The Greatest City in America

So it’s done.

I put in my resignation yesterday. Emily put in hers last week.

There is something so satisfying about handing that letter in. Perhaps it’s the control you have over the circumstances. Perhaps it’s the thought of what the future holds. I think it’s a combination of both. I will miss the relationships I have built here, of course.

It all started a bunch of months ago when we found a house in upper Montgomery County for sale. It was an old General Store built in the 1890s on the MARC train line. Literally 100 feet from the tracks. It would have been perfect. It was huge. The first floor would have been the studio and we’d live above. There was major work that had to be done to rehab it, but were up for it. It was also a historic building, so we could get tax credits for the work we did. We were also thinking more about sustainable living and living “off the grid” then. Geothermal power was really turning us on. Not to mention septic tanks. Sadly there was a gaping hole in the roof and shortly after seeing the house the area received around 12″ of rain in a few days. Needless to say, at that point, it would have been foolish to have invested and built on this plot.

Our dream of being self employed was not over. The thought of having a 9-5 job working for the man was both terrifying and mind numbing. It was clearly not an option. It was now or never. We thought of renting space in DC. But where would we get $3,000-$5,000 a month for rent in a crappy ‘hood?

I am not sure how it came about, but the idea became to sell our house in DC, buy a new house in Baltimore and find a place to build out a recording studio. I did some market research and found that there were a few large studios with gold laced flooring. There were also a bunch of studios that were in basements, similar to my old one down the street that most bands grew out of after high school, but were cheap so they got the job done. The major void was in mid-level studios. Herein lies our future. After a final meeting with Al (who is a deep seed in the music community of Baltimore not to mention a music writer for the Baltimore City Paper) as well as other constituents we came to the conclusion that this was our destiny. Not to mention the exploding music scene in Baltimore and the possibilities of other related endeavours once the studio took off that Emily would be able to head up.

We lucked out and found a great commercial space in Charles Village. It was at one point the media ‘hood of the city. Now it’s more simply a business district. Regardless, it’s from the turn of the century and it has 12 foot ceilings. It’s perfect for a studio. You know, once we float the room while sound proofing it.

We also sold our house in remarkably fast time considering the market now. It was listed on a Friday. There was an open house on Sunday and we had our first bid on Monday. We even got our asking price. And we decided to rent in Baltimore rather than buy. Building out the studio is going to be pretty time consuming commitment so we’d not have the time to “build out” our own house at the same time, so why bother at this point. The prices in Baltimore are only going down, so we’ll revisit that idea in a year or two. What amazed me was the price of a turn of the century brownstone with 4-5 bedrooms would cost $350,000 or so. You couldn’t even think about doing that in DC for the same square footage in good neighborhoods. It was funny to think that we could live in a place for a few years and not even use the 3rd floor until we had kids. Anyways… It was around that time when I fell in love with Baltimore, hon. At least with the character of all the neighborhoods and homes. It was something I always appreciated, but it never went beyond that. To me, it was always a fun place to visit. Nothing more, nothing less. But that changed.

So to a lot of people this is pretty weird to not have a “consistent and stable” job. But I am not even employed by the Government, I was merely a contractor and they could drop me at a seconds notice. Not to mention any job I could get or have had. So I am no better off today than I will be after my last date of employment. Which happens to be the 31st of August. Yay!

Regardless, this fits in with both of our future plans. And we’re not compromising anything. I think that’s what is most critical here. We’re living our dream and we’re doing it together. We’re so happy beyond anything else we’ve ever done.

18 Responses to “The Greatest City in America”


  • I think what you and Emily are doing is absolutely fantastic, and the decision to rent in Baltimore for the time being is an especially smart one.

    Please keep us posted with pictures of the process… I wish you both the very best!

  • Dear Mat & Em:

    I read this entry this morning in my office. It made me go into the bathroom, take a few deep breaths, and cry.

    I’m so envious of you. All I do is sit around daydreaming of creative work I could be doing. I haven’t published creative work in almost four years now, because I’ve been concentrating on my career. I like what I do, but I can’t find any stable work environment and I’m beginning to suspect that I can’t ever be happy in a conventional office setting anyway.

    The husband has just started law school, and we want another baby, so it might be 5 or 6 years before I feel like I can go off the grid and do my own thing. You’re doing the right stuff, and I am hopelessly jealous.

  • Wow! Congrats! GOOD LUCK!

    P.S. – Al’s new nickname: “the deep seed”

  • I find it hard to believe that you (who love baltimore) and I (who am learning to love baltimore) are moving there at the same time =) For those of you who don’t know, my Baltimore-a-phobia is waning and I am learning to appreciate and, be still my heart, enjoy that crazy town. I can’t wait for your apartment warming party, and I hope you’ll be able to come to mine.

    BELIEVE!!!!

    Awapy.

  • Everyone has a “someday” floating around in Futureland. It makes me happy to know that you two are brave enough to go for it. Best of luck.

  • Congrats! (From your other off-the-grid friend in the district.) Keep me in mind if you (or any bands) need Web work! And maybe we’ll be near you guys in Baltimore someday. 😉

  • I’m so envious! Sometimes,I just get in the car and drive from Frederick to Baltimore because I love to just take in that city. I love it and it sounds like you do too. Congrats on giving up the rat race! Sounds like a wonderful decision for you and Emily.

  • Sounds awesome. Good luck to you both.

  • omg shut up. i am ridiculously excited for the two of you, seriously.

  • mat,
    congrats. sounds amazing…yeah i keep hearing about how hot baltimore is right now and i keep thinking ‘when did that happen?’ (in a good way)…bands are coming over here from the baltimore scene and it’s funny in a way…
    x

  • More power to you. I’m envious.

  • Wow! Congrats!
    Change is always good…
    Mazel Tov!

  • Congrats! Livin’ the dream, etc….

  • you two are nothing short of amazing. so many people don’t give it all up to follow their dreams, i am one of them. i applaud and envy you and wish you nothing but fantastic success and happiness. oh, and lots of babies.

  • Oh my GOODNESS! *beaming with joy* This is was I like to read . . . people living their dream! Ahh, chicken soup for the social worker soul. That’s what it’s all about. Nothing but peace and happiness to the both of you. ((hugs))

  • This should be your next purchase:

  • Dudes! Congrats, good luck, and have fun! See you Saturday morning.

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