During our recent anniversary lunch, Cool Mum and I reminisced about all of the homes we’ve had during our marriage. It took most of our lunch date to reconstruct the timeline.
In all, we’ve lived in 12 places over the 13 years of the Cool Marriage. And that doesn’t include the 12 or so places we stayed for anywhere from one night to a month when we had no place to call our own.
In chronological order with a rough estimate of size, we’ve lived in:
1. A 400 sq ft one bedroom, Gainesville, FL
A cozy starter place across the street from the UF campus. A family member may or may not have cried after seeing how cozy the apartment was. We were there a year.
2. An 800 sq ft two bedroom, Gainesville, FL
We graduated to a screen porch and laundry in our own unit! We were there a little under a year.
3. A 1200 sq ft house, Gainesville, FL
Somehow, some way, we achieved the American Dream of owning a home! It was on an acre of land that deserved a lot better care than it got. I didn’t do much yard work growing up, as you could tell from the stack of HOA complaints about the grass being tall enough to conceal packs of dangerous hyenae or something like that.
We stayed there a record four years. That’s a lot of HOA complaints.
4. A 200 sq ft studio, Upper East Side, Manhattan
From the American Dream to the suburbanite’s nightmare. No worries! Sure, we had a 1-year-old and no bedroom doors, but we finally had a home in our new city! We loved it!! That lasted six months.
5. A 400 sq ft one bedroom, Upper East Side, Manhattan
It was on the 5th floor, but coming from the Cool Studio, the extra room was worth the hike. Except when carrying groceries. Or laundry. Or Cool Boy. Or the new, fancy double stroller. Yup, Cool Mum got pregnant! We stayed five months.
6. An 800 sq ft two, converted to three, bedroom, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Q: If we could afford this two-floor two bedroom, converted to three, why did we even live in those other apartments that could be considered sociological experiments?
A: We couldn’t afford this place. That’s why we got two roommates to live in the basement, which was converted to two of the bedrooms. The Cool Fam, eventually adding Cool Newbie, stayed in an 8×8 bedroom with no closet of its own.
We made the place, dubbed the Cool Duplex, a center of community for our church, and it was a lot of fun. We held on until the very end, fulfilling the year-long lease and leaving.
7. A 600 sq ft two bedroom, Pelham Bay, Bronx
Now with two kids, we retreated to Pelham Bay, a quiet, traditionally Italian neighborhood on the outskirts of New York City. The affordable ground floor apartment allowed for more space, but little natural light. Add upstairs neighbors who found dribbling a basketball to be an allowable indoor activity…actually, I’m trying to suppress those memories. Somehow, we stayed the year.
8. Another 600 sq ft two bedroom, Pelham Bay, Bronx
Similar size, a much better experience. Top floor of a two-family home, newer amenities. Lots of sunlight, and though were a few noise complaints, we were the culprits.
It was nice, but we ended up leaving after a year for greener pastures – or at least a backyard.
9. 1200 sq ft two bedroom house, Pelham Bay, Bronx
Even though it was the northern Bronx, this is still NYC we’re talking about. This place was not cheap, but we shared with a roommate to make it a tad less costly.
The kitchen was brand new, and so were the washer and dryer. WASHER AND DRYER. We hadn’t had our own laundry capabilities since our house in Gainesville, six homes earlier. And the backyard was maintained by a living, breathing YARD GUY. No more lurking hyanae for us!
However, we hit some wicked speed bumps in life and ended up vacating just six months later for an extended winter of wandering in Florida.
10. 400 sq ft one bedroom, Pelham Bay, Bronx
We just couldn’t stay away. Our return to NYC after nearly six months found us in a rent-stabilized ground floor unit in a 62-apartment pre-war building. There was little light, but it wasn’t a bad place to land. The boys could run around since we didn’t have downstairs neighbors.
We were there about 14 months – until I could no longer bear being far from most everything we moved to New York City for in the first place.
11. 600 sq ft two bedroom, Kensington, Brooklyn
It could be argued that Brooklyn is the epicenter of cool these days, so what kind of Cool Fam would we be without giving a shot? Storage space was tight, but our landlord and neighbors were great. We were close to Park Slope, regarded the most family-friendly neighborhood in the city. And I just liked the Brooklyn feel – the culture, the food, the energy, the freedom to wear flannel to any occasion short of a wedding or funeral.
Of course, we left three months later, but this time for the most unlikely and shockingly cool reason.
Well, we’re at nearly 1,000 words here, so let’s just leave #12 for another time. It certainly deserves a post of its own.