Dwellings

I'm guessing some of you out there know what it's like to have lived in an apartment in a building (or neighborhood; fortunately, I'm living in both) that's, shall we say, colorful.  I think it'd be most interesting to hear stories of other "quaint" domiciles besides the one I'm about to relate.  My apartment is the place (albeit very small; I prefer "compact") I've lived the longest during my grad school career. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I do, in fact, live on an actual corner in a building that used to be a hardware store.

As I explained to a Verizon representative on the phone two weeks ago when I had to cancel DSL service that never actually worked, my converted lodgings aren't nearly as quaint as they seem.

When I moved in, my parents sat that move out (something for which they were grateful). My friends (for which I was grateful) came and helped me both pack and move my possessions.  For a good month, I didn't have a couch in my living room. The one that exists now is perhaps the smallest couch IKEA makes, but it's a good fit as long as no more than two people sit on it.  I have only two chairs in my kitchen because that's all that fits, but I once sat eight in my place for dinner.  Besides the exterior door, I only have two other doors I can close: the bathroom door, which takes a good shove, and my bedroom door, which I never close in the winter for fear of dying of heat stroke.  My "thermostat," if you can call it that, simply has an on/off switch for the heat in the winter. I was recently provided the luxury of a carbon monoxide detector--my landlord's nod to modernity. Given it's compact design, you really only have to walk about three steps (if that; it's less if you're in the bathroom to get, well, anywhere else) to get to another "room."

When my parents first saw my place after I moved in, my Mom's first words were "Oh, Kim. You need to get out of here."

Over the past three, almost four, years of living in my apartment, I've learned it's quirks, as well as my neighbors: when I had a crazy neighbor who lived above me for the better part of two years and he would flood his bathroom, I knew my kitchen was in serious trouble.  Once he was evicted, and my current upstairs neighbor moved in, my landlord's "repair" of the bathroom was a bit sketchy: I knew if she ran the water in the shower for more than ten minutes, I had to get my bucket and place it strategically between two ceiling tiles because water would come cascading down.  Eventually, I stopped putting the bucket away under my kitchen sink and just left it by my garbage can: it was much easier to slide it into place.  Since my place used to be a storefront, my front door really is a large window with bits of "door" around it; the mailbox attached to it really isn't for mail (as a handwritten sign taped to the inside of the window says) but rather to display the house number--the first of which has a habit of falling off in strong wind.

Then there's the apartment behind me.  In the relatively short amount of time I've lived there, it had a revolving door of tenants: first, a colleague of mine until he moved out.  Then, a young woman with two dogs who, literally, tore the apartment apart.  She had a boyfriend called Bill, who helped her move in.  In doing so, he incorrectly assumed that the second storage unit in the backyard was hers as well.  He cut the lock off I had on it and threw my stuff in the garbage.  She ultimately (and thankfully--the wall that separates our apartment is a fantastically fake one and consequently quite thin...and sometimes, I, um, heard more than I ever really wanted to) moved out.  It was empty for a while until my current neighbor, a guy who is a few years younger than I, moved in.

He, eventually, brought with him his girlfriend/fiance and they eventually brought a dog.  When that one mysteriously disappeared (I'm still not sure whatever happened to King), they brought another: Ozzie who is small, of an undetermined (by me, at least) breed, who yaps and yaps and is not potty trained.

For the past two and a half weeks, I've been awoken, usually 15 to 30 minutes prior to my alarm going off, by what I'll politely call the dulcet tones of his girlfriend yelling, nasally, "OZZIE!! NO!!! BAD!! WHY DON'T YOU LISTEN?!"  Sometimes when Ozzie misbehaves, he does so by digging into the wall at a place that's usually directly behind my bed.  I like to think the little guy is not as stupid as my neighbors claim/lament, but that he's rather quite smart: he's trying to get away.  While I appreciate his courage, I don't necessarily appreciate his habit of trying to tunnel his way out before six in the morning.  I've tried all kinds of solutions to stop the tunneling and yelling that follows: I've covered my head with both pillows, I've slept on my own small couch I can't even lay stretched out on, I've tried knocking on the wall once he starts digging (that only makes him dig with greater rapidity), and, as my last line of defense, I've turned on my iPod dock on as loud as it goes and tried various artists to combat the noise.  I thought that if perhaps I found the right artist/song combination, it would work: Ozzie would forego tunneling to freedom, The Dulcet would stop yelling.  Many artists on my iPod failed, and so far I've only found one success, every time.

I won't disclose who, so far, works and the many that failed--I'm not quite sure this is an honor to be bestowed in much the same way a good review, or an award, or an invitation to a significant festival would be. If given enough time, I'm sure I could come up with some kind of statuette or at the very least a nice certificate, but, again, I'm not quite sure that cuts it.  I, certainly, appreciate it: even with music blaring, if I'm tired enough, I will fall back to sleep or he will stop for a long enough period of time I can shut off my iPod and go back to bed in quiet.

After getting home a bit late (or, depending on how you look at it, early), I was awoken this morning after only four hours of sleep.  Because I couldn't stand the sound of dog nails digging into wood, nor those lovely vocal tones, I left and came to work.  So, when I get to leave my office ("my," as I have been told, which is really phonetically spelled "mah"), I'll get to go back home and sleep for more than the four hours I got last night.  I'll be thankful for the quiet, for the nice evening I had last night, for a bit more sleep, and, certainly, for daffodils.

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