The thought of moving had scared me more than I let on, even to Andy. He's usually very good at figuring out when I'm bluffing, but I even had him fooled. I know now I should have told him earlier, but I didn't want to because I didn't want to make it any harder for him. As someone pointed out, deceiving people in order to avoid hurting their feelings often backfires. That being said, I was not unhappy with the idea of going to NM, per se, but in the idea of leaving NC, where I've gotten lost enough to know the area quite well, and where I was spoiled by gorgeous natural resources and lots of thunderstorms and straightforward (to me AC) and and and. That is to say, I do not consider myself a meek housewife who was dragged along to her husband's new work area, but instead I was just apprehensive, especially since Andy was in NM for only about 36 hours, and that was 36 more hours than I'd been.
As usual, I was very happy with the reception at the office. Ned (male) and Toby (female) had been friendly, patient, and informative on the phone, and Toby lived up to that in person. She even gave the kitties treats, which certainly didn't hurt. Granted, it's the level of professionalism I've come to expect in Equity properties, but it is nice nonetheless. As noted in recent entries the lease-signing and such were completely straightforward, and we finally got a glimpse at our new apartment.
This place is absolutely gorgeous. The attached garage leads into a kitchen with enough cabinet and counter space to actually work with. There's a drawer (actually several) wide enough to hold a typical silverware tray. There are French doors leading to our private semi-walled patio. The "dining room" and "living room" are separated by a railing, which stretches most of the way across the floor, and a small step. There is a half-bath downstairs for when we have visitors, and a tiled front door entrance. Our apartment is set back, sharing a front porch with a neighbor who has decorated the area between the apartments with a bench. It is actually fairly well-hidden, enough so as not to attract attention if someone isn't looking specifically for us.
Upstairs are two bedrooms and a hallway. The master bedroom has a dressing area with two sinks and a tiny room for the toilet and the glass-walled shower. The spare bedroom has a more regular one-room setup, or at least more regular for me since I'd only seen the other type when I lived in NJ. The kitties were a little bemused, especially due to the complete lack of furniture, but both seemed quite happy with the idea of stairs. I found out from Toby today that this had originally been slated to be condominiums, but there'd been an apartment shortage in ABQ and enough people pleaded with Equity to rent out the units that they finally decided to do so. It certainly explains why the place has so many nice little touches, since they were meant to be a more permanent sort of home.
Andy and I have made a few observations of things we weren't so happy with. Our storage closet outside doesn't appear to be able to lock. Either that or it's just smarter than Andy and me. When I mentioned this to Toby today she was chagrined and wrote up a maintenance order for it to be fixed. I also had noticed that the bathroom doors had no locks. While this isn't a problem when it's just Andy and me, it could be awkward if we have guests (plural) over. She was a bit surprised to hear that, and will be rectifying it in the same work order which fixes the other lock. The upstairs bedrooms don't have lights, but fortunately the bathrooms do. She said that she doesn't have enough power to install ceiling fans/lights, but that my hunch was correct -- if you plug a light in the proper outlet, the light switch on the wall will turn it on. Andy couldn't find any studs in the wall so he could hang my shadowbox.
That probably sounds really negative, but it isn't. The place is beautiful, the staff are wonderful, and this could very easily eclipse even Timber Hollow with regards to best apartments we've ever lived in. The soundproofing seems to be very good, and we only share one side with neighbors. We got completely spoiled by having a garage in, oh, twenty minutes. The washer and dryer are neat; stacking types which I believe conserve energy/water. A full load is only four shirt/pant-size articles, but we figure once we catch up I can do a load a day as part of my routine. The skylights on the second floor are wonderful, although I keep going into the bathroom to turn out the light, only to discover there are none on. We live off of the main street in the apartment complex, so even though the complex is located near some very busy streets, we have a pleasantly un-busy area.
One thing Toby mentioned on the first day was what she termed "a cat owner's nightmare". There is a really neat nook on the second floor with a half-wall which allows you to look down to the first floor. Andy's mobile is now hanging from it. Unfortunately, the half-wall is an easy jump for a cat, and yesterday Gail discovered it. While she was fine in all of her running leaps, all I can think of is what a klutz she is and what would happen if she misjudged and overshot. Toby had said that many residents got some latticework and set it up there, but since I hadn't yet seen the apartment I didn't understand. Now I do, and we'll hopefully be going to a hardware store to get latticework. If not, then I may just get a baby gate and put it up there.
The weather so far has been nice. It's been hot, mind, but as so many people have said, dry heat is a world of difference from muggy heat. It doesn't feel nearly so oppressive. We apparently arrived during what we keep hearing referred to as "monsoon season". Toby today said that we could expect afternoon and perhaps even evening showers during the span. Rain seems to be following us this year. This is a feature, not a bug. So far the swamp cooler has worked well, and it's neat to be able to open a window (or a French door) in the heat and not have to worry about letting all the cold air out.
So far I like the way the streets are laid out. Even though I've only gotten lost an average of once a day, it's already easy for me to find the things I need to, and even when I get lost I typically only have to go a few streets before I find one which I know will get me to the apartment, even if in several hops.
For me, having lived in a college town for six years and in the suburbs before then, it's really nifty how close everything is. I can walk to our local motor vehicle office and an express post office open until seven. I have located Fed-Ex and UPS ship centers; not companies which have deals with them and charge a fee on top of shipping, but actual company-owned centers. Some of them I'll need to find again because I only noticed them when lost, but at least I know they're there. Someone had told us we'd be able to find all the Mexican-type restaurants we could ever want, but others would be hard to come by. We now realize that the person was pulling our leg. Luckily we don't remember who said that, or revenge would be forthcoming. We've found at least two Wild Oats (an alternative to Whole Foods) stores, two Wal-Marts, several Targets, several Staples, an Office Depot, six trillion State Farm agents, enough pet stores to cover our needs, and an incredible furniture complex which will be getting future business from us if everything goes as smoothly as it has so far.
We'll be spending the next few days (surprise surprise) unpacking. Andy goes to work on Monday, and leaves for Siggraph on Saturday, I believe. Hopefully by then we'll have most of the boxes and packing papers gone, and by the 29th I hope to move stuff such that the furniture people can put the pieces where we want them. I need to catch up on laundry and see if I can figure out a problem I've had with the dishwashers at Timber Hollow and here, and which I might mention in a later post to solicit help.
We brought our kitchen table, a cherry bookcase, a table I'm using for my computer area, a coffee table, two beds, and a dresser for the master room with us. Today we ordered a bookcase for our media, a couch, and an entertainment center. Our next big purchase will almost certainly be an elliptical trainer, since the Nordic Track was on borrowed time even before we moved. We both also want to get some really nifty kitty toys, like multiple-perch cat trees, and that will be in the near future as well. Andy is thinking of looking into buying an ice maker since our ice cube trays are smarter and stronger than we are. Our freezer was originally set up for it, but it seems to have been disabled intentionally. I should talk to Toby and figure out if it was the work of the complex or a former tenant. Anyway, further down the road, possibly after we've moved into the house, we'll get one of the nice display stands for my paperweight collection.
I have a project I need to work on, but I won't say any more since people who will be on the receiving end at Christmas may be reading this. Once we've settled in I am going to focus on the project so I get it done. After that I plan to join Literacy Volunteers and perhaps see if the local high school has a speech and debate team which needs volunteer judges for matches. I plan on beginning jewelry stuff again at some point, and once we've established residency I'm looking to attend UNM. I haven't yet decided on a major, but since I've probably been out of Oswego long enough that none of my credits will carry, this means I'll have two years of general eds in which to decide.
Andy and I discussed house-hunting today, and he thinks we should wait at least a month so we get to know our way around more. Looking at all of the empty, half-packed, and unpacked boxes I can't help but agree. In fact, staying here for a year or three, until time has made me forget what a pain moving is, is looking really attractive right now. That this apartment is so nice doesn't hurt either. Who knows, though, maybe my nesting urge or my Master Plan (TM) longing will kick in again in a week or so, and override everything else. I hear bed calling me in the very immediate future, though.