Monday, April 6, 2009

Meat with a side of meat, and back to the house hunt

I'm not big into the "oh men, are sooo different than women" thing. Except sometimes they are.

Like when they grill.

I wasn't feeling well this weekend, and it was beautiful out, so TK said he'd grill. Perfect. He even took the kids to the grocery store to buy something. Here's what he got: lamb kabobs, teriyaki chicken, and hot dogs.

What? Have I ever made meatloaf with a side of chicken cordon bleu and some pork chops?

And it's not just TK. I've never met a guy who grilled who didn't do this. It makes me giggle. And it makes me glad I'm not a vegetarian, or else I'd never eat when he grills!


We went to some open houses yesterday, checking out some towns we haven't looked at much. It was funny, because the three towns we looked in really spanned the total picture of available housing. We really have to decide what we're looking for!

First, we went to the town "next door". It's very similar to where we live now, but with slightly better schools, and slightly higher home prices. Otherwise, it's very similar to where we live now, and could we certainly afford to upgrade to a nothing-special, nothing-terrible 4 bedroom house. The commute for TK would be similar to what it is now, and the traffic congestion, medium sized lots, and convenience to shopping would be quite similar to what we have now.

Then, we went to one of the upscale, hoity-toity towns very close to where TK works. When we first looked at houses seven years ago, we couldn't afford anything in these towns close to TK's office. Now, we can. But, we'd essentially have to downsize from our current house, facing all the same problems we have now with lack of storage space, plus we'd have to give up our nice kitchen. We also can't afford the "neighborhood" areas in these towns, so we'd be on busier roads. On the plus side, great schools, and extreme convenience of location. However, I think we're about ready to throw in the towel on these towns. While I think good schools are important, I don't think it's worth paying *that* much more for a house, or for giving up things like closet space or a nice yard.

Last, we went to a "way the heck out there" town, further than any other town we've looked at, and at least a 45 minute commute for TK. I believe the directions to get there were "go to the middle of nowhere, make a left, and keep driving". We LOVED it out was so beautiful and idyllic. And the house! First, it was $25k less than any of the other houses we saw. And, it was literally TWICE as big as the house in the hoity-toity neighborhood, with a lot nearly three times as large. In fact, the house was really too big. It was in a beautiful neighborhood, with good schools. I think it was really too far away, though. And there's not much out that way. But boy, what an eye-opener! TK has plenty of co-workers who live out that far (and even farther!), but I just don't know if it's worth it for us.

It's hard, because I think we want to live in the country, but we're close enough to Boston that really, our only choices are degrees of suburb-ness. The less typical suburban setting we get, the further the commute is for TK. And a long commute is a total quality-of-life killer (not to mention the cringe-worthy environmental impact!) Who knows. I guess we'll just keep looking in a variety of areas, and wherever we find a house we like that happens to coincide with when our own house sells, I guess that's where we're meant to live!

What's most important to you in choosing an area to live?


More book recs coming soon!


Snickollet said...

I'm loving the book recs. Thanks for sharing.

It's interesting how house-hunting forces you to think about what's important to you since it's true that you can't have it all. I'm totally willing to sacrifice space for location near the city as I HATE to spend time commuting and I don't like yardwork or gardening. I'd much rather walk to the park than take care of my own yard! And, in a way, I like not having too much storage space since it forces me to be very selective about what I keep and what I buy. I really value being able to walk to services such as a small grocery store or the post office or restaurants or other local businesses.

But again, that's just me. Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to have a second bathroom, or a guest bedroom.

LauraC said...

This is going to drive me crazy! Jon and I did two years of research before moving to Cary (from Chicago). There was this awesome book on how to help determine where to live and I can't remember the name of it! It had a series of exercises where you describe the things you like, the things you don't like, your must-haves, your like-to haves, etc.

At the end, we had a list that described our ideal place. And that's how we ended up in Cary in our particular neighborhood.

BAH! I'll have to ask Jon when he gets home from taking Nate to the doctor for pink eye. AGAIN.

Liz Jimenez said...

Ooh, I want to read Laura's book once she thinks of the title!

As a resident of your same town, I also don't plan on staying here too long. While part of me would like to live a bit closer in to the city, there's another part of me that wants a big, NEW house on like half an acre. And that, well, that you won't find anywhere close to the city.

Glad I have a couple more years before I have to think of all this, but still....

Luckygirl said...

I'm with Snickollet; I'd rather have a smaller house and yard and be able to walk everywhere. My husband rides his bike to work (about 4 miles one way - he works downtown) so even if he has to take the car (ice or he needs it to go on an inspection) he only has a 10 minute commute. However, we live in a (soon-to-be) 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath house with a TINY yard.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Snick and Luckygirl - I would rather have a tiny house and be able to walk to lots of stuff and have a short commute. So that is what I have! I also wanted to have some space to garden (but not too much) and a quiet street so the kids can play. I also like having neighbors close by who I know - makes me feel safe. I would be completely freaked out to live in the middle of no where!

Good luck w/ the process.

LauraC said...

Dang! Jon can't think of the title either. We agree it had "Place to Live" in the title.

Anyway here were some of the things you had to do:

* Describe what you like about your existing place.
* Describe what you don't like about your existing place.
* Describe your ideal place. This takes the longest!

Then break it all out into must-haves and would like to haves. Sounds like a big kitchen is a must-have for you.

Our must-haves:
* Good housing cost in non-tract development with private yard.
* Temperate climate
* Lower population density than Chicago
* Availability of outdoor nature activities
* Accessibility to day trips
* Short commute
* Near large airport
* Close to water & water activities
* Similar jobs with comparable pay
* Good economy & tech market

Would like to have:

* Close to family
* Good library system
* Good restaunrant options
* Easy to be vegetarian
* Good park system
* Diverse, educated population
* Avoid sprawl

At the end of this, we had to cut out San Diego as a city even though it was top of our list, because it didn't fit our must haves. Raleigh/Cary ended up meeting ALL of our must haves and would like to haves!!

Rich said...

At the end of the day, I think we want to be out in the country, too. We like our house, but we're so close to the really nice neighborhoods...and so close to the ones you would never leave your car in.

The problem is where is the business!! Right now it's really useful to be down in the city...

Anyway, that IS just how guys do things when we're cooking with an open flame. We want variety and to have fun :) Total meal composition is soooo not important. Alyssa could write a book about the ludicrous things I try to do in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely w/Snick. I've done the live out in the country and I ended up hating it. The commute to work killed me & hubs everyday. The fact I had to drive 10-15 minutes just to pick up a gallon of milk, pissed me off. Yes, my house was ginormous and new but we ended up trading in for a smaller house, shorter commute, and close to everything. We were much happier in that scenario.
Good luck with your search. I love hearing the updates.

Jeanne Estridge said...

Unfortunately, it doesn't really seem to matter what kind of house I want since, when it's time to buy, I inevitably walk in the front door of some house and fall instantly in love and buy it on impulse. A guy I worked with once said, "I spend more thought on buying a pair of shoes than you do on houses."

And, for the most part, it's worked out. Whatever it is that makes me fall in love when I buy enthralls someone else when it's time to sell....

Nancy said...

LOL Go TK - At least Mike throws some veggies on the grill too ;)

I think your house preference depends greatly on where you grew up. I grew up on a farm in the country...the closeness of the houses (apartments) we were in before we bought this house Drove.Me.NUTS. Even this house has neighbors who are too close, but since the yard is so big, it's do-able.

Good luck with your search :)

jules said...

um, you're talking to the girl who left boston to move (GASP) to western, MA (you know, that part of the state that doesn't *really* exist). i LOVE my acre in the country (bobcats in our back yard and all) and the fact that i'm in a place where "everybody knows your name" (well, except when i try to sneak out to the grocery store for a gallon of milk early on a sunday morning sans shower and run into three people i know).

in the end, it's truly about what's important to you!

hey TK - it's a baby bump, not a cry for the atkin's diet ;).

Lacey said...

Man, this sounds so familiar! And it's so awesome to have someone going through the EXACT same thing, haha.

Mike and I chose the town further away. Not ALL the way further away (at one point we thought we were going to have start looking in Indonesia), but out of our original towns we had selected, this neighborhood was definitely the furthest, making the commute about 45 minutes. There's no gas station on the corner, no grocery store 30 seconds down the road, and none of the things we've become used to living in the middle of town. But there's also no traffic, no sirens going off constantly, TONS of parks and hiking trails, good schools... Totally worth it!

It's so nice to meet you! Good luck with your hunt, I can't wait to hear how it all turns out!

Ronnica said...

I chose my current apartment because it shaved 20 minutes off my commute each way, and is only 5 minutes from church. It is also closer to everything (except my friends, who are all about 20 minutes further away), and a bigger apartment. (my bedroom is 2x as big and I have 2 walk-in closets) It was an easy choice, but I don't have kids to consider!