We got to Ocean Beach a few minutes before sunset on our last evening in San Francisco. When we moved from the Mission to the Sunset a year and five months ago, I didn’t anticipate developing such an affinity for the quiet streets and wild oceanfront of the city’s western flank. In search of a change of scenery and cheap rent, we landed there mostly because it was near SF State. Now I joke that I can’t see myself ever living east of 42nd Ave.
The first time we discussed selling our condo with any seriousness was in the middle of our eleven hour flight from Paris to San Francisco. That was Friday, August 18th. I remember feeling nauseous the next day—as we reunited with our home of almost six years after several weeks away—questioning why we would choose to forsake its many comforts, not to mention the dining nook renovations we’d only recently completed. On Sunday, jetlagged and up before sunrise, I wrote down the pros and cons of selling, trying to make sense of my conflicting thoughts.
The list in favor was overwhelming. The tidied up version now appears self-evident; corralling so many disparate emotions to get to this point was anything but:
Liquidating the equity in our condo should give us the money to pay for Stephanie’s grad school tuition (circa 2019–2022).
Renting should reduce our cost-of-living in the interim, allowing us to further bolster our savings while also making it easier to relocate if Stephanie attends a school outside of San Francisco.
Both of the above greatly reduce our dependence on my single source of income, should that change in the interim, or as a result of relocating.
Having lived in our condo in the Mission for almost six years, we were getting a little bored; in retrospect, while all the reasons above were cold, calculated, and driven by economics, this one we feel on a day-to-day basis. It wasn’t until after we moved that we realized how much we needed a change of scenery and routine.
It was our plumber who suggested off-hand that we think about installing a washer and dryer in the space our old water heater used to occupy—after he had replaced it with a tankless, on-demand model, mounted to an exterior wall. That was back in November 2015. And that was all it took for me to reach out to a designer to help get our dining nook renovations off the ground.
Like many of the other nearly 9 million people in California who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, artist Eric Rewitzer reacted to Donald Trump’s victory as if a tornado had swept his house away. “I just didn’t believe he was serious,” says the longtime San Francisco resident. “And I didn’t see it coming.” As disbelief gave way to sadness and then anger, the bespectacled printmaker found himself sitting at the table in the middle of his studio just blocks from the Pacific Ocean. He and his wife are known for their prints of a sweet “California bear,” a version of the grizzly on the state’s flag that likes to give hugs and sells very well at airport souvenir shops. But after he spent 40 hours carving and pressing a giant sheet of linoleum, a vastly changed animal appeared—roaring, teeth glaring, claws out. “You’ve stirred a beast,” says the usually sweet and soft-spoken Rewitzer. “Watch out.” —California Prepares to Resist the President in Uncertain Times, Time Magazine
I’m fortunate to live within bicycling distance of work. Google says it’s about 2.2 miles door to door. There are dedicated bike lanes almost the whole way, and the route is mostly flat. San Francisco has a temperate climate year-round, bordering on cool, and we’ve had a series of dry winters, so I’m able to bike almost every day. When it rains, I prefer to take an umbrella and BART.
I get to work around 9, sometimes a little before, sometimes a little after. I work in a unusually bright and well-lit space for an engineering team. Actually engineering, design/product, and growth/marketing all sit together, currently 11 people. It’s a good group, and I genuinely like everyone I work with. A catered lunch arrives every day around noon. I used to look down on perks like these—as infringing upon my food-finding and choosing autonomy—but now I value it, because it brings everyone across the whole company together and away from their screens once a day. We use that time to eat, talk, play games, and share silly videos. And then it’s back to work until 5 or 6.