Friday, June 30, 2017

Brave new world

For those wondering about an update on the move, we don't really have an update.

Doug,  Geoff, and I recently went to DC to scope out neighborhoods and get the lay of the land.  We scoped out so much stuff. We know neighborhood after neighborhood between Fairfax and Rockville; DC neighborhoods and border towns up the northeast. The trip down was enlightening, and during the trip I wanted to just say forget it, we're not doing this. I'm so not in love with this. I question my motivation for why we decided to do this. I love my job. I want to keep my job. I don't want to go through 4 years of unemployment again really. Doug is not happy at his job. So in a lot of ways it makes total sense but I'm not loving this idea. I came back from that trip with a sadness, not an excitement or hopefulness, like everyone expected I would have.

We enjoyed dinner in Arlington, walking all around Old Town Alexandria, which felt a lot like "home" to us with its colonial brick stylings, waterfront, music, cafes and foodrinkeries. We got lost between Rockville and Colesville, and the middle of the day traffic was hellacious. Doug got hangry and we got to eat at Chic-fil-A for the first time ever. Pretty good chicken sandwich, I must say.

On a map, everything looks super close. In reality, it takes a lot longer to get from point A to B in DC than it does here in Boston. For instance, I currently live 36 miles away from my office. With no traffic, it is about a 50 minute trip. With traffic, up to 90.

In DC, living 36 miles away will probably be 2 hours, maybe more. Public transportation is indeed available, and will probably be what I have to do to keep my sanity, get to work on time, and the like. But that can still take well over an hour and a half depending on how far you live from a train or Metro station.

In all honesty, I'd really like to live closer to my new office. Before the company announced our office closure, Doug and I started looking at Salem, Beverly, Malden, Melrose... towns closer to Boston. We could cut our commute by half easily, and we were ready to do that. We were looking forward to that.

Now things are different and we have to do the search elsewhere.

I talked to several colleagues in the DC office, and found that to live within the radius of where I would like to live, those currently in that circle are paying around $3500 a month in rent. Even in incredibly "bad" neighborhoods that they lovingly encourage me to view as Up and Coming. In my heart of hearts I know neighborhoods transition, but I don't like being seen as an invader by residents whose families have lived somewhere for 40 years, who now can no longer afford rents because things are changing as people from spots like Logan Circle move east as those rents get even higher.

Where we live hinges on where Doug gets a job, and that's our hang up right now. That's our limbo.

We don't want to pick a place to live in a Maryland Suburb if he gets a job in Fairfax Virginia (see: commute info above). We don't want to pick somewhere in Western Alexandria if he gets a job in ... Baltimore.

Doug is applying (look at google maps) everywhere from Baltimore to Fairfax. My office is in the Northeast side of DC, so several towns in Maryland would be a good fit. If he got a job in Annapolis, Bowie would be a good target. If he got a job in Baltimore, Laurel or even Columbia would be good. But my commute, and his commute, would suck, and we wouldn't have the joy of being together like we do now.

And it is a joy, I don't joke about that. We love going together, and listening to the radio, and talking about stuff we see along the way and all the stupid things.

Doug began applying for jobs with earnest back at the end of may. He's received a lot of thank you emails. He had a couple pre-screening calls, but nothing has gotten him anywhere. He's starting to get frustrated and I cannot blame him at all.

I'm happy for the delay, personally. It gives us more time to pull money together in one place, to pack, clean, prepare. But he's chomping at the bit and wants to interview, wants to go. His frustration makes him unpleasant to be around, and makes me depressed because I feel like we are in two very different headspaces in regards to what needs done. I would like for him to organize his clothes, purge things we've been schlepping around for 10 years; he wants to apply for jobs. I want us to go out to the garage and start to clean shit out; he wants to apply for jobs.

We have done nothing fun, and you know us. We like fun.

I am feeling deeply sad and depressed about a lot of this.

For the past several weeks, I've looked at rentals, and keep putting little hearts on houses and townhouses and row houses that fit our price range and my requirements. There was a particularly lovely little brick home in a town called Takoma Park, Maryland. I stalked that listing daily to walk through the photo slideshow. Three bedrooms, full finished basement, three baths, gorgeous kitchen with exposed beams, and a fenced in yard. Everything about this house was me.  It was a tiny bit more than our target rental price, but I felt like we could totally do this. This was my house.

The house is no longer on Zillow. It was rented. And I'm kind of chuffed about it. I fully know that there is a good rental, a nice rental, out there for us. But that house. I could be totally happy in that house. And if Doug had a job and we knew where we needed to live, and that house wasn't geographically in the right area... well then I'd fully accept that. The inability to give notice on where we live, to pick a place, to sign a new lease, and to know what my kitchen is going to look like... stuff like this compounds my sadness.


So indeed - not much news of action. Just news of waiting for our trip to our brave new world. Hopefully my next post will be more good news. Cross your fingers and say a little prayer. It would be appreciated if the stars align, the cards on the table all point to a winning hand, and all those lovely metaphors of things working out would come into light.