Monday, October 22, 2007

Memory Lane Monday - My first apartment

Wow, does this question bring back memories! And when I read it this morning, I immediately got the song from Barenaked Ladies stuck in my head - you know the "Welcome to the old apartment..." one? Ok, never mind. Back to today's topic. I'm a bit late with this, but technically it is still Monday - for another half hour anyway.

My first apartment was in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I was transferring to school there and a friend of mine from high school and I had decided to rent an apartment together instead of live in the dorms. She was already going there and living on campus so we put her in charge of finding an affordable, decent place in an okay neighborhood within walking distance of campus. I signed the lease before ever seeing the apartment.

The apartment was in what we referred to as a 'cut up' house - one of those older, huge homes that someone had purchased and divided into (in this case) three separate dwelling units. The upstairs was one unit and there were two downstairs ones. Ours was the smallest (only one bedroom) and right in the front of the house. We shared a driveway not only with the other residents of our building but with the house next door, creating a confusing system of deciding who would park behind who and who would be relegated to parking on the street overnight and therefore subject to the 'no parking between 2am and 6am' on various sides of the street on various days rule. Getting a parking ticket because you forgot that if you parked on the street on Friday night, then it was really whether you could park there legally at 2am on Saturday that you had to be concerned with = lots of revenue for the City. That must be why they used such a confusing system to begin with... There was one parking space allotted to us in a gravel lot behind a house a couple of doors down as well.

So the apartment itself - was small. Basically two rooms - a living room and a bedroom. Plus a tiny bathroom and a kitchen about the same size. So small in fact, that the refrigerator and a cabinet had to go into the living room since they didn't fit. At one point after I'd been there about a year or so, the landlord did renovate and opened up the kitchen to the living room, added a breakfast bar/counter between the two and replaced the stove and fridge. They did this because the unit hadn't met building code before. Oops.

The bedroom was newly painted and carpeted in a lovely mint green shade (must've been cheap) and the living room had rust-colored carpet and cream walls. All windows had mini blinds that we kept shut 24/7 since it wasn't the greatest neighborhood and we were on the ground floor. It was - cozy. Definitely cozy.

So how much did we pay for all of this opulence? Can you guess? This was 1990, 'student-ghetto' area of town... My roommate and I paid a sum total of $275 a month. That's together - we each paid $137.50. Yes, you're reading that right! I'll spell it out for you even - one hundred thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents. Each. And that included water, trash, parking (well kind of - see above) and heat as well since we didn't have our own thermostat - it was controlled by the apartment behind us. We just paid for our own electric, phone, and cable.

You can see why I lived there for the 4 years I was in school there, right? However, I was pretty anxious to move out somewhere a little - less student ghetto-ish once I graduated. Getting over the sticker shock of renting an apartment in a nice complex on my own was - well let's just say that I had many moments of missing that tiny little (cheap) apartment! Or at least missing the rent payments, LOL.

I had five roommates over four years in that apartment. Two of them are still my closest friends today. I remember staying up until hours talking, midnight runs to Meijer for chocolate, building a loft bed so that we could double our floor space in the bedroom, mini Christmas trees, massive amounts of chocolate chip cookie dough, watching tv on my 9-inch television, bringing boyfriends home, consoling each other through breakups, and many more awesome memories.

In a few weeks, we'll have lived in our current house for four years. Until then, the longest I've lived in any apartment or house (since I moved away from my parents' house that is) was that college apartment. Weird to think about.

I wonder what inflation has done to the rent on that place now? :)

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3 wonderful people said...:

Anonymous said...

Okay, Deb. I never have written a comment on your blog because it's your blog. But, I have to respond to this one. The boys and I drove past the apartment (student ghetto)last weekend and the entire road looks completely deserted. I had trouble remembering which house it even was. The front window was broken and I can't believe we actually lived there.

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

Weird! I walked down there when I was in K'zoo for a conference last May and it looked exactly the same to me as it did back when we lived there - I don't think they'd even painted it. I was so curious what the inside looks like - if it's totally trashed or what... I still do have a hard time thinking that I lived in that tiny place for 4 years without going nuts! :)

Heather @ Desperately Seeking Sanity said...

Wow! I'm jealous of the rent!!!!

I think our apartment was $400 a month!

Thanks for playing... :)