Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nope, We're Stayin'

Before I forget -- anyone in the Chicago area with kids, I'm giving away a family four pack to Disney on Ice for Februay 2!


It's a long story, but last night my husband finally asked me (in exasperation, I believe) if I wanted to sell our house and move to a different part of our school district.

Really, I just looked at him like he was nuts. I am so not selling our house anytime soon. I hate moving. Detest it. Actually, I would be totally cool with it if someone came and packed and unpacked for me, but I'm not spending that kind of money to move, so I'm sticking with the idea that I hate moving. That and I really like our house and our neighbors and our sidewalks and all those important things.

I stated when we bought this house that we were here until we downsized with the wee one out of the nest. Given the job market, this may not happen for another twenty years now, and I'm ok with that. All because I hate packing and unpacking to move.

And I'm pretty good at doing it, too.

I was born not too far from where I live now, and I've even had my dad drive me past that house. Oddly, it doesn't look anything like the few memories I have of it. We moved from there when I was three, which probably explains a lot of that.

We headed to Connecticut then, and I have all sorts of fun memories of that house. The three (no idea, don't ask why we had three) swingsets, the huge forest behind our house, the hills, the gravel driveway, the neighbors, the beach, the Christmas parties at the fire house. But I haven't been there since I was six...

because that's when we moved to Belgium. This is where I first started to get bitter about moving. I had a red plastic Mickey Mouse wallet when we lived in Connecticut. And it had money in it. If my memory isn't playing tricks on me, it had $8 in it. When we left the States, anyway. By the time I saw my wallet in Belgium, it was emptied. *sigh*

When we left Belgium, we came back to Illinois, but only for eight months or so. We were in a condo one floor up from my grandparents, which was pretty cool, but at eight years old, I started to see the problem with moving more clearly. Every time we moved, my mom made me throw out things. Sometimes I had a choice, but more often than not, I didn't.

And when we left Illinois after eight months and moved to Minnesota (still eight here), we had the interesting experience of living in a hotel for a couple months until my parents bought our house. While it was sort of cool to live in a hotel for awhile and have our own pool, it got old quickly. Most kids were in and out of the hotel, so we didn't have many lasting friendships (the exception was Leslie Smith Field who moved into the hotel while we were there and then showed up in my fourth grade classroom three days into the school year and was my best friend until she moved to Washington -- Leslie, if you ever find and read this, send me an email!). And of course, we didn't have most of our stuff.

When we finally moved into our house, I discovered another joy (not) of moving. There are times you have to redecorate. A lot. The bedroom I had in that house had belonged to a boy a few years older than me. The carpet was a chocolate brown (and not a pretty chocolate brown) with a weird dark animal "striped" wallpaper. I actually probably would have been ok with it, but my mom decided that wasn't good for a girl. And so we went looking for new wallpaper and carpeting. And ohhh I hate doing that. By the time my mom and I were able to find a wallpaper that matched a carpet sample that neither of us immediately vetoed, I ended up with light green carpeting and matching wallpaper with delicate white flowers woven into it. Raise your hand if you think this sounds anything like me. *crickets* That bedroom stayed decorated that way with the white wicker furniture until we moved, though.

We stayed in that house until after I graduated high school though. I next moved into a dorm room. And really, that's the way to move. You have one small carload of stuff that you have to unpack in a day. You live there for a year and then repack it all. That kind of moving I could deal with. Unfortunately, I now have no rooms that could fit into a single car, which is a minor problem.

After my junior year, I got an apartment in Evanston that was a tiny litle studio south of campus. And here was my next nasty surprise about moving. Not everyone is as neat and clean as you would hope. We got the keys, prepared to move in, and then spent the next six hours scrubbing every surface. It was N-A-S-T-Y. My poor mom and gram!

Fortunately, I found an apartment after college that wasn't so dirty. Then again, I also paid more for it. And again, I realized that in moving, you have to figure out what's important to you. I had thought that having somewhere to park my car (check) and being near the loop (check) were important. I unfortunately neglected to factor in the noise of living there. And the fact that being two blocks from Rush meant that I got more than my share of 3am buzzers from friends who wanted to crash in my apartment.

My next apartment was much further north in the city, and I remember waking up my first morning in that apartment hearing birds chirping. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. But here's where I learned another key thing about moving: set ground rules with roommates before you move in with them. Let's just say that after a year and a half, my (male) roommate moved to California. And that I was happy to see him go, especially after he scared off on early relationship when he answered the door (while I was in my room getting ready -- completely oblivious) in his bright yellow very tight boxers. And when I called him on it, he didn't see the problem. Yeah... gotta love friends from college who you don't know quite as well as you thought you did. Until suddenly you know them allllll too well.

After that apartment, I bought my very first own place. And while I loved where I lived, I discovered something else I don't like about moving. I had, shall we say, not the most scrupulous real estate agents at the time. I was young and apparently they thought they could try to take advantage of me. I'm still convinced that I paid too much money for my townhouse, but probably not by a significant amount, and I still made them offer less than they'd wanted me to. I think they were most disappointed when I was approved for a $450,000 mortgage (ok, seriously -- why and how, I have no idea; I could never have come close to affording that much of a mortgage, nor is my mortgage anywhere near that amount now!) that I wasn't interested in looking at homes anywhere in that stratosphere. Bye-bye high commission!

My next move was the next connundrum. When we sold the townhouse when I was pregnant with Little Miss (a two bedroom townhouse and two kids under two do not mix), we hadn't yet found our house. So we put our stuff in storage and moved in with my parents for a few weeks. Who could imagine that it would take that long to find a place? Ten months later, we finally moved out. Oh did I learn my lesson there. Next time (ok, so there won't be a next time, but maybe one of you can learn from my mistake) I am renting an apartment.

And that brings me to my house today. The one that my husband suggested we sell. The one that has all sorts of weird quirks to it, like the wood on the side of my cabinets turning pink and the rose and black and white tiles in the maste bath and the lack of insulation in the front coat closet and the lack of lights in the family and living rooms, but it's my house. And I am so not moving.

Until I downsize. And who knows, maybe by then I will have forgotten all the reasons why I hate moving.

How about you? What are your moving horror stories?


Hyacynth January 21, 2010 at 8:31 PM  

I'm opposite end of the spectrum. I love moving, and I moved about 12 times during my childhood. More now.
But I can totally see why you're so turned off to moving -- not fun experiences.
Do you not like your school district?

Amber Page Writes January 21, 2010 at 8:34 PM  

I hate, hate, hate moving. Two moves ago, a move to a different state, my cat had a heart attack and died in the car. Really.

Yeah. I hate moving.

MaBunny January 21, 2010 at 8:43 PM  

Ugh, I only have a few, but when we moved to Texas from Chicago, we moved into an apartment until we found a house. Lets just say more things were living there than just my parents and I - um, ick.... then when we moved into the house we lived in from 1980 until 2004, it was done all in '70s colors... for example, the main bathroom that was going to be mine? covered in black and white nudie wallpaper. Not nude the color, but black and white naked women outlines.... then the halls were deep purple and orange. I don't know if the previous owners were hippies, had bad taste or were color blind.

Teresa @ Red Velvet Confections January 21, 2010 at 9:27 PM  

I shutter to think about moving again. I think my worst experience was a move where my husband and I relied on a very very close friend in the real estate industry to find a rental home for us. Site unseen, we loaded up a Penske truck, drove several hours and pulled up to a nasty mess of a home. The owner's were still there cleaning up for us. They showed us around and I just couldn't believe it. Just nasty. We drove half an hour to my parent's home and three days later, we found a nice, clean place where we could call home...and LOVED it!!

Connie January 22, 2010 at 12:46 AM  

I can't compare to your moving story! You have moved a lot! There's a saying:
"A move is as good as a fire"

I don't think either one of them are good!

septembermom January 22, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

I really don't move much at all. Remember that bully situation on my block? I would love to move if we could afford it, staying in the same school district.

You have a lot of moving experience. I don't blame you for wanting to stay put.

Pat January 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM  

I have no horror stories. The first time my hub and I moved from one house to another house 90 minutes away, we had one 7-week old child and my husband did all the work. Our next and last move was 29 years ago, and again he did most of the work, as we had a 2-yr-old and an 8-week-old. He's very organized and is a great packer and unpacker.

Cookie January 22, 2010 at 5:52 PM  

I hate moving too. and it's expensive!

Unknown January 22, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

HA! I bought the farmhouse I grew up and I had to buy it off my ex husband to support his drug habit sooooooo I aint leaving anytime soon-seriously

Maureen January 23, 2010 at 12:52 AM  

You surely had moved a lot :) But it sure makes a great writing when you went down memory lane. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle January 23, 2010 at 9:35 AM  

Ugh, ok. Open disclosure first. My apologies for completely ignoring blogs or XXXX days(weeks?). I've been crammed at home with everything I need to do, and I've been exhausted so -- yay for me -- actually going to bed EARLY most nights. I'm working on getting caught up starting this evening, so please don't think I decided I don't like you!

Hyacynth - I like the school district. It's a great school district and better than most in the area. But for children in early elementary grades, they have a box and teach to the box, not to the child. Starting in 3rd grade, they teach to the child. And it's just not the right place for Mister Man right now.

Amber - Ohhhh, yikes. Now THAT is a horrible reason to have to hat moving. I'm so sorry!

Marcy - Oh, I love that 70s decorating. I think I'm glad I've never seen wallpaper like that before. Did it have the mirrors covered in gold flecks, too?

Teresa - Somehow, I feel like that very close friendship wasn't so close after that one.

Connie - Oh no. I'd definitely take a move over a fire anyday. I'm just done moving :)

Kelly - Yep, I remember. Here's hoping THAT family moves soon.

Pat - I like your strategy. Unfortunately, I totally whiffed on that one myself!

Cookie - Yep, I forgot to toss in the expensive part, didn't I?

Laura - I should say you aren't. Yikes, that sounds like it's a far longer story!

Maureen - I have. And to be honest, I love the being in a new place and exploring and learning new things part of it. It's the physical moving part -- the packing and unpacking part -- that I really don't like. If my husband had mobile job where we had relo services, I'd be moving every 18 months in a heartbeat!

Mrs4444 January 23, 2010 at 10:55 PM  

Fortunately, we lived in the same house the whole time I was growing up, and in fact, Mom still lives there. I can't imagine how hard all that moving must have been on you. I can see why you'd want to stay put. Me, though? I would love to move into a house with a MUCH smaller mortgage.

Claudya Martinez January 24, 2010 at 2:16 PM  

I hate moving too! I moved so much when I was younger that I have a hard time remembering all the places I lived. We never moved particularly far, but we moved. Now I've been in the same place for 15 years. My husband yearns to move, but he lived in the same place his entire childhood. What does he know about moving?

Michelle February 20, 2010 at 7:54 PM  

Mrs4444 - I think that's actually really cool to live in the same place since birth. I actually don't mind being in a new place; it's the getting there that isn't fun :) And a smaller mortgage? Who doesn't want that?

Unknown Mami - Your husband knows nothing :) Stay put! I'm glad we were at least in places long enough to remember where I lived; that would be really hard not to!

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