Saturday, April 5, 2014

The House, The City: The Crunchy Hipster Dream

Mom, Dad, Baby & kitty? (wikipedia)
Lately Christian and I have been thinking a lot about where we want to go and how we want to live. It's a question that colors our thoughts daily especially as we've been living with my parents since late October. I love my parents and I love having our family close to them and to my in-laws - especially for our baby's sake; but it's also increased some stress levels for everyone (Yesterday I actually saw lights, my blood pressure spiked so high - not good!).

We have to decide where we want to go long term and how we want to live when we get there. In short, we have to have plans (seeing a trend with me these days?).

Because of Christian's job situation and me being at home, writing with our baby, Southern California (or rather California generally) hasn't really been very hospitable. California has 13 of the top 15 most unaffordable real estate markets in the country. Several of them were areas where we have lived because that's where the jobs were. The others in the state that had work for Christian had something else really unappealing (like horrible air quality or ridiculously high temperatures and no water ANYWHERE). Plus, there are some cultural things in Southern California that we're not interested in having our children exposed to.

Needless to say, California really doesn't feel like a place we can stay without increasing our stress levels enormously. But I also don't want our kids to be far from family...

That means the west coast is the best coast (though I wouldn't mind being back east, I think that wouldn't sit well with either set of grandparents). So where can we go and feel good (financially and otherwise) in the west?

Well seeing as we eat salad and recycle, and think brown people should have rights we can't move anywhere in Arizona (crossed off list). Nevada feels like the same kind of situation, if a little more...uh...seedy organized crime and less vigilante. Idaho...has some possibilities, but it's also pretty conservative politically and I'd rather not live anywhere where accidental eavesdropping could make Christian get into a brawl.

So...that leaves Oregon and Washington.

I love seasons. I love snow (especially when I can cross-country ski in it). I love apples and wool sweaters and fireplaces. I'm not a huge fan of gray, BUT if I have some awesome things to focus on, I can love a place despite gray. Christian hasn't lived in snow, or seasons, but he hates heat. He's a sweatball, and our son takes after him, so I think snow and rain is a better choice for our family than dirt and 120 F.

Plus, we have some friends up there, which is appealing to both of us.

We've played around with different locations and researched things and so far our top two choices are Bellingham WA and Corvalis OR. The question is when and how.

At this point we're thinking around a year and a half from now, or something like that will be a good time to move. This will give us some time to pay off our educational loans (or at least pay them down) and create a nest egg of sorts. Right now that nest egg could be either a micro house on a trailer base (a serious interest for both Christian and me), or a savings account for moving/down payment, or both (ideally both, but we may be able to swing things with one or the other).

If we can pull this off, we'll be in really good shape. We'll have a mountain of debt off our shoulders. We'll own our home (if not the land it's on...yet) and we'll be in our dream location (at least for this part of life). We're focusing on it, which means it will happen, for sure, right? :-D

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