Saturday, September 7, 2013

so, how long has it been? weeks? months?
Well, I suck at daily or even bi-weekly posts. I admit it, you should just accept it. have been plenty round here.
We moved to a new house on the other side of town. Our other home was old (in its nineties), but the neighborhood was becoming somewhat annoying. I miss our sweet house, especially the backyard. We had a secret brick path, slate-roofed pergola and hammock that I could vegetate in for hours. It was the house that nurtured me when Penelope was still an unknown "bibo" in my belly. It was the house we brought her home to. Its floors creaked and moaned as we paced back and forth trying to comfort her colicky cries. The old floor furnaces belched out warmth and a steady hum that we savored during those fleeting moments of respite.
It was ours. It was old. It was loved.

The newbie was born around 1968 and is a split-level model with lots of living space...plenty of room for Penelope to gallop around in.
The new neighborhood is pretty fantastic and our house is nestled just about 1 block from Penelope's school. There are block parties, lawns to keep up with and neighbors that have organic attitudes and random chickens that break free from their coops for a yard stroll every now and then.
I feel safer and guilty just for saying that. We lived close to downtown and the area was overrun with rental properties. We endured torturous moments of domestic side-shows, gun-toting neighbors and the occasional old woman or man who could come to our door asking for money. It was a mixed bag. 
 I feel guilty, like a sellout. I was the person who wanted to be part of a downtown urban resurgence. We supported local businesses and tried to be good neighbors and make our little patch of Nichols street a place to be proud of.
In the end, I failed. A few of us DID make our block awesome, but it didn't make up for the magnitude of poverty and bad attitudes that prevailed. My drive home would often leave me sad, mad or a strange mixture of both. "Why is that woman constantly letting her kids in the road?" "Why is our neighbor only able to turn on his music and cuss in his front yard at midnight?" "why are the police over at that house, again?!"

Do I feel like a schmuck when my new drive home is beautiful and I'm surrounded by people who have everything they need? Yes.
Do I feel like I'm just another surburbanite who caved in? Yes.
Am I happier than I've ever been? Yes.

We still go downtown, we still support local businesses and I still reach out to others. Just because I don't live there doesn't mean I can forget or ignore the plight of center city.

We still own the Nichols house and the girls that are living there have already started to make it their own. New paint and a sweet little table that rests under the creeping wisteria and fragrant honeysuckle.
I drive by now and then and think about the times we spent there...good and bad.
I wonder if they have found all the secret nooks and crannies.
I wonder if I left any reminder of me there.
I wonder if our new house knows how lucky it is.