Once again my grand plan has been foiled. I should start by saying that I hate my current apartment for a variety of reasons (it used to be low income housing, it's on South Street, it's on the first floor, the woman who moved in upstairs sounds like an elephant when she walks around in heels, people ring our doorbell and run away on an hourly basis, etc) but despite this I had hoped to stay here for another year to avoid moving into yet another Philadelphia apartment.
As many of you know we've avoided buying a house because we're not sure where my husband will end up doing his residency. I don't have the sort of luck that would allow me to magically pick a home in the right area. I know that if we bought it would be on the wrong side of town from where he ends up working or perhaps in the wrong city, thus making a bad situation worse. Despite the fact that I'm a mystery to some by my refusal to take on the responsibility of a house..."why do they continue to waste money in rent when they could be gaining equity in a home" I've continued to rent. Fear not, I have a plan.
That plan was slightly sidelined two weeks ago when we received notice from my landlord tell us he needed to sell his place in order to buy his new place in northern NJ. (I say, good luck selling former low income housing when it's empty in a depressed market when 5 other places are on the market on the same block…)
To give you some background, the last time we needed to find a place I'm pretty sure my husband wanted to divorce me (this could have also been exacerbated by the fact that the PFD had just used our apartment to ventilate our building from an electrical fire, but I won't revisit that experience) . Generally speaking, I have this unnatural anxiety associated with not having somewhere to live. I turn into a crazed person on a mission to secure housing. I freak out and yell at everyone until my signature is on a lease and then I magically turn into myself again.
So here we are, again, looking for an apartment. I have a long history of saying "I'll never move there". I was living up around Rittenhouse and I said "I'll never move below Broad Street"….then I moved below Broad. Then I said "I'll never move further South" and then I did. Then I said "I don't want to move north of Market" thus bringing us to today.
Looking for an apartment sucks. We saw some really rotten places. The funniest was the 3rd floor walk up that was in the roofline. My husband could only stand up straight in half of it. Then there was the place down in Old City, considered a "loft" by the leasing agent, considered "a stinking cesspool filled with 20-somethings in a dank alley" by me. Then there was the monster of a place that had a 3 story spiral staircase (would have made him throw up his lunch due to his problem with heights and me throw up from the cost of heating and cooling a 3 story useless space).
The 60 day notice in most leases was ticking and good property was disappearing so I finally gave in and agreed to look at the high rise buildings. The Drake with no closet space, The Museum Towers with kitchens from 1982, the Phoenix with odd support walls in the middle of your living room…. When finally some snotty leasing agent says, "well you could look at Franklin Town but it's pre-fab…if you're into that sort of thing". Hmmm, let's think about this. A building that was build for people to live in with every conceivable amenity and cement walls so you don't hear your neighbors. Not a hotel, warehouse or commercial space that was repurposed, but an honest to God facility intended to house lots of people with all the stuff people need to live. What a novel concept. I'm sold.
From the outside this place looks like Eastern Bloc housing. It's cement, it's boxy and it's ugly. Inside however it has a pool, sauna, steam room, gym, BBQ area, and best of all…it's 2 blocks from the second Whole Foods in the city and (wiping away a tear of joy) it has closets. More glorious closet space than I could ever have imagined possible.
I declare victory over the evil apartment search gods! Come visit us after August 1st – we have a second bedroom in a renovated pre-fab building with zero charm!
Yay for us!