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Old 06-12-2012, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Phinney
156 posts, read 266,337 times
Reputation: 109

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Quick background--grew up in Madison (moved when I was 13). Still visit once a year because my dad still lives there (and most of my family is in Ill).

I've lived in Olympia (60 miles south of Seattle) since 1990. I still REALLY struggle with the weather. I love the smell of the ocean and salt air but the cloudy days take a toll.

Enter my husband, born and raised here...has all his family here...has a great job...with an hour commute(that's not including traffic). He will most likely always have this commute. Even if we moved north he'd still have traffic because the cost of living in Seattle is nuts and we'd have to live in a burb...and somehow...I just feel disjointed with the thought of moving to be "closer" to his work but him still having an hour commute because of local traffic.

The last few years I've been seriously thinking of what it would be like to move back and raise my youngest in Madison (my son will graduate HS next year). I feel like in many ways she could have more there and my husband would have so much less stress. He wakes up at 5:00am to get to work at 7...then gets off at 3:30pm and is home anywhere from 4:30-6:30 depending on traffic weather.

I've read a lot of threads on here with people complaining about short days, gray skies, etc. Having not lived in Madison as an adult...and mostly visiting in the summer...I'm having a hard time remembering it being gray? Or maybe to me it's not as bad because out here it's dark by 4:00pm (in winter) and it's raining and/or gray or both from about November-July.

The cost of living seems comparable to where we currently live (though the property taxes are quite a bit higher)...but I guess that evens out with the subtraction of my husband's commute and increase in our quality of life in that regard. There are also a lot more homes to choose from in the Madison area.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for as this all just swirling around...but if anyone has any insight or experience on making a move such as this I'd love to hear it!

*my mom and sister live out here...that is a huge downfall...but I figure they'll still come to visit because all of our family is in WI/Ill.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:51 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
1,736 posts, read 4,901,159 times
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It get dark at 4:00 here too. Starting in about mid October.

If you have only visited here in May, June, July and August (even September), you would think it was a sunny place, but that is less than half the year. It is almost always sunny during those months with 1-2 days of rain here and there, but Oct - April are cold and gray.

All that said, I think we have statistically more sunny days than the Seattle area.
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Old 06-12-2012, 06:19 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,455,485 times
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I'd mostly agree with Megan, although it is perhaps just a wee bit of an exaggeration to say that the sun sets at 4:00 in October. From late November to late January, the days are definitely very, very short, but it's not quite that bad yet in October.

There are some sunny days in the wintertime. There are also a lot of cloudy, grey days, and I know people with seasonal affective disorder for whom a Wisconsin winter is challenging indeed. But even so, I think (am not certain) that Madison has at least slightly more sunshine even in the winter than you're probably getting there.

As to commutes, that really depends on what your lifestyle preferences are. The farther you live from Madison itself, the better the home prices are - but then, the longer the commute is, too, and commuting in a snowstorm can be both a pain in the rear and a nuisance. Madison is a small city, and it is not without its problems, which some folks would prefer to avoid by living in the outlying communities, but there is definitely a tradeoff the farther out you go.

One thing that does kind of jump out at me in your post is your comment about your children. You mention your son graduating from high school next year, but you don't mention the age or grade level of your youngest child. Based on our experiences moving halfway across country with a pair of teenagers (14 and 16), I'd counsel caution about uprooting youngsters who are already in high school. It can be done, but it's not easy on anyone in the family. I can offer a lot more details if that might be relevant for your situation.

You might consider planning a couple of visits during fall/winter this year, just to assess for yourself the daylight and the length of the days to see if it might suit your needs. It would also be good to renew your acquaintance with Midwestern winter weather, as the memory of the bitter cold tends to fade with time. I have discovered that my tolerance for temperature extremes has shifted some as I've aged, and if you are less cold-tolerant than you used to be, the Midwest might not be as good a choice for you.

Good luck to you, and I hope you wind up in a place that suits you. Come on back and ask away if more questions occur to you.
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Phinney
156 posts, read 266,337 times
Reputation: 109
Meghan--to clarify in the last 15 years we did summer trips (mainly to get some warmth) but the last 3 years we came in November, December, and January. We were there the year that it snowed starting in October/November. I found it beautiful. It was cold and we had to go buy wool socks and bundling up was necessary but we still shopped State st., ducked into a thai place for a cozy meal, and walked out on the lakes to watch the ice fisherman. Granted it was bone chilling and our faces had that tingling sensation...but it made me feel alive. It was also the only time I visited without my kids with me so that made it MUCH easier Though my teenager was so bummed to have missed the snow. I think unless you've been to the Seattle area the term overcast or gray is a little different. The clouds in the Midwest are different so some of the days that are cloudy you can still see sun and blue sky. Here if it's overcast...which is a lot of the time...you can go weeks without seeing blue and especially sun.

Bookworm--Again..sorry for the confusion in my original post. My son is 17 and a senior this coming year so we would not be moving until next summer at the earliest My daughter is 5 and starting Kindergarten in the fall. My desire and itch to move I think is being prompted by the fact that if we want to try a different approach to our life and move somewhere this is THE window to do it. I'm not too worried about truly settling down until she's in 2nd or 3rd grade...that's my cut-off. Again...it keeps coming back to the quality of life out here...it is the most beautiful state and there is so much to love yet it's a very difficult state in many ways. My husband is in the trades which is mostly in King county....but the traffic is really bad all over. And the whole bedroom community thing has a different feeling to me out here...everything is very spread out and you have crappy traffic no matter which way you go. And it's expensive. I know there are things I would definitely miss and I don't know if it would be the forever place...but because we could always come back I feel like it just might be worth it. Plus I think my husband would really love it. He's never lived anywhere else and I think it would be so amazing to get to share some of the things I did as a child with my family...if only for a while...hell we might end up in AZ after being there

Thanks for the responses I appreciate it!
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:35 AM
 
2,940 posts, read 9,177,512 times
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Well, you know yourself and your family more than anyone here. But the main things that seem to bother you-long, gray winters...short, dark days...for many months, is also a recurring theme here and a HUGE complaint that many people who live here share, with the added difference that it can be figid cold as well. It just seems odd that these issues are a major reason for wanting to leave the PNW (minus the cold), and you would choose Wisconsin, which is very similar in that regad. I really can't see there being enough of a difference in sunny winter days in Madison vs. Washington in the winter to warrent a move based on that. Likewise, you also have beautiful, non-humid summers. So very similar in many aspects.

Regarding costs, again, Madison might not be the ideal choice. You will find it will be similar to where you are now regarding those costs. So, not much of a meaningful difference to justify a move using that as a factor either.

If you just want a change, so be it, I am just not sure Madison will offer it up. These are relatively similar regions regarding things you dislike...so I would say if you want a change, look to places with sunnier winters and that are cheaper, with reasonable economies and good schools, short commutes, etc. What about Omaha? It seems cheaper and sunnier witha good economy. Just a suggestion.

I would hate to see you want to make the move and then realize it is the same in many regards, just a different setting.
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Phinney
156 posts, read 266,337 times
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Winter in itself is not the problem. Having lived in both WI and WA (aside from 1 year in Rio and 6 months in GA) my whole life I don't know any other winter that doesn't involve short days. I can certainly understand the complaint out there feeling trapped and tired of snow and short days. However, unless you've been out here and lived here for a spell I don't think the term "overcast" is truly understood. My issue is more that once "winter" is over here...it doesn't happen until July. So once the time changes it is light out until 9:30 but it's just hours of gray sky. And the sky here can be dark gray all day making it feel like nighttime for days on end. I'm not trying to bash WA or make comparisons on who has it worst. I'm just craving a difference. The lack of summer here (and yes it does get humid...it's just not as hot as out there) is what has me feeling restless. Anyway...it's more about my perception of the weather and how it affects me...I don't like cloudy gray days on a pretty regular basis. I may end up not liking it out there but it's not like I think it's better...just a different scene that I'd like to show my husband and kids.

And as far as cost of living...I did mention above that Madison is very similar to Olympia in cost of living. But you might have missed that my husband works in Seattle....so he has a 2-4 hour commute 5 days a week depending on traffic. We cannot afford to live in King County nor do we want to because we love the community we live in. So in many regards Madison is comparable to where we live except my husband would have a better quality of work/life balance...which is my main motivator.

It might not even be a possibility because he would have to transfer and be approved...but again...getting a break from this gloomy weather, being near family I've been away from for 20 years, and having a simpler life were all draws for me. It will take some time if we really want to do it...I just got very nostalgic and wish I could move now...because we're on our 3rd year of really crappy weather and I get burnt out. And yes, I do get out and the rain doesn't stop me from enjoying life. But blue skies truly make me get butterflies....all I'm sayin' is give me a chance to crave rain and clouds!!!!
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:50 AM
 
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I'm from the southeast where it generally seems to rain a lot more than up in Wisconsin. I'm actually one of those strange people who hates hot weather, doesn't really mind as much freezing winters, and likes overcast skies with sunshine only occasionally, so I think I would fit well in the northwest.

But from my time living in Madison, I'd say it's definitely very sunny most of the summer, and the last few years at least it's been very hot too. In fact, it's often sunnier and hotter here than down in the south. Wisconsinites like to put down their weather up here because of the darkness in the winter and the cold, but they don't realize how nice it is to have four distinct seasons that look and feel very different. Most people up here seem to be all about the summer and the sunshine, but nothing for me beats the fall when the leaves all explode and the air gets crisp.

But to answer your question, yes, I'd say there's plenty of sunshine and sunny days here, especially all through the summer. I rarely see storms up here like the ones that come through the southeast, and I frequently wish it would rain and be cloudy here.
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Old 06-15-2012, 11:41 AM
 
Location: WI
3,908 posts, read 9,444,161 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootenstein View Post
I'm from the southeast where it generally seems to rain a lot more than up in Wisconsin. I'm actually one of those strange people who hates hot weather, doesn't really mind as much freezing winters, and likes overcast skies with sunshine only occasionally, so I think I would fit well in the northwest.

But from my time living in Madison, I'd say it's definitely very sunny most of the summer, and the last few years at least it's been very hot too. In fact, it's often sunnier and hotter here than down in the south. Wisconsinites like to put down their weather up here because of the darkness in the winter and the cold, but they don't realize how nice it is to have four distinct seasons that look and feel very different. Most people up here seem to be all about the summer and the sunshine, but nothing for me beats the fall when the leaves all explode and the air gets crisp.

But to answer your question, yes, I'd say there's plenty of sunshine and sunny days here, especially all through the summer. I rarely see storms up here like the ones that come through the southeast, and I frequently wish it would rain and be cloudy here.
not sure where in the SE you happen to be from, but here in SC (GA and others as well) we've been in or near draught conditions for at least the past couple seasons now, with the last 2 summers for us record heat. In fact we had over 100 days last summer in the 90's or higher for temps. After 47 yrs in WI i can say their summers are nothing like that. If you've only been up in Wi for a shorter time, you may have missed some of the massive flooding that occured there a few years back (and throughout the midwest ) from heavy rains mixed with high snow melt. Lake Delton was lost, the Madison lakes were no-wake for a good portion of the summer (which sucked), etc. But you are correct that WI does have 4 distinct seasons, and as long as one can find something to enjoy outdoors in all 4 then it can be a great place to live. And the way winter has been there, 2 recent record snowfall years and last winter was very mild so it's hard to rely on weather averages anymore.
As they say, "different strokes for.... "
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Old 06-20-2012, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Verona, WI
1,201 posts, read 2,117,588 times
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OP, you've mentioned property taxes being higher in WI, but your state income taxes will be higher as well, so make sure to take that into account when comparing income in both places and setting up a budget.
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Phinney
156 posts, read 266,337 times
Reputation: 109
Ragnar--That is an excellent point!! And one I had not even thought of yet:P I'm looking for information on it but I'm not quite sure how to interpret it. For a married couple around 75K (this is one income) what would the tax rate be...nevermind...6.5%. If I'm doing this right correctly they would tax our gross income so it would come out of each check....hmm...interesting. From what I can tell based on what he makes here and applying the tax rate it would be about $102/paycheck (he's paid weekly). So I need to figure out where we make that up in costs here to see if there is any offset. Please correct me if you see I'm screwing this up

I realize there are many variables but I'm just trying to get an idea of what it might look like.

And does anyone know how it shakes it out in comparison to WA...does it pretty much even itself out when comparing various taxes (we have no personal income tax here).

Thanks for the post!

Last edited by slan490; 06-22-2012 at 10:05 AM..
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