Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chasing Pavements & Apartments

Well, I have two and a half weeks before school kicks off with my Orientation Week. Oddly enough, it hasn't quite sunk in even with money already starting to come out of my wallet and e-mails coming from my advisor on a semi-regular basis.

Perhaps I'm in denial?

Don't get me wrong--I'm excited, but until I've started meeting my cohort and taking notes, I don't think it's real to me yet.

However, reality has still come a -knockin'. I've long since declared that I would move to be closer to school, but just how far I would move and when has been a bit...hazy.

See, I have some constraints that make finding affordable housing a bit of a challenge. For one, I've been through over a dozen roommates in the last 10 years and I've made the proclamation that I would be taking no more until it's time to settle down. (Note: there may be a loophole clause if/when I go abroad to study and really need a flatmate in order to afford housing and/or keep me from becoming a hermit expatriate--but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

Southern California is expensive, and North County San Diego is *really* expensive, so most people my age and/or income level do not live alone. I've been doing it for the past 4 years and I'm not about to give it up yet. So this presents challenge #1: finding a 1 bedroom apartment in a decent neighborhood that won't cost half my monthly net income.

And then there's my second challenge--having a pet. I don't know if San Diego is more or less pet friendly than other areas of the country, but I do seem to sense that it's less. Or rather, it's more succeptible to "pet rent" and additional deposits ranging rom $200-$500 on top of the regular deposit. I got extremely lucky in finding a landlord who charges neither. However, most of the listings in my area seem to want extra money for every four legged friend you want to bring along.

Third challenge? I hate apartment complexes. HATE THEM. With a passion. I hate everything about them--the close quarters with neighbors, shifty tenants, crappy parking, roving packs of wild children, lethargic property management and their lying online ads...need I go on? The only good complexes are the kind that have, like, 12 units and such low turnover rates that you have to wait until someone dies in order to get in.

The result when I look for new places to live is that I get depressed, angry, and frustrated. Mostly depressed.

Feeling sorry for myself won't do me much good, however. I sat down and did the math today and if I was to stay put and not move at all, commuting to work, to school, and to my dance class once a week would be about 293 miles of driving. And that's *just* doing those things and does not account for errands, social occasions, trips, etc.

I've identified two likely living scenarios based on my price point, and that's to either move laterally over closer to the coast and be marginally closer to work, much closer to my dance class, and a tiny bit closer to school, OR move way the heck down south, live very close to school and far from work and dance class, BUT work from home 2-3 days a week.

I laid the three scenarios out together--stay put, move to Oceanside, or move down south to be somewhere in a 10 mile radius of campus, and the winner was clear--moving down south and telecommuting to work will save me about 50-100 miles of driving a week.

Last night I also sat down and made a list of pros and cons for the two areas to move to and I came to a bit of a stalemate there because staying up north would keep me close to everything upon which I've built my life for the past 5+ years, however, moving down south would put me close to all of the things that have been a pain in the ass to get to for the past 5+ years, lol. For example the airport, downtown, the really good malls, Balboa Park, social events for organizations I'd like to be more involved with (i.e. Kappa, German language meetup groups, bellydance workshops, etc.). So what holds more weight?  One of my cousins boiled it down to this: "Less commuting=happiness".  And I tend to agree.  Living close to school and having a negligible drive to class 2 (and perhaps eventually 3) nights a week and just doing two or three big drives per week to work does sound rather nice. 

So I suppose we'll see how this plays out over the next few months. Unfortunately, with school expenses and lingering expenses from my big trip still in play, I don't have the funds readily available to plunk down for a deposit on a rental property right now anyway. Thus I will have to do the ungodly commute to work and school for at least a month or two.

I am optimistic that all will work itself out soon, but in the meantime I continue to keep a watchful eye out...