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.
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!