*Corresponding NJ towns are in parenthesis for clarification.
A week or so ago my day took me to Bethesda, Maryland (Summit), a nice town right outside of DC. It then took me to Potomac, Maryland (Chatham Township), another very nice but a little further out from DC town. On the way home from Potomac I stopped at the Montgomery County Mall (not quite ShoHo but better than Livingston). I didn’t stay very long but I got what I needed and a few other items. Even though I took in the scenery all day I was busy, preoccupied, and hadn’t taken much time to reflect until the drive home to DC. I decided to take the long way, and by long way I mean through the city from as far Northwest as you can get to about as far Northeast, instead of taking a highway. I stopped at a light in Chevy Chase (Short Hills) and in the big, black Escalade making a left turn past me was what looked like a 12 year old girl driving. She had her hair pulled back with a bow, barely any make-up, and a teal tank top on. I thought to myself how silly she looked driving that big, expensive car. But then I looked back up at the light to see if it had changed when I saw another big, black Escalade driving through the intersection. This time it carried 4 young boys with shaggy hair hanging out from their flat brimmed hats. All of the windows were down, they seemed to have team jerseys on, and the one driving looked about 12 years old. At that moment, I smiled, and a moment later I laughed. I didn’t laugh in the way that you might expect though. It wasn’t a “wow they look ridiculous” laugh at them but rather a laugh of recognition, it sparked memories for me. That girl was me back in the day and those boys were a car full of John Masini Jr’s. You know the type: field hockey playing, Rainbow flip flop wearing, khaki shorts sporting type. Later that evening I explained the scene to my fiancé and my near exact words were, “It was quite possibly the most obnoxious thing I’ve ever seen….but I loved it.”
Of course he knows why I want to move north but since I can’t say I’m particularly unhappy living here, I have to think about what makes it feel like staying here would mean the end of the world. I realized a few months ago in our umpteenth debate over this issue that a big reason that New Jersey wins at life over DC is that I could never picture the next phase of life here. Sure it’s easy now when I want new restaurants, easy access to fun events, and not much need for overall convenience but what happens when we get married and want to have a baby? I can’t picture having a baby where we live now. I can’t picture having one in Virginia…sorry, I know I’m offending most people I love down here but I can’t. I can’t and I won’t cross that bridge to Virginia. So where does that leave me? Prince George’s county? Feh! Sorry, I’m probably offending more people but I just want to be a suburban yuppie with a 2 car-garage and a swimming pool! Is that too much to ask?!
I want a neighborhood where I can drive my car to Target, park in the FREE parking lot with endless spaces available, go in, come back out, drive to the grocery store, park in the FREE parking lot with endless spaces available, go in, come back out, drive home and park my car IN THE GARAGE attached to my house and unload the bags from Target and Safeway. I want to be able to leave the house an easy 15 minutes before the yoga class because I don’t have to account for 25 minutes in traffic across town and another 15 minutes to find parking. I want the conveniences of suburban life. What brings me to Chevy Chase is that I don’t want just any suburban life – I want to recreate the suburban life my parents created for me. I want to move Florham Park, New Jersey down to DC. That’s what I want.
Those who know the area know that you don’t just buy a house in Chevy Chase or Bethesda, I mean this is where the politicians live, but in this discussion with my fiancé we discovered an absolutely crucial, like make it or break it kinda discovery: he is totally fine with my suburban goals. This is major. Prior to this conversation I really wasn’t sure if he’d be more concerned with getting more bang for his buck in another, less affluent neighborhood then where it means our kids will go to school. And even though he will always be mindful of the finances, I was thrilled to learn that it just means that he will find the bang for his buck in one of these neighborhoods when the time comes.
The reason this was so incredibly critical was because lifestyle, for a lifetime, is not something you mess around with. If he had looked at me and said there was no way he was ever going to move to an affluent neighborhood because financially it doesn’t make sense to buy a smaller house for more money yada yada we would have opened up a whole new can of worms! If settling for a lesser neighborhood was his plan then this would never work. In this case, he understands my need for a yuppie neighborhood and our mutual need to send our kids to high-ranking schools. I think he just kinda wants the pool too! Phew! Anyway, maybe it’s not Bethesda or Chevy Chase but I’ll know what town it is by the 12 year olds driving Cadillacs, the 2 car-garages, and ladies in yoga pants pushing strollers to Down Dog Yoga classes after having their Starbucks.
So no pressure and I’m like totally low maintenance but really I just want to live in a nice, safe neighborhood and give our kids the best life we can possibly give them. Kisses!