Thursday, September 14, 2006

To move or not to move

The husband* was a little depressed last night, so I took him out for a beer. It quickly became obvious that my normal technique of regaling him with hilarious stories from the front (“so she’s spent twelve years teaching this guy to read and write, helping him through a heroin addiction, looking after the kids and working to pay off his debts, they split up with no money and she goes on a single parent pension, then he wins $5 million on OzLotto and I’m not kidding, the first thing he does is arranges his affairs so that he doesn’t have to pay child support. I mean, jesus, right?”**) wasn’t going to distract him, so I pulled out the big guns.

Thai food, a bottle of wine, and everyone’s favourite Topic of Marital Contention: moving interstate. Nothing like a heated debate to take one’s mind off things.

I want to move to Melbourne or Sydney, you see. He doesn’t. I’ll lay out the arguments briefly for you, and I think you’ll agree that I’m clearly in the right here.

Both cities are much more expensive than here. We could only enjoy the same standard of living if we took on a much bigger debt burden, and that makes us both unhappy.
And actually, I’m not at all sure we could enjoy the same standard of living anyway, because where else can we live twenty minutes from the CBD and be surrounded by wineries and orchards?
Not to mention, we’ve finally started to get the garden looking nice, and we’ve barely finished repainting the house, and starting again would be a major hassle.
Given the debt burden thing, we’d both need to work fulltime for years and years, and where does that leave the plan to have children?
Also, we’d be moving away from your family, to whom you are very close and who would miss us dreadfully.
Plus, don’t you realise that if we moved to Melbourne we’d be living in the same city as my family, and we’d get hassled to go to family dinners every week and to attend every single family event forever or be made to feel like horrible children? Church may be involved. Don’t underestimate the power of grandmotherly guilt.
We have lots of friends here, and it’s a better city for someone in my profession generally, and there’s going to be huge amounts of money flowing into this state over the next few years, and it’s an exciting time to be living here.

But I’m bored and restless and I want to move.

Honestly, I don’t know why he’s even contesting this one.

Anyway, near the end of the conversation we revisited an old theory of mine, that in an era of cheap air fares, one can live and work in a cheaper state, and use the saved money to visit more expensive states often enough that one gets the benefit of both. It only works if you argue that the higher wages in bigger cities don’t balance out with the higher cost of living.

I don’t have time to do the research right now. But I’m sure I’m right that if you take the difference in mortgage payments between, say, a two bedroom house in a leafy Adelaide suburb and the equivalent in Melbourne, and then look at the difference in salary for a professional five years out of university (since I think salary differences in various cities start to kick in a few years out), you are probably better off living in Adelaide and flying into Melbourne or Sydney or wherever every second weekend. That way you can maintain close friendships in both/all of those places, since how often do you see your friends anyway, as well as getting the benefits of the shopping and art and concerts and things.

It's a plan with no drawbacks (now that the cheap airlines allocate seating and the airport's been redone). So why does no-one do this? Am I missing something?
*I’m getting uncomfortable with this appellation. It’s too close to the nails-on-blackboard “hubby” construction so beloved by women’s magazines. Note to self: find better nickname.

**True story, on the public record, not one of our clients. I’m in the clear.


Blogger abacus said...

hubby will lose. in melbourne and sydney they have water one can literally drink from the tap. seriously. (or have i fallen for an adelaide cliche?). and the hilarious story from the front, i think i missed something there too. all sounds perfectly sensible to me. okay, i woke up feeling ever so slightly cynical this morning. it may have something to do with consumption of alcohol last night. the first step is to admit one has a problem, right....?

15 September, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home