This has been an eventful summer for sure. Not only did we go on two beautiful vacations (see Jeff’s side for details), but we have also found an apartment.
We really found several, but finally settled on one to sign a lease. Of course all of this caused a lot of excitement. Just a week before we were to leave for Germany, Jeff noticed a sign just a few houses up the street from where I live. The owners were renting an apartment above the garages at the back of the property. Ignoring the parked cars below, you essentially got an entire house to yourself. It had lots of windows, privacy and tons of “period charm”. Alas, despite Jeff’s best efforts of chatting up the mother of the owner we didn’t get the apartment. This first rejection hit Jeff harder than me, though Germany quickly distracted us. We guessed that they were more interested in renting to a single person than to a couple.
Back from vacation and still in the haze of jetlag we returned to browsing Craig’s List for rental listing in West Hollywood. In the process I learned to call a two-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment, 975 square feet at $1,800 per month “very reasonably priced”. It’s just a matter of perspective. We had drawn up a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves and started to prowl the streets printouts in hand. The fourth or fifth finally looked really good. A little smaller than we had hoped, and without air-conditioning, but with other great features. Hardwood floors, high ceilings, top-floor, three large walk-in closets and a great price.
Though getting the apartment required some tenacity. After I had walked by, Jeff and I went to the open house the next day, Saturday. Friends of the owner were showing the place. We didn’t get to the same level of excitement as with the first one, but quickly decided to throw in our hat and to apply for the lease. We faxed the summaries of our lives on Monday morning and we both talked several times on the phone to clear up details to Fred, a representative of the currently housebound owner. By Tuesday our stellar credit ratings must have dazzled Fred sufficiently that we were thought fit to meet with him for a face-to-face interview on Tuesday evening. Fred didn’t find anything wrong with us in person whereupon we were cleared for a meeting the same evening with the owner at his house about a half-hour drive from the apartment. We were admonished to bring a cash-deposit, if we were serious about leasing the place. Following a lengthy interview with the owner and our deposit accepted, we were further instructed to come back the following Saturday to sign the lease.
Luckily, my dear honey was sitting next to me through the entire process and let me vent afterwards. I’m sure I would have lost my cool somewhere along the way. After all, how much interest can you pretend to have for the precise location of your parking spot and the exact location of the dumpster. However, in the end we seem to look like people who bathe regularly and pay our bills on time. Jeff even helped me overcome my 2-minute panic when I found out that the apartment was technically not in the city of West Hollywood but in LA. It is one of the quirks of the layout of the city that the West side of our new street is in West Hollywood, but the East side with our apartment is not. I consoled myself with the thought that whenever I have the need to be in West Hollywood, I can just stroll across the street. With the signed lease in hand we’ve now told our landlords that we are moving out and called the utility companies.
This is not to say that I didn’t go through a brief phase of buyer’s remorse about the apartment. For about a week I kept browsing Craig’s list to see whether we really had made the right decision. But after a while this urge faded. Not the least driven by the realization that we did get the apartment for a reasonable price. Though just yesterday my head snapped and my eyes zeroed in on a for-rent sign in front of a totally adorable Spanish revival apartment building across the street from where I live. The entire place simply oozed old Hollywood character and charm, including the bohemian ambiance of slight neglect. Though a closer read of the sign showed that the apartment would be more than $600 per month over what we are going to pay and hence clearly out of our price range.
I don’t think I could have handled all this as evenly as I did without the benefit of our two vacation trips. Jeff and I did get to know each other a lot better. I learned that I can still see my lover in him, even when he switches to “full project manager mode”. Including when he, who I could barely rouse out of bed by 9:30 three days in a row, suddenly declared at six o’clock sharp “I’m going into town to get a cup of coffee.” I also found that he gets along easily with my friends and family in Germany. He even made a valid attempt of having a conversation with my 84-year old, Alzheimer-ridden mother. In German! A man like that will melt the heart of the most seriously single guy. And that’s why we are moving in.
This series of posts was first published in 2006 and 2007. Jeff and Rolf are now happily living together. For those of you who have missed it the first time around and for everyone who’d like to read it again, here is the full story line in an updated format.