Our adventure continues. We have a few things already planned for this year. Last year was a year of change for us. This year will continue that theme and hopefully add in some other fun stuff.
First up… We are moving. One of the great things about renting is that you can easily move to a new place if you desire. We’ve been pretty happy with our current apartment, but there have been a few nagging annoyances that have caused us to shop around for alternatives.
The main issue is a mosquito problem. We have about five or six mosquitoes in permanent residence outside our front door. If we kill them all, they are magically replaced by another five or six. The result of this is we can’t get in or out without letting in a mosquito or two, and those mosquitoes just love to bite us in our sleep. We have approached management regarding this and they said there is not much they can do.
We have a few other issues that are minor, and may not have even caused us to start looking at alternative apartments if not for the mosquito issue. We have some undesirable neighbors across the hall. They have a teenage son that likes to hang out in the hallway with all his friends. They are generally a nuisance, sometimes get loud, sometimes play a guitar (poorly), and spill drinks in the hallway leaving sticky messes. He often skips school, and the police have been by a couple of times to talk to the grandmother about her grandson. I think the grandmother leases the apartment, as she was there by herself for about six months before the teenage kid and his mother moved in. I often hear the mother complaining on her cell phone in the hallway. One final annoyance to this bad neighbor situation is the shopping cart they bring home from Publix that they then leave in the hallway for days. I guess the bottom line is there is just too much disruptive activity in our shared hallway.
The other issue is that our hallway is dirty. It’s a combination of trash drippings and spilled drinks. Management pressure washes the hallways a couple times a year, but it’s not enough. I don’t recall this being an issue in any other apartments that we lived in, so I’m not sure what the difference is here. I like to feel good about walking into our apartment and the dirty hallways really make that difficult.
Those are the downsides to apartment living. I’m in the process of making a chart of the pluses and minuses of apartment living, and I’ll share that in an upcoming post. Overall, we are still satisfied with renting versus owning. If it weren’t for the unresolvable mosquito problem we may not have even considered looking around at other apartments.
We decided it was worthwhile to see what else was in the area, and spent several hours on Sunday driving around to check out alternative apartments. We looked at five other apartment communities. We had a funny thing happen while speaking to the leasing agents at each place. At all but one, when we mentioned where we currently lived, the excitement dropped out of their voice. One even flipped to the negative and started saying they didn’t have this and that like we have at our current place.
Dream was surprised when I mentioned this to her as she had been noticing the same thing. That made us feel pretty good that we had made a good choice in selecting our current apartment. After visiting the first four alternatives, we decided that none of them had what we were looking for. They all had certain positive aspects and most were slightly cheaper in price, but none were exactly what we were looking for.
The final one we looked at was a step up from our current place. We looked at these a couple of years ago and knew they were nice but were also more expensive. We decided to take another look anyway. The apartments are different from most in the area. They consist of two three-story buildings with an attached parking garage, air conditioned interior hallways (meaning no mosquitoes) and elevators to reach the upper floors. The buildings wrap around a central pool and spa area that looks more like a vacation resort than a typical apartment pool. The apartment itself has a large living room and large bedrooms. One of my favorite features is a huge garden style tub and separate shower in the master bath. I’d finally be able to take a bath again and have the water cover my entire body.
The cost is a bit higher than we are currently paying, and would actually be getting close to where it would make sense to think about buying a house again. It’s comparable to a mortgage payment, but would still be less due to significantly cheaper utilities (by hundreds of dollars) and free maintenance. Water and sewer is included in the rental price, as is cable TV. Electric and internet will be about the same as we are paying now. Dream began working part time recently and her income more than covers the difference and still keeps us under 50% for must haves.
We took the afternoon to think it over. At some point during the afternoon I needed to run up to the store to pick up a few things. As I got into my Jeep I noticed the door wasn’t closed all the way. When I opened the door I saw the contents of my center console and glove box littering the passenger seat. Yep, someone had broken into it looking for things to steel. Luckily I have nothing of real value in my Jeep. They ended up taking a 10 year old XM radio tuner (the type that just sits on the dash and tunes in through an FM station) and a pocket knife. Total value of both items was maybe $10.
It’s partially my fault since I don’t lock the doors on my Jeep. The most valuable thing in/on the Jeep is the soft-top, which costs about $800 to replace. I figure I’d rather have someone open the doors than slice the top to get in. That’s why I don’t keep anything of any value in the Jeep and it’s not a really big deal that it was broken into. Still, it’s annoying that it happened and we took that as the final sign that it’s time to move.
We filled out the application the next day and put a hold on a unit that is coming available in March. This unit is in a great location, it’s on the first floor and overlooks the pool.
Another thing we are considering in 2013 is changing our last name. It’s kind of hard for you to get a good feel for this one since I blog under a pen name, but our last name is long, hard to spell, and easy to make fun of. I’ve never really liked it. It was mocked in my childhood years, and now as an adult, every time I have to give someone my last name, they can’t help but make some comment about it.
It’s a rather arduous process to change a last name in our state, but we’ve started filling out the paperwork. This includes listing everyplace we have lived since birth including the address and dates we lived there. That took a bit of effort to remember and research.
Even though the paperwork is tough, I think the harder part is picking a new last name. We’re looking for a name that is short (less than 6 characters), not too masculine or feminine, only has one spelling, is easy to spell, doesn’t have any strange/negative meaning, and isn’t easily mocked or made fun of.
There’s a lot more to be said about changing a last name, but I’ll save that for a dedicated post where I’ll share some of the thoughts behind it, the process of the name change, and everything we’ll have to update after we change it.
We hope to continue more adventures in 2013 as well. We have another cruise scheduled at the end of April. This will be our first seven day cruise, and we’ll get to visit several countries in the western Caribbean. We are really looking forward to spending lots of time relaxing and enjoying the ship and exploring and touring some new countries.
Dream’s brother is starting to look into renting a cabin in the mountains for a week this summer. About every other year or so we go camping in the mountains. We downsized our camping gear and can really pack light and still be comfortable, but the rest of the family hasn’t followed step. This makes it a major ordeal for them to pack up all the camping gear and truck it up there. So, this year they are talking about a cabin instead. It might be a nice change of pace. It’s still early in the planning, but we are hoping the trip happens. One of the big reasons is the horseback riding there lets you ride as young as seven. Faith just turned seven, so shed be able to do the real ride instead of the pony rides she’s done in years past.
We also need to jump back into our fitness routine. The holidays really got in the way of our routine. Luckily the changes to our diet (including cutting out the sodas) continued and I actually lost a few more pounds after I stopped exercising. I’d like to knock out what remains of my spare tire and get down to a flat tummy before our cruise. Dream and I want to look darn sexy for our cruise pictures this year. I’ll update our fitness progress in an upcoming post.
As you can see, we have lots in store for 2013, and I have lots more to blog about. I’m looking forward to the year and am super excited about our upcoming move and the vacations we have planned.
What’s on your plate for 2013? Do you have any big changes planned this year? Any fun activities planned? I’d love to hear what you have going on.