Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Move: To Madison, WI (8 Days Before Arrival)

Preparing for an interstate move is in many ways both fast and slow. There is only so much that you can do from web-searches.

Such as finding out how affordable housing in Madison can be. If you insist on having a house with a yard, you can easily afford it. Near the airport. Under flight paths. Or, near freeways or other limited-access high-speed roads. Or, major intersections. Picky picky picky. Or, you can be, um, liberal in your defining what “Madison” is; call pretty much every village within 45 minutes of the corporate limits of Madison as “Madison,” et voila, you have affordable housing.

If driving 45 minutes through scenic countryside, during a snow storm, sounds like a terrifying way to begin your day, then there are rather affordable apartments near the well-to-do office parks of Middleton or Madison. Seriously. If you don’t mind living in an apartment, and prioritize a short commute on plowed streets, then you have several options. If you’re willing to live among college students, and don’t mind leasing on a semester-ly basis, then you have a lot of options in houses with patina.

The downside is living among the well-mannered, sober, sophisticated, emotionally-resilient, experienced-in-life, oh-so-unique and charming 18-22 year-olds. And, there is nothing that they want more in their midst than a 30-something Texan aerospace-professional with a hunting license, who insists that the word literally is not its own antonym, uses math in making financial decisions, and thinks that How to Win Friends and Influence People is a really good book.

The 45-minute-or-more commute through dark, snowy weather seems wonderful, by comparison. Less complaining.

Anyways, web-searching can only go so far in helping you buy a house. There are probably ways to buy real estate sight-unseen, without interacting with another human. That seems like a bad idea when it comes to selecting a place to live. The depth of work that a professional provides in house-buying necessitates more time than browsing listings on Zillow. Naturally, the people that you need to do things have other customers to serve, who are further along in the process or queue than you.

The good news is that my mortgage pre-approval was completed. The real estate broker is finding houses, and arranging for a tour.

In the meantime, the car had its oil changed, tires rotated, engine air filter changed, and wheel alignment checked. Notwithstanding the move, this would have waited until mid-April. However, I would cross the mile threshold somewhere between Houston and Little Rock, Arkansas. No need to risk voiding the warranty, or frantically trying to get the car serviced while starting a new job and continuing the house-buying process.

As of tonight, I have only four more workdays left at the current employer. Co-workers and friends are graciously making time for final lunches and dinners. It is heartwarming and humbling to know that you were (and are) part of a community.

The final occurrences (for the time being) of certain events are happening: final visit to a particular dealership, final visit to the long-time dentist, final Open House at the CreatorSpace. The final visit to the Greenway Plaza-area CostCo was more than a month ago.

Meal planning is somewhat tricky. Two things had ought to be minimized: spending money, and buying food that will spoil before a chance to eat it presents itself. The last time I moved, restaurant spending spiked. Time that would go to buying groceries and cooking was spent on moving possessions. Plus, there would always be some cooking tool or dish missing, until everything was moved and unpacked. Plus, if you have friends helping you, you reward their helpfulness with pizza, beer, Chinese buffets, etc. The whole process can be so tiresome that the thought of yet another drive to someplace else, to then stand at a stove, or even wait for the pizza to finish baking, seems unreasonable in light of other options.

This move will be like that, except that recruiting Houston-area friends to follow me to the Madison has proven difficult. Offers of beer and poutine have not impressed them.

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