choose to be happy.  I choose to be happy.  There is so much good in my life, I'm not going to waste time being negative.  I'm going to focus on the positive, look forward to good things in my future, and enjoy the time I have now with my little family.  Life is pretty simple right now, and I'm going to just relax and enjoy it!


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