Thursday, August 06, 2009

Settling for, and settling in

When we were looking for a place to live in Ithaca - from afar, mostly over the internet - I decided there were two things I would prefer not to compromise on. I really wanted a garage or at least assigned, close-proximity, covered parking, and a washer/dryer inside the apartment. In addition, a garbage disposal would be fantastic. Anything else, I could take it or leave it, but those were three things I really cared about.

Somehow, though, I ended up caving on all three. We live in a place that has unassigned, off-street, uncovered parking, no washer or dryer, and no garbage disposal.

We do have a dishwasher, and it's the cutest little one I've ever seen. I actually like it because it fits our family size. With a big dishwasher, it seemed our dishes sat in there for days before it was full enough to run, and by that time, I had retrieved and hand-washed any number of utensils I'd needed to use in the meantime. With our new mini dishwasher, I can run it almost every day and it takes about 45 seconds to unload. Brilliant.

The parking situation, while it didn't meet my high standards, is just fine. I thought we'd be fighting for a spot and walking many yards just to get to our front door, but actually it's not a problem at all. I reserve the right to complain more about the uncovered part when the winter snow comes, though.

I am struggling a bit with the laundry issue, so I'd appreciate any tips from the experienced laundromat crowd. Our building does have one washer and one dryer in the basement, but six apartments share them, they are old, they are expensive, and they are inconvenient. I'd have to go down two flights of stairs and open and close four doors (and lock or unlock two), while holding laundry. With two kids in tow. One of whom would have to be carried on the stair parts. Given that situation, I'm thinking it would actually be easier to strap the girls in the car, throw the laundry in the trunk, and go to a laundromat. That way, the kids will be somewhat contained, the machines will be nicer and cheaper, and here's the best part - I can get multiple loads done at once. What do you think?

(An additional bonus to the laundromat would be chillin' with the locals. We met a lady at the laundromat on Saturday who has two three-year-olds. Twins? we asked. No, "Irish twins," she said. I've never heard that term before, but I guess it means that she had a baby, got pregnant immediately, and then that baby came early. So her two three-year-olds are seven months apart.)

Even with the minor bumps and things to get used to along the way, I think I can cautiously say that we really like our place. The location is fabulous - we live on the edge of a nature reserve with wood-chip paths throughout. I was sad to give up our beloved River Path/Walk in Tucson but this will be even better for running and exploring. There are lots of young families - Mormon ones, even - in our apartment complex, which is great for all of us but especially Miriam and Magdalena.

Plus, our apartment has an attic. A real-life, stairway-that-drops-down-from-the-ceiling, axe-murderer-hiding ATTIC. I couldn't believe it when I saw it. I honestly didn't know those existed outside of the movies. How exciting! Besides the novelty/terror factor, it's great for stashing stuff we don't want to see around the house, like empty packing boxes.

So we're feeling more and more at home, but the following things will really help:

-getting internet service at home (tomorrow, God willing, not that I'm counting down the days or anything). Once we have that up and running, I'll be able to re-design this blog, which means that YES, I am keeping this URL. Jeremy is against this plan but it is easier and it won't confuse the search engines so much. Sorry if any of you were hoping for a graceful time to de-follow this blog.

-acquiring some kind of seating device for the front room, like a couch. We left our huge old free one in Tucson because it wasn't worth the space it would take up in the moving pod.

-figuring out how to arrange our furniture in the front room. We're having a hard time getting it to feel and look right. Maybe it's because none of our furniture matches, I don't know. Moving furniture you acquired in one house to a totally different one is tough because it's like trying to force puzzle pieces to fit together into a totally new picture.

-purchasing a TV and a DVD player. These might have to wait for a while, which is fine. We haven't ever owned a TV as nice as Jeremy's iMac computer screen, which plays DVDs, so where's the need? We'll see.

-finishing unpacking. I don't know if this process will ever end. And with moving so much recently, I have a strange aversion to unpacking things like books even though I know we'll be here for a while. Plus, it's hurts my brain sometimes. I come across a single pile on the kitchen table consisting of a paint can key, a camera case, two padlocks, magnetic letters for the fridge, a set of Russian teacups, a lightbulb, and earplugs, and it's like, what am I even supposed to do with all that?

I'm sure we'll finish eventually. Maybe.


JosephJ said...

I've never had covered parking, so maybe I just don't know what I'm missing. I do feel a tinge of jealousy when I arrive at work in the winter and I notice that many cars don't have a speck of frost or any remnants of snow. But scraping and scooping snow just to get to work builds character.
Laundry? I expect you'll start wearing things twice or thrice to avoid doing as many loads :)
And those pesky things that don't have a home? Every house has them. Every toy box has them. You look at them and think "I don't have a place for you" and if an idea doesn't come quickly, they go in a box (or a rubbish bin) never to be seen again!

Liz Johnson said...

I completely feel you on the uncovered parking thing. Feel free to call me ANYTIME to vent about that one. There's something "character-building" (to use JosephJ's words) about bundling up two children, trudging through 12+ inches of snow, and strapping them in while you chip inches of ice off of the windshield. Yeah, seriously, call me.

But the washer/dryer thing is a dealbreaker for me. I'm impressed!

Brittany Cornett said...

For the little time I used a laundromat about 6mo. I liked being able to do my laundry all at once. Getting quarters was sort of annoying but I got in the habit of picking up a $10 roll about every two weeks. If you trust the place and it is nearby a grocery store I used to fill up the washes and then leave to do grocery shopping or other errands and then put the stuff in the dryer do more errands etc... But you can see that it is still not as convenient as having your own and far less expensive in the long run.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Laundromat is fabulous for getting wash done quickly. Doubt if it will be cheap-er than the apartment one though. Sometimes they have larger machines that can fit more clothing. Just be sure to pick a clean laundromat--some are too scuzzy to put Magda down in.

As for parking in the snow, get one of those long brushes that removes snow quickly & one of those chippers for the ice. You've traded one extreme for the other between Tucson / Ithaca!

Nancy said...

My older sisters are just barely Irish twins. They are 363 days apart. I've been familiar with that term my whole life--they loved those 2 days a year when they could tell people they were the same age and confuse everyone who knew them... :)

One of those sisters has Irish twins, 10 months apart...and that was awful for her in the beginning. I can't imagine 7 months, though! Yikes!

Good luck settling in.

JackJen said...

Hard-liners will tell you that Irish twins have to be born in the same CALENDAR year....but I say they just have to be born within a year of each other. But I'm not Irish. So maybe I don't have a say.

When we buy a house, a garage might just be a deal-breaker for me. (Don't quote me on that, though). I've spent far too many winters scraping snow and ice off our cars, and if I'm going to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a place to live, I think I should be able to purchase the luxury of NOT leaving my car exposed to the elements.

Welcome to snow-ville. =)

The Ensign's said...

You are a better women than me. I don't think I could do the laundromat. Most likely I'd leave and forget to come back in time and all my clothes would be gone.

Jennifer said...

The apartments we lived in had two washers and dryers per building and it was so nice to do two loads at once. Like Brittany, I'd load up on quarters...about once a month, I'd get $50 worth from the bank. I NEVER wanted to run out because that is the worst. That WOULD be the time that Ellen would throw up in her bed or something...

I was able to do most of the running up and down while Ellen was sleeping, so for you to have to take both kids, go up/down TWO flights of stairs and all those doors while carrying Magdalena, and then only be able to do one load at a time...umm, I might opt for the laundromat, especially if you could combine it with some errands.

I would think it would be hard to go from owning your own place with a washer/dryer to such a situation. You're a great sport!

I have no comment on covered parking since mine would all have to do with keeping your car cooler...but I don't think that's particularly what you're worried about. :)

Britney said...

We did the whole uncovered parking thing through seven harsh, midwestern winters. It's not that bad. You get used to it. It's only unbearable in certain situations, like when you're bringing in a ton of groceries, or like one time, when I was going into labor.

I had to walk down two flights of stairs and crouch down on the ice/snow of the parking lot on my way to the car during a painful contraction. A garage definitely would've been preferred then. :)

Ashley said...

Here is a hint for keeping canisters work perfectly. I you know some of my experience with laundry...the only difficult part is hauling everything that you need to the laundromat. For the Laundry Detergent, measure out what you need before hand and only take that in a plastic bag or Tupperware. It makes less that you have to carry around. (I had to walk to do my laundry, I didn't have a car.)

Susanne said...

Glad you are settling in nicely. I think hanging out with the locals at the laundromat would be kind of fun. Maybe some potential blog stories. Great to hear you have some nice young families in your building.

Lilianne said...

Ouch! No laundry?!? You are a better woman than I am. After dealing with laundry in the basement of our apartment in DC (and this was only me and Jason!) I swore I would NEVER, EVER, EVER deal with coin laundry again. EVER.

Good luck!! We can't wait to see picture of the place!

Teresa Jane said...

Bridget, I remember doing laundry for you in Tucson at your old apartment after you had Miriam. It was the complex laundromat and it seemed like there was something gross in every washer that I looked in before throwing your clothes in. Cockroaches, spiders, bugs I had never seen before, long Mexican hairs that were wrapped around the center tower, etc. But I think you won't have much of a problem in Ithaca. I want to see more pics of your place! Are there hookups for a washer/dryer in your apartment? Sometimes you can find a set for $100 on craigslist

Kristen said...

I can relate most to the points about fitting existing furniture into a new place and the little piles of randomness that just hurt the brain to consider. What a fun adventure though!


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