Things I Am Looking For in The Mid-Sized City of My Dreams

5790914044_6ce7077a76_z A house with 2 bedrooms that is somehow less than the price of my no-bedroom apartment ($1450)
or even 3 bedrooms?!
a bathroom with a sink in it. Two bathrooms with two sinks?
a washer and dryer?!
a dishwasher? But we still hand-wash the dishes because it’s good for our character.
Some kind of yard, front or back.

Also I would love a front porch. I would love it to be a bungalow, whatever that means. I want their to be built-in shelves everywhere and a big round tub. Although our shower is too small to lie down in. Our bathroom doesn’t have a sink, or proper ventilation. Mold grows on the ceiling and mildew on the shower curtain. For awhile I was buying us a monthly shower curtain liner and then we discovered we could just…wash it. This was discovered when I was pregnant, so I never was the washer, and I fear that job is coming for me.

One day I want a house with one of those SUN PORCHES, where it’s a bunch of tiny windows, and you can put old rugs down in there, and mismatchy furniture. And a dog.

We desperately want a dog, guys.

I want to live on a beautiful, tree-lined street with sidewalks and neighbors, except somehow the houses are spaced apart well, and then you turn a corner, or a few corners, and you are magically in a hopping town square.

In this town square, there is an ice cream shop, a coffee shop with free wireless and plentiful outlets, a vegetarian restaurant that is buzzing but you can always get a table, a store that sells children’s shoes made for women and dresses for pear-shaped people under 5 feet, a grocery store that sells Fage yogurt for very low prices and is also open all night, a tiny art house cinema in a charming old building with cushy seats, a bakery with freshly-baked bread and cookies that are good for you. Oh, and an independent bookstore that is profitable and adorable and also for sale for a very low price.

I would like mountains and coastline, but you know, the kind of coastline that won’t be wiped out in the coming decades.

Preferably the temperature lingers somewhere around 65 degrees most of the year, with a few 78-degree days in the summer. It snows, but only a few days a year (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, primarily). When it does snow, it snows a foot and then evaporates into the mountain air all at once.

It rains but only in the summer, in that way where the sun is still out and you laugh, running to your car.

Yes I have a car, but I ride my bike to work most days. “Work” being an office space in the downtown center that the city has granted me on a fellowship. I write a column every two weeks about whatever I want and get paid like, $5000 for it, so the town feels like they really want to invest in my…me.

The car is some kind of wood-paneled station wagon but with a new engine and a new whatever it takes to make a car perfectly safe and not in need of repairs. We use it to go on weekend trips — hikes in the mountains, picnics on the beach, etc. Otherwise it sits in our detached garage, next to Dustin’s woodworking station.

A few nights a month there is some kind of cultural event in town. We drop our child off at the evening daycare center, staffed by child development students at the local university. They hand us a glass of wine on our way out, and we walk hand-in-hand in the cool evening air. We’re going to a reading. Oh, would you look at that. It is my reading! And it seems all of my friends from New York City are here, including some of very well-respected cultural figures from the surrounding area. This is truly the affordable, mid-sized city of my dreams.

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