by Aurora Bordeaux
Well, Off Boarders, it’s been just a few slim months since our transition from a gigantor house in the outer rings of the suburbs to a hot new high-rise pad in the middle of a brand new city. And now that we’re unpacked, we are settling into our tower dwelling beautifully. The decision to move came when we officially decided to become childfree, and we have never looked back. Once home values hit our magic number, we were outta there.
The city suits the Hubs, me, Bosco, and Charminator. The condo and neighborhood we chose is a great fit, we love walking everywhere, and there are always lots of fun things going on. Most of all, the city is so much more diverse that no one really notices—or cares—whether we have kids or not. Nobody pries or asks or assumes anything about us. We are taken at face value for who we are, and that makes it paradise.
Yes, the Hubs and I leaked a few tears when we surveyed our empty Manor. Yes, we reflected on how many fantastic and wonderful memories we made there. It was a beautiful, good house, and we will always think of it fondly. It was just in the middle of nowhere and there was nothing to do. And we were the one and only couple for at least thirty miles we knew of who purposely wasn’t planning on a life with children.
Switch the focus from a misty Aurora Bordeaux saying c’est la vie to the suburbs to a sucked-up version battling down the freeway at 82 miles per hour, cranking up Taylor Swift (I love to hate her) with Charminator and Bosco snoozing in the back. The Hubs followed my blazed trail not far behind in the moving truck, and in no time at all we were helping some noble moving men shuffle and harrumph our worldly goods into the elevator, then surveying the Tetris bricks of boxes in an otherwise empty condo and thinking, “Holy crap. We actually did it. We live here.”
Which brings me to a segment I’ve been looking forward to writing on my beloved little childfree blog: Differences between living in a house vs. a condo. (Or: “Suburban Mouse Turned Urban Mouse.”)
Part 1: General Differences
I have a lot of keys. I only had two keys in the suburbs, a house key and a car key, and I rarely used the house key because I had a garage door opener. Now I have a house key, car key, garage security fob, elevator fob, mail key, common room key, and a few other keys I am still sorting out. That’s a lot of damn keys. I color coded mine with nail polish like a sane person, but the Hubs refused. Guess who unlocks doors faster now? Aurora for the win!
We walk everywhere. I walk to the post office. I walk to the grocery store. I walk to Chinese takeout (which, bt dubs, kicks the pants off our old suburban takeout haunts). We can walk to sports venues, museums, beautiful parks, the movies, bakeries, dessert shops, and countless pubs, restaurants, and coffee houses. Our only challenge here will be not getting fat because we will be eating out so much more, but walking should help. Downside: The krav maga schools are too far for my new city-centric mindset, so I might have to change gears to Muay Thai or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It breaks my heart, but I tell myself that you can’t change without sacrifice. More on the swap from krav to a whole new style this fall.
Parks are wonderful. We knew we would miss the privacy, immediate access, and off leash freedom of our suburban yard, but going to the park is pretty fun, too. The trees are grand and mature, you bump into all kinds of people and meet friendly new dog lovers, and you don’t have to mow a single blade of grass. Sure, you have to watch out for litter, unbagged poo, and the stray weirdo, but for the most part, the pups like our multiple daily outings, and so do we.
We live in the land of the childfree. There are a handful of young moms with strollers pattering about downtown, but to be honest, most of them have this stressed look on their faces that says, “I can’t do this much longer.” City living is about living small unless you’re filthy rich, and even though kids are tiny people, they take up a lot of space with their stuff and actions and only demand more as they grow. Our general neighborhood is filled with retirees, single folks, couples of all ages, and students. The Hubs and I no longer feel like adjacent islands in an otherwise lonely suburban world. Getting to know people was hard at first, but so far we’ve made friendly acquaintances exponentially faster than we did in the suburbs.
So anyway, old Aurora Bordeaux is doing just fine. Life has been overhauled, and we came out on top and whistling. We love the city. It seems to love us back. Dumping our McMansion back in the country was a huge leap, but it was right for us. We have shed the old and baptized ourselves into the new, and we’re taking to the water like the urban ducks (or should I say mice) we are becoming.
PS, remember how I only had one gay friend in the ‘burbs and it took me six years to find him? Well, I almost instantly made two gay friends here and they are already enriching. When I was talking about the balcony, one of them corrected me. “It’s a terrace.” And guess where I met him? At church! Night and day different from the ‘burban churches we used to try.
PPS, I hope I don’t sound like an ass when I say what we didn’t care for living in the ‘burbs. We had a lot of fun out there, plus I understand the value in having a extra space and privacy. I don’t want people to think I’m some kind of city-dwelling elitist. Everyone should do what works best for them, and Baby Off Board is a chronicle about what is working best for us.
PPS, I’m really done this time, I swear. Love you!