Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Life on the North Side

I'm not sure I can succinctly sum up the journey from our home of 6 years on 61st Street to here, our little enclave in South Lakeview, via an intense detour that lasted about 9 months. (And yes, at times that detour was more painful than giving birth.)

So...I won't. I'll just skip ahead to NOW. 4 months into living on the North Side and here is a peek at our comings and goings and attempts at routine.

Every day, Mike puts helmets on the girls, loads them into the Burley, and makes the 15 minute bikeride to drop Nourit at the Lycée, where she attends full-days (except for Wednesday, which is une demi-journée.) I get a *blissful* 25 minutes of alone-time before he comes back with the Av-Monster. I mean, Meister.

Which I need after the flurry of getting everyone out the door, all accomplished to the tune of the girls fighting, Avi running on tippytoes back and forth on our wood floors, and the young, single, childless resident in the garden apartment below us pounding on her ceiling and cursing loud enough for us to hear. GOOD morning, city living!

4 out of 7 mornings, I put my guitar on my back and get on my bike, feeling oh, so cool, because nobody knows just from looking at me that I can only play 3 chords. To the outside world, I'm a bohemian mama, riding my bike and playing my songs. Oh, and I only ride on the side streets. (Not so brave - or crazy - to ride on the main ones.) I lead my families toward a brighter, musical future, and collect hugs from adorable 1 year olds at the end of each class. Then, I head home to my own adorable 2 year old who tells me daily that she's almost 3. Which is true if you think 4 months away is 'almost'.

Our life on the North Side also consists of Michael and I visiting Hyde Park to teach for a combined total of...5 out of 7 days. And we moved - why? Oh, yes! Because we are in walking distance from Nourit's school. Actually, a 45 minute walk - which I make every Tuesday to pick up Nourit from school. It's lovely, actually, and I'm enjoying watching her play with her French classmates at the nearby playground once or twice a week during these amazing summer/October days. Pretty soon, I'll be studying the bus routes, but until then, I'm getting my exercise in.

Speaking of playgrounds, we have one a hop-skip-and-a-walk-along-all-the-raised-flower-beds away, and are finally sorting out the nannies from the grandparents from the parents. The park association throws wonderful events, and we attended the block party in September, and we have even had a few impromptu front porch conversations this month with our new neighbors. Right now, the girls are wondering why we are the only family on the block that hasn't turned their front porch into a spider web.

We have sold or donated as much of our 'stuff' as possible, limited our Fritz Bakery visits to once or twice weekly, and have worked hard to create routine for our girls again. We've instituted home cooked dinners where we sit and function as a family (although, the girls still miss their wild and crazy days in the dininghall. Not me!) We have become more insulated, sure, and haven't enjoyed the myriad playdates that used to happen spontaneously at our last two funhouses. But we are enjoying our family movie nights, and our family pizza nights, and a less frantic pace. We are trying to refocus on what we have to do to get Mike through school and raise our girls to be loving, interested, respectful humans. It's been a hard transition. And things are still changing and will continue to change over the next few years. For now, though, we can walk 2 blocks in any direction and have a drink, drop off our drycleaning, get a pedicure, get a haircut, get a bikini wax, get an oil change, get change for a dollar, work out, climb a wall, listen to an indie band, see a movie, see a play, eat a hot dog, buy a dog, buy our recently purchased dog an organic, vegetarian hot dog, eat some tapas, eat French, Italian, Mexican, or Turkish, buy groceries, or just buy an oriental rug at 80% off.