Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

Chicago is Getting Real

I just had a call with my father’s cousin. He owns the condo we’re looking to buy as he is ready to move home to Wisconsin. As of now we’ve agreed to a tentative date of November 1st for a closing.

I still don’t know if I’m excited or terrified.

It’s no secret that I’ve wanted to get out of Florida for a while now but, until my mother passed in April, Chicago was nowhere on our list of possibilities. In fact, if anything it was first on our list of “no way” places.

Yet here we are.

The place is smaller than we have here in Florida but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. At 1,000 square feet it’s bigger than our house in Carbondale was and right about the same size as our Austin house but with two bedrooms instead of three.

The real attraction, for us, is the location. It’s right on Lake Shore Drive mere blocks from Wrigley. After 9 years in Florida it will be, ironically, in Chicago where we’ll be able to see the water from our living room.

It’s also a walking neighborhood where nearly everything we could want is within a few blocks. I’ve often talked about how our house here in Florida is a walking neighborhood but, by comparison, it really doesn’t have much of anything. In Chicago we’ll have everything from grocery stores to restaurants to parks and the beach, all within an easy walk. That part I’m very excited about.

I’m worried, after getting used to this bigger Florida house, that even though I’ve long said our current place is too big that going back to something smaller will still be hard but it is what it is. It will be weird using the communal laundry and generally living in a big building but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s just different.

The real change is that here we’ve been so isolated. Most of our friends have left the area and family no longer winters here for 6 months out of the year. In Chicago our lives will look a lot different with weekend visits to family, lots of friends around and places to go from the zoo to museums and more, things we’ve long since burned out on here in Sarasota for a variety of reasons.

Then there’s winter. I’m not looking forward to it but Joy is really hating the idea of winter again. Our goal, though, isn’t to make it permanent and to move on to Portugal in 5 years or so. Given that we will plan to take a month in January and February, the worst of winter, to get out and go to Lisbon or Porto. Not only will that make winter a lot more tolerable but it should also help us narrow down exactly where we want to be in Portugal when the time is right to make the move.

So all in all I think this will be a positive move, even if it does worry me. I know it’s where we need to be right now, even if it wasn’t in our plan. We’re just going to do it our way. Location has always been most important to us so we found the best location we could and are getting it in a way that helps us and family out. I think that’s a big win.

Now to buy a winter coat!