Sweet home indeed.

About a month ago, as I think I mentioned, my high-school buddies, Mr. Glib, and I headed to the lakeside terrain of southwestern Virginia to converge upon the home of one JPK. We were instantly welcomed into his spotless, modern, and elegantly spare home, which contains any extravagance a fabulous lakehouse can hold.  Boat.  Jetskis.  Multiple, MULTIPLE places for outdoor lounging.  Plasmas/LCDs.  Karaoke.  Man-cave. Workout room.  Sauna.  Five-plus bathrooms.  Fire pit.  Etc. etc. Epic.

Of course, JPK is financially at a point in life where Mr. Glib and I are not (and may never be).  But it got me thinking about our condo in Chicago versus JPK’s lakehouse in a small town.  Sure, our Chicago real-estate money could stretch more there (maybe to, say, 3 bathrooms and one-quarter of a man cave).  Sure, the views were gorgeous and the mood was relaxed.  Sure, I have suggested (tongue in cheek … sort of) JPK hire me for a role with his company more times than is considered appropriate. But what does one sacrifice trading convenience for square footage?  It’s an eternal debate.  Here’s where I currently stand.

Chicago Minuses:

Public transportation and the stress it creates.  Will I just miss my train and half to run, Gwynth in Sliding-Doors style? Will I get a seat or have to stand with my 18 bags shrugged across me?

Real estate.  $300 per square foot and higher (much higher) is not an exaggeration, depending on neighborhood.

Suburban flight.  When faced with Chicago public schools vs. private tuition vs. a move to the distant suburbs, most young families choose the last option.  And are never heard from again.

Corrupt government.  Or so they tell me.  Ehhh .

Chicago Pluses:

Public transportation and the convenience it provides.  Never again worry about driving under the influence when busses, trains, and an abundance of cabs take you wherever you need to go.  Mr. Glib and I sold our car more than a year ago and only miss it when going OUT of town somewhere.

BYOB.  Bring your own bottle/booze/bubbly. Pick your cuisine – Mexican, Italian, Sushi, Thai, Indian, Moroccan, Argentinean – and pick your own drinks for the night out of your own fridge.  It cuts down on costs and allows for greater choice.  I love this about Chicago (and other big cities).  Even my bikini-waxing shop advertises itself as “BYOB.”

Following up on this reason, the abundance of restaurants – all cuisines, all good, many within walking distance – makes me very happy and content.  It also may explain why, despite my increased walking and physical activity levels, I’ve gained 10 pounds since moving up here.  D’oh!

Culture.  Improv clubs, theaters, venues of all sizes for artists to match. Countless museums. And a populace that appreciates it.

It’s a trade off for sure.  Comfort versus convenience, affordability versus choice. The latter is great in my youth but as I get older and less interested in BYOB Ethiopian, I may prefer a three-car garage and a nice corner pub to dine at.

Of course, there is always the middle ground – Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Austin, Seattle, San Diego.  Who knows where this life will take us next.