Thursday, July 19, 2012

eight and a very soggy nine

This retrospective was interrupted by the fact that Nine, the only one of our homes that we actually own, is currently flooded. The upstairs neighbors (a yoga teaching, doll-collecting couple named Paul and Dino) left their bathtub on and flooded our condo. Approximately 5 hours after it officially went on the market. So... yeah.

I'm supposed to meet a contractor (one of many) over there in an hour. Chase already pulled up all the flooring, and the demo guys took most of the walls down (the insulation was wet). A friend is going to rebuild our kitchen counter tops and then we'll paint everything, get new floors down, and get the damn thing back on the market. It's mostly covered by insurance, although right now we're trying to decide whether to claim it on our insurance as well as our neighbors, since theirs doesn't cover loss of use and our mortgage is, uh... still due.


We moved from LA to Austin when Janey was a tiny baby and Wren was a two and a half year old. We'd looked at rental listings all over town trying to find a cute little house or a duplex like the ones we'd lived in in college. But our main priorities changed pretty quickly when we realized how fast we'd have to move.  I think we moved from LA to Austin in something like 2 days, and Chase had to be at work the next morning. From "cute, wood floors, yard..." it went to "on a bus route, livable, cheap, available for move-in last week." We packed up our stuff, put it in a pod (Chase offered me the cost of shipping and storing the pod to spend at Ikea if I agreed to burn the contents of the pod in their entirety. I declined). Chase set off in the jetta across the deserts of the western US with Ramona and whatever we couldn't fit in the pod. I strapped Jane in wrap, Wren in a stroller, and presented the gate agent at Southwest with my Costco card (the only current photo ID I had at that point) and eventually we all made it safe and sound (although somewhat damp and spit-up stained) to Austin.

That first Austin apartment was... well I'm trying to think of nice things to say about it. Most of our stuff was in storage and so it was hard to really move in. We felt very temporary. It was dark and astonishingly quiet after the constant noise of LA.  Across the street from a high school baseball field, we could hear the ping of the bats hitting balls in the spring afternoons, and it felt so idyllic. It was in a wonderful neighborhood- a few blocks from Thunderbird coffee, where I pulled the girls in their wagon to get juice and occasionally a cookie, just down the street from Dart Bowl, where Chase walked with them in the evenings to pick their favorite colored packages from the cigarette vending machine.  Wren rode her tricycle all over the sidewalks and parking lots of the little apartment complex, and Jane toddled behind her, screeching and yelling in what we would soon come to recognize was her actual speaking voice.

My main memories of that apartment are of two things. One major and one comparatively insignificant. I remember a squeaky floorboard in the girls' bedroom - the first bedroom they shared. Approximately half way between Wren's litte white iron bed and Jane's crib. I spent hours in that dark room, trying to delicately avoid stepping on it as I swayed with a sleepy baby. If I forgot, Jane's eye's would pop open accusingly, and I would have to start all over 'shhhh, shhhh' and run a finger over her forehead, down her nose, between her eyes, until she gave up and eventually agreed to sleep.

The other thing I remember about that house is being sick in it. I had gallbladder disease (although we didn't know it) and no insurance (which is of course why we didn't know it). Sometimes I would think if I just walked enough I could walk past the pain and be able to go back to sleep, so I walked all over the neighborhood in the middle of the night. I remember thinking 'wow I would NEVER do this in Highland Park' but Austin felt so safe. In retrospect, my neighbors were probably somewhat afraid of that hunched moaning lady in her PJs who wandered around in the night and they all decided to stay inside.  Eventually things got bad enough and we got COBRA and our family took care of the girls while we got back on our feet. I remember getting home from the hospital and laying in bed and Chase came and told me my aunt was coming over to help and I was so upset because the house was such a mess. I jumped up and started piling all our junk in the closet so everything would look nice. I made the bed. Blerg. Sometimes I am very very stupid.

I still sometimes fantasize about how awesome that hospital stay was. Totally guilt free babysitting around the clock, cable, I had my knitting and some books, and IV pain relief. Bliss. Fingers crossed for apendicitis in 2013!

From that house, which we were only in for maybe 6 months? We moved to the currently flooded condo, where I will be meeting another contractor after I put on some pants. So I think I'll save nine and ten for tomorrow. Which is fitting! Because that will round out the week on our actual anniversary.


-- chase said...

We lived in that apartment for such a short time but I remember it surprisingly well. I remember finding that bike and fixing it up, having friends stay with us for SXSW, Wren riding her trike around the complex, walking to the bowling alley with her to "play" video games, going to Thunderbird, fighting with the utility company about the previous tenants' bills, taking the bus to my terrible job ...

Obviously I'm glad we're not there anymore, but it was a pretty good transition back into Austin. Thanks for writing about it.

The Williams Family said...

Who leaves a bathtub running? Geeze.