Holy crap! Has it really been two weeks? Sorry! I’ve been busy with work (yay, we’re busy again!), and dentists and dental paraphernalia.
So, after my set-to with my landlord at the end of January, I have decided not to renew my lease. This is very hard for me, because even though I really have outgrown the space I have, my apartment does have some distinct advantages. The ginormous half-covered front porch that’s mine, all mine. The 105-year-old plaster walls that hold heat in the winter and hold cool in the summer. The tall ceilings. The original windows. The giant fireplace mantel. The oodles and oodles of natural light in the kitchen. The original (though non-functional) push-button light switches beside the front door. The original built-in bookshelves flanking the archway into the kitchen. The charming little bathroom tucked in under the stairs. The convenience of being close to the campus (Free wireless internet in good weather! Giant library in the back yard!). The ridiculously low rent.
But the same advantages are disadvantages as well. The porch, while awesome, is not exactly a useful living space. The 105-year-old plaster walls also have some alarming cracks and buckles, and they’re nearly impossible to hang pictures on. The tall ceilings make heating the place a physical and economical challenge. The original windows also make the place drafty, limit where I can put furniture, and cost a fortune to drape because they’re large and oddly-shaped. The mantel is awesome, but I think I’d rather have the wall space, and/or the permanent gas heater I’ve never once used taken out of the hearth. Natural light in the kitchen is awesome, but I’d like some natural light elsewhere in the house, and I’d like some useful wall space in the kitchen, as well as less of an opportunity for the neighbors to accidentally observe naked squirrel wrestling. The push-button light switches do not actually mean there’s any overhead lighting to be had, and the rest of the randomly-functioning electrical outlets spring up out of the floor because the house wasn’t fully electrified until sometime in the 1930’s – and not well. The built-in bookshelves are awkwardly-spaced (made for early 1900’s books, not early 2000’s books – and I have a lot of books) and the archway is a roomy 23 ½ inches, which severely restricts what I can put in or take out of the kitchen (seriously, I don’t know how they got the appliances in there). The charming little bathroom also only has a minuscule shower stall that I suspect has a crack in the floor and for which I had to buy a shower head extender bar so that the water wouldn’t spray me in the face at a 90-degree angle. Being so close to the campus means there is always people out and about (except for four weeks in the winter and a couple of weeks in the summer), most of your immediate neighbors are kids, and don’t even get me started on Fall Rush, Pledging, and Homecoming at any of the five Greek houses I can see from my front porch (though I will reluctantly admit that Drunken Firecracker Baseball is a mighty entertaining spectator sport).
And, despite its billing as a one-bedroom apartment, it’s really more like a studio with a big-ass kitchen.
But it’s a bargain!
* * * * *
So, now I’m casting about, looking for new places to live. I don’t know if I want to stay here in the big city, or if I want to move to one of the surrounding (much smaller) towns. And, if so, how much am I willing to spend for the privilege of having to get up earlier and drive back to the big city for work? How much more am I willing to spend for how much more space? And utilities – am I willing to go back to an apartment community just to have the utilities taken care of? And of course, I don’t go where my dog and cats can’t. And do I want old-with-character (like I have now) or do I want new-with-less-maintenance-and-decorating-problems (like I used to have, and somewhat, kinda, sorta miss sometimes)
But, as many of you know, planning is not my strong suit. Instead, I intend to start getting things organized or packed away (for a move at the end of May). I mean to seek out various new habitable spaces well in advance of the final date, and actually go visit some of them and talk to the landlords.
But I won’t.
I’ll instead do one of two things:
- I will dash into the first place I find that looks reasonably safe and comfortable and is in my price range and sign a lease that day without examining any other options (or even really the apartment I’ve just committed the next year of my life to).
- I will drive to several different neighborhoods and surrounding towns, for several weeks ahead of time, looking for nice places. I will buy newspapers, take down phone numbers, do craigslist and other classified searches. I will, of course, do nothing with the information I have gathered. I won’t do much packing, either. Instead, I will, on a whim, agree to see an apartment I know I probably won’t want, hear the angels sing when I set foot inside, and sign a lease that day, without examining any other options (or even really the apartment I’ve just committed the next year of my life to).
What I will do, though, is start bribing my help crew with promises of pizza and beer.
*this one’s a little unclear – St. Joseph, maybe, or Our Lady of Loreto?