Mar 23, 2015

How NOT to Decide Where to Live

It is interesting how society changes in such a short period of time.  For example, consider people's residential habits.  My grandparents lived in their houses for decades.  They reared their children there, spent lonely years there, played with their grandchildren there, and ultimately passed on there.  That was kind of how things were done.  We moved into the house I grew up in when I was two.  My mother lived there until I was nearly thirty.  That was our home.

When I moved away to college, little did I know that I would become a modern day nomad.  In the 23 years since I graduated from high school, I have had 19 different addresses.  Yes, that is correct.  I average 14 months in each place.  This house we live in now in South Carolina - this will be my second longest tenured address behind my parents' house at a whopping three years.  I lived in 12 different locations in Orlando alone.  And I'm passing this nomadic nature on to my children.  My oldest son has lived at 9 addresses in 13 years.  Our daughter has lived at 7 in 11 years; our youngest at 4 in 7 years.  Our oldest child has attended 6 different schools.

Our case may be extreme, unless you are a military family.  But people move around much more now than they used to.  Our travels have been due to a lot of circumstance, but the last few years it has been due to my wife's medical training.  We moved to Tallahassee for the first half of medical school, back to Orlando for the second half, and then to Columbia, SC for residency.  And we are now about fifteen months away from another move for fellowship.  That will be another three years.  The other day, my wife and I were talking about this.  She said, "After fellowship, we will need to consider where we want to move permanently."  That concept is so bizarre to me now.  Permanent residence?  I haven't had one of those in decades.

So we have been traveling around to interview at different places for this upcoming fellowship.  Well, I say we like a dad would say, "We are having a baby."  Mostly "our" interviewing consists of me driving us to the city, Heather going to a full day of stressful interviews, and me sleeping in and then exploring cities for good BBQ.  We are down to six choices: Houston (which I missed), Nashville, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Philadelphia, and Chapel Hill, NC.  We are considering all sorts of things when making this decision, as we should.  The most important is the quality of training Heather is going to receive.  But we also are looking at cost of living, where we would live, opportunities for me for work, things for the kids to do, and even colleges.  (Our oldest will be a junior in high school when we finish.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Terrifying, isn't it?)  However, I am a guy.  And I am a relatively immature guy at that.  So as much as I try to choose a new location based on legitimate reasons, I cannot help but have other ridiculous criteria enter my head.  So I offer you the stupidest reasons for moving to (or not moving to) each of these places.  These are genuine thoughts I have had as we have gone through this process.

  • It is in Texas.  Texas has great BBQ.  The BBQ in Texas is at another level.  The best BBQ places everywhere else would be bench-riders compared to the average places in Texas.  Even my beloved 4Rivers would be a mediocre place in Texas.  This is good.
  • Houston is in UCF's conference.  So UCF would come to play football there.  I could go watch them play.  This is good.
  • Texas is hot.  I grew up in Florida, which also was hot.  But Texas hot is a different kind of hot.  It is like oven hot.  It is dry roast hot, as opposed to steam-cooked hot.  This is bad.
  • They have professional sports teams here.  The Texans are in the Jaguars' division.  So the Jags would come to town.  This is good.  The Rockets have Dwight Howard.  I hate Dwight Howard for screwing over the Magic.  This is bad.  The Astros are stupid.  This is irrelevant.  
  • Nashville is frigging awesome.  It is a great city - one of my favorite.  I love Tennessee and I love Nashville.  I don't know too many other places where you can just walk around downtown and constantly hear live performers in restaurants.  And these guys would be GREAT performers in any other city.  In Nashville, they play bars at 2pm.  This is good.
  • Nashville has pretty good BBQ.  It has some great restaurants.  This is good.
  • My favorite hockey team - the Nashville Predators - is in Nashville.  I could go to their games.  This is AWESOME.
  • The Titans are in the Jaguars' division.  See what I said about the Texans.
  • The GOO GOO CLUSTER started in Nashville.  They have a storefront, where you can get Pink Cadillac specialty Goo Goos.  These are one of the best candies on the planet and this is the only place you can get them.  This is good.
  • The traffic in Nashville makes me want to die.  This is bad.
  • Nashville has a cool nickname.  Nashvegas.  The Predators keep trying to push for Smashville.  But that is not going to overtake Nashvegas.  This is good.
  • The home offices of Lifeway is in Nashville.  I'll keep my opinion to myself on that.
  • They have a giant replica of the Parthenon there.  This is good.
  • They have a chain of chili restaurants.  Actually, they have two chains.  Where else has chili restaurants?!?  This is good.
  • Donatos pizza is in Cincinnati.  We love Donatos.  This is good.
  • The Reds play there.  I hate baseball.  This is irrelevant.
  • The Bengals play there.  They are in a division where I don't like any of the teams.  Their colors are orange and black.  They are really just a non-entity when it comes to football for me.  This is bad.
  • Cincinnati is also in UCF's conference.  See what I said about Houston. 
  • The parking downtown is plentiful and cheap.  This is good.
  • Cincinnati is basically in Kentucky, separated by a river and a bunch of bridges.  For some reason, I really don't like the idea of living in, or that close to, Kentucky.  This is bad.  
  • It is in Ohio.  For some reason I always picture guys in hard hats and steel mills in Ohio. I'm not sure what I feel about this.  
  • Cincinnati has TWO good nicknames.  There is Cincy.  And there is The Natty.   That is good.
  • Ohio State is very close.  This is a strange university for me.  I absolutely detest their athletic teams.  But I think it is a great school.  This is a toss up.
  • The Birmingham Barons is where Michael Jordan played baseball.  You drive right by that ballpark whenever you are driving to the kiddo hospital.  I hate thinking about the fact that Michael Jordan played baseball.  This is interesting, but bad.   
  • They have really good BBQ in Birmingham.  It isn't Texas good, but it is good.  This is good.
  • UAB is in Birmingham.  They just shut down their football team.  That is an unforgivable offense to sports fans.  This is bad. 
  • It is known as the Pittsburgh of the South.  Pittsburgh is where they film all of the post-apocalyptic  movies where everything is bleak and bombed out.  If your city can double as a post-apocalyptic wasteland, your city sucks.  If your city is known as the poor doppelganger of that other sucky city, your city REALLY sucks.  This is bad.
  • Everything in Alabama is downhill.  Trust me.  It is weird.  This is bad.
  • There are a lot of University of Alabama fans in Birmingham.  I hate Alabama worse than I hate Ohio State, and without the positive feelings about the school.  This is really bad. 
  • It is a historic treasure trove.  I was a history ed major in school.  I love history.  In South Florida, the most interesting history is, "This is where Henry Flagler lived."  I love being able to see historic sites and monuments and all of that.  This is great.
  • The sports teams here are terrifying.  I cannot think of even one team I would feel safe taking my kids to see.  Between the Battery Chuckers at Eagles games, the thugs at Flyers games, baseball in general at Phillies games, and chronically depressed people at Sixers games.... Let's say this is bad and leave it there. 
  • There are diners in Philadelphia.  Diners are incredible.  We don't have diners down in Florida, or really in South Carolina.  Diners are everywhere up in Philly.  This is good.
  • There isn't really BBQ, but there are cheese steaks.  They are named after Philadelphia, for Pete's sake.  I don't even know Pete, but he would agree.  This is AWESOME.
  • Pirogi are sold everywhere.  They are delicious. This is good.
  • Philadelphia has a cool nickname too.  Philly.  This is good.
  • Rocky is from Philly.  This is good.
  • Northeastern people are grumpy, at least to someone who lived in the South his whole life.  This is bad.
  • The UNC Tarheels are here.  They have cool colors and play basketball well.  I don't hate them.  This is good. 
  • Duke University is awfully close.  I'm afraid I might get its stink on me.  This is bad.
  • That is really all I know about Chapel Hill.  It seems kind of anti-climactic after the other descriptions. This is bad.
So the moral of this experiment is that it is a good thing that I am not making this decision alone, or we would be moving to the city with the best BBQ, sports teams, and movie theaters.  Oh, I found a good movie theater in Cincinnati.


Faunty said...


davetark said...

Houston is not Dallas/Fort Worth - this is bad. Houston is HUGE - Most of New Orleans moved there after Katrina - not bad or good, just makes for a huge city.
Houston is where Joel Osteen is and has the largest church in the US. This is ba. . .well, I'd better not say.

Cincinnati has the Reds. Even if you don't like baseball, you need to like the Reds. The FIRST pro baseball team. The Big Red Machine. Bench, Rose (yeah, I know) Griffey, Griffey Jr, Foster, Davis, and Schotzie the dog. This is history and good.
Cincinnati has Kings Island. Great theme park with The Beast. . .and where the Brady Bunch visited in that one episode where the plans were swapped for a Scooby Doo poster.

Nashville - you can visit my brother. Just don't speed in Gallatin. He's a cop. Telling him you know me may not get you out of a ticket.

Birmingham - always hot.

Chapel Hill - all basketball, all the time.

Philadelphia - the cab company there has this telephone number - 666-6666. Be careful.