Very short version: Mountain U offered the spouse a TT job-of-his-dreams, here in the exact place we most want to live. So.
Much longer version:
Dr. S took this visiting-assistant-professor job here despite... well, despite practically everything. It was the equivalent of putting all your money on one horse. Also:
* the department interviewed four people and the other three were female
* I understand their legitimate desire to hire a female scientist BUT
* two applicants sucked and the other one they apparently hated (this on the direct word of Dr. S's chair)
* so naturally they weaseled around, told Dr. S when they'd decide and then didn't, then made an offer to the one they hated and lied to him about it.
* AND when he called everywhere else he'd applied, they told him they figured Mountain U had written him such a fantastic recommendation that they would surely hire him, so these other places didn't even call him, and now they'd made offers elsewhere. Way to get screwed coming and going, right?
To give you an idea of the time scale, he interviewed on Halloween. I have spent the last week both grieving for all our dreams, and applying for jobs across the state. Also I basically haven't slept well in months. Do they make IV Valium? I could really use some right about now.
We are both under the impression that something screwy was happening. Either the faculty are deeply divided - which is very very bad- or the administration was applying some kind of pressure and/or leverage that the department either couldn't or wouldn't counter, which is maybe less bad.
However, the only remaining questions are, can he get anyone to tell him what really is going on, and can he convince them to offer him more money? (This is in accordance with my firmly held principle that one should always at least ask for more.) They've burned a lot of goodwill by fucking lying but, on the other hand, this is pretty much the life we've always wanted: here in my home state, somewhere we can afford to buy a few acres, plant a bunch of fruit trees and an enormous garden, and grow old watching the sun set over the mountains.
Excuse me, I'm going to go drink a few stiff ones out of sheer relief.
(P.S. If you've been wondering why the hell I haven't emailed you back - you know who you all are, and you are legion- I'm sorry. I was too full of sadness and worry to even get as far as "Hello World". Hopefully the emotional hangover will wear off soon.)