Monday, March 12, 2012

The People Under the Stairs and other excitement...

Moving so far away from the place we've called home for five years (ah-hem...the longest I've lived in one place since Madison in high school) has had its, shall we say, interesting moments. We chose our current location based on Great Schools ratings and access to public transportation. Let me say, we lucked out. This place is extremely beautiful! It's proximity to Austin is fantastic: close enough (and on the light rail line) to go in whenever to experience everything ATX has to offer and far enough away to avoid any of the drama we have tired of. I have anything and everything I could possibly need within a mile or two. You name it, we've got it. The area reminds me of the fictional town of Agrestic from one of my favorite shows, Weeds. All the ticky tacky little houses all the same, someone always jogging on the beautifully manicured trail, nice cars, smiling faces, and not a bit of litter...anywhere. That is, except for an exceptional radius around our downstairs neighbor's patio (we have a small area of nature preserve that our apartment is free from debris except for right in front of our apartment). Let me say, they are the exception! Every other apartment here, save the questionable patio decor choices, is well taken care of and clean. I swear, our second day here there was a used tampon applicator in the flower bed in front of their patio! They don't seem to be able to shut their front door without slamming the crap out of it, they let their children (there seems to be at least 4) run wild unattended at all hours (the 5 year old was out at midnight last night and the one just a bit older was, at 10:30 last night, throwing a ball using our door as a backstop), and a few days ago I am sure they got an eviction notice. Their little one Ruby's age, was sitting outside the door holding it when we left to run errands. She asked me to read it to her. I just couldn't, especially because she thought it was from "the skate park(?)". I can't help but wonder when in the world they will be gone. I feel bad for them, so bad that I have to keep myself from taking the little ones into my home and feed them dinner. Every time we come in contact with the kids they seem starved for attention, or at least positive attention. For a number of days they would endlessly knock and ring the door bell (at the same time) shouting "it's me," each time asking if my kids could come out and play. After explaining that they are not allowed to play outside without me, I was met with the look of "woman, are you insane?" The knocking has stopped, I think they've realized that Ruby and Elvis won't be having the run of the place like they do. I know I won't be able to choose their friends an where they go forever, but at 5 and 3 I think it is acceptable that I do so now. I let them talk and hang out when I'm around (this tends to be limited to walking to and from the car, mail or trash compactor) but I am not going to be the adult tag along to the shenanigans of the gang of kids downstairs. I just don't think I have the wherewithal to take them on right now, so all I can do is pray for them and make sure to keep my interactions with them as positive as possible. Lead by example, maybe? It is such a confusing situation. I find myself angry at the adults and wanting to shy away from the kids because they are just so needy. On top of it all, they are heavy smokers (the adults, not the kids i hope!) rendering our patio unusable in tandem. I love apartment living, but sometimes it really comes down to your neighbors to shape your experience. I try to be a good neighbor and hope I am.

On a more hilarious note. At Whole Foods on Saturday we saw Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet. He and his comrades from Engine 2 in Austin are known as the "Vegan Firefighters". His book is amazing and has been life changing for so many people and he is super inspiring. When Alex pointed him out shopping with his kids I was super excited....then I took a look at what was in my basket. Now, I had tons of fresh veggies, vegan "meat" crumbles, sprouted grain bread, Quorn, balsamic vinegar, Daiya (vegan cheese sub) and.....the off limits to E2 lovers...a gallon of 2% milk (which only the kids drink, I comfort myself...but there is an entire section in his book dedicated to the idea that veganism is great for kids), low fat sour cream (hey, at least it is low fat, yes?), a big ole tub of strawberry yogurt (to make homemade popsicles), and a giant pack of cheddar cheese slices. For goodness sake, we spotted him while we were at the Candy Island buying Ruby a milk chocolate covered marshmallow (which she shared with us all, it was the size of a BIG cupcake). In our copy of the E2 book Rip wrote a note to Alex, "Plant strong! Drop the cheese and lose the roll! Go, Alex, go!" I just wanted to hide. I know we eat healthier than most, but how in the world can I approach this man (who I really wanted to meet) with my basket full of what I know he sees as toxic. I can't say to him how much I enjoyed his book and how I really believe in what he has to say when I am not following his advice and my beliefs...all because I LOVE CHEESE! I do, it tears up my insides, but I LOVE CHEESE! I did the only thing a sane but slightly insane person would do...I ran. I ran as Alex laughed. It was priceless.

Also, I have been sucked into Pinterest! I know, some of you are saying to yourselves, "FINALLY!" It has been amazing in helping me get our house in order. It is like obsessive listing with visual aides and I LOVE IT!

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