Now that we’ve been in the new house for three weeks, I think I owe my readers a tour. Not of the house; that would be weird and difficult to do via text. If you want to see it, you just need to schedule a visit!

Rather a tour of our area, Nora, because it is quite different than the old digs.

We have a YMCA that is literally within walking distance. So close that if the girls went together we’d be comfortable letting them go there alone. They just have to cut across the edge of our neighbors’ yard, duck through a break in the tree line, and they’re in the Y’s parking lot. We finally joined last Friday and spent an hour at the pool before it got too hot to stay in the sun. Once our summer membership expires that is where I’ll be doing my daily workouts.

Running just behind our neighborhood, and accessible from the Y’s parking lot, is the Monon trail, the urban path that extends from downtown Indy 20 miles to the far northern ‘burbs. Last week L and I hopped on our bikes and rode down to Broad Ripple and back. It was only about a 5 mile round trip and she said she’s ready to go further next time.

Our old neighborhood was very suburban. We were surrounded by other neighborhoods, parks, gravel mines, and corn fields. The nearest shops and restaurants were all a healthy walk away. In the new ‘hood, we are less than half a mile from a grocery store, a Target, and their surrounding shopping areas, a Walgreen’s and CVS, and[1] a liquor store. We’ve already walked to a restaurant for dinner one night and a yogurt place for dessert another night. There are plenty of fast food options, a pizza place, a great bagel place, and a few other nice restaurants all within a 15 minute walk. As we were strolling home from dinner last week I told S it was almost like living on the Plaza in Kansas City again. Except we live in a house with a big yard instead of sharing walls with our neighbors.

North Central High School is also right up the street from our house. Friday night there was a high school football all star game at their stadium and we could clearly hear the PA announcer from our front steps. NC usually has a really good basketball team – famous alums include Jason Gardner, Eric Gordon, and Kris Wilkes – so I think L is excited to go watch them this winter.

L and I took 15–20 minutes to bike down to Broad Ripple Friday. When we hop in the car, as we did for dinner Sunday, we can be there in about five minutes. Broad Ripple was a 20-minute drive from our old house because of traffic lights, which meant we didn’t take advantage of all its dining opportunities very often. We could usually find something closer and more convenient. Now, thought, we’ve already eaten down there three times in three weeks.

The demographics of our area are quite different than in Carmel, too. Nora leans to the affluent side for sure. We have a pretty fat house and there are plenty that would be well beyond our budget. While new construction like ours isn’t uncommon, Nora tends to be filled with big, beautiful old homes.

That affluence extends to about half a mile north of our house. When you get past the 86th Street shopping corridor you move into an area of older apartments that are home to mostly working class African-American and Hispanic families. That area, and some others within Washington Township, make North Central almost evenly split between white and black students, with a healthy slice of Hispanic students as well. While our girls won’t go to school there, just being in this area will certainly open their eyes to the truth that there are people who look different than us and have very different lives than us.

Allow me to jump back for a minute to talk about our grocery store. I was very excited to have one right around the corner because I go to the store roughly 87 times a week. After three trips to our new one, though, I’m kind of done with it. They never, ever have enough people working the registers and on two trips I spent nearly as much time in line as I did filling my cart. I freaking hate waiting to check out at stores so I’ve given up on that location for all but quick stops. It is also older, with very narrow aisles, and it seems to always be filled with old people who block the aisles and can’t hear you when you say “Excuse me,” and try to squeeze by.

The one thing I will give the local store is that it shows off the area’s demographics. On one recent trip there was a group of African-American women shopping together. Two were in the little moto-carts for folks who can’t get around well. They had a third lady with them and they were cruising around, saying hello to everyone, having a great time. At one point the ladies in the carts got separated and the third lady was walking around yelling for the other, “MONIQUE!!! MONIQUE!!! WHERE ARE YOU????” Then she’d belly laugh. L was with me that day and was rolling.

That same day I got behind an older white man in line and he kept turning around making racial comments about the black lady in front of him. Nice. I will admit she was making an odd transaction. She paid for all her groceries at once, then kept a green pepper separate. I don’t know what she used to pay for the pepper, but she asked for $200 in change from whatever she used. That kicked off a 10 minute process of finding the right person to get into the office to replenish the drawer with cash. While that is certainly odd and out of the ordinary, I’m not sure it was worthy of racial comments from Angry Old White Man in front of me.

One register over, there was a staggeringly attractive white lady[2] in her best workout gear who was screaming at her kids for going over and looking at the gumball machine. They didn’t mess with it in any way. They just looked at it. These girls were like 4 and 3 but something about that set their hottie mom off. Then again, as parents we all have those days when you’re barely hanging on and some tiny thing will provoke all your parental fury.

Quite the gamut in one trip to the grocery store. Shame that the service in there is so bad and I won’t be getting to see shows like this every week.

  1. With a new one coming soon.  ↩
  2. I got a little woozy every time I passed her in the aisles. She was well put together.  ↩