I know this is ostensibly a tabletop gaming blog about programming and video games, but sometimes we get distracted by real-world concerns and I end up talking about myself. Since I’m preoccupied with moving and since a few people are curious about it, here’s what’s going on…
Why Did We Move?
You might remember that my stepfather passed away in October. That was the first domino in a long chain that brought us here. Lots of little things contributed to this arrangement…
- My mom has never lived aloneIt’s possible that maybe she had a dorm to herself when she was in college in the 1960s. I never asked. and I don’t think she cares for it.
- Her apartment was very expensive.
- Mom is nearing 80 years old. She’s still active and has her wits, but at this age there’s always the concern that this could change suddenly.
- For the last few years my wife Heather has specialized in elder care. She’s really good at it and at any given time she usually has more job offers than she can accept. It seems to make sense to have Mom with us so Heather can help if / when Mom starts to decline.
- I don’t know how things work elsewhere, but around here renting a modest apartment costs a little more than the mortgage for a good sized home. That is, if you can own a home then you can save a couple hundred a month compared to a renter and enjoy more space in a nicer neighborhood with more privacy. The problem is that you need a down payment in the neighborhood of tens of thousands to make that happen, and it’s really hard to save that much when your monthly rent is so highRelatively speaking. I know in New York / LA, $900 wouldn’t be enough to rent a closet.. Heather and I tried, but every time we got a nest egg of a couple thousand there would be some unexpected expenseCar repairs, taxes, helping out our older kids that have moved out. that devoured it. So by moving in together, we’re all saving moneyHopefully. I mean, we ran the numbers and it all looks good, but there’s a big difference between spreadeet projections and reality. and enjoying more living space.
So this is a personal decision, an economic decision, and a practical decision. The house is actually Mom’s, but for Heather and I it feels like owning a home in the sense that we can repaint / decorate / landscape at will.
What I Like About The New Place
Like I said on the Diecast: This place is really nice.
1. My bedroom is DARK.
I have conflicting bodily needs. I like to stay up late and work while everyone else is asleep and the house is quiet. At the same time, I sleep very poorly if the room is too bright. So on one hand I want to stay up late, but on the other hand it’s hard to sleep after the sun comes upI tried wearing an eye mask. It made my face itchy. Ugh.. Dark curtains help, but it’s amazing how much light makes it into the room around the edges when the walls are white.
In the new place, we painted the walls dark blue. On Monday morning I woke up after my first night of sleep in the new room. I hadn’t bothered to track down my bedroom clock yet, so I had no idea what time it was. Around the window I could see the faint ghostly light of pre-dawn. Maybe it was 5am?
Then I opened the bedroom door and was blinded by the midday sun. It was 10am and the sun was out.
I love it. I’m going to get good sleep here.
2. I can do what I want with my office.
Landlords are wary of their tenants turning the drywall into swiss cheese, so there are usually rules against mounting stuff on the walls. Also, for whatever reason people around here want to cover their gorgeous hardwood floors with ugly dust-gathering, caster-trapping, static-generating shag. So I always end up with my office chair getting mired in the shag and needing to vacuum every week for the privilege. Fie.
But now this room is mine. The carpet is gone and I can hang whatever I want on the walls. I’ve decided to go crazy and build a garish PC Gaming Temple. The current plan is to get some rainbow LED string lights like these…
…and hang a translucent curtain in front of them. The curtain will diffuse the lights and make them a little “dreamy”, while also acting as acoustic dampeners.
This project is a bit frivolous and needs to wait until the big important jobs are done, but it’s something nice I’m looking forward to.
Heather and IssacIf you’re new here: My wife and son, respectively. love caring for plants. Also, Issac is really fond of birds. At our old place, we had a postage-stamp yard, and the place before that had a concrete “yard”. But now we’ve got lots of space to landscape and they’re both very happy.
Yesterday Issac hung up some bird feeders. We’ll see if they end up being squirrel feeders. Either way, it’ll be educational and fun to observe.
4. The AC is really good.
The old place wasn’t large, but it was arranged in a way that made it murderously hard to keep cool. It was an apartment that occupied the 2nd and 3rd floor of a 3-story building. It had skylights in the roof that were very pretty, but also turned the top floor into a hothouse. The whole place got blasted by the sun for most of the day, which made it really hard to keep cool. Once the temps got into the 90s32C to 38C. the AC could no longer keep up and it would get very sticky inside.
The new place is just a single level with a basement. The house is made of stone instead of wood. It’s shaded by vegetation for parts of the day. We’re surrounded by grass instead of asphalt and blacktop. All of this means it’s nice and cool in here. I have trouble concentrating on complex tasks when the room is over 80F26.6C, so this is a really big win for me.
Also, it’s nice not having to tiptoe around to avoid irritating the downstairs neighbor.
5. We have a garage!
For those of you who live in warmer climates: A garage isn’t just for fussy rich people to keep their BMWs secure and clean. They’re really important in places with harsh winter weather. Having your car exposed to the elements means that rain can enter all the little crevices and freeze, which is hard on things. Having to spend an extra 10 minutes every morning cleaning off the car before you can drive it is also really frustrating and annoying.
Then there’s the extra hassles: The door locks freeze, windows get stuck, wipers crack or break, and after you’ve dealt with all of that you track filthy icy sludge into the car when you finally get in. Having the car exposed to every rainstorm means those little bits of chipped paint will grow into rust blossoms that much faster.
But if you’re keeping your car in a garage, you’re saved from all of those miseries.
6. All the little things…
On top of the rest, this space is just nicer in terms of aesthetics. Nicer floors, nicer layout, gorgeous windows, nice deck, etc. The only place I’ve liked more than this is the house where I spent my teenage years. I feel like, after a long journey, I’ve made it back to the comfort I had back in 1984-1994.
That house we lived in during my teenage years is called the “Tower View house” in the family. At the time, the address was on “Tower View Drive”. Tower View has since been chopped up into many smaller roads and the address of the house has been changed twice since the 80s, but we still refer to it as Tower View.
One of the interesting details about this place is that it has a lot of layout similarities with the Tower View place. The houses aren’t really the same floor plan, but they have little matching sections that have been rearranged in amusing waysIt’s understandable that different houses would have similarities like this. Once you factor in plumbing, ventilation, lighting, through-traffic, plot size, and the slope of the land, there are only so many ways to lay out a house that make sense..
It’s been 26 years since I lived at Tower View, but I still find myself trying to impose that map on this new place. The hallway here feels a lot like Tower View, to the point where I expect to come out of the bathroom and find the kitchen in the second door on the left. But instead it’s the third door and the kitchen is flipped backwards. Brains are weird.
I’ll post pictures of the office once the renovations are done. Right now it’s just a nest of disorganized cables on a wobbly card table, and there’s no reason to take pictures of that. This is a good enough place to work for now. We’ll make it fun later.
I’m really happy here. Thanks for all the well-wishes. We’re getting back to the regular content schedule later this week.
 It’s possible that maybe she had a dorm to herself when she was in college in the 1960s. I never asked.
 Relatively speaking. I know in New York / LA, $900 wouldn’t be enough to rent a closet.
 Car repairs, taxes, helping out our older kids that have moved out.
 Hopefully. I mean, we ran the numbers and it all looks good, but there’s a big difference between spreadeet projections and reality.
 I tried wearing an eye mask. It made my face itchy. Ugh.
 If you’re new here: My wife and son, respectively.
 32C to 38C.
 It’s understandable that different houses would have similarities like this. Once you factor in plumbing, ventilation, lighting, through-traffic, plot size, and the slope of the land, there are only so many ways to lay out a house that make sense.
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