Inverse Correlations and Escaping Cats

Cats weren’t meant to be kept in bags, so I’m going to let this one out now and share a bit o’ news with y’all:

Tara and I are moving to Rapid City, South Dakota next summer.

Funny how something that started out as an off-the-cuff remark I never expected my wife to take seriously turned into a huge, life-changing decision.

It all began with a Zillow listing on June 16, my knee-jerk response to the realization that we simply could no longer afford to live here. Portland has become too popular, too trendy, too crowded, and too expensive. My employer is having a hard time attracting top talent because prospective candidates are scared off by the cost of housing and rent. That’s pretty telling.

Once upon a time I swore I’d never leave, and now I can’t wait to go. Funny how your attitude changes over the years.

Reactions have been mixed. There is an inverse correlation in the level of acceptance: the more closely related the person is to us, the less enthusiastic they are over our decision. But that’s to be expected, I suppose. My biggest fear was letting my boss know, because I love my job and don’t want to give it up. Fortunately, writers/editors can write/edit anywhere these days, so I put together a telecommuting proposal and presented it to him the week we came back from our trip to Rapid City. It was very well researched and spoke of the benefits to the company (lower costs, increased productivity, etc.) with all sources professionally cited. Still, you never know how these things will go over. So I took him to the corner bar, bought him a beer, and gave him a brief overview of my request. To my surprise, he was extremely supportive and is 100% behind the idea. Said he wished he could move back home, too. He still has to walk it up the chain of command, but thinks in all likelihood the senior management team will sign off on the plan. After all, we’ve done that for others in the past, and their jobs aren’t nearly as remote-friendly as mine. That’s both a huge relief and the greatest news ever! It demonstrates how much they value my contributions to the company, and will allow me to work from home full-time. Because of favorable tax laws (like Washington, South Dakota has no state income tax) and a lower cost of living, it’s like I’m getting a raise! Everything is falling into place.

Honestly, the decision was easy and came quickly. We agreed this was something we wanted to pursue over fried pickles and drinks at Murphy’s Pub & Grill in Rapid City the Saturday night we were there. We couldn’t say anything until ironing out a few details, though plenty of hints were dropped. Like the Facebook post from last weekend, where I wrote it was our Annual (and probably last) trek to Hood River for the Fruit Loop. When one friend asked “why last?” I told her I got some bad news from my doctor, ha. Maybe that wasn’t the nicest thing to do, but at least now I know she’d miss me if I died!

Our tentative/target moving date is June 30, 2018. Our lease is up in March, and we are sick of paying $1400/month for an apartment when we can own a nice home in Rapid City and pay less than that in mortgage. I’d leave tomorrow if we could, but Audrey is a senior and graduates on June 13th. Tara still has to “get her poop in a group,” as she told me, and find a job herself, but I feel confident that her solid experience and impressive work accomplishments will allow her to find one easily enough. It helps that the unemployment rate in Rapid City is a paltry 2.9%.


I’ll talk more about the reasons behind our decision in my next post. For now, we are focused on enjoying our last eight months in the PNW. We created a list of places to go/things to do before we leave and christened it our “PNW Farewell Tour,” complete with a custom hashtag. A sampling of the list:

  • Astoria Wine & Seafood Festival
  • Weekend stay on the Oregon coast
  • Portland Night Market
  • Hike Silver Falls State Park
  • Spend a rainy afternoon browsing the shelves at Powell’s Books

The Hood River Fruit Loop was the first item to get crossed off our list. That’s the benefit of having so much time before we leave: we won’t be in a rush to get everything done. As daunting as a 1,250-mile move feels, if we break it down into tiny steps, it’s manageable.

And June will be here before we know it. How exciting!


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

12 thoughts on “Inverse Correlations and Escaping Cats

    1. Ha. It’s actually named after Rapid Creek, which does flow pretty rapidly. In spots. In others, it just sort of burbles along, especially in the dry season. But it’s also not a very big “city” so the whole name is pretty much a misnomer.


  1. That’s AWESOME news, Mark!!!! Congrats on your decision!

    And it’s totally ironic that you and I will be making our moves at the same time – next summer – you in June, me in August!

    And like you, I suddenly decided that the time was right, and just did it. I gave myself until next summer because, like you, my apartment lease will be up and it will also give me time to make the transition and prepare. Isn’t it something how everything just falls into place when the time is right? And gratefully, your boss and my boss are supportive of our decision, which makes transferring with our jobs so smooth!

    Looking forward to your next post!


    1. Yes, my friend, you and I are like two peas in a pod. Or two sides of the same coin. Our lives are so often paralleling each other’s! I’m glad you made your decision to move and your employer agreed to it. Good times are ahead for us both!


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