So why can't we buy a house? Because Matt's job can only last until August 2016 at the absolute most and there is no telling in which city the next job will be. So we don't want to own real estate in Lansing and have him get a job in Detroit (a 1.5-2 hour drive). So why don't we rent a house, then? Because I don't want to pay for boxes, packing tape, a uHaul, a new security deposit, and all the other random expenses of moving now and then again in August of 2016 when we either buy a house or move to the city of Matt's new job.
We've already had 7 different addresses and we've only been married 6.5 years - and we've only ever moved for school or a job. That's thousands of dollars in moving-related expenses.
And then there's the last bit, and I'm not sure if this makes it easier or harder to bear. There isn't even anything available right now that I want to buy. What we want in a house isn't for sale in the areas we want to live. If we did buy a house this weekend, we'd either have to downgrade our features or change our location.
Okay, since this is a gripe post, I'm going to vent just a bit more. This time about Chicago. Almost every single time Chicago comes up - even if it is someone else asking me if I want to go back someday - the conversation ends with the other person disdainfully looking down at me and making a rude comment, "I love to visit Chicago, but I can't ever imagine living there." Well, Other Person, excellent, because Chicago doesn't want you living in it either.
I d-e-s-p-e-r-a-t-e-l-y want to go back to Chicago. A few weeks ago, I came to a four-way stop about a mile from my apartment and there was a barn on one corner and cornfields on the other three. My gut reaction? A wave of depression. Thinking of that empty landscape as my home for the rest of my life is depressing. But Chicago? Ahhh, I think about my old routine in my dream land often. Our old 1920s apartment building had a wonderfully efficient use of space - ample built-in shelves and every unit was designed to have views in three directions. We didn't have a backyard, but there were five parks within a half mile of our front door. It didn't matter that we were a one-car family because there was enough public transportation that we only filled up the gas tank in the car - not joking - once a month. And the noise? It's loud, but it's constant, so you get used to it. There is always someone singing outside or clomping up the stairs, so it's not a jarring noise that wakes up the kids - it's just a steady stream of noise that becomes as soothing as white noise.
If we could buy a condo or townhouse in Chicago, I think I could make it practically perfect - redesign the bathroom a bit to allow for a stacking washer and dryer, switch up the cabinet situation in the kitchen to maximize storage, customize the closets with shelving systems to get the best use out of them (our closets in Chicago were huge, but awkward). What couldn't I fix? The school system. Abigail would definitely have to be a in a private, religious preschool. No doubt about that.
A return to Chicago hasn't been ruled out, Matt's next job could be located anywhere - so deep down, a part of me hates the idea of buying a house because I hate the idea of settling into rural country life. Sometimes I feel that same frustration I did as a kid: moving again, trying to find a new best friend again. A lifetime of instability that still keeps me from investing myself in any sort of community is not something I want for my children. More than anything else in this post of grip-y vent-y wants, I want to get the housing thing figured out before my girls are old enough to remember the turbulence.
I miss you, Chicago; and I wanna buy a house in you.