27 June, 2007

How Jen looks at Apartments

Today I was scheduled to view two apartments: one I actually contacted the person and was (as far as I know) one of very few people coming by to look at it today; the other was an open house. The first one was at 5pm, the second at 7pm. I had mindfully written down another place I could chance to look at around 6 if I felt I had time that was between the two I was going to today, but I would have to call them and what have you.

The first place, I did not get the actual address until this afternoon when I woke up. It is in the Outer Sunset district, which is largely residential, and very close (literally, out the front door and there it is) to Golden Gate Park. Due to not getting it before I got up (and took a shower and washed the dog), I did not look up directions/transit the night before as I would have liked. So at 4:10 this afternoon, with a damp dog looking over my shoulder, I attempted to find what bus, tram or whatever would bring me to this place in the most timely fashion possible.

I am not a stranger to hauling ass to a bus so I don't have to take a connecting bus---it is almost always faster to haul ass a couple extra blocks to the bus to one's final destination than to sit around and wait for the bus that brings one's ass to said final bus. That said, I hauled ass down Leavenworth to Turk and Leavenworth. Mmm, right in the middle of Tenderloin. Luckily it was just the beginning of rush-hour, so not too many crazies about.

As I was hauling ass down the hill, I saw a bus leaving from that corner area. This bus turned out to be the bus I'd wanted---the 16X (X for express). Not at all discouraged, I figured since the next bus said Ocean Beach, it'd be heading close enough to where I was going, and I hopped on the 31. That's right, the 31, not the 31X; I jumped on, at 4:40 when I have an appointment at 5pm across town, a non-express bus. During rush hour. Going to Ocean Beach via Balboa (I did not know where Balboa was, but Ocean Beach is the direction I want!).

Following some directions I'd written down for the 16X, I debarked the bus roughly where I figured I'd get off the 16X. At 28th Ave (rather than 29th). I was looking for Lincoln and 29th, which is roughly the 1200 block of 29th. After walking down hill a block and a half (because downhill is easier when you have no clue where you are), I noted numbers getting smaller as well as being in the 500s and 600s.

Ever have that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realise you're in the completely opposite place you want to be? Yeah.

I ran into some people and asked them where Lincoln was, and they confirmed my fears that I was, indeed, on the wrong side of Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park is one of the largest inner city parks in the US. I think it is almost as big as Central Park in NYC. Luckily, it is long and relatively skinny rather than being a big blob like CP, and I only had to cross it the skinny way.

That's right, I crossed it. I didn't trust my bus sensibilities to try to hop on a bus to get across it, and I figured it'd be faster for me this way anyway. It took me about a half hour. I took pictures. They are on my flickr.

Keep in mind, the bus dropped me off at 29th and Balboa around 5:15, so I was already running late, then there was the 10 or so minutes I spent being lost and then going back the way I came, then the time in the park. Luckily my sense of direction isn't so terrible that I came out at 13th or, conversely, 34th Ave on the other side. I came out at a moderately successful 26th Ave and walked up the center median of the street to 29th.

Reese, the apartment's current occupant, greeted me very graciously despite my being over 40 minutes late. The apartment was huge for both a studio and an inlaw. It leads directly into a large, sunny back yard, has tile floor, a big clawfoot tub, a reasonable amount of shelving, and the tiniest kitchen imaginable. It is open and airy, and Reese said it was cool if I wanted to paint it myself (which would save him painting over it all again with white which he was happy about). He was pretty awesome, and his stuff is in the pictures, but he is apparently moving to the attic apartment in the same house, so he might be awesome new neighbour! woo! He told me part of the reason he was going to paint was because there was some paintball marks around the apartment because one day it "felt like a good idea" to shoot paintballs in the apartment. The only places they were obvious were on the door and the fridge.

Thinking about it, this isn't really an apartment for anyone. It takes a certain kind of person to really want to live in a place like this. Especially contrasted with the second place I went to. It's not fancy or all that pretty, but it has charm. I don't know that too many of the people who were looking at the second place I went to would be as excited as I was about a clawfoot tub with fish painted on the sides of it or about the fancy front door this place has (it is super fancy!), but I really like it, and I hope they call me or email me back.

Onto the other place. So I walked out to Lincoln after bidding farewell to Reese and his lovely apartment, and after walking 3 or 4 blocks, I realised my feet really hurt. So I decided to try my hand at this bus thing again.

What I really need to do (because at both stops there was like one other person there with me, and neither times did they get on the same bus as me), is follow the lead of the people who look like they know where they are going. I learned this today. So I get on the 29 bus. This bus goes to the Presidio. Realising this (and after the bus took a turn), I thought "isn't the Presidio south of where I want to be?". The bus then took two more turns and started back toward the general direction I wanted to go in. Then it went into the park again. Oh no! Where I am going is still on the south side of the park (lower Haight). So I rode the wrong bus again for a bit, and got off at the first stop after the park with a gentleman who seemed like he knew what was up. I then waited around for the 5 bus. Luckily at this terminal, there was still an intact bus route map/map of the city. From this I gleaned that the 5 would take me all the way to Fillmore, which is where I wanted to be, but then I'd be walking 4 blocks down Fillmore to Haight, where the apartment was. Good good! I also made sure to note where I could catch a bus to go toward home (the 22 bus northbound, which, if I felt like waiting for it, I could then catch the 1 bus and get off at such as Clay and Leavenworth).

I got to the second place with a whole 10 minutes to spare. But I had forgotten to write in my handy journal that I bring with me on such occasions as going to new places or job interviews (hooray notes) which apartment I'd be buzzing. I waited outside, staring at the list of names for some time trying to remember, and some british people who were also looking to look at the apartment came up. They had also forgotten to write down the buzzer. I was convinced it started with an S, and I remembered it was on the top floor. We were about to buzz 850 (because it was an S name and a high number) when a lady came out of the building and informed us that it was indeed the McDonald apartment at 130. (Prior to the British people walking up, I had attempted to call Tim so I could maybe get him to log into my email and tell me what to buzz, but he didn't answer his phone then.)

We buzzed up and were buzzed in. The apartment was gorgeous. Beautiful hardwood floor, porceline tile in the bathroom, new linoleum in the kitchen. There was a lot more counter space in this kitchen than the other. It even has a kitschy fold down ironing table. There was also a huge closet large enough for a bed and a dresser that I think has two doors to it. And the lady who lives there has the friendliest cat. I pet her cat for a bit, and she followed me around the apartment while I listened to the British people ask the lady questions so I wouldn't have to. They were delightfully polite, and we had a good laugh about a Friends reference. Because there is no view on this apartment; lots of light, but the windows don't really lead anywhere. The lady commented that in this area most people's windows open up to face other people's windows, so it is almost better to have no view than this. And it is like the episode in the boys' apartment with the man who sings to the morning every day right across Joey's window.

Anyway, I dropped off applications there and noted on there (thanks to the polite brits) the unit number and my email address and that I could email out my credit standings/history stuff because I didn't really want to shove a big pile of papers under the manager's door.

The neighbourhood of this second one is right on Fillmore and not in the super hippy dippy part of the Haight. It's over a corner store and across from Whole Foods as well as a myriad of restaurants and bars (including at least 3 indian restaurants). It is expensive and small though and not nearly as open and airy as the other place.

After this, I spent 15 minutes or so waiting for the 22 bus, which I took to California St. I walked along Fillmore for a block and really felt like a beer and decided to have pizza for dinner. I then walked home up Sacramento, walked the dog, ate pizza and drank a lot of liquid (I hadn't eaten or drank anything all day up to this point). And now I am at work. What's doin?

No comments: