1.) Spring Semester got intense (4.0 for two classes!)
2.) Summer Semester was an eight week hellscape (3.5 for two classes, almost learned to hate databases)
3.) Fall Semester is my first semester of three classes (nine hours) and there's been some adjustment.
4.) ...I moved.
The last time I posted in April, I was really only thinking seriously about it but without commitment. then Child got a tech support job, and he really wanted to move pretty much anywhere else, which--this being Austin--is not cheap; worse, the areas he wanted to move to were really not cheap and stuffed full of new, shiny, very trendy new complexes which were really really not cheap...none of which either of us could possibly afford on our own, which is when he said we'd split the rent down the middle.
That made it surprisingly doable. For those who know Austin, our final area choices (that at least were vaguely possible, was the North Lamar area south of 290 where a lot of new complexes had and still are popping up and south of the River (South Austin). Downtown was not doable without selling some key organs that don't have backups and cant' be replaced. We also checked a few other areas, but North Lamar was our first choice for a.) the center of everything, b.) buses everywhere and access to the train, and c.) it's just super cool, okay?
The total rent we could afford was $2200: go.
I'll spare you the horrifying details but note: not as easy as one might think and not just for budget reasons.
Out of the four I toured (and one Child toured), oddly enough, we liked three, which fulfilled the criteria of a.) we could probably afford it, b.) near bus lines/North Lamar, and c.) allowed German Shepherds, and you'd be surprised to know how many places sort of forgot to put that on their website or used the cryptic 'breed restrictions' so I had to call and be annoyed.
Third choice was in the middle of remodeling, so there wasn't a lot of certainty when a two bedroom would pop up (best guess: January), so we made appointments to tour other complexes while waiting for First and Second Choice to post openings on the off chance that those two didn't work out and me really hating the words 'breed restrictions' like so very fucking much (just SAY WHICH BREEDS ON THE SITE HOLY SHIT).
Fortunately, we were spared more tours (and more phone calls).
The Two Contenders
From the outside and as far as amenities go, first and second choice were really alike, and so was the architecture, which is a semi-generic Austin Hip that makes me feel very trendy and cool and I'm not ashamed to admit it. They also had a lot of overlap in both complex layout and in available floorplans. Both were comprised of two very large connecting (or semi-connecting) four story buildings; in First Choice, one building surrounded a zen garden (Second choice: bocce court/sitting area) and the other building surrounded a pool.
Both had: a very nice clubhouse/gathering place (full kitchen, billiards, etc), computer room (called Library at Second Choice). First Choice also had a dramatic stair entrance to it, since the leasing office was first floor on street side but built on a hill so most of the complex was a about a floor below that. Second Choice, however, had a Theatre Room, and it really is a miniature theatre with a 100+ inch movie screen, two rows of movie-quality recliners with lights, and a long bar with stools that you can reserve and watch Netflix (complex's account apparently), a variety of movies they own, or bring your own.
All apartments had internal entrances, which is very new to me (most apartment complexes I was familiar with were external entrance and external stairs). Some--the work/live apartments, a couple of the lofts, and a very few of the first floor apartments that faced a street--could also be entered from the street by their porch doors.
(This felt super-fancy to me, btw.)
Both offered storage rooms (that you paid for monthly).
Both offered mandatory amenities packages you paid for in addition to rent that included trash pickup three times weekly, which I never knew I wanted more than anything in the world. Second choice's package also included cable and internet, while First Choice left you on your own for those. Utilities were not included in either, and you were billed for water by the complex.
First choice was about a mile and change farther south than second choice and in a quiet neighborhood and on a bus line, right down the road from a bookstore sand Kentucky Fried Chicken (yes, that was an inducement), but it was also farther east from Lamar; second choice was only one block off Lamar, had several buses stopping literally right outside the door, and nearer some other popular Austin complexes where Child could have play dates with kids his own age.
(...yes, he's twenty-four, but I don't see how that's relevant.)
First choice had more variety: studio, one, two, and three bedrooms, one bedroom + loft, two bedroom + loft, three bedroom + loft, and live/work; all had multiple variations in floorplans (total: 40 floorplans); square footage was ~500 to ~1400. Using historical prices, one of the one bedroom + loft (some of which had a second bathroom), two bedroom, two bedroom plus loft, and three bedroom (no loft) were all potentially doable, and square footage would be from ~800 square feet to around ~1000.
Second choice had studio, one, and two bedrooms with about two variations for studio, about three to five variations for one bedroom, and only two variations for two bedroom/two bath. Of the two bedrooms, one around 850 square feet, one 1235 square feet. I was betting on the smaller one; the larger one, I assumed, would be way outside my budget according to what I read.
As my last was in the upper 700s square feet, all of them were going to be an upgrade, and also, I cannot say this enough, valet trash. That shit is fancy.
First choice skewed slightly more expensive than second choice--it is very much a place people move into and don't leave until they're ready to buy a house--but during the tour when I told them my wants and budget (two bedroom minimum, $2200 max), they assured me that was doable. Second choice said the same.
First choice...either didn't know that the company would raise rents surprisingly or thought I was so infatuated I'd pay well over $2200, which admittedly as I loved the place, I might have been tempted and learned to subsist on two meals a day, one of Ramen. After listing three floorplans that were supposed to be in my budget but weren't by an order of one meal a day of dry Ramen.
(For context, I got worried when several one bedrooms went up and half were over my budget and really lacking in square footage. It was--stressing.)
Second choice called me around seven one night and said that the largest two bedroom floorplan was available and for $200 below budget and I should go fill out the leasing application right now.
I stared at First Choice's website, then applied at Second Choice on a Thursday. I was approved on Monday morning.
You Would Not Believe How Relieved I Am For This Turn of Events
For reasons, we're going to skip why while my official move-in date was 8/23, I didn't actually physically sleep here until 8/25 and we weren't finished moving until 8/31 (technically, five in the morning on 9/1). I started class on the 23rd as well, so you might say my stress levels were--unpleasant and also, we're just going to forget those nine days even happened.
So being infatuated with First Choice, though I did like Second Choice enough to have it second, I also missed some incredibly persuasive reasons My Complex (was: Second Choice) should have been First Choice all along.
My Complex (was: Second Choice) is newer than Other Choice (was: First Choice); my building (Building 2) is really new (I think less than 5 years and maybe less than three) and a hilarious example of real estate prices and people just dead refusing to move. Building 1 and Building 2 are diagonal to each other in the same block (northeast and southwest corners); the northwest side of the block is a pre-existing (and expensive) two story condominium complex; the southeast side of the block is, in this order from north to south from Building 1: a private two story home with a separate and inhabited and very, very shiny airstream with porch in the backyard beneath the trees; a tiny two story single building apartment complex; a small and probably hideously expensive empty lot, and another house (or lot, I can't remember). From building two going east: a set of about five town houses and the aforementioned another house/empty lot on the corner.
The two buildings are roughly twenty feet apart (or less) at their closet point, and it's basically taken up by the walkway in front of the porches on building two and a wheelchair ramp. For Building 2, there's a second very long, very gradual wheelchair ramp on the east side of the building that leads to the underground parking (two levels) that has a gate that only opens when you frantically press your key fob like twenty times when you're in range but hopefully not too close, as they didn't bother to paint a line on where you should stop so the gate won't gently nudge your car and make you have to back up to get inside (it won't even scratch your paint when it nudges you but it's super disconcerting).
(Also: of all the complexes I visited personally, this was the only one where they talked about--unprompted, as part of their speech--about disability accommodations through the complex, which apartments were accessible, and encouraged us to ask if we'd like more information. I'm not disabled and neither is my mother, so I really appreciated a.) it seemed to be standard in their tour and b.) they didn't think they disability could be decided just by looking at us. Their website used to have a more information as well but it was just redesigned and they're still adding back in missing content so I assume they'll bring that back.)
As I said earlier, each building surrounds a courtyard: Building 1 only has three sides (C shape) with the fourth side a partial brick wall that symbolically separates Building 1 from Building 2; the courtyard is a variety of outdoor tables and chairs, outdoor sections, barbecue pits, a firepit, and sitting areas, which must be awesome when there are complex-wide gatherings. All three sides have courtyard-facing apartments and street-facing apartments on all four floors.
Building 2 has four sides and surrounds a pool, a set of single person pyramid like structures you can sit in (I guess?) a grill/barbecue area and firepit, and a lot lot lot of lounging areas. There are pool-facing apartments on all four sides; on the outside, Partial Brick Wall Separating Us From Building 1 Facing Apartments (with nice patios on the first floor) to the north; apartments facing the private home/empty lot/etc to the west (first floor has patios; 2-4 have balconies); to the east, there are no first floor apartments (outside is the Dog Park 2; inside is garbage and maintenance rooms); and to the south facing the driveway (that goes down to parking), there are no apartments on the first and second floor but several with surprisingly long or large balconies on the third and fourth.
Both buildings have at least two doors (Building 1, since it has the leasing office and mail room, has about four or five) that open to the street (or driveway to underground parking), and one to two that open into the complex; each dog park (2!) has at least one door that opens directly into it as well as an external gate with a code lock. Both buildings have two elevators that go from Underground Parking Level 2 to the fourth floor, and at least three sets of stairs, two of which also go down to both parking levels. My building has five sets of stairs but for reasons, I'm not sure exactly where two of them are (I still get--off course coming and going). Each floor has room where there are two trash chutes (recycle and not) where you can also leave your broken down boxes, thank God.
(I really need my complex map; I'll find it and correct later, I just moved in so it's still kind of a blur on where everything is.)
1.) Being only one block off Lamar is incredibly convenient; it's very walkable to get anywhere and buses stop literally at the door of Building 1.
2.) There's a small park only a block away but to get to it, you have to circle that entire block.
3.) There is one local coffee shop and a vape store half a block toward Lamar.
4.) There is an awesome shopping center with a bakery and Asian grocery store and dollar store on the other side of the fence that separates it from Building 2. You just walk through the open gate in the fence. I can literally spend my entire check on baked goods, random groceries, and about a dozen restaurants and dollar items. God bless.
The combined cable/internet cost in the mandatory amenities package is half the price I paid for internet at my old apartment, and I forgot that on cable, Law and Order is always on somewhere. So I am happy and did anyone know Eliot was coming back?????
I'm going to gush, you can skip, but I am so. In. Love.
My apartment is their largest floor plan at 1226 square feet; there are only sixteen of them, all pool-facing, set at the four corners of Building 2, with ten foot ceilings (at least) with either huge patios or balconies. This balcony is bigger than my bedroom at my old apartment and is shaped in a vague diamond; honestly, it may be the biggest room in this apartment.
The kitchen/dining/living room are open to each other with a large and gorgeous island in the kitchen; the bedrooms are on either side; Child's bedroom is at the end of a very short (five-six feet long) hall that serves the bathroom and water heater room and for some reason,has it's own door. My hall is open with a door to the small room for the washer and dryer and my bedroom, and my bathroom is reached through my room.
The closets are enormous, like, I don't have enough clothes and with rails and shelves, so many many shelves. There are only two windows that look out on the balcony but we actually get more sun now than at the other apartment. I can get plants that aren't only ones that do well with very little indirect sunlight. Unfortunately the bedrooms have carpet, but it's nice carpet, and both are big enough for a queen size bed, dresser, a tv on a buffet cabinet, a chest, and if desired, maybe a lovseat. I love my room is what I'm saying, and the ceiling is high enough I can put up the posts and railing between them and not worry about the ceiling fan.
For those who remember my fixation on light (and the lack in the old apartment like whoa) the kitchen has three medium sunken lights plus the light over the front door entrance and the one in the presumed dining area along with two pendants directly over the island; lots of light. Bathrooms are great; both bedrooms and the living room have overhead lights as well as ceiling fans. And as there's now room--like room for more than just a couch and a coffee table squeezed together--I can stop rewiring pendant lights (and doing sketchy shit with plugs and electricity) and just get lamps and floor lamps like a normal person for areas that I want bright. Also, the walls are a much lighter and more reflective beige-ish so yeah, much better.
The kitchen is massive and has more cabinets and drawers than I knew could exist, plus a built in desk with more cabinets and drawers and just. So. Many. Places. To. Put. Things.
I will cut myself off now with an effort but I suspect another post like this one will show up eventually so I can sing the praises of the stove or something I LOVE MY APARTMENT.
I still live in a Box Jungle but I'm sitting on my porch doing homework at night overlooking the pool right now. I've been imagining being here and doing this for months and honestly? It's even better than I thought. Posted at Dreamwidth: https://seperis.dreamwidth.org/1087628.html. | You can reply here or there. | comments