Downtown apartment living with two active toddlers is tough. Before we had kids, we loved the hustle and bustle of downtown life, and it didn't matter that we lived in 500 square feet, because we could make do with anything and have a blast doing it. Now, even if we had to stay in this apartment, it would be OK and we'd make do like we're doing now, both Andy and I want a house with a yard so badly. Even just a tiny space, for us to run around, for Andy to have a little BBQ, and for me to grow something.
Living in the Portland metro area is spendy, and our budget is on the low end of low, but it's always been a priority of ours to be IN the city. We love to walk, we love the little neighborhoods with coffee shops and restaurants and quirky shops, and we love to feel like we're a part of something bigger.
But when you're super picky and your family is now double the persons, and when your budget is restricted and you have high expectations, nothing really comes available. I learned that the hard way.
(the chubby sisters last spring at my parents' house)
There was a house, THE perfect house, right near our most favorite neighborhood and within walking distance to a favorite park and it was just perfect on paper. I saw it on Craigslist and my heart skipped a beat. But walking through, we both realized that for our budget, we could not have everything. It was on the high end of what we could spend and a really, really old house, but not in the quaint fixed up kind of way; there were holes in the walls and it was drafty and lead paint on the windows and, according to the landlord, asbestos under the kitchen floor. But it was in the perfect location!
Then I seriously asked myself how much of my identity was wrapped up in where we lived, and to possibly consider the fact that I was too concerned with the where rather than what was best for my family. Because I was seriously considering a house with asbestos under the floor just to BE on that street. My expectations were the major stumbling block to finding something that was right for all of us.
It's not wrong or bad for me to want to live in the "cool" part of town (although the up & coming changes year to year), and we both still dream of having a craftsman in the middle of town. But I was really concerned about what our visiting friends would think, what my friends would think, how I felt about where we ended up. I was coming at it upside-down and backwards.
This weekend, we found the house. The yard is ginormous. They could probably build two more houses back there. So that means a garden. And maybe chickens. And lots of running and rolling around in sweet, clean grass. It's right in our price range and so not financially stressful for Andy. It's not 100 years old, so it's better insulated and it's clean. Still small, but we like small. But it's farther out than I wanted to go. It's not in a trendy part of town (at least not yet). It's a quiet street in the 100's block.
We filled out the paperwork and then I went home and baked myself a big pie of crow, then started pinning garden plans and chicken coops.