Saturday
Jul092005

« Dilemma »

Kelli and I have been ousted from our home. It has been my home for seven years as a real resident, and before that for all my life, it was my grandparent’s house. So all my life, it has at least been my second home, if not my first. It was the place where Kelli and I started our relationship, then our marriage. For most of that time we thought we’d be basing all our life together on this place, at least until the suburban collapse led us to other places that were more livable. Aside from our personal connections, we aren’t really too happy with San Diego. But our personal connections are like family to us, and indeed they are most of the family we have. Most of it is directly or closely tied to our church, and since we both have a few roles we play in the church, as trustee, director of Christian Ed, or my roles as web designer and audio guy, we are hard pressed to leave San Diego, but Kelli’s school is in Claremont near Ontario, east of Los Angeles.

We are faced with a move no matter what, but the challenge is that neither of us are working now, and it has been a big slog trying to find work, either here or in the LA area. It's so much harder to find work in a place where you can’t go to interviews on the spot, or a place where you can’t just carpet bomb the shops on every street. And in SD, things aren’t much better. Kelli’s had some responses and interviews after her blast emails with resumes attached, but nothing so far. We have one calendar month before we are supposed to be out of here, but no dice. We have a basically assured housing situation in Claremont at the school, but no job there to continue paying on it once we do get there. And down here, if we can afford anything like a decent one bedroom place, we are still left with the cost of storing things, and her commute cost, plus her commuter housing cost, which piles another $420 or so onto whatever we pay for here in SD. The main charm of staying in SD is to be near people we know and love, and our social/church world, but Kelli would have to commute each week and stay three nights at the school. We don’t have work in either town, so it really comes down to which town we get work in.

Having lived in SD all my life, and venturing only a few miles from where I was born, it is an odd idea to move somewhere else. Claremont is a charming town in its core, and a sweet college town with lots of liberal minds and a generally nice vibe about it. Of course, it's in the greater LA area, so it's laden with smog and traffic. We went up recently and scoped the place out and got a good feeling about it, but it's still 115 miles away, making it hard to imagine how we can live there and keep up with our SD lives, without being total schmucks driving two hours each way. It smacks of hypocrisy to do that when I am a huge peak oil activist.

After years of getting a family discount or renting the cheap ass apartment I had for a year-point-five, I am not too accustomed to needing to pay real rent, and storage, and all that. Or I am not accustomed to needing to sell stuff to downsize. I have been selling some minor stuff from my musical collection, and we are looking at putting on our first yard sale to further trim the fat. I hate the idea of selling my furniture, because much of it makes a set, and most of that was stuff that my grandparents had for years, and kept well. I’ve tried to keep the stuff in comparable condition. Kelli and I have some of the usual crappy particle board crap that we can sell or burn or leave by the side of the road, but after that, there is still most of a house’s worth of stuff that I’d prefer to not sell, because it is sufficiently good that I would get use out of it for years, but also would not sell for a huge amount, at least not enough to matter. I just feel I’d be better off keeping it as some of the last heirlooms I’ll ever have.

So right now we are both at each other’s necks ready to remind the other who’s fault it is that we are in this bind, or ready to remind the other who needs to flex more to make this work. I just think it's a shitty time to be out of work and housing at once, and for a totally nonsensical reason. For a guy who is bracing mentally for the end of American life as we know it, the last thing I need to have on my plate is the worry about how to get by while my wife is at school, at the same time facing a mediocre economy, and one I have no wish to support with my slave labor. I amuse myself with ideas of joining some co-op community of some sort, at least to get some custom housing deal that isn’t oppressive, but here I am, looking at joining the real world at the age of nearly 32, racked with fear of economic wipeout, and the only safe option being the not-so-desireable return to my father’s house for what would be a 3rd spell. On one hand, I’d like to go off and live in some arrangement where money is not a defining criterion. But hardly any such groups exist in southern California, and I am just not ready, though it does seem such groups would have some advantages as the world-at-large experiences increasing dysfunction.

So it's a terrible bind. We spend our time deepening our relations with people here, but the reality is looking more like a move to Claremont, while we fret over the lack of jobs in either place. Grrrrrrrrrr.

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