The apartment where we’ve been living since January? It’s awful. We entered into the lease without seeing it in person, based on photos from an Internet rental listing and the not-entirely-honest description given by the landlord. I wish we could have taken a house hunting trip in advance, but between Brendon’s thesis writing/class schedule and the crazy amount of work we were doing trying to get our California house into sale condition, it wasn’t feasible to fly across country. Plus, I wasn’t even pregnant yet when we signed the lease. Our needs now aren’t the same as they were in October. At the time, the apartment sounded completely adequate, was a good price, and was in a cool location in a historic house right downtown. We were dismayed when we arrived. And that was before we knew about the triplets.
We schemed at length about how to make the place work. After all, it’s only for a year. We didn’t really want to go through the hassle of moving if we could help it – we’d be on our own for this move, without the Navy’s free assistance. But the apartment just frustrated me constantly. The size is the biggest complaint. Supposedly the apartment has 150 more square feet than our California house did, but we were completely unable to unpack all of our existing stuff – let alone make room for all the accoutrements for 3 infants (not to mention their grandma’s extended stay). We can barely open the dresser drawers before they hit the bed. There’s not more than 5 feet between the sofa and the TV. And no, there’s no better way to configure the furniture.
The neighborhood traffic is bad and will get worse as the summer tourists arrive. You have to navigate several one-way roads to get home, one of them being downtown’s main drag. And the streets are so narrow that cars have to park with two wheels on the sidewalk. Our own parking situation is not good. There is a driveway and it is 2 cars deep, but only 1 wide, and we have an upstairs neighbor we have to share with. What happens when we have to dash to the hospital at 1 am and we’re blocked in, and the neighbor has walked down the street to one of the bars? And while we’re on the subject of the neighbor, it’s not that I don’t like her, it’s just that the house doesn’t dampen noise at all. I’ve been able to make out conversation when people are directly overhead. I’m sure she and the roommates that I believe are arriving soon don’t want to hear babies all night, any more than we want to hear them stomping around.
The place is shabby; the kitchen is awful and makes me want to throw things every time I attempt to cook. That’s not a good situation when I’m expecting to be mostly house bound for months on end. I mean, look at it.
The shelves? We installed those. Yes, that is a compact stove, which barely fits a standard muffin tray. Yes, those are stacked laundry machines, also compact, blocking access to one of the 6 cabinets. (Yeah, because I want to wash 24+ cloth diapers every day in a compact washer, in my kitchen.)
Ultimately I felt like this was NOT where I wanted to bring our babies home. I decided we needed to move, and I talked Brendon into it. (Or, begged and sobbed until he caved.) Living here would just add stress and complication to an already demanding situation. I explained everything to the landlord, who was thankfully pretty understanding and agreed that, once she got a new renter, she would release us from our lease. (There is probably a new renter already, expected to move in no later than May 1.)
This past Tuesday, we traded this:
I’m not saying the downtown lifestyle doesn’t have its own charm – but the second picture definitely says “Family of Five” a lot more than the first one does! We have been carrying some boxes and small items over all week, and have made really great progress already. Yes, I’m being careful about how much I lift and how often I rest and all that stuff. We’re having professionals move our furniture a week from Monday and we’ll be totally out of Sucky Apartment and into Single Family Home by the end of the month.
I feel so, so, so much better already. Every time we go to the new place, I feel like I can breathe easier. The living space feels twice the size. I know it’s sort of backward, but it’s been a very long time since we moved into a house that was larger than the one we moved out of. Plus, check out the new kitchen!