It has come time to sell our little bungalow and seek out a slightly larger nest. I'm not in the market for a McMansion or anything, but I have high hopes for a place with a guest bedroom and more than one bathroom. If I'm allowing myself grand visions, I see a sweet little office slash sewing room for myself as well. Because right now my sewing machine just sits on the floor next to my reading chair until I move it to the dining room table for projects, which makes the entire dining room a sewing disaster area and is not really functional. Oh, and a pantry. Can I haz a pantry?
Seriously our house right now is tiiiiiny.
But I love every inch of it. So leaving it is going to bring out all kinds of emotions, not to mention we will have to buy another house, and everybody knows that moving is stressful.
Our big problem, though, beyond pantry space and attached garages and finished basements and how many bathrooms is location. I know. Such a cliche. Location, location, location.
Right now, I commute to the east to go to work and David commutes to the west. My drive is just under 30 minutes, which isn't terrible for a commute. David's drive is 45 minutes in the morning but about an hour on the way home in the afternoon, which isn't great. Fortunately/unfortunately, we both love our jobs and have no intention of leaving them in the foreseeable future. I'd say we each have about the same potential probability for getting different jobs in the next ten years (which is pretty slim but not entirely out of the realm of possibility--I just couldn't say whose job change would be more likely).
The question is... do we move closer to his work to shorten his commute, thereby lengthening mine? I vote no on this, for the obvious selfish reasons of not wanting to drive longer, but also because I'd like to stay close to Zuzu's daycare and close to all of the things we love in the city--the Botanical gardens, many of the parks, our favorite restaurants and coffee shops, and the Target with an escalator from the underground parking garage (Sorry to rub it in, Canada. I hope it's your turn for Target soon!). I hate that David has to drive so far, but since our jobs are so far apart, it only makes sense for us to live in the middle. Which is pretty much where we are now.
Of course, I'm also generally adverse to change. I like sameness. The only thing I really like to change is my clothes. I stress out about anything more permanent. Paint colors are agonizing for me. Hair cuts take weeks of adjustment. Buying a new car practically gave me an ulcer. I don't even do gel manicures because they last so long. (Also I'm too cheap, but you get the idea). So if I have to have a new house (which I do WANT, honestly), I'd really like to stay close to the same old neighborhood.
At the same time, I hate that David dreads his commute, and I'd love for him to have a shorter drive home to us, especially since his working hours are usually longer than mine. But is his shorter commute worth me having a longer one, especially since my more flexible work hours usually make me the point person for Zuzu-care stuff? I'm the one who drops her off and picks her up, which adds at least 15 minutes to my commute anyway, so that needs to factor in.
And I guess that I'm especially anxious about all this because it feels like with the housing market being all doom and gloom that whatever we buy we are going to be stuck with (assuming we don't just end up stuck where we are, which is a distinct possibility, I suppose). It's not like we could sell the house in two years if we decide that it actually makes more sense for us to be somewhere else. (Or is it? I don't know! That seems stressful! But I guess not impossible?)
Then there's the big issue of school districts. Like all good bougie parents, we want to live in a good school district, right? And the public schools in our city are... ungood. By which I mean they lost accreditation. And Zuzu will not be attending a non-accredited school if her bougie parents have anything to say about it. Which obviously we do. So that means if we stay in the city, we're looking at private schools or charter schools. Consider David is employed by a public school district in the state of Missouri, he is pretty adamantly opposed to paying for Zuzu to attend a private school, on principle and because OMG that shit is expensive. And even if it's an affordable kind of expense, we would really prefer to send her to a public school. You know, because we're socialists. And also we'd like to pocket that grand a month that's currently going to daycare.
The thing is, I would love for her to attend a particular charter school in our area (it's a language immersion program! She could grow up bilingual! Si! Oui! However you say yes in Mandarin!), but then you get into the issue of lotteries! And testing! And I don't know anything about charter schools! There's actually an information night for one of them next week, but it conflicts with another event I have. Also, is it crazy to go to a school information night when you are FOUR YEARS out from potentially enrolling a kid in the school?
(Maybe not... David had a woman come tour his school the other day because she was looking at buying a house in the area. And she was pregnant. With her first. I asked him if he asked her if it was her first and he said no, she volunteered that information. And then he wanted to say, "I hope it lives." But he didn't. He just gave her a tour of the building.)
And this raises the question of whether we buy a house in a location for our kid to enter a lottery that may or may not get her into the school we want her to attend? I'm probably more adverse to gambling than I am to change, and that just seems like a pretty big gamble.
So there's the option of moving from the city to the county, which extends my commute but shortens David's. The best school districts in the county are also the most expensive communities, so there's a concern about what we'd even be able to afford.
Then there's the (relatively minor, but significant to me) issue of losing our street cred. I LOVE living in the city proper. I love being ten minutes from the stadium. I think we are absolutely in the prime location for enjoying everything this city has to offer. I wish David's school district wasn't so fabulous so he would just look for a closer job. But he is committed to staying where he is, and I totally understand that. I just don't know where that puts us in terms of buying a house.
If we could only decide on a location, I could start to get excited about this... I could start making lists of kind-of-must-haves (main floor laundry?) and would-be-awesome-if (his and her walk-in closets?) and but-seriously-what-we-need-is (more than one bathroom, please!). I could give myself lots of pep talks about kitchen storage space and built-in bookshelves and I could start to stage our house for selling (like maybe relocate one of the two strollers currently hanging out in our back room).
But right now it just feels like we don't know where we're going, so it's hard to get excited about getting there. And I'm not really sure how we're going to figure any of this out. Maybe when we start looking for houses in our price range? Or maybe I need to do more school district investigating and charter school exploring first? And who knows if our house will even sell? And also what do we do with our obnoxious dogs when a realtor is showing our house? See I don't even know where to start!
Okay. Whew. That was my brain dump for the day. I feel a little better even though none of those issues are really resolved, at least I've identified what they are! I'll keep you posted on our progress. Should we make any...