This is Good-Bye

So long, sayonara, see you later, hasta la vista baby! However you want to say it, it’s good bye apartment. After six long months, we finally found a house. Don’t get me wrong, the apartment is a very nice apartment, clean, large and the apartment management is super, I’m just not cut out for apartment living. I like my aloneness too much.

Soon I won’t have to listen to Big Foot clomping around one floor above me, hammering god knows what, slamming cabinet doors and playing video games with the volume all the way up until the wee hours of the morning. I won’t have neighbors that drag their dried up Christmas tree out and not sweep up the thick blanket of pine needles covering the hallway and stairs leading outside, so that we drag them into our apartment. Most of all I will have a place to walk Orso that is not along a busy street with bicyclists silently whizzing past you from behind startling both of us, causing Orso to bark and lunge at them. No more cars with drivers that don’t know their cars can really go twenty-five miles an hour, they just haven’t tried it.

You can tell when it’s time to go, things happen telling you that you’ve made the right decision. It’s time to move, when two days after you give your intent to vacate, you find a parking violation letter on the windshield of the truck, telling you that you have to move it. Never mind the fact that the truck has been sitting in the same spot for the last six months, but all of a sudden it has to be moved. Then it seems like every little thing is glaring at you, shouting at you, “Get out, run!”

Another clue came when while walking Orso that same day, a woman pulls her car out of the parking lot and stops to tell me that Orso’s urine will burn up the grass. I turned and laughed at her and the absurdity of the statement. I was so tempted to tell her yes I could understand how that could happen since we live in such an “arid” climate. I wanted to say, “Seriously, we are on track to be the wettest winter on record, we are getting rain every day. The damn worms are drowning coming out of the muddy soggy soil and you think my dog’s urine is going to burn up the grass?” Instead I just looked at her, shook my head and walked away.

Then the final hint that it is time to go came sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning when I saw that someone stole our doormat. Can you believe it, someone came and stole our black astro-turf doormat? It’s not like we are on the main floor where you walk right up to the door and out, there are stairs involved getting to our door. I think what bothers me more is that someone was outside our door while I was asleep.

We got a notice from the complex management notifying us that someone would come in and make a “pre-move out inspection” to see what would is needed to be fixed or repaired before the apartment could be rented to someone else. In order to make a good impression, I have washed walls, vacuumed the carpet almost daily, mopped the floors and cleaned the bathrooms. There has been no damage done to the apartment, we haven’t hung any pictures or painted any walls so we’re good there and the dogs are well behaved and don’t destroy or chew up stuff. I even had the warmer on all day to put out a nice red apple scent throughout. What could go wrong?

The notice said “between 9am to 5pm”, and I waited all day for someone to come by. Dinner time came and no one had come by yet so I figured that everyone was too busy and started dinner. In order to clean out the freezer as much as I can before we move, I thought I would cook a steak for dinner. Well we still don’t have a grill yet, so I turned on the broiler in the oven. The steak was broiling away just fine when all of a sudden the grease caught on fire and smoke started rolling out of the oven and when I pulled the pan out flames shot out and climbed over the oven. I blew the flames out, but there was a lot of smoke, which set off all of the fire alarms in the apartment, I did not realize there were three fire alarms in one two bedroom apartment. Of course the fire alarms are screeching that high pitched screech and as a bonus there was a female voice yelling at us “Fire get out” over and over.

I opened the doors and fanned the smoke alarms until one by one they quit screeching. Just as I was about to sit back down to our salads, there was a knock on the door. Fully expecting the fire department at the door, there was one of our maintenance men there to do the inspection. Great, just as I try to burn down the apartment complex someone shows up to inspect the apartment for damage.

Well there goes our damage deposit.

Apartment Life

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.

One Week In

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.