August 1, 2011

apartment living

When Columbia first assigned us this apartment, I hopped right onto google maps to scan our surroundings. Because we didn't have much information about the inside of the place, I spent a lot of time checking out our neighborhood. I wondered a little wryly whether or not they purposefully gave families with children the apartments next to both a fire station and an emergency room. Easy access in an emergency. Which is good, because even a small kitchen fire on the second floor has firemen here in a flash, knocking on doors at midnight, making sure everyone is ok (everyone was ok). Also they wave at the kids every time they drive by, how can you not love them for that?
I'm currently on the fence when it comes to how I feel about living in an apartment. There are things I really like. For example, being able to take an elevator to the laundry room rather than hauling awkward and overflowing baskets down the basement stairs. Also, having three washing machines and four dryers at my disposal means that doing all of our laundry takes exactly an hour and a half (if I remember to set my timer and switch things to the dryer right when the wash cycle ends, that is) The magic basement is also a plus, of course and the smaller space is, for the most part, a good thing. Less to clean, less to deal with, less to trip over.

On the down side there is the whole paying for laundry thing which kind of sucks. At least our building has progressed past quarters and has laundry debit cards. I remember in college that quarters became an obsession with people. Many things worth more than 25 cents were traded for a quarter in our dorms, and the cafeteria flatly refused to give change unless you were buying something. Why we never thought to go get a roll of quarters from the bank is beyond me.

Also, someone on the fifth floor seems to really enjoy cooking fried foods because at least three days a week the whole apartment building smells a little like the french fry station at a fast food joint. Not really a horrible thing, but it makes me hungry for things I should not eat.

Some of the items on my pro/con list switch depending on the day. Like when the humidity is so high it should be raining but instead just feels like a weight on your skin if you so much as put one toe outdoors, well, then having a few more rooms, or at least bigger rooms, seems kind of dreamy.

The lack of a back yard is also on the "depends on the moment" list. Some days I really miss it. Sending the kids out to play on their own, letting the dog out the door first thing in the morning instead of getting dressed and heading out for a walk, digging in my garden, I miss those things some days. I don't miss mowing. Or weeding. Ever. But having parks a million at my fingertips generally makes up for the lack of yard and the hibiscus that just bloomed out on my fire escape helps a bit too.

I think, on the whole, that I like the whole apartment thing. I'm not sure I could do it for the rest of my life, at some point not having a vegetable garden out my door or space to store a few dozen jars of jam and the family cradle would get to be, but for now, it's good. Especially since Mr. Clean finished turning the kitchen floors white again. Ahhh. I love that Mr. Clean.