John and I rent a townhouse in Providence. Moving to Providence was the next step in figuring out where we want to live, settle, buy a house, and so far, we really like it. We LOVE our neighborhood. We’re not in any hurry to buy a house (still, although if we find one we like at a price we’re cool with, we might), and so the plan was to give this townhouse a full year, or at least get through the summer, and decide if we wanted to renew the lease or find another place.
That was the plan until our recent happy news. Now, we know we have to move when our lease is up. It would be easy to have an infant here, but once that baby starts to crawl…not so easy. The entire first floor, with the exception of the entryway and the kitchen, which are both tiled, is old hardwood floor. The old part is important – it was installed when you still nailed the floorboards down from the top. So the entire first floor has row upon row upon row of tiny nails that are constantly popping up and ripping socks and hurting our feet. No kidding – John keeps a hammer in the dining room cabinet. Hammering down nails in the floor is nearly a daily occurrence. Yes, we have a big area rug in the living room, but it’s not wall-to-wall carpeting. A crawling baby on hands and knees on that floor? I don’t think so.
Also, I think I take back the part where I said it would be easy to have an infant here.
- The stairs are twisty and steep. And slippery.
- EVERY FLOORBOARD IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE CREAKS. LOUDLY. It is impossible to sneak around in this house. If one of us is awake and moving, we’re both awake. If this baby is a light sleeper…
- The back door (where we park) is hard to navigate if you have anything in even one hand. It has stairs, a sharp turn, a railing that makes the space really small, a heavy storm door that opens out and takes up the remaining space, and an inner door that requires two hands to open (one to turn the key, one to turn the knob). I have issues with it when I’m carrying groceries. How will I handle that when I’m carrying a carseat with a baby in it?
Sure, none of this is insurmountable, but it’ll be a huge pain, and we can move, so we’re planning to. Where? NO IDEA. I mean, somewhere in New England, but…that doesn’t help all that much. So to find out, we’re going to drive all over New England most weekends for the next few months and scout.
Last Saturday, we headed to southern New Hampshire, which, to our complete and utter surprise, is only an hour away from us on a Saturday morning (because no traffic around Boston). We drove around Nashua, Derry, Hooksett, Concord (lunch and a little walking, too), and Henniker. Nashua and Concord are firmly on our list, and we’ve discovered that we probably don’t want to move to a town smaller than Concord (pop. 42K). (Of course, that disqualifies all of Vermont except Burlington. We’ll see.) We got back home, tired and cranky from our long day in the car, and started talking about Providence. Why have we essentially written off Providence after one day’s jaunt to New Hampshire? Well, we haven’t. We like it. You know what? Let’s focus on Providence for a while. And then we realized one big thing we haven’t discussed AT ALL: schools. The freakout began. When we were thinking about kids years ago, it was easy. We lived in the best (sometimes second best) school district in Virginia. No thought required. And while Rhode Island schools on the whole are pretty good, Providence schools SUCK. Apparently. Based on a couple of days of frantic research. Everyone who lives in the neighborhood we want to settle in sends their kids to one of the three private schools nearby. We are NOT doing that. We went from “huh, New Hampshire could be it” to “Wait, we really like Providence, let’s just stay here” to “WE CAN’T RAISE OUR KID IN PROVIDENCE SCHOOLS AND OH MY GOD HOW ARE WE GOING TO FIND A PLACE TO LIVE THIS IS TOO HARD UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR!!!!” in the space of two hours Saturday night.
Fun times. And NO, this was not just me and my hormones. John was right there with me, although he was more constructive about it.
We’re better today. The plan for now is to check out the rest of Rhode Island, see what’s out there, see what towns we might like to live in and afford on OH YEAH HALF OF OUR CURRENT INCOME possibly – exactly what I’m going to do for work, both short and long term is still very much TBD.
It’ll be fine. We’re not obsessed with making sure we live in the best school district ever – our bar for that is pretty reasonable, I think. It was just such a shock to realize that we had NEVER considered schools in our plans to move around and find our perfect place to live. We didn’t think we’d have to.