The Epic Adventures of Me: The Search for a Dwelling

When I first arrived at the beginning of my new life, I was in for more of an adventure than I ever thought possible. Of course I neglected to plan the most important thing involved in moving to a new city: Securing a living space.

It was the beginning of August in Minneapolis. Everyone and their brother was visiting the Mall of America or checking out the art fair at Loring Park. Or maybe even the state fair. So there were very few available rooms that I could afford. I was waiting on my last check from my previous employer, and I didn’t start my new job for a couple of days yet. So I had very little money in my bank account. Luckily I had some of those fancy hotel reward points left over from the few months I spent in Milwaukee, which I was able to use to get a free room.

After this free night ended, I had the task of finding a hotel that would allow me to stay for an extended period time without paying right away. Eventually I stumbled upon a hotel. It was beautiful really. A thing of luxury. And after I got my head out of the clouds, I proceeded next door to the Days Inn.

This stay lasted for about a month. All the while I was looking at apartment after apartment. The first place I went to seemed too good to be true. It was affordable (for the area), the pictures showed flawless carpeting, amazing windows with spectacular views, and many amenities were included. Parking garage? Convenient! Laundry facilities? Stellar! A pool and workout room! Wow, sign me up!

I get to the leasing office and meet with the agent. We discuss what I am looking for, my price range, etc. This particular company had 7 buildings in a sort of little village. He mentioned that the studio apartment I had originally called about was no longer available, but that was ok because there were 7 buildings. Surely they would have something suitable.

WRONG. Not only were the pictures online that of the most expensive penthouses (of course), but the leasing agent kept trying to show me units that were well over my price range. Two and three bedrooms. All I wanted was an affordable studio or one bedroom! He showed me ONE unit that was in my price range. I was surprised that it was even an option. Honestly it looked as if the previous tenant had placed catnip underneath the carpet and let their cat go nuts. It also looked like this cat ate a lot of spaghetti.

The next place I looked at was in a great location. Right by Loring Park downtown. Within walking distance of everything I could ever need. There wasn’t a guaranteed parking spot, but I figured there had to be other options. So I went to look since this was was a pretty affordable place, and so close to everything.

After searching for a place to park for a half hour, I met the landlord and we walked up to the top floor of this beautiful old brownstone. The apartment was.. shockingly tiny. The entire floorplan (bedroom, kitchen, living room, and bathroom) was about the size of just my bedroom at my parent’s house.
Back home, a place like this would have gone for about $300. Here, it was $800. The wood floors were scuffed and scratched. The only window in the place had a wonderful view of a brick wall. There was no laundry or parking included. I was pretty sure my couch wouldn’t even fit through the door. And if by some miracle I got that couch up the stairs and into the apartment, it would have taken up a majority of the living room.

I spent the next couple of weeks slowly losing hope as I continued to cross possibilities off of my list. One shitty place after another. At one point I started looking at apartments that I knew were way too much. Simply because I could. I wanted to see why on earth these people thought it was ok to charge more for rent than what my car was worth! One place in particular really stuck out to me. It was a breathtaking studio. Brand new. Again, the whole unit was about the size of my room at my parent’s house. The one outside wall was almost all window. The view wasn’t anything special, but the apartment definitely was. There was every imaginable amenity, and everything was meticulously taken care of. But the catch? Parking was $130 a month! On top of the $1150 they charged for rent. Sure, sign me up! Let me just go ahead and sell my vital organs online. That should be enough right?

After searching and searching for what seemed like forever, I finally found the one. It was the best apartment I had looked at. The most amazing view one could hope for, all recently remodeled. Free laundry AND free parking. You can’t find just one of those perks anywhere in this city, much less both of them at the same place. I HAD to look at this place!

I responded to the Craigslist posting expressing my interest and made an appointment to look at the place. When I walked in, I knew it was going to be mine. It had to be. There was no other way that this was going to go. And I would make sure of it.

For those of you who don’t know me, when I decide that I want something, I get it. Not because I am lucky (though I’m sure that plays a part), but because I am fucking stubborn. And I will go to whatever lengths I have to, to obtain said desire.

Which is exactly what I did. I jumped through hoops that I shouldn’t have been able to even climb through. I scaled mountains that I never should have even known existed. I was unstoppable!

Now, I know what you are thinking, “How hard can it really be to get an apartment?” First of all, shut up! Maybe for YOU it wouldn’t be hard. But for me, it wasn’t exactly a cake walk. I had to somehow prove that I could come up with two grand to move in (not to mention the thousand dollars a month after that). With a job that I had barely even begun to understand. With what could very well be a record for lowest credit score possible. And with a past rental history that was less than perfect. To say the least.

Fortunately, my landlord took a chance on me and I now spend my nights sipping Mountain Dew from a wine glass (don’t judge), relaxing on my big ass couch, and enjoying the view.

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The Epic Adventures of Me – Pre-Awesome

Maybe my life isn’t all that epic. So maybe some of this story is slightly embellished? I guess you will never know. <insert creepy winky face here>

I can at least promise that most of what I write here will be mostly truth.

 

I grew up in your typical shitty small ish town. The kind that everybody hates, but no one ever leaves. Mine was known for two things. Both bad. One was a devastating tornado that destroyed a significant amount of homes and businesses. The other, was the overabundance of meth labs in the area. But there were good things too! The best burger joint to ever grace those dirty streets, or any street for that matter. And a lot of bars. Not great bars, but they had alcohol.

 

In May of 2013, I was sitting in my car smoking a cigarette like I did every day at lunch time. Considering what would happen if I were to just drive away and never show my face in that eyesore of a building again. Whatever would happen, it had to be better than putting that headset back on and making another phone call. I was counting the minutes. Every one of them quicker than the last. It was 11:23 when I decided that I just couldn’t continue to be this person anymore. I didn’t make enough money, I was too dependent, and I wasn’t doing anything worthwhile. I felt like my life was a big joke. Nothing like I pictured when I was younger. I always said that I would grow up to live in a big city and be fabulous. So rather than talk the talk, I decided I was finally going to walk the walk.  

 

I started by applying for jobs everywhere in the country. Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania. No matter where in the country it was, if I thought I had a chance of getting the job, I applied. And then I waited. And waited. It was agonizing! I am a very impulsive person, so I wanted this all to happen yesterday. But this was taking forever! Ok.. maybe I’m being a little dramatic. It was only about a week before I got a call. And wouldn’t you know it, it was the very job that I wanted most! It was in a city that was close enough for weekend vacations back home and it was far enough away that I could avoid going back. Perfect!

 

The position I was called about was an inside sales position at smaller company. I had experience for certain aspects of the position, while I had about zero experience in sales. But hey, how hard could it be? I explained to the woman from Human Resources that I had full confidence that I could do this job, however inexperienced I may be. She apparently liked what I had to say and I had good feelings about our entire conversation.

 

Let’s call this woman “Mary”. Mary called me back the next day to set up a second interview. This time it would be with the Sales Manager and the Marketing Manager and it would still be over the phone. I was feeling bulletproof beforehand. “I got this!” I said to myself.

 

I was wrong. So so wrong. I stumbled my way through. I pulled a lot of what I said straight out of my ass. But, it worked. I couldn’t believe it when they called me back again to set up a third, in-person interview. I was on cloud nine. Up until I pulled into the parking lot of this company that I knew nothing about. I hadn’t prepared myself, which isn’t exactly surprising if you know me at all. My heart started pounding so hard I could barely hear myself think. My hands were shaking, and I was about to freak out. Interviews are terrifying!

 

I had already gotten my hopes up about this whole situation. So I decided that I had no choice. My hopes and dreams were riding on this interview, so I had to wow them. I had to walk in there and own the room. I had to be amazing.

 

Which is exactly what I didn’t do. I was sitting in a room with the same three people I had done interviews with previously. In my mind, I was comparing their real appearance to what I had pictured from their voices. The sales manager was terrifying. I imagined him to be your typical corporate suit. In reality, he was closer to a slightly more professional version of the average Joe.  But his stare and general demeanor were more intimidating than anyone I had ever met! This man was going to be my boss?! The thought of it made me want to run out of there crying. Let’s call this man “Tom”.

 

Tom was an engineer. Which should say a lot. He was a very technical person, and would pick things apart until there was nothing left. He had the attitude of someone in charge, someone you don’t want to mess with. And sometimes, even when he wasn’t, he came across as a very angry person. But I straightened up, looked him in the eye, and told him what he wanted to hear.

 

Then Tom tossed his pen at me and said “Sell this pen to me. Make me want to buy it.” My hands started sweating, my voice broke a little. I didn’t know what the hell to say! Which made me feel like the world’s biggest idiot. Who goes to a sales interview and is shocked when asked to “sell” something to the interviewer? Me.. apparently.

 

The only thing I remember from this was that I butchered that sale. I’m pretty sure that anyone listening to me would have gone out of their way to not buy that pen. But as people tend to do with extreme pain, I blocked that part out.

 

I walked out of there knowing that the job was not mine. I spent the next week in a weird, depressed, pessimistic yet optimistic mood. I would go back and forth between telling myself, “You suck at life. You are going to be unhappy forever” and, “It’s ok, there will be more opportunities. Better ones even!”


But to my utter and complete surprise, they called me back again and offered me the job. It came with my own office, a full benefits package, and better pay than I could have hoped for anywhere else. In an instant, I went from being an expendable, non-human call center drone, to a valued human being. So, on August 2nd, 2013, I packed up my car and hit the road to begin my new life in a place with no familiar faces.