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I had made a previous work related visit to this central Missouri city, and I really wasn’t too impressed with it. I stayed in a second rate hotel, and was disappointed with the downtown area, the parts of the campus I visited and the office out of which I would be working. This was also a lateral move for me, meaning there was no promotion in it. Our furniture was in storage in Columbia, Cherie and the kids were staying with her folks in Saint Louis, and I was in temporary lodging at the same second rate hotel that I stayed at before. I settled into my new job and Cherie came and stayed with me at my hotel for a bit while we shopped for a new home.

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Our first home in Columbia

The housing market in Houston was booming when we left there, and we got a great price for our house. We now had the resources to invest in a bigger and nicer home. We found a home relatively close to where I worked which allowed me to commute to downtown on my bicycle.

Cherie brought the kids from St. Louis and we settled into our home and life in Columbia. The town grew on us. We liked our home, we had nice neighbors and made friends with folks at the church we attended. The only rub was the job. The work was mainly research oriented and I was stuck crunching numbers on large meteorological data bases. I got more involved with computers and computer programming, and almost immediately started taking more courses at the University. Most of the coursework was in computer programming and statistics, and my department advisor kept trying to get me to get the necessary coursework to get my degree. I decided to go for it, and put in for the

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The home in the country

government 20/20 program. This program allows you to work 20 hours and attend classes for 20 hours/week. My organization turned me down however and they were also slow on coming through with the promotion they promised me. When I found out about a job opening with the local National Weather Service Office, I put in for it, and got it. I got a two grade promotion, but it also meant working shift work. I used to work shifts in the Air Force and always hated it, but what can you do? I buckled down and got back into the business of forecasting. I had a great boss, hard working colleagues, and the work was enjoyable and challenging.  The only rub were those long mid shifts. The money was good however, and Cherie and I set out to purchase some land and build a new house. We found a lovely, wooded plot of land just south of town and build a wonderful passive solar home on it. We had a dog and a cat, the kids played with friends in the woods, Cherie and I both jogged, and I even started playing soccer again. We were living the American dream.

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The back of the house

I don’t know why, but we never seemed to be able to stay in one place for any length of time. We had spent five years in Houston and were approaching five years in Columbia. It must be time to move again! I mentioned earlier that Cherie and I volunteered our time at a Drug Rehabilitation Center in Houston. We had stayed in touch with the folks at the center, had made visits there, and received visitors from there. Even though we were actively involved in our church, we always felt that we should do more then just warm a pew, and so it came to be that I resigned my job with the National Weather Service, sold our home, packed up our stuff, kids and dog, and headed down to Texas to go into “full time ministry”.

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