And that suddenly makes California a lot less attractive to us. Non-kid-safe gatherings are fun but neither of us want to spend a lot of time foisting the kid(s) off on each other or hiring daycare or babysitters to avoid spending time with them. We want to kids to, y'know, not to put too fine a point on it, raise children. And our life out here isn't conducive to that. We'd have to give up quite a lot of our existing social group and almost all our group gatherings anyway.
And that suddenly makes it look very attractive to move somewhere that a half-million-dollar home isn't a little one-bathroom tract house. Not only would that give us real space for kids and a much more comfortable living situation, we wouldn't have to do the math about my salary and wonder if having two or three kids means we'd have to give up the house, basic hygeine or all forms of recreation. Krissy could continue to work, but that would mean that we'd spend our time during the days working and in the evenings being exhausted, which would again prevent that whole "raising kids" thing which is a major goal. We're hoping to get to spend as much quality time with our kids as is reasonable, and just not seeing much of them thwarts that goal.
We've talked about several places, but between weather (no Chicago, no Boston), reasonable housing prices (no Seattle), reasonable level of "urban feel" and traffic (no NYC or LA), cultural objections (no Austin, Houston, or Atlanta), safety (no Washington DC) and basic level of interestingness (no Cleveland, Dallas, Baltimore, Cincinatti, Boise, et al), we're pretty settled on the idea of Pittsburgh, PA. I went to college there and loved it, it's *very* family friendly, we know some folks out in that direction, and the houses make us happy. We'll be able to get a nice five-bedroom Victorian or something along those lines and simultaneously bring our mortgage down to almost nothing. There are lots of parks and museums. Public transit is good. And since the girl won't have to leave the house as often while staying home and homeschooling our kids, she's willing to accept some snow in the winter, as long as I'm the one shoveling the walks. I'm good with that :-)
We're not going to up and move tomorrow. For starters, we're likely to stay in CA until our kid is born for logistical reasons, which means until at least late May. But it seems like a really good idea to let people know in advance, because "oh, yeah, we've been planning to do this for months, got a plane to catch, bye!" seems a bit rudely abrupt.
So yeah. This is still very much in the early planning stages, but it looks an awful lot like we're doing it. We're pretty excited :-)