In betweens

Our new neighborhood, Germantown, is the oldest neighborhood in Nashville and just north of downtown. It's part modern condos and row houses, part renovated warehouse lofts, part historic brick buildings and part small shabby homes with shingles flapping and chain link fences creaking. Our home is somewhere in between all of that: neither new nor historic but modest and clean and livable. Our house feels like it's been liked over the years but not loved as a rental property. Many details have been taken care of but other small ones were overlooked and we're doing what we can to put our touch and character on it, make it feel like us.

There is active industry in Germantown, a packaging plant that appears to be in operation and other factories nearer to the river that I haven't investigated yet for the graffiti if nothing else. The rents here are very high or very low, except for us again. We snagged a deal - good for Germantown but not rock bottom by any means - for our yard and porch and third room so that Matthew and I each have our own work space. We just had to wait a month with our stuff in storage, me on the road, and shuttling between parents and parents-in-law basements and bedrooms until we could move in a month ago.

On our block we live halfway between a homeless shelter and expensive lofts. I can walk to the Germantown Cafe with its wine list and truffle oils or to Church's Fried Chicken with its 12-piece bucket deals. Our coffee shop serves beans from Batdorf & Bronson, a roaster in Olympia, Washington I went to aaaaaall the time in 1996 and is one of my favorites. We have an artisan chocolatier and cinderblock liquor store but no neighborhood bar or music venue with microbrews and a jukebox. I hear birds, and dogs, and trains, and church bells and on two nights we heard gun shots.

"Really?" I said.

"Definitely gunshots," said Matthew.

That makes the new front porch feel slightly less amicable, I thought. Until I was talking to a Southerner who said, "You know, that could have just been rednecks shooting straight up for fun. We do that down here." I died laughing. "I never thought of that, I just assumed it was people shooting each other. Thank you, that's strangely comforting." She raised her eyebrows and shrugged.

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