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Thread: Commutes / I just found a major flaw in my ideals

  1. #1
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Commutes / I just found a major flaw in my ideals

    I have always lived by work, my family has always lived by their work, and my wife has always lived by her work… until now.

    My wife and I live in South Miami, a once small town that has been engulfed by Miami. There is a ‘main street’, etc.. and we walk to almost everything. There is even a rail stop here so if we need we take it (when feasible). I have always prided myself on living by work. No commutes, no traffic, plenty of exercise, etc.. My wife is a school teacher and has been teaching a school around the corner, well…

    She just took a new job with a Broward County, over an hour (30 miles) away. The position is much better, so it is worth it for her career goals and happiness. But now what do I do? It is not fair for her to drive 2 hours everyday to and from work while I have 5 min walk. If we move mid-way we would each have a 30 min commute, and I could take the rail on days I don’t have to be in the field (ie, need a car). But this would totally compromise my ideals of ‘everything’ I have stood for regarding work commutes. While she took the job on her own, I feel the need to do this since she moved to Miami for me in the first place when she really didn’t want to live here.

    Because we don’t have any kids it is easy to move, but this ‘couple’ thing puts a spin on commuting lifestyle. While it is easy for 1 person to live by work (or work by home), it is not so easy for two. I just now understand this (I was just married last summer).

    I am not sure what this all means, except for it is time for me to reevaluate some things.

    Thoughts?
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    welcome to reality, now thats not as mean as it sounds. Its a fact of life. We would all love to live close towork and when possible walk to things but sadly its just not possible more and more.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    I feel your pain

    We just moved to a new house, to shorten 80 minute commute down to 60 minutes. In the process, of course, we added 20 minutes to my wife's commute. Add on to that the fact that she takes care of drop off and pickup at daycare each day, and we each commute for about an hour each way.

    The joys of the necessary two income household......

    I say find a place to live midway between your two places and employment. Could you still find a community that meets all but the "work where I live" requirements?

    If you are planning on having children, consider the communities with good reliable daycare with hours that work with your job and commuting requirements.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  4. #4
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Re: I feel your pain

    Originally posted by SGB
    The joys of the necessary two income household......
    This is the cause of many social problems. But I certainly don’t blame my wife for not wanting to stay home (I wouldn’t) and on an entry level planners wage I am happy she brings home a little bacon

    I say find a place to live midway between your two places and employment. Could you still find a community that meets all but the "work where I live" requirements?
    Oh yes there are plenty urban communities located along rail stops, we have a few in mind that are half way. You wouldn’t catch my wife or I dead on a house farm. We love to walk places too much. I just whish the rail crossed the inter-coastal to the beach. Durn nabbit! (an old Georgia cuss word )

    If you are planning on having children, consider the communities with good reliable daycare with hours that work with your job and commuting requirements.
    Good tip, I am trying to hold off a few more years though.

    MY PARADIGM IS CHANGING!!!
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I give you credit for thinking of splitting distances. Driving the I-95 corridor was my hell on earth when I visit.

    Maybe this is an opportunity for you to start looking for that next career rung a bit further north?

    Off-topic:
    I just saw an ad for the Broward County Director's job. It supervises a staff of 372! Imagine that.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by Chet
    Maybe this is an opportunity for you to start looking for that next career rung a bit further north?

    Off-topic:
    I just saw an ad for the Broward County Director's job. It supervises a staff of 372! Imagine that.
    I saw it too, and I wish, but I have only been working as a planner for a little over a year so I am a little under qualified. But you do have a valid point; this could a needed kick in the butt.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    maudit anglais
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    Sometimes it's not so bad having one person living close to work, while the other one has a longer commute - at least it makes it easier for one of you to run home in an emergency, etc. Depends on your situation, etc. I guess.

    Our new house location actually is about mid-way now for both my wife and I (I get a shorter commute now!). But we didn't buy the house with that in mind.

    I have no idea what will happen when she starts working...I don't think she's thought that far ahead either...

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Chet
    I give you credit for thinking of splitting distances. Driving the I-95 corridor was my hell on earth when I visit.

    Maybe this is an opportunity for you to start looking for that next career rung a bit further north?
    I'm with Chet here. If it were me I would not be moving just yet, but I would start hunting for a job closer to hers, and maybe then you could re-create your pedestrian lifestyle in a new place.

  9. #9
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    My wife and I split distance, she goes three blocks South and I go three blocks North.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I don't think you found a flaw in your ideals. I think your ideals have run into their first road block.

    Is your wife pushing for you to move so you can be closer to her work? Is it possible for you to find a job near her work? Perhaps that would eliminate some of the conflict.

    For me - where i live/the community i'm a part of is more important than what i do. Money may be an issue for a family with kids but i'd consider a career change before i considered moving.

    and i don't buy the whole "necessity of a two income household" argument. Again, people with kids may disagree. Other than that i think the things that make two incomes a "necessity" are; expensive tastes, credit card bills, big mortgages, and two cars/insurance.

    None of those things are necessities.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Huston:

    I think that you have run head into reality. Sometimes we all have to make tough decisions. Although I don't always hold your world view re: planning, I do respect it.

    This seems more like a marriage question than a planning one. Compromise is the key and it sounds like you are being supportive. Good job.

    as for jresta's comment about not needing 2 incomes, I suggest he walk a mile in someone elses shoes.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by gkmo62u
    Although I don't always hold your world view re: planning, I do respect it.

    And visa versa, gkmo62u.

    My new “problem” helps me see out of other eyes; which in the long run is a good thing. So I see it a temporary and positive problem.

    And jresta, I agree, this is just a temporary roadblock for my ideals and I will figure out a good solution. I am not really ready to leave my current job, but had only planned on staying about another year. Iam moving, promised my wife I would, so that is a done deal. I will have the train so it is not that bad, we will see what the future holds…
    Last edited by H; 11 Aug 2003 at 6:05 PM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I noticed there were some days you could not ride the rail because you had to take your car in the field. I have never had a planning job that did not supply a vehicle to take on office business, or are you with a consultant? No matter. Maybe you could find another position after you move, accessible to rail, that supplies a day-use vehicle, so that your commute would be easier.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    On the 2 career thing: when you have kids is when it makes more sense to consider living with one career. Many families are qualitatively better off when 'mom' works only part time or stays home and cooks, clips coupons, etc. I know that isn't a 'PC' position to take, but it is the reality that kept me home for so many years: we had one car and two kids. In order for me to get a job, we would need 2 cars. Then I would have been working to pay for daycare for 2 kids and a car payment on a second car. I just didn't see where there was any real benefit for me, my kids, the family as a whole, or our 'bottom line'.

    (Of course, my husband is military and has excellent medical benefits. This used to be more common. Families who cannot manage to get a good 'family' benefits package with their job may be facing different realities than what I was dealing with. And that is the 'short version'.)

    However, on a personal basis, there is a tremendous cost -- psychologically, socially, etc -- for the 'little wifey' who stays home for the benefit of the family. No matter how enlightened, educated, high-minded, etc, that you are, the reality of one person 'bringing home the bacon' and the other being financially dependent makes it very hard to NOT find yourself being biased in terms of who has decision-making power and so forth. My work -- cooking from scratch, rehabbing furniture, etc -- very much contributed to our 'bottom line'. But it was 'invisible' in some ways -- difficult to quantify. It created power struggles within the marriage. There is some good (although 'anecdotal') evidence that two income couples have a different decision-making dynamic than one income couples.

    Commutes: We rented an apartment on the edge of town, about 3 miles from hubbies office so he can take his bike to work sometimes. It is directly on a bus route, and the bus is *my* '2nd vehicle'. I mostly take online classes. And we homeschool. I have started doing some consulting via internet and snail mail. I am, by default, falling into a business of my own. I can get lots done at home and it keeps me available for our special needs kids, whom I have always been there for. Because I was always available to them, they are turning out just fine. There was a time when I worried that our oldest boy would 'slip between the cracks'. I don't worry that anymore. "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

    However, I did job hunt for a time after returning from GIS school with my newly minted certificate in GIS. In spite of being a homemaker for a zillion years, I had (for a tim) about 50% call back and interview rate for my resume and applications. But the more I applied to jobs, the more I ran up against the commute issue. Since Solano is one of the more rural counties in the Bay Area, I was facing a situation where, locally, pickings were mighty slim. I was very reluctant to apply for jobs with a 45 minute or longer commute. With 2 special needs kids who still need me, one car, and health problems, that just didn't seem remotely feasible.

    After months of being In Denial in a major way, I finally concluded that starting my own business and working from home was probably the ONLY *viable* choice left. For me, getting a 'job' is a path to failure.

    Happily, I actually always wanted to be self-employed. It just sometimes seems highly unlikely to work. Getting a job sounds like a Sure Thing, 'the easy answer', etc. Making it all up from scratch sounds like it is risky, will take ForEver to get results, etc.

    Anyway, that is a looong way of saying that I have thought a WHOLE lot in the last year about the 2-career-couple and commute thing and concluded that the only 2-career-couple scenario that works for me involves that '30 second commute' -- which is how I have made college work in recent years. Taking online classes has allowed me to make steady progress on my degree -- even while still deathly ill. At one time, I had my desk 5 feet from my bed and I had a wireless keyboard and mouse so I could still get stuff done even when I was literally too sick and weak to get out of bed. No employer in the world would put up with such arrangements, but if my product is solid, my clients do not ever have to know the conditions under which I perform.

    Sorry to be so long. I know this is an extreme view/scenario. I really don't like to 'whine' in public but I thought that giving the unvarnished truth might be food for thought.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Belle's avatar
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    Huston,

    I totally understand your dilemma. Two years ago, my fiance and I moved to SC from Colorado so I could reestablish residency for school, then across the state to graduate school a year later. We knew he'd be working in a city approx 35 mi from small town where I'd be going to school, so we decided to split the difference and move to the slightly larger town halfway between the city and the college town. When I came up to find us a place to live, I realized that there was nothing to do and few places where we'd eat in that town, plus while I'd have a 20 minute commute without any traffic, he'd have a 30 to 45 minute commute with traffic into the city.

    So I found a small house to rent in the city 5 minutes from his work and I now commute 45 minutes (all 45-65 mph) to school. While this much driving upsets the environmentalist in me, I realized that it was much more important to (a) let him have the bare minimum commute since he moved across the country for me and (b) live in a place where there are things to do and places to go, not just some halfway point between jobs/commitments.

    My 2 cents is: be sure you're compromising and moving to a similar or better place, not just a point on a map. It is much better to drive 1 hour to get home if there are places to go and things to do when you get there, then to drive 30 minutes and be "stuck" 20 minutes from anything else. Sounds like you are your wife are headed in this direction, just thought I'd weigh in.

    Good luck with all of this!

  16. #16
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Find a place on the rail line. Park your car at work (for field checks). Take the train every day. Live with one car at home.

    This assumes you are a two car family.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    Originally posted by gkmo62u
    Huston:...This seems more like a marriage question than a planning one....
    I think you've struck pay dirt here gkmo62u - H should dump the missus and stay where he is.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Originally posted by Rem
    I think you've struck pay dirt here gkmo62u - H should dump the missus and stay where he is.
    That is an excellent idea. Then, we can celebrate how he cannot have kids if he is killing kittens and shaving his palms. No kids means no more crowding. Let's make that our goal: zero population growth.

    No, let's go one step further: zero human babies born. No more reproduction at all. Humans are so evil, with destroying the environment and everything, let's just voluntarily go extinct out of guilt.

    Then the crocodiles or some such can become the dominant species on planet earth. I am sure they will be better stewards of the environment. Unlike humans, crocodiles have higher values than merely eating, pooping, and reproducing.

    (I hope everyone can recognize rampant sarcasm when they see it and no one starts in on the Commie Planner accusations. lol )

  19. #19
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I'll throw a slightly differnet opinion into the ring.

    My suggestion is that one of you lives close to work (walkable) and the other does the commute. the one that lives close to the office is then responsible for most of the daily chores and shopping. that way when the other person gets home from work you still have qulaity time to spend together and the shoppings done, dry cleanings picked up and the house is somewhat clean.

    Pick who this ends up being by which town better fits you for your personal lifestyle and interests.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  20. #20
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Has she looked at getting a job close to where you work?


    I am not married, and don't I don't plan on it till I find a place where I can look out of my window (apartment or house) and feel like I am home. *This is would be some place in the mid west, like Ann Arbor* and then, once I meet the right girl, *or get back with one, I will think about getting married. So until then, I do not have any experience in this, but still thought that I would chime in with a question.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  21. #21
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Replies:

    Zoning Goddess: Yes I am with a consultant, so no car provided, if there was I wouldn’t even own a car right now, because I basically only use it for work since I walk to all my activity in town. Plus my wife has a car.

    Belle: I am on your page.

    Wulf9: I live in Miami. If I left my car at the rail line (or any public place) it would last about 2 days, but good idea, maybe I can figure out a modification of this to make it work.

    Rem: I’ll pass that idea to the wife, and get her take

    Michele Zone: To take that one step further, I think crocs eat their young during a drought (when hungry), so we can learn from them and really control the pop.

    Donk: I like that idea also. It actually seems fair. This might be an idea (if she accepts because the moving issue is on, but if she doesn’t accept its halfway baby!)

    Michaelskis: She had one at a school around the corner, but just took this new one (it is a major step in her direction so I support it).


    Thanks all for the input. I truly think some good ideas about couple commutes came out on this thread. I will update what happens and where we go. Like I said, the moving part is a done deal, but the where is up in the air.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Huston,
    I am not sure if crocs do this, but gators actually help maintain the wetlands as wetlands by creating 'gator holes' when it gets dry. They dig out a hole so that they still have water. It is the activity of the gators that is largely responsible for keeping many swamps as swamps and not following the usual coarse of eutrophication and slowly becoming solid land.

    One community removed the gators because they had built homes so close to the swamps and they got tired of the nasty beasties ending up in people's yards and pools, threatening their safe, suburban lifestyle. The swamps began to quit being swamps. They had to figure out why.

    So, I have to say, sincerely and with all my heart, as a devoted Commie Planner: Gators *are* better stewards of the environment than we are. (let's feed some bad guys to the gators as a means to improve our Karma -- Michael, your karma sucks right now. You first.)

  23. #23
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michele Zone
    (let's feed some bad guys to the gators as a means to improve our Karma -- Michael, your karma sucks right now. You first.)
    HUH???

    I am not following... Am I becoming gator food? I am living in PA, not FL.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  24. #24
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Gators *are* better stewards of the environment than we are.
    Well I know gators definitively eat their young in a drought!

    ….I took me a Gator tour in tha everglades, yuk yuk
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  25. #25
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    I am not following... Am I becoming gator food? I am living in PA, not FL.
    I think she means Michael Stumpf. But your HUH??? fits in well around here lately.

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