Monday, April 29, 2013

How to rent an apartment on purpose

Toasting with Ana the night we moved in
1. Your friend posts a picture on Twitter of the house she and her husband bid on, but didn't ultimately get. It is, not to rub salt in the wound, an objectively great-looking house.

2. Remember the discussion you had with your dad over Christmas where he was like so are you guys gonna buy a house and you took a meaningful pull from your winter ale and confidently explained to him how your generation has a different approach to home ownership than his and that it is not necessarily the means to long-term wealth that it used to be and how your dad was like okay spaz patrol that's fine I was just curious and you were like oh ha ha okay.

3. Think "cute houses are cuuuute".

4. Realize you have not been dutifully whisking money into savings each month for years for your health.

5. Some data drives at work fail and so you spend the intervening hour until they are repaired clicking around real estate sites and finding tiny 900 sq. ft. postwar brick houses in leafy neighborhoods that are a little sleepy but you know what, as fun and as "with it" as you think you are, you are a pretty sleepy person. Literally, your ideal state is asleep.

6. Text your husband from work. "Shoooould weeee try to buy a house?"

7. Remind yourself that you deeply love your apartment despite its one measly closet for storage, lack of air conditioning, the suspicious smell of rotting organic matter that pervades one very specific corner  of the foyer after it rains, and the sizeable cracks in the plaster of the ceiling directly over your bed, into which you gaze every night during your bedtime ritual of calculating the likelihood of your imminent death by crushing. Nay, you love your apartment not in spite of, but maybe even because of these things.

8. Remind yourself that when Nick finishes school in a few years, you will move away from Columbus. And that houses can be sold, sure, but rentals, you can just stroll out the door and disappear.

9. Spend an afternoon standing at a booth at an outdoor festival for work. Then play a show with an impromptu band, then dance in your cheap boots for hours and hours while the other bands play, certain that your actual heel bone has become exposed and is slamming into the plastic sole of said ankle boots over and over again, but you cannot investigate properly as it is very dark in the bar, and you are very lit.

10. Arrive home at 2 a.m. after making a quick stop at the 24 hour donut shop on campus, having selected an old-fashioned plain cake donut and glazed blueberry cake donut for yourself.

11. Fall sideways across the loveseat with a donut in one hand, having used the other hand to unzip the offending boots. Kick them from your tortured feet. Announce "we are home; this is where we live" to your husband.

12. "This is where we live" he confirms.


  1. Love this and laughed really hard for the first time in days - I needed that. Except #8. I hate #8.

  2. I have to keep reminding myself of #8 and 4, because dammit, cute houses ARE cute. Whenever we do eventually buy (prob. in Columbus, ha), a sleepy 900 sq ft or so is actually all I want. But with a kick-ass backyard.

  3. Components of this either apply to me now or have in recent history. We're still renting, though that is evolving into something that is less on purpose. Our home owning friends are paying about 500 less on their mortgage each month than we are on rent (ouch), we're pretty much almost totally sure we aren't leaving this area ever, there is mold that won't stop growing on some of our bedroom walls (ick), and gosh darnit, cute houses sure are cute. We've been out with a realtor the last couple of weekends and for all of the years we've loved renting, I'm pretty sure we don't live here anymore, we're just crashing here until we find a home to buy on purpose.

    Where do you see yourselves landing when you someday slip out of Columbus?

    1. I could talk about this all day, ha. There would benefits to continuing to rent here or buying. We are basically single income, but our rent is only 1/5 of our monthly income so it's not like we're getting gouged each month. We could afford to buy but it would be in a less ideal neighborhood. That is not to say bad, just not as good. If we bought a place our monthly payment towards housing would be around the same or just a little bit less. We really like our neighborhood and our place itself. We have a basement, great light, character, a yard, etc. I suppose if we bought a place we'd be building equity but the thought of replacing a furnace and wiping out our savings haunts me.

      I hope to one day own a cute house but I am content to wait, unless some perfect place shows up in the next few months or something. I am open to it.

      As far as where do we see ourselves..depends on the academic job market. I like my job, but I can work in local/state government anywhere. I also could do something totally different. Hopefully when Nick graduates we can be picky about location, but if we can't, then we will make the best of whatever place we end up in, or try it out for a few years and move...back to Ohio or somewhere else.

    2. I wish we lived closer so we could meet up and talk about this (and other things) all day.

    1) You played with a band? What did you PLAY?
    2) The house-buying thing, so that's a no-go then, eh?

    The cuteness of that house still haunts me. It was probably too adorable for us -- like we couldn't hold its attractiveness. Like someone driving by would see it and go, "I WONDER WHO LIVES IN THAT WONDERFUL COTTAGE" and then see us two schlubs in the yard and go, "Oh."

    I felt similarly to you about our last rental. Its (many) flaws made it that much more ours.

    1. I used to play piano and horns, and have been trying to learn guitar, though that's not going so well. have to, some...and then, like pluck others? My friend Brad sings and plays guitar and he and Nick play out together sometimes (Nick plays drums) and they had me play keyboard with them for a show. It looked like this: I had a lot of fun, I hope to do it more. I've been trying to play piano again, I really regret not keeping up with that.

      Like I said to Ginny up there, I think we are just going to keep renting unless some perfect house shows up. I like the idea of having a house but am also okay with not having a house for now.

    2. As someone who recently purchased a lovely home--which made sense for our current life and careers--in a nice but not ideal area, I still thoroughly enjoy hanging out at your rental, and Michelle's too. While I gained space, and closets, I lack the quirky neighborhood hangouts within walking distance, and the convenience of living downtown. I enjoy living vicariously through friends with small and chic apartments, and you are welcome to come and camp out in my gigantic back yard.

  5. Where would you go instead of Columbus? I go through this cycle (or some variation of it; I do not play in a band + I despise some of my neighbors) constantly. It's strange that desire to want something of your own.

    1. Nick is working on his PhD so wherever he gets a job or if he doesn't get good offers I guess we recalculate. Who knows. I like medium-sized Midwestern cities but I wouldn't mind a change in landscape (mountains, ocean).