Posted in Adulting, Apartment Living

Some thoughts on moving, six months later…

In a few days we’ll have been living in our new apartment for 6 months. While I sometimes wish that we had a bit more space, I’m glad that we decided to go with this one bedroom apartment over the 2 bedroom 2 bathroom (1 1/2 bathroom? It had a weird “Jack & Jill” bathroom setup.) apartment that was “cheaper” in the apartment complex down the street. I can’t imagine not having any (somewhat) private outdoor space at all. I’m in love with our large patio surrounded by bushes. (Although it’s now somewhat less surrounded than it used to be since they tore out a good chunk of bushes recently as the photo below shows)

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The bushes usually house a good number of house sparrows and we have put up a couple of bird feeders on our patio. The bird feeders have made the sparrows happy and have also attracted a score of other birds to our patio including:
Dark-eyed Juncos
Spotted Towhees
Doves
Redbreasted Robins
Starlings
Pigeons
Quail
Mallard Ducks

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Not to mention the fact that had we decided to go with the other apartment complex we probably would not have gotten brand new carpeting, linoleum and countertops.
And honestly, I have no idea what we’d do with a second bedroom anyway.

For the first time in about a decade we live in a place that won’t freeze us in the winter and boil us in the summer all while bankrupting us through utility bills.
And it’s actually taking a bit of an adjustment.
I find that I’m still bracing myself for when summer really starts even though it’s already been in the mid 90’s out here this year.
Our apartment stays a consistent temperature whether it’s freezing or unseasonably hot outside. After moving I slowly learned that I no longer had to wear several layers plus a blanket inside to have a chance of avoiding hypothermia.

This is not an exaggeration. We had our thermostat set to the lowest temperature we could set it to without risking freezing the pipes in our old place, the temperature they tell you to set it to if you’re going on vacation and won’t be living there only we stayed, and our natural gas bill was still stupid expensive.

Now I find that I’m waiting for the day when it gets up to over 90 degrees inside our apartment, because that’s what our last two summers were like. And that was with an actual central air conditioning system. For the 8 years before that we dealt with a swamp cooler, which sadly seemed to work better than our actual air conditioner. I don’t know what perfect storm of problems led to our air conditioner running nonstop all summer (starting in March because the sun heated that place like an oven. Well half that place, the other half was always freezing until actual summer came) but not managing to actually make the place any cooler, but I’m so glad to be out of that bank account draining hell. Our electric bills got up to about $200, for a fairly small one bedroom townhouse, and we still had to deal with living in unbearably hot conditions.

It’s already been in the mid 90’s out here and the warmest it’s gotten in our apartment was around 77 degrees, and that was only because the area where the thermostat is was blocked off by a curtain for a while. We set the thermostat to around a certain temperature (I miss my digital thermostat) and the apartment stays around that temperature. Without the air conditioner running nonstop. Our bank account is thanking us.

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Posted in Blogging, Cat Mom

I’ve been falling behind on reading your blogs (and writing my own) because my cat has a lap addiction…

I follow all of the blogs that I regularly read via email. That is how I keep up with them. I pretty much never bring up the WordPress reader. The email app that I use on my phone started to force close on me every time I had the nerve to try to actually open an email with it a long time ago, resulting in me having to open the app again and try to open the email again only to have it force close again. Lather, rinse, repeat. If I was very lucky the email that I was attempting to read would actually load after about the 5th try or so, so actually checking my email on my phone was something I pretty much gave up on. In order to actually read my email I would have to pull out the laptop formally known as my husband’s that we now both share since mine died without warning while in sleep mode many months ago.

And here’s where my cat’s lap addiction comes in.

In order to effectively use the laptop I would have to put it on my lap, which lately is forever occupied by my toothless, sweet old man of a cat, Teddy Bear. Before moving to our new place back in December I was in the habit of turning on the laptop pretty much every day and Teddy Bear knew that he would have to settle for sitting next to me until I was done using it. But since moving I seem to have dropped that habit. I was pulling out the laptop much less often and my cat picked up on that and has claimed my lap as his property. If I sit down he’s right there. Even if I tell him no because I’ll be standing up again soon, if I get distracted by something for a second I’ll look down to find a cat perched on my lap. And he’ll fight to keep my lap for as long as possible as well, not admitting defeat until he’s in imminent danger of being unceremoniously dumped on the floor by my rapidly disappearing lap.

Keeping up with the blogs I read or my own blog isn’t the only thing that suffers because of my cat’s addiction.

Loads of laundry will sit waiting for me to switch them over to the dryer from the washer or pull them out of the dryer because I have a cat on my lap that cannot be disturbed.

I will wait until much later in the afternoon than I had previously planned to go out and check the mail because my lap is occupied.

I will sit and debate how hungry/thirsty I really am because getting up and going to the kitchen would disturb the cat.

I will sit in a room that is slowly getting darker because I would have to kick the cat off of my lap to get up and turn on a light.

I will stay up way later than intended when I should really be in bed sleeping because I feel guilty about waking up the sleeping cat on my lap.

And on, and on, and on…

This past weekend I finally was able to upgrade my phone though. So now when I go to read an email it actually loads! That doesn’t help with my housework, my eating habits or my sleeping habits, but at least I can stay on top of my emails now without disturbing my cat.

I mean, look at him. How could you have the heart to disturb him?

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This is how my cat responded when I told him I needed to get up and go to bed.
Posted in Apartment Living, Cat Mom, Random

A few of the issues we’ve run into since moving into our new place…

We moved into our current apartment about a month and half ago. During that time we’ve run into a few issues. Here’s a list of the hiccups and annoyances that we’ve encountered.
Great Idea until packing

  1. During the move while attempting to pack the truck my husband, Curtis, “barely touched” the plastic piece that surrounds where the bulb goes on one of our rather old lamps with another piece of furniture that he was trying to shove in the truck and it basically shattered. We knew that we needed to get new lamps soon anyway, but we weren’t planning on doing it immediately after moving in.
    We spent a good amount of time after the truck was empty making sure that all the broken plastic bits were all swept out of the truck.
  2. Speaking of lamps, the night that we moved in we realized that there was no overhead light in the bedroom and that we would also be needing to buy a lamp for in there.
  3. When we were attempting to put our bed back together we originally were planning on having the headboard up against a certain wall. We quickly realized that there was only one wall that it and our nightstands would fit along though, and it was not that wall. We had to shift everything over to underneath the window. Luckily, our bed is fairly low to the ground and the headboard ends just below the window sill and doesn’t block the window at all. Opening and closing the curtains is a bit more of a hassle now though.
    Fairstone Bedroom 1-26-2016 1
  4. Once the bed was moved beneath the window, our futon would most definitely no longer be finding a home in the bedroom. I had my doubts about it fitting in the living room, but it turned out to fit much better than we expected.
  5. We have a cat. And with a cat comes a litter box. The one spot in the entire apartment that would fit his litter box was one side of the pantry in the dining room. The pantry is behind a couple of sliding doors, so we could leave one side open just enough for him to slip in and out. Only I kept finding the door leading to his litter box closed all the way. We ended up having to stick a binder clip on the door track to prevent anyone from closing the door all the way and therefore shutting the cat out of his litter box.
  6. When we went to hook up our dryer we realized that our new apartment had a 4 prong electrical outlet. Our dryer had a 3 prong plug. We made yet another trek down the street to Lowes (this store became our second home during the first couple weeks after our move we were in there so often) in the hopes of finding an adapter. Only they don’t make those sort of adapters, you have to buy a whole new dryer cord instead and switch them out. Dryer cords are expensive.
    Money can't buy happiness
  7. We realized last laundry day that we should have checked the dryer vent before we hooked up the dryer as well. I came into the laundry room to find a puddle of water on the floor by my dryer and that my clothes were taking forever to dry. So we cleaned as much lint as we could out of the dryer itself and then unhooked the dryer to clean out the vent.
    I swear that the previous tenants had to have been running their dryer without any sort of lint screen at all. Not only was the dryer vent completely blocked up with lint, but there was also inexplicably what seemed to be a wad of paper towels in there as well as other various bits of paper and what might have been a large bandage. I don’t know how they managed it and I’d hate to see the state of their dryer…
  8. And while we’re on the subject of the previous tenants, I have no idea what they could have been storing in the linen closet in the bathroom, but every time we opened it after first moving in this god awful smell would waft out. Now, I suppose it’s possible that it was the smell of the chemicals used in painting and putting down new linoleum, but after seeing the state of the dryer vent I wouldn’t be surprised if the previous tenants were at least partially responsible for that smell.
  9. The first time that we attempted to turn on the light in the laundry room we discovered that there is a vent fan in that room. A rather loud vent fan. I am still not completely sure why it’s there, though I do use it while running the dryer now, but it took me a long time to stop flipping that switch when trying to turn on the light. Especially since the switches are opposite to the way that they are set up in the bathroom. I’m convinced that at least one of the reasons it’s there is to annoy the hell out of me.
    LemurThanksYouButNo1-vi
  10. Our kitchen is nice, but it’s small. There was only one counter that our microwave would fit on, which also happened to be the only real prep space in the kitchen. This clearly wasn’t going to work out so we ended up having to build a shelf in our dining room area for our microwave. We already had to take up some space in the dining room for our chest freezer so we just built the shelf over it. We would have made a smaller shelf, but the wall brackets only come so small and the good people at Lowes were not able to cut them down to size for us. They did helpfully offer to sell us the tools to do it ourselves though. We declined.
    Fairstone Dining Room 1-26-2016 2
  11. When we first moved in we checked out the dishwasher and discovered that it wouldn’t close. Maintenance came out and said that the countertop installers never actually reattached the dishwasher to the brackets under the counter. He screwed it back in and demonstrated how the door now properly opened and closed. Once he left and we went to go and load our dishwasher for the first time however we discovered that the top rack was missing at least half of the prongs to hold the dished in place, and the ones that were still there were all rusted out. Maintenance had to come back out and replace it for us. And then Curtis had to reinstall it so that the rack would actually pull out and give us access to load the dishes.
  12. A few days ago we noticed a leak underneath the kitchen sink. It seemed small at first, until we realized that there was a layer of water under everything in there. covered the breakfast bar counter with paper towels and pulled everything out to take a look. I have no idea how long it had been like this, but the drain pipe for our second sink had come detached from the rest of the drainage pipes. Curtis made several attempts at fixing it, bumped his head and gave up. I really didn’t want to have to deal with maintenance the next day so I sat down to give it a try. I managed to to get the seal back on the pipe correctly and get everything hooked up tight again. I’m willing to bet that the countertop installers were to blame for this as well. Being able to fix the pipes myself and not having to call out maintenance was a huge victory though. Who knows when they would have come out.
  13. It’s been a really long time since we’ve had upstairs neighbors. We expected some annoyances, but we didn’t count on moving into an apartment below a child that doesn’t seem to know how to move without running and jumping and falling most of the time. Or just a child I guess…
    The adults aren’t much better some of the time either, they seem to forget that they can get from place to place without stomping. We’ve mostly gotten used to the sound of a herd of elephants above us, but there are times when I’m convinced that that child is trying to jump through our ceiling and into our apartment.
  14. We also live in a non-smoking building… but at least one of our upstairs neighbors is a smoker. We know because of all of the cigarette butts that end up on our balcony. I’m not sure if smoking is allowed on the balconies in this building or not. It wouldn’t really bother me if they would just throw away their own cigarette butts instead of dumping them on us.
  15. The first time that we used our collapsible shopping cart to walk groceries home from Costco after moving we were barely across the street from the store when we hit a curb wrong and shattered one of the front wheels. Curtis had to treat it like a reverse wheelbarrow and keep it tipped back on its back wheels for the rest of the 3 miles back home. Needless to say, we then had to order ourselves a new shopping cart.
Posted in Apartment Living, Cat Mom, Marriage, Weather

Some thoughts on our recent move…

About a month and a half ago my husband and I moved out of the 1 bedroom townhouse that we had only been living in for two years and into a 1 bedroom apartment down the road.

This is what our balcony looked like the morning of the move…

Hunters Woods Balcony 12-15-2015

Mother Nature decided to dump about six inches of snow on us the day before our move. The forecast said that it was supposed to continue to snow throughout the day of our move as well. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but it did stay well below freezing the entire day. The snow and the cold meant that we had to wear our winter boots all day while moving.

Our moving day started with a 2 mile trek through the snow and ice to the U-Haul store to pick up our truck for the day, while carrying a bundle of about 25 or so extra boxes to sell back to U-Haul. A good amount of the sidewalks had not been cleared yet, so this was far from a fun walk.

Once we had the truck, moving out of our townhouse went surprisingly quickly. We had everything out of the garage where we had staged it and into the truck in about 2 hours. Next step was getting out traumatized cat into his carrier and into the truck, and then doing a final walk-through of the townhouse to make sure we weren’t leaving anything behind.

Then it was off to our new apartment complex to wait around in the office (with our cat in his carrier. No way was I leaving him in the freezing truck.) to sign our lease and find out if all the work was done in our apartment and it was ready to be moved into. We were relieved to hear that they were actually just finishing up in our apartment and that it would be ready for us to start moving into by the time we had completed all of the paperwork.

Approximately 50,000 signatures later we were finally able to start unloading the truck. We were hoping that a couple of my husband’s coworkers were going to come over from his office across the street and help us move, but nobody showed. So we unloaded the truck by ourselves.

Unloading the truck proved to be much more time consuming than loading it had been since we had to walk farther to get things into the apartment, but considering the fact that it was just the two of us doing this move it went pretty quickly. I believe it only took us 4-5 hours to unload the truck.

Once the final box was moved out of the truck and into the apartment we drove the truck back to the U-Haul store and almost weren’t able to drive it up the hill of a driveway to park it behind the building due to all the black ice.  We somehow got it in and parked and after dropping the keys in the night drop off box it was time for us to walk the 3 miles back home.

In subfreezing temperatures.

In the dark.

That was one miserable walk.

At 11:19 pm we found ourselves sitting in a Denny’s right down the street from our new place waiting for our dinner. That was the best pot roast I have ever had.

At about 4:30 am we finally had our bed put back together and the essentials unpacked and were able to crawl into bed… to be awoken by an alarm at 9 am. The keys to our old place had to be returned that day, and spaces needed to be cleared for the Comcast home security installer that was coming that afternoon.

Moving is exhausting, and I really hope that we won’t have to do it again for many, many years, but this move did turn out to be well worth it.

First of all, the temperature in the apartment in consistent from room to room. I don’t think it’s ever gotten below 65° in this apartment. No more waking up to a bedroom and bathroom that are 50 something degrees while the rest of the apartment is at least 10 degrees warmer. Or the opposite in the summer. Not freezing in our apartment has been amazing.

Second, my husbands office is literally right across the street. A five minute walk. So much better than the 30-40 minutes that it used to take him to walk to work and back at our old place.

Third, brand new carpet and linoleum. Not to mention the fact that this bathroom actually has a door.

Fairstone Bathroom 1-26-2016 2

Fourth, brand new countertops.

Fairstone Kitchen Sink 1-26-2016

Fifth, open concept floorplan and a breakfast bar.

Fairstone Living Room 1-26-2016 6

Sixth, a walk-in closet.

Fairstone Walk-in Closet 1-26-2016 2

And seventh, a rather large patio with lots of birds that live in the bushes around it.

Brids on Fairstone patio 12-25-2015

Our cat says this is the best thing about our new place.

Teddy Bear looking out at Fairstone Patio 1-26-2016

That and the larger birds that also come to visit sometimes.

Teddy Bear and the ducks 1-26-2016

 

 

 

 

Posted in Apartment Living, Cat Mom

Turns out that our futon isn’t all that comfortable…

We spent our Thanksgiving moving heavy furniture up and down our stairs.

We had planned on using our futon when we moved and getting rid of the dual recliner La-Z-Boy loveseat that we have been using. The futon is much lighter than the loveseat and would have been much easier to move.

We decided that maybe it might be a good idea to try out the futon for a while before getting rid of the loveseat all together.

We took apart the loveseat as much as we could and moved it down into our garage and set up the futon in the living room.

We sat on the futon and watched a movie and by the end the verdict was clear:

Our futon just isn’t comfortable.

At least we made this discovery before we got rid of the loveseat.

So we moved the futon out of the way and brought all the pieces of the loveseat back up the stairs and put it back together again.

Moving Rule #31

Only, according to our cat, we broke it.

Because our loveseat can be put together a couple different ways. It has a little end table piece with drawers that can be put in between the two recliners, or you can just attach the recliners to each other without the piece with the drawers in between them. We used to have the two recliners attached to each other with the drawer piece to one side. When we put it back together we put the drawers in the middle.

Right where the cat used to sit.

Now he has to decide which of us he wants to try to sit with. And depending on how we are sitting in our seats, there might not even be room for him.

Clearly, we are the worst humans ever.

Never expected much

Posted in Apartment Living

The good news is, I’m getting new countertops…

On Friday night Curtis let me know that he had gotten a voicemail from the apartment complex that we will be moving to in less than a month. The message didn’t have any details as to why they were calling, they just asked us to call them back when we got the message. Unfortunately, Curtis didn’t check his voicemail until after the complex was closed.

*Begin panicking about all of the reasons why the apartment complex might have called, with particular emphasis on our apartment no longer being available for some reason*

We called the apartment complex on Saturday, only to find that the person we needed to talk to wasn’t working that day and that the person that was there that day has no idea why we were called. We were told that the person that we needed to talk to would be back in the office on Monday.

*Continue panicking. Continuously try to reassure yourself that if there was a big problem they probably would have let us know that it was urgent in the voicemail and more of the office staff probably would have been made aware of it. Continue panicking anyway*

Earlier today Curtis was finally able to get a hold of the person we needed to speak to. He was told that they are going to be installing new countertops in our apartment which might mean that they will need to push back our move-in date by a day or two. He was told to call back later in the day when they would have more information.

*Feel relieved that the issue wasn’t that the apartment wasn’t available anymore. Begin to worry about the potential problems of having to change our moving day*

Curtis called back later in the day today and found out that they expect to have all the work done the afternoon of the day after we were originally planning on signing the lease. We would be able to actually start moving in around 4-5 pm on 12/15. We were planning on signing the lease on 12/14 and moving in on the 15th. We already have a truck reserved for the 15th. Now we will have to get the truck on the morning of the 15th, move all of our stuff out of our old place, drive to the new place and sign our lease and, if our apartment is ready, start moving into the new place. We will also have to contact a couple of companies and see if we can start our services with them a day later than what we originally asked for.

We also found out that it’s not just new countertops that we are getting though. They are also putting in new linoleum and carpet, which is part of the reason why they need to change our move-in date.

*Feel annoyed with having your moving schedule changed on you with less than a month to go. Keep reminding yourself that at least your getting new countertops, linoleum and carpet out of the deal. It could be worse, your actual moving day hasn’t changed, you just need to do more on that day now. Focus on the positive… new countertops. New linoleum. New carpet* 

Posted in Apartment Living, Random

I am now the proud owner of 50 boxes…

I am now the proud owner of 50 boxes.

Not 50 boxes of anything

just 50 boxes.

50 boxes that were purchased on Saturday from the U-haul store and then wheeled/carried home.

Turns out that the U-haul closest to us no longer has a “leave a box, take a box” box. Apparently one of the employees threw it away recently because it was old and ratty.

It wouldn’t have mattered it the box for free boxes was still there anyway since no one has dropped of any boxes at that location in a while anyway.

So we had to dip into our moving savings account to buy boxes.

After some discussion, and confirming that U-haul will buy back unused boxes, we decided to buy two bundles of 25 flattened boxes.

Plus a queen sized mattress bag to use when we move, but this story is about boxes.

After paying for the boxes we then unfolded our utility cart

and discovered that the cart was too small

or the bundles of boxes were too big

Either way, the two bundles of 50 folded boxes were not going to fit in our cart for the walk home.

For probably at least the 1,000th time in our lives we regretted not bringing our bungee cords with us.

We were able to “fit” one bundle in the cart, but the other had to be carried the couple of miles back home.

The cart was top-heavy, and attempting to maneuver it across roads was even more of a struggle than normal as it wanted to go any direction but straight.

But the real nightmare was the 6 sets of active train tracks that we had to get across to get home.

Having crossed 2 out a set of 4 I noticed the crossing arm lights beginning to flash red and started a near run with that top-heavy cart to get across the last two, hoping that the bundle of boxes wouldn’t fall out onto the tracks.

They did not fall out, and I managed to make that 90 degree turn that was needed to get on the other side of the fence and on the correct side of the crossing arm, despite the boxes catching on a sign near the fence and having to back up and try again.

We got across with time to spare

to see the train was on one of the tracks that we had already crossed

Although, as these things go, I’m sure that had we been moving more slowly that train would have been on that last track we were trying to get across.

When we had already crossed all the roads and train tracks that we needed to cross and were just up the hill from home we realized that had we moved the boxes in the cart slightly and kept a hand on the second set the entire time we could have used the cart to carry both bundles of boxes for parts of the trip.

It’s awesome when you realize when you are almost finished with something that you made things harder for yourself than they needed to be.

But, no matter how they could have been brought home

I am now the proud owner of 50 boxes.

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