Friday, January 25, 2008

Please Remind Me That I Chose This

It was the year 2000. Why-two-kay! A new century. A new opportunity.

I had two brand-spankin'-new, utterly useless degrees in hand and a wife ready to quit her miserable job. I could have taken those hunks of embossed toilet paper ANYWHERE in the world and received the same pittance of a salary.

I chose Des Moines, IA. The same freaking climate as:

  • Sterling, IL, where I grew up
  • Iowa City, IA, where I got Useless Degree #1
  • Columbus, OH, where I got Useless Degree #2
In short, after spending a huge chunk of my young life in crappy Midwestern winters, I chose to stay in the Midwest.

Why, oh why?!?!

I have no idea. But I'm taking suggestions for where I might take those useless degrees next. Requirements include:

  • Reasonable geographic proximity to Illinois, home of Wilson, the World's Coolest Nephew, the rest of my clan, and my wife's immediate clan
  • A milder climate than here -- I don't expect the 70s year-round, but this blanket of frigid whiteness for several months at a stretch is unacceptable
  • Something urban, no smaller than the bustling metropolis that is Des Moines
  • Good roads with quasi-friendly drivers
  • A bike culture with more diversity than, "Hey, let's suit up in our matching too-tight RAGBRAI jerseys and ride our matching Trek bikes (from the three identical mainstream bike shops) to the bar in the next town, get drunk, and ride back!"
  • Some kind of job opportunity for me and my better half
  • A decent-sized Jewish community (i.e., more than one token synagogue)
Kansas City (either the KS or MO variety) seems to have potential. Maybe St. Louis, MO? No experience there, though bike-pals say it meets the climate requirement.

So, what say you, devoted readership of three people? Where's the next move?


toddvc said...

Jason, there is always Lexington, Ky.!

We have 2 token synagogues -- one Conservative, the other Reform.

We have fairly mild winters. (I am used to northwest Nebraska's, probably similar to Des Moines, and these are nothing. A couple of 1-inch snowstorms a year, tops. When it gets below 25 -- pretty rare -- people think they are at the North Pole.)

I can't speak for the bike culture, since I don't participate much, but we do have one bobish shop, Pedal the Planet, see their site here.

You could probably talk me into getting out once in awhile to ride, although I am used to riding at my 6-year-old's speed.

The roads are decent. You do have to drive to get to the nice rides, but they are very nice -- scenic views of horse farms from little-travelled (albeit narrow) highways.

I commute every day. It's not the most bike-friendly city in the world -- it's no Lincoln, Nebraska, for instance -- but it's OK.

Can't speak to the job market, as I don't know what you want/need. But I love it here.

The 6-Miler

Pete said...

Minneapolis! Oh, wait, you said warmer...