I figure our time spent in this apartment can count as an era. I’ve been MIA due to some serious, serious apartment hunting. I mentioned it awhile back and we finally found her. A new apartment.
I’m having conflicting feelings. This should be expected after over two and a half years in the same spot, month after month spent making it feel like home through paint, furniture purchase and arrangement, spray painting, staple gunning, scraping, spackling, etc. It is home. It feels like it. It looks like it. And now I’m going to undo it all and start over somewhere else.
This will be our fifth apartment together in exactly eight years– we’re moving on our dating anniversary. Yes, we semi-lived together right off the bat. It just worked out that way.
Hyde Park, Chicago: Studio. Apartment 210. Corner of Dorchester and Hyde Park Blvd. Blocks from our current president. We survived in such a small space without maiming each other because I went back and forth on the Amtrak to Milwaukee for three days a week. Still have ticket stubs. Highlights included a neighbor named Jeff with a penchant for yelling “HANH?” whenever his sister-roommate called him, mariachi played from the window across the way during the day, poppy R & B played from the window below that one at night, and really nice woodwork and shelving in the unit itself.
Break: Cottage in Cape Cod, Sublet in Chicago, Sublet in Chicago, Sublet in Chicago.
Palo Alto, California: One bedroom. Apartment F1. In a 1970s building with modern updates. A dishwasher and washer/dryer in the unit: this made us feel SO grown up. Big balcony. Blue living room, green bedroom. Subway tiles in the kitchen. Nosy neighbors. We were the only renters in a building of condo owners. Not very well-liked. I decorated with intensity but it never felt coherent. Expensiiiivveeee.
West Loop, Chicago: Two bedroom. Apartment 702. New construction loft. Knew we wanted to be in the center of the city after two miserable years (for me) in a California bubble. Builder’s paint– every touch led to a spot on the surface. Granite countertops. How I despise them now. Metal balcony with a view of the most beautiful skyline in the world. Trips down the elevator at 3am headed for a glass littered alley to potty-train the dog. A question on a weird shelf sent into Apartment Therapy. Upon leaving, we hunted for an apartment with doors and walls that went all the way up, deciding that loft living was not for us.
Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village, Chicago: Home. Apartment 1. I’m typing from my big back porch. Sad.
Ukrainian Village/Humboldt Park, Chicago: Two Bedrooms. Apartment 1F. Where we’re headed. Great wood floors, big windows, small backyard, original wood built-ins and hutch, a proper dining room, a private foyer/mudroom perfect for Chicago winters, a quieter neighborhood sans party buses and 3am frat-boy-drunks.
With each move we’ve learned what we want and don’t want. We’re pickier now. We know what works for us. Strangely, our rent has also gone down each time minus the huge jump from our initial Chicago studio and our California one bedroom.
I vacillate between dread and excitement, second-guesses and we’re-doing-the-right-thing confidence. The first people who viewed our apartment took it. I got 32 emails and scheduled a dozen viewings the day the ad went up. My landlord asked if I was sure I wanted to move, and then wrote the nicest referral for our new property management company. I faxed it over with a knot in my stomach. What are we doing, leaving this place? It is a great &^$##@$ apartment. I know I’m repeating myself, but it’s home.
The bright side is a new place to make our own, cheaper rent, a great new neighborhood to discover — we’re moving less than a mile away but the areas are quite different — and, hopefully some new stuff to blog about since I’ve just about covered every inch of this unit six times over.
Off to start packing. It’s going to be hard to tear this place up without tearing up.