My partner and I just moved. We had a year-long lease on an apartment downtown, and the lease finally ran out. Around this time last year, we got married and moved in there, unsure exactly what it would be like but excited to have our own place for the first time.
In that year since, we only briefly considered renewing the lease, until The Ceiling Issue (pictured above) quickly persuaded us otherwise. This was a spot on the ceiling of the apartment that had been leaking water since even before we moved in, though the management had assured us that this had already been repaired. As far as we could tell, they had simply painted over the leak, because once it started raining heavily outside, the spot started raining as well. Chunks of ceiling fell down just as much as the rainwater did.
But the apartment had plenty of other issues, too. It was incredibly tiny. There was no laundry. There was no dishwasher. There was no microwave. There was no garbage disposal. There was no air conditioning. There was one functioning window, and three that were permanently painted shut. The outlets worked some of the time but not always, and bugs could come in through a crack in the door frame that didn’t shut when you closed the door.
So I hated this place. Well… I hate it now, I guess. In truth, I don’t think I really hated it when we lived there. I think I resented the specific issues it had, some more than others, but we moved in knowing it would be difficult in some ways, and determined to make a life there for a little while anyway, so that’s what we did.
Given that most places downtown have either street parking or a nearby ramp, it was pretty nice that we had a private parking lot to share with the other residents in the building. We spent a lot more time doing dishes than I would’ve liked, but taking turns scrubbing plates while the other one of us sat at the table to keep the other company in that miniscule kitchen was valuable time, if reluctant. We had the bed pushed into a corner in the bedroom so that we had space to walk across the room, and I kind of liked leaning into that wall as I slept.
There’s not much else, but little things like that kept me sane while we lived there, I think. It was a whole year—there were awful times and amazing times, and most of the times were the in-between ones. It’s difficult to come away from having spent that much time in a space and think only negative things of it. You grow attached, a little bit, and it feels hard to blame things like leaky ceilings or faulty outlets on the apartment itself when I know it’s really the management’s fault.
For our next place, there are a lot of things that have become non-negotiables. But I can see how some of the things that might be flaws in one way also contribute to the character of a place, at least in hindsight. I’d still rather the ceiling not leak, though.
Philip Rienstra (‘21) majored in writing and music and has plans to pursue a career in publishing. They are a recovering music snob, a fruit juice enthusiast, and a big fan of the enneagram. They’re currently living in St. Paul with their spouse, Heidi.