itinerants at home

We’re still trying to figure out a best option for where to live. We currently have a pretty sweet rental situation with the Best Landlords in the World. (really, they’re that great. i would put my landlords against yours in a niceness cage match, and all my money would be on mine. Ok, at least my rent money.)

But we don’t love the area we live in. It’s an hour and a half commute to the Mountain Man’s office, an hour and a half commute from my friends and my volunteer life, an hour and a half from the community that I spent 10 years building for myself.

At first we decided we would buy a house. We decided what we could afford in monthly payments, then went to a bank for secure a loan, then started looking. We were disappointed with the houses we found within a 30-minute drive of the Mountain Man’s work and in our price range. Even in the down economy, we’re scraping the bottom of the housing market barrel.

So we decided to rent. We could rent for a year and continue saving money – less than we are now, but in 2 years we could have a 20% down payment built up without impacting our emergency savings. And if we had 20% down, we could either put it down and have much lower payments and avoid PMI, or we could use it along with PMI for a higher-valued house and have monthly payments comparable to what we were expecting to pay now. Money gives us options.

We started looking for rentals. We found a townhouse in Ballard that seemed promising – parking space, 2 beds, 1.5 bath, yard, quiet neighborhood. We made an appointment to see it and kept looking a little but kind of set our hearts on it.

Well the Mountain Man saw it yesterday. He said it was a house that was just divided, and not really a townhouse. It seemed OK but small, no place for the motorcycle and bikes. It’s an easy commute to work (bike-able even) and is back in my community. But I’m anxious about taking a house I’ve never seen, I’m worried that it might actually be really small (it is certainly smaller than where we’re living now, but bigger than our last apartment in the city) and worried about what we’re going to do with all the “toys”.

We’re such suburbanites.

Last night the Mountain Man suggested we just forget about renting and buy something now.

We find ourselves in this stupid spiral of indecision. Do we stay here and manage a miserable commute, not seeing each other much, tearing apart the truck – all in the interest of increasing our savings potential? Do we move into a less-than-ideal rental, save less, and have more time? Or de we just jump in and buy something now, getting a less-than-ideal home and living where we are for a few months while we search & offer & close?

I can’t stand not having a plan, and I don’t have the brain power for thinking about this rationally. I want to minimize the commute without settling for some rental that will be a daily hassle (noise, parking, etc.) I would be happy to buy something if I felt like we could get something truly good, and soon. I would stay here, but The Mountain Man will continue to miss out on time with the Pie, we’ll be running the truck into the ground and losing patience with the commute and our lack of time to connect with each other. But boy, will we have money.

Also, I have no clothes. I tried to participate in a challenge to eliminate all the clothes, shoes, unders, etc. from my closet that either don’t fit well or that I don’t like. I was left with a handful of dresses, one pair of jeans, two capris pants, some t-shirts and one pair of unders. I bought a few decent tops (have I mentioned I hate spending money?) and dug the unders back out of the trash bag, because I can’t go without, and I hate spending money. I’m in this weird post-partum body/weight loss/nursing stage which means that none of my clothes will fit for more than a year anyhow. Maybe I should throw everything out/donate it and just bite the bullet and go buy new unders. Or maybe I can do without…


  1. Megan,
    This is what you do. Right before you go to bed tonight, write down the 3 things you want clarity on (as in 1. should we rent or buy; 2. what is my priority, as far as storage or commute, etc) and then re-read the list and almost meditate on it. Tell yourself that you want these answers to come to you while you sleep. That is how you get control (or a "plan"), you give yourself the power and control. It is not rational. It is your calm (asleep) self that has the answers and KNOWS what to do. Just ask.
    Good luck.
    ps-- I know that sounds new-agey, but it works! try it!

  2. Dear MOV,
    You have thrown off my home-search plans completely. Now I have to begin looking for a 3+ bedroom house instead of a 2+ bedroom, so that you have your own room when you come stay with me for our soon-to-be-enacted monthly sanity retreats. You will come to my house, grab me by the shoulders, and shake some sanity into me. Then I'll cook dinner.

  3. wow-- if your dinner involves pre-made roasted chicken, wine, and oreo cookies (see my blog, dated today), then count me in!!!!!!!!! (and for the record, I don't need my own room, I am happy to sleep on the couch. Just keep bringing those free cookies --and maybe some travel magazines).
    MOV :)

  4. I haven't read it yet, but I'm heading right on over! If you haven't yet visited MOV's hilarious blog, come with me right now! http://mothersofbrothersblog.blogspot.com/

  5. ack, the pressure! you are too sweet. :)
    in frogship (friendship plus blogship)

  6. this is SUCH a hard one. and i sure don't envy you negotiating this with child. buying our home (and moving in general) was so stressful, it would be really challenging to do it with a baby.

    but i love MOV's idea of getting clear on your priorities. we had to do a bit of that too (compromising commute for home over condo, etc) and I'm glad we were clear about our priorities going in. now even the things that are irritating about our house (we can hear some traffic out back and neither of us likes that at all) we feel like we did choose.

  7. MOV - problem. If I get only interrupted sleep, does it still work? Since I have a hungry babe in bed I don't really get those long, deep sleeps that I used to. I made a cool connection about two thoughts I had had about work yesterday, but no housing epiphanies. the mountain man and i did make a somewhat logical decision to abandon location for now... or at least consider less-than-ideal locations.

    æ - it is hard. and it's weird, because i've always been able to pick up and jet off on any old adventure/move that came along. we're very clear about our priorities for buying, but for renting we're less clear. i did, however, get an email back from a landlord who happens to be in ghana but is renting a house here... uh, no thank you.


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