Monday, 21 September 2015

08:07 – As of today, Barbara has only seven work days left at the law firm. As of 1 October, she’ll be working for our own company, which we’re both looking forward to.

A couple of people have mentioned that a married couple working together at home introduces stress, but I don’t see that being any problem at all. We’re both very hard workers who focus on what needs to be done, and I’m certainly not prone too micro-managing. She’s a self-starter, and she’s already familiar with a lot of what needs to be done. I expect things will work out fine, without any stress.

We’ve decided to expand our relocation search to the counties that border Ashe County. Barbara wanted to look at Mitchell County, but a quick scan of homes for sale up there makes it pretty clear that there’s not a whole lot available. Not surprising, considering that the county seat has a population of 464. We want to relocate to a small town, but that may be a bit too small. One of the first places we considered was Sparta, NC. It’s the county seat of Alleghany County, and has a population of 1,770. A quick check on the Internet shows that there are quite a few suitable homes for sale there, so we’ll probably check it out in more detail. The last/first time we went up, we just walked around town and picked up a few brochures. This week, I’ll call a real estate agency up there and tell them what we’re interested in buying. We’ll schedule another trip up there for sometime after next week. It’s 60 to 70 miles from our current house, depending on route, and about a 1.25 to 1.5 hour drive.

We’re not in a hurry. We want to get away from Winston-Salem and its large underclass population, but wherever we move is where we’re going to stay, so we need to take as much time as necessary to get it right.

15:15 – Well, this is good news. The real show-stopper for any house we’d consider even looking at is lack of decent Internet service. The Romans had a phrase for it, “sine qua non“, or “without which, nothing”.

The one time we went up to Sparta, casual inquiries led us to believe that Internet service there was spotty and slow. The people we talked to mentioned DSL. Accordingly, we downgraded that area. One of the major reasons we preferred Jefferson and Ashe County was that most of the county has fiber Internet service. As it turns out, so does most of Alleghany County, where Sparta is. I talked to Skybest Communications, and from what the lady told me it sounds like Alleghany/Sparta is in pretty much the same situation as Ashe/Jefferson: the counties got a government grant to install fiber Internet services for an “underserved” area. There are a couple small parts of Alleghany that don’t yet have fiber service, but those areas have 12 Mbit/s down copper service, which would suffice for our needs. So, with the big potential roadblock out of the way, we can start looking seriously at the Sparta area.