19 January 2007

Apartment? Check!

It’s an unusually cold evening by California standards and I am writing this post perched on my air bed in the middle my living room! Yup that’s right, sister girl finally found an apartment. Let me tell you all about it. My hotel reservation was going to expire on Tuesday and determined not to extend it again (I had succumbed last week), I attacked the Westside rentals site and craigslist sites with a vengeance. I had seen a place I liked about a week ago and submitted an application. Thinking I was in pole position to get the apartment I kinda slowed down looking alas the 419 people just collected my application plus $30 processing fee, they didn’t even have the courtesy to call and tell me I had been declined, meanshile the listing is still active on the rental board o! Yeye people. I spent Saturday and Sunday driving around the whole of the south bay LA area and although I was getting desperate I wasn’t really feeling any of the apartments I saw. I did see something on Saturday which I naija woman showed me. I took the forms and decided if all else failed I would apply to rent it. Monday morning, just as I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that I might be extending my reservation after all ( I couldn’t bring myself to manage the naija woman’s place), I saw it. The pictures of the exterior looked nice, the rent was well within my budget and included utilities, the deposit was surprisingly low. Could this be too good to be true? Reining in my enthusiasm, I called and made an appointment to see it. The outside looked nothing like the picture I had seen, aha I thought to myself and almost drove off without taking a look inside (thank God that didn’t happen!) It wasn’t like it was bad, I was just going with the ‘if it looks to good to be true it most probably is’ philosophy. Anyhow I step in and it was a totally different scenario. The foyer/lobby was really clean and welcoming and peaceful. Hmm I punch in the code for the manager and he lets me in. He looked like the kind of person who could make roses grow on concrete, and the inside of the apartment building seemed to prove me right. Flower beds were everywhere, well tended with everything in glorious bloom, and not a piece of trash in sight. I felt even more at peace could this be it? The vacant apartment was upstairs (good) spacious kitchen area with a brand new fridge and a gas stove. Plenty of cupboard space, dual sinks, not that much counter space although the counter tops were in good condition. Nice. Ceiling fan in the living room, not the largest living room I had seen since my search began but it would do. Good size bathroom, I could actually turn around in it. No stains in the tub, grout mould free, the seal around the tub was in good condition, faucets and shower head in good condition. The bedroom wasn’t too small, it would fit a queen size bed easily with space for a dresser and arm chair (I have become very good at this) sizable closet although it wasn’t a walk in (bummer). All the doors in the apartment were varnished as opposed to painted and it gave the place a certain warmth and charm. I also noticed the carpets were stain free and the walls newly painted. No strange smells. It wasn’t the largest apartment I had seen since my hunt began, but it was in good condition, in a nice neighborhood, I could really see myself living here. I decided to apply and see how that would turn out. After the tour, I expressed my desire to apply to rent and I explained my situation in as much detail as was relevant. ‘Would it be worth your while and mine if I applied?’ I asked. ‘I don’t see why not’ He replies. 10 mins later I turn in my completed application. He looks at it and says ‘If you write me a check for the deposit now, I will take down the ‘for rent’ sign and once I can confirm your employment details the apartment is yours’. I couldn’t believe it. Kia I wrote the check and to celebrate I drove to the Citadel Factory Outlets in search of a coat. I didn’t find anything I liked but I did get a pair of DKNY sunglasses from SGH and a really nice shirt from Banana Republic. I had almost bought the sunglasses in Houston from SGH, was I glad I didn’t I got them for half the price, that alone made the drive out so worth it.

Although I had noted that the carpets were clean at my soon to be apartment, I really couldn’t sleep on the floor so air bed searching I went. Of course I called my Atlanta support group for a consult. ‘Get the Aerobed brand air bed’ she advised. After an extensive search online, the earliest I would be able to get one would be 5 working days (not good). I decided to just go to Wal-Mart and buy whatever they had on sale. I was a bit apprehensive about going to Wal-Mart, first off it was in an area totally foreign to me and I would be going when it was dark. How would I be able to read my Google map and all that? Anyways I arrived there without incident (thankfully). The trip was educative; first I have never seen a Wal-Mart that was part of a mall and definitely not one that was on three floors. I wondered how I was supposed to get from floor to floor with my shopping cart then I realized that the carts had their own escalator. Cool. Air bed? Check, Bed sheets and pillow case? Check, Thermal blanket? Check, Pillow? Check. Keeping my eyes wide open and my purse in a deathlike grip, I traverse the packing lot, load up my purchases and get out of the area as fast as I could ( I don’t know why I felt so threatened). Tuesday morning I happily checked out of the hotel (bye bye to Subway Sandwiches). I got a call from the apartment manager later in the morning telling me I was all checked out and the apartment was officially mine as soon as I could come get the paperwork done. I left work at about 4 PM, spent like 20 mins filling and signing the required forms a quick 10 mins orientation of the premises followed and finally he handed over the keys. ‘Welcome to the building’ he said. I felt like I had won the lottery.

My first night was uneventful save for the cold, it was freezing! I thought I had dressed warmly enough to sleep in the bedroom since the only heater in the whole apartment was in the living room. However I awoke at about midnight to realize the error in my thinking. I relocated my bedding and myself to the living room and once I was camped as close as I possibly could to the heater I slept pretty much till my alarm went off. Of course I didn’t go to bed without reading Psalms 24 and 91 at Princess’ request. Reading them was comforting though and made me feel even more at peace as I went to bed in my ‘strange’ surroundings. I did a little grocery shopping too that night, managed to clean the fridge out before going to bed not like it was dirty or anything just for the sake of my sanity I guess. Again I visited another Wal-Mart. Although this one was not on several floors like the one I had visited earlier I found it to be pretty similar; teaming with Blacks and Hispanics, isles in disarray, and not a fresh vegetable in sight. I guess I would have to put off eating a salad till I go to Ralphs were I must add everything costs way too much. My commute to work was less than 20 mins which really isn’t bad considering; I have a colleague who has a one way commute of 90 mins! My second night was much warmer. I kept all the doors closed when I left in the morning so the living room was quite toasty when I arrived. I had planned on buying a space heater but those things I am told are such a fire hazard so I decided against it. A friend advised that I turn my oven on and leave the door ajar which I did till I went to bed. That was some good advice. I did the same thing when I woke up and by the time I was ready to leave the house I was feeling like turning on the fan! It should get warm soon sha thankfully. I plan to spend the weekend unpacking my bags (it feels so good typing that) and putting my kitchen in some kind of order. I bought a TV yesterday so I wouldn’t be bored out of my mind; the cable/Internet people will not be able to set me up till end of the month imagine! Meanwhile what is the deal with ‘Grey’s Anatomy’? It seems this season’s plot is for everyone to be romantically involved with their attendings; the latest couple - Alex and Addison. A collegue had promised to show me some furniture stores where I can get really good deals on disposable furniture, I am looking forward to that. Now my next major task is returning my rental car while I search furniture listings on craigslist and scour for garage sales. Did I mention that since Tuesday my phone has been ringing off the hook; after weeks of talking to answering machines and leaving requests for call backs, it seems everyone I have ever called as per renting an apartment picked this week to return my calls! When it rains it certainly pours.


Suru said...

Well welcome to Southern California. It seems like you didn't have THAT bad of an experience LOL!!! And congrats on the new job. I live in Southern Cali too but about an hour from LA so I feel you. It will get better :-)

Anonymous said...

Westside Rentals Rip Off,

Don't trust this boiler room


Switch and Bait Merchants

Anonymous said...

Congrats on ur Apartment...hope its safe n secure..well d lord is with ya!

Anonymous said...

Bait N Switch Smoke N Mirrors the Everyday life of a Westside Rentals Employee

I was lied to and ripped of by these assholes straight to my face they just finished giving me a sales pitch about a beautiful guesthouse just on the market and that if I want it I best be quick and come in.

I then revealed I was all ready a client and wanted to see it right away whats the address, I got a hang on a minute and about 2 minutes later the westside rental agent came back on the phone and told me it was on hold, I then asked for her name and she hesitated and then said Brenda I said how do you spell that she hesitated and said Brender, stupid liar could not even spell the name she was making up.

If you are thinking of going to Westside save your money or burn it and yes $60 is a big deal when you get nothing in return a bunch of lies and a lot of time wasted.

Ore said...

Congrats on finding such a nice-sounding apartment!

mochafella said...

first I have never seen a Wal-Mart that was part of a mall and definitely not one that was on three floors. I wondered how I was supposed to get from floor to floor with my shopping cart then I realized that the carts had their own escalator

Hmmm, sounds like the one on Crenshaw and MLK. Welcome to the Southbay. It's also usually much warmer out here.