I’ve been writing this post in my head for a long time now. We’re leaving Chicago.
It’s always tricky to figure out how to title a post like this – one set of words casts it in a negative light – “leaving Chicago”, “saying goodbye to the city”, etc. while another set of words paints it more positively – “hello backyard!”, “on to new adventures”, etc. The fact is that it’s all very mixed up and complicated and will have amazing, great new things in store for us but at the same time, it will also have things that we’re sad about and will have to mourn the loss of.
It’s not a decision we’ve come to lightly. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suddenly going down to one full time income with a new baby has taken a toll on our finances. Daycare is so expensive here that we both can’t afford to work, but at the same time we can’t afford for us both not too. Talk about a gray area! The logical answer would be to have one of us work part time opposite the other’s schedule, but part time jobs with limited availability are few and far between here. So we have to go where those jobs are. We’re also pricing out of every decent, affordable area in this city. Rents continue to rise, while salaries don’t. It’s a story that many of you are probably all to familiar with as well.
The other thing that’s been hard for us to admit is that city living has really lost it’s luster. My whole life I wanted to move here, and I’ve had a blast. When were in our early twenties it was great – any restaurant you wanted to go to, transit at your doorstep all hours of the day and night, great bars, museums, the lake just blocks away… we didn’t want to admit defeat. What’s not to like about Chicago? It’s what we always wanted. And we thought being urban parents would be a great experience. But like a relationship going south, the bad things started to outnumber the good. The upstairs neighbors have loud, annoying habits. The person two doors down has a dog that barks incessantly. The commute on the train is crowded and uncomfortable. Violent crime has spread just about everywhere. We’re tired of only grocery shopping what we can carry. Getting an infant around town on public transit is hard on the best days and impossible on the worst. The apartment management is nearly non-existent, so issues with our unit became impossible to get addressed – we went a week without a working stove, and it’s taken us over a year to get window screens on all of our windows. The novelty of walking to the laundromat wore off ages ago. The list goes on and on.
So… we’re moving to the suburbs. Living expenses are ever so slightly cheaper there. We’ll be closer to family. We’ll have more space. We’re getting back to basics – we’re weeding through everything in the apartment and evaluating if it continues to deserve a place in our lives – we’ve got some things we can part with in the yard sale/donate box. But most of this stuff is ours for keeps. We don’t live an extravagant lifestyle at all, so most of what we have serves a purpose. That being said, a lot of stuff is going into storage. Who knows – if we don’t miss it in a year, maybe it’ll get a full cut too. So I guess we’re doing a trial downsizing as part of this move as well.
So, Apartment Farming will continue! Just in suburbia… who thought I’d ever type that? So, please don’t think I’m pulling the plug here if my posts are sporadic over the next month as we’re in mid-move. There’s plenty going on – like the squirrel cage is working and we’ve gotten our first three tomatoes! And we’re freezing sweet corn for winter like nobody’s business. And I’ve got a lineup of things to sew. Not to mention the fact that tomatoes are about to come on strong and I’m shooting for 49 quarts this year… so August is a busy month indeed. But I’ll check in and let you know how we fare. And I’ll certainly be sharing our suburban Apartment Farm adventures once we’re settled there. Stay tuned…