I swore when I moved into my apartment seven years ago that I wouldn't move again unless it was into a place I bought.
It's been a promise that hasn't been difficult to keep. At the time, the rent was ridiculously low (roughly high-market for a 2-bedroom) for a gorgeous three bedroom apartment with awesome neighbors, off-street parking, a private porch, and a couple of vegetable beds at my disposal. The rent made a small jump from ridiculously low to just regular low a few years back and since then there's been one small cost-of-living increase. When I moved in with my then-fiance, we used the third bedroom as his office and eventually as the HQ for the publishing outfit we started.
Slowly, so slowly that I've been able to stay comfortably in denial about the issue, my home sweet home has become, though no less lovely, not a great fit. It's a bitch to heat, which changed the value situation when the price of oil shot up. The neighbors have changed a bunch of times and they're still nice, if a little wilder. But while they seem to have peaked out bad behavior the time they had a party with portapotties, fire jugglers and beer-pong in our quiet west end yard, even the twice-monthly 2 a.m. drum-circle/shitty Jack Johnson sing-alongs (everybody stomp, now!) are pretty obnoxious when you wake up at 4 to go to work. Then there's the matter of the landlord, a passive aggressive weirdo who spends more time puttering in our basement than at his home in Kennebunk. I digress easily and stories about this guy are such solid gold that I could write a whole post, so we'll just leave it that he's become someone pervy and paternalistic at the same time, both of which I could live without.
Plus, it seems B and I (I've just decided to call my boyfriend B here. It's short for his name, not for boyfriend, so don't barf.) have reached that point where we spend all our time in one place, and it ain't mine. It's insanely counter-intuitive, since B lives in a ghastly low-income property ("where poor people and sex offenders go to die," is how he once described it). You're going to have to take my word for it that there are legitimate reasons for spending our time there.
Thing is, those reasons have to do with it being B's home and absolutely nothing to do with the place itself. Again, I'm putting the pre-emptive kibosh on digressive rantings but between the permanent stench of beef stew, ill health and desperation and the new neighbor who triggers every long-buried bullied-nerd tendency in my body and whose friends actually make me fear for my safety, and the bed bugs that recently turned up (Guess who's insanely giant-hive-style allergic? Yay welts!) this is not a place we want to be.
It's time to move. The original plan was to keep my promise re: moving before ownership. It's not just about consolidating our living arrangements -- we also rent a practice space for our band and the end game would be to make a finished-basement recording/practice space in our home because while the current bedroom-recording, frigid-bunker-with-sketchy-wiring-for-practice model has worked so far, it's cramping our style and expensive to boot. At the end of the day, buying is still where we want to go, but Scary Neighbor and Paternalistic landlord have changed the game where the timeline's concerned.
We're looking for a place for September 1. It's a little scary to me. It's been a long time since I looked for an apartment and it will be hard to give up the place I have. I worked hard to keep it from being haunted after the divorce, but I don't have the same sense of home there that I did before, and in some ways it's the last thing that links me to the person I was then. I never hold a grudge against the people I've been before but I am unapologetically nostalgic and it's hard to make clear-headed decisions about the future when those people are still hanging around.
Well, there. I've been writing blog posts all week that have been epic in scope and so radically unfocused that I had to abandon them on the side of the information superhighway. I think it's just a matter of taking a little break from thinking and writing all my big philosophical thoughts -- I was starting to feel like a bit of a pompous ass. I'm really enjoying the writing anyway, though, so maybe I'll indulge and allow myself some utterly frivolous Landlord and Scary Neighbor posts. It's gonna be so fun. Promise.