Monday, January 28, 2013

We have an apartment!

My new kitchen!

The living room needs some work, thought. And some furniture.

Hallelujah! We arrived in the Seattle area on Sunday, and on Friday we were moving into our new place.

We were staying with friends of my husband's in Kitsap County. Lovely people, but it required either a ferry or a two-hour drive to get to Seattle, making it an inconvenient base of operations. We started looking at apartments right away.

I forgot how many crappy apartments there are in the world, and what a pain it is to look at several of them a day. We were using craigslist exclusively; on day two we found something we liked, small but cute, with a partial view of the Space Needle. We decided to put in an application, but to continue looking, just in case our application was rejected (since we are both technically unemployed).

Naturally, the very next apartment we looked at was the one we really liked. It's in an apartment complex, one of those big fancy rabbit warrens of apartment living with garage parking, a fitness center, a rooftop deck, and 24-hour security. I haven't lived in one of those for a while--the place we had in San Diego was kind of like that, but much more spread out. It's a one-bedroom, with a small separate office area. We went from a two-bedroom duplex in California to a three-bedroom house with a huge yard in Massachusetts to a three-bedroom, two-bath Victorian montrosity in Rhode Island with a rain shower and a built-in wet bar, to a one-bedroom cookie-cutter apartment. With beige carpeting. But I'm actually fine with that--I loved that apartment in Providence, but hated Providence itself, and I knew we'd never be able to get that kind of place again. At least not in Seattle, unless we win the lottery.

For a one-bedroom with beige carpeting, it's pretty roomy. There's a separate room with doors we'll use as an office, our own washer and dryer, decent closet space, and a cute little kitchen with a breakfast bar area. We got rid of all the furniture before we moved, so a one-bedroom is perfect for now. We can put a futon or something in the office and use that as a guest room, when the time comes. The kitchen doesn't have quite enough cabinet space for my taste, but then, I have a lot of kitchen stuff. There are also Weber grills on the roof deck, for community use, and best of all, garden plots in large stainless-steel tubs. I requested a couple of garden tubs, so I can grow herbs outdoors. And the place is right on the edge of the International District, so we can get amazing cheap food at all hours.

The moving-in process was painless--far more painless than I expected. The apartment was available immediately, so I called UPack and asked them to deliver. I ended up doing something called a "live load-in," which meant the driver dropped off the cube and then waited for us to unload it. We had an hour to empty it, at which point he whisked it away again. That way, we didn't have to worry about getting a parking permit from the city, so that it could be left on the street overnight. But we did have only an hour, so I hired two movers from UPack.

The cube and the movers showed up at the same time. It wasn't raining, and we had the freight elevator reserved. Between the four of us, we had the cube unloaded and everything inside the apartment within 45 minutes. Everyone left, and we had the rest of the day to unpack.

The vast majority of our stuff made it in one piece. The only notable casualty was Grandma's dining room table--half the feet on one side of the base snapped off. My hubs performed some surgery with wood glue and new screws, and we're hoping that'll do the trick. Also, two martini glasses broke. But everything else was fine--the electronics, the picture frames, the china, etc.

After two days, we've unpacked most of the boxes and figured out where everything will eventually go. We'll need a fair amount of furniture to make the place fully operational (a desk, a dresser, a sofa, some dining room chairs, some bookshelves), so I'll start combing the local thrift stores and craigslist today. In the next day or two, we'll get library cards and go to the DMV (new drivers' licenses, new plates for the car).

I can't tell you how amazing it was to sleep on my own bed again--after two months of air mattresses, guest beds, and crappy hotel rooms, my spine sang a hymn of gratitude that first night. My back no longer hurts all the time. Every box I opened was like being reunited with an old friend--oh hey! I remember you! I missed you, my toaster oven! Despite all the winnowing of stuff, we ended up with a few boxes of things we won't need for this apartment (curtains, outdoor stuff), but it's fine, we'll save it for the next place.

Best of all, I'm no longer homeless! Only unemployed.

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