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You guys. I'm totally stressing about where to move. I'm going crazy trying to figure out how to deal with the two (most likely) job futures in our two best places to live. I'm going to put down all the thoughts in my head (in a mostly organized fashion, though!) in this post. If your fresh eyes catch any awesome insights, PLEASE COMMENT!
So Matt has been job hunting fairly regularly for the past few months. (This is no shocker, his job is only a temporary position - expiring Aug 2016, but with the job market the way it is, it's never to early to start looking for permanent employment). He's only looking at in-state jobs right now, but there are three major "job cities" (Grand Rapids, Lansing (where he is now), and Detroit (and surrounding area)) and those cities are not close enough together to live in one and commute to another.
Job Possibility #1: Matt gets a job in or near Lansing and we can stay in the town we current live. Life is hunky dory.
Job Possibility #2: Matt gets a job far away. This could happen at any given time, which is the real complication. He could get a far away job in two months or in twelve months.
Obviously, there is also the possibility that he can't find a job, but we still have enough time ahead of us that we have enough hope it won't come to that. Plus if he doesn't have a job, it really doesn't matter where we live, we're screwed. Matt said he wouldn't want to turn down a job just because it was in a far away city. Having a job is more job security than not having a job.
Living Possibility #1: We stay here. In this tiny, cramped apartment. Our lease expires this summer, but we have the option to live month-to-month afterward. Assuming the complex doesn't mind as long as the baby is little, we could stay month-to-month until Matt finds a new job. As much as I sometimes think I'm going to die with just the four of us in this two bedroom apartment, I wouldn't literally die.
The major advantage to staying is that we would save money. We would only move once (to a new city or to a house in this city) when Matt found a job. Moving is crazy expensive. Boxes, a Uhaul, a new security deposit, a new pet deposit (thanks, Cat). It's easily $1500-2000 per move, even without hiring movers. Plus our rent here is very cheap and we are able to do more with our budget with cheaper rent (like buy the second car we'll need come November).
We could end up having to move at a wildly inconvenient time. If we move this summer, I'll be smack-dab in the middle of the "feel good" second trimester. Lots of energy to pack and time to unpack and get things settled before the baby arrives. I've moved 9 months pregnant and 4 months after a c-section and I never want to do it again. I (probably) wouldn't literally die, but it would still really, really, really suck.
Second con? We be in this itty bitty, teeny tiny space with five people. With zero storage space for Christmas decorations and out-of-season clothes. With zero play space for Abigail when the babies nap. With a living room that shares a wall with the room where the babies will be napping. All winter long.
Living Possibility #2: A townhouse that is currently for rent right around the corner from where we live now. I'll describe it more in the "Pro" section, but these townhomes move fast. The last time one was on the market, it was only available for a few days before someone rented it. Living here would mean staying in the same neighborhood: Abigail would stay in the same school, we'd go to the same church, shop at the same grocery store.
It lives like a house. It has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. We'd have a garage, finished basement, patio, and small (unfenced) yard. We just toured it today and it was really nice. Huge bedrooms, living area in the basement that would work perfectly as a playroom for the kids, a linen closet so amazing my mouth literally dropped open, lots of space to store kids stuff, no upstairs neighbors to wake kids up during nap time. We could get a kiddy pool and a grill. Just as if we were in a house.
We'd be locked into a 12 month lease. We haven't seen the lease yet, but not many places have generous lease-breaking fees.
Second con? This increase in rent would eat up all the extra money we're currently saving for a future house. This isn't a huge con, but the bigger downpayment we can make, the better mortgage we can get.
So that's the ground work that leads to my freak outs. What if we move to the townhouse and Matt gets a job in six months that is 1.5 hours away? Do we do the pack-Uhaul-security deposit thing now and again in six months? And pay a lease-breaking fee? Financially, that would be awful. Awful. And in six months I'll have a newborn. Do we just commute for six months? A three hour commute on top of a nine hour day? The wear on the car, the gas, that Matt would never be able to come home early if I needed him?
But what if we stayed here and Matt didn't get a new job until this time next year? Assuming the complex lets us put that many people in this many bedrooms, how frazzled will I be? Could I really handle this many children with cabin fever and no space to let it out? Will I really be able to physically make that many beds fit or else share my bedroom with the baby that long? I was nearly loosing my mind when Eleanor moved out at eight months.
I'd rather deal with the worst happening in this little apartment (we get stuck here way longer than we want to be or we have to move very recently postpartum) than the worst happening in the townhouse (we have to break the lease and move two times in one year). But the worst is not guaranteed to happen. And everyone's quality of life would be better in the townhouse.
Do you see? AHHHHHHH! I'm loosing it. And there is no chocolate in this house right now.
Which actually is okay because some sweets make me nauseous right now.
I pray and pray and pray and pray and I get no clear answer. I was texting my sister-in-law about my stress and she advised me that when I feel myself slipping downward with my freakout thoughts to convey extra gratitude to God. So I did. And I felt incredible peace. Unfortunately that peace lasted about five minutes and then I was back to freaking out and I had to convey more gratitude to get another five minutes. As you can tell, I'm not good at "letting go."
So yes, if you have advice, insight, experience, please share it.
I want to end on a good note. Something positive. The best thing that could happen is Matt gets a forever job in Lansing, like, this month, and we get to build our dream house on my dream piece of land that is for sale right now. I had a dream last night that I was hosting Christmas for my in-laws in my dream house. I had it detailed right down to how I was going to layout the dinner tables (I rented them from a party store because there are 21 people in my husband's immediate family), where I was going to set the mashed potatoes and rolls, and how the desserts would be set up on the island for admiration while we ate dinner.