Thursday, May 13, 2010

The essence of house hunting in Boston "all the good ones are taken."

Alright, that's it..I'm blogging about this.....Our move to Boston.  Here is the scoop: we are moving to Boston for a year, so Dave can do a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology at Boston Children's hospital.  It's only for a year, and no, we don't know where we're going yet, and yes, he's still in the Navy and yes, this adds one year to our owe-back time (enter sarcasm-YAYYYY!).  Anyway..we ARE however super excited to live in Boston for a year, amazing city, i've spent some time there, whether or not I remember all of it is subject to debate--thanks to a few New Years' Eve's at "The Hong Kong" Chinese restaurant that served up some scorpion bowls. Boston, excited.  However, two things: equally as bummed to leave San Diego, and this looking for housing in Boston is absolutely the most irritating "research" i've done in a very ....very..long time.

Why?  Well, we have a few things:  two dogs (that do not walk well on leashes/our fault--whatever, that ship has sailed), and a little guy who will be a year old when we move.  Picture me walking two dogs and a toddling toddler with a few feet of snow at 10:00 p.m. at night while Dave is on call.  Not. Happening.

So, we either:  A: need to find a place with a yard or B: find some amazing (ahem ahem..cough cough...sister and in-laws) to watch our dogs for a year.  Dog #1 is Brownie.....he's a whole post in and of himself but the bottom line is, I had a friend actually "rescind" an offer to take him, he's that difficult =0.  Dog #2, Parma is a sweetheart, super easy and a charm, everyone wants her!  My sister Dawn has offered to take Parma and my in-laws would take Brownie (god bless them). 

What's the big deal, find a place that allows dogs.  Well, we have some other mitigating factors such as:  Dave's commute.  Apparently a few places we looked at, even 3 miles from the hospital could take 45 minutes to get to/from and with Dave's hours, we'd really like the commute to be walkable/bikeable.  Easy enough right?  Let me list some issues and then I will post pictures of some of the "said" issues.

1. Place is either completely unsuitable for living (kegs in the bedroom, trash, beer bottles). TRUST one time in my life I would find this amazing...not so right now!

2. Place is either too far/too close to the hospital so we have either traffic or sirens from ambulances.

3. Place has a yard...but isn't pet friendly. OR it's in a building with "walk-up" only, no elevator!

4. Place LOOKS great, but is on sketchy street, is too close to a bus route, is a "street away from a nice street." OR is in a building completely occupied by students and is written up on "Yelp" --as "horrifically loud."

5. I've also discovered if it looks too affordable, it's a shit hole (sorry mom!) =0

6. We also have the issue of traffic in general but living close to the hospital we have parking issues with Red Sox games.

7. Allows dogs under 25 pounds.....hmm, never understand this, bigger dogs tend to BARK LESS

We've lived in four places in six years in San Diego, never have I had this issue of finding something!

Here's the bulk of what i've been seeing.

There are no words......

I just can't even see past this stuff to picture ANY of our things in ANY of these places.

We have my cousin and his wife going to see a place on Saturday that really does look awesome, meets all of our criteria except...we don't know if it's a "walk-up" only and before anyone gets all "HTFU" on me......remember that Soren is about 18 pounds...add some groceries....not fun to do several trips up flights of stairs!

We are scheduled to go "shit hole hunting" er, house hunting in Boston mid-June...hoping we find something prior to that, but you know what, the outrageous realtor fees they charge for helping you find something just may be worth it so I don't have to sleep in a room and feel like Punky Brewster!


NadiaMac said...

Lurker here. How about Brookline or Jamaica Plain? I worked at Harvard Med School (next door to Boston's CHildrens) many years ago and a lot of folks with kids lived in JP or Brookline (I lived in Brookline, took ten mins to bike in). The immediate neighborhood was either kind of sketchy or student-y apartment buildings. A co-worker of mine's husband was doing anesthesiology residency at MGH, also next door to BCH, and they lived in Newton and he drove in on MassPike. Probably cheaper and more yard space than Brookline. Another Boston area thing is the lead paint certifications-- if you have small kids, your place needs to be de-leaded and so-certified. Not sure you've run into this yet. Some friends with small kids had trouble finding a place close in to Boston for this reason (they ended up in outer Brookline). Good luck

Mer! said...

Nadia-thank you SO much for your response!!!! Totally appreciate the input, we had been wondering about JP but weren't sure of the area---can't thank you enough for your feedback! My cousin's wife told me about the lead paint certification---the family that lives there now has a child around Soren's age so i'm thinking it's ok, but that is a question they are going to ask.

We were wondering what the commute time would be like from Newton....completely 100% agreed, you can get more for your money and a yard in Newton, but we're concerned w/commute time?

Thanks so much!

Marit C-L said...

I love it - "That ship has sailed, so whatever..." Dude - I don't have an 18-pound kid (only cat), and I would definitely NOT want to schlepp groceries up multiple sets of stairs :)

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you guys! Maybe Sunday night after book club we can "search" together!

Marit C-L said...

Okay - I just read what I wrote about searching, and that could totally be taken the wrong way. Seriously - I'm happy to help you look online.

:) Have a GREAT night!!!

And WOW - some of those photos look just awful... yikes!

ADC said...

Oh God, those places in the pics you've posted look awful. Like student houses when I was at Uni. Ugh. I really really hope you guys find something suitable and soon. It is really a shame that you won't be able to have your dogs there but you are so lucky to have the friends and family willing to help. Good luck with house-hunting.

Pedergraham said...

Do you know TriGirlPink from her blog? She might be a good resource. Or MaryIronMatron? They would be able to help you some with places to live that are triathlete friendly. I think they are both on Marit's blog roll. Good luck.

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

I'm confused....those are the pictures they chose to highlight the places good points? Oh boy!

NadiaMac said...

re: Newton: it has been a long, long time since I lived in the boston area, so I don't know about the commute (or the parking situation). As you are looking for pretty short commute times (esp by boston standards), I'd check in with someone local on this. good luck!

kT said...

Another vote for JP: my friends live there (with dog) and bike commute all the way to Back Bay; Children's is even closer. Plus the bus/T service there is good. Parks for kids and dogs, and I know some triathletes there as well. Good luck; I feel your real estate pain (went to grad school around there).

Bonnie said...

Do you think they actually cleaned up before they took those pictures? I know you'll find something perfect:)


Kim said...

Newton is great, so is Newton Centre... I'm also with Nadia - Brookline and JP are also great places. The closer you actually get to the city (Cambridge, Somerville, Brighton, etc) - the sketchier some of the places can get. I live in a condo in Charlestown and absolutely love it (although unfortunately are no yards for dogs to play in (but there are two parks!) and i certainly cant bike to and from anywhere :(

Trigirlpink said...

Oh Mer...

Ick Ick Ick and double ick. Something will come up and Charlestown is too far away. Newton would be as far as you want to venture. Parking is a bioch in Brookline if you don't have a space. No over nite street parking...and right... you want to stay away from the student clusters and Fenway. Sounds like you have a handle on it just no place as of yet. Can you do a 1 mile open water swim on Sunday June 20th??