All things considered, the whirlwind job/house scouting adventure was a big success.
First there's the time spent with family. I got to love on my little nephew so much. He's easy to love because he's such a good baby. He's 4 months old and rarely fusses. Most of the time he's smiling; he's certainly got the coy grin down. He smiles out of half of his mouth Elvis style, tosses his head back, and then looks away a bit and then smiles all over. We had meals together, went house shopping, looked at photos and even had a talk about religion of all things. She wanted to know more about Islam, and since I took a class on it in college and have traveled in a muslim culture, I gave her a mini-lecture that she seemed to find enlightening.
Then there's the fun of looking at houses and the information gained about what's available at what price. On the lower end of range there are smallish houses in older neighborhoods that would be fantastic to walk around in. In other words, the yard is fantastic and so is the neighborhood. But then the house is invariably a disaster that is not at all worth renovating. Or, you could get a house that needs less work, but still all new flooring, kitchen counters, repainting, AND is in a neighborhood that is not at all worth walking around in. The next step up is the set of houses constructed within the last ten years that invariably lack a yard and need cosmetic work like interior repainting. In some cases all you get is a dirt hill that you'd never be able to grow anything on, and, at the first downpour would be left with nothing but mud at your back door. If you can live without a yard, then you'll have to accept walking on streets without trees or mature vegetation. Blech. Cookie cutter subdivision hell. Then, the next step up are houses that need no work but are small. They are in good locations as far as tree lined-streets go and many have yards. These go fast; no surprise there. The next step up are the houses at the peak of our range - brand new and roomy with all the bells and whistles. These are in developments that have yards with trees planted but you have to drive a healthy distance to get in to town.
Finally, I got to meet new people and have some leads on who to talk to about finding employment.
Naturally, guess what was in the mailbox when we got home? The payment stubs for my student loan. The first $200 payment is due in September.