Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

 If you have been following my blog, I am telling a story about myself and my marriage to my husband, the father of  my son J.O.  If you want to start from the beginning please read my post called Another story begins . . . ,  Hard times: a need to relocate . . . ,  There are good people in the world . . . ,   A place of posterity . . .  and  Chicago and a time of crisis . . .  or to learn a little bit more about my son, read:   And then it begins .


We stayed in Chicago for a little over two years.  During that time I had a job offer from a consulting company that was too good to ignore.  The offer was a large increase compared to my salary that I was getting at the bank.  Initially I turned the offer down because they were only going to match what I was making currently at the bank.  Then the owner of the company flew into Chicago to meet with me and convince me to come on board.  When we met, she had increases the amount and I accepted the offer. 

The only drawback was that the job location was in Columbus, Ohio and I would have to commute back and forth.   There was a crew of people already there working on upgrading an application which supported the servicing of mortgage loans.  Within that crew there were two people who I had worked with in Texas.  The owner indicated that I was not going to be working on the same project.  Instead, I would be testing an application that manages delinquent mortgage loans.  The set up of the job was working ten days straight and then get four days off.  They provided accommodations and the expense for commuting back and forth to Chicago. 

My husband and I were in agreement about doing this consulting work, which would be a big help, especially since were paying the mortgage, taxes and insurance for my parents.

So off I was to Columbus, Ohio.  Upon arrival I got a rental car and then found the apartment that was assigned to me.  It was pretty nice.  It was a fully equipped apartment, which was at no expense to me.  The next day was my first day at work.  I connected with the two individuals that I knew, and they introduced me to the management that I would be working for.  The manager had a group of business analysts and testers in her department.  Their job was to ensure that all technology development work met quality standards.

In my first meeting with the manager she indicated that this ten days on and four days off arrangement was not going to work.  She wanted me there five days a week.  Well that threw a wrench into my plans.  At this point I had no choice.  I had resigned from my job in Chicago and I had to accept the arrangement requested, even though I wasn’t happy about the change.

After commuting back and forth two or three times, I realized that it was not worth the hassle because it provided me very little time with my husband.  So, I contacted the owner of the consulting company and I told her that since the working arrangements had changed I was going to relocate my husband to Columbus, Ohio and we would shut our residence in Chicago down.  Luckily for me, she agreed.  She also agreed to pay for the moving of my belongings.

So, here we go, relocating again.  At this point we put all of our belongings into storage.  We only took necessary items with us, and what would fit in our car.  We stayed in Columbus for almost three years.  Originally my contract with the mortgage company was for six months, but they kept extending it and I was put on many different projects.  The company treated me like one of their employees and valued my experience.

Besides having a great job, over those three years the consulting company annually had a company get together.  The first year it was in Florida.  In between meeting we saw some of the sights in Orlando.  For entertainment they provided tickets for Disney World and we also went to a dinner theatre.  The second year the meeting was held on a cruise ship and we went to Nassau.  The third year it was held in Florida again.  Once again Disney ticket, a swamp air boat tour, and a tour of NASA.  The benefits with this job were pretty sweet.

Meanwhile my husband was creating a new company that exported goods to West Africa.  He had an investor, the product, the processing plant, and investment funds.  In addition he found a partner that was going to be responsible for getting purchase agreements for the sale of the goods.  My husband’s responsibility was to create a processing plant in the U.S. and obtain the product, process it, and send it to West Africa to fulfill purchase orders.  The business was pretty straight forward and our intent would be that I would quit my consulting job and then instead manage the processing operations in the U.S., along with my husband.

By the fall of my last year at the mortgage company.  The location for the processing plant had been identified.  The structure needed to be modified, but we planned on starting business in a section of it until the modification were complete.  At this point we had a green light for the business. 

So we started the discussion about how I would depart from my current job, and then join the new company.  Our plan was for me to work through the end of the year, and after the holidays give my resignation notice. 

In December it occurred to me that in January I was turning forty years old, which was our deadline for trying to have a baby naturally.  We hadn’t been successful yet. You can read my post called Job, jobs. Sometimes they get in the way of life . . . or not? which has the details of the whole baby situation which eventually led to in vitro fertilization (IVF).  The income from the consulting job gave me the ability to save enough money to pay for the IVF process. 

Coincidently, during the process of setting up the processing plant for his company, my husband met a gentleman who had a daughter that had just given birth to twins as a result of IVF.  This is how we got a recommendation for a specialist for IVF.  So the decision was made I would resign in January, and we would relocate to the location of the processing plant which was close to the clinic that had the IVF specialist.

 If you have been following my blog, I am telling a story about myself and my marriage to my husband, the father of  my son J.O.  If you want to start from the beginning please read my post called Another story begins . . . ,  or to learn a little bit more about my son, read:   And then it begins .

When we moved to Chicago it was hard to decide where to live.  We drove around looking for the best area.  We started downtown, and after seeing a car burning in the street and buildings all squished together, I told my husband I can’t live here.  We kept circling away from down town but the residential areas had houses all tightly fitt together.  Finally we got to Schaumburg.  It was perfect.  Housing was not so cramped. 

So I commuted to downtown Chicago for my job.  We tried driving it, but it took more than three hours to get there during rush hour.  Three hours in and three hours out.  Also, if you drive you have to rent a place to park.  Forget that.   It was a beautiful sight in the winter when  five or six snow plows in a synchronized manner plowing the snow off the interstate highway. 

I then learned how to use the trains, which worked out real well.  The only issue was still an hour commute each way.  I worked on the 20th floor of a building.  It was a different world working in a high-rise building.  For example, when they had fire drills the building management served free food in the lobby to entice people to participate in the fire drill.  Downtown was cold.  The wind in the winter would whip between the buildings.  At that time I was a smoker, and my co-workers would judge the weather by how much of a cigarette I could smoke in the cold.  I loved downtown Chicago at Christmas time.  The stores were all decorated and minstrels played at the bus station.

In the meantime, my family lived on a dairy farm which was about a four-hour drive from Chicago.  The farming was not going very well.  This was the Ronald Reagan times.  Farmers were dealing with grain embargos, seasonal drought, falling land prices and a world recession.

One of my uncles, in the guise of charity, took over the loans and deed of the farm which made him the new owner.  My parents continued making payments to him, rather than the bank.  There was no benefit in this arrangement.  He was charing them a higher monthly payment than the bank, which is not what they agreed upon in the beginning.  My parents lived on the farm and continued farming for about three years.  After the three years, my uncle told them they had to move. To stress his seriousness he came with cattle trucks, loaded up the cows, and sold them at livestock auction.

So this was a big crisis for my family.  They had no money and did not know where they were going to live.  There was no way they could make a mortgage payment with the money my father was making working at a native american casino.  At the time I was making pretty good money.  I told them I would help them find a place and I would take on the mortgage for it.  My parents really did not want to leave the farm.  Four generations had lived there.  My uncle had a meeting with me and made me an offer, where I would get the house, the other buildings and a little land.  His offer was close to $36,000 which was a good deal.  My uncle and I immediately measured off the boundaries of the property. 

I was feeling pretty good about the deal and after my uncle left we got a phone call.  It was my uncle’s daughter-in-law.  She told me that their corporation could not sell the place for $36,000 and the deal was off.  She wanted double the money.   This was all bull!  She was just greedy.  So we were back in the crisis zone.  We continued looking for a place and finally found five acres that was river frontage property on the western side of the county.  I worked a deal with a company that built manufactured housing and I found a bank to make the loan.   Meanwhile my parents had an auction sale, packed up the remainder of their stuff and moved to their new home.

to be continued . . .


If you have been following my blog, I am telling a story about myself and my marriage to my husband, the father of  my son J.O.  If you want to start from the beginning please read my post called Another story begins . . . ,  Hard times: a need to relocate . . .  and There are good people in the world . . . or to learn a little bit more about my son, read:   And then it begins .

We lived in Dallas during the 80’s. There was a lot going on in Dallas at this time. It was a booming city. These were the years of J. R. on the show called Dallas. Mary Kay lived in a pink mansion. Ross Perot was beginning to make noise. Billy Bobs was a famous bar in Fort Worth. Two women from Dallas started a children’s PBS show called Barney. And the Dallas Cowboys won the super bowl.

One of the other big events happening in Texas and elsewhere in the country was the failed Saving and Loans institutions (S&L). Just before this occurred I got a job at a saving and loan bank, which was owned by a commercial real estate company. My job was to create delinquency reports for the mortgage loan department.

Keep in mind I was a country girl who happened to go to college and ended up in Dallas, which was a big city for me. I think at that time the population of Dallas was about 1 million people.

Within a month, after being hired, the bank was having their Christmas party. A formal Christmas party. The party was in a huge ballroom of a hotel. Free food. Free drinks. Music.  And surprising entertainment. The opening act was Diane Carol singing.  She was known for her role in a sitcom called Julia.  This party was becoming very impressive. Then the main entertainment started, which was a comedy act starring Bob Hope. Yes, the real Bob Hope. I was a little shocked and thought, what have I got myself into.

Now as you have probably already guessed this S&L bank was one that was took over by the federal government. The feds came in their black sedans, with their black suits, and gathered everyone in a big room declaring the company insolvent. But then they announced that a new bank had been created and two other S&L’s were merged together.  We were no longer a  S&L.  Instead, we were a federal savings bank.

The real estate company, that owned the S&L, was owned by two men and they were charged with 10 counts of bank fraud.  Both men were 36 years old and I heard they were going to be prison for 20 and 30 years, which was the longest conviction of the S&L crisis.  Later I heard that one of the men tried to leave the country.  He did an OJ Simpson and attempted escaping authorities on a Los Angeles freeway. The authorities caught him, and his prison time went from thirty years to sixty years.

Lucky for me I still had a job. Shortly after the federal take over of the S&L, new management came in. Prior to all this happening I was working on a special technology project for the vice president of the lending division. So when the management came I reported to the new VP, who was also the chairman of the Cotton Bowl.

I stayed with this bank for ten years. My boss was pretty good with me.  He let me choose what projects I wanted to participate in. I did all his budget reports and created a department doing analytics for CRA (Community Reinvestment Act). The purpose of the department was creating analytics to ensure that we fairly made loans to all of the locations where we had deposit customers. This VP taught me that loyalty is everything.  Every one that worked for him was very loyal to him.  He also showed me that it was a good old boys world, especially in Texas.

Near the end of my ten years I went on a business trip to Austen, Texas. On the day we were returning, we stopped at the hotel to get our luggage. I was getting out of the back of the van, stepping onto a cobble stone road when I twisted my leg and fell. I don’t really know how I did it, but I was on the ground in excruciating pain. It hurt so bad I wouldn’t let anyone touch me. Once the waves of pain reduced I got up with the help of one of my co-workers, and I tried to step on my foot. Something was seriously wrong. I could not walk on that leg.

My co-workers got everyone in the van and took me to the nearest emergency room. To this day I don’t know what the name of the hospital was. The emergency room took x-rays, and yes my ankle was broken and I needed surgery. Unbelievable.

They did the surgery and put a plate and screws in my ankle. I stayed in the hospital for three days. They put a temporary cast with an open front because they were concerned about swelling. I would get my permanent cast in one week.  So I had to fly home to Dallas with a broken leg. As a result of this, I was off from work for about four weeks.

All this time while I was off, I did not get one phone call from my boss. I can not tell you how angry that made me. I could guarantee that if it had been one of his “good old boys” who had broken their leg he would have called them and probably would have visited them. So I stewed about it for four weeks. I went back to work in a wheel chair. The very first day I rolled into his office and told him I was resigning from my job.

My husband and I were tired of Dallas, and tired of Texas in general.  When we first moved there I was surprised they still referred to northerners as “damn Yankees.”  By the time we left, I was pretty proud of being a damn Yankee.  The people were arrogant.  The state was hot and went through two seasons.  There was a brief spring with blue bell flowers and then eleven months of brown and gray.  I missed my home state.  I missed the winter.  In winter if you are cold you can always put on more clothes.  But in Texas when it was hot you could only take off so much and then you were still hot.

Well my boss was shocked that I was resigning.  He asked me where was I going, and I told him I was moving back to the north, probably Chicago.  He said I should hold off until I was back on my feet, and in the meantime he would reach out to some companies that he had connections with and see if he could refer me for a job.  Wow.  That was nice.  In the end, he arranged an interview with a mortgage company in a suburb of Chicago, which ended up with a job offer. 

At the same time a friend of mine was working for a consulting company and the owner hooked me up with an interview in a bank in Chicago.  In the end, I had offers from both companies.  I ended up taking the bank technology job.  Finally my cast came off and I was ready to move.  My VP threw a going away party and gave me a gift of $1,500.  That was pretty remarkable.  I resigned, and the bank gave me a good-bye bonus. Sweet.

So off we went.  Good bye Dallas.  Hello Chicago.