“I love you but I hate Virginia”: The Maryland Bride’s Lament

Although there are always exceptions, most married people live together. I am beginning to suspect Special Someone and I might end up falling into the “exceptions” category. This does not make me as sad as it should.

He lives in Northern Virginia, which to me is hell on earth; I live in Montgomery County, Maryland, which to many people is hell on earth, but having grown up there and lived there most of my adult life, I find almost a kind of comfort when sitting in traffic on Rockville Pike.

I’ve always talked about getting the hell out of the DC area, but never have. It’s too easy to stick around when I have my parents (who happen to give me a pretty sweet Daughter Discount to rent a house they own), most of my extended family, and a good number of close friends all within a 15-minute drive (okay, make that a 30-minute drive – traffic here is terrible). Also, the job market is better here than in most other U.S. cities, and that’s kind of a huge plus.

People who live in DC think, “Maryland, Virginia, what’s the difference? They both suck.” I don’t have time to suffer fools, people. Virginia sucks, Maryland sucks slightly less. It’s official. I’ll get back to you with some data on that one of these days.

Anyway, the main reason I don’t want to live in Virginia, other than that it is even more sucktacular than Maryland, is that the commute to DC is so miserable (I assure you, there is some logic to the way I think). When connected to the city only by a few bridges and tunnels and a couple of overstuffed Metro lines, there’s really no good way for two million people to get there in snarl-free fashion. Maryland, by no means a model of great infrastructure, at least has geography on its side.

Special Someone generally thinks my complaints about Virginia are bollocks. He is one of those rare native Marylanders (okay, since I know he will point this out: he was born in Alexandria — happy now, SS?? — but grew up in Rockville) who defected to the dark side and seems content with that misguided decision. Luckily, he is willing to return to his Old Line roots for my sake.

Seems easy enough – why doesn’t he just move in with me? You must not know my fiance very well. The man is a collector, not a hoarder — there’s an important distinction — but a collector of very large objects. Items in the Large Object Collection include but are not limited to: three antique automobiles each approximating twenty feet in length; six pinball machines; a jukebox; a pool table; a number of antique televisions; and one extremely gigantic wall poster. Of course it’s great that Special Someone has these hobbies and interests (I mean, what do most other guys do for fun besides play Xbox and fart?), but unfortunately the little 1940s two-bedroom, basement-less rambler that I rent from my parents cannot accommodate them (these hobbies and interests also eliminate the possibility of finding anything affordable in DC). Meanwhile, Special Someone owns his house, which also has a garage big enough to fit two of his three large automobiles, so rented cohabitation at my place is kind of a tough sell.

Our wedding is just over four months away now, and we have no idea where we are going to live. If we don’t find a place we can agree on between now and then, I will move in with him, but only on the condition that I can be a stay-in-bed-housewife until we find something in Maryland, since I refuse to make the 90-minute drive to and from my office every day. Of the houses we’ve looked at in Maryland that are (just barely) in our price range, 2+ car garage-equipped, and reasonably close to the areas of Virginia that Special Someone sometimes needs to go to for work, most of them look exactly like this:

Minus the mountain views and cheerful live-in maid, of course. I’m not complaining and I hope I don’t sound spoiled. In fact, I rather like vinyl and formica; they are durable and easy to clean. The tough question is, do I want to be house-poor all for the sake of some ugly suburban split-level that’s so dated-looking we might not be able to resell it? If it means not having to live anywhere in the vicinity of I-66, the answer is a resounding “More Astroturf, please!”

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11 Comments on ““I love you but I hate Virginia”: The Maryland Bride’s Lament”

  1. Sandy says:

    Your El Camino would look totally bitchin’ in front of that pad!

  2. Mike says:

    I’m pretty sure a stay-in-bed housewife is also known as a ‘sex slave’. I would love to offer my perspective as a Virginia native, but I am really busy with this new Call of Duty game as well as training for the World Hobbyist’s Invitational Farting Festival(WHIFF)

  3. Sarah says:

    Wishing now you had gotten that El Camino you were looking at, don’tya?

    I will come play badminton on your astroturf in MD any time. In VA, only one or two times a month. Imma hope that’s a selling point for MD not VA. šŸ˜‰

  4. Jo says:

    The Daughter Discount is very awesome.

    I actually know several couples who live apart most of the time, together on weekends. It works for them.

  5. Nicole says:

    Living apart is definitely not the end of the world if you are up for it. My parents have been in a long distance relationship for about half of their marriage, and they’re cool with it.

    That said, it sucks ass, and I would never do it.

    House may not be very interesting, but you can always spruce it up.

  6. NicoleM says:

    We are getting married in July in MoCo! But we live in DC. I think you can refuse to live in Virginia just on the basis of politics. Making a leap of assumption based on just a few blog posts, but the state of Virginia has some pretty gnarly politics going on in the scary-conservative vein. NoVA itself is fairly liberal, but the state as a whole is, in my opinion at least, rolling backwards on a lot of things including women’s rights. So there’s that.

    You could probably get a big-ish house in an up-and-coming area of SE DC or PG County, close enough to not make the commute to VA hard. Oxon Hill? Congress Heights?

  7. skepticbride says:

    Sandy & Sarah: Mark my words, there is another El Camino in my future. Sarah, room for badminton is at the top of our wish list! (Just behind “room for Buicks” and “not butt ugly.”)

    Mike: WHIFF! Hahahahaha.

    Jo & Nicole: very encouraging, since we may not live together until the wedding at the very earliest (against my mother’s new-agey wishes). makes me feel less weird about it! but we would definitely rather live together for the long-term and any reasons we have for not living together are kinda lame. We’re not in different countries or in grad school or anything, and we’re not sick of each other (yet). Thanks for reading, I’m enjoying your blogs too!

    Nicole M: yay, another MoCo July wedding! Yes, VA is sometimes kind of scary, though I think of NoVa as a completely different entity (and super scary for other reasons). Thanks for the real estate ideas, we need lots of them!

  8. Mim says:

    I’m sorry for being utterly incapable of stifling my “fixer” tendencies, but is buying storage space an option? Or maybe building an expanded garage/carport? The former would be an option if SS doesn’t log serious hours on the pinball machines, for instance. Those places are usually at the very least temp-controlled, arguably no worse than a basement.

    Buicks are like the one thing larger than a marimba (the marimba and the timpani, however, are certainly in contention with the pinball machines)… šŸ™‚

  9. skepticbride says:

    Mim, I was pushing for buying some storage space awhile back, but to store the Buicks AND pay rent on the Kompound when we could just keep paying Lars’ mortgage and getting some more home equity in the process didn’t make the best financial sense. (We also attempted to buy the Kompound with the idea that Lars could build a garage in the backyard and he and my dad could live happily ever after together in their fume-filled man-love cave; Mom said it ain’t for sale.) I know there are a lot of worse things in the world than house-hunting and I must seem like a total brat, but UGH.

  10. Kate says:

    On the “not butt ugly” front, keep in mind that you have an architect cousin willing to offer free design services for those candidates. Most uglies CAN be fixed (cost being a different issue).
    This offer only valid in MD!

  11. skepticbride says:

    Woohooo, thanks Bug! We’ll keep that in mind, but…FREE? We’ll at least babysit or something!


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