Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Long Time, No Blog
Howdy, folks. It's been so long since I've posted that Blogger evidently changed their whole way of doing things. Not sure I like it. Can't find the formatting tools. It may be because I'm working on a Mac tonight, or it may mean that I actually have to type in the tags. Hrrmmm.

LOTS of things have been happening over the past few weeks. First and foremost we're moving back to Pittsburgh. We tried out Cleveland for three years. Met lots of great people, did lots of fun things, drank lots of good beer. But we couldn't deny we were longing for Steel Town. We missed everthing in the 'Burgh: family, friends, The Sharpe Edge, Schenley Park. Time to go home.

Realistically, we knew that at least one of us would have to get a job before we moved. Rick won. He took a job back at Valhalla, this time as a Restaurant Manager. They offered him a nice deal, and that gave us the security to make the trip back.

I put in a proposal to work out of a Pittsburgh-based office and travel either into Cleveland or any of our field offices for training when needed. They didn't bite. In fact, it appears they are dissolving the entire training department as we know it for "fiscal reasons." Ah, well. Perhaps not the exact response I wanted to hear, but at least it was a decision. I have moved on. Perhaps not quite yet to the "bigger and better"--picked up part-time work slinging cappuccinos at the Coffee Tree--but I will get there. And it will be something even more challenging and rewarding, I am certain.

Time Frame Check
All of the above (deciding to move, job offer, quitting) happend between June 13 and June 18. Pretty speedy. Which was fine, except the time poorly coincided with the timing of my friend Brendan's wedding. It's still a sore spot for me that I missed it.

Instead of attending the wedding over the weekend of the 21st, we decided to head back to Pittsburgh to look for an apartment. All of the FOR RENT signs indicated that the process would be quick and painless. Not so. After the Great Pittsburgh Property Reassessment of 2001, property owners have hiked up rents considerably to make up for higher taxes. When we left Pittsburgh in 2000, we were paying about $600 for a big ol' apartment in Shadyside--a very nice Pittsburgh city neighborhood, for the uninitiated. Rents now for a 2-bedroom start around $950. Some were renting for $1200. That's quite a hike. I told one guy that I was looking to keep my rent under $800, and he said, "You mean per person?"

Further complicating our search was that the majority of the properties weren't available until August or September. I blame the enormous student population for that. Dang college-goers. Git yer leanin' elsewhare. Like Penn State.

We did find one really nice place right on the busway (and I do mean RIGHT ON the busway--any closer and there would have been an EBA stop in our living room), but it was rented up from under our noses. Perhaps if we would have had the management rep who listened to voicemails and returned phone calls, the outcome would have been different.

Ol' Forty
But it was all for the best. For all the trouble we went through searching, calling, meeting, and viewing, we ended up with a really nice apartment. Not the first weekend in Pittsburgh. Oh, no. Not when we could go look together. Uhn-uhn. I went back on my own the following weekend, with a fistful of appointments. One place that looked promising--right next to my girlfriend Amanda's place--turned out to be a typical dumpy South Oakland apartment. If I have to live in a smelly, dirty hole, I shouldn't have to pay $750 a month for it.

I drove past three other properties I had appointments for the next day. The first one was on the spotty side of a spotty neighborhood, the second had a lovely view of a Parkway East entrance ramp, and the third was right on a particularly busy street with no back entrance. Prospects looked bleak.

On a whim I called the managment company I rented from years ago. The guy had a property for me to look at. He told me "I'm having dinner with my wife right around the corner from the apartment. Can you meet with me in 15 minutes?" You betcha.

I took one look at it and fell in love. Huge kitchen. 8 foot ceilings. Laundry. Two bedrooms, one bath, an office, and a living room: about twice the space than we're living in currently. It feels luxurious.

It does have one large drawback from the perspective of furniture movers (my friends and families). There are 40 steps from the sidewalk to the hallway. Forty rather steep and exhausting steps. But once we're moved in, MAN! What a fantastic place.

OK, the toilet and the kitchen sink need fixing but MAN! What a super apartment.

Well, the neighbor's dogs are pretty damn barky...but MAN!

Independence Day
That brings us pretty much up to speed. After I signed the lease and did some cleaning, I headed back to Cleveland to join Rick at his going away bash, thrown by the good folks at Great Lakes Brewing Company. We had pizza and much beer. Slept in, packed up both cars and came into Pittsburgh today--needed to drop off the Jetta. Heading back tomorrow for one more full day of packing, because on FRIDAY, we're going to a kick-ass 4th party on Lake Erie. Food, beer, inflatable rafts. It's all good.

SATURDAY, we pick up the truck, pack it up, and head back to the 'Burgh. If you're in town, we could use all the help we can get. And yes, I know it sucks hauling air conditioners and queen-sized mattresses up 40 steps, so we will be providing pizza and/or cold cuts and beer to all volunteers. Hope to see you there.

Address and phone numbers will be emailed shortly.

I'm pooped. Good night, All.

No comments: