In case you missed it, last month I shared my Bucktown apartment tour + a little announcement: Wend and I are moving to the burbs.
We’re moving ~15 miles north of the city to perhaps the best space for us yet–yes, even better than that beautiful Door County home because this new space has a fenced-in yard. Not having a yard for Wend is something I’ve felt immense guilt over for nearly a decade and with each move the guilt grew. Finally, I’m able to afford this space for him that he’s deserved since day one and let me tell you, it feels amazing. We’ve made two or three trips to the new house in the last week and he’s spent the majority of the time investigating the backyard + chasing rabbits. Big boy approved.
Truth be told, I’ve been uneasy in the city for the past year. As Wend gets older, sometimes he needs to go out in the middle of the night, and doing that here doesn’t feel safe. That fact alone + wanting more space + spending more time in the suburbs + not really living a city lifestyle anymore had me ready to commit to suburb life around the holidays. Throw in the Chicago-DC-Naples road trip I took around that time where nary a person per destination lived in a city and the decision was passively solidified. It felt luxurious not to have to deal with city logistics. So it was time.
Beginning mid-February I started scouring prospective homes in Chicago’s Northshore. I had one neighborhood up there in mind, but I knew with my budget + non-negotiables it was a long shot. From February to mid-April I was on rental sites + my MLS page every day, multiple times a day. I virtually stalked new homes for sale before they appeared in my agent’s emails the next day. I was open to renting or purchasing since the market has been so insane. I was familiar with every listing (for rent or sale) within my budget from Niles to Highland Park and over to the lake. I was all over it but it still felt impossible. And then one day I increased my price range by $200.
sunroom // coverting to mudroom
The interest rate on rent is 100%. Woof. And because of this, I never want to spend more than is absolutely necessary to get by just existing in a box. But in doing that, I meet none of my non-negotiables, including the yard. I had this obscure number in my head that I didn’t want to go beyond but once I sat down and crunched the numbers, I realized I could afford a bit more than I was currently searching for. So I set up a tour for this cutie house with the arched doorways in the (no exaggerating) exact part of the neighborhood I originally set my sights on. To this day, I’m shocked this worked out and have my Papa to thank for it.
I’d always felt close to my grandpa and over the last 15 years, we had a really special relationship. Before he passed in January 2020, we were able to spend a lot of time together with me finally living in the Midwest + him in this northern Chicago suburb. It’s where he’d lived for ~65 years and where my dad and his siblings grew up. As I met the landlord and walked through the space for the first time, we got to talking about area schools and community sports. Turns out our families have crossed paths before, my dad and my landlord’s uncle even playing baseball together in high school. Small world. After stepping into the entryway of this new space, I knew this was my home. The rest of the small worldliness was just a bonus. It went from bonus to sign when I got the lease on what would have been my Papa’s 100th birthday, one month ago today. I signed it that day.
Ever since he passed, I see 11:11 everywhere. Some would say coincidence, some would say confirmation bias, some say it’s the angel number. For me, it’s my grandpa. It’s how we say hi, how we chat, how he tells me he approves. Last week, I got the keys to the new house and took Wendell into the yard for the first time. I put my keys and phone on the table to run around the yard with him and before I stepped away, I glanced at the time on my phone: 11:11.
I can’t tell you how excited I am for this next chapter.