Tuesday, December 8, 2015

'Ment to be apart

This weekend, I renewed my lease for another 3 months. Much to my disappointment. 
I so wanted to have found a permanent home by the end of December, but now it seems I'm stuck in my apartment until March at the earliest. Although I have definitely lived in worse places, I have come to realize that I never had it better than when I was living in a house. Apartment living is just not for me. 

Apartment living turns pet ownership from a pleasure to a major hassle. I actually relinquished my rabbit to a rescue home within the first few weeks of living in my apartment, because it was too difficult to feed him, exercise him, and especially keep his cage clean without convenient access to the outdoors and a good strong water hose. And that was just a caged rabbit! Can you imagine the trials of living in an apartment with a dog? Especially a neurotic dog? Well, if you can't imagine, I am about to tell you...in a future post. For now, just suffice it to say that keeping a crazy, needy dog in an apartment is a tribulation of great proportions.

You know what else is a tribulation in an apartment? Keys. Want to get into your home? Be sure to grab your keys—first the keys that get you into the building, then the keys that get you into your unit. Want to get your mail? Be sure to grab your other keys, then wrestle your letters, wrinkled and crumpled, out of the tiny steel box they place them inside. Want to take out your garbage? Be ready to walk down several flights of stairs and out to the dumpsters...and don't forget to bring your keys! Forgot your keys? Got locked out because your door shut itself behind you when you ran out to catch your dog who was running away? Well, there's no hope of hiding a spare on the premises, so you'll have to call your boyfriend from a neighbor's phone and have him bring his key home from work.

Apartments are no place for a solar-powered being such as myself, because they only get 1/4 the natural light of a freestanding house! I never considered how much this would bother me until I moved in, but basically we get full sun for about 3 hours every morning. Even during those 3 hours, because the sun is only coming in one window, it doesn't even reach the back wall of the rooms. We have a triple-wide glass patio door, which keeps the living room acceptably well lit for most of the day, but even that patio is shaded by the patio above it, so we get half as much light in there as we might if we were on a top floor. Altogether this equals less happiness and higher electricity bills.

Apartment living also means that washing... anything other than yourself... is a major undertaking. In many apartments, doing laundry would mean paying several dollars for the privilege of using one of 3 machines that are shared among dozens of units. In our apartment, we're lucky enough to have our own washer and dryer...which are so tiny and inefficient at drying that one load of laundry (or what would have been one load at my old abode) takes 3-4 hours. Bonus! We do have a dishwasher, about which I have no complaints. But as for washing your car (something I've always done at home), you have no alternative but to pay for an automatic car wash to do a sub-par job, and if you want to vacuum, your only option is the gas station vacuum, with nozzles so big you can't get into any of the cracks.

Living in an apartment is also a terrible struggle for those who like to travel by bike. Most apartments do not have bike parking, so you must keep your bike in your unit. This chews up your available storage space like nothing else, and heaven help you if you live in a walk-up. You'll be getting plenty of exercise lugging your bike up the stairs, but you'll also be getting plenty of chain grease on your clothes and plenty of injuries wrestling it through all those doors (that require all those keys!)

Apartment living means you're never truly alone. Of course, we've taken on a roommate to help pay the bills, but even if we were alone in our unit, we'd have our neighbors upstairs and downstairs. The ceilings in our building are what I believe is commonly referred to in the construction industry as "weaksauce." I'm afraid to work out because 1) The floor is suspiciously springy and 2) I worry I'll be thundering on the tenants below us. The ceiling certainly transmits every footstep from the unit above. And I have actually heard conversations through the floor in my closet (though I could only make out a word or two).

Because moving forced me to re-evaluate my priorities, get rid of a lot of junk, and organize the junk that remained, having enough space really isn't as much of an issue as I thought it would be. But I still do miss my space-hogging collections—especially the extensive array of shipping supplies and things I planned to sell on eBay (and the extra income it brought in) and my eclectic collection of odds and ends for crafting. Whatever am I going to give people for Christmas if I can't make something from scratch?

Woe is me, to have sacrificed so much! But the one thing that I'm grateful for, in the midst of this less than delightful living situation of mine, is that I have finally answered a question that was weighing on me. Should I consider the possibility of buying a condo? Finally, I can say with confidence that I should not.