Listening to Myself

Monday, August 22, 2005

Forever Home

One blog I really enjoy is called Classic Adventures. It is written by a woman who has a way with words, a great sense of humor, and a good eye for what to write about. They live in Northern Alabama and have 3 boys, with another child on the way. They are also homeschoolers, which I very much enjoy reading about! They have been trying to figure out where and how they can get to their forever home, and I'm very happy to report that they have finally landed!

I love what she has to say at the end, after describing their new home:
But best of all, it's ours. And if we're here for 30 years, we will have no regrets. We won't spend the rest of James' childhood constantly fixing things "for someday". This is Someday. We can enjoy it, and work on it. We can spread our little wings on it, and put down deep, deep roots on it. It's our Forever Home.

Every time I read it, I get tears in my eyes - partially because I'm happy for them, but mostly because it is something I want so much for us, but I'm not sure how we can get there. Well, no, that's not entirely true - I think I do know how to get there, but it involves some pretty hard decisions. There is pretty much no way we could stay around the area where we live now, with the median home price now at 640K (and this is just a little suburban town, almost an hour out of SF and San Jose!) and no homes for sale under a half a million. We could (barely) buy a condo like what we're living in now, but our mortgage payments, HOA dues, insurance, and taxes would cost us at least another $1000-1200 a month than what we pay in rent. Yes, you (hopefully!) get price appreciation and all... but still, yeesh. Just doesn't seem worth it. This is the town I grew up in, and where my parents still live, which is definitely a huge draw. It's a nice town in a lot of ways, and I think we'll be sad to leave... but I really think that is going to be the right thing for us to do. There just isn't any future for us here to live the kind of life we want to live.

So... we've been looking around California (well, northern CA, that is - sorry, SoCal folks, there is no chance of us going down there) and, well, we're not finding much. We had long considered the Auburn to Grass Valley area but at this point we've pretty much been priced out for what we could reasonably afford (I kind of wish we had bought 5 years ago when we first started talking about that area, but oh well - I think all we've done in the interim has been good for us, and I think we're both pretty happy with how we have changed) We considered Sacramento for a bit but it doesn't really do much for either of us, and we're really not that interested in the heat they have there. We've considered the Sonora area, but it is still a bit much, price-wise and heat-wise, and if something were to happen to Matt's currently portable job, we'd be pretty much out of luck. So, yeah, CA starts looking not so good. It is strange to think about leaving here - I'm one of those fairly rare 4th generation Californians (4th generation in the greater Bay Area, even) on both sides of the family tree. It is strange to think about leaving somewhere where I have such a strong sense of place. Driving around the Sierra Nevada reminded me of how much time I have spent there, and all the camping and backpacking trips I've taken through them all my life... and how much I still haven't seen.

I hope I too can write "This is Someday" sometime soon, but I'm not sure how long that will be. I do feel like we are making some slow progress in that direction, but unfortunately I'm coming to the realization that it is me that is holding us back. Matt's not struggling with any of this, and is much more willing to go in whatever direction is best for our family (not that he's entirely sure what/where that is, but he's a lot more willing to take the jump!). I wonder if part of the difference is that he's already made that break from his family, by coming up to Northern CA to go to college... whereas I've never lived more than about 90 miles from my parents. Or maybe it is a male/female thing. Or maybe it is just me. I'm trying to take baby steps towards letting go and following his example, but it is definitely a difficult struggle.


  • {{{Amber}}} It's not easy. Charles and I both honestly believed we would live in our beloved Southwest forever. We wanted the boys to grow up near their cousins (all eighty million of them) and have the same traditions we had growing up. We wanted stories of La Llorona, trips to Canyon de Chelly, and the festivals of lights to be a part of their culture. We wanted them to know the joy of staying at their great-grandma's place in the fall, and wallowing in their Aunt B's attention on hot summer afternoons. We dreamed of that legacy for them... close to home.

    You would not believe how hard it was to move to the east coast, even temporarily, because that's where he could find work. And then, after a year and a half of trying to get "home", the opportunity arose: a job posting in New Mexico. It came at the same time as the one here in Alabama. (I won't even go into the circuitous route we took to even considering Alabama! *wink*) We looked at one another, panic-stricken. Oh no! Um. Well...

    In the end, though, we realized that the boys will know who they are by who we are, and how we live - much moreso than by where we are and where we live. And so, to Northern Alabama we came. Now, from here, where I can drive by our Forever Home while we wait for our closing date, and get the new neighbors completely freaked out about the strange lady with all those kids hanging out the window, waving at the weeds, where the boys are learning landmarks and getting their feel for "home", where we're still virtual strangers but comfortable in our own skins... it feels like a no-brainer decision. But that's not how it felt at the time.

    Big jumps are scary - that's their nature. When it's time, hold Matt's hand, be prepared to stick it out together and get your hands dirty and a little blistered when you land. You'll be fine. Wherever you go. Honest.

    I'm glad you enjoy the blog, and thanks for stopping by on the front porch for a visit.


    By Blogger Dy, at 11:04 PM  

  • How about looking around in Oregon? We just came home from a trip up there, and I am dreaming about MY "forever home" now. :) There are still properties (5 acres, three bed, two bath) that are going for about 300K. Amazing, isn't it?

    Anyway, I'm dreaming about selling out down here in a few years and moving there...we just MIGHT be able to figure out a down payment if we did that...and it's beautiful and green and there are trees and meadows and creeks and it would be a fantastic place to raise kids...

    yes, I'm dreaming. don't wake me, please. :)

    By Blogger Emily (Laundry and Lullabies), at 8:34 AM  

  • Dy - Thank you so much for your comment - it really means a lot to my husband and me. We really appreciate your perspective on this and it has really bolstered our spirits.

    We both feel are really starting to feel ready to make this jump, and sooner rather than later so that we can get things going and get through the tough stuff and into the fun stuff!

    Emily - I'm glad to hear your back from your trip, I hope you had a great time. I'm so sorry we couldn't make it up to your parents when you were there. We are actually considering OR quite seriously - but most likely northern OR or perhaps southern WA so that we can be closer to an airport and a good sized city (i.e. Portland). I think the job prospects are quite a bit brighter in that area too. I think both sets of parents would be very unhappy if we moved somewhere like southern OR where it would be at least 5 hours to a decent sized airport! Prices still are quite reasonable up there I think, and at this point it is at the top of our list.

    BTW, I think your dream sounds wonderful, and not out of the question at all :-) I certainly am no bubble-burster! *grin*

    By Blogger Amber, at 12:47 PM  

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