Jenn and I went out this weekend on an apartment/house hunt. Basically, we discovered (or re-discovered, should I say) several key things.
Apartment complexes are the same all over. You’ve got neighbors on all sides so you can’t win for losing. Some are nicer than others, but an apartment’s an apartment, regardless. They all start to look the same after you look at enough of them.
Even if an apartment has like 1200 square feet to it, the floor plan on it will make it look like a 900 square foot place. I don’t know where the extra 300 square feet go, but they disappear into the nethersphere, never to be seen again.
There are trade-offs to every apartment (or rental living situation). We found a place that was awesome inside - 1600 square feet! - but came with a one-car garage and all other parking was on an already crowded street. Great if you only own one car and never plan on having guests over. Not so good otherwise. Or there’s the ones that look pretty decent but the office staff is annoying as hell and the rest of the neighbors look like they might steal your car. Hmmmm.
Houses are another story. We’d love to get out of the apartment and into a house so we can stop having to smell the neighbor’s cooking and we can act on these home improvement whims that strike us after watching Trading Spaces. The problem is that we’d like something in the 1500 - 2000 square foot range so we’ve got plenty of space, but right now we could maybe afford something in the $150,000 range. (Trust me - I’ve sliced and diced the budget a thousand ways, talked to people about it, calculated it across different loan lengths, interest rates, and down payments, but that’s about as good as it gets right now.) If I want something that size (that isn’t a “fixer-upper”), I’m looking at moving out in the sticks. (An interesting item to note is that new houses seem to cost less than old houses. That is, if you move into a housing development that is still under construction, you seem to get more for your money than if you found someone’s house that they’re selling.)
What that all nets out to is that we can’t get into a house, and other apartments panned out mediocre at best. We decided “better the devil you know” and we’re staying where we’re at. To free up some space, we’re going to get a storage closet at one of those storage places and move some of the stuff we don’t need into that. That’ll only cost us like $35/month and will be worth it to have the extra space in the house.
Went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again this weekend (I had a coupon for a free ticket) and enjoyed it just as much the second time. I’ll definitely be getting that one on DVD.
Oh! Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is now available for pre-order! I pre-ordered my UK copy a week ago, but the US version seems available now.
I borrowed Lilo and Stitch from my parents and watched it yesterday. It was okay; I didn’t go in expecting much, and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked it enough not to feel like my time was wasted (there were some legitimately funny parts), but I won’t be running out to buy it or anything.
The Winter Hawks have been on a losing streak lately and I just got the invoice for playoff tickets in the mail. $248 a piece! I don’t think I’ll be ordering.