September 24, 2014 by GMvBM
It’s been about a month since my family and I moved from city life to a suburban existence. We’re only 17 miles away from our old home, but life is quite different in a house with a yard than in a highrise. Here are a few signs that I’m not living in a city anymore.
1) I see more rabbits than taxis. We see everything from ants and spiders to bunnies and chipmunks in our yard and in our neighborhood. I had to teach my bug-squashing kids that when we’re outside, we’re in the bugs’ home and thus shouldn’t kill every unidentified crawler that comes our way. Inside the house, all bets are off.
2) A changed view. Before the view from our living room/dining room/kitchen was of the Hudson River. Planes and helicopters would buzz above and ferries, kayaks and jet skies would speed below. Here, the only things buzzing are bees and our new view only shows our lawn, neighbors and uber-glamorous minivan.
3) I need to park there? Speaking of minivans, I drive mine a lot now. I love having actual parking lots, but I’ve had to test my parallel parking skills regularly. If you see me backing up the car a tenth time, please don’t laugh. Or at least not so I can hear you.
4) I can’t find my phone or my wallet. The first few days, I wasn’t sure where to keep my things. By the front door? The back door? In the kitchen? On my dresser? These quandaries were easily avoided in our apartment. For now I could really use “clap on, clap off” for my keys because I haven’t seen them for days.
5) Those dirty shoes. In the city I may have taken the kids to the playground every day, but having a yard means the kids are running in and out all day and bringing in a lot of dirt. We traditionally keep our shoes off in the house, but enforcing that rule sometimes means chasing Munchkin through the first floor before freeing her feet from muddy shoes.
6) Who needs a StairMaster? We have a three-story house which is, you know, great for the space. Not so great for when I need something that’s on another floor. Cleaning up at the end of the day often means piling up things at the foot or top of each flight of stairs. I know now that I will never walk up those stairs empty handed, unless of course I’ve forgotten something.
7) The great outdoors. Having a yard is terrific. Monkey plays soccer every day and as much as maintaining a garden scares me, spending time outside as a family is fun. The kids and I have had fun (yes, actual fun!) pulling out weeds together and my husband and I have enjoyed combining yard work with penalty shoot-outs with Monkey.
8) Neighbors! Just like they do in Hallmark movies, our neighbors brought over brownies and invited us over for barbecues. I’ve made friends with plenty of my city-living neighbors in the past, but the welcoming our neighbors have given us has been incredibly warm. Some of the neighbors are retired, some don’t have children, but there are enough kids in the neighborhood that I don’t think my two will be lonely. Plus, I have already found out which neighbor bakes and which one cooks like a fiend so I know who to hit up for missing ingredients.
9) We get to buy stuff! After years of not buying things because we didn’t have the room, we need to buy thing for the house. Wheee! I can now buy huge boxes of cereal because we have a pantry, buy a full-sized crockpot because we have so many cabinets and shop for couches that do not double as a bed or storage bin. We have porch furniture AND patio furniture because–you guessed it–we have a porch and a patio!
10) Free laundry! Yeah, yeah, I know we have to pay for the water and the actual machine, but not putting quarters or cards into a laundry machine is so freeing. Instead of running huge loads of dark, light and white clothes together, I may one day do a small load of delicates just because I can.