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Settling in, part one

21 June, 2006

Settling in, part one

Ok … so here’s what’s been happening

First, do not trust United when they say that someone will bring you the little tags from the pet carriers — tags United puts on the carriers themselves, with information about what flight the owner is on, and what seat number — they will not do this. You will have to hit the service button and threaten hysteria to get the flight attendant to check right as they are closing the plane doors. Fortunately, the flight attendants all seemed fine with the bitchiness. Oh — and if you want to take a red-eye? The airbus 300 is not a plane designed for this. I can usually sleep in any plane (as my most recent travelling companion and reader of this LJ can affirm). I have never been so uncomfortable on a plane in my life. But the people were all nice and the children all fairly quiet.

Next, the apartment. It’s very nice. People who choose to visit me will have a decent place to stay. But. Because I have to complain about something … When I spoke to the realtor, I did say that I would prefer to live closer to the part of town called Old Town. What clearly didn’t occur to me is that, to most USAmericans, I am close. One can drive to OT in less than 10 minutes. But what I meant was that I wanted to be able to walk there with ease. That isn’t going to happen. Instead, I am about equidistant to OT, the Uni, and most of the shopping. The apartment itself is very nice. High ceilings, central heat and air, nice-sized rooms, and new construction. But it’s an apatment complex, with all the charm that entails. And frankly, I’d forgotten how much I don’t like living in apartment complexes. Still, it’s very nice. It’s just … well … OT is, for the US, actually old. There are tons of really lovely and charming brick and stone buildings that are between 150-200 years old –some even older. There’s a pedestrian precinct with not bad looking pubs and coffee shops. There are even nice little wooden victorian houses and brick terraced houses … And I hate having to drive there. As far as I can tell, this is definitely not bicycle-safe country.

Yesterday was a wash. Very tired and jet lagged, and I wanted to spend some time with the kitties. But… I went to grab dinner at a place I knew had TVs in the bar, thinking to watch replays of the football. It’s a chain restaurant, but not the one known for its flair. Cheap Coronas in the bar, but sadly, I’d forgotten I was on the right coast time zone, and had just missed the footie. I’d noticed the England flag on a couple of cars as I drove in, and I had just ordered my beer when I noticed that I had been noticed. Three English builders trying to chat me up at the same time. Very pleasant, none my type. Turns out they live in the buildings on either side of me. Joy. But still, neighbors. Sadly, the chain restaurant is the best they can do for a local. Not me. I will be seeking out a better pub. I also found a much better place to watch the football — another chain, but one I’d never seen before. This one is a bona fide sports bar, so I was able to watch the Netherlands play the Dirty Cheating Bastards this afternoon.

I spent part of today looking for a car. I need to go and test drive a Hyundai I saw — a couple of years old, and only about 23000 miles. Also under $10k. But neither a standard transmission nor anti-locking brakes, which I really want. I also test drove a new Scion xA. the one I drove was an automatic, but they have one standard transmission coming in later this week. It’s about $14k, but I really liked it. Unfortunately, their financing is terrible — I can’t get anything lower than 6.25%, so I’ll have to see about getting a loan from a bank if I want that one. that, and I really hate the idea of buying a new car. I don’t think anyone in my family has ever done that. It’s against the rules … Oh well, off to a couple more car places this evening.
Car update: I may take my father’s advice and try to get a beater for a couple of grand to last me a few months till I can estimate finances better. I hate to waste money, but it sounds like a decent idea not to get locked into a loan I really might not be able to afford, and I can always trade the car in …

In other news, no one told me I had to make arrangements with the post office for a mailbox key, so I will have mail sitting and waiting for me in a day or two. I have unfortunately ascertained that I really should have had a pedicure before leaving old city. As it happens, there are no cheap Vietnamese nail shops here, and pedicures are half again as pricey as I am used to spending (by used to, read “about twice a year”). Coffee and grocery stores are OK — although the drip I had this morning seemed to have been flavoured. At least the evil *$ doesn’t have a shop here, as far as I can tell.

Finally, because I know that the kitties are the most important part of this … They are fine. The boy is throwing his cat litter around like a crazy man. The girl has taken to the tops of the kitchen cupboards, by way of the counter-tops and refrigerator. Pictures to follow as soon as I have the other computer and peripherals set up. They aren’t eating as they should, but the vet said they needed to lose weight, anyway. i think they will be happy when my bed is here. The boy kept waking me up crawling into my sleeping bag last night. The girl slept on the floor nearby. I am going to disturb them shortly by using the new vacuum cleaner …. But they seem to be adjusting much better than I expected. No sulking after yesterday afternoon, at least.

That’s about it for now. I’ll be trying to catch up over the next few days. I missed you all!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. 22 June, 2006 2:33 am

    How long before you can get out of the current apartment’s lease?

  2. 22 June, 2006 3:55 am

    a year. But it is nice. I have a fireplace, pool, tennis courts, and they aren’t charging me the extra $30 a month for the cats that they advertised on the web site …

  3. 22 June, 2006 4:55 am

    Hee, my dearly departed girl cat also used to get up on the kitchen cupboard tops in exactly the same maner. And whenever we moved, if my furniture hadn’t arrived yet, I had to leave a cupboard open for her to hide *in*.Glad everyone is safe and sound but sorry to hear you’re in an apt. complex. Is it all beige? Well, at least this way you can take your time finding *just* the right place *actually* near Old Town.

  4. 22 June, 2006 5:08 am

    Please forgive the typos and ugly grammar in my last comment. Ugh.

  5. 22 June, 2006 6:12 am

    yep — apartment beige, with light wood. but still, pretty nice. The countertops are kind of a speckly pinky-beige. white appliances. And there’s a washer and dryer. And a walk-in closet. And supposedly an ice-maker, although it seems not to be working. I’ll have to check on that. The one thing I noticed about the buildings in old town — A/C seems to be all window units. That could be dire.

  6. 22 June, 2006 1:58 pm

    Yes, the central A/C was the clincher for me when I ended up in my own beige apartment complex! I face the same thing here – all the older places with “character” also have window units. Not. Good. Enough. But I’m actually reasonably fond of the cookie-cutter thing – it soothes my suburban/one-generation-away-from-working-class soul. (Plus my cookie-cutter apartment happens to be in the location I really wanted, so that helps.)The loan for our Scion is E-Loan – I totally don’t remember what the rate is (LDH took care of it), but they were very easy and nice to deal with. I have to laugh at your “no new cars” rule, though, because in my family it’s just the opposite – it’s against the rules to buy used! Seriously, we never have, in all the time that I can remember. All three of my cars have been new, as well as everything my parents ever bought (though the latter makes more sense given that they have more money than I do!). In my family it’s the “you don’t know where it’s been” attitude towards used cars. Plus, we then tend to drive those cars for 10 years, so I think it works out overall. (Which is not saying you shouldn’t buy a used car! I tried to get LDH to agree to a used car when we got the latest one, but no dice. I just think it’s funny, all the different attitudes people have about things.) Anyway, good luck deciding! (Oh, and if you get a Scion, I think you really want the manual, not the automatic.)

  7. 22 June, 2006 3:06 pm

    Glad to hear you made it safely and that the rest of the househould is adjusting. Good luck with the car selection process. It’s probably a good idea to get settled in so you know what your real expenses are before tying yourself down to a car that necessitates the ramen noodle diet. :-)I, too, do the new car thing. Living alone means needing a reliable car and “not knowing where it’s been” like NKH stated is something to consider. We’ll be anxious to hear more about your settling in!

  8. 22 June, 2006 6:58 pm

    Yeah — I think my dad forgets that I am not the mechanic that he and my grandfather were. Are. Whatever. I know a lot more about internal combustion engines and car maintenance than your average medeivalist, but that doesn’t mean I want to work on the damned thing!

  9. 22 June, 2006 8:14 pm

    Sympathies on the stress of the move and the annoying long distance you’re away from the town’s amenities. But look at it this way. You have a year to settle into the town and figure out where you really want to live, whether or not you can dream of owning or renting, etc. Having this apartment away from walking distance of all the cool places will probably be a good thing when it comes to keeping yourself focused on course preps and writing, too.In my first year at this job, I was either in my office writing preps, in my home office writing preps, shopping or driving back and forth to Toronto to visit then fiance (now husband). It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d lived right next door to the best pub in the world, I couldn’t have justified the free time to go there and probably would have resented that.

  10. 23 June, 2006 3:34 am

    ADM, you could join the Costco in New Town and then get Costco financing for the car. D. got 4.5% financing through their financial services. We’re all about the used cars, although I only buy from a car dealer (why that makes a difference, I’m not sure).I’m glad you and the kitties are settled in!

  11. 23 June, 2006 2:39 pm

    I will look into that … I’m already a Costco member …

  12. 24 June, 2006 3:58 pm

    Eep! That’s exactly the sort of distance issue that I would have missed myself. Glad the kitties are settling in, and that the apartment, at least, is nice.

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