Phew! Okay, now that's schools over, my number one project is to find a new, larger place to live, purge our home of that which is unnecessary, pack up the house, and move. No, really, it IS just one project. It just has many parts.
I've spent many hours searching the Internet this weekend, trying to find just the right place. It was challenging when we moved here a few years ago, but now it seems more complicated. We have more knowledge of the city, and we have more constraints.
When we moved here, we did not have the children and never thought we would ever have the children with us full time. So, that community that has houses 3x6 foot backyards look like a landscaping dream to me (not so good with landscaping, plus we live in the desert), but without a nearby park it might be a miserable place for our family in general. We don't have much of a yard now, but it's enough that the children can keep themselves entertained for a while.
Schools are another issue. I went through some worry last year when we were in transition of getting custody but didn't know how long it was going to take, so we didn't move to a better neighborhood. In the end, I was happy with the school in our neighborhood despite how bad it looks on the accountability reports.
It is very likely we will be able to put the children in a better school, but the stress I've been dealing with is finding neighborhoods that aren't zoned for 12-months schools. You see our district has both 9-month and 12-months elementary schools. I can't quite figure out the system, as it seems so random. For example, if we lived on the other side of the street, my children would be zoned for a 12-months school, which was actually a 9-month school last year. Scary! I guess it just depends on which neighborhoods are overcrowded. I can tell you that checking for school zones has narrowed my list of possibilities drastically.
Convenience and ease of commute are a major factors for me, too. My husband has a job where he travels all over the valley, so we just have to live with that gas bill (he does get a stipend to cover part of it), but I can't see the use of living on the edge of the city, where so many homes have been built, and then having to drive through heavy traffic for hours a day, especially with gas prices now well over $3.00/gallon. The people living in the 'burb edges must have a lot more money than I do to spend on gas! Maybe that's the small town girl in me, but this commuting stuff is not for me. I can handle a 10-15 minute drive, but much more than that, especially in heavy traffic, and I get irritated.
In some ways it's exciting moving to a new place, but the initial work is exhausting and overwhelming. I've moved many times in my adult life, but usually my options were rather narrow, or I just happened upon a good deal without even particularly wanting to move. Already it's more more complicated than it's ever been, and I'm just starting...