This blog is going to document the process of a technical adult moving in with another technical adult (my boyfriend) and living together as grown ups. It will mostly be a running log of our consistent surprise at the rest of the world not quite meeting expectations.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Second Apartment

This was our first Craigslist adventure. The listing sited the apartment being a little under fifty square feet smaller than the first apartment. We were a little worried at first, but ultimately decided layout was more important, and we were right. The layout was pretty superb, because the apartment seemed larger than the Previous Home of Cat Lady (1st apartment).

Layout is not more important, however, than water damage.The Pro/Con list:

beauuuutiful double doors leading to bedroom...  ..tiny, tiny, tiny bathroom
beeeeautiful hardwood floors... ..the worst parking situation, ever
an adorable breakfast nook... .. water damage, bedroom ceiling
only three other families in the building... ..because soon, construction on 1 apt would start

It was very clear that the reason this apartment was $1150/month is because of where it was located, and not the actual apartment itself. This apartment was in the 630sqft range, and included nothing but hot water. It was actually located on top of a kosher deli in a neighborhood that desperately wants to be Manhattan. It was right on the main avenue. Within a five minute walk I could get sushi, a designer handbag, Greek food, designer eyeglass frames, Starbucks (oh don't pretend to be surprised), and jewelry. The whole area had a noveau riche mist over a much stronger scent of struggling yuppies' quiet desperation. It was like the entire place had been Febreezed with hope.

I was standing on the sidewalk wondering why anyone would need two sushi restaurants within fifteen feet of each other when the fellow who would be showing us the apartment called. "Hey, ring the 4th buzzer." Matt and I pry open the door leading to the "lobby" (read: 4x5ft space containing mailboxes and doorbells) and are immediately met with two bright yellow town-issued notices stuck to the glass door with half a roll of duct tape.

Me: What the hell is this?
Matt: A construction notice?
Me: Going on here? When? Why?
Matt: *Stares, wondering why he would have such answers*
Me: That means we're going to be hearing construction, for who knows how long, in this very tiny building.
Matt: Ahh...

The walkway leading up to the apartment would prevent me from eating any more fast food; it was so narrow we had to walk single file. Matt made a good point later: how do you move into an apartment with a walkway like that? We'd need to saw a sofa in half.

The fellow showing us the apartment was not actually the owner. You would think that there's nothing wrong with that. It happens a lot -- people own apartments, get other people to show them to unsuspecting strangers. When we had approached the three story building we saw two of those strangers actually leave. They had been in the apartment minutes before we were. They didn't seem horrified or angry upon departure, so I figured we had a shot.

Here's a basic summary of the conversation(s) I had with Show Guy:
Me: So pets are okay, right? Is there a pet fee?
Him: Ohh.. I don't really know..
Me: Oh, you guys don't have pets?
Him: Yeah, we have a cat. The people downstairs have a dog.
Me: ....

So in other words, Agent 007, you're saying the owner plans on charging us more than he charges his current tenants. Gotcha.

Me: So, it said parking available? Where?
Him: ... In the back, I think. 

The "back?"

Me: .... Okay, how much is it? By month, by year?
Him: I don't know, you'd have to ask the owner...
Me: Okay...And the rent is $1150?
Him: Yeaah, but that's negotiable...

Meaning you don't pay $1150. Gotcha.

Me: What about a security deposit? Or refurbishing fee?
Him: Again, that's negotiable... *dumbass smile*

Meaning ours will be double what yours was? Gotcha.

Me: But you don't know what it is?
Him: Again... *helpless shrug*
Me: I should get this guy's phone number.

Why? WHY?! Did the owner not trust this guy enough to give him even the most basic information? All this guy could tell us was that it included nothing but hot water, and had a stove. We could SEE the stove (though we had to squint, it was so small). Why hadn't the owner shared any information with the person he'd decided was able to show this apartment to prospective tenants? Was this guy a complete goon and incapable of being responsible enough to actually show this apartment?

"Okay, Renfield, no questions, just bring ze pretty English women to my coffin.....I vant to suck their waaaaallets."

When I asked how many families lived in the building* he told me soon one of the apartments would become the owner's working office. They were going to be doing construction soon. It's a pretty safe assumption that this Mr. Bigshot, who has the money to build his own office, own other apartments in Manhattan (something we learned from Show Guy), and doesn't have the time to show his own apartment is going to have said construction on this new office done at a time convenient to him -- that is, when it's inconvenient to everyone else. So the already narrow walkway up would be littered with tools, dust, drywall remains, etc...

* I asked this because on the way up we passed a stroller on the second story landing. I found out it belonged to Show Guy, who lived on the third floor and would therefore be our neighbor. His apartment was apparently so small that not only could he not keep his stroller inside, but he had to keep it on the 2nd floor. Unless, of course, he put it on the 2nd floor to throw off the would-be tenants he'd be showing the place too, assuming a stroller right outside the empty apartment would make childless yuppie couples curl their lip in fright. (Criss, you say, that's insane! But I've heard worse.)

Our feet hadn't touched the sidewalk before Matt mouthed "Nooooooooooooo" to me with Jim Carey-like emphasis. 
Me: Nooo?
Matt: Nooooo. There was water damage all over the bedroom ceiling.
Me: I didn't notice that, I was too busy not having my questions answered.

I had said I was going to take pictures of this apartment, but in truth it was more like a studio that divided the bedroom area with double doors. Any picture I took from any angle could probably capture the entire apartment. I adored the breakfast nook and the tiling/woodwork was beautiful, but the heaters were disjointed and the closet space was pitiful.

Matt: "It said it had a dining room! Where was the dining room?"
Me: "...You were standing in it, hon."
Matt: "What about the living room?"
Me: "We were standing in that at the same time."

Pass. On the way home we passed a variety of garden apartments. I snapped pictures on my cell phone as we drove by, and saved the images as the phone number of the establishment. One time we actually pulled over to the side of the road. I suppose it might have looked strange to passersby, like we were trying to case the joint.

Oops. We weren't tailed on the way home, so I guess no one found us too suspicious!

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