— Essentials —

We’re No Longer City Dogs

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Sam and Molly have turned into velcro puppies. If I leave the room, they come with me. With two moves in two weeks, I’m not surprised. Numerous times a day I love on them, rubbing their sweet faces at the same time. We huddle, our heads together like players before the big game.

“We’re home,” I say, my head in-between both of theirs. “I know I said that two weeks ago, but this time, it’s for real.”

We’ve left the “Tower of Terror” as my girlfriend calls it. In case you’re wondering how I got out of my lease, I told the manager we could do this one of two ways. Their choice: I could move out quietly, or I could get my friends at the local TV stations to cover the dark, seamy underside of the city’s new la-de-da apartments, and I would post stories on key online sites. They chose option number one. Almost everyone I’ve told about these apartments has relayed similar negative stories. One said the Muslim women won’t get on the elevator with her and tend to stare her down. I told her I bumped into a man, dressed in a burka, then asked how she could be sure they were really women?

The day I turned my keys and parking pass into the office, a woman in her mid-to-late 70s, was signing her new lease. She and her husband—whom she said was 10 years older—were moving there from a retirement community. They were tired of playing cards with the other residents who did nothing but talk about their ailments.

“Their negativity was contagious,” she said. “We’re too young to live there.”

While I was hesitant to rain on their new home parade, when she asked why I was moving, I was honest.

“I won’t live where people scream at one another; beat up their girlfriend; are more interested in what’s on their cellphone than picking up after their dogs; there are potentially fatal dog diseases in the dog park—Molly contracted Lepto there; the building only picks up garbage once a week and the neighbors might be terrorists.”

I didn’t tell her my law enforcement friend said there are more Muslims—who’re suspected militant extremists—in that zip code than most neighborhoods in America, and he told me to “Get out, NOW!”

I’ve leased an older house in a nice neighborhood, not far from the ranch I sold two weeks ago. The house has been restored with French doors leading out to a big deck and a huge backyard that runs along a creek. Sam’s still tentative, but Molly’s resumed her hobby of sunbathing. It’s beginning to feel like home.

Perhaps the lesson from my experience is to do an honest gut check if you’re thinking about a drastic move. If you’ve never lived at the beach, maybe it’s a good idea to rent a condo before buying one, regardless of how excited you are by the shows on HGTV, and don’t transfer your fantasies about what the city, countryside, mountains or someplace offshore—like Aruba or Belize—is like until you’ve spent a lot of time there.

I make good decisions, but my brain wasn’t functioning on all cylinders with the apartment idea. Sure, I would have been closer to my city friends and have more opportunities to meet someone “interesting,” but I’d much rather live in a quiet, country neighborhood than be surrounded by violence and dog poop.

Love, Brenda


  • bestill February 20, 2016 at 9:40 am

    So thankful to hear it’s going well! And that you got out of the apartment smoothly! Tower of Terror! Love it! Yikes, though, about what you found out about it. Wow. Happy running free in your new neighborhood! God can bring interesting people wherever He likes! See, He just brought you there! 🙂 His timing is perfect.

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks for reminding me God can bring interesting people wherever He likes! xoxo, Brenda

  • barbarahammond February 20, 2016 at 10:08 am

    The new place sounds more like you. I thought it would be a bit of culture shock to go from your gorgeous sprawling ranch to an apartment but, I know, sometimes when it’s time for change big change is the way to go. I would love to know what the couple decided to do after you filled her in on why you were leaving.

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      I think it just went over her head. There was no sign she was taking in what I was saying, and I didn’t want to bring her excitement down, so… We’ll just hope they don’t have any problems. xoxox, Brenda

  • Jennifer Connolly February 20, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I’m so glad you got out of there Brenda! That good advice about renting in a new location. Saves money and headache down the road. Sweet puppies will adjust. This new place seems more like your style.
    xoxo Jennifer

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Had there been an affordable rental house in a good neighborhood, in the Hill Country, when I was first looking, I would have taken it, but there wasn’t. I was running out of time and settled… My NYC friends all live in apartments. Think I transferred that joie de vivre of living in the thick of things to Texas, but it wasn’t the same. xoxo, Brenda

  • Rebecca Forstadt-Olkowski February 20, 2016 at 10:44 am

    Your new home sounds wonderful. I’m sure your dogs will love it once they get used to it.

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      We’re all settling in and are very happy here!

  • Elizabeth February 20, 2016 at 10:56 am

    So glad you are out of there, Brenda! Sounds like a hideout for terrorists. Relax and enjoy your new place.

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      At the very least, I was in a building of wackos. We’re all glad to be in a house!

  • roses2me February 20, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Yes, you are a wise woman! So happy you were able to get out of the lease and find a new and calmer place. Blessings, Cindy

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      I like the quiet woods and the peaceful zen of the country. What was I thinking, moving to an apartment?

  • janice wald February 20, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Brenda,
    We have dogs too. There’s a lot to consider when you have pets. I hope you are happier in your new location.

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Hi Janice!
      I thought they’d like the dog park and the long walk there and back… New sights, new smells and great exercise. I had no clue there were deadly dog diseases in dog parks. A savvy NYC friend emailed me and said never go to the dog parks!

  • Helene Cohen Bludman February 20, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    So glad you got out of that nightmarish living situation. The new place sounds so much better.

    • 1010 Park Place February 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      It’s wonderful, Helene! We’re a happy bunch!

  • Jasmine Budd February 20, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    So all Muslims are terrorists? Or just the ones in your apt building? Or just in your city? Which ones have been arrested and/or convicted as terrorists? If they are suspected terrorists, why are they still living out in the open? How do you know they are Muslim? Have you ever bothered to talk to any of these ‘terrorists’? This is some of the most xenophobic blogging I have ever read. The other tenants are probably glad you left.

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