Sunday, February 21, 2010

Location Location Location

Next weekend we are moving and I'm sort of happy about it. Moving to be closer to my office and therefore a large part of my daily life will finally be closer to my impending new family. As I've complained about thoroughly over the years, I have a LONG ASS COMMUTE (3-5 hours daily). I live in an area of the country which is CONGESTED, not LA congested but pretty damn bad and sprawling out from a few major cities.

I grew up on one side of a bay and have lived within a 10 mile radius all my life, but I have worked in or near one of the major cities on the OTHER side of the bay for over 10 years. And the headquarters of the company I work for is way down at the southern tip of that bay in another one of the major cities and I'm expected to go there occasionally and never know if/when my position will be moved there. Lots of people live in one city or area of the bay but work in another so the highways and bridges are therefore full of people all trying to get to and from the same places around the same time of day which equals... that long ass commute. Whether by train or car, my commute is long. When I take it, public transportation may reduce the insanity, it's still a huge part of my day and daily expense.

Because I want those 3-5 hours back to spend with my upcoming new family, we are moving to the SAME CITY as my current office. We are renting a place which isn't perfect but the location to my office can't be beat. The rental comes with a few cons which we will just have to wait to see how they play out. Yes I'm going to focus on the negatives here because I need to get it out and really the main pro is the main con too:

- Virgin Landlord/Owner: very clearly has never been a landlord before but thankfully he hired a real estate agent to help him but mostly we'll work with the landlord directly. We've met once, and he was nice but seemed green. He agreed to take some things away we don't want/need, to finish up some repairs and to install a water line for our fridge so I still get ice and filtered water (yay!) instead of using his smaller, older and honestly, stinky and moldy fridge (Eric didn't see my issue with it but he never looked inside). One nice point, he is going to give us the keys a week early so we can move in over the weekend even though our lease begins on the first.

- Kitchen: you might know that I love to cook and well, this place has a tiny kitchen lacking much in the way of amenities and things like counter space and storage, and the lay out is not ideal. It'll work out but we're going to put some money into it in the way of IKEA furniture and someone is going to have dishpan hands and it's not going to be me (yea right).

- Color: Said Virgin Landlord does not know the way of the neutral color palate for a rental. The interior walls are newly and beautifully (craftsmanship-wise) painted lime green and he bought and installed curtains for most of the windows, all of which are a print of blue of some sort. Yes, lime green and blue.... everywhere. And no, he didn't save any of the paint for touch ups nor remembers the color code or brand of paint for us to redo his work should we choose to reduce the pain. I am VERY emotionally effected by color, so we'll see how I deal with this one. Oh and I won't even go into the newly painted exterior color (ok yes I will). Think poo. Poo of someone who ate a jar of mustard and a can of peas. Yay! Awesome location!

- Shared space and utilities: There is a "cottage" in the small backyard which is rented out to a separate tenant. We will be sharing utilities and common space with this person whom we've never met. The lease doesn't have as solid of terms as I'd like in the way of how the sharing happens so that was probably stupidity shining through on my part. The current tenant has given notice, so who knows what that will do to things. Maybe the new person will be an awesome new friend of our new family and really easy to work with in terms of the utilities and backyard.

- Doubled Housing/Living expense: Our current place is cheap. cheap cheap cheap. But we live to our means and my never seeming to end student loans takes up a large chunk of my net salary. And somehow, thanks to the market and plummeting interest rates, this area is now even cheaper for those lucky people who buy here now. By moving to the other side of the bay alone, we are increasing our cost of living a LOT, plus things just cost more over there. Have I also mentioned we are having a baby and I hear they are expensive too. Guess taking my lunch to work will no longer be a good thing to do and more a necessity.

- Location: The city in which I work is the city in which I work. Work sometimes is not the best part of my day so the city in which I do it can have negative feelings associated with it. For years I have gone to this city to do ... work, and then I get to go home and live. See what I mean?
Plus this city has a completely different climate than where I call home so some adjusting will need to happen.
And its not the best area. As in most cities, it has its good and its not as good areas, with many different socioeconomic groups and cultures which I like and then again don't like all the time. The wrong side of the tracks means something here. Yes, call me a yuppy snob but I don't think I used to care as much about this sort of thing except when I lived alone and now with the thoughts of baby on my mind. There is no cute downtown to stroll along with the stroller, but there is some shopping nearby so that's helpful but I've been spoiled by living in a fairly affluent area where even the Target is nicer than most.
Oh and there is a major airport nearby too.... with a flight path for the international huge jumbo jets which you can tell the name of the airline who owns the plane because you can READ it from the ground. The path goes over my office so I'm sort of used to it, but we'll be waiting to see what that sounds like from our new place.
And while my commute is shrinking to almost nothing, Eric's is growing. True he doesn't have to drive for his work everyday, he still does have a lot of driving to do to get to clients for meetings and installs which are all on that other side of the bay.

And my biggest con is also... LOCATION but for a very different reason.
I am essentially moving away from home for the first time. Sure I moved out of my parents house many years ago. I have moved from rental to rental to owning to rental to rental to rental to owning, but never left the comfort of a 10 mile radius from my parents and the house I lived years 0-24. I know where I live. I know where to get things, how long it takes to get there and who to call when I need help.
Here, my mom comes by for lunch or to play a game almost every Sunday on her way home from church. She takes care of my cats when we go away. She brings me soup my father makes for me when I'm sick. She's my mom and she's here, and I'm moving over there.
Eric's plant nursery, part of the core of his business is at my parent's home. He goes there to care for his plants, to visit with my parents and has dinner and conversation with them far more often then I do. And I often get the benefit of leftovers my parents send home with him to be waiting for me after I get home from my long ass commute.

I am finally moving away from my parents.

And some people may not get this, but the biggest con is that I'm moving away from my friends. My core strength is my friends. While my parents are big, in my life my friends have been bigger. They listen to me, they help me cope and they give me so much more comfort and knowledge and help than they will ever know. Sure we are already spread out in the area, and the majority of our communication is and will remain via the Internet, but right now I know they are all within a 30 minute drive. And while I'm not moving out of state, I am moving at minimum 1.5 hours away so there will no longer be last minute lunches or shopping trips or visits. They have busy lives too and we already have infrequent times we spent together. I had just hoped that this new phase of my life would have more of an ever present, as in in-person, support of my girlfriends who mostly are all already going through this journey.

While my support network is not in this new town, we'll make due. I guess. We have to. It's for the good of our new family.


J at said...

I felt so much of this when we moved to Philadelphia. DON'T DO IT! I'll add another room or three onto our place, and you can live here! I'll take care of your baby while I'm supposed to be working! ACK!

OK, breathe. This will be OK. If it isn't, really, it's not reversible. You would just find a job out here, and move back. We did that with Philly. Not perfect. Not easy. But it's always good to know where home is, if you have to go back. For now, though, I'm hoping this is a wonderful change for you. I'll be thrilled to come visit when it's 110 here, and 70 there.

Autumn's Mom said...

Life is a rollercoaster. That's all I have to say.

PS See Comment #1

Gina said...

Take it from me, best to do the move BEFORE baby. Good luck, though.

And my goodness, baby is coming so soon! I am so thrilled for you guys!

Now hold it, did I miss something, or is the sex a suprise?

J at said...

I meant to say it's not 'irreversible'. :)