Friday, October 24, 2014

The Yards

I hope you don't mind that I am just going to endlessly make comparisons between the condo in Plainsboro and the apartment in Princeton. One thing that's notably different is that we have a yard to ourselves. In Condoland, we had a back patio that looked out onto a bike path, so we didn't technically have a yard to speak of--just a patch of grass before the bike path that Dan and Luke used to kick the soccer ball around. The other thing was that we lacked a certain level of privacy, because every five minutes, someone would whizz by on a bike or jog through (and a disappointingly small number had dogs with them) or just leisurely walk by, looking into our back patio windows. Here, we have fenced in yard, and though the neighbors are still close (I met three of the four so far), they are not in our living space. Here is the back yard. Living in that big white house you see is a man named Lew who has two giant golden retrievers with sweeping tails.

This dog house comes with the property, because the owner has two rescues dogs. We are trying to have one rescue (this deaf dog named Finnegan who I fell in love with), but no such luck so far. The dog house awaits, gathering dust and sadness...

This is our next door neighbors' yard. It's chaos---sometimes, you'll see a random diaper or two on the ground. A little black chihuahua patrols the place, and some bunnies go between our two yards, nibbling grass and the occasional head of lettuce. Actually there were two bunnies, but one disappeared. Now, there's just one white rabbit. Luckily, she just gave birth to a bunch more bunnies, so hopefully, we can keep this going.

Lastly, you have Dan posing in a sweater he feels uncomfortable in because of its brightness. He's more of a beige kind of guy, not a bright blue. Please note the large pumpkin in the background, ripe for carving. Only $5 from Whole Foods.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Objects of the house

One of the things that happened when we moved was that our big fluffy sectional couch did not fit into our narrow, old house un-fluffy door. The movers tried it all--taking off the front door, then going up the back and taking off that door, removing the legs to the couch, all to no avail. We were on the verge of sawing it in half when we decided to let one of the movers keep it. Actually, what happened was that Dan agreed to drive back to Plainsboro with the mover guy and put the coach back into the condo to be removed at a later date. In any case, a week later, we found this sofa at Crate and Barrel outlet and the related ottoman. We think they are related. Upon closer inspection, we aren't 100% sure that the two match. We do not care.

This is what I would call a design cranny, and it now features two small objects de arte from Target.

Here is Dan, fixing Luke's breakfast. The plastic pumpkin is new.

Spice rack in the kitchen made out of what I think is supposed to be a towel rack for the bathroom. My mom bought me the whale pot holder from Jane, the local designer consignment shop, this weekend.

All in all, I would say that we're done with the major pieces, but buying furniture usually means you have to buy other things to go with the furniture, such as an area rug or matching end tables or lamps or more pillow cushions (for some reason, I'm obsessed with accent pillows, and have to remind myself whenever I go to West Elm that there's no need for yet another pillow cover. Unless it's on sale).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Two week anniversary

Tomorrow will be our two week anniversary in this new apartment in Princeton proper. I feel weirdly self-conscious now when people ask me where I live, as if I'm bragging or being snotty. I have an impulse to apologize and add, "But we don't own there. We could never afford to buy in Princeton unless we lived in a shack." From now on, I will practice not saying sorry for living in a town I love.

Our new apartment is beautiful, closer to the shops and restaurants and the library than anything we tried to buy, and it's only a $150 more per month than the condo in Princeton (or $75 each, as we split pretty much everything down the middle). And, I just changed over my car insurance to my new zip and it's $10 cheaper. Oh, and the cleaning ladies are charging us $15 less per month to clean the place, so that's another $17.50 less for me ($10 plus half of $7.50, if you're following), plus I use less gas going to and fro, and so when you get down to it, it's really not all that much more to live in this town.

And guess what, no more Route 1 for me. I drove on it yesterday to go to Quakerbridge Mall, and was like, yes, that's right, I still hate this.

This is our bedroom window. Note the baby Jesus Pope on the sill. 

And this is the view--please also note that it's not of a parking lot with a dumpster.

We have made it out of Condo Land and lived to tell about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

And Now, We are Here

I keep making  a promise to write more in my blog, but in part because of a morning teaching class and in part because of my own inertia, I can't seem to get to it. I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 a.m.--not something that is easy to do, for me or for the students. They are tired and disinterested, half-asleep, and I am usually pretty awake, but annoyed by their lack of enthusiasm. On top of that, the class is long--an hour and a half. When I taught at Penn State, I seem to remember that my T/R classes went from 9:45 to 11, for example. You wouldn't think that the extra 15 minutes of class time would make a difference, but it does. The first few times I taught, I would be working really hard to do the lesson plan, and have this whole thing planned out, and then I would be wrapping that up and discover it was only 8:30. I would write more about teaching, but I'm cautious because I want to be mindful of the possibility that students could find my blog. Suffice it to say that it's a good class of first year students who, like most 18 year olds would rather be sleeping than listening to me talk about thesis statements or MLA citations. On Thursday, we will be getting in the the third paper, rhetorical analysis, and I couldn't be happier. Ethos, logos, and pathos--those are the things I love because they allow us to talk about the "isms" inherent in the most blatant rhetoric of print ads.

We are now living in Princeton, in a three bedroom, two bath duplex on Witherspoon with a pretty red door. We could never afford to buy this house with its re-done kitchen and fancy bathroom and pretty hard wood floors, but we can (almost) afford to rent it. Of all the places we looked to buy, this one has the best location--just minutes away from the Princeton library and lots of shops and places to eat. I can now use my legs again to get from one location to another, which feels like a miracle.

Here are some photos.

This is the bunny who lives next door and sometimes comes into our yard. 

Front door. We are to the left. 

The re-done kitchen, reminiscent of our kitchen in Plainsboro but with a really nice Bosch dishwasher.