... stays in Stapleton
Have you heard of Stapleton?
If you live in Colorado, you already know that it's the old airport that has been reinvented as the Urban /Suburban /Exurbian dream.
It's an incredibly well planned community with cozy houses on tree-lined avenues, front porches, garages in the alley (because who wants to look at an ugly garage on the front of a house?), and common mailboxes so that everyone on the block has to actually walk to get their mail (although the truth is, most people drive up on their way home). There are brand new schools, parks all over the place, and lots of open green space. An impressive 30% of the whole neighborhood is green space.
It's close to downtown (no, it is not a suburb -- our zip code is still Denver), close to the airport, close to I-70, the major artery into the mountains, and close to the Zoo.
If you are young, have a kid under 5 and either a black lab or a golden retriever, Stapleton is the neighborhood for you.
Everyone is shiny, happy, well-to-do, employed and insured. Every home has an SUV and a German engineered car. Everyone shops at SuperTarget and Pottery Barn.
Everyone who lives here says this: "Yes, it's a little like the Truman Show, but it's great for the kids."
Everyone rolls their eyes when they get a handwritten invitation to a block party slipped under their front door, but everyone shows up, and after a couple of beers, they're chatting like old pals. Husbands love it because they can get drunk every weekend with their buddies in someone's backyard, and no one has to drive. Wives love it because they get to meet other women at the same stage of life, with the same interests (primarily their kids), and let's face it, the older women get, the harder it is to make new friends.
I'm a newbie in Stapleton.
I was reticent to leave my hip urban Highland loft and my hip urban Highland neighbors (most of whom I never shared more than a passing greeting with) and my neighborhood park full of grafitti and kids smoking pot on the baseball bleachers and Lola, but once the kiddo turned 1, we knew it was time to move on.
Oh, and there was the incident where a stray bullet came through our window. And the drunk driver who slammed a stolen Dodge into our building. Oh, yeah, and the mugging that happened last spring outside our balcony at 8:00 on a Saturday night.
I knew it would be best for my kid to be in a neighborhood where he could leave his bike on the front porch, where he could run down the block to a friend's house by himself.
And I woke up one night in a state of complete panic, like all first time moms do, realizing that I needed -- really needed -- other moms. To watch, to talk to, to ask advice, to see how they manage getting the kid to the grocery store several times a week without it being a major production.
So here I am.