I’m spoiled rotten. I know I am. Most of my life, I have lived in single houses, with large rooms, plenty of light, and a yard or two. It’s what I know. It’s what I like. It’s not an option now.

Today, the three of us (Tom, Aubrey, me; Scott joins us on Dec. 10 for a month) are living in a two-bedroom, eleventh-floor apartment. It’s a decent size, with lots of light, but if there is a place for everything, then everything must be in its place. Our living room contains a sofa, a coffee table, an easy chair, a dining table and four chairs, a small desk, a TV console, and piles of files (each of us needs files for work and school). Across the floor are scattered various puppy chew toys. Even though we try to keep things neat, it typically looks as though we’ve had a small explosion just occur.

Fortunately, we have one neighbor on one wall, and we never hear him/her/them. Never. Never hear the people above or below us, either. And we have a stairwell on the other wall, but being on the 11th floor, there aren’t many folks who tromp the stairs in our elevated region. Plus, we’re at the end of a hall, so we don’t have people passing by our door, unless it’s one of two neighbors who share the end units, and we rarely hear them. So that’s great.

The noise of the city outside begins about 5:30, and continues throughout the day and night. There’s a lot of construction going on right across the way from us, which causes a lot of noise, but it becomes white noise and blends in with the background. Several times a day, we hear sirens as fire trucks take off from the station two blocks away, but fortunately, Cricket has decided not to howl each time she hears a siren. That is a small blessing for which I am grateful.

The dogs are adapting to life in an apartment very well. There’s no yard for them to scamper in, but we take them outside 7-8 times a day, so they’re getting their exercise and fresh air (as are we). The worst is the first-in-the-morning run, around 6 am. It’s no longer a matter of taking them downstairs at home and opening the door to the backyard. Now, one of us gets up, throws on sweats and a jacket and shoes, and then takes the pups down in the elevator, out of the building, across the street, and onto neighborhood lawns. That means leashes, keys (with elevator fobs), and doggy bags. The nice thing is, we get to see the sunrise when we’re out with them. The negative…it’s going to get a lot colder and wetter very soon!

After we come back inside, they’re content to curl up and go back to sleep, but we typically begin our day then. Aubrey or I take them out throughout the day (they’re getting better at telling us when they need to go), and we’ve left them for 6-7 hours at a time, with no accidents. My goal is to get them on a bit more of a schedule, since taking them out 7 times a day gets to be a bit of a grind, not to mention how it interrupts my work and Aubrey’s study time.

The building is full of dogs. There are five or six in our short hallway alone. So far, we havent’ seen any sign of misbehavior on the owners’ part. Everybody cleans up after their pets, so they are only visible when they go out on their morning and evening promenades.

All in all, life here in the heights isn’t bad. It’s just different. And, as I said, I’m spoiled. I loved owning (ha!) our own house. But I can do this for the next 10-15 years. Tom just better watch out when it comes time for us to buy again! I’m building a wish list….