Monday, January 11, 2010

Now hiring: Family Decision Maker

Greg and I complement each other in a lot of ways. My geometry skills prevent me from cutting a 90-degree angle; his arithmetic skills prevent him from calculating a tip. Each of us is equipped to compensate. I lose my temper; he has almost boundless patience and diplomacy. I like to cook … you know the rest.

Unfortunately, we both lack in decision-making abilities, which can at times lead to crippling stagnation. Therefore, I turn to you, my electronic friends and advisors, to make our decisions for us.

Thanks in advance. 

Here's the big one right now: We've been thinking about moving. Well, more than thinking about it: We've been looking at houses, obsessing over them, almost committing to them, and then second-guessing.

We love our house, and we love our neighborhood, but for several reasons we're thinking we should uproot and reroot in a different area of our city. To keep it simple, I'm going to outline our thinking in bullet points. (I actually do think in bullet points, so this isn't grossly oversimplified.)

Pros to staying where we are:
  • We love our neighbors.
  • The local moms' group is beyond amazing. I don't know how I'd find a plumber without them, let alone decide on a preschool. (It's a surprisingly influential list of 1,600+ moms who love to dish.)
  • Our house is sweet and wonderful, and we've spent the past 5+ years tailoring it to our needs.
  • We're comfortable. 
  • Greg's commute isn't bad. 
  • We're 1/2 block from a big park and lake, plus a library.
  • We're 3 blocks from great shops, restaurants, and galleries.
  • We have lots of friends in walking distance. 
  • Have I mentioned how much we love our neighbors? One of them is an awesome massage therapist who practices from her home. Meaning, I can get a massage and stumble home, delirious.
  • Moving would mean selling our home, which would mean showing our home, which would mean keeping our home show-ready. And we have two destructive kids (in case you're new here).
  • For city living, we have a relatively low crime rate.
  • There are lots of adoptive families in the neighborhood.
  • We have a killer interest rate right now.
 Pros to moving:
  • We could get more square footage.
  • We could have both a dining room and a playroom.
  • I could have an office that isn't just that unused space behind the fridge. Y'all know I work from home, right?
  • It's possible, depending on where we move, that we could have a bigger yard. In other words: CHICKENS.
  • If we did it soon, we could collect on that $6,500 move-up home-buyer credit.
  • Most importantly, we could move to a more diverse area. Where we live now is about half Latino, 49% whitey, and then Sidamo. Well, not exactly; there are some other African Americans in our 'hood, but they're noteworthy. The neighborhoods we're considering are just about equally split between African Americans, Latinos, and Caucasians.
  • If the kids qualify as "highly gifted" (duh), they'd be in a school that's much more appealing than the HG school in our neighborhood. On the flip side, if they don't qualify (stupid tests), the public schools are less desirable. (Another post will come, someday, on my big personal struggle with the gifted-program process, but for now I'm sticking to bullets.)
 So what do you say, blog readers? Should we stay, or should we go?


rebekah said...

Well, we've been having this conversation, you and I, but I have another thought. Have you guys spent time hanging out in the new area? Grocery shopping, walking around, parks, etc?

Brian Bell said...

I would check out comps in your neighborhood(which im sure you have) and see if you can get a good price for your home. Real estate is an investment as well as a home and place to raise a family so you gotta make $ to make the transition worthwhile(or at least not lose $). Besides the showing of the home aspect of moving and the moving up credit, I didn’t really hear if you could make $ selling, or if you had interested buyers yet. No reason to move if you house will be sitting empty waiting for a buyer while you pay double mortgage. Also, I remember you mentioning moving(possibly) to the Whittier neighborhood… or close to city park. Not sure if you heard but last night there was a drive by shooting with two people killed just a few blocks north of city park, within a stones throw from Whittier(within a quarter mile) and the park. I know introducing more culture to Sidamo is important, but also important is the right type of culture. A loving home and neighborhood that he is comfortable in, might trump the culture card in some instances. Just my 2 cents.

M and M said...

I'll pass on this head knocker! We have the SAME conversation Our conversation includes selling our place and just about everything we own and living in ET for 2years when BlueB starts kindgergarten and then moving back to the US to who knows where!?. You have some seriously equalizing points in terms of stay put or move....I'll put it in the pot and stir and see if I can return with your decision...hehehehehe

Mark and Sarah said...

Yours is the same conversation we've been having the last 2+ years. We really want more space, and more diversity. We cannot figure out which neighborhood to move to though that would offer all that we want, and the thought of putting our house on the market...ah, the market. I'll keep thinking it over for you though...sounds like a dilemma. Though from your pros list, it sounds like you live in a perfect place (except for the racial diversity part). Have you thought of adding on?

Stormy said...

I'd weigh friends and neighbors over all the other reasons. It's very rare to have an active neighborhood and it's relatively hard to meet your neighbors unless it's through dogs or kids (and you do have both!)

Deirdre said...

Thanks for all the thoughtful feedback, guys.

Bri: Our real estate agent has run comps in our hood and thinks we could sell at a decent profit in 2–3 months, but of course it's always a crapshoot. I did hear about that murder, and it's tragic. The crime rate is definitely higher in the neighborhoods we're considering, which unfortunately comes with more urban living—and is definitely one of the cons to moving!

M&M: We talk about that too! Maybe we can set up a little compound for a couple of years.

Sarah: I have thought seriously about adding on and think it could solve a lot of our problems. Greg is not into the idea of living through construction.

Rebekah: Yes, we've been hanging out in the area a lot. We like it, but not as much as we like where we are now.

Stormy: Very true—good neighbors and friends are hard to find.

I appreciate all your willingness to pitch in and help us figure this one out! If anyone comes up with a solid resolution, let me know. :-)

Sandra said...

Good friends and neighbors are wonderful!!! If you already have those, I would find it difficult to move.
As a gifted certified teacher, that gifted program sounds like a nightmare!!! Good luck!

lisa said...

Well, we talked a bit-and a bit more about education. I have a huge issue with GT based on my personal experience, namely, I was GT until 8th grade, then they redesigned the program to focus less on intellect and ,ore on leadership abilities. They dropped me and invited my sister to join for the first time. Yeah, it messed me up in hs, but it also made me over the top cynical.
And I agree with Brian, the quality of the role models matters. As I mentioned to you, Whittier is way to close to M's birth mother's reality to be helpful for him-heck, she might be hanging out there now for all I know.
My plan is to stay here for 10 years, in a great supportive neighborhood, and then move to Shanghai before they hit high school. Just found out that an old friend from Mpls bought a house a block from us and is starting the classes to adopt from DSS, so I feel comfortable.
But, though our circumstances are slightly similar, they are also entirely different-so, sorry, you have to figure it out for you ; _

Bridget said...

ohhh.....I'm very curious on the specifics. As in WHAT neighborhoods are you looking at??? Because sometime in the next 10 years or so, we'll probably be in Denver and I'd love to know where you are thinking!
My sister used to live in the that where you are now? I LOVED the neighborhood, but obviously understand the cons. Although the pros are HUGE. I soooo miss it there. Now they (and the rest of my family) are in Stapleton. Nice....but I do miss their old neighborhood!