Stateside

Our time in Darwin ended sooner than we expected, thanks to a great opportunity that presented itself for my wife Julie. As it happens, the State of Wisconsin was looking for a forest economist – and the post would be back in Madison near family.

Of course, since I last posted here we have had a son, Emmett and travelled around Australia and Asia a bit. I have been working with the newly created Innovative Media Production studio at Charles Darwin University. Julie and I were working just a few buildings apart. Our son, who was now attending daily childcare was also on campus so we could all commute together, and often eat lunch together.

While our work and daily life was going great, it was hard to be so far from family with a toddler. Skype just isn’t enough for grandparents and we were beginning to outgrow the apartment unit we were in. We longed for the family-friendly Midwestern lifestyle that we grew up with.

In April Julie interviewed for the job. They asked for a second interview, which would have to be done via Skype, late at night due to distance and time zones. In May we found out that she was indeed selected for the role. We were thrilled, but also more than a little torn. Would this be the end of our adventures? As it happened, we got the email while on holiday in Hong Kong. We certainly wouldn’t be a stone’s throw from South-East Asia for some time again. And having done international moves in the past, we knew we were up for a huge amount of effort just to make it happen.

Now that the travel is over, and the boat with all of our stuff is on it’s way, we’re thrilled. Madison has so much to offer for a new family, and we feel like it’s a new place. When we left we were a young couple, more concerned about the best new restaurants than the best schools, so it has so far proven to be a new experience for us.

Weather Update

Madison is getting some truly unseasonable weather this week, as we managed to get get freezing drizzle, below-zero temperatures and enough snow to call a snow emergency in the space of about three days.  My commuter bike is a Surly Long Haul Trucker. It’s a great bike, but the stock tires are mediocre for touring, and nearly unusable on snow… so I rode my mountain bike to work a few days to get a little more traction. I’d been looking around for a set of studded tires for the Surly, but it’s rolling on 26’s, so I hadn’t seen any. (Mostly because I hadn’t looked too hard.) I happened to be at REI picking up some Christmas presents, when I spotted another customer wandering around with some 26 inch studded tires. They’d just come in, and a few minutes later I had a pair for myself. I put them on later that night, with only one catastrophic gunshot of a tube failure, but nobody called the police, and our hearing was fine a few hours later. Anyway, it wasn’t a day too soon, because this was the scene outside around noon today.

Looking northwest from the office.

Looking northwest.

Looking northeast from the office.

Looking northeast.

Looking southeast from the office.

Looking southeast.

Looking southwest from the office.

Looking southwest.

Forecast for tonight calls for 5 to 8 inches of snow, 20mph winds and a low around 4°F.

Then we get a break from the snow for a few days.