Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Stuff in My Head Coming Out Through My Fingers

I'm hoping that by June, the kids and I will move to a 3BR apartment. The thing is, I don't know where to look...or where not to look. Where do I want to live?

It would be easiest to stay in Weymouth. But is that what's best? If we stay in Weymouth, even if it's not in Ruby's elementary school district, I can probably talk the Town Dept. of Ed into allowing her to remain in her current school since she only has one year left before moving on to middle school. But what about Zane? He's supposed to start Kindergarten in the Fall. Do I try to talk them into Zane going to Ruby's out-of-district school, too? Do I have Ruby go to one school and Zane to another? Do I keep Zane at his child care center for their Kindergarten program and worry about 1st grade when we get to 1st grade? And what about the recreation/after school programs in Weymouth? Will I have to investigate the specifics of every prospective town before picking? I didn't do that when I first moved to Weymouth 6 years ago because Ruby was only two and I didn't know I needed to know all that stuff. Do I have time and energy for all that research now?

Is this how people end up staying in one place all their lives? Maybe it's just easier not to move. That's not really an option for me with 68% of my income currently going to housing.

Since I'm moving anyway, maybe I should take this opportunity to move to a totally different community. Do I really fit in Weymouth? I think maybe I should live somewhere closer to Boston where it's easier to take public save gas and to have car-free commuting options just in case my sight gets worse...again. It's really hard, without a car, for me drop the kids, get to the train station, commute all the way to Cambridge, and then take a very slow shuttle all the way to work. .

Maybe I should move to Arlington, Newton, or Brookline where the schools are good, we'd be closer to the city, and I've seen some 3BR places in my price range advertised in those communities. Or maybe, I should move to Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, or Hyde Park and put my money where my mouth is with living in a diverse community. I sent a letter to a couple mom friends who live in Boston neighborhoods to gather info about how the school assignments are made.

But what about my ex? He lives in Weymouth, too, which makes it easy for him to pick up the kids at school 2 days per week, take them to dinner, and drive them home for bedtime. While I don't want to be tied to my ex's community, would my life be harder farther away?

And what about my boyfriend? Bald Hot Ken lives one town away which makes it easy--ok, nothing is exactly easy with two single, custodial parents who date each other--but it makes it EASIER to see each other. I know Ken loves me and that those feelings have nothing to do with my zip code, but it may change "stop in" kind of visits.

What about my job? I have a very, very long commute. Would it be easier with the whole work/life balance stuff if I lived closer?

What about my meetings? My home group is in Weymouth but I only get there every other Sunday and they don't require residency for membership.

Maybe I should live in Quincy. It's closer to the city but still on the South Shore. But the kids would still have to switch schools. Would I be missing an opportunity to make a real change? But, why change? Is it a "geographical cure" like what my dad was searching for when we moved across the country and back? Hmmm.

What do I like about Weymouth:
  • I like the schools
  • Department of Recreation has great programs for kids
  • Close to Ken
  • Sameness/Familiarity (I'm used to it)
  • Friends/Group Members live nearby
  • Zane's Child Care Center
  • Library/Parks
  • Beach in town
What I don't like about Weymouth:
  • Long commute that eats up money, gas, and time
  • Distance from the city and avoidance of additional commute on the weekends for social/cultural stuff
  • Idealogical differences with many people in my town
  • Need the car to go anywhere/no convenient public transporation
  • Some diversity but not a lot.
  • Not a walking beach
  • Not very pretty

I'm going to write about it (check!), talk about it, do the footwork/research, and meditate about it, and trust that I will be led in the right direction. The answers are inside of me. I just have to be still and listen.


  1. Hi Julie:
    I understand your dilemma and was in your place in 1994 when we moved from a big city to a suburb. My first priority was to make sure the schools were better than what I had left.

    After I located the school district that I wanted, then I only looked for housing in that district. The taxes were high, the house prices were enormous and my pocketbook had a major hole in it.

    So we looked at renting. Rentals were going $1500 and up for 3BR. We could have "managed" on 2BR but we had been "managing" for years in the city and we wanted the move to be for good reasons.

    So I started looking at houses offered as Foreclosures and HUD houses. You put a bid in a sealed envelope and if your bid is the highest of all submitted, you get the house. However, they won't let you walk through first, you can only drive by. So we tried that for a year and got nowhere.

    Then I started looking at "estate" sales - people who have died and the children just want to unload the house and get their money.

    And that is where I ended up. We got a $150,000 house for $90,000 in the preferred school district, 20 miles from work, with a yard (which we didn't have before). Because nothing updated was done to the house, the taxes were not sky high.

    The house took five years to get to the way we liked it but we took our time as money allowed. It was a learning experience as well as a growing experience.

    But you are correct in that you have to do your homework. If you are going to go to all the trouble of moving, uprooting the kids (leaving their friends, etc.), change schools, make new friends, have conveniences -- then the move needs to be for all the right reasons or it is not worth moving.

    Good luck in your quest,

  2. Hi Julie, Not to add another thing to worry about, but if you don't intend to stay in Weymouth for awhile, you may want to consider moving elsewhere sooner rather than later. Your children are still young and moving to a new town/school would not be as big of a deal to them now as it might be when they're in middle or high school.

    We moved to a new town when our sons were entering first and fifth grade, and they considered it an adventure. They adjusted very quickly, which made it easier o us all.

    I'm sure whatever you decide will turn out just fine, but I thought you may want to consider this angle as well.

    Best of luck in your apt hunt.