Where should I live?


Large research universities tend to have more stuff done in-house (because their units are large enough to support more diverse/specialized staff. Here is one interesting example:



I’ve heard the School Book Depository is particularly impressive… :wink:


Has a lovely grassy knoll right by it too


And, now it’s March, and it’s starting to get warmer (or at least it’s stopped being OMG THE COLD IT BURNS), and I’m thinking ahead to spring… and realizing, as I do every year, that for 6 months out of the year, I absolutely love where I am. I started realizing how terribly I would miss Chicago spring, summer, and early fall.

And I started thinking, I wish I could be a snowbird. Maintain two homes - one here and one somewhere that it doesn’t snow. Which of course I cannot do, as a renter (my landlord isn’t sublet-friendly). And that would be disruptive to the cats; I can’t be shuttling them back and forth a couple of times a year. And there is literally no way I can afford two rents/mortgages. And my job would not be OK with that much remote work. I really wish there was a way I could make this work.


Gotta find a reverse snowbird who loves shitty weather and needs you to house sit for them.


Hahaha, that should be super easy! Who loves -50 windchills and tons of snow? Anyone? Anyone? :joy:

Doesn’t solve the problem of my work and Boyfriend’s work being butt in seat, though. Or having to shuttle the cats around. I’m having anxiety attacks over leaving them for a 3-day vacation in a few weeks, I cannot imagine leaving them with a housesitter for months on end.



Some cats do surprisingly well with being shuttled about – who knows, maybe Coraline and Islington would do well with it? But the butt-in-seat work and the cost of maintaining two residences is definitely an Issue.

I wish there were ways to make the Chicago winter easier on you. A lightbox only goes so far, and it seems like a lot of the problems you have revolve around having to be outside for extended periods of time in very frigid weather. That’s something that’s only easily solved by having a car (which brings its own attendant shitshow of winter problems).


Yes, I am realizing that my seasonal depression actually has very little to do with light (after a point; when it gets dark at 4 and I am also getting up for work in the dark, that is rough, of course.) I was WAY more miserable in February when the days were longer and I was leaving work in the light. I borrowed a lightbox once and it gave me a raging headache, immediately, so there’s that.

It has WAY more to do with cold, and also with dangerous conditions. Like standing on the el platform getting pummeled by windchill. Or mincing carefully along the sidewalks to get to the train because no one shovels or salts, absolutely positive I’m going to fall and twist an ankle (I have bad ankles and have sprained them frequently).

I don’t think a car really solves this - I had a car here for many years, and it wasn’t necessarily better, just a different set of problems. Dangerous driving conditions. Car dying due to cold - sometimes WHILE DRIVING on the expressway! Having to sit there and warm up the car, freezing my ASS off because the heat isn’t up and running yet (bad idea to do remote start in a city unless you enjoy getting your window smashed and car stolen). Car completely plowed in by snowplow and now stuck in a drift.

Hmmmm. Ways to make it easier? Having Instacart helps for sure. We only used it twice all winter but just knowing we can, if the weather gets horrible, helps a lot. Working from home would definitely make it easier, even if only 1 day a week (if I get another shitty raise this year despite getting “exceeds expectations” on my review 2 years in a row, I am going to see if I can negotiate for this). Basically, if I can avoid leaving the house I am good. I didn’t get that stircrazy from cabin fever this year; I was perfectly fine cocooning in the house. I suspect this is because of the kittens, without whom I’m not certain we’d have survived winter, TBH. Boyfriend and I were just talking about how much they helped us mentally this winter.

More wintertime trips? Hawaii is on my bucket list and we’re going to try and do it next winter (if I can figure out how to afford it).

I don’t know. Ask me again when it’s May and still not warm enough to plant out the tomatoes, if that happens again this year. I know people move all the time but this feels so huge to me - also the fact that I am driving this and not Boyfriend and therefore I have to work hard to bring him on board and fight against his tendency to accept the status quo no matter how miserable it is making him.


So things to put in action for the next winter:

  1. More freedom around Instacart.
  2. Hopefully a WFH day at least once a week.
  4. A brief foray into sunnier climes.

Will absolutely check in in May/tomato planting season. :slight_smile:

It is hard to be the person driving for change when change is necessary but not easy. Sending hugs along. And hopefully a few sunny days too.


It’s also just how DAMN LONG it takes to get ANYWHERE in winter. That starts to drag on my psyche by February and lasts until a string of 40F+ days with sun.


I’m confused…isn’t the point of remote start, that when someone tries to take the car without the keys it just shuts off? At least that’s how mine have always worked.


I’m sure it’s lovely there and there are things you’d miss about it!

But I’m also soooo happy it’s springtime in my city where the temperatures got to an unreasonable 35F for a few nights this winter and we had multiple rainy days in a row. Last weekend was sunny and beautiful and the wildflowers were out and (having lived in the northeast briefly) I can confirm that the first day >70F in the southwest is just a wonderful as the first day >40F in the Northeast :rofl:


Hi! I am going to jump in and recommend the last city that I lived in prior to where I am now.
Gainesville, FL.
Not a blue state obv, but a very blue bubble.
I rode my bike the entire time I lived there, it’s flat as hell and anything you’d need to get to is within 5 miles, most within a 2-3 mile radius in the middle. Good public transportation (due to the university) for all other trips.
Warm. It’s Florida. You can keep you washing machine in a shed in the back yard with no fear it’ll freeze- but you WILL find snakes in it on occasion. Bugs the size of birds, but otherwise, absolutely blissful amazing weather aside from the boiler months, but even those are fine since it’s North Florida (I think 104 was the highest it got when I lived there, but summer is mostly just 90’s).
An hour or so to the Gulf or the Atlantic. Not a lot of hurricane action since it’s pretty far inland.


Good community focused city. LOTS of blue groups (women’s rights groups, anti violence groups, etc.) and at least when I lived there, a pretty vibrant music scene and outdoors scene.
You can get to the springs in 30-45m and kayak/tube, you can swim with manatees, you can hike, there’s a big new park that was recently built with outdoor yoga and free family events.

It’s a good place. Once my beautiful pup lives out her life I will plan to move back most likely. She’s a winter breed and I just couldn’t do that to her in her old age right now.


I was just about to recommend Gainesville. Lots of opportunities with the university and the medical stuff is pretty well covered between the medical school, the vet school and the VA. Gorgeous warm weather and we don’t really get hurricanes here. Maybe lots of rain, but nothing bad like you get more on the coast. We’re a pretty liberal city with a pretty active activist scene.

Also gonna plug in for Orlando. What area is the office in? You mentioned it feeling very cookiecutter, but that really depends on where you are looking. Vibrant arts scene, great restaurants, cultural offerings …etc


Hm, really? I HATED Florida every time I have been there. I have not been to Gainesville, though. Just Orlando, Tampa, and Ft Lauderdale. I’ll check it out.

I’m looking at a map, and the office looks like it’s on the outskirts of town, from what I can tell. It seems nestled in between the Florida Turnpike and the 528 Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway?

The issue with moving to the Orlando office is, well, kind of political. We’ve had many mergers over the years, and that particular office used to be a separate company. That merger happened many years ago but folks at that office still seem really insular, have their own way of doing things and resist companywide procedures and policies, and generally hold themselves apart from the rest of the company. From what I’ve heard, it seems fairly toxic. Do I want to get any of that on me? Something to think about.


To Gainesville’s credit I also HATE Tampa, Orlando, Tallahassee (sorry @Marcela - I know you said you like Orlando) , and most of the towns that surround the beaches (love the beaches themselves though, if you just walk until no one is around).
I did like the small area of Miami I visited once though.
It’s kind of like a weird little mountain town vibe plopped in the middle of the rest of the strip malls and concrete that make up much of Florida.
Like someone took a little chunk of Asheville, NC or something like that, lifted it up, and dropped it from the sky into the land of snakes and gators.


Yeah, moving into an known toxic work environment would sour me on a place too!

You and @JanetJackson just need to know the good parts of orlando, they are there I swear! If we hadn’t just bought a house here last year, we would be back in Orlando in a hot second.


The first city that came to my mind after reading your post is Tucson. It’s actually where I’m planning to move this Fall/Winter, because I am OVER the cold winters/tiny town life in my current location. The cost of living in Tucson is super low, I mean, compared to HCOL places like CO, PNW, California, etc…

my reason for leaving/specifically picking Tucson is the warm weather, desert sunrises/sunsets, amazing mountain bike trails, bike community, ridiculously good food, and ability to actually own my own home for under $300k one day. Where I live, there aren’t houses for under $400k, and the rental market is insane. Tucson is a university town, so there are affordable rentals ( I found a cute apartment the other day for $550/month), and I look at houses every day that are selling for $150-175k. Cute ones, too!

I saw you mention New Orleans quite a bit in previous replies, and that is definitely a warmer option as well. I grew up in New Orleans, and spent the first 21 years of my life there. It has a lot of perks, but for me the humidity is a hard no. 100% humidity on a 100 degree day just means you can’t go outside…and it will be like that for weeks at a time, not just a scattered day here and there. It’s a really hard city to live full time and be active and healthy because the heat/humidity is so extreme. It’s possible I have a low tolerance for that type of weather, but it was the #1 reason I moved to Colorado immediately after college. ( I also have wildly curly hair, so humidity is my hair’s mortal enemy, haha). I would say too, the cost of living is pretty high. My parents live in a suburb outside of New Orleans, and there are relatively affordable houses. But, if you want to live in the city, the rent (at least from what I can recall) is inching up to those HCOL places like PNW/CO/CA. Of course, there are other perks, food, music, festivals, art…all amazing things in NOLA. People visit from all over the world to experience these things, which is pretty cool. It also means it is a party all of the time. I found that to be difficult for me personally, the amount of tourists that were around, how crowded downtown/uptown were, the traffic, etc. I am not a party person, so it was all just a little much for me. My takeaway from living there most of my life is it is an amazing place to visit and experience, but a hard place to live full time.


Thanks! I was in Tucson a million years ago for a convention. I liked it OK. Loved the scenery. I went in August and it rained a lot and that struck me as pretty weird (also, we were having a massive heat wave at home so it was actually a little cooler in Tucson than at home). So I don’t think I’ve truly experienced it.

Isn’t it SUPER conservative, though?

The first time I went to New Orleans it was in June and it was 97 degrees every day with high humidity. I don’t mind humidity so much as long as I’m not trying to hardcore exercise outside or anything. And, I mean… there are weeks at a time when we can’t go outside here because everything is covered in ice and snow and it is a gazillion degrees below zero. I’d rather heat than cold. From what research I’ve done, rents seem about comparable to here in Chicago. And I feel like buying property would be out of reach because hurricane insurance must be insanely expensive.


Yes, I think hurricane insurance is super expensive. My parents are retired and their house is paid off, and I know home/flood insurance is still a big chunk of money they pay every year. It is variable though, I think depending on what section of the city you live in. Our house never flooded, and had no flood history, so cheaper insurance vs. a house close to the river that is a bigger flood hazard.
It sounds like you maybe have better tolerance for heat/humidity than me, haha…which means NOLA might be a good fit. I think after spending 21 years living in a place it is easy to find negatives and down sides, but from a newcomers perspective there is probably a lot of good to find.

I am not sure about politics in Tucson. I will admit that I am kind of head in the clouds when it comes to things of a political nature, and spend most of my free time outside riding bikes and not paying much attention to current events. I have however spent weeks at a time visiting over the past few years, and didn’t get a particularly conservative vibe, especially from the downtown/old west side areas that I spent time in. It definitely did not have the conservative feel of the south that I grew up in, but like I said I am not super plugged into that side of things, and could be completely off base!