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Old 10-08-2008, 06:45 PM
Location: Kenmore, WA
17 posts, read 62,783 times
Reputation: 12


Hello everyone!

This may be a bit long...I a WI native....who has married into military and ended up all over the world for 9 years. Hubby got out of the military and we relocated back to WI.

We then decided to try out Northern Seattle, WA. We have been here for 3.5 years now. Its very beautiful here with the ocean and the mountains but the rainy winters are starting to get to me.

The cost of living is really high here. For example...$550,000.00 for a three bedroom, 2 bathroom, two story home built in 1951. My auto insurance went from paying $64.00 per month for full coverage for my 03 cavalier to 145.00 per month for the same exact coverage...the insurance lady told us "Its because there are so many high priced luxury cars that are driven in this area compared to the Midwest." *shrug*

I rent a 1,000 sq ft 3 bedroom 2 bath apartment for $1200.00 per month.

I have two children...a 13 year old daughter who is currently into lots of artsy stuff (drawing, coloring. etc etc) and plays the cello.

My son is 9 years old...he has high functioning autism....so schools with a good special education program is VERY important to me.

I work in the health care field...lab tech. I'm hoping to get a job at the Mayo Clinic..and with that hoping for good health care benefits and such.

What Im really looking for is a pretty safe place to raise my children...give them access to a good rounded education...and to someday soon be able to own our own home to give my children a back yard to play in....etc.

I know if I stay in Seattle, WA we will never be able to afford our own home. Not at these prices...

My husband also has worked in a laboratory setting for the past 5 years as a lab aid. Im hoping he too would be able to find employment at Mayo.

Pus my mom would only be an hour and a half drive from Rochester to her home in WI.

I don't really want to go back to WI as there aren't any employers that catch my eye. I'm really trying to find that place of employment where one enjoys working at and a place of employment to settle down into and retire from.

I love outdoor activities. I like to bike, walk my dog (boxer) on trails, go to off leash dog parks with her...are there any off leash parks for dogs and their owners to go to?

My husband and I enjoy fishing....here we have fished the ocean for salmon and lakes for lake trout and other fish. We have also fished for shell fish. My husband also enjoys hunting too, but hasnt done it for some time because Im afraid to let him own a gun living in a small apartment with no where to store it safely. (i know Im a worrier)

I havent done many winter outdoor sports since I was a kid...I think Id like to try cross country skiing and ice fishing someday?

I love to have water access....one thing that pulled me to WA state was the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other.

I know if you go north you can gain access to the Great Lakes. I know you also have the Mississippi River as well...with many many thousands of lakes.

Is the land around Rochester flat or is it hilly or does it have bluffs??

How hard it is to rent a duplex or a 3 bedroom apartment when you have a dog and a cat. I have a 1 yr old spayed female boxer and a 11 year old neutered cat. Would it be very hard to find a rental with a dog her size (shes about 70 lbs). I know its quite hard here to find any place that will rent to people who own dogs that weigh more than 35-50 lbs.

Does Rochester have fitness clubs with a good amount of group/class exercises?

Thats all the questions I can think of to ask for now.

This will be a hard choice for me...in some ways...not hard in other ways. My husband will protest but he will follow if I make the final choice....my daughter is hoping to find a place where she can meet other kids her age and make friends who are true friends to her. Shes had a very hard time adjusting to WA. I think shes probably felt the "Seattle Freeze" more than me and having a hard time with it. I feel so badly for her...as if the middle school years arent hard enough of the kids she has this on top of it all...

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read through this huge book of mine and to anyone that also will take the time to will reply.

Thank you again and have a great day everyone!
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:39 PM
1,833 posts, read 3,048,617 times
Reputation: 1789
Well I will answer as much as I can and hope it helps. There are places here that do rent to dog owners. Not sure of weight or breed restrictions. I'd start with rent.com. You can do a search there and it does list at least if they accept pets. There are quite a few rentals on there. Stay away from Hunter's Ridge though. They do allow pets but avoid it like the plague. Check out timberlandpartners.com too. I'm not sure if they allow dogs, but I do know they at least allow cats at for sure one of their properties in Rochester. You can also look at some of the nearby smaller towns for rentals. Byron and Stewartville both have good school systems. They are also close enough if you wanted the kids in the Rochester school system you can easily drive them. Also if you do work for Mayo, some of the smaller towns have shuttle buses that bring people in. Parking in town from what I have heard is limited. I know when I worked there it was extremely difficult to get a parking permit for downtown or the hospital. Also check out craigslist and the Post-Bulletin. http://www.postbulletin.com People don't always list pet policy in the newspaper classifieds but it's another place to look.

My kids are both elementary aged and I know there are special needs kids at their school. Seems like there's a paraprofessional to nearly every child - sometimes I see one with 2 kids but not often. I do not know though specifics for high-functioning autism. It does appear, though, that one of the kids I do see frequently with a paraprofessional is high functioning. Minnesota schools overall are very good. You can check out the Minnesota DOE site: Minnesota Department of Education for more information. I'm sure there's something on there that would be helpful. The Rochester school systems site is http://www.rochester.k12.mn.us/se3bi...lname=school85.

Rochester does have some hills in town, flat in areas, bluffs south of here. It's a beautiful landscape. Not sure of specific spots that are good for fishing but I do know people do go around here.

Yes, I do know of at least 1 and possibly 2 dog parks - one in NW (the for sure one), one in SE.

I don't belong to a fitness club myself, but there is the Rochester Recreation Center, the Rochester Athletic Club (very pricey), Work Out World just opened, Mayo has the Dan Abrams Healthy Living Center, and I think there are a few others. I'm sure you'd find what you were looking for at one of them.

Mayo is a good place to work. Benefits are good too. Just was talking to a friend about it so this comes to mind for that reason, but you can get discount tickets to things too - like Valleyfair in Shakopee (amusement park), the State Fair, etc.

The farther out from the center of town you get, the safer it is going to be. There are a few apartment complexes clumped together in a couple places in NW so that can lead to issues of course so hopefully you are able to find something away from a congested area. On Rent.com there is a place in Pine Island (about 15 minutes north of Rochester) that again I know accepts cats (not sure about dogs) and I think they have a Mayo employee discount. You may find that other places too. If you look for a job at Mayo and get an interview, make sure you ask about relocating and what info they may have for rentals. They are really helpful in that area.

Best of luck! Feel free to ask more if you come up with more or if I left info out.
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:36 PM
Location: Kenmore, WA
17 posts, read 62,783 times
Reputation: 12
Thank you very much for the info! :-)

Wow that sounds awesome about the special needs kids having someone to be with them. Right now my son gets nothing like that. ;-(

Im hoping to find a duplex to rent (depending on my finances compared to how much rent is.) something to give the kids a yard to play in...at least until we get settled in and get to know the area.

even though Ive lived in WI all my life, I fear the winters..but as with everything...you get used to it.

Seattle area is beautiful but its SOO expensive to live here....to where if you dont make 140k combined income you will be doing nothing more than be in a rat race.

I just have a feeling in my heart that I could give my children a better life in Rochester than I can here.

The schools sound better, from what Ive been gathering on the boards the cost of living to how much you get paid is pretty good in Rochester?

Thank you again and if I can think of any further questions I will for sure ask!! :-)

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Old 10-15-2008, 08:16 AM
1,833 posts, read 3,048,617 times
Reputation: 1789
Yes, you definitely get paid well enough here to survive in most jobs. I'm sure there are some fields where it is tougher but if you work for Mayo or Olmsted Medical Center (the other medical system in Rochester), you will be fine.

Duplexes/twin homes (some are called that) are fewer than apartments. Not sure about locations on those either. We are currently in an apartment (no dogs though otherwise I'd recommend it) that has areas for the kids to play. I know some of the other complexes have playgrounds for kids and some have pools too. There are lots of parks around too. Just some things to consider if you are having a hard time finding a duplex.

Depending on what part of WI you grew up in, this part of MN isn't so bad. I grew up in Duluth and the winters here are pretty mild IMO compared to that area. Not that many days down here where it's bitterly cold (below zero and mind-numbingly cold) and the snow is definitely less than the north. I think the hardest part about it relates to the drivers here. Rochester's drivers are miserable - and locals will try to tell you it's the Mayo patients, but it's not. It's them just as much. So you just need to be smart about driving in the snow - especially the first snow. But you sure can get away with not driving a whole lot here depending on where you work. There's what you need in every quadrant of the city.

Good luck!!
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:34 PM
Location: South Minneapolis
4,305 posts, read 5,976,886 times
Reputation: 5561
The poster sounds as if she's out of the Milwaukee Area to me. Where else would someone expect jobs but find them lacking?

The whole sum of WI is lesser than each individual part of Minnesota. The only part of Wisconsin that can not be replaced or is unique: The Dells.

Other than that, Minnesota is by far the place to be. Some will not agree but since I lived 12 years in Wisconsin, I know.

By the way I have been IMPRESSED by almost EVERY aspect of Minnesota. Each town large or small, near the Twin Cities or far from it, every single one of them is excellent in it's own way. You can not go wrong. I'm especially impressed by the SMALL TOWNS througout the State. For large cities or Metorpolitan areas; The Twin Cities is fabulous. How ever did all those people get there without so much as making some noise? I had NO idea how HUGE it was or how cool looking it was.

Winter in this area *North Central Minnesota, is unique and special. I love the deep cold w/o too much wind. I was more than able to survive a whole month below zero and enjoyed every moment of it. Yikes! The State Parks and State Forrests are second to none. This State has it all.
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Old 10-15-2008, 06:23 PM
Location: Kenmore, WA
17 posts, read 62,783 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks much for all the great advice!

My family and I were all over WI when I was growing up. From the Dells area, to Richland Center, to Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Madison.

Ive pretty much experienced WI. :-)

Im lucky to have a career as in Health Care as a Lab Tech. My husband also works in a laboratory too. I hope both of us wont have any problems finding employment.

Its nice to know you see a little of below zero temps in Rochester but not a ton of it.

Driving in the first snow of the season is always worrisome with other drivers around. Funny thing is here in Seattle..its similar...once the rainy season sets in for the fall going into winter you would swear the people here never drove in rain before.

Before I settled on Rochester it was a three way tie...stay here in WA, go to AZ, or come to Rochester. I still kinda flip between AZ and MN but thats mostly because my husband has spoken of AZ allot...he was born there.

Thank you again for all the info! I REALLY appreciate it. You all are great!
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:09 AM
169 posts, read 493,670 times
Reputation: 126
Does Rochester have fitness clubs with a good amount of group/class exercises?
if you work at mayo (or if your husband does), you can get a membership at the mayo's gym which is 1 year old and it is a VERY impressive facilities. membership is very reasonable for what they have to offer and since they try to encourage you to go, the more you go, the less you pay! they also have healthy cooking demo too. they have classes like pilates, yoga, and other cardio classes and swimming classes. no extra fee i think for classes. there is also an indoor walking track. it's an for-adult only kid though (but i think they have a room where the kids can stay? not sure about that). a lot of employees go before work (it opens at 4:30am or something?!), during lunch hour or after work.

some pictures (the whole building is the healthy living center):

http://www.dewberry.com/uploadedImages/Mayo-01(1).jpg (broken link)

http://www.dewberry.com/uploadedImages/mayo%20-%20interior%20(use%20w-speaker%20piece).jpg (broken link)

we have an YMCA in town, and a few other fitness centers but i don't know much about them.

have you tried looking at the mayo job web site? http://www.mayoclinic.org/jobs-rst/ usually there are lab tech and lab assistants positions.
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:22 AM
1,833 posts, read 3,048,617 times
Reputation: 1789
I totally forgot about the Y. There is a waterpark there too. Rochester Area Family Y

The Mayo one I used to know as the Dan Abrams Healthy Living Center. Now it is called the Mayo Healthy Living Center I believe. Unless there are 2 separate places now - I have no idea.
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Old 10-16-2008, 07:45 PM
2 posts, read 6,475 times
Reputation: 10
Rochester would probably be a good city to live in considering you're in the medical field. You'd probably have no issues getting in at mayo. Cost of living is very high in Rochester. I live in a small town about 45 minutes from Roch on the Mississippi River and I'm amazing how much cheaper it is to live here in this georgous valley...hiking, fishing, boating, small towns....I can't tell you how many people commute to Rochester to work. We have buses that come to many of the small towns and bus them to Mayo for work for a fee.

Our winters aren't any different than yours. I'll probably say our roads get plowed better and more often than some areas in WI...the traffic isn't nearly as bad as bigger cities in WI...
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Old 10-16-2008, 08:24 PM
169 posts, read 493,670 times
Reputation: 126
Originally Posted by fromupthere View Post
Rochester Area Family Y

The Mayo one I used to know as the Dan Abrams Healthy Living Center. Now it is called the Mayo Healthy Living Center I believe. Unless there are 2 separate places now - I have no idea.
it's still called the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. the small gym in the ozmun building is no longer there, this is a complete new building. the gym at st mary's is still there.
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