When I was around 17-18 years old, I started really planning my first apartment. I mean, I would spend hours upon hours looking at PB Teen catalogs (first red flag) creating an online shopping list, just daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to live on my own. By “on my own”, I mean with my boyfriend and 1-2 other roommates- I made a hair over minimum wage how the heck was I going to afford rent? (Second red flag). All logic and reasoning aside, it was going to be great.
Fast forward to my first apartment. We moved into an apartment complex with questionable colored carpet and no central air. (Let me give you some background info here and say that then men in my life do not fare well without central air.) We hauled in our belongings; donated furniture and a box of dishes/pots from good ole Walmart. Sorry, PB Teen. You just weren’t in the budget. We fought about how to arrange the furniture for awhile and then sat in the glory that was our first apartment. I think it took all of 5 minutes for the first “I’m bored”. We didn’t have an appointment to get cable set up until the following week, apparently we weren’t all that into drinking (our roommate was 21 at the time, so by all means, we could’ve played Circle of Death or something) and after paying first month’s this and that, we surely didn’t have any money for anything else. So, the boys played video games and the girls power-read through the entire Twilight series. All 4 books, one week. It was amazing and traumatizing all at the same time. (Team Edward4Lyfe.)
We lived in that apartment, eating ramen noodles and perogies; so many perogies; for two years before I finally got sick of the doors that wouldn’t shut, the landlord that was probably plotting to kidnap me and the neighbors downstairs that argued like it was their job. I don’t think they stopped yelling for two years. So, we moved out of our once beloved apartment with the same shitty belongings we moved into it with. We hadn’t exactly moved up in the world as far as careers go; I was still working retail, he was delivering pizza.
Our next move was into his cousin’s house. We crammed all our belongings into a teeny, tiny bedroom in her trailer. Now, there is nothing wrong with trailers. I grew up in one most of my life; however, whoever first designed them decided that whoever lives in the second bedroom is likely a toddler that will never age. I mean, once we put our modest-sized bed in the room, that was it. Forget nightstands or desks, or even a TV stand. We had a bed. Looking back, I think that house promoted a general lifestyle of laziness for us, but was it really our fault? Our bed was our couch, and our couch was our bed. It just screamed, “Lay down! Relax awhile!” *4 hours later- still there.*
It didn’t take long for that to get old. At this point, my boyfriend had been studying to get his CDL (Commercial Drivers License) and had passed his test. He had been job hunting for roughly a month or so before he interviewed for his current company. (I feel like it is pertinent to point out that I was a Junior in college at this time, not just selling clothes at the mall). A real job with an actual paycheck meant looking for our very own first apartment by ourselves! No roommates! No hand-me-down furniture! DISHES MADE OF GLASS NOT PLASTIC!!! At 21 (me) and 23 (him) we were finally in our first place that felt like home. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, matching furniture… ahhh, it was fantastic.
For the first year.
And the second.
Then there was the third and it was like, “eh, I’d like a house that doesn’t have a shared wall with other people”. Duplexes are a failed idea, just saying.
Now we’re set to begin year four if we renew our lease in February. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my house. It’s taken this long to get it decorated and set up how I’d like, and it’s still a work in progress. We still have the same shitty metal bed frame that was given to us 6 years ago, a broken dresser, (p.s. apparently I did bring hand-me-down furniture into this place. oops!), a plastic 3-drawer bin thingy as a makeshift end-table, etc. You get the point. We aren’t quite full blown adults yet, basically. Being a full blown adult is way more expensive than I had originally thought, so groceries and car inspections and life just generally get put higher on the priority list than my online shopping cart at Ikea. It may not be the grossness that was my first apartment, but I’m still ready to move on. I want the house on property with a finished basement and a wrap-around porch.
So now I’ve moved onto the world of mortgage rates, down payments, PMI, school districts and property taxes. But that’s likely all the moving I’ll be doing in awhile.
As it turns out, buying a house is even more of an annoyance than renting.