1. Attached garage. Ah, the things I used to take for granted when I lived in the Midwest. It may seem like a little thing, but the attached garage improves the quality of life so much, especially when you have kids. I love that they can run out and get in the car and I can run back in to grab the baby or a diaper bag or the kid's lunches without running at the speed of light because I'm so worried that someone is either going to A: take off with my car and kids or B: see my kids unattended in the car and call DCFS. I can't tell you how many times I've endagered the baby by carrying him AND a diaper bag AND a stroller AND a pile of library books that need to be returned, all to avoid leaving him by himself in the car. Another bonus is that when Stewart falls asleep in the car, I can let him nap in there because it's not too hot or cold and he's right there where I can check on him. It's a beautiful thing.
2. Dishwasher. Enough said there.
3. Upstairs. Can I just tell you how much I love that the kids sleep upstairs and we sleep downstairs? I also love that when I tell Stew to go to his room when he's throwing a fit, I actually CAN'T HEAR the fit. That was always the idea of putting him in his room, however, when his room was only ten feet away, it didn't exactly work.
4. Washer & Dryer. Again, enough said.
5. Traffic. Or lack thereof. It's such a wonderful feeling of freedom, knowing that wherever I need to go, I can get there in five minutes.
6. Wal-Mart (and other big box retailers). I know, I'm supposed to love all those unique, over-priced boutiques and eateries that were available to me in Santa Monica and L.A. But I couldn't afford them anyway. And all I really need, I can get at Wally World. Or Target. Or KMart. Or Old Navy (and I don't have to deal with the frickin' Third Street Promenade to get to it).
7. Chain Restaurants. As I missed Wal-Mart, so I longed for Chili's, Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse, and The Claim Jumper. No, I do not have sophisticated, urban taste. I LIKE my baby back ribs, okay?
8. Parking. All hail parking lots. Big, suburban parking lots with plenty of room for all. No more having to PAY to park at the hospital, the doctor's office, the post office. No more twisting through parking garages and waiting for elevators just to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond. No more digging for change to feed meters which will probably turn out to be broken. No more enduring the mixed smells of urine and citrus air freshener in the Third Street Promenade elevators. No more getting lost in the labrynthine Westside Pavilion parking structure at Christmastime.
9. Paseos. Valencia is criss-crossed with pedestrian walkways for biking, running or walking. There are miles and miles of trails to enjoy and I am totally loving exercising without worrying about traffic. On Mondays I run, on Thursdays I've been taking Stew out on my bike, and on Saturdays while Stew naps, I take Owen. They both love going over and under the major streets (big tunnels and big, big bridges). I love that it's SO EASY to exercise.
10. It's a Family Town. Everyone here is SO much nicer to me and my
kids. It's most likely because everyone here has a family, too. In
Santa Monica, people treated me like a leper for having three kids and
being in the way. I dreaded going shopping because people were always
brushing past me with annoyed looks and dramatic sighs. I hated walking
through parking lots because I was certain to be honked at by some
asshole in a Boxter. I've even had OLD PEOPLE give me 'tude, and
they're supposed to oooh and awwww over babies, not tell me that my
stroller is in their way, or that I should get in the elevator "on the
double," or to "push the button for Chrissakes!"
My first trip to Ralph's here was so amazing I almost cried for joy.
Every single person in the store, every customer, every worker- stopped
to say hello and coo over Wilbur. No one gave me a dirty look or pushed
their cart impatiently up against me. They treated me as if I had every
right to be out shopping for groceries with my three kids- and guess
what? I DO. I couldn't believe that I had even forgotten that. I had
actually been treated so badly for so long that I actually kind of
thought I deserved it, and was constantly apologetic in public. "Oh
excuse me, I'm so sorry I'm in your way!" "I know, I'm slow, sorry,
it's hard to push the stroller"- on and on and on, when I really had no
need to apologize. If anything, they should have been apologizing to me
for being complete DICKS.