Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back from the dead

I'm really sorry I haven't posted in a while. Believe me, it's not for lack of material. I've just had a lot going on in my life over the past month or so,.

Here's the breakdown:
  • We finally found a house we wanted to buy, after 8 months of searching.
  • We had to jump through an enormous number of hoops to get this house. It's our first home, so all of the inspections, the paperwork, shopping for mortgages, comparing insurance companies, etc were new to us and very tiring.
  • We had to pack up everything in the apartment we'd been renting.
  • The holidays came and went, bringing along with them their own set of complications, as we went back to Miami to visit our families.
  • We closed on the house on Dec. 28th.
  • We moved into the house over the weekend before New Year's.
  • Every bit of free time we've had since we got the house has been spent working on getting the house setup as we want it. New appliances, new furniture, etc.
  • I've been setting up a garage work shop so I can Do-It-Yourself things around the house. I bought all kinds of dangerous toys like saws, drills, and Dremel tools. :)
  • On top of that, we had no internet for several weeks, and I can't access Blogger from work.
I gotta say, it's wonderful being able to own your home and not throw away money in rent. We were very lucky in being sent to Pensacola. I've heard horror stories from friends of mine who were sent to places like Nantucket and Southern California and are trying to get by on the AG payscale. Not one of them has been able to survive without help from their families. For several of them, 75% of their salary goes to just rent. If you're taking home $2300 a month ( AG salary including standard 12.52% locality), and your rent is $1600, there's simply not much breathing room for car payments, insurance, utilities, phone, car, food etc..

Down here, home prices are excellent compared to what I'm used to. In Miami, a comparable house to the one we bought would have been priced three or four times as much. We simply would not have been able to afford anything.

Put it this way: my best friend in Miami recently bought a 1/1 apartment in an older condo-conversion subdivision in a mediocre area of town. It's around 600-700 square feet, has a dinky kitchen, and was in fixer-upper condition. He had to put in a lot of money into updating the bathroom and living room, and the place still looks kind of dreary.

Our house is a 3 bed/2 bath detached single family home with 1620 square feet, a 2 car garage, and a huge corner lot. We have a covered porch, 15 foot high ceilings, a beautiful kitchen, and tons of storage. Our neighborhood is very pretty and quiet, with lots of kids and people out jogging. We're 10 minutes from my work and 15 from Mary's, and if you sit out on the front porch you can watch the approach traffic on the glide path into our main runway, beautifully lit by the afternoon sun.

The kicker? We paid $20,000 less than my friend did for his 1/1 condo.

On top of that, we have no traffic jams here, people are very nice, everything is close, and the city is overall very pleasant. The nightlife is no South Beach, but at the same time everyone here is more down to Earth and real. There's plenty to do and see. Whenever we have kid(s), the schools here are some of the best in the state.

The moral of the story is this: if the FAA assigns you to some strange airport in the state of your choice, do your research. Visit the city, visit the facility, familiarize yourself. Don't blow it off. What you think may be some podunk tower in some backwater town may just be exactly what you've been seeking. I would never have thought I would like Pensacola, but I find that I'm really liking the way of life down here.


r9s said...

contradulations on the house wicked. have you had an chance to squeeze in any flying up there? always fun to fly through airspace that you usually control.

r9s said...

congratulations rather

Paul Dharmendra said...

very wicked marcus aurelius! Hope al is well...greetings from Paul, Radha and Baby Paveena!