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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday Stories, Part 1

Thirty posts in thirty days requires some creativity. So, welcome to the first edition of “Saturday Stories”. Funny stories. “You had to be there” stories. Pathetic stories. You never know what a November Saturday will bring.

The Day The Internet Sucked
Written by Chrystie
Pictures by Richard

It was December, 2000. We had been married for 4 months. Richard had received a job offer from an engineering firm in Dallas, Texas, and we were pumped to spread our wings and act like adults. We were living in Alabama at the time, in the city where Richard had essentially grown up. It was the first time either of us had ventured beyond familiar “Mom and Dad are only a few miles away” borders and we were determined to make the move OURSELVES. We were young, able bodied and ready to rock ‘n’ roll our way to the Lone Star State.

Money was tight. We were both in our early 20s. I had graduated from university only 3 months earlier. We got a nice “moving expenses” check from Richard’s new employer and we wanted to pocket as much of it as possible (ah, the greedy and stupid days…).

Our rent in Alabama was $385 per month. Two bedroom apartment with a fireplace, an in-suite washer and dryer. It was SWEET. We knew that living in the “big city” of Dallas would be a bit more expensive, but we wanted to keep our costs under control.

So, I found us an apartment on the internet. $600 per month for a one bedroom place. Surely, for that kind of money, the place would be decent. SURELY. And the apartment appeared fantastic….on the internet pictures. Clean. Relatively upgraded. Nicely landscaped courtyard. Perfect.

Since a pre-move trip down to Dallas would have bit off a portion of that coveted moving expenses check, we opted to sign a contract on the apartment without actually seeing it in person. Have I mentioned we were young and stupid?!

I probably should have picked up on the leasing agent’s tone of voice when she asked multiple times if I was “sure that I wanted to sign the lease without looking at it” or if I “understood exactly where in the city this apartment (was) located”.

I was reading the map as Richard was maneuvering our big Ryder van. We found our new apartment’s street and started making our way down it. At first, it looked okay. But, as we crossed a few railroad tracks and continued our drive south, the neighborhood changed. Not for the better. I’ll leave it at that.

It was 6:00pm when we arrived at the apartment complex. We had been driving for thirteen hours. We were tired. We were overwhelmed. We were in a really big, strange city. We were driving a massive moving truck. We didn’t have it in us to change our minds. We had signed a six-month lease and that was that.

We had a dog at the time. His name was Charlie (RIP, sweet Chucky). He was ready to get out of the truck. So, first thing I did once we got our apartment keys was tie Charlie up in the kitchen, with a bowl full of food within his reach. I went outside to help Richard park the big yellow truck, and by the time we reentered the apartment 10 minutes later, Charlie’s bowl was CRAWLING. Cuh-rawling. The cockroaches had overtaken his food bowl and the poor cocker spaniel was as stunned as we were.

That was the first “Oh. My. Word.” moment.

There were roaches in the bathtub. There was blood stains on the carpet. There were bugs in the freezer. The courtyard was riddled with cats and dogs. I *think* they were resident’s pets, but who knows.

When Richard and I were about half-way through moving our stuff from the truck to the apartment (remember, we were young and stupid and figured that paying for moving help would be too expensive), a woman stopped me. She introduced herself and then said, “Are you sure you want to live here?” When she heard that I didn’t have a job yet, she said, “If your husband ever has to work late, please come to my place and hang out. You do NOT want to be in one of these apartments by yourself at night.”

Now, I was beyond the “Oh. My. Word” moment. It had turned into a “Get me the craperoozie outta here!” moment.

I cried that entire night. All that independent adult strength was eaten up by our new cockroach neighbors. I boo-hooed to Richard for hours and, for the first time ever in our new marriage, gave him an ultimatum.

Move out of this apartment or I’m going to spend the next six months in Canada, with my parents.

The next day, we signed a new lease in an apartment complex that turned out to be our home for over three years.

A few months after the Roachy-Apartment drama, some of our Alabama friends came to visit. They wanted us to take them to the infamous complex so that they could see with their own eyes just how bad it was. When we turned into the parking lot, we noticed that all the apartment doors had bright green papers stuck to them.

City of Dallas Notice: This complex has been condemned and all residents will need to move within four weeks.

Hi yi yi! If the City of Dallas thinks the place is a mess, it’s BAD. A few months later, we popped by there again and bulldozers had already started demolishing the complex.

Moral of the story: I really, really don’t like roaches













2 comments:

beautyinallthings said...

That is an awesome story! I loved it!

Jennifer said...

oh man.... those were the days, weren't they??? thanks for the trip down memory lane. (it wasn't even "my" memory, but it reminded me of all the young adult things we used to complain about. how silly we were!! :-) not that condemed, roach-infested apt is silly, but you know what I mean. How life has changed!