Yesterday Dona and I signed the lease on our second home together. We’re very excited. Our new place is a little bigger, it’s in a great neighborhood, there’s plenty of shops and restaurants and conveniences nearby, and they allow cats (give us a few months on that, though). It’s something for which to be thankful today. But you know what I’m most thankful for today?
The fact that I no longer live here.
Counting my new place, I have lived in fifteen different homes in my life. In every single one that I can remember I have felt sad and rather nostalgic as I leave behind yet another part of my life. Every single one. Except this one. There might someday be a few wistful memories of my first 2+ years of marriage, living off of North Aurora Avenue, but they will all be accompanied by a feeling of relief in my chest. So while I could easily do a list of things I dearly miss about places I used to live, for this place, I have to do a list of things I WILL NOT miss.
I will not miss parking a block and a half up the road on Saturday nights.
I will not miss parking tickets for “angled parking” from the hospital meter maid. It’s not curbside parking, you prude. It doesn’t matter WHAT angle I’m at.
I will not miss having to step over the grass by the sidewalk, since no one bothers to obey scoop laws here. No, seriously. I once had some guy defiantly stare me down as his pit bull crapped on the sidewalk 20 feet in front of me and he walked off.
I will not miss the overflowing, smelly dumpsters that I have to walk by.
I will not miss creepers standing outside the front doors, waiting to trail in after me when I open them.
I will not miss having to use the lobby key just so to get the door open.
I will not miss the purple construction paper that labeled my mail box.
I will not miss two locked doors just to get to the elevator.
I will not miss the slow elevator.
I will not miss the poorly placed “Emergency Call” button in the elevator.
I will miss the awesome Indian food smells in the hall. I’ll concede that one.
I will not miss the view of the back of a storage facility.
I will not miss the neighbors downstairs slamming their doors.
Or the tenants after them that blasted World of Warcraft for hours a night.
Or the tenant after them that had a voice that resonated through the floor as he talked on his phone endlessly, especially at night.
I will not miss crying babies and screaming kids on their porches at 11 p.m.
I will not miss the loud street walkers at midnight.
I will not miss the drag racers at 1 a.m.
I will not miss the sirens at 2 a.m.
I will not miss my upstairs neighbor’s VERY squeaky bed, followed by silence, followed by more squeaking, followed by silence, followed by really fast squeaking, followed by trotting, followed by the sound of a door shutting, followed by the sound of a toilet flushing and the sound of the water flowing down the pipes in the wall behind my closet . . . at 3 a.m.
I will not miss that same neighbor’s subwoofer.
I will not miss his thunder walking.
I will not miss him blasting late-90’s and early-00’s hits like 3 Doors Down’s “Superman.”
I will not miss waking up to the sound of a young woman saying her prayers on the patio (“Oh god, oh god . . .” etc.) at 4 a.m.
I will not miss having to resort to calling the police for noise problems at 5 a.m.
I will not miss the sounds of crows fighting on Saturdays at 6 a.m.
I will not miss the people on the top floor and their loud parties until 8 a.m.
I will not miss the college-age kids down the hall and their loud parties, period.
I will not miss the unreliable building management, as nice of a guy as he is.
I will not miss having to put on shoes to go downstairs to let in friends despite the fact that I can buzz them into the lobby.
I will not miss the huge mystery stains in the stairwells.
I will not miss having to drive everywhere for everything, except maybe some spackle.
I will not miss the left arrow light at Northgate and Meridian.
I will not miss classy North Aurora.
I will not miss the Hindu burger shop that used to be downstairs.
I will not miss the New Age crepe shop that replaced it.
I will not feel bad for missing out on whatever replaces that.
I will not miss the weird, light-blue drops of sap that get on my car and have ruined my paint job.
I will not miss the spiders that take up camp in my side mirrors. Well . . . I may not be able to get away from those.
I will not miss awkward conversations with people in front of the building, the camera installed in the elevator to watch for the people carving racial slurs (and anatomical artwork) onto the elevator doors, the neighbor that’s always playing guitar, the little Carolla that parks in illegal spots out front, cars that don’t make room for others across the street, the creepy one-person campers that sit out there for a couple weekends, the little incline at the stoplight that causes people to get stuck after snowfalls, the walk signal that takes eight full minutes to change, the people who stand in the middle of 115th at night when I’m trying to get by to go home, people on the upper floors throwing bottles onto the patios of the second floor, and possibly peeing onto the same patios from their patios (that’s what it sounds like!), the $30-per-month parking garage with spaces that have literally (LITERALLY) six inches of clearance on each side, the Middle Eastern guys on the 4th floor talking loudly and then crying in the middle of the night, the cigarette smoke, the pot smoke, the smoke alarms, my smoke alarm, being able to hear every conversation in the hallway from my living room, fruit flies from who-knows-where, living in a building that’s been blacklisted by UPS and FedEx, and guys in their underwear watching me from their porches as I walk with my wife from my car to the front door of the building.
I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to live in a place since September 2008 that is new, has had absolutely no appliance or structural or electrical issues (save a peeing refrigerator for few months), and feels very open and roomy. (I’m telling you–you’ve never seen a bathroom this size for a 1 bedroom apartment. Never.) I’m also very grateful and thankful that the rent has been beyond reasonable . . . but as you can see, it had better have been.