Category Archives: Moving

To Write Or Not To Write

A little catch-up here:

“Em” and I moved. Our lease on our apartment was up on August 7, so rather than stay in a place that we didn’t like and pay an extra $100 a month to do so, we jumped at the chance to move into a house. My grandparents‘ house! Last year, just weeks after I signed the lease on the apartment, my grandparents moved out of their house and up to the Alzheimer’s residential facility they are in now. I was very disappointed that I could do nothing to help with the house as I was now locked into a year-long contract. Fast-forward a year later and I’m finally in!! A four-bedroom, 2-bath single-story home that is over 50 years old. That means it has two large lawns, a spacious back patio, a very lengthy driveway, a garage and no air-conditioning. But it’s a house. With no neighbors above me to have an ant problem that overflows into my house. If I get bugs, they’re MY problem. And I’m ok with that.

But because it’s a 4-bedroom house and it’s just Em and me, we had to rent out another room to make it affordable on my income. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that the house was going to be rented instead of sold until after all the kids attending college had made living arrangements. None of my friends needed a place, or if they did the rent was going to be too much.

It turned out a roommate was looking for us. A friend of mine from my church was in need of a room. We get along pretty well, have known each other for a long time, and my daughter loves her. So it seemed, from an outside perspective at least, that it would be the perfect arrangement. But I had my reservations, mostly about the age difference. You see, “Jean” is at around 80-years-old.

For the most part we worked out who would do what chores and what some of our expectations are, but we (and by we I mean me) are running into some things that just don’t seem to be working themselves out. Like how to deal with the next-door-neighbor’s dog that starts yapping around 10:00 PM each night; apparently that’s my job, to talk to the neighbors about the noise. The yapping doesn’t bother me and barely even registers in my head when it starts. But it bothers Jean and she would prefer that I talk to the neighbors instead of she.

Other things we (and, I) are dealing with is the parenting of Em and personal space. Jean originally wanted to spend at least an hour with Em each night, reading to Em, having Em read to her, hanging out. I think that got idea got squashed when I explained that Em and I don’t get home until after 6 each night and she has to be in bed by 8:30, so that leaves little time between showering and dinner and getting ready for the next day to give Jean some “Em time.” And Jean wants there to be a rule that says if a bedroom door is open, that means the occupant is available for company and to walk right in; to me an open bedroom door means “It’s freakin’ hot in here and I’m hoping for a cross-breeze.” I was raised to knock on a bedroom door and wait for a response before entering, regardless of whether it’s open or closed.

But all of this pales in comparison to the internal dilemna I’m having in how much I can/should write about living with a roommate. Normally, if it was someone my readers didn’t know, I wouldn’t worry about it. I’d use a pseudonym like I do for everyone else and write on. But many of my readers will figure out who my roommate is (she hasn’t told many people because it’s a delicate situation and I’m not going to tell folks unless they learned it from her). For all I know, my roommate reads this and I don’t want there to be additional tension because of a vent-session I did on here.

I’d like to say that I’ll just limit my postings to sermon notes, my ex-husband and Em, but in reality, a lot of things about Em will happen at home. Where my roommate is.

I haven’t decided whether or not to censor myself. It’s hard enough writing this because I know that some of my readers will already know who my roommate is and when I see them at church on Sunday, they’re likely to look at me with different eyes, or at least watchful eyes.

I just don’t want to upset or anger anyone. Writing my complaints about perfect strangers whose hygiene habits made for creepy-crawlies in my apartment is very different than writing about my gripes about a roommate who has a very full social calendar with quite a few of my readers.

I’d like to say, “To hell with it, it’s my personal blog and I’ll write what I want to.” I really wish that were the case. But it’s not personal if it’s on the web.

I don’t know what to do.

Going on a Lion Hunt

I’m fairly certain I’ve called every apartment complex with rent in my budget in Orange. Honestly. I’ve used more minutes on my cell phone in the last week than I think I used last month. Made quite a few appointments, got fed up with a few managers. One told me to call back when I decided to spend more on my monthly rent, another quoted me 3 different prices, depending on which website I found them through, and another kept insisting that the rent was a great deal since it included cable. Or the one who answered the phone in Spanish and when I asked if she spoke English, her reply was, “Si!”

Apartment #1: close to my house, lots of kids from my daughter’s school in the complex, 2 bed/2 bath, I only pay electric, garage for storage. No pool, across the street from a bar and railroad tracks. Submitted my application – didn’t get it.

Apartment #2: semi-close to my house. Bigger than apartment #1, fireplace, 2 bed/1.5 bath, vanity, fridge, pool. No storage, the commute to my daughter’s school is long because there’s no freeway nearby, lots of signals and freight train tracks.

Apartment #3: employee showing the apartment was 30 minutes late for our appointment, asked us to wait another 15-20, and no cell signal.

Apartment #4: took off 45 minutes early from work to view a 2 bed/2 bath. My conversation with the apartment manager was this (exactly this):

Me: “Hi, I’m Michelle. I’m here to see a 2 bedroom apartment.”
Manager: “We don’t have any.”
Me: “I called Wednesday to set up an appointment for today.”
Manager: “Oh, we already rented it.”
Me: “When? Yesterday?”
Manager: “No, about 30 minutes after you called.”

Yeah, thanks for calling me to cancel my appointment so I didn’t have to leave work early. NOT doing business with you. Ever.

Apartment #5: really close to my house. 2 bed/1 bath, first floor, patio, large pantry, only pay electric, pool and BBQs in the complex, very much in my budget. Submitted my application.

Apartment #6: halfway between my house and my church. 2 bed/1 bath. Upstairs unit, cramped. 1 laundry room per building, each with only 2 washers and dryers.

Apartment #7: close to my grandparent’s house. Very spacious 2 bed/1.5 bath. Walk-in closet in the master bedroom, small complex, rent below my max.

Apartment #8: repeat conversation from apartment #4

Apartment #9: farther away from my house and my daughter’s school (not to mention my office), but a very good school next to the complex. Rent below my max, 2 bed/2 bath, pool. Not available until October.

Apartment #10: farther away from my house and my daughter’s school (no decent school in the neighborhood), spacious 2 bed/2 bath, decent-sized storage closet and pantry, pool, large complex, quiet for a weekend.

Heard from apartment #5 today; because of my bankruptcy 5 years ago (thanks, ex. REALLY appreciate the crap you put me through), corporate will have to decide whether or not they will rent to me, and if they do rent to me, how much more than $300 I’ll have to put down for a deposit.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010 11:25 AM

I got the apartment! #5 will be all mine Saturday morning! No extra deposit, no cosigner! Woohoo!!!

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Bad day

Just a rant…

Since I can’t afford a house, I’ve been looking for apartments. I need to stay close to Em’s school, but I also need to be able to afford it. Everywhere I look it’s about $100 – $200 above my budget. Doesn’t seem like much, but on a single income with a kid, $200 is a lot.

I saw 2 places yesterday.

#1 Pros: within walking distance of the school, has other kids from the school, I only pay electricity, I get a parking space and a garage for storage, small complex, lowest rent I’ve found, run by a private owner. Cons: coin-operated laundry, across the street from a bar and the railroad tracks, no guest parking, no pool.

#2 Pros: nice complex, card-operated laundry, pool, nicer interior than #1, run by a “professional” management company. Cons: higher rent than I’d like, longer drive-time to get to the school, no central air, no storage, have to pay for all utilities.

I had an appointment to see another apartment today, but the person showing the apartment didn’t come back from showing an apartment to another couple until 40 after my appointment time and asked me to wait another 10-20 minutes to help someone else, and I had very bad cell signal in the entire complex. Add to that having to drive 15 minutes to get to the school on a Saturday afternoon, and it was just a bad idea all around.

This is getting ridiculous.

And all the advice I keep getting from other apartment renters and management companies is to just move out of Orange County. Yeah, thanks. That would mean changing jobs, schools and leaving behind my ENTIRE support system.