Moving stinks. Nobody likes to move, even if it’s just across town. It can be exciting if your moving into a new or larger home you just purchased, but nothing is really enjoyable about the actual process of moving. Packing up boxes, moving heavy and unwieldy sofa beds, calling PG&E to turn off the power and then calling them again to turn it back on at the new house (“we’re gonna flip it next week, or sometime in November.”), and worst of all, trying to take apart and then reassemble a piece of particle board furniture bought at Target while maintaining it’s structural integrity. Virtually impossible. Since Jen and I have been married, almost six years, we’ve moved twice. The first of those moves was the easiest move in recorded history. We bought a little condo that was approximately 100 feet directly across the driveway from where we were currently living. Not only was the actual moving a cinch, but it was the first home that we purchased. We actually moved on our two-year anniversary, so I got to tell Jen that I got her a house as a present. I shouldn’t have peaked so early. Two years later, we moved into the house we own now, or will in about 30 years. Also exciting because it’s our first house that doesn’t share a wall with our neighbors. So, while the circumstances of our moves up to this point have been pretty easy, the one we have been toying with this past year is considerably more scary.
Not quite a year ago, Jen and I went on Vacation to Dale, Indiana. Yes, you read that correctly. We vacationed in Dale, Indiana, population 1568 according to the 2000 census. Jeff and Jody who are my uncle and aunt, though in name only, moved out there about 4 years ago and they finally coerced us to come out to visit them. Ever since they moved they’ve been telling us how great it is and how we need to move there. “Houses are cheap, Jen could stay home with the kids, leprechauns romp through the streets tossing gold coins in the air while unicorns roam free on the beautiful meadows.” they’d say. (I’m not sure if the unicorns are really a strong selling point. Anything with a horn can’t be that harmless) It is true that real estate is more affordable. The day Jen and I closed escrow on our two-bedroom 1000 square foot condo, Jeff and Jody closed on a brand new, and nice, three bed, two bath with a garage and sizeable yard …for exactly $100,000 less. Of course, our argument always was, “Yeah, but that house would still be in Indiana.”
When we finally did make our way to the Midwest something very scary happened. We liked it. Needless to say it isn’t anything like Northern California. In a good and a bad way. You can’t beat the California weather. It’s just not possible. And while the political sentiment shared by most of the Sonoma County citizenry is not something we have in common with the greater community, we have our enclave of like-minded friends and family to retreat to. Indiana is much more in tune with our own social and spiritual values. The pace of life is more relaxed, there are few crowds, and zero traffic. In fact on one 45-minute drive on a major highway on a Saturday afternoon we passed maybe 25 other vehicles. Of course, when there aren’t very many people, there aren’t very many conveniences. It’s 20 minutes to the nearest major shopping, you can’t get pizza in town, the only “Chinese” restaurant is something called the Iron Chef buffet that couldn’t even make decent fried rice and I’m sure is run by Filipinos, and (this is a big one for Jen) the nearest Starbucks is 45 minutes away. Surprisingly, the area of Indiana they are in is not entirely flat. There are some nice rolling hills and trees and plenty of cornfields. It’s actually quite picturesque.
Besides all that, the main reason we would even consider moving is financial. Sonoma County is an expensive place to live. Apparently people enjoy year-round average temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees, with no snow or humidity. Jerks. They’re making my town expensive and crowded. With both of our full time incomes we can pay our mortgage every month and even have some money leftover for fun extras like food and electricity. When we start having kids and Jen has to stay home, the story will be little different. Surprisingly, an AA degree does not increase ones wages as much as you’d think. My income will not be enough to support us unless Cut! Productions suddenly becomes an enormous overnight cash factory. Unlikely. If we sold our house in Santa Rosa we could move to Indiana, buy a house that is twice as big, on the lake, with cash and probably have enough money left over so I wouldn’t have to have a job right away. That’s not a hyperbole.
So moving out of state is not just a possibility, it may be a necessity. This is a scary thing. On some days we’re totally up for the adventure. On others we’re totally not. One day we’re thinking about the great house we can have and how we’ll actually have a little bit of financial freedom and how fun and exciting it all is, and then other days we think about how much we’ll miss our friends and family and the lack of humidity. Really, the Percent Chance of Moving to Indiana Scale is directly correlated to how much Jen happens to be working at the moment. If she hasn’t had work in a few weeks, we spend a lot more time on the Southwestern Indiana real estate websites. Right now she has steady work and there is a strong chance she will be going back to teaching next year, so we don’t think of it quite as much. But what about the future? What happens if she gets pregnant? Do we move during the pregnancy? Wouldn’t it be smarter to move before all that? What if (fill in the blank)? These are questions I don’t have the answer for.
We’ve gone through the pros and cons of going and staying so many times, it’s pointless to do that anymore. All we can do is pray. Pray that God would show us where He wants us and make it painfully obvious that this is the right thing to do. And that when He does, we actually listen and pull the trigger. I want to do this, I really do, but something is holding me back and I don’t know exactly what it is. Maybe it’s that Indiana is not where we’re supposed to be right now. But perhaps someday, maybe very soon, that will change and we’ll pack up our boxes, disassemble our particleboard furniture, and head for the land of Leprechauns and unicorns.
Here’s a promotional video from the Spencer County chamber of commerce to give you an idea of what it’s like. No pictures of leprechauns and unicorns though.