It’s been just over a year now since I packed my bags and moved across the state of Idaho. At the time, I only had a few job prospects, but nothing nailed down. It didn’t matter, I took the leap because I wanted to experience everything a new city had to offer.
My dog, Romeo, and I are newbie city dwellers. We were used to living in a house on two acres. But I found us an apartment that I had researched and visited prior to moving in. Packing preparation and moving day execution went smoothly. However, as the movers unloaded a million boxes and hoisted furniture into an 800-square-foot pad, I panicked. What if all my stuff doesn’t fit? I soon came to realize that space issues would be one of several things to worry about.
Here’s what I can tell you about apartment dwelling that I didn’t take into consideration before taking the plunge:
Is the top floor meant for the top dog?
I had this vision that I would love not having people making noise above me. While it’s true I didn’t have to contend with stomping feet above me, I failed to take into consideration the six trips I’d have to make up and down the stairs for a single trip to the grocery store. I also forget about the six trips a day I’d have to make to let the dog out to do his business and go for walks. On the plus side, I probably burned more calories per day than if I had lived on the bottom floor.
Balcony is literally a launching pad
Romeo is an agile 25-pound pug-Boston terrier mix. Here’s the deal: He just wanted to figure out how he could jump off the balcony and onto the roof of the apartment to chase a beady-eyed squirrel that was throwing him some serious shade.
The squirrel feasted feverishly while my dog stared rather intently through the sliding glass door. I enjoyed watching my dog watch the squirrel. We all delighted in this new activity. It was all peace, love, and bird seeds until I slid open the door one afternoon. Romeo bolted out, leapt onto the bistro table, and attempted to climb onto the balcony railing. His front paws rested there while he contemplated another jump onto the roof. Luckily, he gathered his wits about him and hopped off the table. Ok, so maybe a balcony wasn’t such a great idea.
Too much stuff, not enough storage
The concept of getting rid of unnecessary items before moving into a space half the size of what I was used to didn’t really occur to me. What’s worse, I kind of scoffed at people who chose to live in “tiny homes” with their well-organized space and minimalist lifestyle. As someone who was newly space-challenged, I really should have held a garage sale or made a donation drop prior to moving. Or perhaps I should have looked into renting a suitable-sized storage unit. I am now trying to embrace my inner-minimalist.
Nuisance neighbors are the worst
I seem to attract neighbors who always want to be up on my business. It’s like they can sense that I am a private person and want to dig in there anyway. You can’t always control who your neighbors are going to be, but with a little digging of your own, you can get an idea of who you’re living next to.
I should have asked the rental office if any of my neighbors had previous complaints lodged against them. I soon came to learn that my seemingly “nice” neighbor on the patio level was a bit of a busy-body.
Early one morning as I was walking Romeo, she came out of her apartment and started accusing me of allowing my dog to pee on her large potted tomatoes that were conveniently sticking out onto the walkway. I told her I didn’t think that was the case and suggested maybe her dog did it.
She would complain about parking, the lawn mowing, leash laws, poop pickup, you name it. I didn’t really want to hear her grievances. After making a casual comment at the rental office one day, I came to learn that other neighbors had also voiced their concerns about her. The lesson here is maybe I should have inquired a little further about other tenants before moving in.
In the end…
After my six-month lease was up, the apartment days came to an end. While it was fun to immerse myself into a different style of living, I decided to move into a house in the same city where all my crap would easily fit, and Romeo could run freely in the fenced backyard and chase squirrels for as long as his heart desires.
Photo by Seth Sawyers on flickr – Some Rights Reserved
Guest Author Bio
Melissa Davidson is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Montana. She covers a variety of topics, including mental and physical health, business, and social issues. Anytime she can write about her dog, Romeo, it’s a bonus. Romeo and Melissa can be found running and riding on trails throughout the Rocky Mountain West. Find Melissa on Twitter.