As we were planning our move to Chappaqua from the city back in 2003 all the big questions had been addressed. Roaring Brook would have 19 or 20 kids in Charlie’s first grade class as opposed to the 27 in his Manhattan kindergarten. We’d convert our oil-burning furnace to natural gas because a knowledgeable source told us to. Bella’s crib would fit in a wonderfully proportionally manner in her new bedroom as opposed to the glorified walk-in closet that was her room in the apartment. And, Laurie would be able to walk to the train which was only a half mile away. With these issues addressed I was able to focus on something that I’d been mildly dreading. How and where would I be able to equal the bacon and egg on a roll with ketchup sandwich I’d treat myself to on mornings of happiness and optimism?
You see, pre-move, when I’d walk into the Korean deli on our block I’d make eye contact with the grill-man and before I could grab a self-serve regular coffee the eggs would be cracked, sizzling and within minutes I’d be enjoying the perfect urban New York sandwich. So, over those initial weeks I got the lay of the land breakfast-wise and from there was able to go on with my life. As it turns out, there were a number of local fine bacon and egg on a roll with ketchup sandwiches sampled and each one a little different. One local deli offered a solid and tasty effort aesthetically notable for the fact that they don’t cut the roll in half. Another put forth a hearty two egg affair with lovely fresh bread and egg yolk just runny enough to make the sandwich delicious yet manageable. The bagel store offered an extremely hearty sandwich, which was elevated by the meticulously crisped bacon. Much to my delight, the local delis up here were most definitely on their game.
Other elements of adjusting to life in Chappaqua were a little more jolting. We quickly realized that the 10-minute walk to the train was not exactly safe, nor even doable with snow on the ground, due to a lack of sidewalks on Quaker Road. I investigated alternative routes but realized that the fading dream of living a pedestrian lifestyle like our previous one would not be easy to accomplish. Happily, a number of years into our residency here sidewalks were installed near our house and this game changer of an infrastructure project most definitely opened up the possibility of, once again, being an active daily pedestrian. Ironically, years of driving everywhere, a situation I preached against when I was an urbanite, had become quite comfortable and the conversion to shoes back on concrete would take another mental adjustment.
Getting used to living in this countrified suburb took some time and a steep learning curve. The first house thing encounter was like a slap in the face. I knew intellectually that house-living meant you can’t call the Super when there’s a dripping faucet. Cut to me wading in ankle-deep water in our basement barely being able to pronounce “sump-pump” let alone having any idea of what the hell it even was. A more pressing issue was how exactly to make the damn thing function properly and clear the water out of our suddenly disgusting water logged basement. Now, a veteran homeowner, I’m essentially “Mr. Sump Pump” with a high-end, self installed bad-boy keeping the basement fastidiously dry. And, don’t get me started on my back-up sump-pump because I’ll happily chew your ear off on why having a second one is simply a must.
We’ve been here now for 15 years and It’s gone fast. Of course there’s been physical changes in the community from the aforementioned sidewalks to changing businesses to new athletic fields and so on. For us the changes have been the simple and huge developments that are universal yet unique to any family and probably somewhat indefinable. It’s the concrete things like a good bacon and egg on a roll with ketchup sandwich that hopefully remain constant. If not, there’s always another deli.