Monday, November 21, 2005

Somewhere a place for us

Until a week ago, Angela and I were set on an apartment in the nice leafy neighbourhood that is Oak Park. Enough even to make an offer and sign a contract, pending an inspection. It was a gorgeous 3-bedroom apartment with loads of ‘vintage charm’, a cosy little window-enclosed, sun-drenched den and good-sized bedrooms. The area has excellent schools, a mixed ethnicity, many nearby parks and is served extremely well by public transport. We would have been close to our friends, to employment opportunities, to leisure activities and of course all the other benefits and opportunities that arise from city living. In a word, it was perfect.

We had 5 business days to complete the inspection and after our previous encounter with mould, gas leaks and wood-eating-insects at a previous property we were in no doubt of the importance of this process. We chose to employ a man who we have come to call the Safety Man. Self-proclaimed father figure and security zealot, this man misses nothing, not even tap knobs being on the wrong taps:

“This’ll need a professional plumber, Oliver. There’s no telling what could happen here”.
“Couldn’t I just reverse the knobs and then they’d read right, no?”.
“A potential death-trap, Oliver”.

So, we did an inspection and it looks like the property will require enough improvements to cost an arm and a leg and we don't really have any of those to spare. It's a bit too late now to start looking all over again so our options for the immediate future include renting, staying with family members, moving to England temporarily or giving up entirely and selling the baby online for stem cell research.

Family members here in the USA believe we would be most happy and secure in the suburbs where we could afford a single-family home in a nice new subdivision in the entrails of oblivion, perhaps named something like Bedlam Heights. They are right that for a relatively low cost we could secure a large new property that would guarantee us a financial return in the next few years and be free of the types of problems that have thwarted our attempts at city living so far, such as mould, structural weakness and out-of-date plumbing and electricity. Unfortunately, however, it is not possible to live in the suburbs. Sure, you can eat & sleep within the four walls of the house but beyond that you are utterly dependent on a car to access anything resembling civilisation, which, even then, is in effect a massive car park with mall-like structures stretching endlessly in all directions. There is no community here. Nothing. We would be unhappy.

What next? We'll see. We’re currently looking for places to rent in Logan Square, but seceretly dreaming of living on the beach in Castelldefels, Barcelona. Ultimately, however, and most importantly, at the day's end when curled up in bed we know that we have the most important things already: each other and our forthcoming baby.


No comments: