Sat 21 Mar 09

What’s the deal with Spring this year? We haven’t had a breakout 70 degree day yet, just a long gradual warming trend. Yesterday we finally touched the low 60s. Just warm enough to open up the windows for the day, circulating some non-dog-smelling air through the house. I tried to dry some clothes on the line in the backyard in the afternoon, but they kept blowing off into the dirt. Man, it gets windy here. The dogs seemed puzzled when I made them stay outside for about eight hours straight. I guess they’ve gone soft after a winter of couch lounging.

So, I’m pretty sure that I’ve had my fill of Yakima. It’s nowhere near an urgent need to leave or anything, but if the car were loaded this very moment and we were driving away tonight, I don’t think there would be a huge wave of nostalgia either. I mean it’s definitely been a great little blip on the life timeline, but it might be time for another blip. I wouldn’t complain about one or two more years, but I wouldn’t complain about zero more years either.

Mary’s in Columbia, South Carolina right now with a friend who’s visiting grad school there. And while she’s telling me about how annoying it is driving in traffic again and waiting five minutes at stoplights, she’s also saying how watching someone else make a life-jump has motivated her to start looking at master’s programs again. Hey, I’m all for catalysts. Let’s bounce. Yo.

It’s fun to think about if nothing else. So the goal then is to find a college with a Counseling Psychology master’s program in a city that we can afford. Probably a state school to keep tuition in check, but that’s not a deal-breaker. Preferably a big enough city where I wouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job. I’d vote to stay near mountains all things being equal, but I suppose that preference plays second fiddle.

So, a couple options after an initial Googling (CA would be great, but we can’t afford it. OR came up empty for programs. No programs near us now that fit):

Colorado State U (Fort Collins, CO)

A year ago we couldn’t afford to buy a house in Ft Collins. Looking at real estate now though, I think we’d be okay. This would be an amazing place to live. We’d be halfway closer to Michigan and about an hour each from Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver. I couldn’t find a single job posting similar to what I’m doing now though (not that I want keep desk surfing, but it would pay the bills). U of Northern Colorado in Greeley also has a program (PsyD though).

U of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)

I’d love to live in Utah. Even though I’m pretty sure I could track down employment, SLC might be a bit too pricey for home ownership. All the Mormons we play basketball and flag football with here though seem nice (in a sober stroller-pushing sort of way), so Utah’s probably pretty friendly. And Band of Horses sings a pretty phenomenal Great Salt Lake. So, you know, that’s good.

Western Michigan U (Grand Rapids campus)

Boooo lake effect snow/clouds! I have to be honest though, this would be by far the easiest pick of any college out there. Mary’s already been accepted and I think she could re-enroll without too much hassle. It’s a short 48 credits in a city we already know with houses in our old neighborhood going for like $60k. Mary mentioned that parts of the city of Columbia reminded her of GR, and seeing that made her sure that I would hate living in Michigan again. So, maybe, maybe, but having tasted this sweet western mountain air it’d be really tough.

I vote Fort Collins.

8 thoughts on “Sat 21 Mar 09

  1. jordan

    Hey, happy b-day! Yeah, from those options Colorado is the obvious choice. Utah, especially SLC, is just too weird with the whole mormon thing… although the Wasatch and Uinta mountains are pretty decent.

  2. Malone

    60k? I’m in the process of getting a 3-bed, 1 and 1/2 bath, house for under 30K. Wooh foreclosures! Not a bad neighborhood but certainly not as nice as Ottilla, though.

  3. Josh Post author

    30k? Man, maybe we should just cash out now and go become landlords full-time. In ten years I might not even need a real job.

  4. Malone

    That’s kind of my goal. Check out http://www.grar.com. There are probably more than 250 houses in GR now between 10K and 50K. Some in decent neighborhoods. I saw one today online on Nelson for 32K which looks nice and there’s one on Thelma for under 40K. Too bad these deals weren’t around when I bought the Burton house. That mortgage would be long gone.

  5. Josh Post author

    I actually check GRAR once or twice a week, marveling. It’s especially nice now that they added the Google maps functionality. These deals will be even more ridiculous as mortgage rates fall after the gov’t toxic asset buy-back.

  6. Josh Post author

    Both those houses look decent. Probably would be going for 75k no problem in a normal market. And your right, that’s not even a get-murdered-after-dark neighborhood.

  7. Malone

    Yeah, the mortgage payment on a 30 year loan for 35K at 4.5% is $177 a month. $267 for a 15 year. You would make money renting it out for $500 a month.

    The house I’m in the process of buying sold for around 100K five years ago.

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