I’m the Modern Day Gladys Kravitz

I am the modern day Glayds Kravitz, and I’m proud of it! In case you may not remember, she was the “nosy” neighbor, I prefer to say she was inquisitive, on Bewitched. She actually knew that Samantha was a witch and saw several clues and signs, yet no one believed her.

 

I’m still in the same apartment I’ve been in, for over five years now. We debated moving this Summer, but due to rent prices, cost of moving and the fact that we do, indeed, love our apartment, it was more feasible for us to stay. Granted, I know that means I am putting myself in a bad situation, in regards to my neighbor and management. I get it, no manager wants to hear any complaints. No one enjoys hearing about issues that need to be resolved, however, I also would not choose to be an apartment manager if I can’t handle “issues” or complaints. I naively hoped that with all that happened with the prior neighbor, specifically the fact that she was “squatting” here and stole from me and other neighbors, that things would improve. That it could have been a learning experience and for management to intervene and get the issues resolved in a timely fashion. I was wrong, dead wrong.

My current upstairs neighbor should never be living on a top floor apartment with wood floors. He enjoys his heeled shoes and loves to push furniture around all hours of the day and night. The worst of it is his love of using a floor buffer. At first, I thought he was vacuuming his wood floors, using the lowest setting. But, I could hear that he was going over the same spot, over and over again. My mom, who was visiting, thought it was a jet fighter flying above my apartment. I had written and later spoken to the owner, after giving up on management. The owner said all the right things, but nothing has been done since. My main point to him was to perhaps require that tenants put down rugs, to cut down noise. I can tell my neighbor doesn’t have rugs, because when he walks in his heeled shoes, there’s never a break. Again, I realize it may sound petty, but when a heavy man wears heeled shoes, it sounds very much like someone walking and hammering the floor, at the same time. The last “advice” we received from management, when we could not hear our own TV, because the neighbors crappy 70s music was blasting, was that we should just turn our TV up louder. No discussion with the neighbor about being more courteous, rather, let’s just ignore the issue and create an even bigger noise issue! Besides, when we turn our TV up, his music goes up. It’s a lose-lose battle.

I’ve recorded a couple of his noisier moments; one sounds like he’s sawing a tree upstairs, but it’s his floor buffer. He must have the shiniest floors in the building! My goal of talking to the owner was to get updates to the lease and request that people put down rugs and be more considerate. He agreed that they don’t do a good enough job with that, but I’m not going to hold my breath that actual changes will occur in the future.

 

My own “Home Hunters” Adventure

In the next week, my mom and I will be going on an adventure. Not quite the fun adventure one would think, but an apartment adventure. My husband is trusting of my decision, so he’s going to stay behind, per his choice. But, my mom and I are going to go search various apartments to see if there is one that might be a better fit for us now. If you’ve read my blog over the past year, you know that I’ve had many issues, namely noise issues with the poor, or zero, sound proofing our current apartment provides. The other issue my current apartment has is that the washer and dryer is in our basement. Although I’m grateful to have my own washer and dryer, I’d much prefer to have one located inside my apartment! Because of my health issues, sometimes it can become an issue bringing clothes up and down the stairs, especially when there’s more than one or two loads. Overall, it would just be a nice convenience to have my washer and dryer inside my apartment and avoid stairs. Also, the basement isn’t a finished basement, so it’s musty and leaks when it rains, so I’m always having to clean my washer and dryer because of the dirty basement. There are some great positives about my current apartment though. I love that we can get Uverse service where we live and I love that the apartment has beautiful hardwood floors; although, I’m not so thrilled my upstairs neighbor also has hardwood floors. Our lease is up in August, so we have some time to figure out what we’re going to do, which is nice that we have time to make an informed decision.

When I say informed, I really mean it. I’m a very organized person and I’ve already made a list of ten apartments that I want my mom and I to check out. My husband and I have decided that we’re ready to downsize for both financial reasons and to help me with having less to keep clean. So, I’ve gone online and researched apartments within my price range and made sure that they have a washer/dryer hookup inside the unit. Like I said, I have ten apartments that we plan to go look at, when my mom comes up to visit on the 24th of this month. I also have a lengthy list of amenities that we will score, 1 through 5, with 1 being very poor and 5 being excellent. Currently, my list includes the following:

Space for a washer/dryer inside the unit

Apartment has adequate sunlight

Apartment is safe and in a safe neighborhood

There is ample parking

Uverse is available

What are the pet fees

Are there move-in specials

Is there adequate bird watching for my kitties (trees/grassy areas outside the windows)

Are there positive/negative online reviews

Is the bathroom in good shape/bathtub appealing to bathe in

Will property provide a letter for my Circuit Breaker (which provides a taxable deduction on my rent)

How is the sound proofing

Is the kitchen updated

Is the apartment close to amenities, like shopping and my doctors

 

This is the list I have currently, I’d welcome any additions! I’m going to have this all typed out and easy to plug in the numbers. My mom and I will complete our scores separately, as well as score my current apartment, and after we’ve viewed all the apartments, come together to decide which is the best apartment for the money and amenities. I think it will be a fun adventure. My mom and I both enjoy shows like house hunters, so this will be like our own little “home hunters” version.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

 

My Quick Fix on Decreasing Sound in my Apartment

About a year ago, my life was full of turmoil over my upstairs neighbor. We had a lot of issues, that I won’t rehash, but I’ve blogged about, many times. Today I was reading a post from the site, Apartment Therapy, and they asked a question about what you dislike most about your home? Well, that’s an easy answer for me, the lack of insulation and poor sound proofing. I realize that my upstairs neighbor can likely complain about our TV or voices, etc, since we can clearly hear him. I mean, I hear his phone ring and then hear him saying “hello”. I’ve lived in many apartments, and this is the first time I’ve lived in one where the sound proofing was apparently “left out”! I researched many ways to try and cut down on sound, such as adding thick drapes to shield out some noise and there’s even a spray paint that’s supposed to cut down on the acoustic sounds. But, all of this is costly, and we can’t do anything major, like adding a layer of insulation and sheet rock. We’ve alerted our new neighbor about the poor sound insulation, but that hasn’t done any good. He wears his cowboy boots everywhere, including above our bedroom at all hours, even at 4am, waking me up. It’s just a courtesy thing, and sadly, a lot of people don’t consider that their walking in heeled shoes would be a nightmare to the tenant below them.

We’ve learned that talking to our apartment manager was useless and only made the situation worse, much worse. So, we’ve decided we have to learn to deal with it, because financially, we’re not in a position to move. Plus, we’ve been here for five years and we really do love our apartment, with that major exception! I will say I’ve found a fairly decent solution to cutting down on some noises. I have a TV in my bedroom,  but because I have etiquette, I would never play my TV after 10pm as a common courtesy to my neighbor. I would certainly hope he wouldn’t turn his TV or radio on after a certain time, as well. The solution we came up with is, is getting wireless headphones. I researched online and we decided on a pair of RCA wireless headphones that we purchased on Amazon. We ended up loving them so much, we got two more pairs for our other TV’s. The sound quality is great and it blocks out all outside noises. I never feel guilty about watching TV late, in bed, and I can wear them walking around my house because they’re wireless. Another great feature, is that they run on rechargeable batteries! So, when my neighbor is having his loud days or it’s late at night, my wireless headphones help me to enjoy my TV show, versus cursing out my obnoxious neighbor!

Here’s a link to the headphones we got, I have had zero complaints and would highly recommend them to anyone! And no, I don’t work for RCA or get any financial gain from writing about them; although, that would be completely welcomed!

 

Dealing with An Unreasonable Neighbor #apartment #renting

Well, last time I blogged, I was reaping the rewards of working out an issue with my upstairs neighbor. I had written her a letter asking that she keep down the noise level at 6AM; specifically, slamming her closet door in the bedroom. She responded by being extremely apologetic and even gave me a plant. I really thought that we were going to work out wonderfully. A few days later, I was woke up at 2AM then 3 AM the following night, by numerous sounds, all inappropriate banging and slamming noises. I can’t imagine what could be happening upstairs, but I did later learn that my neighbor says she fell at 2am, which explains why I was jolted awake. She apparently has severe mobility issues and will often times, fall, very loudly. I wondered why a woman would choose to live on the second floor of an apartment with hardwood floors, alone. But, I fully believe that her daughter spends most of her time here, possibly 5 out of 7 days a week. It’s very rare that I don’t see her daughter. I fully understand that she should likely be living with someone, but her daughter isn’t on the lease, and seems to be the one who is especially noisy.

I spoke with my landlord who informed me that my upstairs neighbor wrote her a note and left her my notes; I had left another note after the 2 and 3 AM wake up calls. Which I did receive a response stating that she couldn’t possibly be any louder than the maintenance work going on, which happens to be during the day. She also said she heard my husband and I speaking very loudly and just realizes this is apartment living. So basically, she’s telling me to deal with it and get over myself. Our landlord was a bit confused as to how to proceed as she views both of us as “nice” ladies. I have rented here for over 3 years, the new tenant for less than a month. Some of the comments that my upstairs neighbor left in her note to my manager is that she felt my husband and I were fighting and using very abusive language. Granted, I do argue with my husband and I can’t specifically remember all that is said, but it’s never at an unGodly hour, like 2, 3 or 6 am. I believe the fight we had was at 3:30PM, as we have been quite stressed over his losing his job. Do I think arguing is appropriate? No, but husbands and wives talk to each other perhaps differently than what you may think you would. We’ve been together for 14 years and married for 10, there is nothing abusive about our relationship. Furthermore, I can hear her and her daughter talking all hours of the day and night, yet I’ve never complained about talking. It’s always about the loud banging and slamming noises I hear at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

My landlord spoke with my upstairs neighbor about her letter and then spoke to me the next day. I informed my landlord that I didn’t think she had spoken to my neighbor as it was as noisy as any other day and I didn’t notice any difference. She said she was very clear about noise levels and appropriate times of day, etc. I told her that I too tried to explain that I realize this is not a library and that we will hear each other, but that it was common courtesy to not be so noisy when people are trying to sleep. We decided that it’s quite possible the noise I’m hearing is the daughter cleaning after her mom goes to bed. Some of the noises sound like chairs or tables being scooted around, making a very loud squeaking sound. I hear noises of cords being dropped and the sound of a mop being banged about the apartment. One may wonder how I can possibly hear all of this? It’s loud! It’s especially loud at 2, 3 and 6 AM.

Here I write to you on a Sunday morning before 9AM with lots and lots of banging sounds above me. This morning I was woke up at 6 by, I assume,  cleaning noises. Then I was blessed with hammer noises; I have no idea what in the world that could be for. And the ever present thump, thump, thumping of their stomping feet. I’m tired and worn out. I haven’t spoken to my landlord for a few days;  I’m sure she thinks that everything is just fine as she hasn’t heard from me. I don’t know if I should just call and say, no, nothing has changed or just leave it alone and live this way. Our lease is up after our August rent and we have to give a 30 day notice. I made it clear to my landlord that we were very much leaning towards moving out. Oh, and one comment our landlord said that really bothers us is, she said she talked to the owner who said he didn’t want the new tenant to feel ganged up on, nor did he want to lose a new tenant. Seriously? What about the ones that have been here for 3 years that have never been late on our rent or ever had any complaints made about us?

I think it’s time we leave our apartment. We love it, but it’s become miserable. I realize, and fear, that wherever we move could be much, much worse. I’ve lived in 14 apartments since I moved out of my parents’ home. So, I know what a good and bad neighbor is. I know that I’ll likely never live on the ground floor of an apartment building that has hardwood floors. I know if I live on the top unit of an apartment with hardwood floors, I will put down rugs and never wear shoes inside. Of course, I’ll never wake anyone up with any kind of noise at 2, 3 or 6AM. I would even consider asking the downstairs neighbor if the noise level is bad. I will research online reviews of apartment buildings to see if there are complaints about noise levels. I don’t want to keep moving and I do want to be settled. I had hoped that my current home would be my “forever” home, but I don’t think I can live like it is. It’s difficult to work with a neighbor who doesn’t see that there is anything wrong with cleaning at an early hour. You just can’t reason with someone like that.

Thankfully, we have another month to figure out what our long term plans will be. To Be Continued…

#Downsizing to a Smaller #Apartment

Due to recent life events, my husband and I may need to downsize our apartment. We currently live in a two bedroom, one bath apartment that’s roughly 900 square feet. Granted, that’s not very big, although, plenty big for the two of us and our cats. We’re looking at downsizing to a one bedroom in order to save money. I know many people have downsized due to economic factors and it really makes you focus on what you need, versus having a lot of wants around. I am not a pack rat, never have been. I tend to get rid of stuff that I don’t use within a year and I’m not a big shopper. In fact, a lot of my furniture and clothes are hand me downs; I’m not too proud to accept donations! I’ve written before about my list of items I’d like to have in my home to make it feel more cozy. Now I’m focusing on what I need to keep and get rid of should we downsize.

Right now we have a dining room, but we don’t utilize it. When we eat, we typically sit in our living room. Occasionally, my husband will sit at the dining room table to eat, but it’s pretty rare. So, we could get rid of our table and chairs if there isn’t a spot for them; although, it’s a pretty small, round table with just two chairs, so it wouldn’t take up much room. I would like to get rid of the large, tall entertainment center. I’d like to get a smaller table with a shelf underneath, for my TV. Right now the big entertainment center takes up quite a bit of space and makes it harder to angle the TV differently because the TV is actually a little too big for the center. The TV now sits a bit crooked and we can’t turn it at all.

Our second bedroom is currently being used as my husbands office. Since his job is no longer a work from home position, he doesn’t need all of that space. However, it was really nice having his own area for his personal items, that I don’t really want in the main living areas. Nothing wrong with his signed football jersey or John Wayne picture, just not something I want to look at daily. The office also has his old and really run down recliner; it”s a huge eye sore. I’d love to get rid of that! He would need a space for his computer, so if our new apartment has a dining room area or enough room in the bedroom, I suppose we could find room for it. I think a room divider might be a good idea to keep it covered up.

Overall, it would be fairly easy for us to downsize because I don’t accrue a lot of stuff. We do have a few items in our basement storage that I want to go through. Most of it is just old paperwork that could probably be pitched. I vividly remember when I had my first apartment, as a single woman, when one of my friends came to visit, she asked where the rest of my “stuff” was. As I only had one couch and a TV on a stand in my living room. Granted, that was a bit too minimalistic, even for me, but I thought it was funny that she thought I wasn’t quite moved in yet. Downsizing definitely has its perks. Typically, moving to a smaller apartment means the costs will go down, including rent and utilities. Another plus is that there will be less to clean. It won’t take as long to clean a smaller home. If you follow the site, Apartment Therapy, they have been highlighting various small apartments, using the hashtag, #smallcool, on twitter. You can really make a beautiful space in little square footage. It’s all about positioning and using the height of the space as well. Also, keeping only specific items makes you focus on what you really love, versus having just a bunch of “junk” lying around that you keep just to fill up space.

We’re still in our lease until we pay our August rent, so we have time. A lot may change in that time frame, but right now, we are content with downsizing.

Going with Plan B: Sticking with Renting

If you read my first post, you would know that I’ve been grappling with the idea of both moving to a new town and buying a home. After much thought, some of which was agonizing, we’ve decided, we’re not in a position to buy. Buying would be purely an emotional decision and completely reckless, as we don’t have the money for an emergency or even enough for a respectable down payment. Sure, there are possible loans that require low to no down payments, but I’ve been in debt since I’ve been 19 and don’t want to add more to it. Granted, who isn’t in debt? But I mean debt that’s not your typical expenses, like a car or student loans, which I have almost always had during that time. I mean debt like getting behind on almost every bill, except rent. I’ve been so behind on most of my utilities at one point or other that I’ve had shut off notices and once had the gas company at my front door, giving me an additional 10 minutes to make a payment or else I was being shut off. Or the bounced checks that nearly caused me to have my income garnished. Or the numerous credit cards that I accrued early in my twenties that still aren’t paid off to this day.

I don’t know exactly how this happened, I mean I “know” that I spent more than I had, living well above my means. I always was a saver. I vividly remember having a piggy bank and enjoying putting money inside versus taking it out. I honestly don’t spend much money today, except for paying bills. In all seriousness, most of the clothes in my closet are hand me downs from my mom. Since I don’t work, I don’t worry too much about my wardrobe, so that definitely helps my budget. I don’t buy makeup and I’ve never been a shoe addict, I wear slippers at home and rotate between 3 other pairs, should I leave home. We have a new flat screen TV because my husband won it, otherwise, I still have and use my 1988 TV, yes it works! My biggest expense are medical, which include prescription and doctor fees. I recently had to cut out seeing my rheumatologist because I just couldn’t afford to see her anymore; I’m hoping that once I get medicare, that will help my expenses, so I can return to her. Most of my furniture is from donations or second hand; my couch was my grandmothers, that I’ve have for over 12 years. Granted, it still “works”, I just have to live with the floral print! We were also given a new queen bed by our neighbor, who purchased it only 6 months ago, before his mom had to live in a nursing home, so we gladly accepted it.

There are a few expenses that I suppose I could cut back on, but are pretty important to me. I have UVerse Cable and it includes expanded channels, such as HBO and Showtime. Like I posted, I’m disabled, therefore I’m home almost all the time, so TV is a big “hobby” of mine. Granted, I was a TV-aholic prior to becoming disabled, but when the couch or bed becomes the two most common places you stay, then having a TV can help get your mind off of your condition. I also have a subscription to Netflix, which I justify because I enjoy watching documentaries and TV in bed. Another expense is my iPhone. I have seriously considered dropping the iPhone and going to a messaging phone. I do love having my iPhone and the apps. One of my favorite apps is the Walgreens app, which makes reordering my prescriptions a breeze. These are just two of my “luxury” expenses. We rarely go out to eat and I enjoy cooking, when I can.

I realize that as time goes on, we are slowly, but surely, getting more and more debt paid off. My home is one of the most important things to me. I am a homebody, so having a home that is comfortable is very important. I’d love to be able to afford new furniture and decorations so that I feel more content. But, I am grateful for what I do have. I am thankful that I even have a home and even more grateful for the furniture that we have. There are so many in worse situations and I know God has blessed me in many ways. So, right now, I think it’s smarter to focus on paying off our debt, getting caught up on our fixed expenses and slowly making home purchases that will last for a long time.

On a side note. Yesterday during my indecision regarding my move and buying a home, I decided to call in the radio show to Glynis McCants, the numbers lady. I had called her several months ago to inquire if she could tell me if I would be approved for disability. She did say that I would be approved, but also said that I would heal from my fibromyalgia and help others; I’m still waiting on that cure! I called her to ask about whether it’s a good time, based on numbers. to move. Do I believe in all of that? I don’t know. But I was willing to call and have an open mind. She was a bit confusing in her answer and I think she responded based on one of my answers. She said that my life path number and the numbers to my home town are identical, therefore, based on that alone, she said it was an even match. However, she did say that I am extremely private and independent, which is extremely true. She said that she wasn’t so certain that I would like to be that close to family; which I did say I had some reservations about, only because I’ve been moved away since I was 19, I’m 38 now. I just don’t know how I would be back in the smaller town. After I said that, she said for me to look outside of my town, which technically, I am 2 hours away. She also said, that right now is not a bad time at all to move. She also said that there are a lot of good deals in real estate, so it’s not a bad time to move. We did not talk about my finances at all. I have a feeling should I call in to Suze Orman’s show, I’d hear a big fat DENIED! So, I don’t really feel like calling Glynis was helpful, although she was very nice and I’m sure that number reading has a lot of benefits, it just didn’t help me in making any decision.

So, I write all of this to say, I am going to consider looking at other apartments in July, which is about a month and a half before my lease is up. That way we can look to see if we can find our “forever” apartment, specifically one that has a washer/ dryer inside the unit! Also, I would love to have my own bathtub to be able to take epsom salt baths for my muscles. However, moving is expensive as our bigger apartments. But, it never hurts to look. Sometimes, just looking, makes you appreciate what you have so much more.

Whatever the future holds, I feel confident that I’m making the best decision, at least, the best financial decision!