and my pretty new haircut on the right next to the car there)
here's the living room, complete with hardwood and curved ceilings and
a pass through to the kitchen
here's the dynamite kitchen (so much bigger than any apartment kitchen
we've ever had before)
the 'library' (it's a three bedroom, but 1 bedroom you have to walk through to get
to the furthest bedroom - which means it will be our library/office)
And I'll be honest, we did NOT expect to luck out this majorly. We got to LA on friday and drove around our old neighborhood, hoping against hope there would be some listing we'd missed. But we had to have a three bedroom (too much stuff) and the only things available were 2 bedrooms or HIDEOUSLY overpriced places that we simply could not afford even if there were five of us. But we did take the number of this one place that was going to be showing on Saturday - I talked to the property management guy and even though it was a couple $100 a month out out of our price range, and I complained, he said "show up tomorrow, because the owner is going to be showing it, and walk in there and tell him you'll give him $500 right now to take it, and he'll come around". And I thought.... he's crazy.
So we gave up the hope of going back to our favorite neighborhood.
Saturday we left the house at 8 am so we could get to an appointment .... where the manager didn't show up. And didn't answer his phone the first three times I called. This did not bode well. We drove around for a couple of hours after that, moving into steadily "iffier" parts of town, to the second place we'd made an appointment, calling on apartments we saw in the meantime. The only thing that reassured us at that point was that it seemed like all of LA is trying to rent itself. The second place we went into was beautiful, but didn't allow pets, the third was in a really iffy neighborhood right by the freeway and was surrounded by big apartment complexes and was a big complex iteslf - but it was a townhouse-type-apartment w/upstairs and downstairs... the only problem is we were pretty sure the upstairs bedrooms were so small our bed wouldn't fit. The third place was 20 minutes deeper into town, and ok on the bedrooms, but we weren't sure our couch was going to fit in the living room. To make matters worse it had broken windows they weren't sure they were going to fix. The last place we looked had a great patio area (except that the landlord was going to make it so it wasn't private, but that another tenant would have walkthrough access - so there went the 'Domino the dog might have a place to play' idea), the bedrooms were small, and it only had one tiny bathroom, and we got the feeling that the landlord, who had lived there before, had done weird kinky unsanitary things in one of the rooms. Not good.
To say we were disgruntled at this point was an understatement. By the time we got done with all of that we had called at least another dozen places that might be possibilities, and none of them had gotten back to us.
So what did we do? We went back to the apartment that was too expensive, and walked in the door. OH MY GOD was it beautiful. Well, you see the pictures up there, you can get some idea of it, right? In a neighborhood we love. It's not totally convenient to any of our places of work/school, but none of the others were perfect either, and .... look at those pictures! (or heck, if you're as crazy-mad about other people's apartments as I am, look at ALL the pictures we took of the place). My girlfriend Maija, who had decided to come with us to lend moral support and give aesthetic approval, pretty much took one look at the place and told me that if we didn't get it she was going to hit me. (actually, I'm not sure if that was the threat or if it was something else, because it was a blur, really, but it works, there was a threat, bodily harm, something). There were two other sets of people looking at it at the same time we were. While I waited for the interested but flaky 20-somethings to stop talking to the owner so that I could pounce, he actually turned and winked at me, half rolling his eyes as if he knew as well as I did that they weren't the tenants he was looking for.
For the first time in my life, I haggled for something I really, really, really wanted. Back when Neil and I were in Europe I managed to haggle for a pair of sunglasses, and still ended up paying 100 lyra more than I wanted to. This time? Well, I didn't get him down as far as I wanted. But I did get him down into our actual budgeted range. I did get him to knock $200 a month off of a price he'd already knocked $200/month off when he did the listing this time. In otherwords... I haggled, Neil nodded when he counter offered, and by 2:30 pm, pretty much 20 minutes after we walked in the door, WE GOT THE APARTMENT.
Then, of course, we ended up biting our nails for the rest of the afternoon while they were running our credit, and we breathed a small sigh of delight and relief when they called at 8 PM. Neil hadn't been able to eat dinner, I was tying myself up in knots, and they, of course, said yes! Today we signed the lease, got the key, took a billion pictures, found out which parking spaces are ours, discovered the apartment also comes with a back area that has a fence (and even though trash has been piled in there right now, it's the work of a weekend to clean it up, and we so will, so that we can have a doggie hangout back there), and basically finally sighed with relief after we finish signing the the lease at 5 pm.
(and we still managed to fit in going to a friend's birthday party bbq on Friday night, some sushi Saturday, breakfast today, visiting the Promenade, looking at the ocean, and freaking right the hell out and then relaxing with another bbq tonight with our friends, who are awesome).
phew. hell of a weekend. but it's gonna be great.