Saturday, June 16, 2007

City vs. Suburban Mom

On Thursday, I arrived early for soccer pick-up and took the opportunity to chat with a fellow soccer mom. For all the reasons I've listed before, we are thinking about selling our home and moving closer to the girls' new schools. Soccer Mom tried to convince me otherwise. It's so beautiful here, she exclaimed, and it is, but its fifteen minutes from the new school and, not to put too fine a point on it, this is the suburbs and we hate the suburbs.

We are not suburban people. Yes, I am crazy about my garden but that's where it ends. I don't like the playgroup scene. I don't own a matching running outfit or a tennis skirt. I like historic buildings. I do not like shiny new housing developments with no trees and plastic people. I shop at independent grocers whenever possible, buy organic, have no qualms about popping into the post office or picking the girls up after I've exercised, but before I've showered, and I prefer to take my bike even though I own a car. I am a bit granola and in the city, that's ok. Diverse is good. Not so much in the suburbs. Assimilate or perish seems to be the suburban mantra and I do not play well with the dogmatically inclined.

How we ended up back in the suburbs after fleeing them two years ago isn't that big of a mystery. Crazy ass real estate prices. We were priced out the community we lived in and loved, and we were tired of renting, so we bought a house in a suburb fifty miles away from our beloved city. The money we spent in gas commuting out of our suburb every weekend and into the city probably would have given us a nice little nest egg, but we didn't see it that way. We just had to get the hell out of suburbia - if only for a little while. We managed to stay there long enough to escape the capital gains tax. Then, we moved back to the city two years ago. Rented for awhile, then settled where we are now.

But, I'm beginning to feel that familiar twinge. Price corrections are happening! Real estate prices are falling! So, I search home sites late into the night, looking wistfully at houses. I run the numbers again and again. I search comps for my house. I think, we can afford that. Then I think, should we move now or wait until I graduate and (hopefully) am making more money? We can certainly buy more house then! But will prices have rebounded and priced us out the market, again? That inquiry is a dark tunnel down which I am scared to venture. Still, I make mental notes - and a few handwritten ones - of Home Repairs/Improvements Needed Prior to Selling. And, mostly I daydream of the time when I can shed my Suburban Mom lifestyle and become City Mom, again.

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