Friday, February 15, 2013

Gin and tonic

We might be moving. We are probably moving. We are trying to move. We are trying to buy.

After forty-nine combined years in Hyde Park, ten together in love, and four in this our first home, Alex and I have decided to take the plunge and put down some roots. In Hyde Park. Where we grew up and where we currently reside. And I guess where we plan to live forever and die.  While it is neither rushed nor drastic, the decision still seems wild. In a “Are we really this grown up?” kind of way. 

We found a place a few blocks from the lake. It is on the other side of the literal train tracks from where we are now, but on the right side of the figurative train tracks that border Hyde Park and the rest of the South Side.  In other words: we are shocked to have found the amount of space we want (three bedrooms, two baths) inside the price range we want, inside Hyde Park’s boundaries. As such, we are leaving the residential and grocery store center of the neighborhood and we’re moving on up, to the east side.
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that we’re going to trade our entire savings for a billion times as much debt. And how it is normal for lawyers and inspectors to try to figure out just how bad a deal our idealized new home is going to be and what will go wrong and how much it is going to cost us. In fact, I’m paying them to do that. “Just so you’ll know and can make a decision,” they say. But we’ve made our decision. We found a condo that hits almost everything on our list (size, vintage, location) that we can afford—with the added bonus of south-facing windows, the single greatest discovery of my Northern-hemisphere life and something I am loath to give up now that I’ve found them.

The whole process feels very Risky. And I mean that as in “like the game, ‘Risk.’” It feels like I’m using my turn to expand my African empire through South America, but I’ve run into some unexpected resistance in Argentina (read: closings costs), and my opponent has managed to whittle down my force on lucky rolls with one man standing. Even though I’m confident I’ll make it to Venezuela in full possession of the new continent, I am in fear of what will happen after my turn: I won’t have a large enough border force to defend my new territory, and my thinned army has left my originally impenetrable African landscape vulnerable to attack. 
It is the lack of the known, the breach of security associated with this venture that gives me pause. Why am I giving up my sweet little galley kitchen (whose sparse counter space is cluttered with dirty dishes)? Our courtyard views (that are nearly always obscured by the blinds to block our spying neighbors)? That dining room built-in with too many coats of paint, doors never fully closed? And I have to remind myself of the old adage, “No risk, no extra closets.”

And so it is that two thoughts keep me going: the limb is where the fruit is and the tonic is where the gin is.