Last night, I ran into my building manager and a prospective tenant. The guy had seen the three vacant apartments – all of which had been upgraded and are gorgeous. Building manager was doing the big push when I walked by.
"Darling girl, come meet Tom! He likes number 16."
We exchange the usual pleasantries ~ Hi…Hi…nice to meet you…you, too…should I move-in? Uh, yes, move into this building please – you’re adorable. I told him what I liked about the building, living there, etc. Then he asked how long I’ve lived in the complex. Er…uh…carry the one…13 years, I answer. Whoa, he said, with furrowed brow.
Yeah, I’ve been in my apartment for 13 years.
It was the summer of 1998. I had just returned from vacation to find my roommate had bought a place and I had to be out in a month. At the time, I was a Sign Language Interpreter out in Santa Clarita making about $28K. I needed to find a decent, cheap place ASAP. I drove around the area, writing down numbers. I collected newspapers, those rental books at grocery stores and Penny Savers. I found this in the Penny Saver - Lrg studio in NH, quiet bldg. $485/mo. Call Allan. It was more than my current rent, but I figured with some penny-pinching, the amount was doable.
I stared at the building from my parked car. Charming, pretty blue color…let’s take a look. As we walked to number 3, Allan gave me the history of the building and its tenants. The person who had lived there for the shortest amount of time had been there for eight years. Allan had been there for twenty. The longevity of the tenants appealed to me. The previous tenant of number 3 had moved to a one-bedroom upstairs. When Allan opened the door, I was in love. Who knew a spacious single apartment could come with a full-size kitchen, not a hot plate, and a full-size bathroom with a shower and tub?! What truly sold me was the dressing room with its built-in dresser, full-size closets and tons of storage space.
Back in the manager’s office, I filled out the application. Allan looked it over. “Oh, you work in the schools? I’ll knock $25 off your rent.” Done. For $460/month, I got my own apartment.
It’s 13 years later and I’m in the same place, paying a little over $600/month in rent. Every single day I think about moving. I dream about a one- or two-bedroom place or a little house with space and such. But, seriously. My rent is $600. If I moved, rent would easily double or even triple. I'd rather spend my money on living! I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the extra-curricular activities I love – concerts, dining out, get-aways, vacations. And those are things I am just not ready to give up. Yet.
Until then, I’ll sit here in number 3 and wait for new neighbors.