This past Thursday, my sister Shawn & I traveled to Pittsburgh—namely, my old stomping grounds—to find a new apartment for yours truly. Doug, are you serious? Didn’t you just move back to your hometown 5-6 months ago? Didn’t you sign a year’s lease? Yes, yes & yes--but it’s amazing how quickly things can spin in a new and exciting direction. Just this past weekend, my sister invited me over for Sunday dinner (chili, baked potatoes & cornbread). Never one to turn down a free meal and spend some time visiting family, I gratefully accepted their invitation. Still, I was feeling pretty despondent and having a tough time not showing it.
I’ve been trying to not walk around with a dark cloud over my head, but the truth is, it’s been getting increasingly difficult to hide my feelings. I wish I hadn’t given up my life in the city. As soon as my lease is up, I want to move back to Pittsburgh & maybe find a new job too. Shawn & my brother-in-law Jim know how I feel, and while they care enough to want me to stay, they love me enough to know I have to go back.
And then it happened: Monday morning, I’m sitting here on my (borrowed) couch watching MSNBC & sipping coffee when I get a phone call. Without going into any details (too many things to be finalized) I received an offer almost too good to be true. I’ve now got just a couple months to beat this TMJ once & for all and haul my butt back to Pittsburgh!
I immediately jumped on Craigslist, and after spending 3 days making phone calls, scheduling appointments with rental managers and filling out credit applications, we made the trek to the city to look at apartments. Shawn asked if we could see all the ones on my list after I signed a lease for the first one—from what we saw online, we were sure it was going to be a slam-dunk. (Sadly, it wasn’t; a dingy pair of tiny rooms behind a black metal door at the top of several flights of rickety steps, it’s windows pressed tight against a rusted, peeling house of horrors.) From there, things went from bad to worse—I mean DECREPIT—and we were soon down to the last apartment on my list, in a long cluster of units behind Kuhn’s Market. With an hour to kill before the showing, we had lunch at the pizza parlor up the street from my former digs, while I lamented that I never should’ve given up my old place, even if it was in a poorly managed building. (Well, at least the steak hoagies we had for lunch were excellent!)
We were about to find out just how bad things can get. The final address on my list—3 vacancies in a crumbling complex—came with rotted carpeting, wrecked bathrooms and black mold running down the walls. While the rental agent nonchalantly took pictures of the despair with his iphone, Shawn & I got in my car to head home.
And then it happened—we’re driving down the main drag of my former neighborhood, into the neighboring area called Avalon, when Shawn said she wished we could’ve seen some of the apartments she saw online at the Tiffany, and wondered where it was located. I replied “Well, I think it’s mostly elderly folk, and probably run down inside… but who wants to live on the main drag with all this traffic? Anyway… it’s right over there.”
Shawn yelled “WHAT!” and hit the brakes.
The Tiffany, on California Avenue
She said “Can’t we see if there’s any vacancies??” I said of course not, you have to schedule appointments at least a day in advance. She said “There’s a small sign out front with the property management’s phone number, can’t we just call and ask?”
I shrugged my shoulders and said okay, not really expecting anyone would answer, it was almost 5:00pm. But sure enough, someone picked up on the other end & said they’d send an agent right over. My sister’s curiosity would be sated, at least.
I suppose you can guess what happened next; 20 minutes later, a graying yuppie around my age showed up, clipboard in hand & jangle of keys, and took us into the Tiffany. I noted the large, expansive lobby. It was empty but very clean. Jay (the agent) said “They just remodeled this, they’re going to put in some new furniture down here too.” We go in, head to a nearby elevator, and he presses the button for the 4th floor. We followed him into two apartments that were remodeled from top to bottom, modern, immaculate & absolutely perfect.
New windows, parquet flooring in the dining area, kitchen tiles, maple cabinets, matching appliances include a dishwasher—all new, every square inch of it
(He also showed us one with all parquet floors & solid cherry cabinets that my sister liked better, but ApacheDug loves his carpeting and knew that was for me!)
After we picked our respective chins up from the floor, opened various closet & kitchen drawers (and I ran the water in the bathroom & kitchen) we thanked him profusely for his time and happily headed home, talking excitedly all the way. I got up early this morning, spent nearly TWO HOURS filing out various credit & rental applications, then sat here biting my nails until 1:30 waiting for a response. I was finally approved, will be moving in on or around April 1 & that’s no April Fools joke!
Truth be told, I absolutely dread the idea of moving again—I wish I could kick myself for throwing away $65.00 worth of packing material and boxes carefully labeled with the contents from when I moved HERE 6 months ago—but who knew I’d be leaving so soon?? I want to yell “rats!” but I can’t complain. I’m too happy about going back to the city, and having something I can be proud to call HOME.