A couple of weeks ago, we said goodbye to our temporary living space. It was definitely bittersweet. Bitter, because we figured we’d be moving from there back into our home – yet sweet, because we were putting another chapter of the saga behind us.
I can best liken our current situation to the following scenario: You’re on a train home at 11pm after a long day with three stops to go. Let’s imagine the subway – a less than comfortable environment and you’re just praying that you get there. The conductor comes on over the loudspeaker to say there’s an issue with the train and instructs everyone to get off. Granted, this train has already stopped between stations multiple times so you’ve been pessimistically envisioning this outcome. But you’re so close! You get out at the station and look for signage or someone with an explanation. But everyone seems confused and disgruntled. After a few minutes, a station loudspeaker announces that another train will be along in approximately 8 minutes. So you think to yourself, OK not bad, I will wait. 8 minutes come and go with no sign of a train. Time passes, and other people are agitated and they start calling cabs. Why did you wait so long? Now there are no cabs. Let’s call a friend/parent (there are no co-inhabitants in this story) – they will come get you. Great! Problem solved. As you get into the car, the dread hits you, you forgot your house keys at work. Can this day get any worse? Now you have to ask your driver if you can impose even more and stay the night. What will you wear to work tomorrow? You don’t have any of your stuff. Who will feed your pet? Is my key really at work or was it on the subway?
I think you get where I am going – we are at the end of really bad day and the end is likely to be the grand finale of the comedy of errors.
When we moved into the apartment in February of 2016, we were advised by the insurance company that we would likely be there for around three months. As those three months quickly came and went with barely any progress to the house, it became apparent that we were going to be living there for much longer. This arrangement became tormenting because it was the insurance company that was paying for rent out of our ALE (Additional Living Expense) coverage. This meant that they held control of rent extension approvals. Every month we had to get on the phone and ask for an extension, and they would only approve one month at a time. Of course, the complex we stayed in charged a premium rental rate for a short term lease, the longer contract you agreed to, the better the rate. To make a long story short, a few months ago we were informed by the insurance company that our ALE coverage was dwindling, and anything beyond the month of May would be on our dime and not reimburseable. Not to mention, we still needed to preserve some of that money for moving expenses and ongoing out –of-pocket expenses related to the loss. It is currently beyond angering to consider that if the insurance company had authorized longer lease periods, we could still have at least another few months available to us in the temporary apartment. I personally find it to be a mishandling of client coverage – but we are finally at the point where we are sick of fighting and want to put everything behind us.
So, on May 31st, we moved in with my parents, and will likely be there with them until sometime in July. We are so thankful to have had this option, because we’d be wasting an incredible amount of money to extend the lease by another couple or few months. We still have a garage at the apartment complex – they graciously allowed us to keep it until we were ready to move back in.
Looking back on the almost year and half in the apartment, there were some things that were amazing and many things that were awful.
It was great that the apartment was a mere 8 minutes away from one of my job’s campuses. That meant I was able to come home twice a week to have lunch with my mom and Sean. It was also really useful that the apartment was one level and primarily carpeted – any mom with a baby just learning how to walk and then run can relate! Having a maintenance staff was also appreciated, and they always came quickly when something was awry.
On to the not so great. Remembering at least 3 times a week that you are paying a mortgage on a house that you don’t even live in, only to live in an apartment the same size as the one you moved out of before buying the house was beyond maddening. We also had decided to keep personalization to a minimum since we had initially thought we would only be there for three months. We lived with rental furniture and art, no paint, rented dishes and utensils – it just always felt like we were trapped in something that wasn’t home – and it wasn’t. As an interior designer, it was really demoralizing to live in a space that felt so sterile and impersonal. It was especially depressing that our son’s room was so bland, considering how much care and effort we put into making him an adorable room in the house. It was also bizarre that every time I came back to the apartment after being out with Sean – I would pause and feel such a sense of guilt staring at the door from the car. As I would take him out of the carseat, I always wanted to say, “We’re back!…But this isn’t your home.”
On top of all this, our dog Archie – who is normally anxious – became insane. We had a corner apartment on the ground floor with tons of windows, which meant tons of people walking by and even walking their own dogs. Every noise (and pretend noise) sent our dog into spiraling into a barking meltdown. He was also marking around the apartment (remember how I mentioned carpets as a pro? Not so much in this case). The last week of being at the apartment, I took him to the vet and he is now on Doggy Prozac. This saga has really taken a toll on all of us!
I felt like I needed to write this “goodbye to the temporary apartment manifesto” as some sort of cathartic exercise. Something tells me that this will always be a very prominent and remembered chunk of time in mine and Pat’s life. We’ve been able to find humor and fun in the subpar situation and have bonded over our string of bad luck. We’ve even thrown some amazing private self-pity parties. I’ve realized several times throughout all of this – if we can make it through all of this and still be relatively sane, I’m not sure what could actually break us. What I am sure of is this: the night we move back into this house, there will be drinking.