11 December 2010

One of life's big questions

Where to live, where to live?

It would be wonderful if I could flip through a real estate catalog and take my pick.  Or, better yet, close my eyes and plunk my finger down on a part of the globe that would determine our next place of residence.

But, of course, there is much more involved in the decision than a simple guess!

The factors to consider are quite numerous, and, like many big decisions, require the proper alignments of the planets before anything can be decided.

The first factor has pretty much decided itself.  We are a family of four living in a one-bedroom apartment.  Although, dear reader, I think we've done a pretty fine job of it, and also considering that I'm the one who is here most of the time with the girls, I can certainly see that we will need some more room soon.  But, to be honest, I'm not entirely convinced!

Which leads me to the second factor, which is cost.  We moved from Chicago to Evanston after Olivia was born for several reasons:  Nathan would be closer to work and would have a shorter commute; there were more trees; and the place we found had a bigger kitchen for only a little more of the cost.  Also, our apartment was the least expensive of all the ones we saw, even though it was also the most ghastly.  When we first came for a showing, the walls were painted bright red and yellow and the bedroom was purple.  Not lavender or lilac - purple.  And the best part was that the paint only went as high up the wall as the person could reach, and so the roller marks stopped about a foot from the ceiling.  Of course, they painted before we moved in, and we further plastered and painted over the cracked walls and had a lot of other work done, so I think the place is in much better shape than when we first began living here.  But, the work was a trade-off for the rent, which, even so, has gone incrementally up in the four years we've been here.  Even now, it's a bit tight for our non-profit, single income budget.  But, then again, the work is a trade-off for the pay - I'm not working for pay on purpose and so subsequently am working much harder at home with my girls.

The trickiest bit is finding a larger place for the same or at least a similar cost.  And, the more settled we've become here, the longer my list of house requirements grows.  Every scenario I've found online has sacrificed one important "must-have," such as a small kitchen with those ghastly oak cabinets (ours are a cheap white, but I like white - it seems so clean - and is easy to clean, to boot), or carpeting (which won't work with my asthma, even new stuff), or too far from the train line (which Nathan uses for work), or not within walking distance to a grocery store (for the days when Nathan takes the car).  Pretty much "not our current place." 

I think that, at this point, dear reader, you may sense my reluctance to leave where we are.  But I also know that change is necessary - a new place would bring it's own exciting challenges.  Not to mention the purging of accumulated junk that happens when one moves.  And the next year may bring big changes for our family in terms of income, and so we may end up needing to move more than just within city limits.

Oh, dear.

So, at this point, I really just have to plan several scenarios for the coming year:  staying in our current place, staying in Evanston, staying in the Midwest, and staying within the U.S.  I suppose I could also plan for international travel, but that is a bit out of my brain range right now.  It's hard to plan a garden in Boston, but who knows!?  As the year progresses, and our lease comes to an end in April and Olivia's school comes to an end in May, I'm sure we'll have a better grasp on things.  But I hate waiting!  And not knowing where you're going to live is rough!

This will be a winter for patience, I suppose.  And counting my seeds and paring our personal belongings for a more-than-likely move.  Wish us luck!

1 comment:

Janie said...

Hi Liz - Found your blog today and caught up with you and your fun family. Just wanted to comment on this particular entry, which is about advance planning while not knowing what might happen in the future. Tricky, I know! This is what I learned by the time I was 40 (sure wish I had known it earlier):

You can do anything you want.
You can be anything you want.
You can live anywhere you want.
You can have anything you want.

How? imagine, explore, learn, create a flexible plan, start implementing the plan with your eye on the changes that occur, alter plan as needed to reach the goal.

I used this method to get from living in a perfectly fine house in a subdivision (but with a demoralizing view of the gray wall of my neighbor's garage 8 feet from my bedroom window) to an amazing house in the country that is wonderful in too many ways to count. My initial goal was simple: live someplace where I could see for miles when I looked out the window. It took a year of looking, but eventually, the HOUSE found ME. Like it was meant to be all along.

Also...Meditate on the issue at hand. Think about all the aspects. While mediating, open your heart to God so He can see right in it. Ask for assistance, and give it up to Him. Help will come to you in the most unexpected ways.

True story: Recently, I was in such an unhappy work situation, I didn't know what to do. I felt like I had tried everything I could think of to make it better. But, it was still awful, and getting awfuller by the day. I dreaded going to work, and when I came home, sometimes I cried about it. Very unlike me! One morning I was getting ready for work and feeling miserable about having to go there. I finished brushing my teeth and looked in the mirror, saw my miserable face and said this in my mind - Please God, You know what's in my heart. I don't know what to do. HELP ME PLEASE. I remember feeling like my soul was an open wound and I was asking for cool water to be poured into it.

The next day, this is what happened:
1. Morning: I went to work and found out that the funding for my job was not going to be renewed. My job would end in 2 weeks.
2. I had lunch with a friend, who said she heard there was a research professor on campus who had money to hire someone for a year. I knew who that professor was, and he knew me.
3. I went to the Professor right after lunch, and asked him if the story was true, and he said, "Yes. Do you want a job in my lab for a year?"

Long story short - I ended up there, and I am so happy you can't even imagine.

Liz, I already think you are amazing, so it will not surprise me a bit when someday I find out that you got everything you ever wanted for you and your family. I hope you enjoy the journey and have lots of good stories to share along the way. I loved reading your blog today!