Downsizing

Image Source: Wallstreet Journal

Image Source: Wallstreet Journal

It’s been almost three months since I sat down to write creatively. I think about it daily, writing stories in my head but lately, as is my usual excuse for everything – life got in the way. Seriously, I don’t have kids. It’s the only excuse I have.

I started this blog after moving to the suburbs with Tom being the only person I knew and vice versa. While the space was amazing, the rest of it was mundane and boring. Writing filled the time as I stared out the window wondering why our neighbors never spent time outside. From the moment, I moved in with Tom, we talked about moving back to the city. After all, he was commuting everyday into the city, and I missed the hustle and bustle immediately. So after a year of talking about it, we finally made it happen. We put our (technically it’s his) house on the market and crossed our fingers. We accepted an offer in six days and closed six weeks later! We were tremendously lucky except that we had no idea where we were going to live next.

We had already started looking for places to buy in the city but we still hadn’t found “the place”. Being in a time crunch, we weighed our options, took a break from house hunting to pack up the suburban house and find a temporary place in the city. Together, we put together a list of must haves for the temporary place, which in retrospect was an absolutely ridiculous list. It’s amazing how a year in single family home with a yard changes the perspective on apartment living. Among the requirements on the list was a short term lease, a place that allowed a dog, cheap rent, in the neighborhood we wanted to buy, had parking, an in unit washer and dryer, dishwasher, no elevator and non-radiant heat – oh and central air. The only one of those things I had when I lived in my last apartment was no lease.

“So what do you think?” I asked Tom as he read over the list.

“It looks good. Are you taking this one on?”

“Sure! I’m good at apartment hunting.” He wrinkled his and looked at me skeptically.

“Seriously, Elyse? I hope you don’t call your last apartment good apartment hunting. That place was gross and questionable.”

“Well, I loved it. It was the first place I could ever call my own. I promise, I’ll find something that meets our criteria.”

In the past, I walked around neighborhoods looking for “For Rent” signs on the doors of buildings. I would run up the steps immediately calling the number of places that interested me. It’s how I had found every apartment but this time was different. Craigslist has single handedly ruined apartment hunting.

I like Craigslist a lot. I’ve sold and bought things on there, I’ve found roommates, perused personal ads and missed connections but finding a place to live on it sucks. It is now a portal for listing agents to do nothing. They post the same ad for the company multiple times a day so you can’t find true single apartment listings. You are forced to call these companies with pushy sales people trying to get you in for appointments. I was annoyed.

After hours of searching on Craigslist and being repeatedly told that buildings didn’t allow dogs, I found a diamond in the rough. It was walking distance from Tom’s office and was a decent size. I called the management company skeptically but to my delight they allowed dogs and were willing to do a six month lease. Those were the only two things that we got on our long list of must haves but we didn’t care. We had a lease – signed, sealed and delivered.

When we finished moving in, Tom and I popped open beers standing among towers of boxes.

“I have no idea where we are going to put this stuff. We have only two closets.” I giggled.

“This is going to be an adjustment but we’ll get through it.”

“We always do. Seriously, though, what are we going to do with this?” I spread my arms motioning to the mound of crap in the living room.

We spent the next day being creative with how we used the space. We moved the bed six inches from the wall to store various things behind the headboard. The only living room closet was overflowing and our bedroom had stacks of boxes that don’t have homes. We went from a nice, organized home to a place that made us look like hobos.

Regardless, we settled into the little shoebox.

“Elyse, we don’t have hot water?!” Tom was shouting from the bathroom.

“What?” I was exhausted and not in the mood.

“The shower. The water is ice cold.” I jumped up to get a feel for myself.

“Ugh. Seriously? Give it time, I’m sure it takes a while.” Tom grimaced as he stepped in giving me the stink eye.

I was serious when I said it might take a while but what I didn’t know was that a while in that building is much longer than my definition – 29 days and counting to be exact. They can’t tell us a day when it will be fixed because it’s a “bigger problem than they anticipated.” Yeah, no shit.

Cold showers are miserable. I thought hot water was a given these days. Had we known, we would have added hot water on our must have list.

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7 thoughts on “Downsizing

  1. And I thought my usual 20 minute wait for hot water in my building was long – guess I should be thankful! Besides that, I hope you are enjoying your move back to the city life – I wouldn’t trade it for the world 🙂

  2. Oh wow…it must be the time of year to be moving! I just got a place with my boyfriend, we moved in a week ago. So far the timer on the boiler is screwed, we had a broken shower shut off switch, the washing machine inlet valve was faulty and now we find out the toilet is connected to the hot water. But….it is worth it. I hope you get hot water soon, drink more beer! x

  3. I love reading your posts…and being a Realtor and having been on both sides of the spectrum (and the other side of the buyer / lease client going through this part of their life…I love to share your stories).

  4. I really can relate to what you said about life getting in the way of writitng. Funny how, for me though life never gets in the way of drinking wine, or going up the shop to buy milk and coming home an hour later with a new dress. Yesterday I found a good hour to go on facebook, couldn’t quite find the time to work on my actual book!

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