So. The new place.
Despite the perfectly natural assumption that having moved to Atlanta, we are now ensconced in Southern-fried suburban splendor, we actually ended up choosing to live in a very nice neighborhood in Midtown. This is probably all I should say about it, since Joe is already fairly paranoid that stalkers will one day show up at our doorsteps and kill us all, all the while screaming, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DIDN'T INCLUDE INTERNAL MEDICINE IN YOUR 12 MEDICAL SPECIALTY STEREOTYPES!," I think I can safely say (because it is obvious for anyone who has access to Google Maps) that Midtown is in a fairly urban part of the city. I don't mean "urban" in that coded way that advertising people use the word "urban," like, This Fresca ad will appeal to the urban market because it features rap music and people dancing in the spray of an open fire hydrant. I mean "urban" in that it is already densely developed and inhabited, pedestrian-friendly, close to public transportation, and easily accessible to all other parts of the city. This choice of neighborhood was on purpose. Though we certainly looked at other neighborhoods that we rumored to be nice for families (and by all appearances, they are very nice--Virginia Highlands, Buckhead, Decatur, Candler Park and whatnot), we thought that moving to midtown would be the easiest transition from Manhattan. Cal can walk to school, I can take the subway (whatever, MARTA) to work, we can walk to stuff, there's a Starbucks one block away. You know, caffeine, laziness--the important things. The immediate area surrounding our place is very residential, a combination of condos and older homes with lots of mature, tree-lined streets, nice sidewalks, and easy access to the park. It's a very friendly neighborhood. We like it.
We're renting a townhouse within a bigger housing complex. The rental decision was practical--we entertained the idea of buying, just because it seemed like The Grown-Up Thing that people were doing, but in the end, it didn't really make sense. Given that in all likelihood, we will be moving again in two years, we didn't want to have the burden of having to sell a place, and potentially have all of our liquid assets tied up in a house if we were unable to unload it. As for the decision not to live in a free-standing home, that was an easy one. To me, and at this point, to Joe too, living in a bigger complex is reassuring. We're living in more of a townhouse than an apartment, but the front door opens out into a communal hallway (where the elevator and mailroom are), and there is a shared garden and patio between the five other townhomes in our entryway. I have no desire to landscape my own yard or fix my leaky roof, and the idea of having an on-site person that I can call if my toilet explodes at 2am is a huge plus for me. (In New York, we call these people "supers." I'm not sure what they're called here, "residential managers" or something like that, but anyway, there's one for this building.) I know that some people feel like apartment-type living is a huge pain in the ass--the NOISE, those CRAZY NEIGHBORS ALL UP IN YOUR BUSINESS, that sort of thing. But honestly, when I think about living in a free-standing house in the suburbs or somewhere more remote, all I can think is, if they get axe-murdered, how long is it going to take people to find the bodies?
Also, though this might seem like a lemons-into-lemonade kind of statement, I like it that the new place is not too, too big. Certainly, it is large by New York standards, but it is simply a modest little two bedroom townhouse, the size of which might be described by those used to more palatial digs as "starter-home" sized. It is not overwhelming, the scale of it. We can deal with keeping order in a house like this. Though I do have to say, the amount of storage space is unreal. Never have I seen so many big closets, so much shelving. There actually is a walk-in closet off the master bedroom (don't know why they designated that one the "master," it's basically the same size as the other bedroom) that is, without hyperbole, the size of a New York City bedroom. There's a picture of it just above, and I actually took the picture while standing in the closet off of the walk-in closet. THE CLOSET HAS ITS OWN CLOSET. How is that not a bedroom? And who knows, we may just turn it into such, were there such reason to need an extra bedroom. (You know, like if we find some adorable orphan scamp sitting out on the sidewalk and decide to make him our own. And that orphan scamp is Leonardo DiCaprio.)
When we got in early yesterday afternoon, we just basically walked around the place over and over. I obsessed over the lighting (I couldn't figure out which switches activated which lights, and why some light switches appeared to serve absolutely no purpose), and Cal alternately ran up and down the stairs and hugged his toys. "I love these toys! I missed the Magna Tiles so much!" he told us, and I can understand, having been separated from said tiles for, oh, THREE WHOLE DAYS. Then we took Cal up to the roof for a swim. (The pool is a community pool, just like Melrose Place. Joe and I can be the dual-doctor couple, and I can wait for the perfect moment to rip off my russet wig, revealing the bald pate and brain surgery scar of EVIL.) After that, a walk for dinner a few blocks away, and then back home for some reorganization.
It was a big day for Cal, tiring yet too exciting for a nap. After Joe went out for a quick run to the supermarket, Cal was lying down at the base of the stairs, playing with his trains, when he told me, "We can go home now."
"We are home, honey. Remember, this is our new home."
"But I want to go to my home." And at that, I got a little misty, because really, I felt the exact same way. Despite all the excitement and the vacation-like novelty, the thrill of the nice new house and fun new adventures, I do miss our home, our real home, and if someone offered me the chance right then to go back, I would say yes in a heartbeat.
"I know baby, you want to go to our home in New York. I miss that home too. But this is a nice home too, and we're going to stay in Atlanta for a while to do new fun things here. Mommy and Daddy and Cal and Cooper, all together."
He thought for a bit, then repeated back, "This is our new home."
A few minutes later, as I was organizing some stuff in the back, I noticed Cal was being especially quiet. Fearing treachery or mischief, I ran out to the living room to try and halt whatever I presumed was taking place, but instead found that he was completely asleep on the hardwood floor, his toys in an ovoid orbit all around him. Forgoing plans for bath and bedtime ritual, I scooped him up and carried him upstairs to the air mattress, which I had made up soon after we got in earlier in the day. (Old habit from college--the bed is always the first thing I set up. That way, if I get too stressed of overwhelmed with the unpacking, there's always a place to take a nap.) Cal protested initially, insisted that he didn't want to go to bed, until he actually saw the bed itself. I had made it up exactly the way we'd had it at home in New York, with the same pillow configuration, the same sheets, the same orientation in the room. "That's Mommy's pillow," he pointed, "that's Daddy's pillow, and that's Cal's pillow!" He seemed very happy, it all being so familiar. (Yes, Cal still co-sleeps with us. In our bed. Commence commenting...NOW.) And without any further protest, he climbed in, pulled up the blankets, and went right to sleep.
The kid is going to be all right.