This month we got notice that our rent is jumping up about 20 percent; J's going to be graduating in the next few months; we're in a one-bedroom with a baby. In other words, we'll probably be moving sometime in the foreseeable future, which feels like a huge deal to me because moving = the worst, and also because the place we live now is probably my favorite place we've lived since we got married.
Right now we live in a rented condo, and even the small tweak in our normal pattern of apartment living feels like it makes the situation different. Usually in an apartment complex everyone is moving in and out regularly enough that no one knows their neighbors, but in our building everyone else owns their own condos and has lived here for like twenty years, so we've gotten to know our neighbors and I really love that. I'll miss it. Anyway, I'm not that interested in buying a house (ball and chain amirite) anytime soon, and my bank account/career path is REALLY not interested in it, so. I've been starting to half-heartedly peruse Craiglist in search of The Next Place To Schlep My Billions Of Books I Regret Each Time We Move. And also thinking about apartment life in general.
Apropos of that, here are the things I love about living in an apartment:
1. Maintenance. I really, REALLY love being able to just call someone to fix whatever breaks.
2. Not being tied down to a location (or, at least, a micro-location, since though we might move intra-Bay-Area, I doubt we'll leave this area anytime soon). Commuting = the worst.
3. Crowdedness. I actually really like having people around all the time and neighbors in very close proximity. I also love being able to live close to downtown streets and businesses (particularly ones that are open twenty-four hours a day; see item 6).
4. Minimal decision-making. The thought of picking, like, paint colors or roof tiles or whatever stresses me out. Actually, the thought of any home-related decision stresses me out.
5. Ease of finances. I still couldn't hazard a guess as to what "escrow" means, but I can handle dropping a check in the mail once a month.
6. Smallness of your living area. I can't really picture what I'd do with three or four times as much square footage; sometimes when I go to my parents' house it feels confusingly enormous to me, even though half the time when I was living there it felt too small/like I could go nowhere to have some quiet. Also, the over-paranoid part of me that goes into overdrive when jolted awake likes being able to get up at night and check that there's nothing terrifying going on in any of the rooms; having only two real rooms facilitates that happening much more quickly. Also, something creeps me out about doors to the outside that are really far away. Did I mention I like having neighbors in close proximity at all hours?
7. Not having a yard to like weed and rake and mow and generally think about, although this one's a mixed bag, because it would be a a fun place for a slightly older child (NEVER GROW UP AUDREY I CAN'T TAKE IT) to play. But parks are nice too, although they require more supervision.
Things common to apartments that I either don't love/would love to find a way around in the next place we live:
1. Lack of community.
2. Worrying my baby's crying is irritating neighbors (although luckily so far Audrey is super mellow and never really just screams for hours on end; she's generally extremely consolable, and I'm really grateful for that. I hear this is how you get tricked into having a second baby who might turn out to be a demon-child, though).
3. No space for visitors to stay with us, although that obviously could be remedied by getting a bigger apartment
4. The rental prices in the Bay Area are seriously insane (market rate is like $1800/month for a one-bedroom right now in my town; on the plus side, buying a home isn't actually a wiser decision financially, so no pressure there). Plus the constant nagging fear that your rent's going to go up.
5. Parking situations.
6. Lack of in-unit washer and dryers (we do have one now and it's the greatest thing ever/I think probably four or five times a week how much I love that). It's rare around here.
7. Noisy maintenance-type activities (nails pounding, demolition, jackhammering, etc.) that make too much noise during my delicate writer-schedule.
8. Impermanence. I would put up with kind of a lot to never have to move again.
What's your living situation like? Would you recommend it?