Friday, December 14, 2007


So Michelle gets some kind of bonus prize for leaving comments that spark full entries. (M- I can give you shards of broken auto glass! Yay! Sparkly!)

So... The town of Vount Mernon itself has a dodgy reputation. There are parts of it that border the Bronx that are renowned for dog fighting and prostitution. However, the part where I live has a good reputation. I've lived here for five years this coming Presidents Day. I always said, "Well... Despite the Bronx/border reputation, my street seems really nice. I know the burglars don't stand around welcoming you to the neighborhood, so I have to go with my gut instinct."

And for years, my gut instinct was solid. I never had a problem. I've always felt really safe walking Bella at all hours of the day and night. We had a weird situation a few years ago with a crappy downstairs tenant, but it was mostly a domestic issue with his ex-wife and child support and occasionally the smell of marijuana drifting up the stairs. My landlords had him evicted as soon as they legally could.

And now, well... I feel kind of stuck. The apartment itself has some quirks, but for what we pay for it, it's technically a steal in this real estate market. The landlords are a little stingy with the heat and cranky about some stuff, like the times we're allowed to use the washer and dryer. They live in Florida all winter, though, in a condo certainly purchased in part with the nearly $60,000 I've paid them in rent money. Once they leave- right after Christmas every year- the heat comes on automatically with the thermostat around 68 degrees. No problem.

The landlords can be grouchy, but they are good people. Today Mr. M was the one who alerted me to my car situation. I had to go out and cover the big winter storm, which is shitty considering I had to shoot stills for tomorrow's paper AND b-roll for tonight's 5 p.m. broadcast. Taking $25,000 worth of gear out into sleet and snow in a car I can't secure because it has a broken fucking window and all the auto glass places closed early due to the constant melodramatic weather-related hand-wringing perpetrated by, let's see.. Oh, ME and my co-workers! Sigh. Basically I had to ride around finding people shoveling and salting and spinning their tires and shoot them from no further than five feet away from the car with the expensive gear that so doesn't belong to me AND- lest we forget- is missing A GODDAMN passenger window.

Although I did notice as I drove down my street in second gear at 3 mph that two other cars had taped-up passenger windows today. Misery loves company, I guess.

I came home briefly to transmit video in time for the 4:15 p.m. broadcast rehearsal, and while I was upstairs, the landlord surprised me by taping up my broken window and removing a lot of the broken glass from the front seat for me. I'm honestly quite touched, truth be told. It makes up for the fact he has never fixed my broken doorbell because he's going deaf and refuses to wear a hearing aid and repeatedly insists he can hear the doorbell ringing all the way up on the third floor from the porch and therefore it is fixed. It saves me from the door-to-door missionaries, so it's not all bad. Unless you're waiting for an important FedEx package. Then it sucks.

Where was I? Yeah. So the apartment has a perpetually broken doorbell, a laundry curfew, inadequate heat in November and December, poor water pressure and a cabal of CIA-trained skunks in the front yard. I have to schlepp 85+ pounds of video and camera equipment up three flights of stairs, which is taking a real toll on my back since I got outfitted with a proper broadcast-quality video camera.

It also has all hardwood floors, floor to ceiling windows and a fenced-in backyard we use for the dog and parties in the summer. It costs a little more than $1000 a month (discussions of money as it relates to real estate isn't considered rude around here) and we can have all three pets without a hassle. We really don't want to move, since we just won't find a deal like this anywhere else as long as we're renting, especially with the pets. The plan has always been to live here until we can buy something of our own. We're saving a down payment for a house, but it's slow going. It would be going faster if we hadn't had to pay $100 x 5 for BROKEN FUCKING CAR WINDOWS in the last three months.

Is the neighborhood going downhill? Maybe. Is this the work of a handful of petty thieves? Probably. Do I want a supercute 3 bedroom Cape Cod with a fireplace and a fenced-in backyard on the other side of the Bappan Tee Tridge? SO BAD I CAN TASTE IT.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I totally understand the "rent the super-good-deal place, until we can own" mentality. It is EXACTLY where Travis and I are in life. People flip out when they find out that we have a 1000 sq. ft. apartment, with a view, and a parking space in a great part of Seattle for $800/month. I honestly believe that it was karma, since I was crying when we got lost in this neighborhood and saw the "for rent" sign, because we had looked at close to 50 places in 3 days prior to that...

And, despite our awesome place, last summer, we actually got a real estate agent and went on a house/condo hunt because we can't stand "throwing money away" every month...that all ended badly, but that's another story. So, in short, I understand where you're coming from, but it sounds like, for the near future you're better off staying in your apartment and saving up money for a house. Is there any way you can get a parking space at or near your apartment? Do your landlords park on the street and has anything ever happened to their car(s)?

Thanks for your lovely Christmas card :)