[March 31st] -- I got a slew of emails regarding a story I published yesterday where I mentioned I lived in Idaho. Since this is the third time the subject has come up in my in-box, I thought I'd take a slow news morning to answer them.
Here is a representative email from Steve in Alexandria: .... ...."Farid, I've been reading your blog since before the Nationals first played a game and I always assumed you lived inside the beltway like the rest of us. Why is an Idahoan (is that right?) so interested in baseball in Washington?
Steve, I lived in D.C. from 1959 (when my family moved from Beirut) to the late 1970's, when I joined the Air Force.
My first tour of duty was in Japan, where I met my (American) wife. After my discharge, we returned to Falls Church, where my second daughter was born. Kendi, and later a second daughter, Kaitlin, came into this world with severe physical and mental handicaps that required specialists that weren't available in D.C. Over the next ten years, we lived in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Detroit, St. Louis and Miami, traveling from doctor to doctor, trying to make our children's lives worth living.
It is expensive to raise a handicapped child, and it is downright prohibitve to raise two. At this point, my guess is that my wife and I have spent half a million dollars on their well being. We came to realize that the cost of wheel chairs, heart surgery, walkers, braces and medical tests were about the same from city to city, but the cost of living was not. For example, I was able to purchase a 2,000 square foot home ten years ago here in Pocatello for $47,000 -- today it's worth about $75,000. Mortgage payments of $367 a month allowed me to return to college without having to work. I can afford to live here and travel to Salt Lake City, about two hours away, to take care of their special needs.
I lost Kendi a little more than a year ago (due to a nurse's mistake) and Katie is healthy enough that I probably could move home and be okay financially. However, I went back to school three years ago to get a teaching degree, and there is no way I could survive inside the beltway on a beginning teacher's salary.
I miss D.C. very much -- but living in the middle of nowhere does have it's advantages. A driver's license here is $15.00. License plates are about $25. There are no safety inspections, no city or county stickers or tags to buy. No other costs at all. Idahoans howled when the sales tax was raised to 5% a few years ago. It's very safe (one murder in Pocatello in the last 15 years) and Yellowstone Park is just two hours away.
So, I hope that answers the question. I would love to come back home and see a game at RFK one more time before the team moves to the new stadium (I'd guess that I've been to about 100 games there watching the old Senators play). Who knows, maybe I'll get to meet my some of my fellow bloggers one day; that would be one of "those" moments that would stay with me forever. But just because I love the Nationals from afar, it doesn't mean that I love them any less.
Thanks for asking. Thanks For caring.
My thoughts are with you're family
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