Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Want to know what it's like to have the hormone crazies? Try finding an apartment in Manhattan.

Lrudlrick's pop: "Getting up, packing and moving every 1 and a half to 2 years is exhausting. Don't you just want to settle down somewhere? If anything, this must be rough on your wife."
L: It's high time I get an easy commute. Besides, I spent my whole life moving from one place to the next. I'm used to it. It's just harder for PG.
pop: I think it's high time you settle down. That's all I'm saying.

Mind you, this is the first thing my FIL and I have agreed on in 10 years.

I feel like shit now. The apartment we were vying for has changed from a pet friendly apartment to no pets allowed. Lrudlrick is pissed as all hell and I feel like a heel for giving him heat about the whole move.

He really wanted it. I’m sorry, Lrudlrick I’ve been a grumble puss.

Apartment hunting in Manhattan is a real emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been on both ends, renting and buying, and to be honest, both are just as rocky. The only difference with buying is that for one brief moment you’ve held copious amounts of cash in your hands. Then you hand it over to the seller “And poof. Just like that, he's gone.”

For me, apartment hunting starts with denial and anger. Then it hits interest and optimism with a quick chaser of despair and hopelessness. Afterwards it’s onto excitement, anticipation, nervousness. Depending on the powers that be the next emotion can be depression and defeatism or elation and excitement followed by an OCD cocktail of nervousness, tenseness and hyperactivity.

If anyone needs a test guinea pig for a psych paper on the emotional cycle of apartment hunting, email me. I’ve hit about every emotion in the spectrum so far and I still don’t have an apartment.

Two Sundays ago, the NY Times had a shot by shot montage of the emotional rollercoaster that comes with closing on your apartment. I’ll tell you it’s true. At a closing, just a small span of on average 4 hours, you’ll go through every stomach turning emotion there is. I’ve never had a more tense laugh than the one I had the day I closed on our last pad. The phone calls. The paperwork errors. The bank errors. The money being handed back and forth.

But the closing is just about the last step to the whole process. Hunting for a place to stay with a newspaper, a bottle of water and an endless list of voice mails and emails from brokers is tiring. It's another fulltime job. The whole process is a bit degrading. Assess what you can afford, tell the broker(s). Have a few slam the door in your face. Have others laugh then slam the door on your face. Have some reluctantly take you but be bitter about it the entire time.

You finally find a kind soul and he/she works her blessed heart out scouring the city for an apartment for you. You arrange your lunch hours and evenings to tour a stranger’s home. Now, we all think we should live in the river view apartment with sky light and terrace and Jacuzzi but in actuality, we can only afford the alcove studio in an 8 floor walk up.

You intrude on their homes and no matter how hard you try, you can’t help but criticize how they could live like this. “I’ll never live with my bicycle hung on the ceiling above my bed. Never!” After numerous viewings you realize, that it’s not that you want to live like this, it’s that you have to live like this.

Like hyenas, you jump at the first place that you deem semi-livable and hand in your paperwork for approval. Then every hour, you check your email and phone for messages, hoping to get the green light. At this time, your broker mentions something about 8 million other people who are vying for the same piece of property. You pray to every deity and patron saint imaginable and consider baking cookies for the board and/or landlord.

Your hours at work are spent scouring apartment listings half-heartedly to keep your brain occupied. Instead, you begin daydreaming of the 400 sq ft apartment and wondering if the bike frame on the ceiling can hold two bikes.

Then the moment comes. The phone rings.