We’ve been in the new old house for exactly one month now. What have we learned?
1. Living near the park is good. While between houses, we were in an apartment down the street for two months. This gave Cleo and I plenty of time to get acquainted with the concept of endless walks in the park.
Now here but with no fence yet, Cleo and I are still headed to the park, and Josie and her friends can walk to the park themselves to go sledding or to head downtown. We even get Greg to walk in the park – and he generally thinks that walking is a waste of time, unless you’ve got somewhere to be.
It’s no longer a chore for me and Cleo, the endless park walking; it’s a crazy freedom run down a snowy hill every early morning, rain, snow or shine, and just two minutes from the front door.
2. Living two blocks from downtown is amazingly good. Because this Midwestern college town is really a vibrant big city wrapped in pretty small-town paper.
We used to walk these neighborhoods when we were college students in the 80′s, thinking “some day,” but when we made the move in 1996, it didn’t work out.
Still, we loved our house on Mass Street, and had ourselves pretty well convinced that we didn’t need to live in this neighborhood. Close to downtown was fine. We didn’t need to be right in the middle of it or anything. Whatever.
With that in mind, the 12-year wait leading up to this house was fate’s way of making us appreciate it even more. Properly tempered by time, we can now fully embrace the quick walks to Prima Tazza, brisk runs to Free State Brewery, and perhaps the greatest miracle of all – not having to park for parades.
3. Living with the right space is more important than living with more space. We do in fact have a little more space here than in our old house – but it was far more vital that it be the right space.
Finally, a private office for telecommuting Greg, who worked for nearly 12 years near the sound of laundry and without a door; even more shiny wood stairs to climb for crazy stair-loving me; and a secluded spy loft for pre-teen Josie with good views of everyone below who’s doing anything worth watching.
More kitchen and less living room, no driveway and more neighborhood. The right spaces.
4. Living near your builder can be good for you and bad for him, or vice versa Dan is our neighbor; and let me say for the record that we love Dan. Loooove Dan. Dan fully understands, no, shares our eBay obsession; Greg and Dan both have a thing for cigars and have big plans for the “cigar pavilion” in the yard; our kids happily sled and play football together on the sidewalks; and he’s loads of fun at a party (say no more).
But Dan built this house, and is still working on this house. On one hand, I’m sure he wishes every little thing in here was complete and we’d completely shut up about it. On the other hand, he’s perfected his “Kramer” entrance, enjoys a lot of extra scones, and now complains if the front door is locked. Oh, Dan.
5. Living without window coverings isn’t so bad. The wood blinds will be here soon; but until then, we’re like three fish in a public aquarium, with our every move laid bare and believe me, no need for alarm clocks.
Hope the neighbors like my cherry-print pajamas.