So it turns out that Ryan and I don't have the best taste in apartments.
I think our problem is that we are always looking for the cheapest place. Unfortunately, I'm starting to realize that cheap usually means bad neighborhood (shocker, right?). You'd think we would've learned our lesson after the adventures we had on Rounds Avenue in Buffalo (ehem, robbery and mugging), but alas, some people never learn, and we went for a similar apartment here in Denver.
We knew the neighborhood was a little sketch, but the apartment was great and the price was right--and we aren't afraid of adventures. We genuinely loved our time living on Rounds, despite the few unfortunate incidents mentioned above, and we were sure we would end up loving this place too.
We purposely chose a building right next to the courtyard, hoping we could congregate with neighbors, play outside with Noah, and enjoy a bit of nature in an otherwise concrete-and-asphalt environment. We've learned that, yes, the courtyard is a place where neighbors congregate--but that may or may not always be a good thing.
We started to worry a little bit when, a couple of months into our contract, there was a huge fight right outside our apartment. It started between two women, but as hair was pulled and faces were scratched and profanities were screamed, their boyfriends joined in. When the neighbors heard the commotion, they rushed outside to join in the fun, and suddenly, it seemed that the entire apartment complex was in the courtyard yelling and adding to the mayhem. It's a good thing we had a new baby or else I may have been tempted to get out there and throw a few punches!
The cops broke up the brawl before it got too out of hand--but the whole incident was just a tad alarming. (You may be wondering why I never blogged about this outrageous event. I desperately wanted to but didn't want to freak out my mother-in-law. I was hoping she wouldn't realize that we were living in a questionable area...again.:))
The woman who had started the fight (well, she claims she didn't, but who knows) decided to move out the following week, so the apartment across the hall from us was vacant for a few lovely days.
Then our new neighbors arrived, and I made a point to introduce myself to them and make a bit of small talk. They seemed nice enough. It was a little weird that they passionately made out in the courtyard in front of everyone, including young children, but hey, we prefer lovers to fighters, so we couldn't complain.
A few weeks later, I heard policemen in the walkway outside our door and I realized they were there to arrest our new neighbor. They hauled him out of his apartment in handcuffs. (I watched the whole thing through the peephole--it was kind of exciting.) We never did find out what he did, but it couldn't have been too bad because he was back a week or two later.
Then I started noticing groups of teenage boys congregating in our beloved courtyard during the day. There is a high school right across the street, so it didn't seem that suspect--until an interesting smell started wafting through our open window every day. I realized, with alarm, that these young miscreants were smoking doobies in broad daylight. I called the management once and the cops once, but no one seemed to care except for me. I was a little afraid to speak up to these pot-smoking delinquents because I was afraid they would egg our apartment (or worse), but one day they were rolling joints with a group of young kids playing about 10 feet away, and I could take it no longer.
"Hey, " I said, sounding more confident than I actually felt, "you guys shouldn't do that here. You shouldn't do it at all, but you especially shouldn't do it here with all of these kids around. They look up to you."
They were very gracious and quickly put their reefer away and scurried off. They haven't been back, and thus far, I haven't been egged, so that's a good thing.
Then there were the neighbors downstairs. From the sound of it, they don't get along very well. I think I heard more profanity in one of their three-hour-long screaming fights than I had heard in the rest of my 27 years combined. It was awful. My friend who is a speech pathologist strongly suggested that we move before Noah starts acquiring speech "or his first word might begin with F." And let's just say it wouldn't be "father."
But the real kicker--the incident that made us decide that we absolutely must move--occurred a few weeks ago. My sister called me and said, "Did you hear the gunshots?"
"Huh?" I asked, oblivious as usual.
"I just saw breaking news on Channel 9 that a shooting occurred in your apartment complex about ten minutes ago!"
Well, dang. That does it. I have a pretty high tolerance for seedy neighborhoods, but gang-related shootings are where I draw the line.
So, we are moving next weekend. I am not happy about it because I do love the inside of our apartment, and we invested lots of time in painting and decorating it, and moving is such a gigantic pain, and all of the nice apartment complexes in Denver charge at least $200 more per month for rent than we are paying here...but I suppose that if it keeps us from getting shot, it will be worth it.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.