Monday, December 6, 2010

Lush Family

Latest hat: listed on Etsy, new larger size, covered in Sparkle Tulle
And a Debate
I'm having a debate... in my mind. It's about moving and where to go. As some of you may know, my family lives in Texas, in the suburbs of Dallas but also have a house outside of Tucson, AZ (don't ask me why they have two hot homes). My husband's family lives near Pueblo, CO and we live in Denver. We are seriously considering moving from Colorado to either... wait for it... Dallas or Portland.

What? Really? That's a CHOICE?
Yes, I know to many this is not a debate and I probably seem nuts.  Those who are not from Texas, do not understand it, or why Texans love it so much. Those from Texas can't understand why everyone doesn't love Texas as much as they do. Dallas is the 5th largest city in the US and has a little bit of everything, including hellish heat/humidity, the bible belt, a fashion mart, killer food and a low cost of living. As for Portland, well, it's cool as in hip and cool in temp, artsy, lush, beautiful, fiercely liberal, near the ocean...and wet and dreary and somewhat expensive - except when compared to Denver. For that matter, many people I know can not believe that I would for any reason ever want to leave Colorado.

Of Closets and Bathrooms
When Greg and I got engaged, my son and I moved into his house. It's cost effective, cute, has a great school for Ely and Greg truly enjoys having a house vs an apartment (not sharing walls), but I miss my old apartment. The problem lies with the size of the house, which was perfect for him & his daughter while he was a bachelor. However, we're a little smooshed for space, well, that is, a lot smooshed.

I had to put most of my belongings into storage, and he had to put a bunch of his in as well. I miss my books, my photo albums, and knick knacks, all of the decorations that always made my home mine.  At this point our bedroom closet - which is dark and is the size of a door... gives me a mini panic attack every time I look at it.  I have to keep the majority of my clothes - I have excessive amounts - in the basement for the same season and in storage for all the rest of the seasons along with the majority of my beautiful shoe collection - which I can't wear anyway due to my feet and knees having a full on mutiny, refusing to allow me to wear any kind of heel for over a year... but I digress and that's another story. My reaction to this confinement and claustrophobic panic is to leave most of the few clothes I can wear crumpled on my desk. This is not very adult of me, and while I have separate mini panic attacks over the growing desk pile, it's only enough to get me to clear it off & hang everything up about once a month - or two - sometimes three. Arg! I know. I'm ashamed.

My poor husband has to keep his clothes in the basement...I did try to clear some space in one of my two dressers but he didn't utilize it so I took it back. I know it could be worse and this is my spoiled side coming through... but still.  My reaction to cramped, is malfunction.  I will try not to go on about my last apartment, but the BEST thing about it was the bathroom, which was huge, had a long counter, a wall of mirrors, double sinks, a garden tub and a walk in closet you could fit a king sized mattress in.  Now THAT's what I call a bathroom/closet. I LOVED it. But I love my husband more. Our house has one bathroom (even my apartment had two full baths - it had double master bedrooms, okay I'll stop) with four occupants. In our small bathroom there is only a stand alone sink, no counter, more ARG! No SPACE.  Beside all of this, in the rest of the house there is little room for crafting, which is what I do. So more of the Arg!  Not that this is in any way anyone's fault - it's just the situation.

We must move
We all agree, we must move. Initially we thought the cramped would only be for a year (I told myself, you can live anywhere for a year, suck it up) & then we'd move into a larger place, but given the neighborhood, the very tiny school district, and the cost of housing in Denver, that's no longer looking like an option. Even if we move to a different district it just doesn't make much sense to us any more. We can't afford to buy a house here, not and be anywhere we want to live in the Denver area.

So now what?
At the same time we were discussing where to live we started discussing where we really want to be and what we want to be doing. Both of us are creative types and are pursuing those dreams.  We are working towards living off our artistic endeavors - and quiting our "day jobs".

In the midst of this, my health is not conducive to staying in Colorado. The climate is simply too dry for my system and I've been told by my doctors as long as I stay here I will continue to be sick. Period. I need to live in a moist climate in order to be (more) healthy. I have been fighting with the dry for 17 years, and have chronic non-allergenic rhinitis - no allergies.  Chronic inflammation of the sinus cavities due to anything in the air I breathe getting stuck in there, worsened by the dryness which turns into a sinus infection because I've had almost all of the mucus membranes in my head removed and in all, my sinus don't work properly.  This is a whole long topic in of itself, but let's wrap it up by saying I have had 4 sinus surgeries which have only helped in that I am still alive. Whoop-di-do.

According to happiness studies, a big part of being happy is being close to friends and family.  I believe that my son will benefit from being closer to his grandparents.  He is very close with them and they really saw me through the hard times of my divorce.  They are retired now and in their 70s. This is a huge component in this decision.  Of course this means my husband will be farther away from his parents while I'd be closer to mine (quandary). We also have some "extended" family in the Dallas area - it's where most of the "Village" who raised me live.

Another added benefit is that since my parents do have two homes, they'd be willing to let us stay at their Dallas house, while they live out of their AZ house so we can get settled - find a house of our own, figure out school districts etc.  So the transition here would be fairly easy.

As for work, you may be wondering what the plan is with that. We are hoping Greg will be working "from home" full time by then, in which case he can work anywhere. We hope I'll only need to find a part time job, perhaps in a craft store, to fill in the finances from my Etsy business which I hope to expand beyond hats as well. Dallas has a fairly good job market, did I mention they have a Fashion Mart? And they have lots of craft stores.

But then there's the heat...
Which kills us. I am not a heat person, unless I am in the swimming pool, then bring it. Seriously, my body temperature regulation system is that of a lizard. However, with the approach of my 40's I now have no cold, only hot. Over hot... most of the time. Night sweats are no joke. I now understand. And I thought it was bad when I was pregnant and would run into the bathroom and lay on the cold tile floors to cool off. Nope this is worse. So that is a definite negative, but as my mother always says, everything - I mean everything - is air conditioned in Texas. And I do love to swim, and so does the rest of my family. So then that's a bonus. Hummm, this is tough.

To Recap
Dallas = cost effective, family support, healthier Darian, transitional housing, a bigger place to live for roughly the same amount of money, better job options, swimming and closer to parents approaching elderly - just in case.

And then there's Portland
It's beautiful and lush. The humidity will be just as good for my health. It has a very creative atmosphere. Havi, and Chris live in Portland so that's a plus.  Maybe I could get to play at the playground. And according to them Portland is fabulous.  There is the issue of a terrible job market, but as mentioned before we hope to not need to really be looking for jobs there. But it leaves very little fall back room.

And then there is the whole, Portland underground culture; the actual underground - there are even walking tours of it, plus underground music, art, films and fantastic foodie restaurants. Mmmmm so much good to explore. And the heat won't really be an issue - another one in the plus column. The lack of sun may become one, but after 3 years in the Netherlands - which has very similar weather, I think I'd be okay with it.

Here is an interesting statistic...  this is just a Darian quick internet research evaluation. Based on the three cities DMA ranking:
Portland is listed as the 22nd largest US City. It has 265 stores listed under Arts & Crafts in Yelp.
Denver is #17, it has 140 stores listed.
Dallas is #5, it has 169 stores listed.
So my logic says there are more craft stores supporting more interest in crafts for the population of Portland given it's relative size. This is good since what I do is craft and my ultimate goal is to own a craft store.  It is a crafty town and has a community full of crafters and creative people. On the other hand, perhaps Dallas needs more craft stores.

In my heart of hearts, I know it's going to be Dallas. At this point it simply is the best option. But I keep thinking of Portland as the place to be.... perhaps in 10 years when Ely is off to college and it's just the two of us Portland will become our retirement home, our future dream shop.  We are planning a trip out to Portland towards the end of March. Perhaps this will be the deciding factor. One way or another a decision has to be made in the next few months as our lease is coming up the end of May.

Figuring out the logistics of making two life long dreams come true when stacked up along with family and health is a daunting task.  I know we'll figure it out and we'll make the best of wherever we are.

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