I cannot believe that a month has gone by since my last post here. In the interest of not beating myself up for still not having a daily routine that includes blogging, I am going to forgive myself. Moving is ALWAYS challenging and Jim and I had some especially tough times thrown in the mix of the last month, too. More on that later.
Last I posted, we were busily packing and getting ready to uproot and settle all the way across the city from where we used to live. I had lived in Hyde Park and the South Loop in my decade in Chicago; Jim had not only lived for double that time in the South Loop but had always lived in a very small radius of a particular section of the South Loop. We moved to an area on the far north side where we are not familiar with anything- I have had to Google directions to the grocery store, the bank, the post office, work, everything I previously took for granted. This is not a complaint, of course, because sometimes big changes are needed. And we are quite sure this was needed.
We have moved from 958 square feet with a small balcony in a very urban setting that included hundreds of other units and residents in our building. We had 24/7 security and doormen, package care, dry cleaning, a party room and fitness center, even a business center with free wifi and printing. No question we loved living there for the last 4 years. We were the first ones to live in our unit and enjoyed everything being brand new, from appliances to carpeting. We installed the light fixtures and painted the walls for the first time. It was our most favorite place that either of us had ever lived and I think it was because it saw so many changes in our lives together and we were so comfortable. Personally, it was the first place I’ve ever lived where everything was decorated exactly to my taste and it was all finished. It took me about a year to decorate completely and then we were simply very happy and cozy. I had never done that before.
Our new place is about double the square footage with a basement for laundry and ample storage. We actually have a dining room (say what?!). The unit is vintage and freshly rehabbed after some years spent empty so once again we are first ones to call this place home. We have traded our balcony for another with a view of a park instead of the lake and have gained a backyard (a backyard. In Chicago. I know!). Instead of changing our parking space every time we pull into a residents’ garage, we have a private garage that also houses our bikes. Instead of brand new appliances, we have a new fridge but a vintage dishwasher and stove that were purchased decades ago but barely used by the previous owner and resident. We have a fireplace that stopped working decades ago, but is a nonetheless gorgeous focal point in our living room. We traded our modern HVAC system for steam heat and window AC units. And instead of hundreds of neighbors we never met and a huge management company, we will have one neighbor we’ll probably see a lot of and landlords that text us.
We now have plenty of room to entertain guests and have already had two overnight guests. Yesterday after Easter dinner, all 11 of us strolled outside to enjoy the park we back up to. My dad threw frisbees and footballs off of the balcony all the way into the park and we had an impromptu family catch session. Fitting 11 people into this house is still a “full house” feeling but there is plenty of room for everyone in the dining room and in the living room. I can’t wait for the housewarming party.
We have long begun to unpack and decorate since I took those sparse empty room photographs. I am starting to feel like I am home again.