There should be a handbook on apartment living handed out to every renter as soon as they are given the keys to the apartment. Because it seems that in this day and age, people need to be told what the proper etiquette is for living in close quarters to other people. They have no concept of what is going on around them that there are other people in very close proximity to them. I have been living in an apartment here for almost a month now coming from living in single family dwellings, (houses) for almost all of my life. I had no one above or below me, no one on either side of me and no one in a building within ten feet of me. Granted I didn’t run around stark naked with the blinds open for the world to see, I had a neighbor that liked to run around outside in the wee hours of the morning naked, watering his plants. I had some sense of privacy, but not here.
I don’t know any of my close apartment neighbors personally, but I know a lot about a few of them. We should feel either very safe or very scared because I think the Abominable Snowman lives above us. I don’t have a clue what he or she looks like but whoever it is they have the heaviest footsteps. I always know what room he is in by the sound of the footsteps. That he hasn’t come through the ceiling is a testament to the construction of the floors. I just hope the snowman likes dogs, as friends, not food.
Then there is the couple in the next building one floor higher that our apartment. They either are hard of hearing or don’t like each other much. On more than one occasion we have had the “pleasure” of listening to their conversations. One night their very animated heated conversation woke me up. Their voices echoed down and in the windows of the bedroom and from the tone I waited for bullets to fly or the sound of plates smashing. I couldn’t tell what they were saying because it was in a different language, which sucks because here I was wide awake in the middle of the night listening in on a huge fight and had no idea what they were saying.
Lastly the woman who lives in the next building on the same floor as us likes to sit out on her patio and have conversations on her cell phone in speaker mode. The two patios are about fifteen feet apart with some bushes to give each some modicum of privacy. I can’t see her, but I know all about her mother and her mother’s relationship with a man. It seems the daughter doesn’t approve.
I just shake my head and wonder what goes through people’s heads at times. Do they not have a clue that they are not alone in the world? Or is it me? Am I the weird one because I am not a long time apartment dweller that these things bother me? Do people get de-sensitized to the close proximity of other people just like everyone seems to be de-sensitized to violence on television? I hope I’m not here long enough to find out.
We finally got to do a little hiking. We drove out to Tiger Mountain Trail in Issaquah. It was beautiful. I took my cameras to take some shots of the area. The trail system where we were had three trails, the Iverson RR Trail, Preston RR Trail and the NW Timber Trail. Because of the amount of people and bicyclists going toward the Preston RR Trail and the NW Timber Trail we decided to take the Iverson RR Trail. There was no one on that trail just us and the dogs so it was quite nice. The trail is a primitive dirt path with tree roots and stones sticking out of the dirt along the uphill climb. We didn’t make it to the top this time because we had to get back in time for Mitch to get ready for work, but what we did see was so beautiful. Below are a few of the pictures I took. There is one I took looking up at the tree tops that I plan on blowing up and framing. But even with the tree top canopy and ferns everywhere, you could still see how dry everything is even on this side of the Cascades.
Photos taken on my Canon
Well it’s been one full week here and adjusting to life in the Pacific Northwest. There have been a lot of adjusting for all of us. The dogs are trying to figure out what is going on, from one home totally chaotic at the end to no home staying a pet spa during the day and sleeping in hotels before getting on the road, to a three day road trip, sleeping in better hotels. Walks consisted of rest stop strolls along a busy highway. Now they have been thrown into apartment living, with people and dogs always close by and walks are done always on the leash, sidewalks and groomed landscaping. So far no place to get off leash and run until totally spent.
I’m going from a home I didn’t like but knew every corner to homeless spending time driving around trying to get everything wrapped up before a long tiresome three day road trip to coming to rest more than eighteen hundred miles away from the city and state where I lived my whole life. Apartment living here means no real privacy because of the climate, there is no air conditioning so everyone has their windows and doors open. I got to listen to a fierce argument between the couple in the next building at eleven o’clock the other night. The downside to hearing the fight was that the couple fought in their native tongue and I didn’t understand a word. How am I supposed to eavesdrop when I don’t understand a thing said?
Poor Mitch, he probably has the hardest adjustment of all of us. He’s been out here displaced since mid-May and has had to find a place to live that would eventually house all of us. He had to find where to shop, where to get gas and how to get back and forth to work and home all by himself. We have one couple living here that have been good friends for a long time, Mitch works with the wife and I worked with the husband, that live here and have been so helpful for him, but it is still a huge adjustment.
Now I come crashing back into his life bringing all of my chaos and lack of organization. He has had almost three months of orderly boring routines and all of a sudden there are messes in every room in our two bedroom apartment. Even though we still have no furniture or most of our personal possessions, which it seems takes longer to travel from Missouri to Washington than a 1995 station wagon with two dogs, I have managed to upend every room. I can make more and bigger messes than the best, I am quite the pro, so you can imagine adjusting to me again is taking its’ toll on Mitch.
The biggest adjustment overall is that now we are retraining the dogs to be better leash walkers. With all of the people and dogs squished into such close quarters we constantly run into other renters and their dogs. Charlie and Orso have not done well in the past with other dogs walking in their path. We always found an escape there and here there isn’t an escape. We have not been consistent with leash training and other dogs in the past and now we’re paying for it. Oh I forgot to mention the bicycles, there are bicycle riders everywhere. It’s very popular here and that’s another problem for the dogs. They lunge and try to charge the riders. Bad, bad, bad. I am trying to redirect their attention to me when we walk by carrying dog treats and feeding them to the dogs as bikes, walkers, runners or dogs are around. Of course after one week I can’t tell if it is working or not. I think that Orso has gained five pounds though.
I have decided that I want to move to a house that is secluded without so many people around. Now I’m looking online for houses that are a ways out, maybe in the booger woods and who knows maybe I will find one before our furniture gets here.
It felt so wonderful waking up in a soft king size bed with clean sheets. Clean sheets and a super soft pillow, in a nice cool air conditioned room, life doesn’t get much better than this. That was my first thought, my second thought was it’s time to feed the dogs and take them for a walk after I got a big wet nose in my face. Even on the road, nothing changes.
We made it to Gillette, Wyoming without any more incidents. I took the first exit that had hotels listed on the lodging sign options. I found a Holiday Inn and pulled into the parking lot. Wonders of wonders they had a room available and they allowed dogs, double bonus! I didn’t care that the only room available was a king suite, I didn’t care that there was a pet fee and I didn’t care that it was a lot more than I usually paid for a room. I was tired and I wanted to sleep in a clean soft bed. Even better there must have been a state police convention in town, because we counted nine state police cars in the parking lot. The state police cars outnumbered the motorcycles in the parking lot. We never felt safer than we did that night.
After breakfast, we loaded up and hit the road, there were still more than a thousand miles to go. Monday, well west of Sturgis, traffic on the highway was minimal, the occasional semi and pickup truck, but for the most part we were alone on the highway. Thankfully most of day went without incident and we made good time. By midafternoon we were almost through Montana and decided on Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as a stopping point. As we got closer to Idaho, road construction slowed us down to about thirty five miles an hour. We came up to a point where the road narrowed to one lane and as I headed in a pair of motorcycles came shooting up from behind us trying to cut us off and get ahead of us. One motorcycle cut off my friend but couldn’t get past me so he ended up sandwiched in between us with his friend behind the truck.
All the way through South Dakota and all of the motorcycles neither one of the dogs made a peep, but after this jerk came barreling up and almost landed in my back seat, Charlie went crazy growling and barking hitting the back window in an effort to eat him. I thought if I could go the rest of my life and never see another motorcycle I would be just thrilled. Then I looked in my rearview mirror and saw that he was even dumber than I originally thought. This jerk stood up and started to perform acrobatics on the bike. He stood on one peg then changed to the other peg, all this on an uneven surface sandwiched between a pickup truck and a station wagon both from Missouri and both driven by two women who were willing to run over him and keep going. What a dumb ass.
We finally lost him and his friend after we got into Idaho, and found a Best Western in Coeur d’Alene that allowed dogs, clean sheets and a soft pillow ahead. Oh, and a bottle of wine too.
Friday I was officially homeless. Everything that had not been packed and shipped off to Seattle in the U-Boxes from U-Haul were loaded up in the pickup truck and only the stuff I needed every day was loaded into station wagon. I took the dogs to Pete n Macs for doggie daycare and headed out to run all of the last minute errands before heading out on the two and a half day road trip. I took the cable boxes back to the cable store, bought a new phone and stopped by Victoria Secrets. Hey, I had some time to kill before picking up the dogs, besides after two and a half months of back breaking work purging and packing I deserved a treat.
The original plan was to stay with friends, but it didn’t work out. Charlie was too stressed out as was I, which contributed to a bad greeting with the friends’ dogs. I decided it would be better if I just took them to a hotel for the couple of days before we headed out. Most of the hotels in the area that allowed dogs limited the weight to fifty or seventy pounds and there was no way that Orso could pass for seventy pounds, so I ended up taking them to a long term hotel change.
The room smelled like someone chained smoked two or three cartons of cigarettes at one sitting. Of course they put us on the third floor. So much fun hauling two dogs and my suitcases up and down three flights of stairs. Charlie took up residence on the bed while Orso climbed up into the chair and laid down across the chair and ottoman. I got ready for bed and looked down at the bed and saw a bug. I grabbed a Kleenex and squished it. It was full of blood and gross looking. I had a sneaking suspicion so I googled it. Yep it was a bed bug. Only me, I have that kind of luck. I got a different on the first floor that didn’t smell like smoke and nothing in the bed after I stripped it and checked the bed thoroughly. I was so happy to check out the next morning and get on the road.
I had a friend driving the pickup truck following me in the station wagon with the dogs. We decided to drive out going north on I-29 to I-90 ending west straight through from South Dakota right into Washington breaking off before hitting Seattle. The route would take us north through Iowa, west through South Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. The only drawback to the route is that the Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally starts August 3rd. This is the seventy-five anniversary of the run so you can imagine the throngs of motorcycles, trucks and RV’s trailering up motorcycles to drive around in wild abandon in a small town with a population of less than seven thousand. One estimate from the highway department was that there would be 1.2 million people were going to be there. Way too many people for me.
We finally cleared the traffic jam after we passed Sturgis and had a pretty open road all the way to Wyoming. I was beat and ready to stop when I saw a Best Western Plus hotel sign at the Sundance, Wyoming exit and thought maybe just maybe we were far enough past Sturgis that there might be a room available. As I turned into the parking lot I saw about twenty motorcycles parked and thought why bother, I should have known better. Against better judgement I parked the car and walked into the lobby. I was in there all of about a minute and a half, long enough to ask if there were any rooms available and long enough for the front desk clerk to tell me no. I turned and walked out the door to be met by a large ugly biker woman that came right up to my face and asked if I was the owner of the car with the barking dogs.
I responded, “Yes they get a bit upset when I get out of the car,” thinking the dogs were being too noisy.
She snapped back at me, “Did you know that it is a law in Canada that if a dog is barking in a car with the windows closed that I can break the window? It is inhumane to leave the dogs in the heat.”
Mind you at the time she was railing at me, it was after eight pm, the sun was low in the sky, I had parked in the shade, the car had been air conditioned cool and I was gone for a total of less than three minutes. A lot of different responses went through my head:
1. We are in Wyoming – not Canada, so shut up.
2. You have no idea what hot is, we have just come from Missouri with the heat index in the low hundreds.
3. You have no idea who you are talking to, a woman that has been driving for over twelve hours tired and with a very short fuse.
4. Go ahead and save the little brown dog, stick your arm in there, I dare you.
I thought better of saying any of my first thoughts, partly because I was so tired and partly because any response on my part would have escalated the situation to the point where someone (probably me) would end up in jail. I did tell her that the doors were unlocked and there was no need to break the windows. Having told me what a terrible pet owner I was, she turned and walked back to her gang of bozos. I told my friend there were no rooms and headed back to the cars. Now I wasn’t tired, I just pissed. I had enough righteous indignation in me to keep me going all the way to Gillette, Wyoming.
I am learning so many things about selling a home, most of which I wish I didn’t have to learn. I don’t care if I have 80 amp service or 100 amp service. I only care that when I flip the switch the lights come on and when I push the “on” button on the remote the television turns on. I don’t care that the furnace is older than dirt, I am just really very happy that when it gets cold outside I can turn up the thermostat and voila! we have heat! I have a slow running drain in the bathroom, my sink, more than likely from hair, soap and make up. I know it and have been putting just about very chemical and/or home remedies and nothing works. It was just a bit humiliating to see a color photo on the buyers’ inspection report showing my slow draining sink. I thought great now the world knows I have a giant hair clog.
All of the steps that a seller goes through to get their house sold is mind boggling. I understand the buyers want to get the most for their money and the inspectors are there to make sure that a buyer doesn’t get ripped off, but some of the stuff on the report is nitpicky at best. I mean anyone looking at our house would know that there are going to be things that are not the latest and greatest. The original structure was built in 1928 what do they expect?
One of the things on the list that the buyers want corrected is that I have any tree limbs close to power lines cut back. I haven’t gotten any of the tree trimmers I have called to come out and even look at the house and property. The minute I mention power lines, they all say, “Nope don’t do that. Call the power company and have them come out.” Great, the power company doesn’t care about me.
I was telling my coworkers about the tree limbs and said in passing that I would have to cut any limbs I find myself. One of my coworkers suggested that I wear rubber gloves and maybe I wouldn’t get electrocuted. Another coworker said that I should take off all of my jewelry so I wouldn’t get electrocuted. I said I should put on all of my jewelry, wear rubber gloves, climb up on top of the camper shell of the truck with my Little Giant aluminum ladder with a really long limb cutter and cut back any limbs. I would have on rubber gloves and be wearing sneakers. What could possibly go wrong?
A third coworker was actually concerned for me and said the company I work for should pay someone to trim back any limbs so I wouldn’t get electrocuted. I think they were going to take up a collection, but I’m not so sure what the money was for. I think some were putting money in the pot for flowers for the funeral, you know just in case.
With the station wagon out of commission, it has been a week of no dog mobile so for each showing I put the leashes on the dogs and headed out for a really long walk. Tuesday we had two showings at the same time. I hoped I would come home to a house with no broken furniture. Luckily Tuesday was a bit cooler with cloudy skies and a chance of rain. As we headed out the door it started to rain (as is always my luck) so I grabbed the umbrella. You have no idea how much fun it is to walk two bratty undisciplined dogs and carry an umbrella at the same time. It is almost better to just get as wet as them, at least I don’t get yanked around and poke myself with the umbrella as one dog goes one way and one goes the other way.
We walked down to the dam and about half way there the rain really started to come down. It poured on us as we walked the last quarter mile to the dam. People coming home from work looked at us like we were nuts, especially me for taking those poor “babies” out in the miserable conditions. Yeah right. If they would have accepted the crates a little better then they would have stayed dry and I could have jumped in the truck and headed out to let potential buyers poke through my closets and drawers.
We sat under the canopy of the shelter house at the dam and watched the rain come down even harder. It looked like we would be sitting there for a while. At least it wasn’t ninety five degrees with the humidity in the “rain forest” zone; though it was raining like we were in the rain forest. After about thirty minutes the rain let up and I figured that maybe the house would be empty by the time we got there so we started back. As we topped the hill overlooking the house I could still see cars in the driveway, so I walked the dogs right past the house and turned to the right to circle around the block hoping they were close to finishing up. The dogs looked up at me like I had lost my mind. Here we are at the driveway, what’s up? They wanted to go in and get dried off, they were not happy that we were still walking. I circled the block and came back up to the top of the hill and saw the cars still there, so I turned around and heading back the way we came. As we came back around the cars were gone; as I turned into the driveway, I could have sworn I heard a big sigh from Charlie.
Wednesday it turned back hot with a vengeance. Working outside repairing some wood rot damage was miserable. The temperatures were again in the high nineties with high humidity and no breeze. The air was stifling and still, the only plus was that my son and I were working in the shade. I must be getting old, because I do not handle the heat very well this year.
Thursday night strong storms were forecasted and this time the weather forecasters got it right. Mother Nature hit us hard, straight line winds from seventy to eight miles an hour uprooted a neighbor’s large tree. It fell down blocking the road. The storm also knocked out our power at two am. I know because it woke me up when all of a sudden it got very dark and quiet in the house. Super. I had an inspection on the house scheduled at two pm. I hoped the power would be back on when I came home at lunch to pick up the dogs and take them to doggie day care.
No such luck, power was still out all day Friday. Friday night trying to sleep with no ventilation was a challenge at best. Saturday I woke up to no power still and thought great, there goes the food in the freezer and fridge. I jumped in the truck, ran up to the store and picked up three bags of ice hoping to salvage a few things. I wandered from room to room trying to decide what to do. No power, I can’t get on the computer, I can’t do laundry, vacuuming is out and no point in going out to the garage to clean it out. With no power the garage doors weren’t going to open and I had no lights, it was just a big dark space waiting for me to trip over all of the tools and boxes laying out there in wait.
I pulled a chair under the window and just sat there trying to stay cool with the slight breeze. That was when I realized how dependent I am on electricity. What a wimp.
Mitch is in Seattle and I’m here getting the house ready to sell so I can load up the dogs and head west. It has been a long arduous month getting rid of a lot of stuff and packing up boxes after boxes of more stuff. What I really should do is after everything is packed up, go back through each box and throw away half of what’s in each one.
Saturday a week ago the house went on the market and I had promised myself that when it happened, I would go get a massage. Lord knows my back and feet needed some tender touches, so I decided to add in a pedicure along with the massage. I locked the dogs in crates and headed out for a little pampering.
I had my first showing almost immediately after getting home from my little bit of self-indulgence. I had just enough time to feed the dogs and load them up in the station wagon to escape. Of course this weekend was oppressively hot with temperatures over ninety eight and it felt like it was over a hundred. The station wagon struggled to pump out even moderately cool air. Sunday morning I ran a quick errand and came home to find Orso not in his crate but waiting at the top of the basement stairs. Somehow he escaped. To say I was not pleased was an understatement.
Sunday afternoon I had three showings scheduled and again it was in the high nineties and felt much hotter. I loaded up the dogs and headed out. This time I planned a little better and loaded the car with water for the dogs and me, leashes and car charger for my cell phone, just in case. We weren’t gone thirty minutes when an afternoon thunderstorm popped up causing us to sit in a ballfield parking lot watching as lightning flashed across the sky. I hoped that the car was lightning proof.
Monday morning I took the dogs to the basement to crate them up and neither one was having any of that. Charlie turned around and went back upstairs refusing to come down and Orso would not get in the crate. Can you imagine trying to push one hundred pounds of dog in one direction while he wants to go a different direction? The dogs hated the crates and I knew they wouldn’t be happy but I didn’t think I would be faced with outright anarchy. The treats I threw in the crates went untouched as both dogs refused to be bribed. I had to go to work and couldn’t leave them running loose because I had a showing scheduled for the morning and three more that evening.
I had to put the leash on Charlie to walk him down the stairs and into the crate. I grabbed Orso’s collar and shoved him in, latched the door and just to be safe I took tie downs and wrapped them around his crate cinching them tight. I then turned both crates to face each other so they could see each other and hopefully be reassured they weren’t alone. I came home for lunch to check on them and take them for a walk. Orso had been working on destroying the crate, pulling at the wire door and bending in two of the wires toward him which could poke him and make him bleed. I searched for a pair of pliers to bend the wires back and Orso pulled the door back toward him getting his head stuck between the door and the crate. I had to get his head unstuck then pull the door back to the outside of the crate and keep a very unhappy dog in the crate at the same time. Not an easy feat. This time after I finally got him secured in the crate and the door locked I used the tie downs again then turned his crate up against the wall in an effort to keep Orso contained until I got home.
Monday evening I got home and thankfully both dogs were stilled in their crates, unhappy at me but still contained. I fed them and loaded them up for three showings, all back to back from five to five forty five. Another scorcher I drove the poor overworked station wagon down to the dam to let the dogs run a bit before sitting in the air conditioned car. When I finally was headed home I noticed a hot smell in the car. Thinking it might have been the car charger for my cell phone, I pulled it out hoping that was the cause. That’s when I noticed the smoke coming out of the vents, super. I looked at the front end of the car and saw smoke coming out of the hood. Getting better. I sped up hoping everyone was gone and I could get the car into the driveway before it died.
I backed in the driveway, got the dogs out and in the house then went back to the car to check on it. I turned it off and raised the hood. Smoke was coming out at the bottom of the air-conditioning compressor. Wonderful, the day just got even better. That was the only car I had to get the dogs chauffeured around. Where is Mitch when I need him?
At that moment all I wanted to do was walk back in the house open a bottle of wine and go sit in the corner and have a pity party. Why do I get all the fun stuff to do?
Everyone should have to pack up their stuff and move every five years. It should be a rule. No one should ever stay in one place for so long that they have more stuff than they know what to do with. We all accumulate “priceless treasures” over the years and in the end we look at all of it in utter shock and realize it’s just stuff and definitely not priceless. Now that Mitch has relocated to Seattle and is working full time there, it has been left up to me to pack up our belongs and clean out the house in order to put it on the market and get it sold.
It is and has been a daunting task, but I think it has been better that I’m doing the clearing out part without Mitch. I have discovered that he is a secret hoarder and left unchecked he would have covered every inch of open space with opened boxes of nuts and bolts, screws, the odd tool here and there and a large DSW shoe bag filled with old gloves (you never know when you might want to stick your hand in an old nasty glove). I even found a plastic container filled with empty shot gun shell boxes (because empty boxes two inches by three inches will come in handy sometime). I found a large spool of coaxial cable, probably enough to re-run our entire house twice over. These are all things I found in the basement and I haven’t even had a chance to look in the garage. That will require a very large dumpster.
I can’t say I’m much better about throwing things away, but I’m not quite as bad. We are the children of parents that grew up during The Great Depression where you saved every scrap you had because at some point in time you were going to need it and there was no money to go and buy a replacement. I grew up watching my mother wash used empty plastic bags, turn them inside out to dry to reuse them. She smoothed out used aluminum foil for reuse. Mitch’s father is way worse. He saves everything. Their garage is packed from the back of the garage to the front with extra furniture, boxes of things and overflow from the house. We are not that bad, but could easily be.
Sorry I digress. As I started sorting through the containers in the basement that stored old blankets and pillows I would set aside some for Goodwill and pack some. Then it dawned on me the reason these were in containers was that we didn’t use them. I didn’t even remember putting them in the containers and storing them. So out went all of old blankets for a full size bed, mind you we have a king size bed now.
My problem was that I was looking at all of the stuff and what we paid for each and every thing. I was putting an emotional value on stuff, not based on what it meant to me but what it cost me to acquire. I didn’t need it and wasn’t using it, had even forgotten I had it, but it was still in good condition so I was attaching a false need for it. As soon as I got over that hurdle, I have been able to make multiple trips to charities with a boat load of “stuff”. I am not a “garage sale” person. I have neither time nor patience to set all of my belongings in the driveway, sit around and wait for someone to come and haggle over pennies for stuff I don’t want.
I am getting to the end of the purge for the inside of the house, and after a ninety minute massage, pedicure and two bottles of wine, I hope to have my strength back and will tackle “The Garage”. If you don’t hear from me in a few days send in a search team.