Oh Canada

I was born, grew up and lived my entire life in northern Illinois. While I’ve traveled far (Canada, New Zealand and Ireland internationally; coast to coast domestically) I’ve never stayed anywhere but the midwest for more than two weeks at a time. Most of my family, though, has moved away.

Andrea and I have talked about moving to Canada for a while. Andrea is Canadian. Most of her family lives in southwest Ontario, not far from Windsor and Detroit. Most of my meatspace friends live in the Detroit area, less than an hour drive from where we would go. Cost of living is ultimately lower than where we are now.

We looked at houses online and found a couple houses in the area we wanted to move to. On our last trip to Ontario we walked through the houses. They were both nice but one really appealed to us. An older house — a split level ranch with three bedrooms, 1 bath, a fully finished basement, attached garage and a large fenced-in yard for the dogs to play in. We put in an offer the next day. After several days of back and forth negotiation, we got the word yesterday that the seller has accepted our offer. We have our first house together. The Rural Development loans, also known as USDA home loan rates, may be a good solution in such situations.

The house in Illinois is wonderful, but it’s too large for two people. My mom lives across town but she’s a free spirit. I don’t expect her to stay in the area much longer. We have little other family or close friends here. Aside from the people from my writers group, who I’ll miss dearly, and my cousin Annie, everyone else I know has drifted away.

Before I go further, let me directly address the person who reads my blog so they can feed information back to my ex. Grow up. You are not helping anyone. I have nothing to hide. I’m not “skipping the country” to avoid the terms of the divorce agreement. I still work for a US company and she’s still getting her precious money with no interruptions, so mind your own business.

There’s a lot of paper shuffling and work to be done while we wait for financing on the new house to be approved. I still have to take my ex-wife’s name off the house in Illinois. The one mortgage company I had been working with has gone MIA — the agent refusing to return calls or emails. I will be filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau and leaving negative reviews of them, but that doesn’t help with what I have to do. I spoke to multiple banks last week about assumptions and refinancing. They all report sixty days to completion due to the number of people refinancing for lower rates right now. I’m also putting in a call to a real estate agent I know to see what other options there are. Ideally I would sell this place but I’d have to price it under market value to have a hope of selling it quickly.

No one wants to juggle two mortgages, especially in today’s economy, but we’ll manage with our exceptional mortgage credit scores. The new house costs less than half of the current one. Refinancing my truck cut my payment in half and with the lower costs of living we should be able to manage for as long as it takes to sell. Andrea will also be able to legally work.

Once we’re settled in I can apply for permanent residence in Canada. After three years, I can become a dual citizen. While we’re there, Andrea can apply in the US and also get her dual citizenship. We figure we’ll stay in the new house for at least 5 years. After that, we may move somewhere neither of us has ever lived (if we have kids, we’ll probably stay in Canada, though).

We’re walking a path. We don’t know where it’ll lead us but that’s part of the adventure.