Our last night at Park Hill

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 7:17 PM | comments: 0

Tonight is the last night we'll sleep in the apartment at Park Hill. With this realization, I suppose I'm able to better assess how good and bad the place was.

We moved really, really fast when we got to the Seattle area in terms of apartment hunting. We had already researched a ton of places on the Internet, and started looking at them the day after we arrived. Even though Microsoft provided 30 days of temporary housing, I was not fond of being in limbo with a pregnant lady and four cats. It caused a lot of anxiety.

There were a lot of motivating factors in choosing a place, but the biggest ones were distance to work and cost. Of the places we looked at, the best candidate was this beautiful, hardwood floors, marble counters, amazing townhouse up in Kenmore. It was a little pricey (I think the same as our new place), but totally new. Imagine the heartbreak when we did the drive to work, on a weekend no less, and it took almost 40 minutes, without traffic. Sigh.

We checked out a couple more places the next day, and we found this three bedroom that we've been in now for almost a year. The location was great, and it was "cheap" compared to a lot of places. That turned out to be a good thing, since retiring credit card debt took a lot longer than I would have liked, and we had Diana's house for the first six months on top of that (Diana's severance helped pay for it, but that's not the point... it was money we still had to spend on one of two houses we didn't live in). The relatively economical place turned out to be the right thing.

And truthfully, I didn't mind it all that much. The space was adequate, energy costs were super low, convenient access to retail, easy non-freeway drive to work... and then I spent a month at home after Simon was born.

The negatives became very apparent at that point. Even as the weather improved, it was always dark, facing north with a half-height retaining wall. We were further resistant to keeping the window shades up because it was like being in a fishbowl, particularly as the asshole kids who wanted the upstairs neighbors to come out would stand there in front of our window staring in. Soccer in the parking lot, hitting Diana's car all of the time, didn't help.

So this summer we decided that, even though my house still hadn't sold, we were going to find a house to rent. Even if it did cost more, we were really tired of putting our lives on hold and feeling transient. Diana started "shopping" and saw our current place on Craigslist, and it was immediately apparent that it was a solid place. And at the end of the day, the rent is less than $200 more than the Park Hill renewal, and that's further offset by the included water and sewer.

There are minor negatives, like an electric stove and a commute that's about 10 minutes longer, but I think they're pretty good tradeoffs. We'll be closer to Diana's brother too, and that's a plus because I want Simon to know his cousins.

The biggest win in my mind? Lots of windows facing south. It's a wonderfully bright place when there's sun.


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