Fri 11/1/2013

A few weeks before Claire and I decided to move from Vermont to Oakland, we flew out here to find an apartment. We only had five days to find a place, so we knew the apartment we settled on would work, but we would probably not be here forever.

After a little over a year of living here, there are a few things about our apartment that have started to drive us nuts: 1) It's pretty dark in here because there are only windows on one side of the apartment, and they all face North. 2) Outside those windows is a weird sort of parking lot/hangout zone for all the teens in our building. They are out there at all hours of the day and night, idling cars, revving motorcycle, boat and ATV motors, shooting pool, smoking weed, playing loud music, slamming the electronic gate that is attached to the side of our apartment, etc. etc. etc. 3) We get absolutely no cell phone reception in our apartment, which is very frustrating. We had to set up a weird workaround using Google Voice to be able to use our phone numbers through our computers, but we are still constantly missing important phone calls. It makes it very stressful to get packages delivered and stuff like that. 4) Someone broke into our mailbox, stole a credit card offer that was sent to Claire and filled it out with their own information. Luckily we caught the piece of mail when the cards arrived, but it was pretty scary coming that close to identity theft. People have also stolen cars out of our building's parking garage by being let in through the front gate. 5) There are about 80 units in our (huge) building, so everyone just kind of ignores each other and there is no real sense of community. People litter around the building and inside the building and there is a general lack of respect which rubs me the wrong way.

ANYWAY, last summer I was heading home to Seattle for the fourth of July weekend, which was right in the middle of the BART strike. I had to take a weird bus route to get to the airport and it went right through Alameda, which is a small island/city, just South of Oakland. There were tons of cute houses and the main street had a nice book store and a crazy toy store and lots of restaurants and shops and stuff. After my trip to Seattle, Claire and I went back to Alameda a few times and really enjoyed checking out all the parks and fun stuff there is to do out there. Did I mention they have Pinball Museum???

So for the last four months Claire has been hunting around on Craigslist for apartments in Alameda. Eventually one popped up that we like and that we can actually afford. It's the exact same size as our current apartment, but it's got windows on the South, East AND West walls! There are trees outside instead of a parking lot! Our mail will come through our front door and into the studio! We get four bars of cell phone reception inside the apartment! There are only eight units - we've met the neighbors - they're nice! Also there are hardwood floors and we are allowed to get a cat and/or a dog if we want!

So, we're moving. We have been making a lot of little trips using City Car Share but on Monday we're getting a Uhaul to move the big stuff (like my pinball machine...) We're both pretty excited about this move. Claire and I spend about 95% of our time inside our apartment because we work from home, so it'll be nice to have a quieter, brighter, less stressful place to live and work.

The other great thing about this new place is that it's only a 20 minute bus ride to get back to our old neighborhood in Oakland. I'll be back a few times a week at least because I'm keeping my Oakland P.O. Box. It also means we can still go hang out with our Oakland friends and go do all of the fun stuff that we love to do in Oakland, like seeing old movies at the Paramount Theatre or walking around Lake Merritt.

This move is inconveniently overlapping with the home stretch of my giant illustration project which is due on November 15th. I have been pretty stressed out lately, but compared with some of the other things I've had to deal with this year, it's not so bad. Right now I'm looking forward to November 16th, when I'll have a bit more time on my hands to enjoy my new surroundings. Hopefully it will be a LONG time before Claire and I move again! I would love to turn 40 in this new apartment.

4 comments on this entry

Congrats, Alec! I wish you both great happiness in your new home!

Matt Bernier Nov02

Sounds great. I miss apartment living

anthony Nov03

Sounds like a great upgrade! I like Alameda - all the old military buildings are neat, and it feels pretty open and mellow.

I was there a few months ago for the Flea Market. Have you been to it? It's killer, and it's huge.

Ryan G Nov17

Wow! Good luck in your new place!

Arlene Nov17

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