Category Archives: Apartment


First of all, everyone is OK and my apartment is intact.

Now aren’t you curious?

Last night, Molly and I were just finishing up dinner when we heard a strange whooping noise from somewhere in the apartment. This was closely followed by a classic science fiction omniscient computer voice (more “Donna Noble has left the library…” than Scarlett Johansson’s Her) calling out “Attention! Attention!”

By this point I was thoroughly bewildered.

The TV wasn’t on, I don’t have a radio, and the sound wasn’t coming from any computer speakers.

It continued.

“A fire has been reported in the building. Please proceed to the nearest exit.”

The whooping resumed, alternating with Big Sister’s calmly delivered yet dreadful message.

Molly and I exchanged glances. This didn’t seem like a drill.

I blew out the candles and grabbed my phone, my computer, and my childhood teddy bear**. Pausing only to slip on shoes and jackets, Molly and I headed down the back stairwell into the alley.

That’s when it finally started to seem like this could potentially be serious. There was a whiff of smoke in the air, and although the sky was clear, rain was drifting down out of an upstairs window. Sirens pierced the air and the first of three fire trucks pulled up to the curb.


IMG_4176Neighbors and dogs milled about on the cold sidewalk while pairs of firemen sauntered in and out of the building. From their supreme lack of urgency, we gathered that the fire was fortunately not a serious one (I later found out that someone on an upper floor had left a pot unattended on the stove and it had either melted or caught fire). By this point, I was seriously starting to regret not having grabbed a pair of pants to pull on under my skirt.

“Does anyone here live in number —?”

The apartments surrounding (and underneath) the unit where the fire had caught were flooding from the sprinklers, and the firemen were trying to get in to shut them off.

More waiting.

Eventually we moved into the lobby, because by this point it seemed nothing was aflame anymore.

More waiting.

Finally, one of the firemen told us it was safe to go back upstairs. And that was that.

The whole drama fortunately turned out to be a relative non-incident for Joe and I (although it was a very bad night indeed for anyone whose apartment was flooded), but the experience was certainly an eye-opener.

Let’s just say I’ll definitely be taking a closer look at my renter’s insurance policy sometime soon.

Post-Fire Selfie*The German Feierabend signifies the end of work, but translates to something like “Party Evening”. Feuer is fire, so a Feuerabend is a “Fire Evening.”

**When I was a child, my biggest fear was my house catching on fire. So, every night as I lay in bed, I would plan escape routes and decide which precious articles I would rescue from the inferno. Polar Bear always topped the list. (To the right you can see us with a hot water bottle, trying to warm up after being let back into the apartment.)

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Jazzed about Exercise

Since my glory days of cross country and track in high school, I have not been someone who works out.  Oh sure, I would go for a run or accompany a friend to the gym every few months or so, and I walked and biked everywhere to get around, but regular exercise for the sake of exercise was not a part of my life.

Until now.

A combination of spending most days sitting, having a fitness center in my building, and starting to bike to and from work has inspired me to get back into tip-top shape.

It’s not much, but my (hopefully realistic) goal is to spend at least half and hour each weekend day in the fitness center and to bike 2.2 miles each way to and from work (for a total of 22 miles each week).

Now that I’ve put it up here, I have to follow through, right?  Time to get those high school abs back!

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Livin’ It Up at the Metropolitan

I know I promised a post about the new apartment a while ago, and now that I finally have Internet and some time to breathe, it’s a reality!

August has been a very hectic month (albeit in the best way possible).  It began with a busy week at work and a vacation in California,which were followed by 1) a move from the Cookie Tree to the Metropolitan Artist Lofts, 2) my parents coming in to town (and Robert moving back for the school year), 3) Sasha coming from New York City to stay for a few days,and 4) Lucy coming for a weekend as part of her brief sojourn in the US before her move from Paris to London.  Whew.  As you can imagine, I’ve barely had a moment to myself (and wouldn’t have had it any other way).  Most of all, I’ve been incredibly happy to have such a wonderful apartment (complete with queen-size futon!) to offer up as a place for all these exciting visitors to stay.

Now I could spend this post going into belated detail about the process of moving into the apartment and listing exactly how many trips back and forth with boxes were involved (and how many trips to Target!), but let’s be honest: you all know far too well what that’s like.  You’ve been there.  So, without further ado, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for anyway: PHOTOS!

Click any thumbnail to enter the virtual tour with full-size images.

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Joe’s and my apartment application has FINALLY been officially accepted, and we will be moving into the Metropolitan Artist Lofts on August 18th!

It’s been a long and fraught process involving many (many, many) calls back and forth between us and the Met and various third-party institutions, but we finally made it.

Here’s to having our own space at last!

This also means I can finally fully unleash the planning instincts that I have so far been doing my best to suppress.  So, excuse me, I have some to-scale drawings of the floor plan to make so we can decide where all the furniture will go before actually moving in.  Oh yeah, and maybe some packing to do too.

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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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