I just visited the new place on my own after dark and I am feeling intimidated. The difference to our current situation could not be starker.
The first thing you notice is the silence. It seems the closer you get to Prospect Park the quieter the world becomes. Where we are currently located I can hear cars, yells, kids playing basketball, and the dog and cat upstairs scurrying after one another.
When we arrived in our current apartment, the previous tenant, our landlord, was still here. We had to help him carry the remains of his belongings downstairs. The floors were thick with dirt and mouse poops. It was so dirty we didnâ€™t even dare put our stuff on it. We had to keep everything in boxes and slowly clean the floor around them. It took us a week to unpack. When we finished we discovered problem after problem. The locks were all screwy, there were chips missing from the walls, smears of paint on the floor, no light switches, half the outlets didnâ€™t work and the ones that did were so old we thought theyâ€™d catch fire if we used them. We were never brave enough to plug our electric kettle in. Our fridge is an Avanti. Avanti is one of many badges used by the same sloppy plant in China. The workers must be forced to pay the factory for the privilege of a job the products sell so cheaply. I donâ€™t think anything made by Avanti is designed as such. Our fridge looks like it was thrown down a flight of stairs. Over the past 3 years every single shelf has snapped in half.
The landlord is the least meticulous man I have ever met. Heâ€™s an intellectual, a carefree grouch, and a 70-year-old HIV sufferer with sufficient wit and marbles to make us like and respect him despite his slovenly nature. He neither helped nor hindered us over the last 3 years and that suited us just fine.
Walking into the new apartment tonight I was struck by how dark and empty it was. Which is perhaps what youâ€™d expect of an empty apartment at night, but it was an unsettling feeling all the same. I walked through the long narrow front room down a corridor to the left and into the back room. Right of this, adjacent to the corridor, is the kitchen. It was so well scrubbed I could see my face in the surfaces. Four instruction manuals had been laid fan like on the countertop. They were pristine photocopies bound in colored sleeves. Each had its own color. The fridge is an imposing device make no mistake. It is a Maytag, as is every other appliance. Maytag is a very good brand if you didnâ€™t know. It stands about a foot taller than I do and has two enormous doors. We could fit one cow in the fridge and another in the freezer for winter. The labels for the appliances still hang on the doors.
Billyâ€™s bedroom has a new carpet and smells brand new. He has his own closet and plenty of space for storage. I hadnâ€™t remembered it seeming so big. It is only 8â€™ x 6â€™ after all.
There are outlets everywhere so we can have lamps or gadgets in every conceivable place without ever needing an extension. This sure beats the elaborate latticework of cables I had to construct in this place. My mother was horrified when I told her we had 22 things plugged into one socket. (She was probably more horrified that I counted them all)
I estimate that our new apartment was exactly 72 degrees Fahrenheit this evening and I suspect it always will be. Our landlady is very meticulous.
I donâ€™t know how I feel about getting the polar opposite landlord. I hope I am not expected to be all responsible and grown up. I feel like we are moving to the Upper East Side. I feel out of my depth.
We move on Saturday.