Tuesday, July 12, 2011

When you gotta go, you gotta go

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.


  1. Well, I'll just address the last part. First of all, I, at least, obviously feel like feelings of pompous-asshood should never keep one from writing what is on one's interesting mind. If people want to read about Snooki's latest drunk fest, or whether Bradgelina are actually going to tie the knot, there are places for that. What there are NOT enough places for are places to read intelligent, thoughtful, insightful introspection, criticism and musings. The world NEEDS a lot more of the former, and a lot less of the later. So don't ever let that stop you. If people don't want to read your shit cause it is too highbrow, they can go somewhere else.

    Now, that is not to say random musings aren't sometimes interesting or useful, just don't feel obliged to write them. But that is just my 2 cents.

    Now, to share a story that might make you feel slightly better about your current apartment desperation:

    When Molly and I moved to Seattle, we spent the first three weeks living with my friend Stan and his boyfriend, another not-admitted gay ex-military couple who shared a closet, this very tragically sad to the point of adorable goth-emo photographer girl, and another girl who had named all 7 of her abortions. They were all goth, anti-capitalist, anarchist, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, when the abortionists snake and rat both escaped on the same day and they told us that they both liked to den in the fold-out couch Molly and I were sleeping on, we decided it was time to go.

    So we went looking for places. The first one was in a very cute neighborhood and the price was listed as reasonable. Then we went in lobby. It looked like a combination of a crack house and the house from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Their was graffiti on the walls on the INSIDE. (This is not common in Maine. Maybe in NY, etc. but not Maine.) Molly was like, "Uh let's go before someone sees us." But it was too late, and the woman showing us the place came down the stairs. She led us to the place on the first floor and opened the door. And, I shit you not:

    There was no floor. Literally. There was about a 3 by 3 foyer, and then the floor just dropped about 6 feet into mud and standing water, in every room, which were still clearly laid out. She tried to explain that they weren't going to fix it up until someone agreed to rent it.

    We left. Molly cried. There had only been a few places listed in our price range, only one of us had a job, and their was a snake and a rat in our bed. It basically sucked.

    We did end up finding a cute place, which Molly made very homey in one afternoon with about $200 and without any help, and were very happy there for a time. But yes, apartment hunting can be very stressful.

  2. Yowza. I've historically been very lucky in the apartment search department, certainly never as unlucky as all that!

    I've been in a little funk funk of late and every attempted post ends up super-cantankerous and dances around the ideas I want to tackle without ever really getting to the heart of it. While I'm obviously okay with getting into things I don't like much, I don't want to have to change the description of this blog to "Wherein I do my very best Andy Rooney impression."

    Thanks for the perspective, blog- and life-wise.

  3. I was hoping to see Molly's recollection of those events on here.

    Yes. I feel the same. I think part of it is the way I, and likely yourself, were educated. I was taught to write essays that found something to criticize and pick it apart. I'm fairly good at it. But then you look back and say, "Jeez, it looks like I am a grumpy bitch who does nothing but complain and hate," which is not the truth at all. I've tried hard to find some way to write something focused that is positive, but so far, no dice. If you figure out a way, let me know.