Friday, December 9, 2011

Life in the 'Burbs: Pros and Cons

Watching his dad install Christmas lights outside

I took a break from cooking to see what Hubert was up to (if he's not snorting around the kitchen while I'm cooking, he must be up to no good).  Lo and behold, he's perched like a little cat looking out the front door at my husband (still getting used to that) installing Christmas lights around the houseMelt.

Watching Boy set up lights around the house made me super happy.  Then it got me thinking of how life in the suburbs is so different from life in the city.

Thinking = Pros and Cons List (What's life without one?).


1. It's excruciatingly quiet at night.  I have been having many sleepless nights, friends.  I'd wake up in the middle of the night startled, "Babe, what was that noise?!" "[grumbling] I dunno.  Probably a clown." Then I would stay awake until sunrise.

We've had to turn on a really loud fan in order for me to sleep and not fear killer clowns creeping out from the forest-of-a-backyard. (Did I ever tell you about my irrational fear of clowns? I'm sure I have.)  I was never scared living in the city --it's bustling at all hours of the night. You can always depend on your neighbor's party to fill the hall with noise so it's easier to sleep.  Or someone vacuuming in the unit above you at 11 at night.  Or for the train to blow its horn at 10pm as its passing by.  Or all the dogs in the building to bark in unison.  AND.  Most importantly.  The city does not contain leftover clowns from kid parties in the backyard.

2.  No more pizza and wine Thursdays.  This. I. Will. Miss.  Paying high prices of city living = great amenities and perks!  Every Thursday our apartment hosted happy hour(s) with pizza and wine and lots of mingling.  It's always fun and we've met many cool neighbors.  I guess we can still have wine and pizza on Thursdays...but it won't be free.  I'm Asian --free is like my favorite word.

3. Where will I get Vietnamese food?  Sure, I'm Vietnamese and I can cook my cuisine.  But we were walking distance to two really great Vietnamese restaurants.  AND wholesale markets. With lots of (cheap) fruits, vegetables, meats and sea food!  On the weekends, everyone in Pittsburgh flocks to our neighborhood and takes up all our parking spots and gets said food stuffs. I would be able to walk down the street during the weekday and get first-pick of the goods without the crowd and long lines.  I guess I can technically still go on the weekday (it's not like I have a boss or anything), but that means a 20-mile commute to the city. Sad face.

4. There's too much space.  Is this really a con? Keep in mind that Boy and I used to live in one small loft box.  We were always in the same room at the same time.  If he was reading, I was likely not sewing and most likely cooking.  If he was watching TV, I was likely not sewing, and probably succumbing to TV watching.  If he was on the computer with noise canceling headphones, I was probably sewing.  If he was drumming, I was most definitely sewing, and we would both be stopped by the hard knocking on our wall because we're being too loud. Okay, fine, this is a pro.  But it feels weird that I can be in one room and Boy can be in another room.  Or I can be in the basement working, and he can be on the second floor in the bedroom (2 flights of stairs away! So far! How will he hear my screams when a clown breaks in?).  Now when I need him, I can't just call his name in my "inside voice".  I have to text him.

5. What about my dream loft?  I've always wanted to live in a renovated warehouse with tall ceilings, brick walls, exposed pipes and cement floors.  When we moved from Austin to Pittsburgh, I knew that was the opportunity to live in one. I mean, c'mon.  Steel city.  Warehouses.  Everywhere.  I lived in that dream loft for only a year!  :( :( :( :( Though it wasn't as big and way more expensive than I imagined, it was kind of my dream.

5.25. No more Hines Ward spottings.  I only gave this 0.25 points because it's not that big of a deal. But really.  How many people can say they live in the same building as Hines Ward?  Technically. About 200. But still. Cool factor.  OK?



1. It's quiet and peaceful.  As you probably guessed, this is quite a perk.  We can watch our favorite TV show without hearing our neighbor's favorite TV show (which is not the same as ours) at the same time.  I guess that's kind of nice.

2. Everything is just a short drive away.  Walmart. Target.  Grocery store.  Restaurants.  It's a bit like heaven plopped itself on one street and said, "Welcome, my friends. Make yourself at home!"

3. I love having a yard!  I can open the door and let Hubert run leash-free in the backyard to potty while I'm still in my pajamas in the house.  In the city, I would have to get dressed and look somewhat decent as I walked two blocks over to the dog park.  This would get a little inconvenient in the winter when I'd have to put on a jacket, scarf and gloves and get Hubert in his harness, then walk and stuff.  Ugh.  I get exhausted just thinking about it again.  Lazy life is good.  :)  Hubert also enjoys the freedom to run around and jiggle his neck fat rolls without the constraints of a harness.

4. I can work without disrupting anyone.  Sewing and hammering has never been so liberating.  I'm not scared of hearing a loud knock on one of our neighbor's wall because my sewing machine is too loud, or my hammering is disruptive.  I'm much more productive, which means more inventory in the shop!

5. Boy is closer to work.  I'm not sure why we decided to live downtown when Boy works in the suburbs.  Traffic was obviously never an issue since everyone else was driving into the city, but the commute on the highway was a bit long and that meant he had to leave home earlier.  Now he can sleep in a little bit longer, and I have more time to prepare his lunch in the morning.

6. Parking.  Parking in the city sucks. We paid for parking for Boy's car in the apartment garage, but guess who didn't want to foot an extra $100/month to park her car in there?  And then in the winter had to shovel her car out of the snow?  Yep.  Now I have my own spot in our garage (attached to the house, and has direct access to my studio) and my car is happy happy.  Sorry car, for the torture.  I heart yous.

7.  We're contributing to the family house.  One of the guilty feelings of being a renter is that you're putting your hard earned money into someone else's pocket.  In this house, we're paying part of the mortgage for the in-law's home, so we know this money is going to pay off the house that will be the central hub for Thanksgiving gatherings, Christmas vacation, and inevitably be the place we'll come back to visit with our kids to see grandma and grandpa. 

8. The basement is ALMOST like a loft.  There's exposed cinder block, cement floors, exposed pipes and an unfinished ceiling.  It's not quite the same, but it's good enough for me while we save money to buy our own place.

9.  Speaking of saving money.  $10,000 yearly savings from renting in the suburbs instead of the city. Did I even have to write the pros and cons list? Probably not. 

10. More money for shopping!!! 

Home, sweet home.


  1. Con: We can no longer walk 2 blocks to go to concerts or sports games.

    Pro: I have way more room for my epic fights against hubert.

  2. I like living in the suburbs.. though I do miss the city... but it's been years upon years. In this part of the suburbs, there still are not much Oriental Markets... And still a drive to get to S.E. Asian restaurant to eat good and inexpensive pho. It bewilders me how a small bowl can be $15... like really? But I am so happy our local grocery store carries just about all the ingredients! :) :)

    I love our home, too! It's in between both of our parents & a quick hop on the high way & to the city... Which is quite funny that it takes the same amount of time to get to my parents as it would to the city.... dang lights!