Our downstairs neighbor visited us again.
It was the week before Christmas vacation officially started. It was cold and icy outside, and so Jason was keeping us all from going stir-crazy by wrestling around with the girls. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Which, in our neighbor's estimation, was evidently too late (or too early?) for such noises like children playing around. I wasn't home, but Jason relayed the conversation to me, and my stress level ratcheted up a level. Our neighbor said to Jason, "It's none of my business, but I don't know why anyone with children would choose a 3rd level apartment."
The answer is that it was the apartment available. It's probably the same answer she'd give if I asked her why she's living in a 2nd level apartment.
Other than being concerned about our downstairs neighbor, I don't mind living on the 3rd floor. The view is nice. The sunlight is nice. And the stairs really don't bother me, especially since my exercise has been approximately zero since we moved here.
I will say that the 3rd floor isn't ideal for some things. It's really hard to get the stroller down the stairs, so we rarely use it anymore (a leading cause of the "no exercise" routine). The stairs are also a leading cause of lateness because Jules hates to be carried down the stairs. "I do it!" She can do it, all right. One stair at a time. It's okay, as long as I have a lot of time.
The most nerve wracking aspect of living on the 3rd floor is the inevitable moment when I have to leave the girls alone in the apartment, mostly so that I can go down and get groceries from the car. I wouldn't panic except that Jules's search-and-destroy instincts are lightening quick. I leave, and probably something will get broken. The carton of eggs (twice, now), squished grapes, ripped paper...it's all just a little too tempting for her.
Beyond the broken stuff, there's the fact that the girls often come looking for me, and I meet them on the stairs as I'm hauling six bags of groceries back to the apartment. It's good for my prayer life, I suppose, this constantly praying that they will stay safe in those 45 seconds I leave them. I have become hugely empathetic for families who live in apartments with small children. It is not easy.
Thankfully, living on the 3rd floor means that we don't have the local population of homeless people wandering by our door. They pretty much stick to wandering by the windows of the first floor apartments (which would totally freak me out), and digging around in the dumpsters. Evidently our dumpsters are highly desirable, because they pretty regularly go through them. Yikes.
But at the end of June, we move out of our 3rd floor apartment, which ought to bring both my neighbor and me a little more peace, in every sense of the word. And at the end of June, I will say farewell to living in Oregon, and hello to living in Washington, where I will stomp my feet very loudly in celebration.