I wrote recently about the death of City Mouse, Country Mouse. It was affordable in terms of a monthly budget, but not so much when we looked at the bigger picture and what we want for our future. So it came down to choosing – do I want to be a City Mouse and deal with a small apartment and no outdoor space (without having to pack up the kids and go with them to said outdoor space), OR do I want to be a Country Mouse and live far out from the city? Problem with the latter is that DH still needs to commute to work, and to do so from the acreages we have been looking at is prohibitive in both cost and (more importantly) time away from the family. And…we can’t afford acreages that are close enough to the city to do a daily commute.
In the last 48 hours I’ve gone through a series of mental workouts trying to figure out what I really want and what is important to me here in the short term. What could I live with (and not live without) in the next few years? The first thing I realized was that the size of the outdoor space needn’t be so big – I wasn’t planning on having horses and other livestock for a few years anyways. Mostly I just want a garden to grow herbs and vegetables, and some room for my kids to run around in. Here in the city, that will cost you almost a million dollars (no, I’m not exaggerating), and you’ll be sandwiched between two other houses on a street where buildings outnumber trees and shrubs 20 to 1. Or you could move way over to the east side of town and guarantee you’ll be spending most of your time a) in a car and b) stuck in traffic. Or you could move to a suburb and spend your life in commuter hell trying to escape. So what to do?
And then it hit us – there’s an Island community, one of the beautiful Gulf Islands that lay off the lower mainland of British Columbia, and it’s a short 15 minute ferry ride to the mainland. It connects to a highway that is an almost direct route to a) my mother, b) the inlaws, and c) DH’s work place. It has a well-established and involved community, a homelearning community, and lots of events and community organization. And some friends of ours, an unschooling family, just moved there a few months ago.
Today we visited the Island. First we drove around for a while looking at houses. It definitely feels like you are not in the city! It reminds me of the area where we were looking to buy an acreage – woodsy, with houses set either far apart or with so much greenery in between that you feel you have no neighbours. But this place is actually much closer to the city. I could easily plan a last minute day trip to meet up with my city-dwelling mamas, should the desire strike me. And yet you are deep in the temperate rainforest of the pacific coast – my favorite landscape in the world.
We’re hoping to buy a place, but it is pricey over there. In fact we’d ruled it out before because we couldn’t afford an acreage. But now that we’d be happy with just a decent size yard the possibilities have opened up some. We’re still looking at the lowest end of the price range, but there is hope. In the meantime, if a suitable rental property comes up we’ll happily grab it and proceed with Plan C until we find a home to buy there. Might be a nice way to “test drive” the community, while allowing us to be patient in waiting for the right place to buy.
As we headed home we felt very excited about this new plan. And there was something else we were excited about too…we’ve decided to go ahead and stop “not trying to get pregnant” (!!!). I think it’s as close as either of us can come to saying “yes, we want another baby”. If our past track record still holds, I’ll be pregnant before summer’s end. To hell with trying to use logic and reasoning, I can’t get it out of my head so I might as well give it the ol’ college try. Then, even if it turns out my eggs are dried up and my uterus has retired, at least I won’t spend the rest of my life wondering “what if?”!