for the last few months, i’ve been noodling over whether or not to stay in this apartment. it’s not a bad place. i get great television reception (important for my no-comcast lifestyle). i’m half a mile from the blue line, and two blocks from the #72 and X9 busses and a block from the #9. i’m walking distance from a jewel, a staples, a k-mart, a decent supermercado, and a little bit further on, a home depot, a great fresh produce market, and my mechanic (which i love). my polling place is about 100 yards down the block. my new tiny local bank was chosen partly because it’s three blocks away from me. and, since it’s wicker park, there are innumerable bars and restaurants of every stripe all around. there’s free street parking, for a $35 resident sticker. my block is relatively quiet most of the time, and it’s pretty low crime (and most of what there is is, apparently, according to the CAPS web site, prostitution). as for the apartment itself — it’s probably about 850 square feet, which is a good size. it has a tiny office, so i can sequester my computer away. it’s a third-floor walk-up, with hardwood floors and a dishwasher, and laundry in the basement for when i don’t want to use the magic laundry fairies. i’ve got it all painted in colors i like, and i’m pretty happy with my commute. a couple weeks ago, i decided i’d stick it out for another year and decide then.

that said, i don’t think i care for the management that much. there’s been a couple of times lately i’ve had to call in for help, and they’re not very responsive. about two months ago, woke up on a saturday morning and it smelled like someone downstairs had burned toast. after a while, we realized that it no longer merely smelled like burned toast, but you could see smoke in the apartment — it was hazy and foglike in the apartment. i knocked on my downstairs neighbor’s door to ask if he had burned something, and he said he was just about to come upstairs to ask me the same thing. we knocked on the first-floor neighbor’s apartment, and got no answer. we tried calling the caretaker, but he didn’t want to come out — he encouraged us to simply call the fire department and have them start breaking down doors to investigate. we insisted he come over, and in the meantime, started investigating on our own. it turns out that the guy in the garden apartment had burned something — i mean, he put breakfast on and then went for a (cough) nap (cough). the smoke had simply made its way up through the first, second, and third floor apartments through the walls. he had no smoke detector. nice.

so this past weekend, when i went to las vegas, i left my downstairs neighbor a note saying i was going out of town, and leaving my phone number, in case (ha ha) the garden apartment guy tried to burn the place down again, please tell the fire department to rescue my cat. fortunately, he did not, but there was another crisis instead — on monday morning, my cleaning service came by, and she called me to let me know that the carbon monoxide detector was going off, and though she tried to air it out a little, it was still going off. so i tried calling the caretaker again. i got his voice mail. then i tried calling the landlord and got a really snotty woman yelling at me that he was on vacation and i should call the caretaker. when i said i had, and it was an emergency, and i needed someone with keys, she reluctantly gave me another phone number — which led to another woman, who complained that she “certainly [couldn’t] go over” because she had to go to work. fast forward a couple of hours, i’m frantic in my hotel room imagining poor kiyoshi taking a nap from which he might not wake up, and finally the caretaker calls me back, saying he unplugged the CO detector and plugged it back in, and when it didn’t go off again, he left. i spent the entire morning alternately wishing i’d boarded both cats (i had only boarded tiger, because he has to have his shots, because of the expense, but i thought kiyoshi would be OK for a few days with someone to check in on him), and wishing i still lived in a high-rise with 24×7 staff on site. (sure, the wolin-levin idiots in printer’s square entered my apartment illegally one time over labor day weekend and locked my cats out of the closet where their litter box was, but at least that was not life-threatening.)

(by the way, D. went to heroic cat-rescue measures, and kiyoshi was just fine, if a little bit traumatized by the beeping and the parade of freaky strangers after having been all alone for two days.)

this on top of one time last fall or so when the caretaker went on vacation and left instructions to call the landlord only in an emergency — and a lockout was explicitly not an emergency. i found that a little obnoxious — i’m sorry, if i’m locked out of my house, i’m fucking calling someone about it, okay? much like the few times i’ve called the caretaker to have some problem fixed, and he’s complained to me about not being able to call me back (on my mobile, which i use as my only phone — i never answer my landline; i use it for ordering delivery) because he doesn’t have long-distance service on his phone so can’t call my 847 area-code mobile for free. this is the sort of issue that makes me automatically mentally respond, “as though that is even remotely my problem.”

anyways. the CO detector incident was just way too much stress. i could understand if i had to page the caretaker and wait for a response, but little old ladies chewing me out because the landlord is on vacation (LISTEN UP, LADY, SO WAS I) while i worried my poor terrified cat was asphyxiating, and then having nobody except one guy, who’s unreachable, who has keys … no, i guess i just don’t find that acceptable. what if it had been something like my furnace, and there was a gas leak or something? or say, WHAT IF MY CAT DIED. i mean, really. so i think i’ve changed my mind, and i’m going to move. the furnace noise and the extreme draftiness, i can cope with; the lack of central air was mitigated with window units; everything else was okay. but i have to know if i need someone because the building is on fire or something, someone’s gonna freaking be there.

i’m not thrilled about the prospect of moving. frankly, i wasn’t planning to budget for it — it’ll probably be at least a grand for movers, and another (or maybe more) for a security deposit. and packing is a pain in the ass. i really didn’t want to paint again. i am pretty comfy here. but, it’ll be worth it, if i can find another place where i know the owner gives a damn about his building, if not about me or my cats. at least i’m not tied to a lease; i’ve been month-to-month since my last lease expired, so i can pick up and go more or less whenever i please. i looked over my calendar, and i’m thinking i’ll shoot for june or july. it’ll be summer, which sucks, but at least it shouldn’t be rainy, and it’s many months to plan and apartment-hunt and save and pack. also, my tax refund this year should be a quite pleasant $2500, so although i did have other plans for that, at least i won’t be in the same financial position i was last time i moved (namely, charging my groceries so i could afford to pay the movers in cash).

damn, i really didn’t want to move, though!