It's Been Awhile...
This blog is going to explain a lot.
So, it's been a long time since I updated. The pandemic wears on me still. I am still one of those overcareful people who wears a mask and that is what is best for me and my family. We have been lucky to have our health to this point. My child is thriving. She's about to start kindergarten!
So, I'm updating because we are turning a new leaf in our lives and also our bike lives. Since my last post, I changed jobs to save my mental health and provide me with new horizons. I am very happy to be working for a company who values my contributions and has seen my potential. This was instrumental in affording us a better balance. I no longer worked around the clock because my child had no aftercare. I no longer had to do wild things to get her at school. My husband was able to quit a job that was not fulfilling and did not really even cover the cost of childcare. He is now doing what he loves - writing - and we are happier than ever.
I did NOT give up on riding, I can assure you.
Instead, things have just changed. We sold the WeeHoo because our four year old taught herself to ride a bike and by age five, she was unwilling to ride with us on it. So, the e-bike became less essential and I lost my primary hauling vehicle in its panniers. So, yes, I sold my e-bike. This means a couple of things. One, I'm back to my surly and it's hauling abilities. Two, my husband and I are riding with her.
Yes, even he has turned over a new leaf. After being resistant to take his cross bike out and admitting it might not quite fit is station in life now, he admitted he should sell his fancy carbon fiber machine and buy a simpler hybrid. And, in the end, he's smiling again and more confident. He can now go out with all of us and ride.
But the problem with things for us has truly been our kiddo not being able to safely ride on the road here by herself or ride to school. Even my husband gets a bit nervous. Part of this is a lack of infrastructure. It's something I have lobbied for for FOUR YEARS. Finally, we are getting infrastructure. Part of it is hills which wear her down. And since even this infrastructure will make things safer, the grade at which it will operate will not make it particularly accessible.
So, when we went on vacation to southwestern Michigan near where I grew up in Northwest IN, the wheels began to turn. And the lake at cycling routes came flooding back to me as a beautiful memory as they always do when we visit Michigan (we call it our favorite state for a reason). Letting my kid fall in love with The Lake for the first time was such a powerful thing. Things were much more affordable even in a tourist area than they are here. We didn't realize how much of a premium we paid down here. So, we started talking about how we'd been wanting and needing more space now that we were both working from home full time. Of course, in this market here, buying anything even remotely in our budget was impossible. This is why we started talking about buying in southwest Michigan. We asked friends up there including my boss who lives up there what they liked and didn't like. One of them connected us to a wonderful agent and we settled on Kalamazoo because of a few reasons. One, we were unhappy with the equity and diversity of our school district (I could go on for days about this and will get into it later) and the area has great schools valuing and having actual diversity. Two, we wanted a more diverse area. Three, we didn't really want to lose the benefits of a college town. Four, we wanted to be close - but not too close - to family. Five, we wanted to be within an hour from the lake. Six, we needed it to be affordable and it was.
Here, buying a slightly larger house with office space above ground and a second bathroom would be not only challenging time-wise, it would be impossible even within our maximum budget. There, we were able to get an absolutely beautiful house with plenty of space for less than we have sold our house for. And we were fortunate enough to be able to plan this move north while selling here so we could just do it. We went from talking about it to doing it in two months! So, we're moving north. We will have a trail that will go right from our house to Bell's Brewery (our favorite place on earth) and a lake with a beach across the street. Perhaps most importantly, my kid can walk and bike to school because it's a block and a half away! We will have actual winter! I am not excited to buy a snowblower as my parents reminded me I would need. However, I am excited to feel the lovely parts of my own childhood through the eyes of my kid. For that alone, it will be worth the stress. And yes, there was a lot. Our first offer on a house resulted in a nightmarish inspection report. We had to run away screaming from it. I then had to drive back up there on my own to see even more houses. Luckily, after driving all over The Region and southwest Michigan, I was able to put in an offer on a beautiful, well-cared-for old house and we had a sterling inspection. So, we are moving in just over a week. I also got to see some family and have some time alone to myself which was golden. I needed that. Sometimes, things don't work out the way you hope they would but it's for the best.
I will buy a house on my birthday. It's a bit of a silly present but I will take it. What I don't want to think about is moving our life to another state.
The worst part? Showing our house several times a day for the better part of a week with three dogs. This required us to take all three dogs in the car. Because, yes, we now have three dogs. We are clearly dog people through and through. It's been a grind but, generally, we made it work. I won't miss that.