One month and two days ago, we moved into our new apartment.
In the past fifteen years, I’ve moved twenty times between seven towns and consistently slept in sixteen rooms spread amongst eleven buildings.
Let that sink in.
That’s a lot of moving. And I hate moving. I’ve never gotten particularly good at it. What I have gotten pretty decent at is making do with whatever space is provided at the moment. This is the 4.5th home Tom and I have shared and none of them have been remotely similar. Tom’s bachelor pad was a blank slate of seventies concrete and through the wall air conditioners. Our first two bedroom apartment was airy and historic and full of gorgeous woodwork. Our second apartment together was weird and long and only had two windows. The house we rented was a typical 1950’s ranch with atypical issues that terrified us. And this new place is only five years old, has vaulted ceilings, and a warm neutral on all the walls.
I love old things. I love old books, old buildings, old houses, old dishes, old jewelry, and old pictures. When we buy a house someday, it’ll be an old fixer upper and we’ll make it beautiful again.
So this new construction apartment totally shouldn’t appeal to me.
But I’m in love. The first morning I woke up here, I felt at home and at peace. And that was with boxes everywhere and nothing unpacked.
What makes it so special?
I feel like I live in a nice hotel (that happens to have our stuff in it). I know from nice hotels, y’all. I spent a lot of my childhood in them in Vegas.
- The view of parking lots, big box stores, and trees yonder. We’re on the fourth floor, far from the bugs and the grass clippings. The light shining through these tasteful curtains and sheers is magical. We even have a little balcony to enjoy
- I’ve got housekeeping. Okay, maybe not housekeeping, but there is a guy who picks up the trash from right outside our door Sunday through Thursday evenings! Between that guy and the dishwasher, my housewife stress has been taken down
a fewseveral notches.
- It’s so quiet! We’re in an end unit on the top floor with a stairwell on one side and a storage unit on the other. The only neighbor with whom we share a surface lives below us. Wind and rain account for most of the noise we hear up here!
- I feel safe. The parking lot is well-lit, so nighttime jaunts with Bandit aren’t intimidating. There aren’t any dumpsters for raccoons or other creatures of the night trash to live; trash compactors are the bomb. Although the property isn’t gated (apparently not a thing here), there are security cameras throughout and codes for entering the buildings. In addition, I’d have to try to lock myself out, as there are only deadbolts. If I leave without my key, I can’t lock it!
- We can work out, play pool, and swim. Well, we can’t swim right now, but I’m so excited to be able to swim next summer! There’s a workout room I need to make use of. And maybe I should consider upping my billiards game again.
- We’re close to everything… Except Tom’s work. One of my biggest pet peeves at our last home was how long it took to get anywhere I wanted to be. Any sort of international flavor? Forty-five minutes. Honda dealership? Forty-five minutes. Aldi? Forty-five minutes. Decent dog groomer? Forty-five minutes. Work? Twenty minutes. Now, though Tom has a longer commute, being home is a lot more like being on vacation and I’m I lot happier because I can go to a real grocery store and gather for my family. It only takes about fifteen minutes to get clear to the other side of the city, so even being on the outskirts isn’t a big deal for two 20-somethings who began their driving near and in Chicago.
- I can call management when something breaks – and they fix it! We had to pay for a new pump for the washing machine I broke our first week here, but I got a replacement within days. Score.
- We can put a car in the garage and there’s plenty of parking for guests. We’d originally planned to have the garage for our little Fit, but Tom’s poor Civic suffered some damage from being hit by a deer (not unlike Rory Gilmore, except that he was going 70 mph and on an interstate) and currently has a spiderweb cracked windshield situation. It’s been great to have a place to put it in case it rains while we figure out who to have fix it! Tom’s motorcycle also lives there and there’s plenty of storage for other things, too! We’ve never had a place where parking wasn’t an issue in some way. I mean, I guess it wouldn’t have been at the house… if we hadn’t parked a 40′ school bus in our driveway. Our bad. (Possibility is in her own big ass garage just five minutes away!)
- Elevators are magic. Even Bandit is
beginning to get used to them.
- It’s clean and well-taken care of. Fox was immediately comfortable here. Bandit never sniffed around attempting to identify what other animals lived here before us. I walked in the front door a couple days ago and thought – for the first time since I became a housewife – “It smells good in here!” Not sickeningly-sweet floral deodorizer smell, not just cooked a good garlicky pasta smell, not even cookies hot out of the oven smell. Just a good smell. Do we naturally smell good? (Please note: our last home smelled bad. Like cat pee by the front door and my side of the bed. Like dog in the bedroom. Like damp and rot and mold.
What a great place to live!) We finally live somewhere with nicer carpeting than the three year old bargain rugs we bought for our first place together, so we tossed ’em.
- We have central heat and air. And they work. Enough said.
For the first time, I feel really, truly comfortable in one of our homes together. Like I’d like to be here for a couple of years, not just because I don’t want to move again, but because I actually enjoy living here. Obviously it’s not about the stuff, the space, the view, or the amenities – it’s about who you’re with. But it sure is nice to have all those other things squared away and to know your house doesn’t smell like someone else’s cat’s urine. We’re so happy here and it’s just the perfect place to unwind, to spend a lazy Saturday, to enjoy a sunset, and to bake up a storm.
I’m not sold on new construction, though this one is well done. I was worried before we moved in that it was “too nice” for us and our stuff. So what if it is? I can’t help ogling to gorgeous homes in the downtown of this city and dream of someday owning a little slice of history. But for now, in this place we want to live only temporarily, and at this time in our lives, having settled into this little slice of the conformity we’ve often said we deplore, I’m as happy as a barely rebellious clam.
I’m so glad we went for it and were able to get it done in another new record. We found a place, moved out of the old one, and got it all cleaned and spackled and fixed up within eight weeks. There’s a bit more unpacking and the spare bedroom/storage room/craft room/home office/Mordor needs curtains up, the closets need serious organization, I’m being super indecisive about where to hang things, and we still want to make a headboard for our bed, but…
We’re home and it feels so good!