I swear, this is the last time I'm moving for a very VERY long time. At least, if I have anything to say about it that is. I found the perfect place for me. It's a 2 bedroom apartment in an older building close to midtown that let me keep both my dogs. Since what became *my* apartment wasn't available to look at, I saw the one across the hall from me. It was lovely. Exactly what I wanted. The building has central air, grounded outlets, hardwood floors, and character. YES! Then moving day happened. Oh lord.
First off, the place wasn't empty. I mean, I stopped by on Feb 1 to make sure my keys worked only to find the current residents still packing and moving out. Now THAT could have been disastrous if I had shown up with a moving van and a pack of burly friends. But, it's a good thing I did pop by none the less. I came to find out that the keys I had only worked on the door to my apartment, not to the front door of the building! Oops. Thankfully, I got the key I needed that day. Crisis averted there.
Next up? The epic snow storm predicted for that weekend. Feb 3rd was supposed to be rainy. Feb 4th was the latest snowpocalypse, and Feb 5th was supposed to be bitterly cold. *sigh* Always when I move does the weather seem to be playing for keeps. So, bright and early Friday morning, my ex-husband and I were packing up my dad's truck, taking my stuff from the house to the apartment. (Yeah, we have this weird dynamic. We get along better divorced than we ever did married. The lack of obligation to the other is rather nice, actually.) Along the way, I had several friends offer to help. All in all, we get all of my non-furniture stuff moved in about 4 trips. Not bad! However, the condition of my new place was an entirely different story. Oy.
So, a little background about the former resident. Apparently, he was a bit of a headache for the landlord and the tenants. He was a drunk, unemployed, of uncertain immigration status, and generally caused trouble for everyone living in the building either directly, or because of the people he had hanging around. As such, he wasn't exactly the best at keeping the place in good repair. I came to find this out when I dropped the first load of boxes off. Holy jaw drop batman!
There was a badly patched hole in the living room, along with caution tape holding up plastic on the windows. The blinds on the picture window were bent and didn't close all the way. My dishwasher had the knob broken off, half the lightbulbs in the place were missing or burnt out, I had NO blinds in the kitchen or bedroom, and my smoke detectors were just a plastic ring with some wires poking out of some random guts. There was a large hole in the wall that had been repaired by covering it with masking tape and painting over it. The bathroom was... Well, all I can say that I hope that when I sprayed it down with the industrial strength cleaner I managed to kill anything living in there rather than just pissed it off. The sink drips, the grout was black, and the window in the shower not only had cracked glass, but the frame was made of wood and was starting to rot!
In the second bedroom, there was a scorch mark the size of the gluttony special pizza at Night Flight Pizza. The closet in there has no door. It's an open floor plan, apparently.
Let's not forget the fact that the paint around one of the windows in the main bedroom was chipping down to the drywall and the screws holding the hinges for the door into the wall were just plain falling out. I almost took a door to the noggin when I went to close it one evening.
Ever seen The Money Pit with Tom Hanks? I kinda stood in the middle of the living room, arms akimbo, and laaaaghed. I could only stand there, with my friends holding boxes of my possessions in their aching arms, convinced I was moving into a hole. That's when the maniacal laughter threatened to bubble out of my throat and I almost cracked. Damage control. Danger. Danger. Take a breath. Look at what's good about the place first. Then worry that the hole in the bathroom patched with cardboard doesn't have mold behind it.
In the end, impending dread aside, it was mostly cosmetic. And it's not like the landlord had that much time to get the place in tip top condition, so I couldn't expect it to be pristine the first day I moved in. On top of that, I'm not renting out the ritz. I'm moving into a vintage 60s era building with character, amazing neighbors, and a story to tell. I've been working with the landlord to discuss and address the issues, and so far it doesn't seem like anything I've mentioned has been out of line. So, it will get done, eventually. You really do get what you pay for. So, there's that. But, to me, it's totally worth the price of admission. And this was a little bit like finding that awesome theater with $5 movies till noon on Sundays.
*Edit. Mid April of 2012 I find out from a fellow tenant that Jose, the gentleman that used to live in my apartment died up liver failure from his drinking. This just confirms to me that home maintenance was not high on any lists. Not that it's an excuse for the condition of the place, but it makes it easier to understand the whys of it all.