Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Rample Is Worth A Thousand Words

Today I thought I would give a glimpse into how my brain works on sorting out life. I'm going to use specific examples, but the process is the same and repeated with only slight variances with all the job searching I do.

I recently applied for a position as a Courtroom Assistant I for the Aurora Municipal Judicial System, which is happens to be remarkably similar to my ideal employment situation at the moment.

Except for one teeny tiny little detail.

It pays $13 an hour.

Can I (with children) actually LIVE on $13 an hour?

I started with looking for housing (I'm a total house hunting nerd), and actually found several apartments (on the smaller side to be sure, but still within the probably-not-going-to-loose-my-sanity size range) listed on Craigslist in the neighborhood of $650 a month.

Life wouldn't be glamorous, but I think I could afford rent and groceries in the same month with that.

But then I did a little more searching. And was slightly terrified by the online reviews of these complexes.

(There's just something about repeat fatal gang shootings that makes me a little squeamish.)

So then I thought I'd take a gander into what was available to buy. I'm not jumping up and down to deal with that whole process again just yet, but I'm also well aware of how much lower a mortgage payment is than the comparable renal price of a place.

Single family homes didn't turn up anything I would actually consider buying in the super cheap price range (as I am making the assumption that by buying I would live there for more than a year and thus have higher expectations of what it would have. And I just don't do trailers), so I moved on to the condos/townhouses search.

And found one that was more than a little appealing.

The list price is $55,000 and their auto calculator for mortgage and taxes and HOA dues puts it at $576.49 a month. Insurance would be extra on that, but if I'm remembering right the insurance on the condo we owned in Iowa was really cheap because they didn't have to recover replacement costs of structural stuff and the outside.

It was built in the 1970s, and has just over 1500 square feet plus an unfinished basement (which they're claiming is easily finishable). It has 3 bedrooms upstairs, and a total of 3 baths with two upstairs and one on the main level.

(That means I'd have my own private bathroom, the remote prospect of which brings me immense joy).

The kitchen isn't stunning or particularly large, but it has a usable looking layout and also what appear to be reasonably modern (if slightly mismatched) appliances.

Although the green paint color throughout the living space isn't one I would have chosen, I was stuck by the thought that it would look reasonably nice with our couch. 

And owning means painting (should I ever actually be motivated) would be a very viable option, and would certainly make the process of creating the required pink bedroom much easier.

I was a little confused how exactly the outdoor space works with this specific townhouse unit (as doesn't have enough pictures from the right angles up online), but it has a couple nice views of grassy areas and trees and makes a claim of "lots of play area outside for the kids", so I'm going to go with it being alright.

And being a townhouse unit means that all the yard care and snow removal is (almost always) done by the home owners association.

I know absolutely nothing about the city layout of Aurora, but googlemaps claims I can leave the townhouse, go by a Kindercare facility, go by the local elementary school, and drive to the municipal building in 10 minutes without touching an interstate and only driving 3.2 miles total. I'm cool with that.

The city itself is on the wrong side of Denver from where I'd ideally like to be, as it's most definitely getting a good ways south and east from the Boulder area.

However, the remote prospect of being able to live on my own with an hourly wage like that does quite a lot to counter balance the location.

The biggest variable in all of my calculations for anything is childcare costs. I know how much my car payment is, and can take a reasonable guess at a monthly utility bill stacked on top of housing payments.

But full time care at a decent center ranges anywhere from $400 to $2,000 a month (or MORE) per child.

My hope is that Peter will be covering child care costs with his child support/paycheck generosity. And his ability to fully do so really does depend on what exactly those costs are (as, unfortunately, his paycheck isn't infinite either).

However, from the familiarity I have with childcare facilities and the looking I've done into program costs in Colorado, it DOES appear that the prices generally match the housing costs of the area.

The pricier to rent, the pricier to get childcare.

And Aurora isn't particularly pricey to rent in, especially compared to Boulder or the Capital Hill region of Denver (that's the good area with the big old houses right by the zoo). So perhaps childcare would be more reasonably priced too.... as long as I can find a center that's not in the middle of those fatal shootings zones.......


  1. Hey Marty! Just cam across your blog! Be really, really careful about where you live in Aurora! I work at the Anschutz campus and can safely say that pretty much anything that isn't Lowry is iffy at best. The public schools there are generally not-so-great as well.

  2. Stapleton is a good area as well.