Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Move

You would think that moving cross-country with an unruly toddler, and a nauseous pregnancy would be great fodder for blog material, and you'd be correct. However, the stress, and near financial ruin (I exaggerate) of this experience has sapped the energy and creativity out of my limbs. I FINALLY feel caught up enough with the unpacking and life organizing to NOT feel guilty about dedicating a few stolen minutes to my writing.

Today is a gorgeous, unrainy fall day. I have a view out of our attic office of an old craftsman home and the peaks of maple trees in shades of gold, green and orange. The sky is a clear unsmoggy baby blue, and I am extremely smitten with this change of scenery. In Brooklyn, I always worked facing a wall or room interior, without the opportunity to wistfully look outside and daydream about outdoor freedom. Our new space does not go unappreciated as we finally have the opportunity to spread out our meagre possessions in an uncluttered fashion.

For the past month, all of our free time has been spent doing repetitive treks to Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, IKEA, and a multitude of grocery stores. We still have no real concept of the Pearl District and the famous Powell bookstore, nor have we allowed ourself leisurely strolls in Mt.Tabor or Laurelhurst Park. I do feel that the times are-a-changin', and enjoyment of our surrounds is on the horizon. We look forward to our coming adventures in the Pacific Northwest, and weekends spent exploring new horizons instead of being great consumers of household crap.

Our move hinged on the affordability of Portland in relation to New York. We were enticed by low rental prices and an escape from the material pressures of stylish Manhattan. We imagined a simpler life, where our square footage would expand without a mutual expansion in income.
We were fooled.
Yes, our home is now triple the size, and much needed with baby 2 on the way, but our rent has also increased. We are buying a used car, and aren't splashing out on this luxury item, but have added the extra monthly headache of gas and insurance. Finally, the imminent 2 year birth date of Miss Stella Mar, and the early onset of the 'Terrible Two's' has brought along a necessity for outside childcare. Even at part-time care prices, we are shocked by daycare fees and the deep hole this expense will leave in our pockets. We have officially entered the middle class struggle of living paycheck to paycheck, and it ain't pretty. If I allow myself to block out our new economic woes, there is no doubt that we made the right decision. In truth, these costs are all inevitable wherever we would choose to live. It is the nature of having a family. Kids aren't cheap. I console myself with the fact that we've only got childcare costs until Kindergarten - about 6 years to go! Then, we can start saving again for those exotic family vacations, because school aged children are cheaper, right?
Lie to me.

Back on the train,


Anonymous reeve said...

Glad to hear you are settling in!

I, too, was fooled by my move to Maine from NYC. Even though my rent is essentially the same, and my salary even went up a bit, I didn't account for the price of living outside a major city--instead of spending my money on cocktails and taxis, now I just spend it on trips to Target, gas for my car, and insurance, just like you said. I don't really feel any more flush than I did before. But, like you, I have a better view, a roomier home, and greater sense of peace. And with a baby on the way, I'd rather be here anyway. It's all a trade-off, isn't it?

11:51 AM  
Blogger Reino said...

congrats on the move!!! Hate to say it, but the day will come when you will miss those terrible two's. Now they seem insurmountable, but hindsight they are wonderful. Instead of daycare, try to find a mom to swap for "me" days. Also, I don't know about Oregon, but in California there is now free preschool starting at age 3. Daycare is way too expensive. One salary will go towards it. Try networking first. Also, look in the special ed centers. They might take Stella in for free as a typical role model. I did that with Morgen for two years. It taught her empathy and compassion. She also got to participate in the basics and learn to fingerpaint, abc's, numbers, cutting, etc.. It helped build her patience and taught her social skills. Be creative in your thinking, which is absolutely no problem for YOU!!! You can find other avenues that will save on the pocketbook.

3:17 PM  

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