Monday, June 6, 2011

Moving House? You know how I am about decisions

Ok, so you might remember that I am here with a big group of postdocs, and at the beginning of the year we were spread all out all over the city. Now, several of them have moved in closer to each other in the Student Ghetto, and Angry Anarchist Postdoc is looking in to moving in upstairs from one of the postdocs who is my office mate. I am kinda against moving this summer, in that I hate moving and the time suck and the backache and the fear that all my nice stuff will be dinged up and all my cheap stuff that barely survived the move will be destroyed, but I am also feeling the urge to move closer to them. Hmm. Help me think this through.

Now --- ok, have you ever visited Yale and the area that used to be nice and campus-oriented right around the campus fell apart and became a bastion of Section 8 housing and racial resentment? Postdoc City kinda has that too, but more class-related than race, I'd say. If you want a new place where the residents have middle-class or professional jobs and there is a working kitchen and heat/ac, you move where I did, the circle around the edge of town. In the middle is a burned-out, postindustrial wasteland, that's the downtown, and across the freeway from that is the university and the hundred-year-old houses that have all been chopped up for student apartments and places that pay cash for gold, which seems to be the major business around here.

In short, it's not gentrified, it's not cute, it's not walkable, but I would be close to school and the other postdocs. I'm kind of a loner, but I really am liking this idea of moving closer to them. Except that I had already decided against it. And my sister might kill me because right now I have a nicer kitchen than she does.


And now an update, before I'd even actually posted this post. This ad for a "cottage" ---- that is freestanding 1 bedroom house about a block from my friend the postdoc appeared on craigslist, and when I called about it, they said they had already had several people make appointments to see it, so I asked for an appointment right then and there and asked my friend to meet me out front. Hmm. So having seen it, it is a bit grottier than I wanted (instead of freestanding, it's more like listing to one side, and the floors are a bit warpy, and the inside doors probably don't close well), and is only $50 cheaper than my current nice shiny place, and they clearly took the pictures from a good angle to hide the fact that it hadn't been painted. But. There is another place that I happened to mention to Angry Anarchist Postdoc and he went to see it, said it was gorgeous, but was a downstairs unit in a house and he would never do that again. So I emailed AAP this listing and might go check out the one I sent to him originally. But, I don't know. You'd think writing all this out and then going to see a place would help me decide. Maybe lists?

Current House Pros:
new! clean! gorgeous! everything works!
has a dishwasher!
has a high efficiency heat pump/AC and is built to be super energy efficient!
very quiet
good back porch w. lots of birds and trees (no covering)
would not have to pack anything or move it until I get my tt job (or go live in a van down by the river)

Current House Cons:
kinda far from school and postdocs
no sidewalks in area, so must drive everywhere
can't go outside on porch in the rain or after 11:30 when the sun is out and annoying
I have W/D/ hookups but no washer or dryer here

Hmm. Dunno. I will email that first place I sent out and see if it is still available for a walkthrough. It looked nicer and more kept up than the first place, but it is a house divided into 6 rentals and the kitchen looks teeny with no dishwasher. On the plus side it is very close to school and pretty close to the postdocs, though probably pretty loud due to all the students in the area (frats are the next street over.) There wasn't all that much else with a "for rent" sign in the yard otherwise, and the only places we saw lots of availability were the places on the non-frat side of the frat street. I'm not up on being that close to party town, particularly if students don't party there but out at the bars circling the town --- that means they are all coming home drunk and loud and running over my cats or something.

Sigh. Why can't I make up my mind about anything? If stuff was like 100 or 200 cheaper, or you could guarantee me a dishwasher and good quality AC, this might be an easier decision to make. But, of course, right now I'm waffling.


Sisyphus said...

Ooh and I should add to this that my lease is coming due soon and I have the option of renewing it for a year (cheapest), renewing it for 6 mo (more expensive) or renewing for month-to-month with 30 days notice before leaving (most expensive). So if i decide to stay here I would probably lock in for another year.

Ally said...

My own tendency would be to stay where you are if its that nice, but then I tend to value "niceness" over convenience of location within reason (my own current apartment is 30 minutes from campus, instead of only 15 or even closer, because it was that much nicer than what was available closer to campus - then again it's also in my case more convenient to pretty much everything else OTHER than work, so that's part of it too in my case)

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Stay put, avoid the hassle, also the upheaval for your cats, enjoy the "niceness" of your apartment (because who knows, in the next job you may not have that), and ask the other post-docs over for frequent parties. It doesn't sound like moving would fix the porch problem, except for no longer having one. You don't mention laundry at the other places you're considering, so I can't tell if moving would fix that, but if you'd be going out to a laundromat anyway, then there's no point in moving. Convenient distance to campus is nice, but it's not everything (says she with the 60-mile commute).

Dr. Koshary said...

I understand the indecision, but I have to agree with Ally and Dame Eleanor. Let the other postdocs live in the shitty part of town. Your place is livable and pleasant, which counts for a lot. Speaking for myself, the quality of my living space has a ton to do with my general happiness. I have an intense personal bias against living near undergrads and especially frat scenes, so I can't really see what the attraction in these other places is for your colleagues. Yeah, it's a little cheaper, but less livable, more dangerous, certainly less pleasant, and what the hell is the good of proximity to campus if you don't feel comfortable walking around the neighborhood?

And, on a deeply subjective note that will probably get me in trouble with some other reader here, I have to point out that, of all the anarchists I have known over the years, I wouldn't trust one of them for housing recommendations. I can just see the gorgeously broken-down places that your colleague sees as "full of potential" while you see "condemned building." Is that prejudiced of me?

Belle said...

I third it: stay put. I've had close/ucky and further/nice, and further nice was better in every instance.

My word verification is 'hoped.' It's a SIGN!

Susan said...

FWIW, I agree with the others. You wouldn't save money, and unless utilities were included, you'd pay more without the super efficient heat/ac.
And the quality of your surroundings makes a huge difference. Always.

anthea said...

I agree with the others.. The quality of surroundings is important. You can always invite people over. ;-)

Lucky Jane said...

Jumping on the bandwagon and supporting the suggestion to stay put. You'll still see your colleagues regularly. Even better, you won't be around them 24-7. This gig colonizes our lives enough as it is, so your relative isolation is actually a bonus. I like my colleagues fine, but going out for drinks and swapping dinner invites is just dandy.

Sisyphus said...

Sigh, you're probably right that this has a lot to do with my wanting but not really being able to handle living the anarchist lifestyle in a Gilman St warehouse. But the places I looked at are more like sad old Victorian ladies who have seen better days --- the floors may be bowed, but it's all hardwoods inside. The porch may be a bit warped, but it's a gorgeous huge veranda.

The problem is when I go visit them, I only have one drink and go home pretty early to miss any roadblocks back at by my place, and I'm pretty sure they would likewise not drink if they came over and visited me to avoid a DUI. So the driving distance really does put a damper on the partying.

Anonymous said...

Do not, do not, do NOT underestimate the value of a dishwasher and efficient a/c to your quality of life. Invite the anarchists over and stay put, is my advice (FWIW).