So I was a little daunted in trying to hunt an apartment in a city that I hadn't spent any significant time in and yet was moving into in a week. So yes. Daunted is definitely a good word for it.
First day, first place and Chef and I are liking it a lot. It's cute, new and has a patio. Only two drawbacks are that it's a little small and on the first floor. The complex was completely secure with a parking spot included, two swimming pools, three huge laundry facilities and a fitness center--also a year's worth of free laundry cards (they don't make you get change, they put $ on the laundry cards and you just swipe your card).
But not knowing if what we were seeing was good or great, we moved along. We saw cute. We saw big. We saw out of our price range. We saw old in a great location. We saw new in a shitty location. The one thing most of these places get right is they update their appliances and bathroom fixtures. That's a standard. They also know exactly which area of the apartment to photograph to maximize its appeal.
My two favorite scenarios were today's. At the first place we went to, we pulled up right outside to a big African-American dude on the front balcony blaring rap music. By blaring, I mean we could rap along to the music in our closed up car. But I felt obligated to look at the place because we had already called a dude and made him meet us there to open it. We go through the place and where is the apartment he's showing us? Right next to blaring rap music at 11 a.m. dude. That's a big HELL no. I don't really want to rent a place where there are lots of people home at 11 a.m. I work hard. I want to be around others that do too. Maybe it's just me.
The other one was old and had updated the lobby and some good space. The "two bedroom" was weird because one bedroom was connected to the other and you had to walk through the first bedroom to get to the second. All of that was fine and dandy, but again it was the little thing that made me (I guess I'm a snob) turn on my heels and leave. We went to the balcony and the neighbor to the left had their entire balcony filled with trash. Broken furniture, empty spray paint cans, broken strollers. All pure crap.
When I told the leasing agent, the place wasn't really for us, she asked me why and sensing that she actually did care what I thought or wanted some truthful feedback, I told her that both of the apartments she had shown us had neighbors who had trash piled up on their balconies that wasn't somewhere I was interested in living.
So, in the end, we've seen about 12 places and it looks like that we'll have an apartment by noon tomorrow. And while the we've sacrificed a nice place for a great location (and the WORST complex) in our Nashville place. It looks like we're going for good location, great complex and some actual amenities for the new place.
It actually wasn't until Chef declared that he absolutely needed some sunglasses asap that I started to feel like LA could be home. Funny how the great American commerce can feel so comforting. We pulled into the place everyone told us they raved about called The Grove. Lots of stores we don't have in Nashville--Nordstrom, American Girl Store, Crate and Barrel, etc. We look around, have fun and have our route encumbered going into Nordstrom by Mario Lopez shooting tonight's "Extra". It started to feel like LA.
Then we went to the discount complex up the street, passed where Heidi's work scenes were shot for "The Hills" and amongst the discount Nordstrom, I felt my Hoosier groundedness come out. I know there are going to be more tears, more tantrums and many more turnarounds with the Garmin, but I think this place is going to work for us.