Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Not so much the house of our dreams

When I said we'd be giving up all our comforts to live out of a single suitcase in Provo for the summer, I really meant it. The house we're living in is a piece of junk and is anything but comfortable in every respect. Jeremy and I have been debating on whether this is actually the crappiest dwelling we've ever lived in. Hotels are a completely different category and I'd rather not have them enter the competition because too many of them would win too easily.

Anyway, it keeps coming down to the house we are currently in vs. our apartment in Jebel Webdeh in Amman. Jeremy and I are having an ongoing conversation like this:

Jeremy: I think Jebel Webdeh was worse. Remember the oven that was always threatening to explode? And how Miriam was not allowed to enter the bathroom or kitchen?
Me: Yeah, but at least the living room in that apartment had a nice floor. I refuse to walk around in this house without flip flops or shoes on. Not even just socks are good enough.
Jeremy: The shower here works OK, though, even if it is gross. The shower in Jebel Webdeh was always electrocuting us, remember?
Me: True. There is the problem of the weird odor in this house, though. You yourself said it smelled like a pet store in here.
Jeremy: Yes, it does. We should attach Lysol wipes to our shoes and walk around the living room floor until it smells better.
Me: I...don't think that would help.

So yeah, we don't like the place we live so much. It's a big 100-year-old house south of campus that has been split into four apartments. So there are oddly placed doorways and walls put up in the middle of nowhere and lots of cramped, awkwardly shaped closets. I do love me an old house now and then, but only if it's been well maintained, or at least lovingly worn out, and this house is neither. It is just run down and dumpy.

The whole situation was made worse by the fact that when we showed up, we discovered that there were no sheets or pillows to be found. That first night was pretty sad. We went to IKEA the next day and got a few $1.99 sheets and pillowcases and things were looking up soon enough. Life is always, always better when you have sheets and pillows to sleep on.

And that's how things keep going here. We settle our standards once more, deciding that maybe it's not so bad if we have go the whole summer having to pee in a bedpan in the middle of the night because to get to the bathroom we'd have to walk through both the girls' room AND down an ear-shatteringly squeaky, creaky staircase. But then we find out the dryer doesn't work and it's like OH MY GOSH, how do my expectations, low as they are, continue to get shattered??

The whole feeling we get from this house is that it feels nothing but hatred towards those who wish to make it their home, a sentiment best expressed by this video, one of my all-time favorites:

Well said.

We all need to take a page from Miriam's book. She is just pleased as punch to be living in an unfamiliar, exciting house. Every new thing she discovers is just so wonderful to her. The other day, she said, "Mama, did you know we have a bench in our house? Isn't it so nice to have a bench in our house? I just love the bench."

And there is a yard, and it's a great location, and we're only here temporarily. I keep repeating those three things to myself over and over again, in the hopes that it will help me get a better attitude. If you hear me start to rave about the benches, you'll know that it worked.


JackJen said...

This post really should be sent as a 'warning shot' or sort to the BYU Off-campus housing office....because of ALL of the many and varied places you've lived--ALL OVER THE WORLD--...YOU, my dear friend, have declared an apartment in PROVO, UTAH to be the worst.

In my opinion, that's saying something.

You're right--this was a fantastic post--and it brought back quite a few not-so-pleasant memories of a couple of my BYU apartments. I can't believe I didn't leave BYU with a diploma AND scabies. It's quite a miracle, actually.

Liz Johnson said...

YUCK. There are some awful apartments south of campus. Ugh.

So... did you end up selling your house??

Nancy said...

Uh...feel free to crash my in-laws for smell-free Sunday dinners (or whatever). Seriously...

Sharalea said...

The youtube link is hilarious, and wow. You should get a prize for most-patient-wife award! Moving so many times (and with kids!) and getting through it all with a smile on your face (or at least a great blog post!).

I agree with Jen--this is definitely a representation of how bad the off-campus housing situation has become.

I feel bad now for complaining about no carport in our new (and also temporary) apartment...

Jennifer said...

Bridget, I am so sorry! That is horrible! Jen does have a point about this situation. Please just tell me you're hardly paying anything for it! I hope it will get better....?

Jennifer said...

I just noticed the new title on this blog. I like it!

The Ensign's said...

WOW!!! So life is good then huh?

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Mmmm, the worst place we've lived becomes the measure of all others. But it's unusual to have 2 places vying for the lowest level.

Our rock-bottom was a 2-bedroom duplex where we lived w/ 2 tiny kids during a bitter sub-zero Idaho winter. The bedrooms were as small as closets--the beds took up the entire room so that you had to turn sideways to squeeze between the bed & wall. No counter space in the alcove they called a kitchen & just a tiny 1920s 2-burner stove. But it gets worse. There was no insulation so to keep from freezing to death we cranked the clunky wall heater up to 95 degrees--it blew almost nonstop. All the houses around us had a foot of snow piled on the roof but we had none, because the heat melted it on its way out of the roof. The worst thing was that for the first week in there we itched like crazy. Mentioned it to the manager & they knew right off what it was--the previous tenant had a houseful of pets, and so guess what? We inherited a houseful of fleas.

Alli E. said...

I think you must be describing our first apartment in Provo!! Ha ha! Except ours had faucets coming out of the walls in weird places!! Hilarious video, too!!

Karen said...

When you mentioned it is an old house turned into four apartments, I immediately thought of our first apartment--south of campus, old, split into four apartments, and very weird. I hope it's not the same house! Nancy is right--come over anytime you need to get away. We'd love to meet you. My email is karenheiss58@gmail.com. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think there is something about housing near college campuses. For two years at Ohio State, I lived in a poorly maintained old house with four other girls. I got shocked once on the garbage disposal switch, and another girl got shocked on her bedroom light switch.

The worst place I ever lived was the apartment Scott and I rented in Jerusalem. In my opinion, awful apartments should at least be cheap, but this one was expensive. Among its many charms were the gas stove that randomly shot flames high into the air (one time catching our kitchen towels on fire), the ant infestations that included ants building hills on our floor while we were gone on vacation, and the toilet with a bowl angled in such a way as to catch the "solid stuff".

You definitely have my sympathy. That house sounds like the type of house that will make moving again look good.


Jill said...

I think we are in the same boat. Our house for the summer sounds a lot like yours... old, strange closets, not walking on the floor without shoes or flip-flops on. Even Ryan won't get out of bed unless he has his shoes on. Nice. I keep telling myself: it's only for the summer. We'll be back in a nice place in only 8 weeks... it kind of helps!
Here's to us... we can do it!!!

Heather said...

The offer is still open.

Kristen said...

Nobody commented on that video! Also one of my all-time favorites. SO FUNNY. Oh, yeah, and sorry to hear about your crap-shack. Reminds me of that beach house we stayed in where we felt that an axe ought to be kept in the bathroom to prevent death by entrapment in case one really couldn't get the stuck door open.


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