Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Dream Home...Or Good Enough

The other day, driving down to San Diego, Terry and I started reminiscing about our old apartments. Since moving in together in 2008, we have lived in four different apartments!

Our first place was fancy and expensive, a one bedroom place in Brentwood. Our favorite memories there: letting our laundry pile up because we had no system for organizing it, so the process of sorting it took so long that we put off the chore as long as possible. (Now we have a four-bag laundry-sorting rack that sorts whites, colors (x2), and towels/linens, so we just grab a bag and head to the laundry room. Marshall has his own hamper and laundry bag.) We also had this little couch that could fold out into a makeshift bed, and we would have little living room sleepovers (I think because we didn't have a TV in our bedroom?). This apartment was where we started taking long walks together regularly, and it's (the neighborhood) where Terry proposed to me!

Photo credit: Heidi and Edward!

Next we moved to Mar Vista, and we shared an apartment with Jenn for a year! It was so fun to live with Jenn, and we all got to save money for a bit. That place was huge, a good location (we could walk to The Counter!), and...infested with cockroaches. Get me OUT. Still, some fond memories, like my bunion surgery (well, the recovery from it, which involved learning how to go up and down stairs on crutches), tons of fun with Jenn and Justin, and the start of our journey with running (I remember when jogging half a mile to the park felt like death). It's also where we welcomed Scout to our family!

In 2011, right before our wedding, we moved up a few miles to our favorite home so far, the first place that really felt like home. 650 square feet, one bedroom, newly renovated, and a little patio. Terry carried me over the threshold after our wedding. It's the place from which we departed for and to which we returned after all three of our trips to Europe. It's where I truly learned to cook and improved my health drastically. We loved that neighborhood--walking everywhere, visiting UCLA often, trying tons of restaurants, training for our half marathon together. Oh, and TMI--let's just say Marshall wouldn't be here without that place! ;-) We would have stayed there many more years, I'll bet, if we had just a little more space for our growing family.

Alas, we had to find a bigger space, and we moved to our current condo, way down near Rancho Palos Verdes and Torrance in the South Bay. We certainly have space, and of course we've made tons of new memories, almost all of them involving welcoming our sweet baby boy to our family. My favorite memories here have been bringing Marshall home, spending those first four weeks trying to figure out how to be a family of three, and watching all of Marshall's big milestones--first smiles, first crawling steps, first meals. Here is also where I have learned that "home" is not about the dwelling but about the people in it. (Duh, everyone says that, but I hadn't yet experienced it.) I don't love this place, but I love the people (and cat!) who live here with me.

After all that reminiscing, we thought about where we might live next. Here are my must-haves:

  • Washer and dryer in-unit
Here are some other dream attributes (keeping in mind these are for our next home, not our eventual dream home, which is obviously a cute little house near great schools with a huge yard and a big dog):
  • two bedrooms, two bathrooms (sure, we'd love more, but we have to be realistic here)
  • two parking spaces
  • enough space to fit our couch (we have a large sectional and looooove how comfy it is!), but we'd be willing to downsize if necessary, because it's pretty silly to turn down an otherwise-awesome apartment for a couch...right?
  • super safe location--I'm paranoid and Terry travels for work frequently, plus I have to get approval from my retired cop of a father
  • great neighborhood for walking--exercise paths, nearby restaurants, local parks
  • family-friendly (not too loud at night, other young families nearby, no smoking in the building)
  • pet-friendly (do you realize some places charge up to $100 per month for "pet rent"? WTF?!)
  • some sort of outdoor space so we can keep our grill
  • storage space, because at some point I went overboard buying too many Christmas decorations
  • well-maintained and/or renovated
  • no cockroaches
I suppose that list could go on and on, but those qualities would be wonderful. Most importantly, it occurs to me that our next place will likely be where we welcome Marshall's future little sibling, so we just hope it will be a perfect potential home to become a family of four (plus Scout). 

Okay, what are your worst and best past living experiences?


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