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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Bigger, Tougher, Longer? Or Not? | Main | Two Weeks Off »

June 21, 2007

Real Life, Which Costs Real Money

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Posted by Derek

No time for a new post today, unfortunately. I'm on the road, up in the unexplored (by me) territory of suburban Boston, looking at schools and houses today and tomorrow. At the moment, I'm sitting in one of those free-wireless sandwich places, catching my breath and getting ready to look at real estate.

When I was a kid, if you'd told me that I'd be living in a place that cost what these do, I'd have expected the full James-Bond-villian setup: missile launching facility, access to underground submarine base, etc. Looking at the listings, I can only assume that the fashion for these amenities has passed. Probably just as well - I'm not sure I could get the wife and kids to wear the matching jumpsuit uniforms.

Comments (18) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Blog Housekeeping


1. Betsy on June 21, 2007 12:08 PM writes...

We experienced a similar shock when we moved from North Carolina to the SF Bay Area two years ago. It's amazing how quickly your mind adjusts, though. I was visiting family in Baltimore recently, and saw a sign for homes for ~$450,000 and I thought to myself, "Wow--what a bargain!".

Good luck with the hunt!

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2. Derek Lowe on June 21, 2007 12:15 PM writes...

When we moved to CT from New Jersey ten years ago, my wife and I were a real breath of fresh air for our real estate agent. He was used to having people come in from other parts of the country, look over the offerings, and shriek "Three HUNDRED THOUSAND for THIS?" While we were secretively whispering to each other: "Wow, look! This place is only three hundred thousand! Let's go for it now!"

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3. JBJB on June 21, 2007 2:56 PM writes...

Boston's a great city, but man the cost of living coupled with the 7-8 months of cold, dark, and rain/snow, make it a tough plase ot live.

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4. david lilienfeld on June 21, 2007 4:38 PM writes...

Welcome to Biotech Central (the SF Bay area)...

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5. srp on June 21, 2007 4:42 PM writes...

Derek--the submarine bases and stuff are SECRET. You don't get access until you've signed the papers. Of course, it makes for an interesting punchlist: "Death ray is misaligned." "Launching pad lacks white circle in the center." "Ninja infestation."

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6. Anonymous BMS Researcher on June 21, 2007 8:49 PM writes...

House prices sure vary a LOT -- my wife's relatives are mostly in the region where VA, TN, WV, & KY meet, and they express shock at what we paid for our place here in CT. On the other hand, my boss transferred from a BMS facility near Princeton, NJ, to Wallingford, CT (known within the company as "Wally World") and exclaimed about what nice houses he could buy for what he got selling his NJ place.

But I gather Boston is VERY expensive -- I think for the value of my condo I might be able to find a tar-paper shack near Boston. Maybe.

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7. Kramylator on June 21, 2007 9:39 PM writes...

Have you considered a houseboat?

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8. John Stevesn on June 22, 2007 7:12 PM writes...

I know exactly what you mean. When I moved from Omaha NE to Fort Collins CO in 2005 I was sticker shocked when it came to home prices. I knew Fort Collins had a higher ticket price but I'm talking around a 150% increase in price.

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9. GATC on June 22, 2007 9:44 PM writes...

Best of luck Derek. On top of all of the moving hassel and cost of living increases (insurance, energy), guess what, they will charge you to park at your own company! Isn't socialism wonderful? Give Ted Kennedy a big wet one for me...........

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10. S Silverstein on June 24, 2007 7:18 PM writes...

From 1977-1981 I paid around $297/month to live in City South, the 29 story high rise next to Boston University Medical Center (then Boston City Hospital). Indoor parking was $10 or $20 a month extra.

I hear Boston's a little more expensive now...

If you go for the suburbs, try to get a place near enough to the "T" to commute. Driving in Boston was/is a challenge. There were/are no traffic laws, merely "suggestions."

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11. Still Scared of Dinosaurs on June 25, 2007 11:40 AM writes...

My wife comes from the Woodstock, NY, area. When we bought our house (west of boston, just off 128) I saw an old hotel listed near her parents with 8 bathrooms and 40 acres of land for a little more than we paid. Howver, the listing did say the place needed a little work. That and the commute scared me off.

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12. HelicalZz on June 25, 2007 12:12 PM writes...

I like my home in far suburban Boston. It has a nice open Southern view of a pond.

In that pond - sharks with friggin laser beams.


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13. Katie on June 25, 2007 2:52 PM writes...

The price is well worth the historic nature and beautiful scenery of Boston. Just be careful you don't move into any haunted houses or apartments.

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14. Mike Drout on June 25, 2007 9:46 PM writes...

Having lived in the Boston area for 9 years now, I have just one piece of advice: do NOT trust what ANYBODY says about the schools. This is one area where people are ill-informed unless they have kids in school and then lie when they do. There's something in the Mass. ethos that makes people crazy about the schools and it's very difficult to get objective information. Look at MCAS scores, college admissions, anything even remotely objective. The whole "X is the second-best school system in the state" is usually nonsense (have heard it from sources in the educational system about 4 different towns; at least 3 of them must not be 2nd best). There are excellent private schools, but they are, sadly, circa 20K per year for non-religious, between 7 and 10 K per year for parochial.

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15. s on June 26, 2007 9:57 AM writes...

The thing that I don't like about those so-called "objective" measures is that they really aren't all that objective. If you look at the Boston Magazine spreadsheet, the schools whose students score higher on the SAT and have higher college admissions rates are not always the same as the schools who score higher on the MCAS exam. Perhaps the teachers are teaching for the SAT as opposed to the MCAS... or maybe the kids who are scoring higher on the SAT can afford to go to Kaplan or the Princeton Review.

It's like the Newsweek list of the nation's top high schools. They are ranked based on the number of students who are taking AP/IB tests. But those tests are pretty pricey... so unless you have extenuating financial circumstances, only the rich kids are taking those tests, and the rich kids can afford to take all of the tests.

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16. Still Scared of Dinosaurs on June 26, 2007 10:13 AM writes...

And I guess we can strike Stoneham off your list unless your kids show no interest in sports, music, or arts. I feel like we're starting to get invaded by New Hampshire.

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17. KIm on June 26, 2007 3:10 PM writes...

Still Scared of Ds - WHAT? Stoneham is now considered suburban NH? Yikes! My husband used to live in Wakefield and thought he was really out in the burbs (I lived in Jamaica Plain), then we moved back to his family farm in upstate NY (about 45 minutes west of Albany) and he remembered what rural life was really like! Sheep in the field across the road, 45 minute bus ride to school (8 miles from town, but a really big district), plowing your own driveway in the winter, having to pay for trash pickup, no get the idea. And no Starbuck's for miles!!! AHHHHH.....well worth the move, I say (except for the recycling).

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18. Pharmachick on July 5, 2007 6:52 AM writes...

congrats on the new position.

Sorry about the cost of relocating to Boston - it must be a bit of an eye opener from the last few years. Still, it could be worse ... we moved from Reno NV to Honolulu HI 2 years ago. Try THAT for a cost-of-living (actually cost-of-everything would be closer) shock!

Good luck at the New WDF or whatever you decide to call it.

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