Flutterby™! : Quality of Life

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Quality of Life

2006-06-19 17:25:12.645894+00 by ebradway 9 comments

As many of you know, I've recently managed to escape the event horizon of the black hole that is Chattanooga. By some estimates - I managed to do it by entering the black hole and emerging in an parallel universe. A place where there are four different farmers' markets to choose from every weekend. A place where I can walk to a local grocery store and find a mix of organic and conventional foods. A place where I can ride a bicycle and not feel like I'm risking my life. A place where the sun shines 340 days out of the year. A place where "Where do you go to church?" is replaced with "What outdoor activity are you into?" or "Where do you practice yoga?"

A long time ago, Dan told me that he'd never move back to the Southeast. Despite the fact that he has many great long-standing friendships there and he could easily live on 1/3rd the income, he just couldn't give up the quality of life he enjoys in Northern California. I'm quickly realizing the same thing...

Oh, despite all the concern expressed by friends before I moved, I haven't found the cost of living here to be any higher than Chattanooga. I pay $75 more per month for my condo but heat and water are included. Produce is cheaper AND Colorado doesn't put sales tax on food. Granted real estate prices are at the higher end of Chattanooga (but no where's near Northern California). And I will see a hit from the Colorado income tax. But there are real jobs here. IBM and Seagate have major facilities within 1/2 mile of my condo.

The only thing that's missing is decent pizza. For those of you in Chattanooga, be forewarned, Lupi's makes some of the best pizza in the country!

[ related topics: California Culture Theater & Plays Pedal Power Bicycling Food Coyote Grits Politics Real Estate Economics Chattanooga Religion ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-19 17:52:51.132121+00 by: meuon

It's not a black hole, you CAN escape from it. I know already that someday we'll have to be nearer a beach (Nancy loves them, I like them), and that Nancy and I could make a decent living almost anywhere.. what it comes down to is family and friends, which are rooted in this space time, for now. I had an opportunity a few years ago to go anywhere and start over with a wad of cash, it came down to the value of a group of friends in my life, including you. Chattanooga has a revolving door of incredible people, as many places do. As a 'freelance mercenary geek', I've also built up a network of clients and business contacts that may be hard to replace, if I chose to continue that path when we relocate.

Nancy and I are both currently working with people we like and respect, that's a hard thing to find anywhere. Perhaps if that changes, we'll look around and decide where "home" will be. It may be right here for a long time.

It's been a long road to unlearn the stories I was taught as a child, that people don't matter and moving every 1-4 years is normal. I know now that people are all that matters. things can be bought and sold, and being happy comes from within. Sure, I like my toys and am proud of them, but I'm more proud of the people I've met that I've helped, and they me, just because we liked and respect each other.

Even though my mid-thirties, I could not even dream of the life I have now, I did not know it was possible, let alone existed. And now I live it.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-19 18:07:52.594594+00 by: ebradway

Don't get me wrong... It was the personal connections that kept me in Chattanooga as long as I did. I spent exactly half of my lifetime in Chattanooga (18 of 36 years). That's pretty significant considering that, like you, I grew up having NEVER lived in the same place for more than two years.

I also got to see Chattanooga go through an amazing metamorphosis - from a stinky ex-industrial town to a less-smelly family-oriented tourist mecca. And I left just as I was reaching the point where I was on first-name basis with folks who's last names were Brock, Lupton and Davenport.

As a Geographer (since I'm now a PhD student in a real Geography department, I feel I can claim the Geographer title), I am acutely aware of these aspects of place and people.

And as an ex-Air Force brat, I also know that it is possible to re-establish the friendships and connections. In fact, that was always the exciting part about moving to a new place! The only difference is that as an adult, I have more freedom to maintain the connections to those I had in the last place (Flutterby, CHIA, and crash space at my place for friends who want to see the famed "16 square miles surrounded by reality").

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-19 18:36:16.451216+00 by: meuon

Re: crash space.. I smell some road trips in our future. :)

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-19 19:03:55.571093+00 by: Nancy

>A place where "Where do you go to church?" is replaced with "What outdoor >activity are you into?" or "Where do you practice yoga?"

This made me laugh! I see your perspective, but from my perspective that wouldn't be an improvement!!

I have always loved wherever I lived, from Fairbanks, Alaska to Logansport, Louisiana, to Chattanooga. I have no doubt I'd love Colorado too! Hope we can visit soon --

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-19 19:27:52.033832+00 by: Dan Lyke

With a few years of perspective, I realize now that I could return to Chattanooga, but it'd be with some changed expectations.

Yes, I've come to expect certain things from my grocery stores, and farmers markets are convenient, but out in Hixson and points north there were, at least a decade and a half ago, plenty of people with oversized gardens who put boxes of produce and a cash box out at the end of their driveways, and there were some damned nice bits of produce available that way.

Entertainment is where you make it. Yeah, avante garde theater and small run movies won't ever make it in 'nooga, but these two last weekends we meant to get out to the movies for films that are available in 'nooga, and didn't make it in either case because hanging out with friends made the better option.

However, entertainment is also tied to the cultural attitudes of the area, and the thing I've most appreciated about being out here is the sense of scale that people think in. It's also intimidating sometimes, there are days when I look back to "grabbing data off a printer and feeding it back into a terminal emulator" hacks with fondness 'cause the expectation here is "how is your project going to change the world". It's comfortable and comforting to have a bounded world and not always be faced with "the next big thing".

Marin is great on a lot of levels, but Chattanooga has pretty much everywhere but Boulder beat for outdoor recreation. Those two cities have often been mentioned in the same breath for rock climbing and whitewater.

And I may occasionally express wonder that y'all can't forecast weather months in advance, but: green. Love it, 'cause you guys got it and I don't.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-19 23:07:53.892595+00 by: mkelley

I fell in love with California when I went to San Diego last year. I discovered that everywhere I've been, I like warm areas and could care less for snow or most seasons. The wife likes the mountains and being around family but I'd much rather live near the city and enjoy the sunshine. I do, however, hear from lost of people that Chattanooga is better than most places, but I think it's ran it's course for me.

Being a web guy, I could almost work anywhere and for most industries. Not a lot of opportunity for those type of jobs 'round here.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-20 01:33:14.797992+00 by: Larry Burton

Ya'll can say what you want about places other than Chattanooga but I've got to tell you that I've been homesick almost everyday for the past four years.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-20 02:06:34.715865+00 by: warkitty

I busted my butt to find a job in Chattanooga. I got tired of the traveling life leasing cell towers and wanted a place to stay. I wanted that place to have a) people I knew, b) outdoor activities I could get into c) terrain that isn't flat.

I left New Orleans for Chattanooga. I've resisted re-locating for my new job to Gulf Shores so I could keep my house in this hill country.

Dan, there's a house on Mountain Creek Road not but 2 miles from here that'll leave out a box of produce with a sign saying "free" as the season progresses. Usually, its squashes and cucumbers. There's always fresh produce on Sundays for city dwellers at the Chattanooga Market, and there's fresh produce stands all over the place elsewheres. I don't miss the centralized location, I could just wish for more patience in cooking cuz I do not enjoy that one bit.

I don't even get asked what church I go to. My heathen-ness must show.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-06-20 05:13:09.14848+00 by: ebradway

There's always fresh produce on Sundays for city dwellers at the Chattanooga Market, and there's fresh produce stands all over the place elsewheres.

Having been to many of the Sunday Markets in Chattanooga, I can easily say that the worst Farmer's Market in Boulder is light-years beyond the best in Chattanooga. It's kind of like the difference between Chattanooga being a "Bronze Level" bike friendly community and Boulder being "Gold Level". See the previous post - in 2003 the City of Boulder put 19% of it's road improvement money into bike paths - and that's a typical year.

But I do agree with Dan - folks around here don't just open a natural food store - they start Whole Foods and Wild Oats. They don't just start an organic dairy, they create Horizon... People around here work to change the world.

BTW, the Boulder County Zoning Commission blocked a church up the road from me from adding 40,000 square feet. Both parties expect the case to go to the Supreme Court. In Chattanooga, churches are allowed to grow unchecked despite the surrounding neighborhoods.