I was married at the tender age of 19. I was in love and was whisked away by a navy boy. The next six years of my life as a navy wife were challenging. Spouse was gone on nuclear subs more than he was home and I was a married single woman. It was anything but ideal. But somehow we did it. We survived what statistically didn’t look promising.

Then my husband landed a post navy job at a nuclear power plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I thought this was just a stepping stone; a transitory period in our life; a building block for more to come…

That was 12 years ago.

I have attended school, had multiple jobs, birthed two children, and moved twice, and we are still here… sentenced to a live out our final days here in this wretched state.

Can you say STUCK?

That is exactly what we are. Stuck in IOWA. Stuck in Cedar Rapids. Stuck in this school district, in these school boundaries, in this neighborhood, in this house, in this job. STUCK.

I suppose I never envisioned my life to play out quite like this. Maybe I’m not even sure what exactly it is that I want. But I’m pretty positive that I’m not suffering from “the grass is always greener” syndrome. I’ve given much thought to this concept and I understand that there is no perfect place unless you live in fairytopia. Too bad that doesn’t exist.

I’ve been told repeatedly that I need to embrace Cedar Rapids, focus on the positives, learn to love it. I’ve given it my all.

I’ve done numerous pros and cons lists over the years to no avail. The perks include low crime, decent public schools (although that’s up for debate right now in light of our middle school options available to us), 2 Super Targets within 10 miles from our house, no traffic (unless the road buckles or there is a fatality), 4-5 hr proximity to many large cities (Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Omaha, St Louis, etc), and low pressure to keep up with the Jones (people are pretty real and down to earth for the most part).

In spite of this list though there are still many cons. The city continues to stagnate and disappoint. The flood of 08 did it no favors. We lost our IMAX/science station, our beautiful library, our closest city pool, many bike trails, and numerous other family type activities in a city that is already desperately lacking in that department.

It doesn’t offer mild seasons. In fact, quite the contrary the last couple winters. In my opinion there should be no inhabitants where the actual temps reach negative 30 degrees. The pendulum swings pretty far in the other direction come August when it’s almost 100% humidity and 100 degrees outside. I should know, both my babies arrived in August. At 9 months pregnant there were moments walking the streets even at 3AM that I thought I might just die from heat. Obviously I didn’t. I’m still here to tell the tale.

We also have no family anywhere nearby. Our closest relatives live about 8 hours away and it is a lot to drive for a weekend. It’s been done numerous times, but not very ideal.

No beach, no mountains, no great shopping , no family, extreme temps. I also just recently realized that Iowa is plagued by every natural disaster with the exception of hurricanes and tsunamis. Did you know that one the largest fault lines lies smack in the middle of the USA? We have seen many a hail storm, numerous wall clouds, a flood like none other, and survived plenty of blizzards and ice storms. We have also spent many nights tucked away in our basement waiting out sirens and tornadoes.

We also live within 20 miles of a nuclear power plant and the emergency evacuation plans are clearly outlined in the front of every phone book. Not something that makes a mother sleep soundly at night or have warm fuzzies.

The city is also strange in that it doesn’t really have real neighborhoods. It was never well planned or thought out. The outskirts of town have a few developments in old cornfields, but are barren of trees and vegetation. We chose a home smack in the middle of town so that we could have some trees. The neighborhood was built behind older homes and has all sorts of issues. Our cable woes would be on that list as well as many others.

We bought the house with a 5 yr arm with the idea this was just a temporary thing. We are now going on year 8 and due to poor decisions and extenuating circumstances outside of our control relocating right now seems entirely out of the question.

My husband’s experience in nuclear power is very focused and most plants in the nation are plant specific making relocation very difficult. There are also not many plants in locations that have moderate temps near family that seem like they would be any sort of improvement over our current situation.

I think I need a miracle. If you are a person of faith a few more prayers couldn’t hurt. If this is a test of my faith I’m failing miserably because I’d rather live almost anywhere else.

I loathe this STUCK feeling.

1 comment

  1. When you mentioned Cedar Rapids in your blog I was thinking..that sounds familiar. I visited a friend in Shell Rock and at the time she taught at the University in Waverly. Before that I was visiting a friend in Jackson, NE (just west of Sioux City) and thought I'll just take a bus from there to Waterloo or Waverly. Wrong!! I ended up having to fly to MN/ST Paul then down to Waterloo. This was a same day ticket so you can imagine the cost. What do I know? I'm in Los Angeles and before my trip (in '94) I hadn't been to the center of the country (well at least with out a car).

    I was surprised to see how unhappy you were. You have such great blog posts, especially about your new adventures with your husband.