It took us about 45 minutes to get from our new home to our friend Stacy’s house. A big part of getting use to being in a new place and is getting your bearings and figuring out what it will take to get you to friends, work, and all of your favorite “old” places. Part of the joy is that you also get to find a lot of great new places. Stacy, who left the city for the north suburbs last year, was the first to be concerned about our move. Though it’s not our fault she moved so far north, we felt it important to find a quick way for us to travel to each other’s places. Yahoo says that we can get to her place in 26 minutes. Either we need a new car or we have to work on our routing to cut down on our time. A few more times we have learned: it takes about 20 minutes to get downtown by train and it is about a 15 minute drive to Brookfield Zoo. I think visitors will like those times. When I figure out important things like time to the nearest cask conditioned beer and time to the nearest decent pizza joint, I'll let you know.
Some of the anxiety of moving is that we will be living in the suburbs for the first time in a long time. We are told that Oak Park isn’t “really” the suburbs. I am not sure how to take this. Yes, it is sizable, somewhat diverse, walk-able, and has quite a few cultural amenities. It has a lot in common to its large neighbor but it is also a very different world in the western suburbs. First of all, it is always a bit warmer. On an average summer day, it can be 80 in the city and 90 in the OP. One glance through their local paper, the Wednesday Journal, and you can make some of your own comparisons (these ones are sometimes a bit more entertaining).
We came out this weekend to the OP to test our air conditioning. It works. We walked through the house with one of Ileana’s co-workers, Bill, for a few pointers on some rehab work from a carpenter’s perspective. I don’t think Ileana appreciated Bill repeating lines like, “you guys have quite a project here” or “wow, that’s sure going to be a lot of work”. It doesn’t seem like Bill has realized that he has the unfortunate coincidence of being the only carpenter we know in the OP. Sure it’s going to be a lot of work…
At our visit, we also had the chance to meet our neighbors. This was nice as I was afraid it was going to be one of those awkward things where we had lived there for months and all we did is stare at each other across the fence. It sounds like a nice neighborhood and helped a bit more to ease our stress about the move.
With three weeks to closing, we also started packing and planning the move this weekend. I put my stamp collection up on E-bay (soon to be followed by about 100 more items we need to get rid of). We have also started a collection of odds and ends to put up for sale on Craig’s list and a garage sale. The new home does not have a lot of closet space and we need to simplify our lives by getting rid of some clutter. I think that this is where the real fun starts. Yes, honey, I will gladly throw away my antique newspaper collection if only you will get rid of the hundred pairs of shoes you haven’t worn in the past year. As long as we can unload a lot of our unwanteds and as long as we have enough income from this to buy a can of paint, some brushes and a six-pack of beer, I think we’ll be happy.