James investigated Waterford Forest apartments by himself on Sunday. I asked him what he thought.
“The living room area was really small,” he said. “I’m surprised you liked it.”
I confessed that it was literally everything else about the apartment that I really liked. The living room area was really small, but the bedrooms were nice and big, and the kitchen was nice and big, and it had a sensible floorplan. The location was fantastic, and the staff was nice.
“The staff person I talked to was sort of impatient,” he said. “But maybe that was because it was the weekend and she was by herself. She just sort of showed me the apartment and then walked me back to the office. We didn’t really chat much. But again, maybe she just didn’t want to leave the office for too long.”
The other place he had investigated was a place called Treybrooke.
“I like the living room in the apartment, but I like the bedrooms in the townhouse,” he sighed. “If only they could be combined!”
“What the property like?” I asked.
“The staff was very nice,” he said. “It’s right next to an elementary school.”
“Oh, no,” I said.
“Traffic is going to be ridiculous.”
Despite my hesitation, we went ahead and checked the place out today. It turned out to be across from a Montessori school (a really nice-looking one too, holy crap); the elementary school was around the corner and had separate turn lanes with a huge winding parking lot, so the traffic wasn’t too bad even though it was peak pick-up time.
The grounds were surrounded by trees, although there wasn’t much in the way of trees inside the complex. We were within walking distance to the Greenway, so there would be a lot of walking paths. There was also a large pool, tennis courts, and a half-basketball court (!). The leasing agent remembered James and was delighted that he had come back (always a good sign).
First we looked at the townhouse. James had said that he didn’t like how small the rooms were, and I’ll admit they were smallish, but the place was so light and open. There was a fireplace with a set-in nook over it. I thought it was adorable. The kitchen was great, with lots of counter space. No pantry, but lots and lots of shelves. The dining room area was big enough for our table. The half-bath was functional (there’s not really a whole lot you can ask from a half-bath).
The upstairs was indeed very spacious. The huge bedrooms were great. There were vaulted ceilings. I had visions of putting shelves up there with potted plants or something. The master bedroom closets were somewhere between standard and walk-ins, and very nicely laid out, with a separate shelf for shoes. I was very impressed overall. And there was a fenced-in backyard! Perfect for woodworking projects or painting or just sitting outside.
Next we visited the apartment option. The living room here was huge. The kitchen was small — we wouldn’t have any more counter space there than at our current apartment. The second bedroom was also in a weird spot, kind of a thumb that turned the other way from the entryway. The leasing agent said that it had been designed for a “roommate” situation. The parents and kids wouldn’t have rooms next to each other, or two roommates would have their own little nooks and just share the common areas.
She asked me what I thought. I said that I had really, really liked the townhouse, with the cute little nook above the fireplace, the backyard, the separation of private and public spaces, and all the counter space. This place wasn’t bad — oh my goodness, the living area — but it just seemed to have less of what I wanted and more of what I didn’t really care about.
Back at the leasing office, she consulted availability. A townhouse was available when we needed it to be, but it would be a middle unit; a backyard and a big kitchen, but no fireplace and no wall nook. A two-bedroom would be available, and it would have a fireplace with a nook, but it it was a second-level apartment, so no backyard. But fortunately, we have two months to decide.
Next we visited Harrison Grande, the place that James really liked during our first apartment search. The woman we were able to speak to explained that they were about to upgrade literally all of the currently-empty apartments, when were we looking to move in?
“April,” I said.
The relief on the woman’s face was palpable.
“I can show you a Biltmore floorplan,” she said.
“We’ve seen it,” I said.
“She hates it,” said James.
“Really? I live in one of those,” said the woman. “It’s fantastic.”
“I know!” said James. “So much space! But she doesn’t like the bathroom right at the front entrance.”
“Oh,” said the woman. “But the bedrooms are so far apart, so my son and I don’t have to share a wall. I suppose that doesn’t make any difference for you two.”
“We were hoping to see a Monticello,” I said.
Well there weren’t any cleared to see — the renovations, you see — tomorrow there would be some big corporate people coming to look at the whole apartment complex — they were in the middle of renovations — just cosmetic changes — maybe next week — they were doing renovations to all the empty apartments — maybe next week a Monticello would be cleared to look at — maybe she could get our information and call us — so sorry, but it was because of all of the renovations.
“Yeah, we can do that,” I said.
“What are your names?”
“Kelsey and James.”
“Is that the same last name?”
I hate that question. Casey and I had gotten that question asked all the time when we had gone apartment hunting way back in 2008. This was the first time I’d been asked that question in a while, and I’ve never been able to figure out why that question bugs me. I had to spell out my last name (which is spelled how it sounds?) and she guessed James’ last name on the first try. I gave her my phone number, and she wrote on top of it Monticello view. She apologized again for the renovations, and we left.
We visited a few local shops while we were out and about. First we looked at Pet Supermarket, right across the street from Harrison Grande. If we ended up living there, that would be our pet supply store, and we needed to know if they had crickets for the beardies (they do). Then we looked at a local fish store, just to see what they had for our future aquarium. I pointed out all the cool fish I like, all the coral I like, and all the marine fish I like (wrasses and damsels, the whole lot of them — but they had chromis! I am definitely getting a wrasse or two and some chromis in like ten years or so when I do get a saltwater tank). We looked briefly at their selection of driftwood and substrate. Then I asked the guy running the shop for advice on fish.
“I’m getting zebra danios, and I’m having trouble thinking of tank mates for them,” I said.
“I know they’re pretty community-friendly fish,” I said. “I was thinking about putting cardinal tetras in there.”
He didn’t think that was a good idea; zebra danios are just so fast and busy. They might not nip, but their antics might make the small, placid cardinals timid and stressed.
“Cardinals aren’t small,” I said, surprised.
“They’re about the same size as neons,” he said.
“They’re like twice the size of neons,” I said.
He shook his head no.
“So like bigger tetras then? Lamp-eyes? Buenos Aires?”
“They’re still way too busy,” he said. “I wouldn’t mix danios and tetras at all.”
“So what about barbs?” I swallowed the suggestion of tiger barbs and said, “Maybe cherry barbs?”
“Cherry barbs would be great,” he said.
So that’s that. Our future tank, whenever we build it, will have Glofish/zebra danios and cherry barbs.