New Apartment

All settled into the new apartment. It was six months ago that I made the move down to Lincoln with designs on getting back to class and finishing up the degree. I’m still on track for that, but in the meantime I ended up landing a pretty sweet job with a company clear on the other end of town. As it happened, there is an apartment complex five minutes away from the new job that is managed by the same company as the apartment I’d moved into at the start of the year. Higher-end location, higher-end appliances, higher-end everything – and of course, higher-end rent as well. I had some things to think about. Make a longer commute to work in exchange for a shorter commute to class, or cut the commute to work down to nothing in exchange for convenience and a longer drive to class? Well, my course load for this fall consists of two classes, both meeting every Thursday – so the commute to class isn’t much of a concern.

And of course, I had to assess whether I liked living where I was at currently. It wasn’t too long ago that the apartment I was in was starting to show major signs of not working out as I’d hoped. The grocery store nearby was a low-rent dump, and I found myself more often than not going to a different one the next exit over on the highway. (This in itself was a problem as road crews have been doing construction on that particular highway, including the exit ramps, and it would sometimes take 15-20 minutes one way to get to the store.) Work was 20 minutes away. That seems like nothing in larger cities, but for Lincoln that’s good for getting from one corner of town to the other. Going to a Wal-Mart or Target that hasn’t already been overrun by the dregs of humanity – even further out. And you had to swim through swarms of midges outside, due to some sort of ecological change in the environment surrounding the nearby private lake that you can’t access unless you own a house on it. They enjoy heat and bright surfaces, and they enjoy getting into your car and your apartment. So they’re kind of a pain in the ass, even if they don’t bite. Location-wise, the only thing good about this place was that it was 2 minutes from the highway, so getting away from it was fantastically easy.

But the complaints don’t stop there. The last person to live in my unit (before he was evicted, that is) was a complete slob and the cleaning crew didn’t do a thorough job of getting rid of the mess that had been left behind. I found beer bottle caps and other random debris floating in the bottom of the dishwasher, there was mold in the shower, and the carpets were not shampooed. There was an issue with the water in my apartment – the black stains inside the toilet bowl were impossible to completely get rid of and would just show back up again after a few flushes anyway, and tap water tasted less than terrific. The wall between my apartment and that of the Chinese guy next door was paper-thin. I heard every word he said, every song he played on his stereo, and every time his Ventrilo went on or offline. Thankfully he moved soon and nobody occupied his apartment after that. The coils on the stove were not level, which made cooking things other than a pot full of liquid difficult. The dryer in the laundry room was useless. It actually ended up costing me much less to just pack up and go to a laundromat once a week. And, just as was the case with the apartment I lived in from 2006 to 2008 – I was right next to the stairwell, so I heard all the incoming traffic.

The final thing is that oddly enough, the loft apartment turned out being too big. I left several areas completely unused because I was the only person living there, I couldn’t spend time in every corner of the place, and I didn’t have enough furniture to go all the way around. That seems like a weird complaint to have, but with a smaller place that’s slightly more packed-in you feel like you’re getting everything you can out of your rent money. Maybe that’s from living in a one room apartment in Japan.

So it’s safe to say that the apartment started bad and went downhill after that. After kicking the idea around for a couple days, I decided to go ahead and make some phone calls and talk about transferring over. This turned out to be a relatively painless process. The two apartment offices would coordinate with each other, and all I had to do was fill out the paperwork and take the keys to the new place on the first of July – and since the long holiday weekend was coming up, I had a week to clear out of the old apartment. Everything went over smoothly, and I had movers (read: family, armed with a U-Haul) scheduled to come down that weekend to help make the jump.

Then we had a serious illness in the family.

My mom called one night a day or two before I was scheduled to move to let me know my grandfather on her side of the family was on a morphine drip, shutting down rapidly, and it was likely he would not live to see the 4th of July. I started working on a plan B with hopes plan A would hold up, but it became apparent that would not be the case. Things worked out ok, as I was able to rustle up some last-minute help for all the big furniture. We got the couch, bed, and most of the other big items moved over the evening of the first, and I sent the help back up to Omaha well after dark on a full stomach and a full tank of gas. (Sure enough, my grandfather passed on very late Friday night, and by Sunday morning my folks and brother were in a car headed for South Carolina to attend the funeral.)

From there the moving process slowed to a crawl. I woke up Saturday morning feeling like I’d had the workout of my life the night before, which wasn’t far from the truth. It was hot as hell and I had plenty more stuff to get moved to boot. So I didn’t get much done Saturday. I also didn’t get much done Sunday, on account of having committed to a cookout with some former coworkers back up in Blair. The next morning – Monday, the 4th of July – I was completely covered in bug bites. That’s a minor irritation until you get them on the top of your toes, then it’s just flat out painful. So I didn’t get much done that day either. Then it was back to the work and school routine on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

But the funny thing about not getting much done every day is that if you add up enough days, eventually you do actually end up accomplishing quite a lot. Little by little the old place was emptying out and the new place was filling up. I’d stop periodically and unbox everything I brought in to keep the paths clear, then go back to bringing more stuff in. And on the last day I had possession of the old apartment, the 7th, I went over and grabbed the last item out of there – a coffee table – then turned in the keys, headed over to the new place, and put the coffee table right in front of the couch in the living room of a completely-unpacked apartment. It was the coup de grâce – like I was putting the star on a Christmas tree, or a closing up the case on a newly-built computer, or topping that Thai yellow curry I make three times a week with some chopped basil.

So far the new place is working out fairly well. It’s nice to be able to do laundry when I need to and without feeding industrial-strength machines a roll of quarters, and the slightly smaller floorplan helps with the agoraphobia. Once summer class ends (in 10 hours), I’ll spend a total of 10 minutes in the car each day commuting to and from work. I have a private entrance and haven’t heard a sound out of the neighbors. There are a couple of good grocery stores all within walking distance as well. It seems like most of the complaints I had about the old place have been taken care of.

And I took pictures.

(Something I found interesting – when I posted this, it was about 1100 words. Then I went back and added some things and changed some other things, and now it’s pushing 1500 words. Anything much past this could probably be considered excessive.)

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