Remember when you were 17/18 years old and waiting to hear back from colleges? I know I certainly had a lot of trouble sleeping and spent a lot of nights staying up reading until my vision went blurry (around 1:30 AM) to avoid thinking about it (yes, I’m starting to do that again, libraries are a very good thing for my budget).
Now, instead of worrying about if/where -I- will get into college, I’m wondering where Ben will accept a PostDoc position! Last week it was for-sure College Park, now it looks like Harvard might be a contender again. Close-in, old-school suburban Maryland (Silver Spring/Tacoma Park) OR old-school urban Cambridge/Somerville.
I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m not entirely sure that I care. What I do care about it having fewer shared walls with neighbors (top floor unit, townhouse, end unit, whatever!), having a place to build our own sukkah (or even one on the roof that’s shared with our building!), having hardwood or other non-crappy rental carpeting, and maybe getting to paint walls!
In Silver Spring/Tacoma Park, MD we can afford to buy a townhouse (skwee, ownership! veggie garden! picking paint colors! dishwasher! washer/dryer!) but then we have to budget for interior and emergency maintenance, taxes, and HOA fees. In Cambridge/Somerville we can afford bupkiss. Instead of buying a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse with a spacious patio,laundry closet , and garage (or at least assigned parking), we can afford to rent a two bedroom, 1 bath apartment for the same price. Womp, whomp. Older, charming, urban-ish apartment vs. modern air handling system in a townhouse with a laundry closet. Honestly, both are appealing in their own way! Urban living in a walkable neighborhood or suburban shleps to the grocery store every week? I hope to avoid needing to go to a laundromat, I might have become too princessy to be OK with shlepping my dirty laundry down the block and then folding it in public (though having a folding table IS a nice thing). The idea with doing that with future potential offspring in tow is entirely unappealing.
This is really Ben’s choice. Where will he make the most progress as a physicist? Which advisor is more understanding about taking off work for most of the Jewish holidays AND every Saturday (as well as coming home at a reasonable hour on Fridays, especially once we have a munchkin who is old enough to keep a schedule)?
We only know a few friends in each location. My family is mostly in the DC area and Ben’s parents are in the Boston area. Either way we’d be living at least 30 minutes from either set of parents (a good thing IMHO, I am NOT a fan of drop-in visits). But then my brain gets stuck on the fact that cost-of-living in DC is not much higher than Boulder, being at least 1/3 less than the Boston area. Ugh. So much money squandered on renting (again), rather than buying and just existing in general (milk and gas are both $1 more per gallon in both locations, but insurance and parking will cost more in MA and then my brain just gets stuck running on the hamster wheel and I want to retreat into a book or start trolling townhouses/apartments online and planning for my ever-fluxuating future in my head.
All I know for sure is that I will miss getting to see the flatirons everyday and being able to ski on a world-class mountain for >$45 per day, will less than a 2 hour drive to get there (shout out to: Loveland). Yeah, I’m spoiled, but someday I’ll have a sukkah I can invite people over to share a meal in and then I’ll feel spoiled in a different way!
PS- I sincerely hope, more than having my own sukkah, that next year I will still be able to invite President Obama into my spiritual sukkah. Otherwise, we might be looking at trying to emigrate to Canada. Ben’s mentioned, with all seriousness, that he would like to find out what the logistics would be of having a Canadian “anchor baby” some day. I kid you not!
- A Beginner’s Guide to Sukkot (coffeeshoprabbi.com)