Chapter II: Townies

April 30, 2010

Chapter one was a great chapter. I am going to miss the North Shore Yoga Coop, the Waialua Farmer’s Market, the friendly people at the Waialua Public Library, and our own private beach.

But I’m ready for this new chapter.

Our new place is acutally the same apartment we had planned on living in when before we got to Hawaii. A friend of a friend has an apartment he hardly uses, and he has agreed to let us live here at a discounted price for two months, while we look for the perfect place in the perfect location at the perfect price.

The apartment is at the base of the Diamond Head crater, in a very scenic area. The beach is just a couple of blocks away, and a large park separates us from Waikiki. It’s a second story corner apartment with lots of trees and greenery surrounding it. It’s a one bedroom, and we get to keep it all to ourselves, except for a shy cat who lives with us.

I’m anticipating that chapter two will involve lots of exploring the neighborhood, weeknight events in waikiki and honolulu, and more apartment searching. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Last night I found a book club and a cooking club to join, because when you live in a city you have access to these kinds of things! I’m so excited to have so much to do! Now I just need to find some dancing classes, a new farmer’s market, and yoga.

It’s going to be exciting!!!

The landlord of the perfect studio didn’t pick us….He picked some other couple who saw the place before us. It’s a bit like being rejected after a job interview, except that he didn’t really interview us. Filippo did his best to sell our wonderfulness to him, but he must have had something else in mind. I hope the people he did pick turn out to be crackheads or something…just kidding…sort of.

Filippo played the rejection voicemail for me as I was waking up this morning. I responded by curling up into the fetal position facing the wall. I just want to give up, but I can’t.

So the search continues. I had my hopes up so high for that one that I stopped searching for good alternatives. Of course I only took one day off of the search, and now I’m back at it, so I’m sure no great opportunities will go unnoticed because I didn’t search yesterday.

But I am finding it harder to search today. I think I’m losing my stamina. I don’t want to settle for a place that doesn’t meet my criteria, but my options are limited, and I only have 4 days. I’m started to think that we’re just screwed.

I’m trying to tell myself that if this place rejected us, there must be some better place in store…but time is running out!

We’ve found a new place we love in Manoa. It’s in the cutest hillside neighborhood, and it has wonderful character. It’s a studio, but a large one with separate kitchen and bathroom, and a walk-in closet. It’s fully furnished, and tastefully, with real furniture (not just a matress on the floor and plastic drawers…I’m talking real wood).

Today we’ll find out if it is ours…and I really hope it is! The location is perfect, the price is right, the timing is good. My fingers are crossed!

I’ve got to quit making plans and forming expectations, because nothing works out the way I imagine it in my head. Often, it works out better.

A series of events has led us to decide to move closer to town, closer to work, closer to school. We said no to the room down the street that I got excited about, but I know something even more exciting is waiting around the corner. We’re discovering adorable communities in the hills above honolulu, and I’m getting really excited about having more to do, being so close to the city!

The unfortunate part is that we already gave our notice, and now have only 7 days to move out. That’s one week. Wow. We could probably stay here longer, but there is now another couple living in the house with us, and it’s getting crowded.

We’ve been focusing on the Manoa Valley area, which quiet, breezy, lush, and quaint. They have a really cute community center with a local theatre and cute coffee shops. The streets are narrow and steep, lined with stone walls,winding along the ridgelines surrounding the small valley. Most of the homes are absolutely stunning, and we’re hoping to find a room in a nice house, or maybe a studio with a separate entrance.

So far we’ve seen quite a few options, but none of them perfect. The University Inn is an old boarding house with 20 separate apartments in a beautiful, huge, home. It’s a cute idea, but the units are small and the prices are high, so it’s a no go. We seriously considered a room in a large 3 br house with amazing views, but one of the roommates made us really uncomfortable, so we said no. Yesterday we saw another room in a 4br house with private bath, and it was nice…but it didn’t really feel like what we’re looking for. I’m trying to follow my gut on this one. Tomorrow we’re seeing a studio in a gorgeous neighborhood, and a room in a newer apartment.

Soon we’ll have to be making a decision, so hopefully we see the perfect unit soon….Until then the search is on!

Preparing for a move!

April 15, 2010

So we decided on the room. I got a very strong feeling that we would get more privacy with the room than we would with the apartment. The people renting the apartment mentioned how the prior tenants complained when they would fight upstairs…and I really don’t want to have to think about a dramatic family. The girl renting the house seems really mellow, she works full time, she can afford the rent on her own, but would rather split the rent with a roommate. The last roommate stopped paying rent, so she had to kick them out. The house has tons of space for us to get away when we need to. I got a good feeling from her. And it’s month to month, so if we don’t get along, we can keep on looking…..but I think we’ll get along just fine.

What’s funny is that the day we deicded it was time to give notice, our landlord came by with someone to check out the third room in this house. There really isn’t any room for another roommate here, as the house isn’t big, and has no real living room. So we took the opportunity to say, “tell you what, we’ll just leave, and he can have our room.” It was no biggie. We get to be out by the first! Yay!

Now we just need to get a bed, and figure out how to put up a shower curtain around a free-standing tub…..it’s in the middle of the bahroom, so I’m at a bit of a loss. Any suggestions?

Change is Fun

April 12, 2010

So many books and articles and would-be psychologists say that people don’t like change, but I tend to feel the opposite. I think change is exciting, and I get bored when  don’t have any big changes happening in my life. Maybe that’s how I let out my inner drama queen.

I’ve been getting my excitement fix lately by apartment hunting. This week we saw two potential options:

Option 1: Two bedrooms in the boonies

A friend of ours has an apartment for rent under his home out in Mokuleia. It has two bedrooms and a full kitchen.

PROS:

  • Extra bedroom for guests, or to rent out if money gets tight.
  • Newly remodeled, nice fixtures.
  • Peaceful setting near the beach.

CONS:

  • Three aggressive dogs on the property.
  • The landlords want us to be “part of the family”….I have a family, I don’t need a new one.
  • Mokuleia is as far from work as I can possibly get.
  • The apartment is completely unfurnished, so we’d have to spend quite a bit of money on furniture.
  • Slot-windows (what I call fake windows because you can’t completely close them…it’s the kind we have now).
  • No new dogs allowed, so no Toby 😦

Option 2: Master bedroom in a large house

 A few houses away from where we currently live, a single girl is renting out the master bedroom in a big house built in the 70’s.

PROS:

  • Extra bedroom for guests, or to rent out if money gets tight (savings to be split with roommate).
  • Well-built home in good shape, with real windows.
  • Fully furnished main house with lots of living space.
  • Lots of character in the house: built-in shelving and vanity in the bedroom, Additional vanity in bathroom with cupboards & vintage tile.
  • Tons of storage space.
  • Spacious patio with a hammock.
  • A comfy reading room off of the living room.
  • Quiet location right next to our favorite beach.

CONS:

  • Shared living space with a roommate.
  • The price is only slightly less than renting our own apartment.
  • Stained carpets.
  • No dogs…again no Toby 😦

When I look at it this way, it seems like the room is better than the apartment. If only they hadn’t made the comment about us being “part of the family” in the apartment. That turns it into a roommate type situation, and one roommate is much better than 3.

It breaks my heart to not have the option to bring Toby, but it’s just been so hard to find a place that will allow big dogs. One nice thing about the Master bedroom is that it would be month-to-month, so if we found a place where we could have Toby we could move out. We need to give notice soon if we’re going to act on either of these. What would you do, my friends?

Roommate Drama

March 24, 2010

I’m not one for roommates. Many of you know that about me. I don’t like confrontation, I like certain things just so, I like my freedom to do or not do things in a timely manner, and I’m finding that I easily hold a grudge. That last part is something I really should work on.

Filippo and I live with a middle-aged woman who has health problems, doesn’t drive, and is therefore always home. She likes to leave little notes on the kitchen table and on the fridge when we forget to do something (like close a window before we leave the house, or put away the dishes before bed). When we first moved in, I made an extra effort to clean the common areas regularly and generally be a good roommate. Still, she would find things to complain about, and I formed my resentment. We pay more than half of the rent for this house, and yet we have the smaller bedroom, no access to the living room, and she doesn’t like us spending too much time in the kitchen. I don’t like being banished to my bedroom when I pay $1000 per month.

As I’ve mentioned several times, Filippo and I are looking into getting our own place. We’ve been secretive about it because we’re not on a lease and could be kicked out at any time. So we make phone calls to landlords when we’re out of the house, or we whisper into the phone from our bedroom.

Yesterday, Filippo met with a landlord to see a studio here on the north shore. As I was driving home from yoga, I called him to ask how it was. He told me it was furnished with ugly furniture and was close to the highway, so it’s a no-go. Our roommate was listening to his conversation. From what Filippo tells me, the conversation went something like this:

Roommate: “So you’re moving out, huh?”

Filippo: “Well, when we moved in we said we’d probaby be leaving in 6 months to a year…”

R: “I knew you would leave as soon as you moved in. You know, you’ll have to help around the yard no matter where you go. And I’m always cleaning the house, so I know you’re never doing it. I’m not your maid, you know. And I try to make conversations with Erin but she just walks off. You guys could try sweeping the porch every once in a while, you know.”

F: “…We feel that we do our part…I’ve got to go”.

That was when I picked him up to go to a friends house and he told me about it in the car. What’s funny is that the day before, I had swept the kitchen and bathroom, and cleaned the ruggs. We never leave anything laying around the house…but I’ll admit, lately I’ve made much less effort to clean and interact with her. I just don’t really care to make things work at this house.

The whole ordeal didn’t really get me very upset, because it’s just more motivation to find a new place. I’ll just continue to avoid her, and soon enough we’ll be out of her hair. And then she can find a new roommate to complain about.