Sunday, September 18, 2005

Los Angeles has spit me out

The new place is in Culver City, about 3 miles east of where I used to live. Still very close to the beach about 5-6 miles away, so driving to the beach and rollerblading every Sunday morning still easy and convenient. I moved into a room in another guy's apartment. As i started looking and noticing that studios on the Westside of Los Angeles we're going for $900+ and one-bedrooms for at least a $1000 or even $1100, I realized that living alone in the neighborhood I wanted was prohibitive, esp. once I added in bills that would be all mine. So as i thougth more about it, I knew that neighborhood was more important than living alone (which was preference).

Then it was a craigslist adventure. I ended up searching for about 5 days. During the first four (Sunday 8/7 - Wednesday 8/10) I responded to about 10 "roommate wanted" ads and didn't get didly for a response. No e-mails, no calls, no hey-we-have-more-questions-for-yas. NOTHING. I was starting to fret a bit, because I had noticed that some of the ads Wednesday were reposts of ones I'd seen earlier (people just trying to make themselves first on the list again) meaning ones I had already passed on. Oh yeah, the big rub was that the night of Monday 8/8, my landlord brought two girls by to check out my apartment and they applied that night to move in. They loved it (of course they did, it's a great place). So the foot in my back about a moving deadline was very real.

Fast forward to Thursday 8/11. I have a strong morning. I call to make one arrangement to check out a place (three-bed, two-bath, which i'd share, but also moving in with a couple and some other roommate) that night at 7:30 p.m. Then I get an e-mail back about another ad. I'm checking them out Monday night at 7:30. Then in the afternoon I get another email. I plan a visit that night at 6:30 (i figure i'll hit the 7:30 after that).

Well, I go to the 6:30 and meet Andrew: 24, masters in harmonics from UT-Austin, who works as an engineer near downtown. He's very laid back, makes me feel very welcome, not that You'd-be-moving-into-my-place-and-have-a-room thing, but the it's-your-place-too thing. Like when i remarked that his living room walls were bare (like ours now) he said that he had shit, but was too lazy to put it up and that i should feel welcome to put some stuff up out there, too. that was cool. I also met his mom, she was in town because he just had had knee surgery and was helping him out around the house. I do spy an issue of Christian Singles magazine, so i realize that we're different, but he also told me stories about going to vegas and staying up all night, so we're not that different. In the end, we really click and it's like 8 p.m. and decide that the search is over. whew!

I leave, call the 7:30 people and belatedly cancel with them. get home and have a message from my landlord saying that they want to keep me as a tenant and they ask what they can do (it's nice to be wanted, especially after four days of rejection) and then another guys calls me on my cell to say he's interested in my response to his ad. when i tell this guy that i just found a place, he sounds genuinely happy for me that i get to leave the searching-for-an-apartment-in-LA fraternity. it sucks. but the move went smoothly.

So after i moved in though and signed the lease, I discovered the rub re:apartment. this place has had like 5 tenants in the last year-plus. and has never been emtpy in that time, it's always one leaving at a time. so the rental company doesn't get involved in deposits with that situation because they'd never get a chance to assess whether a place was completely back in pristine condition, so they leave it to the tenants moving in and out to keep that stuff on the up and up. well, when the place is finally emptied (i.e. both tenants move out together), then they have the apartment company's inspection team comes in and also the standard professional cleaning crew (painters, carpet dudes). the cleaning crew fees are deducted from final tenants' deposit, so the buck has been passed. basically, the set up kinda shivs the last tenants in the back a bit.

but given how cheap this place is for what we're getting, i don't really have a huge gripe with it in particular, more on principle. the cleaning crew typcially costs about $700, for an apartment that does NOT need major work--just the typical re-painting, fixing tiny nail holes in the walls, standard carpet steaming (not big stains, because those are extra). the guy i'm taking over from left a big stain and there are a few throughout, but shelley (scott's wife) lent me her steamer, so once i'm settled in, i am going to town on this place to get it up to snuff. so far, so good. it's not perfect, but there will be a huge improvement once i get this done. the cool thing, andrew is one board with whipping this place up into decent shape.

interesting other living potential drama. dave, a friend who helped me move, told me a few weeks ago that he's in a potentially weird spot living-wise. his current roommate has such bad credit that when they moved in to their place in june, he signed the lease alone b/c the apartment co. wouldn't approve her. she just pays him each month. she's a wannabe actress with a fiancee in chicago ((and an apartment). she works part-time at Express on the Third St. Promenade in Santa Monica and was thinking of quitting and moving back to chi-town. i told him if he gets stuck, i'll likely move in with him. she is prone to melodrama, he said, though.

btw, after moving in, andrew tells me that he's just a few days ago applied for a job in houston, which he had just found out about. this was about two weeks after we'd agreed to share his apartment. so while this threw me for a loop, i wasn't pissed or anything. i would never tell someone not to follow where their gut is leading them career-wise. and i know he wasn't leading me on or anything. he's gonna e-mail them this friday, if he hasn't heard anything. ideally, he said, they wouldn't want to hire him for six months. and also, he just had knee surgery and is on a rehab schedule through the end of the calendar year, which he's pretty intent on sticking with here in los angeles, b/c he wants the same doc throughout, which makes sense. he has heard from them and they told that until they sort out how katrina has affected their company they are in a holding pattern, so told him to touch base in a few months (meaning after the first of the year). my gut is that he'll likely
be moving in jan or feb, but we'll see. i'll jump off that bridge when i get there.

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