Home > family, house hunting > “Lost in suburbia hell, where are we?”

“Lost in suburbia hell, where are we?”

Those of you who are cool will know that, that is a quote from Gone in Sixty Seconds.  OK, maybe you’re not so cool for knowing that.  Yes, yes I know Nicholas Cage acts and sounds the same in every one of his movies, but I thought the movie was entertaining.  Shoot me.  But this is not about Nick Cage and his stellar acting chops.

John and I always thought we’d buy our first home in the city somewhere, in a walking neighborhood, far from the suburbs where we grew up.  We’re too young to be living in the suburbs we declared out loud to our two dogs.  But alas, we’ve been priced out of the city.  Who knew a dumpy 1 bedroom condo in West LA could still fetch a staggering $600k in this market? I never knew air space could be so pricey.  Or that the 2 bedroom in the ‘burbs would be more affordable than say, the no bedroom loft in Downtown LA, 2 blocks from Skid Row?  Will wonders never cease?  Plus we do have the animals – they need a nice big yard to use as a latrine.

So I guess the suburbs it is.  We have unequivocally decided that we will not buy a “Little Box” in some gated tract with a community pool, HOAs and CC & Rs – the “Little Boxes on the hillside” every third of which is exactly the same, except that one bathroom window; where you have to call ahead to the guard to let them know your friends are coming and where you can’t paint your house a pukey shade of purple if you wanted to.  OK, you probably can’t do that last one in a regular ole’ community either – I’m pretty sure some next door busybody would start a neighborhood insurrection if you did.

I have to admit, we are both little apprehensive about settling down in the suburbs.  It’s not like I hate the South Bay.  There is something to be said about familiarity.  You already know everything about where you live so no need to consult the all-knowing Yelp about where to get take-out tonight.  But familiar can also be analogous to boring.  I mean, it’s the suburbs after all – how exciting can it get?  Neighborhood Watch meetings?  Now that’s what I call a good time.

And speaking of familiar.  We’ll be close to family – which could be a very good thing or a not so good thing.  Let’s make some lists shall we?

Good things about living close to family (in no particular order)

1.  Ummm…if you don’t wanna cook, just drop by Mom and Dads.  For some reason, Mom and Dad always have food.

2.  Mom and Dad can doggie-sit.  They can baby-sit for that matter, once we get to that.

3.  Semi-retired Dads like to come and help with the yard work (although in this family that could be construed as both good and bad, trust me on this one).

Not-So-Good things about living close to family (ditto on the order of appearance)

1.  Rather than calling to see how you’re doing, Mom and Dad and siblings will drop by instead, unannounced.

2.  Mom and Dad will expect you to come by more often since you live so dang close.

3.  Where we grew up is fairly far from where we work so we’ll be commuting in traffic on a daily basis.

Our ideal home would be something older with good bones and cute little architectural details, that we can slowly work on and make magically delicious.  There will be a lot of factors to weigh once we decide to make any offers and although the old adage says “location, location, location,” I’m gonna rely on my gut to tell me if it’s “the one” or not.  And whether Bradley and Macy like it.

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