Monday, December 9, 2013

18 Months of Apartment Living Retrospective

As many of you know, about 18 months ago I left Illinois after spending the last 17 years there.  It was a good run, but I needed a change and the state, in my opinion was going downhill.  No job opportunities (unless you were willing to drive an hour in heavy traffic), high taxes, and I had my sincere doubts with the leadership at every government level.  I've met dozens of people out here who are former Illinois who fled from the corrupt state.

So what do you think happens when you go from a 3000 square foot home with an acre lot to a 2-bedroom apartment at Pinnacle Highlands Apartments in Cottonwood Heights (corner of Highland and Bengal)? What would you say if I honestly said I miss the apartment?

The apartment living actually was a blast and it really got me thinking about home ownership.  Let's look at the positives:

1) It was a LOT cheaper.  My rent was $1100... period.  My house payment was significantly more and thanks to McHenry County taxes, I had to stash about $700 a month just to keep ahead.  Plus home owner's insurance, repairs, shoveling, lawn maintenance -- our house was a money pit.  I had to replace the roof, the well, the furnace, both water heaters, plus upgrading the heck out of it.  While I got a tax write-off and earned some money on it, I certainly wasn't going to become a home flipping millionaire there.

2) The apartment had a wonderful gym.  3 high-quality treadmills, ellipticals, weights, bikes, etc... it was my refuge when the weather was bad.  I logged many a mile watching kids play in the pool or watching the snow fall.  Often times other runners joined me and I devised solid interval workouts.  While I am not a big fan of treadmills, at least it was mildly tolerable.

3) The pool.  I practically lived at the pool, especially in the summer.  It was a social meeting ground and a place where I met many of the residents.  I was also a habitual Jacuzzi denizen too.  I could go there and get a few greetings from people.

4) The people.  I know... most apartment complexes you sort of avoid looking people in the eye as you walk by.  But it wasn't the case here.  By the end of my term there I was known by name or sight by many residents.  When I went for my walk it wasn't too unusual to have a few "Hey Eddie"'s from various people.

5) The location.  The apartment has consistently been near my jobs as well as the freeway.  Also walking through the complex (about .75 miles) was visually pretty.  They did a great job with landscaping there and it wasn't too unusual for me to go for a walk on warm nights.

6) No charge for repairs.  Just about everything in that apartment broke.  We had the furnace go out.  A pipe for the ceiling fire extinguishers ruptured in the winter (luckily the water output wasn't catastrophic).  We had a window that refused to close nicely.  All of these things were generally fixed that night or in a day or so.  I never had to shell out money for repairs.

Sure apartment living had some down sides.  If you didn't grab a parking spot by 5pm, you had to park a ways away from the apartment.  We nicknamed our upstairs neighbor "Stompy", because we could tell where this guy walked at any given moment (no, he wasn't a fatty either).  He also seemed to have a propensity to drop bowling balls (or what sounded like bowling balls) on his floor too.  In fact, our fire alarms and kitchen ceiling light had become dislodged because of his heavy walking.

So even though I am (soon) going back to home living again and I'll have a sense of "ownership" once again I will truly miss the last 18 months of apartment living.

The Pool

Those treadmills were my running buddy on cold or super hot days

Mail Drop off

Late fall Pool View

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