A few days ago I moved out of an 850-square apartment into a 1250-foot one. I was paying $1,000 a month for that 850-square apartment (utilities included) with a roommate. I moved with that same roommate (also one of my best friends). There were times when I would get down on myself in DC thinking of how much I thought I had failed. And then I would remember that I had a roof over my head, that I wasn’t always living paycheck to paycheck (when my medical insurance or my health wasn’t being annoying), and that technically I was living comfortably.
And then I moved.
What the fuck was I talking about?
I mean sure I could buy a house somewhere in this country for the amount I am spending on rent but would I make the same amount of money elsewhere? I have to admit my job pays pretty well for the work I’m doing. It’s amazing the difference 400-square feet can make.
Let’s make some bullet points.
- The laundry room is less than three-feet away! I mean I don’t have to go down to some dingy basement and fight spiders or crickets. And my roommate doesn’t have to ask permission to do laundry on a weekly basis because of course she would need to go through my room to reach the dingy basement.
- There is a Giant/CVS right outside my building! I mean right outside my building. I don’t have to walk the 10 minutes to the closest supermarket or deal with the hassle of Wisconsin Avenue to get to Trader Joe’s. It’s just literally there. In fact on my third day in this new apartment I made the brave trek in the pouring down rain to get some produce at Giant. I crossed a parking lot!
- I haven’t braved the commute yet (to be honest I am only adding 10 minutes on to my previous 10-minute commute but hell it beats the five-hour daily commute I survived from Baltimore to Bethesda and back). But I am only three minutes from the Silver Spring metro and bus depot. That has to count for something.
- Oh and there are Zipcars everywhere! If I haven’t touted the convenience and wonderment of my membership before I am now. I love Zipcar. And Silver Spring has tons of them. In fact after shopping Saturday I realized I needed to make a return Sunday. I reserved a Zipcar and there was some sort of mix-up, and I was able to reserve another Zipcar in the same parking garage on the same day in that exact moment. Wowsers!
- There’s insulation! What?! I’m not suffocating in this 90-degree humid DC heat? You mean I’m actually cold and have to turn the temperature up to 77 degrees to be comfortable? What?! Oh and each individual bedroom in our apartment is temperature-controlled? What?!
- We have a concierge downstairs. We’ve used them multiple times so far (as well as the Zipcar). I’ve never lived in an apartment building with a concierge. I’ve mostly rented rowhomes from landlords so this is a new bonus (minus the fact I got yelled at by the mail lady because apparently even though all the mailboxes were open I still needed to use my key to get my mail because you know I could BE anybody… I was like ummm I have ID…).
- This place is fucking huge! Even Norm doesn’t know what to do. He’s just overwhelmed by the space so much so when I get up at 5 a.m. to feed him he follows me back to my room because he’s like wait your room isn’t right by my food?! Grant it the movers had to make two trips (because who brings a 10-foot truck for a two-bedroom apartment move?!), but it finally feels like our furniture fits, and all of our belongings finally have a home. Maybe that means we have too much stuff? But isn’t that the American dream?
- Did I mention the trash room is literally a foot from the laundry room? Yep no braving the weather to take out our trash or recycling. Or crossing the dangerous alley of traffic to dump our trash in the dumpsters. We still have to abide by a dual-recycling system because Montgomery County is stupid but hey they take scrap metal!
- We have a room for a bar! Did I mention the extra 400-square feet? We don’t have it yet but so many possibilities…
- Oh and the best part? Two separate bathrooms. That’s right. I can get up whenever I want. I can exercise whenever I want. I can go to the bathroom whenever I want. And I can organize it however I want without bumping into things. It is such a first-world privilege to call a bathroom my own. And we beat the summer rates for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom. Go us!
- I also forgot to mention the two walk-in closets (Norm owns half of one; I even created him a book box stack – yeah I’m that pet owner). I have the master bedroom, and I admit before moving I was like I bet the walk-in closets and bathroom take up a lot of my space. But I was so wrong! I could fit a sofa in front of my bed and still include my desk, dresser, and bookshelf (and no I’m not at all bragging).
So the moral of this story? I was so wrong when I said I had failed DC. DC had apparently failed me. There was so much more to life than that 850-square foot apartment. And yes I had good memories in that apartment – memories of a simple, cramped life, but one that I still made the most of.
This apartment is 10 times better, and when I first met my roommate in our new home upon moving in, we both silently screamed because we realized how much better it was, and how much we would enjoy calling it home. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There’s a metal plate on the road outside our apartment, and each time a car drives by it makes an exceptionally loud noise but it certainly beats the drill outside of our former apartment courtesy of the two-year-in-progress construction site literally right outside my bedroom windows.
I am sure there are apartments and houses better than ours. I know I could invest in a house somewhere for the amount I am paying for rent here. But the point is this apartment is not just better than my previous living situation, it is so much better it makes living here that much more enjoyable.
I never gave much stock in a home before because renting is for suckers and I hope to be an owner one day but there is something to having a good home situation. My roommate and I have lived together for two years now. We’re more than just roommates. We’re best friends. We often joke we’re like a married couple without the physical relationship.
For those of you who know me I can’t wait for you to see it. The sun… the stars… the quiet… the wine… the space… the joy… when you find a home that fits it brings such a smile to your face there’s no turning back.
And for those of you who really know me, did I mention it’s a sustainable living complex? Insert winky face here.
As for Norm he wailed on the entire way to the new apartment but given the additional space (and the half-closet he owns), I would say he’s adjusting quite well.