The Apartment Hunt

So I know I said that I would post about the apartment hunt a while ago, but I was superstitiously afraid to jinx my living situation by sounding too confident about where I would be living before I knew for sure.  Since the process is finally drawing to a close and I am (98%) sure where I will be living, the time has come to publish!

A few weeks ago, Joe and I realized that we were going to need somewhere to live until we move into the building* once it’s ready.  After deciding that our best option would be signing a six-month lease, we looked through apartment websites upon apartment websites, created a list, made some calls and set up appointments to view several buildings (all the credit for those calls goes to Joe).

Predictably, at most of the visits I instantly loved everything and wanted to sign immediately and Joe was—very prudently—more cautious.  The one notable exception to this rule was a building right next to the Barnes-Jewish Emergency Room.  The rent was high, the rooms were small, and the whole building smelled musty and looked like the décor (and appliances) hadn’t been updated since the building was built in the fifties.  The only positive thing that Joe and I could come up with when we left was, “Well, there was a pretty nice view from the roof.”  Oh, and there was also a tanning bed in the basement.  Because nothing is as enticing as being able to get your fake tan on in a communal bed in your basement, right next to the 1950s laundry room.  All in all, that viewing was a pretty depressing experience.  The only thing that saved it was the fact that the guy who was showing us around had been to several of Joe’s shows (if you haven’t heard them already, check out his band Kid Scientist).

Eventually we found a building we both loved.  The Metropolitan Artist Lofts are located over by Saint Louis University, right across from the Fabulous Fox Theatre and next to a sculpture garden.  They’re also a quick walk from the Urban Chestnut Brewing Company and Plush, an awesome restaurant/venue that Kid Scientist plays at fairly regularly.  As the name implies, the Metropolitan is also an intentional creative community, meaning that everyone who lives there is somehow involved in the arts in St. Louis.  Part of the application process is a portfolio review in front of a committee; the other part is maybe 20 pages of complicated forms to fill out and a background check.

Joe and I first looked at the Metropolitan on a Saturday, but the other Artist Loft location downtown did not have weekend hours, so I ended up taking an early lunch break on Monday and running (almost literally) through apartment units at the downtown and midtown Artist Loft locations and speedily throwing down my (massive) pile of paperwork and deposit check on the way out the door.

Speaking of paperwork…there has been a lot of it since I officially became a Real Adult.  Piles and piles of paperwork before I could start my job (not counting the application itself), paperwork before I could make a doctor’s appointment, paperwork before I could make a dentist appointment, and now piles and piles of paperwork to wade though so I can be approved to fill out more paperwork so I can move into an apartment.  For six months.

The other thing about all of this paperwork is, it’s hard!  I’m not sure if I just need more practice filling these things out or am destined for a lifetime of confusion caused by small print and even smaller blanks to squeeze in complex information.   So far, each of my attempts to accomplish paperwork has gone something like this:

Step 1: Faced with a giant pile of papers and armed with a pen, I am confident.  I am ready.

Step 2: Fill out personal information.  Name, address, I’ve got that down.  I even know my social security number!

Step 3: Feeling strong, I turn the page, only to find at least one Highly Perplexing Question.  Deciding to come back to it later, I press bravely onwards.

Step 4: This brave pressing onwards lasts approximately as long as it takes to read the next question.

Step 5: Call home.

Step 6: Read almost every question out loud to whichever parent was kind and patient enough to willingly commit to secondhand paperwork and mumble incoherently while trying to squeeze long answers into short blanks.  This step usually results in me asking my mother whether or not I have had a headache in the last five years or what my previous landlord’s middle name was, as if she would somehow know better than I would.

Step 7: Thank whoever is helping me repeatedly and profusely.

Step 8: Sign my name 15 times and flip back through to make sure I didn’t miss a page or something.

Step 9: Promise myself that next time I will be mature and independent and work through my own paperwork.

Yeah right.

In any case, I eventually did make it through the forest of paperwork (seriously: a whole forest was probably sacrificed to produce it), and since we have found and applied to The One, I have become obsessed with the “home décor” section of Pinterest.  I am trying to be realistic in terms of picking out projects that I can actually accomplish, but we’ll see what ends up actually happening.  I can dream, right?


*Joe’s friend Dave designs and builds custom furniture, and he is buying a building to relocate his shop from the basement out of which he is currently working.  There will also be a display room, plenty of space for Kid Scientist’s musical endeavors, and an apartment upstairs for Joe, Dave, and I once the renovation is complete in (hopefully) six months or so.

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