The impending move, part of the Crisis being documented here, has generated lots of discussion about our new home. Rent, own, where we do we look, OK, we’ve narrowed that down, so rent, own, rent –

You get the picture. Not an easy decision, even with the current housing bust making houses more affordable. If you qualify for a  loan. And of course “affordable,” in affluent Connecticut, is relative. If we can get a house as nice as the one we sold four years ago, for about the price we paid, we will be extremely lucky. I am not holding out much hope.

Part of the problem is, we want to live frugally. Give ourselves more options for career or lifestyle choices down the road. So that means keeping the mortgage payments low. Now, there are places in the Northeast where you can get a lot of bang for your housing buck. Places where no one else wants to live. Like Binghamton, New York. No, don’t say no one wants to live there; I considered it. Binghamton has a university! It has a baseball team! (Or it did – are they still there?) It’s only a few hours from New York City! And you can get beautiful, old homes with room to spare for 120k!

But what is there for work in Binghamton? I was asked. What is there to do?


Binghamton did not fly.

A bigger part of the problem is, I hate moving. I won’t go into the whole Chicago vs. anywhere-else debate. Even if I hated Chicago and wanted more than anything else to be in my home state, I would be dreading the physical act of moving. I hate boxing up the crap, and trying to work in my office amidst the boxes until the last minute. My body hates the physical strain of moving all the boxes (yes, we will hire people to help, but in my quest to speed up the process, I’m sure I’ll be doing some hoisting along the way), a strain that will only be worse since the last move, with the body five years older and more decrepit than ever. I hate going through stuff, deciding what to chuck, what to keep, and fearing that too much of the latter will be useless in our new home. The rule for this move: If we did not use it the entire time we were in Chicago, it does not come. And I know there are more than a few kitchen items and articles of clothing that will be dumped in our alley next spring.

The first homestead

The first homestead

Mostly, I hate moving because I’ve done it so many times. Since leaving the parental nest and heading off to college (and not counting the times I returned when another broken relationship left me homeless), I’ve had at least 15 different addresses. I doubt it’s a record of any kind, but it’s more rootlessness than I would have chosen for myself.

Site of my own "Three's Company"

Site of my own "Three's Company"

I have lived alone, at times blissfully, at times longing for companionship. I have lived with an old school buddy and his wife, an arrangement that lasted peacefully for more than 2 years, and which I’m sure can still be fodder for a play (with lots of dramatic license to make it spicy). I once had four roommates in a large house in Boston. The rent was cheap, the floors were not too clean, a mouse once bounced off my foot as I stepped out of the shower. Ah, memories. We also had the phantom roommate; I think his name was John O’Connor. Evidently, someone by that name had once passed through, and one of his roomies decided it was easier to just keep all the utilities in his name after he left, so the ever-changing roster of tenants would not have to hassle with putting the accounts in new names. While I was there, John also got called for jury duty and was looked up by a vet wondering if he was the same John he had once served with. I had to tell him no, and I don’t know what

John didn't make the picture

John didn't make the picture

repercussions John suffered for never making it to court.

I was only at that Boston – Allston, actually – address for about 9 months. But I have good memories of the place, despite the hygiene issues and the mouse. Or more accurately, of the people.  Trite to say, but the house is just a building. It’s what goes on inside that makes it memorable or not, along with maybe a special space in it you call your own, and then perhaps some good neighbors nearby. Which is why I’m sure some people do not get all warm and fuzzy when they think of “home.” Too many of the places where I lived are tied to relationships that went bad (see above). Some of them were home for too short a time to have generated much of any memories or for me to make friendships. But thankfully, there have been a few that were special. I’m counting on the new Connecticut address, wherever it is, to be one of them. We’ll see.


~ by mburgan on November 16, 2008.

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