Funny thing about me… I always say I work better when I’m under a time crunch. That’s a roundabout way of saying “I’m a major procrastinator,” of course… but it usually is true. So I looked at the situation at hand and figured out what I had to do. I came up with four plans:
Plan A- Find another roommate and continue the search for a 2-bedroom place.
Plan B- Find a person looking for a roommate.
Plan C- Find a one-bedroom place or a studio and live meagerly for a while.
Plan D- Cut my losses and move home to Kenosha.
I set to work on Plans A or B. I sent Emails to all my friends and all my chorus contacts. I got a few responses, but only one response to the Plan A idea. We met, talked it over, and decided to go for it. I set appointments at a few places and looked at a few of them– alone– but communicated my findings to the new roommate.
And then, mysteriously, my calls went unreturned, and my emails went unanswered. I looked at the calendar. It was already mid-March. Time to segue to Plan C.
I combed craigslist and Chicago Reader and made appointments. I called a couple apartment-finding agencies and scheduled sessions. I was in full-speed mode…
…but in the meantime, I had nothing packed, and nothing arranged for a move.
My situation was looking really dire. My stress levels were off the charts. If I had gone to the doctor during this time, I am quite sure my blood pressure would have been ridiculously high. I contemplated calling my doctor for a Xanax prescription… something I have never had before. It truly was that bad. I couldn’t sleep or eat, and called in to work a hell of a lot. (On the positive side though, I probably lost about 15 pounds.)
I took a day off of work and looked at apartments from 8am until 5pm. I saw some place that could only be described as closets, and others that were so ugly they made me a little sick to my stomach. One place was rather cute, could have even been promising… until I opened a cabinet door in the kitchen and saw a cockroach scurrying across the bottom. Finally, the last place I looked at seemed to be the right size at the right price– even if I hated it. It was in a 1950s-era 5-floor (they call them a 4-Plus-1 around here) building that wasn’t in terrible shape, but was in a not-so likable area. The floors were all covered in a nasty white acrylic carpet that looked like it hadn’t been shampooed in years. The kitchen cabinets were 1970s-era cheap, and one drawer had no face. The chandelier in the dining room was busted and filthy, the windows wouldn’t open, everything was electric, and the bathroom– the worst room of all– had powder blue EVERYTHING– floors, walls, tub, toilet AND sink.
Yeah, it wasn’t my dream home by any means… but it held some promise. The rooms were large, and there was a lot of storage. I figured I could make it work if I HAD to… and nothing else was looking as good. So I said, “Yes, let’s do it.”
From that moment, the dread and stress got even worse. I hated it, and I knew it. And I was saying “yes.” I felt like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” the adult version of himself screaming at the younger version to “Wake up dummy! WAKE UP!!” But I never woke up. I signed the papers, wrote a check, and hoped for the best.
Well the best never came. Two weeks later, I still hadn’t signed a lease. Two weeks later, it was just days before April 1. If stress were a rocket, then I surely, really and truly, for the first time in my life was a ROCKET MAN. I was set to explode from the stress I was feeling. The building managers balked at my credit report (which I told them was going to be bad,) and my lease history (my eviction notice from a while back was rearing its ugly head). They even contacted my current landlord to get assurance that everything was taken care of with the eviction, and they STILL dragged their heels.
I finally realized I had to back out of this before I went insane. I called my landlord and pleaded with her to let me stay until May. She agreed. Thank goodness. Then I called the rental company and told them I was canceling the deal. They were fine with it, but they still had my check… and the check was for first month’s rent at the new place, plus their fee. If they cashed that, I’d be screwed. I asked them to get the check back and I’d pay them their fee via credit card. They said they’d see what they could do.
By now, I was seriously considering Plan D as my only option. My mom and my sister were worried, and so was I. I had to make a decision, and quick.
So I decided to investigate the idea of going home.
(Part three tomorrow)