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Monday, March 7, 2011
12:59 PM | Posted by Kimberly A. Morales
I rented the first place that would take me with my financial issues, thinking it would be a temporary situation. I didn't want to have to move again, but I knew that a shoddy downstairs apartment in plain view of everyone who would walk or drive through the alleyway, was not a place I wanted to call home for very long. At the very least, I hoped to move upstairs, just to have some peace of mind and not have that fishbowl effect in my apartment.
But things got worse for me - and for everyone - once the recession hit, so downstairs I had to stay. It was a much smaller place than the one I'd moved from, so having all my stuff and very little storage space made it difficult for me to settle in completely. I never fully decorated because I had little wall space and fewer funds, and just felt..... sad there. I didn't want to be there.
Then, after being there for about a year, I ended up with a Peeping Tom (or, as I like to call him, The Peeping Tool). That asshole terrorized me for three months, watching me dress/undress, use the restroom, or just go about my life in my apartment. No, my blinds weren't open. Except for the front window in the living room, all of my windows were on the alley sides, so I always kept my blinds & curtains drawn.
That bastard was pretty aggressive, though, literally crouching down to see up through my closed blinds, and, if I happened to walk from one room to another, he would actually follow me. I saw his face the first few times and have it burned into my memory, so I gave the police a very detailed description. Sadly, they never did catch him. I still see him in nightmares, always wondering when/if he'd be coming back to watch me. Or do something worse.
Despite all that, I tried to make the best of this living situation for nearly three years. But the longer I stayed, the more depressed I got. I'll admit that now. Sure, I suffer from my fair share of SAD in the winter, but this was a more generalized depression, made worse by the fact that I always had to keep everything dark, was either un- or under-employed and perpetually in danger of losing the apartment I hated.
Not a fun way to live at all.
Last month, my (very loud) upstairs neighbor moved rather unexpectedly. I didn't mind because that meant I could actually hear myself think again (writers really need quiet), but also dreaded the possibility of someone even louder. No problem, I told myself. Since I'd finally secured a good, steady job, I'd already decided to move someplace else in spring or summer. I had seen the other two apartments on the other side of our little fourplex, and mine was sadly bigger & better than those. I didn't even consider the upstairs one an option anymore. I was done.
But life being what it is, there was a showing of the upstairs place this Saturday. My curiosity about everything bordering on feline, I couldn't help but ask my landlord's employee if I could take a quick look. Now would be the prime opportunity to move upstairs; everything else in Midtown is either too expensive or a studio, and I couldn't possibly go to a smaller place without just moving into a closet. I figured that if the kitchen in the upstairs apartment didn't suck (of the three I'd seen, mine had the best kitchen), I'd ask if I could trade apartments.
Yeah, yeah, I based my decision on the kitchen, but I'm a food blogger, dammit. I have needs.
Turns out the kitchen was better than mine. The whole place was better than mine, but I sorta knew that would be the case. Just the ability to do things like *gasp* let the sunshine in made the place feel 100% better. The floors were actually refinished & a lighter color than downstairs; the paint was nice & fresh; hell, there was even a wall of shelves I didn't have downstairs - hooray for extra storage space!
There were few things that were not so good: the closet in the living room was about a third of the size of mine, and because of voltage & space issues (those awesome shelves were suddenly not so awesome), I wouldn't be able to bring my washer & dryer with me. And the stove!!! That thing was about the size of my laptop! Sure, it had four burners & it was a gas range, but my God! What was I supposed to cook with? Fisher-Price toys?
Still, I asked my landlord if I could move upstairs. She said I could, but I'd have to start moving pretty much that same day. I knew I couldn't find anyone to help me move on such short notice, but told her I'd try anyway. But considering I'd also committed to helping a friend with a dinner party that night, I knew there was no way I could move in 3 hours.
So I told my landlord that if she didn't rent it in the next few weeks, she could consider it rented for April. Just walking through it briefly it felt better, more like home. Safe. I just hoped & prayed that no one else would rent it.
About an hour later, I got a call from our handyman saying that my landlord had told him my situation and asked if he could help me move. Holy shit! I thought. If this isn't a sign that it's meant to be, I don't know what is? What landlord asks her handyman to help a tenant move, right?
So I took it. I did ask if the stoves to be switched and for a few days to get everything moved & cleaned, since the decision and original timeframe had been so sudden. But again, it was probably meant to be because Mrs. Landlord easily agreed to both. I scheduled a time to have Mr. Handyman help me move the big stuff, and within 24 hours after having seen the place, I had a new lease, new keys and a new home.
It's not a perfect place. It's still very, very tiny, and I will have to start using a laundromat again, at least until I get something smaller for my laundry room. But last night, as I climbed into bed all sore & exhausted from Phase One of my unexpected move, I realized that for the first time in almost three years, I felt hopeful. I was excited about getting everything completely moved and looked forward to how I would decorate. I was even looking forward to inviting people to my tiny place, something I never felt comfortable doing downstairs.
This feels good. Crazy, but good. Now, if I can only convince the furbabies of that...
- Kimberly A. Morales
- singer. writer. artist. champagne taste, 2 buck chuck budget. good cook. kooky. chocoholic. patron saint of cats. talker. listener. thinker. sometimes to a fault.