Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Leaving canyon life?

Sean and I have been going back and forth for a few months now about moving out of the canyon even though we haven't found a place to buy. At first, we were both super against it. Leave our canyon? And our owl? And our cozy basement apartment with it's amazing porches for Pinterest brunches and month-to-month lease? Not a chance! 

But, living in the canyon has also been wearing on us - especially since we got Emma. The first few years we lived there (pre-Emma), we didn't have to leave the canyon much if we didn't want to. I would go to work, come home, and chill out in our place and relax. Sean worked 24 hour shifts, so he wasn't driving in and out too often. We would spend entire weekends in the canyon - going for hikes or eating at the Bistro. But when we got Emma, and realized she was allergic to the world but still needed an outlet for all her energy, we started having to leave every day. To the dog park in Santa Monica, or in Calabasas, or to the boardwalk in the Palisades where we could take her on long walks. And it began to wear on us - on our stress levels, on our cars, on our wallets.

Which is when we decided we should look for a place to buy. It was a buyer's market, right? We had some money for a down payment, and we have great credit, so why not buy something and not waste money on rent?? But it turns out it's NOT a buyer's market, which brings us to now - 14 months after we started looking for a house, and getting increasingly frustrated with the canyon.

One of the things topping our list of why to move, other than having to visit the dog park every day? The wildlife - the coyotes, and snakes, and racoons, and mice, and MORE mice, and spiders, and ants, and and and... the list never seems to end. The other day, I had the heater on in the bathroom (you remember, the one where the birds were living?) and a centipede dropped out of it. *shudder* It wasn't fun to kill, either.

But just when I think I'm ready to throw in the towel and move tomorrow, I remember all the things we love about living in the canyon. Our unique shared back yard, Topanga Days and the community, cuddling up with blankets, the way the temperature changes as we get towards home and how the marine layer creeps in, the way our road looks and smells after it rains, how GREEN everything is, how close we are to Santa Monica and the ocean. I love getting out of my car in our driveway and looking up at the stars - they're simply stunning out where we are, and I love driving in the canyon at night and looking in the rearview mirror and seeing nothing - no lights, no traffic.

So why are we considering moving now? A couple of reasons - but the biggest one for me was my recent trauma with the septic tank. It rained a while ago, and last Wednesday I noticed some seepage from the lower manhole in our lot. I told the neighbor that's in charge of getting the tank emptied, and assumed she would get it done. Then on Friday night, I came home pretty late after taking Emma to the park and running errands and getting groceries, and parked a little too close to that manhole. And then accidentally stepped on it when I was going for the groceries in the trunk. And sewage splash out at me. Yeah. Absolutely disgusting. Nothing hit me, fortunately, but I was LIVID. And that sealed the deal for me. I made an appointment to see some apartments by the dog park, and Sean and I went by Sunday.

The apartments by the dog park aren't our perfect place to live. It's a big complex - 600 apartments! - rather than a unique, cute triplex. It's "corporate" - all the places basically look the same. But - it's RIGHT next to the dog park, so taking Emma there every day will be 50 minutes and 30 miles less. It's close to the freeway, which means no more driving 8 miles before I can even get anywhere. They have washers and dryers, and two on-site gyms that are actually pretty well equip. They have dishwashers, garbage disposals and bathtubs - things I have sorely missed for the last 4 and a half years. And while the one bedroom + loft floorplan that we think we like best is a little more expensive than what we're paying now, I think having more space is going to be a really good thing for us.    

Moving out of the canyon will definitely be bittersweet, and a part of me will always think of the canyon as home. It'll always be our first place together. But I think we're ready to go. I think we've outgrown our cute little place (or as Sean says "we've put our time in"), and while it will be really emotional for me to leave, I think it'll be good for us to switch it up.   

Now we just have to agree on WHEN.

Here's to new places!


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Nanette said...

Sounds like a great decision, A, despite how much you love canyon life. It really is nice living so close to a freeway. We've always done that in LA, but not in Portland, which was kind of a pain.