No, I’m not feeling particularly grumpy. Quite the opposite. We are settling in and making good progress on unpacking. We’ll close the deal soon and actually I’m pretty happy about the way things have worked out. But I thought I’d just go ahead and get these five points out of the way.
- The stairs are too steep. The transition between upstairs and downstairs is pretty harrowing. Especially going down I’m sometimes seized by a fear of plunging headlong forward to die of a broken neck. I’m starting to get used to it, though.
- The floor is spongy. This is an old house that’s been pretty thoroughly renovated. The wood floors have clearly seen better days. The effort to restore them was valiant bordering on heroic. I noticed the waviness during our initial inspections and have learned to cope with that; it’s somewhat akin to walking around slightly tipsy at which I’m fairly well-practiced. But now I’m discovering there are certain spots that give a little when I step on them. I wonder if this can be remedied somehow.
- There’s not enough storage space. There are plenty of closets, six I think, though I’m not getting up to count them just now. That’s awesome. But our old house had about 500 square feet of storage space in the form of a large “utility room” where we had our laundry facilities. We stuck all manner of crap down there. I kept my tools and our bikes there as well as odd bits of junk picked off the street, fodder for future art projects that somehow never came to fruition. At the new house, not so much. I don’t know where we’ll keep our bikes. I guess we’ll have to build a shed or something.
- The bathtubs are too small. Seriously. This may sound trivial but it’s not. I’m 6’4″ and subject to mild fits of claustrophobia when I can’t extend my legs fully. When we flew out to Houston a couple weeks ago and the pilot announced that we’d be stuck on the runway for a bit, I had a brief surge of panic and it was mostly related to the thought that I won’t be able to unbend my knees. When we were hunting for our first house in 2002 one of the items on our list was “big claw foot tub,” and it was a selling point on the house we eventually bought, and one of the the things I loved about living there. (Of course we did find that tub was laden with lead.) Our new house has three full baths, amazingly enough, but even more astonishing is the fact that they are all too small for me. These are new tubs, whereas the claw foot I loved so much was very old. I thought people were getting bigger as time went on. (Though obviously this rule of thumb does not apply across the board.) So what gives with the shrinking of the American tub?
- Location. This is a double-edged sword. In many ways I love this location. It’s near a fun venue that has live music every night, there are some little shops and restaurants — not too fancy but very nice. The street is lined with those archetypal live oaks. And most of all there seems to be a preponderance of owner-occupied homes. Still plenty of rentals around, but we aren’t the sole homeowners on the block like we were before. So that’s all good. And yet… and yet… I have come to think of the intersection of Jeff Davis and Canal as the very center of New Orleans, geographically speaking. It’s halfway between the river and the lake, halfway between the Industrial Canal and the Jefferson Parish line. I kinda wanted to stay near that area, and of course Bayou St. John and the Lafitte Corridor. Now we’re just a little bit removed from all that, on the other side of Carrollton and the other side of Canal. The shortest route from home to work is now through the dreaded Toni Morrison Interchange (named, by the way, for the politician, not the author) rather than the Jeff Davis bike path — augh, that hurts my soul. If you’ve ever tried riding your bike through the Toni Morrison Interchange you’ll understand exactly what I mean. I am now close enough to walk to work in record time via the “highly unpleasant pedestrian path that leads through this concrete knot,” as it’s described in Letters from New Orleans. So our new location is perhaps an improvement, but it’s not an unqualified one.
OK, enough moaning and whining already. I’m glad I got that off my chest.