Charlottesville, Virginia

While we were planning a driving trip to California for several months, we were faced with an opportunity to take another driving trip to the Washington, DC area the week before embarking on the California trip. David received an offer from a company in Charlottesville, Virginia, to come out for interviews. They agreed that rather than pay for him to fly out, they would pay for us to rent a vehicle and drive out as a family. They also put us up in a swank hotel for a couple of nights.

We had to leave extremely early in the morning, as we planned to make the 10.5 hour drive in a single day (yes, we are nuts). We rented a Jeep Compass (small SUV), loaded it up, crammed in the car seats, and away we went!

Things went along swimmingly until about five hours into the trip. We were somewhere in eastern Kentucky. The Jeep has a dashboard display of the tires' pressure. Handy. Suddenly there was a weird ding, and then we noticed the rear driver side tire pressure number falling steadily...41...40...39...38... It was like a countdown to CERTAIN DOOM! We managed to drive two more miles to the nearest exit (to avoid dealing with a flat tire on the shoulder of the interstate), by which time the pressure was about 16 I believe.

We tried calling AAA, but there was no cell service. The kids and I went into a "cafe"  nearby - wow. So much scariness! Dark, dank, smoky. I immediately felt we shouldn't be in there, so we went back outside. David changed the tire and put on the spare, and we drove twenty or so miles to the next town. We went to a Walmart tire center, got the kids out, moved all our suitcases (again) so the guys could get in the back to put the spare back in its place after replacing the tire, went inside... and learned they did not have the right sized tire. They suggested we try Sears. So we all loaded back into the car, and drove a few miles down the road. This time, we wised up! The kids and I stayed put while David went inside to see if they truly had the right tire. And they did not! Apparently, Jeep Compass uses a terribly rare size of tire. But it was a Firestone tire, and there was a Firestone store another ten miles away. So we drove there, they did have the tire, and there was a Bob Evans right across the street, so we scored some lunch while waiting on it to be replaced. An hour and two hundred dollars later, and we were on our way yet again.

The kids at a lovely little rest area

We arrived at Charlottesville late at night, all of us very cranky and tired of one another. Charlottesville is mainly a college town and reminded us a lot of Bloomington. There are tree-covered mountains (which are the only kind of mountains I like) and everyone was really nice, except they do have this odd way of speaking. Their O's sound more like ooo like instead of "So, how do you like that?" they will say, "Sue, how do you like that?"

Truman in the hotel

The hotel and many other businesses face the 'Charlottesville Pedestrian Mall.' It was nice we could walk right out the front door of the hotel and have all these restaurants and cool places on a brick street where cars aren't allowed. Here we found a slate wall at the end of the pedestrian mall and large chunks of chalk left out for us to write on it.

Missionary tool!

While David was in interviews for all of the following day, the kids and I checked things out. I guess Charlottesville (or C'ville) is pretty artsy. We found some cool things to take pictures of. Then we visited the Charlottesville Discovery Museum - basically their children's musem. There was a full size replica of a pioneer cabin inside. The kids LOVED this area. There was also a pretend garden in front of the cabin with holes to put in root vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, and then 'dig' them up again.

Then in the afternoon, we went for a swim in the hotel. The pool was oddly shaped. I think it was meant to be shaped like the building itself, which I guess was sort of cool, but it just made it really hard to navigate and play any sort of game. However, we had the place to ourselves, so I can't complain.

In the evening after his daytime interviews were through, we again went out on the pedestrian mall with David. There was a cute carousel that is human-powered. That was fun. David had a dinner meeting with  more people that night, so we picked up food for me and the kids, and ate in our hotel room and watched all sorts of cable shows we are deprived of at home!

Of course, the company loved David and wanted to make him an offer. As it turned out, another company in Virginia was interested in him at the same time. He told both companies he had interest from another company, which made both of them make an offer faster than they normally would have. It was an interesting situation. Both jobs were remote - he could work from home - though the one in Charlottesville would require more frequent travel. Ultimately, he opted for the other company, who was willing to extend an offer never have even met him in person. Their benefits package was better, and they would require less frequent travel. He also felt the job itself would be a better fit for the type of work he wants to be doing in the future. He felt really bad about the Charlottesville job, because everyone was so nice and they paid to bring him out there, but we know we made the right choice.


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