Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Here and there

It's been some time since I visited here. Lots going on.

In six-weeks' time, I put my house on the market, sold it, bought a condo across town, and moved in. So I'm not a Tosan anymore. But I'm a fan. And as we are pretty sure no one at what Gas Pains calls The Mothership is paying attention, I'm back with a few random observations.

  • If you have a sturdy house in Wauwatosa and list it priced to sell, you will sell it. And if you are lucky as I was, you'll sell it to nice people who have more love and attention to give the house.
  • Any time you are thinking the streets are bad, come on over to Riverwest, my new stomping grounds. Even a main drag like Humboldt Avenue is pretty Third World, condition-wise.
  • After only two days living on the west bank of the Milwaukee River, I felt like a tourist in Tosa. Wow: decent streets! Wow: clean and tidy! Wow, really white!

When I got the offer on my house, I started looking for rentals in three places: Tosa, Washington Heights (where I like the houses and know some people), and Riverwest. Riverwest is near my church, I liked the vitality of the place, and I figured it would be cheaper. I needed to reduce my cost of living while keeping the opportunities for community high.

And I had a couple other requirements. The place had to be right-sized for a single woman, it had to have enough windows, it had to be quiet, and there had to be trees-birds-walking places.

It took about three days to realize I wasn't going to find a place that met my requirements and that I could afford in Tosa. This has been an issue for a long time with some Tosans: concern about pricing housing  (especially new construction multiunit housing) so high that Tosans with average or lower incomes could no longer afford to live there. I'd talked to one of my alders about it. She shook her head and said "I know! My kids can't afford to live here!" To which I say (and this is my last political statement for the day), is that really what you want?

I miss Tosa, my friends, the great places to go there. But I'll contine to see them. I've traded the Underwood Parkway for the Milwaukee River, a fairyland kind of place as well. The river smells good, something I couldn't often say about the creek. And the parkway is gone anyway, at least for the summer, owing to the MMSD project.

It is actually quieter here, except for the Fourth of July. And as green, since I live next to a park and the river. People are friendlier: I've gotten to know more neighbors in a month than in 20 some years in Wauwatosa. I've decided Tosans are sort of shy.

I still walk the dog past interesting houses, though now on sidewalks. And not after dark. I miss our 1 am wanders in Wauwatosa.

There are fireflies here. Not as many. And deer, also not as many. There's a park beer garden at Estabrook. But no pool.

Wauwatosa's an excellent place to live. Keep enjoying it. But all you all, come east sometimes, too. And not just for Summerfest!

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