Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We're Moving!

Most of my stress last week resulted from the fact that not only was my husband out of the country all week, but the day he left, we were also informed that we needed to move. Why you ask? Well, because the owner of the apartment needs to move back in. Whatever her personal circumstances were that led her to move out have changed and forced her to need to move back in. It was just crappy news all around because we love where we live—the location, the actual apartment, the fact that our building is safe and that we can trust the conserjes (doormen), the price…need I say more? We had briefly talked about moving a while back when I mentioned that our apartment was small, but when you look at the cost-benefit of moving to a slightly bigger apartment, the costs greatly outweighed the benefits. It’s not like we are crammed into a small place, we just thought it’d be nice to have a place with a balcony or something of that nature. In any case, the idea was quickly throw out and our plan was to stay exactly where we are forever, well, at least until we decide to leave Chile.

But destiny had other plans for us and thus the news from the owner of our apartment. I immediately began looking on the internet for apartments and spent a good day of my Monday calling phone numbers I found in the classifieds of El Mercurio. Now that we were forced to change apartments, we have to make the best out of the situation and try to find the most perfect apartment that we could. So what would that perfect apartment look like you ask? Hold on, you’re in for quite the list of requirements: 2 bed, 2 bath, bigger kitchen than what we’ve got, place for the washing machine, good closet space, close to the metro (ie. within 3-4 blocks walking distance and no more), between the Pedro de Valdivia metro stop and the Tobalaba metro stop, within our budget range ($230.000-260.000 CLP—including gastos comunes), a bodega (storage) would be a plus, and of course in good condition all around. Needless to say that as I made my way down the list of numbers, which just happened to go in order from cheapest apartment to more expensive ones, I just became more and more and more frustrated with the fact that our *ideal* apartment would definitely not be within our budget range, and if it was, there was no way in hell it was located close to the metro.

I kept searching and calling. On my walk home from work I wrote down numbers I saw in windows. I stopped by buildings close to where we live and asked the conserjes if any apartments would be for rent soon. No stinking luck. Remember when all I wanted to do was cry? Ya, all of this played a huge part in that. Not to mention a million other things that just seemed to be going wrong.

Monday night I called the conserje downstairs to ask if anyone in our buildings would be leaving soon. See our little community has 2 identical buildings side by side. We share the same consjeres, plaza area between the buildings, etc. They are like sister apartment complexes. The man who answered the phone just happens to be the conserje pesado (grumpy/rude doorman) who proceeded to say “No, no hay nada.”—No, no there isn’t anything. I was heartbroken. The hubbs and I were just hoping someone would randomly move out of one of the apartments so we could snatch it up. But it is really rare in our little community that someone move in or out. We all seem to be lifers.

Tuesday morning I left a few minutes late for work and saw the nice conserje as I was leaving. I decided to give it another shot and ask sweet Pablo if anyone would be moving out soon. I explained that the owner of our apartment needs to move back, but we just don’t want to leave. He said “Sí, sí hay un departamento que se va a desocupar esta semana.”—Yes, yes there is an apartment that will be available at the end of the week. It is an apartment in the sister building of our community, meaning all we would have to do is move our stuff out of one building and into another. No moving truck needed. No careful packing necessary. Hope was in the air! I could see little rays of sunshine blowing away the rain clouds that had been hovering above my head the past few days.

The new game plan was to get the phone number of the owner of the soon-to-be-unoccupied apartment so that we could convince her that we were the best people to rent to. As things would have it, the stars aligned for us and Christian was able to call her on Saturday and explain our serious interest and the situation surrounding the move. She confirmed that it is 2 bed, 2 bath. No balcony because they closed it off to make the bedroom bigger. Rent is only $20.000 CLP more than what we are paying now (thus within our budget) and it comes with a bodega. Ureeka!!! We struck gold!

Yesterday he called her again to see when we could go see the apartment, and apparently she had talked to Pablo about us to see how we were as renters. He gave us a raving review and she said we had first priority to rent out the apartment. Sweet! Christian went to see it and then called me. He said it is a bit bigger than what we have now, but the carpet is ugly and he walls are yellow. He wouldn’t really go into more details and said its best if I just see it because of course I wanted to know what shade of yellow and if she was going to clean the carpet, etc.

So I saw it yesterday after work. And despite the stained carpet and the hideous yellow walls, it is in good condition. We are taking it and we are moving this Saturday. Although I am upset that she is not cleaning the carpet or painting before we move in, we get to leave the place in the same conditions when we move out. That doesn’t comfort me much as I don’t want to live in an ugly apartment, so we (mostly I) have decided that we are going to paint. Not right away, but eventually we are going to paint. The carpet, well, we will vacuum it and hope our furniture covers the stains. If not, we will buy rugs cuz I really don’t even think a good carpet cleaning would save the carpet. The good news out of all of this is that I get to flex my creativity finger and plan on how we are going to decorate the bedroom, which will be the first priority in painting. The other good news is that the move should be pretty painless and with the money we are saving from 1. not hiring a moving truck and 2. not paying a corredor (real estate agent), we will be able to spiff the place up. I’m not one to normally invest in property that isn’t mine (this should be a no-brainer), but we are planning on living there for a while and I just can’t handle that yellow. So yes, we will invest a bit, but it will save our sanity, which I find to be a perfectly good reason!

P.S. Saturday is the move, pizza will be ordered, if you have nothing to do, let me know. More hands = quicker move. Christian has got 2 guys from work coming to help, but any other help will be warmly welcomed!

P.S.S. I'll post pictures of the before when I get a chance so that as we get to the makeover you can see the progress!


Emily said...

Yay! I'm so glad you guys found a place. And I agree that if you're going to be there for a while, it makes sense to spend a little money on changes that will greatly improve your environment.

I'll see what we're going on Saturday and will try to enlist Rodolfo and his fuerza to help move a box or two :)

lydia said...

you can paint in chile for nearly no money, if you want. brushes and whatnot cost nearly nothing... and paint can be really cheap. we bought 1 big can from easy which cost 5,000 and was decent quality (no problems yet! looks great), and everything else we used bags which cost only 1,700 and cover about half a room and we havent noticed a quality difference yet.

as long as youre renting, why not paint cheap ;-)

congrats! now if i go visit i will only have to get very slightly lost.

Anonymous said...

Congrats. I am so happy that this worked out for you.

Sarita said...

That is really good news! I'm so glad it is close, moving sucks. What ever happened with the work/time off situation? I hope everything turns out as well as the dpto hunting...

Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.