Five Things I DON’T Miss From Our Second Home

Last month, I wrote about five things I miss from our second home. I thought I’d also cover five things I do NOT miss. Read on!

1. The kitchen

The kitchen in our studio apartment had roughly a square foot of counter space, making cooking discouraging and something to avoid. Combine that with no dishwasher, and it all became a major source of frustration for us. The stove and sink were both mini. Not all of our pots and pans could even fit individually in the sink. There were other details W hated, like electric burners rather than gas, but the sheer lack of workspace was the worst part. Our new home has gas burners, a dishwasher, and more counters than we’ve ever had (even in our parents’ homes!).

Studio kitchen on the left, current kitchen on the right.

2. The public transit

Choosing a car-free lifestyle at the same time as moving into that area was terrible timing on our part. It took hours of zigzag-ing from one bus line to another to get almost anywhere, and if you are like me and don’t drive, it can make you feel pretty trapped. Trains were nearby but were only useful if I wanted to go to New York City in a few hours. More often I wanted to get somewhere 30 minutes away into suburbia or a city that didn’t have a direct train or bus line. Living right next to Philadelphia like we do now solves that problem, and everything has been consistently on time. Unlike where we used to live.

NJ Transit’s unofficial motto

3. The expensive area

Before W transitioned to working from a home office, we lived where we did because of the proximity to his company’s office. The area was beautiful but incredibly expensive. We were lucky to be able to find the studio apartment and make it work for a few years, but we could never have afforded a long-term option, like an upgraded unit or a house. Not to mention the fact that the upscale grocery stores and restaurants leaned towards unaffordable more often than not, making it tough for us to go out and try new things locally very often. Now we have walking access to places with all kinds of price points, including regular grocery stores like Shoprite. The week we moved into the studio, we went to the closest grocery place to pick a couple things up. A woman in a full length fur coat basically rammed our cart with hers. I was wearing Soffe shorts. Because it was July.

When else can I use this? I’m not sorry,

4. The lack of in-unit laundry machines

Our apartment complex only had laundry machines in a basement around back down a flight of concrete stairs. They needed quarters to work. W was a saint and did our laundry while we lived there since the laundry bag was so heavy to take up and down the stairs. He took care of it through rain and snow and dark of night, and he never complained. Now I make sure I always take care of it in this apartment, since all I have to do is walk six feet in our hallway to our own machines.

Dramatic reenactment of W carrying the clean laundry back home

5. The tiny entryway

We had two keys to get into our apartment: one to unlock a very small entryway we shared with the downstairs apartment, and one to unlock our actual door inside. That entryway was so small that we could barely fit two of us inside between the two doors at once, and the doors swung open at angles that forced you to be flat against the neighbor’s door to get by. It was tricky to bring shopping bags or big items in or out. The mail was thrown on the entryway floor everyday since there were no mailboxes, which only added to the cramped space. If our neighbor went out of town, there would be weeks of their mail everywhere on the floor.

What it felt like every day

I want to note that we realize that several of these could have been fixed by having a car. Part of why we moved to our current home was because we realized that we either needed to get a car to sustain living in the old area, or we needed to move to a place where a car-free lifestyle was feasible.

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