We Can Pack a Mean Box

(To understand the following post you need to know there is a website that features articles like this about all the places people have lived. I used the format. Here is a link to that site.)

The Greens/Fayetteville, AR/ August 2001-May 2003:
I wanted out of the dorms so much after my freshmen year, due mostly to my promiscuous and inconsiderate roommate. I could have handled one or the other but her being both at the same time lead to some seriously awkward moments on my end. The Greens was the nicest apartment complex that students could afford in Fayetteville at the time. I moved in with a girl I knew through a friend and had met exactly once before calling her up and asking if she wanted a roommate. Several of my friends from the dorm also got apartments in that complex, including Sergio. We had a 9 hole golf course, tennis courts, a pool, a clubhouse, and several decorative ponds. I don’t remember using them much while we lived there. I had my own room, a shared shower but my own sink and toilet, and in unit laundry. For two years it felt like I lived really well. My roommate decorated the apartment with brand new furniture. It was nice at first until it became clear that it was only meant for her friends or our mutual friends, but not MY friends. By year two I was dating Sergio and spent most of my free time with him and Iggy at their apartment a few buildings down. I’m not sure Ryan bargained for my presence but I cleaned the tub once in a while, so he dealt. He would give me his prescription reflux medication when I was having a bout. We were 19 and sharing heartburn meds.

Duncan/ Fayetteville, AR/ May 2003 – March 2004:
I moved into a two bedroom/one bath postage stamp apartment right off campus with my cousin less than a year before Sergio and I got married. He moved at the same time to an even tinier and less functional one bedroom a few blocks away. The furniture was all mismatched hand me downs and it was really quite small, but I enjoyed living there. My cousin and her boyfriend and Sergio and I were all there in our free time. I remember stepping over bodies on the floor a lot because we only had a loveseat and if all four of us watched tv at least two of us had to take the floor. I wasn’t even there a full year before I got married, but it was nothing but pleasant in my memory. Not having to drive to the store and then take a bus to campus was a huge benefit, especially since I took a few night classes to finish up school early.

No dishwasher #1/ Fayetteville, AR/ March 2004 – August 2004:
When Sergio and I got married I moved into his not very functional one bedroom. It was so small, had no dishwasher, and a bathroom that caused you to bump into something if you tried to store anything in it. We also had an 80 lb dog living there with us because of course we did. I don’t remember the dishes piling up much in this place and I chalk that up to wanting to be a good housewife at first. Or maybe it’s because I had graduated and spent a lot of time in Little Rock working temp jobs. We were only here for a semester. We lived right off campus in really cheap housing so were always surrounded by loud parties. I remember this because Sergio called the police about the noise no less than three times. We were 21 and already over the partying of others.

Cantrell/Little Rock, AR/October 2004 – June 2005:
After a brief stint at my parent’s house where we were able to save money and drive everyone crazy, we moved into a two bedroom/ one bath off Cantrell Rd. It had a dining room, which was so weird. Until a couple of years ago, this was probably our most adult house. Our furniture was hand me downs and our spare bedroom had no bed, but it was still decorated and functional in a way most of our houses later were not. The location was good but we were robbed once and another time a car crashed right into our apartment in the middle of the night. No damage, but it was startling. Oh, and then a truck was stolen from our parking lot and the cops tracked it using Onstar and there was a shootout or something? I know this because I was taking a puppy Eliot out for his 1 am pee break and was asked by the police what I had seen. I read about the rest of it the next day.

7th /Fayetteville, AR/July 2005 – August 2006:
Sergio and I probably could have made a life out of what we had going in Little Rock. We both had entry-level businessy jobs in which we might have been able to move up. We were going to school at night to change careers. We just couldn’t get comfortable. All of our friends were still in college back home. We felt adrift. We decided to move back home and finish grad school there. We got a two bedroom/two bath duplex in South Fayetteville. I LOVED this place. It was like a foreign country going to that side of town, but marked the beginning of our love affair with S. Fayetteville. It’s pretty much entirely gentrified now. We had friends (okay, one friend, Ryan) over for dinner with regularity. We walked all around town. We had a park with tennis courts right up the road. It was really comfortable and our landlady was nice. We grew plants in pots. We got in really good shape while we lived there and cooked a lot. We were very poor, but I don’t remember it that way as much as I do other places. I liked our neighbors. Old people or young families. Lots of minorities. It felt like real life. I woke up one day to see that a grill was on fire across the street. I watched it for a minute because it looked like it might have been on purpose, but it was a strange time of day for such a big fire. I went back in to wake Sergio and see if he thought it was on purpose. By the time I got him up it was obvious it was not. I ran back out calling 911. An older lady who lived next door ran across and banged on the door. The whole family was asleep inside but they got out safe. The family rebuilt their house exactly as it had been even though they could have done anything.

30th /Portland, OR/August 2006 – July 2007:
Sergio spent most of our time on 7th applying to law school. We had options all over the country. We chose Portland. We picked a place we could afford online. It was two bedrooms, one bath. It was a decent place with a good location. A bus stop at the top and bottom of our hill. A short walk to the Hillsboro neighborhood. Three miles from downtown. It was pretty nice. Unfortunately, it had black mold because we were basically halfway underground and in a dense forest. Nothing could ever get dry. We also had to do laundry with quarters at a common laundry area. Boo. And our upstairs neighbors dropped their cigarette butts on our patio. I learned to bike commute to Portland State from this place but then my bike was promptly stolen.

Lake Oswego/ Lake Oswego, OR/July 2007 – June 2008:
We made a decision counter to our normal decisions and moved to the nearest suburb. It was even nearer to Lewis and Clark, which at this point we were both attending. It made for convenient bike commuting. We were in a kind of resort community. We had a workout room with ping pong across the street and a pool in our complex. A lot of our classmates lived in the area making school projects easy. Lake O had a wonderful French bakery and a nice farmer’s market. We didn’t feel particularly urban here, but it was pleasant and easy. We had a real fireplace and it kept the house dry. We used it all the time, even into May and June if it was rainy. It was so nice that we usually just threw our mattress down in the living room and lived there in front of the fireplace. Our mattress with our couch behind it served as a place to eat dinner, study, and watch tv. If one of us needed to get serious about studying we would sit up at the desk in the corner.

Cedar Springs/Dallas, TX/July 2008 – May 2009:
I wanted to move home and there was an externship in Dallas that Sergio could take. Close enough. We took a one bedroom unit in a downtown gated complex sight unseen. It had a deco feel. It had a pool that was actually useful in the Dallas heat. And after two long years without, it had in-unit laundry. It had hardwood floors and allowed us to paint any color we wanted. It was the most urban we ever felt. We had left all of our furniture behind in Portland. We lived over a month without a couch. I found out I was pregnant a week after moving there. I remember lying in a pile of blankets on the hardwood floors so I could watch tv. I would crawl periodically to the bathroom and puke and then retreat back to my blanket pile. Or not. We had a decent sized tub and I would lie in there in my blanket pile as well. We had a Thai/Chinese restaurant that delivered to us about twice a week. The apartment was our haven. There was nowhere to go in Dallas to be away from concrete. We spent a lot of time walking around the mall. We set up our nursery in the big, unused dining area. When we brought Rosalind home, we moved everything into the bedroom and basically lived in there for our last two months. The in-unit laundry proved invaluable with our reflux-ridden baby. Also noteworthy, the nicest landlord we ever had.

Top of the hill/Fayetteville, AR/May 2009 – ?:
I wanted to go all the way home. We picked a two bed/one and half bath duplex on Mt. Sequoyah. Awesome location. Awesome view. Three stories. The floor was freezing and the upstairs was miserably hot. The stairs proved to be the undoing as our little tot started climbing them. They had been designed in the 50’s and did not allow for childproofing at either end. Also, we found something we wanted more.

Johnson (No dishwasher #2)/Fayetteville, AR/ ? – November 2010:
We wanted the landlord to let us buy this house so much. The location was perfect and the house could be slowly worked on to become something better. It had a great backyard. Two bedrooms/one bath and attic space. Good laundry area. We might still be here but for two problems, the dishwasher and the fact that sewage flowed openly to the side of the house. The landlord didn’t fix things. Anything we could fix we did and then it became obvious we were being chumps for the location and yard. We fixed the heat and air problems and even caulked up the crumbling bathroom, but the sewage was one step too far. It was a happy place except that Sergio worked in Helena much of the time we lived here. We had a chicken coop in the backyard and too many fresh eggs.

Canehill/Canehill, AR/November 2010 – June 2011:
15 acres! The only house we’ve ever owned. It would have been two bedrooms and two baths eventually. Instead it was one bedroom and basically no bath while we were there. Nothing drained in that house. We installed a dishwasher, but it couldn’t work between always freezing and not being able to drain. If it hadn’t been so far from everything we did and valued, we would have toughed it out. If we had had a lot of money to fix things faster we might have toughed it out. It was not meant to be. The creek was great. The family that walked up one day to inquire if we would sell have loved it and fixed it to their liking and I think it is in the right hands.

University/Fayetteville, AR/June 2011 – June 2013:
Our little yellow cottage. So small that it seemed almost impossible. So cute and tucked away. Originally a mother in law suite for the bigger house in front of us. It had everything we needed and served us well for two years. The location was amazing. We could walk just about everywhere we would want to be. I wished it had a tub for toddler Rosalind. That was about it. It was really a home. Eventually the homemaker side got the better of me and I wanted to be able to have people over and a room for our parents to sleep in when they visited. I will always love this house though. Our landlords were crazy nice. Emphasis on the crazy. They came in unannounced all the time. Not because they were suspicious but because they just felt like whoever lived in their house was extended family and they could just be there whenever. They used our water hose all the time, sometimes for hours at a time.

Cinnamon Way/Fayetteville, AR/June 2013 – May 2014:
THREE bedrooms. TWO and a HALF bathrooms! An island in the kitchen! A living room that could hold a couch that could fit my whole family and more. Bathtubs! A GARAGE! A fenced yard. We traded location and lifestyle for convenience and space. I thought it was an even tradeoff most of the time, but not always. I loved that people could stay with us and did fairly often. I loved that our friends could come over and have somewhere to sit. I felt like I could spread out and live instead of just hover. My car was always warm in the morning. We might still be there if we hadn’t taken the Alaskan opportunity. Or not. It was expensive to heat and cool.

6th Ave (no dishwasher #3)/Bethel, AK/May 2014 – Present:
Impossibly tiny like the yellow house but less charm. We have everything we need except a dishwasher and unlimited water. Probably a decent tradeoff for affordability. The location is good. We have an equal number of crazy and normal neighbors. We hung up two pictures this weekend. I guess we really live here now.

14 houses in 13 years!!! This has to be some sort of psychological disorder.

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