Thursday, May 24, 2012

La Casa

We got a house! Our first house together! For those of you unaware of how incredibly excited we are about this, let me put it in perspective-
   We first lived together in a house with no less than four other people. That's right, six people, two cats, a dog, some fish, and one house. It was fun for the few months we were there, but there was no way that was going to be sustainable. So we went from there to a 3-bedroom apartment with two room mates. I was able to move in my dog and cat that had been staying elsewhere, so I was pretty stoked about that. The tally came down to 4 four people, one dog, two cats, a fish, one apartment. We were there for a year and during this time realized two things- living next to a dog park made our lives infinitely easier, and the apartment management hated our guts.So after our year was up and the roomies went their separate ways, we decided to stay in the same complex and just move into a one bedroom unit. The convenience of the park eclipsed the crankiness of the management. So for the past year we have been two people, two cats, one dog, and a hamster in a one bedroom apartment. Needless to say, we were ready for a little more space.
    Because we were ready for a little more space and knew we would have to be in Arizona for about 5 years, we figured we would find some type of house situation rather than an apartment. We weren't sure what the parks were like in Tucson, so it would be nice to have a back yard for Fender. We were also hoping to have a little more privacy and a extra room or two. While we were visiting Tucson, we got the chance to ask around about places to live and housing prices and what not. We were surprised to hear that a few people had actually bought houses rather than rent, and when we started checking out the market there it became apparent why. The average two bedroom house in good shape and a decent area there was going for around $900.00 a month and that number may likely rise over the next few years.  Five years of paying that rent would equal $56,000.00. Meanwhile the real estate prices there aren't very expensive. Just to give you an idea, we decided to not even look at anything over $90,000 and found lots of options, and the house ended up buying was even more affordable. After doing the math, we decided buying was probably the best option for us and got some recommendations for realtors.
  But where to look? That was the big question but it ended up being an easy answer. Tucson isn't very large, but because we will be going to school and working at the University of Arizona we knew that that was the commute we would be making most often. Also, Tucson is very bike friendly, and since we will be sharing one car and one motorcycle not to mention the need to save on gas, we wanted to be within biking distance of the University and hopefully some other areas of interest. So that gave us about a four mile radius around the campus. After talking to several people, it became clear that the North and East sides of campus were the better areas. We did some more digging, some more asking, and we finally narrowed it down to two general areas that seemed like they would be a good fit- Jefferson Park (North), and the Reid Park area (East). From what we could tell, the Northern area within our parameters was mostly rentals and ergo populated mostly by college students. While it didn't appear to be too raucous, we weren't sure we were willing to chance ending up with frat-partyers for neighbors. Also, we found out that Reid Park is pretty awesome. It's huge, has ball fields, play grounds, a zoo, and a dog park. After explaining to some people what we were looking for (residential neighborhood with families, near the UofA, near a dog friendly area) most people immediately recommended the Reid Park area. So that's where we ended up! We are 3 miles away from the campus, a couple miles from a major shopping center, 5 miles from some special groceries and the like that we shop at, and two blocks from a dog park. Perfect.
   So what is the house like? I plan to post pictures once we move in and get it set up. It's a 3 bedroom one bath 40's style ranch house that has been completely remodeled. A lot of walls were taken out to create a huge open concept space that serves as kitchen, dining room, and living room. The bedrooms are small, which is par for the time period and perfectly fine for us. The bathroom has a brand new tiled shower. The house is all tiled except the bedrooms. There is a covered front porch, a back patio, a one car garage, and a utility and storage room. There is a fenced back yard for Fender and plenty of room for a vegetable garden. For us, it's perfect! It needs just a few minor repairs that are already underway. Once we move in in July, it will be in tip-top condition. Can't wait to post some pictures!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We're moving to Arizona!

   In case you didn't hear, Joey and I were both accepted to Ph.D. programs at the University of Arizona and will be relocating to Tucson later this summer. Ok, wait, let me back up.
   Joey completed his master's degree in Management Information Systems (business-computer stuff) in December of 2010. His plan had always been to go back to school and get a Ph.D. so he could teach full time at a university, but because we went off and got hitched a little over a month before his graduation, he decided to wait until I was finished with my M.A. in Political Science (no I don't want to run for office). I also decided I wanted a Ph.D. but I'm more of a make-it-up-as-I-go type person. But I love school, love learning, and teaching is probably the only job I could keep for an extended period of time without going bonkers. I completed my degree this May (2012), so last fall we applied to programs in no less than 7 different cities. Only one school accepted both of us with graduate assistant positions (meaning we will have jobs while we go to school with tuition completely paid for), and that was the University of Arizona. Lucky for us, that was our number one pick anyway. It is an incredible program for Joey, a fairly good program for me as well, and Tucson was the city we wanted to live in the most. So needless to say, we were psyched.
   So what does this mean? It means Joey and I will both go back to school in Fall of 2012 to begin our Ph.D. programs.
   How long will we be gone? The programs can take anywhere from 4-5 years, but Joey's strongly encourages a five year track and I'll probably use the extra time to pick up an additional minor or two.
   What will we be doing, exactly? The first couple of years will essentially be us doing the same thing we've been doing for the past 19 years-going to class. At the same time, we will be working as graduate assistants. I will be a teaching assistant and basically assist professors teaching their courses. Joey will be a research assistant and assist professors with their fancy schmancy research projects. After our courses are completed, we will begin our dissertations. Basically, we have to write a book. And while we are working on this we will be teaching classes. Once we are finished with our courses, finished with our dissertations, and teach some classes, we get a nice Ph.D. degree and everyone has to call us Dr.
   Will we come back? We want to. Well, we at least want to get close to Memphis again. We both grew up here, most of our family is here, and I want our future children to be as close to our families as I was growing up. However, where we end up is essentially a crap shoot as to where we can get jobs, so we will see.
   So you're going to be teachers? Pretty much. Joey wants to teach and research for a university. I want to as well, but I'm also a certified yoga instructor and am planning to get certified as a doula when we move to Arizona (more on that later). I would love to do all three, so I am open to any combination of the above. But yes, in a nutshell, we want to be professors.
   So there you have it. We are going to Arizona!