It's true. The apartment where we are living smells like gerbils . . . and cat urine. We affectionately refer to the upstairs office as The Gerbil Room. It's kind of like when you go to a fancy hotel and they have specially named rooms. Only, not really, because one doesn't really look forward to residing in a place referred to as The Gerbil Room.
Let's backtrack a bit, shall we, so that you can understand what would possess us to inhabit a place that smells like a mall pet store.
You may recall that Chad got a job in Raleigh that began at the start of December.
You may recall this left me in Kinston as a single parent four nights a week, while he stayed in Raleigh Monday through Thursday nights for said job.
You may remember that I was teaching for all of December and January.
Well, the story doesn't end there, folks. Let me pick up where we left off.
After the semester concluded at the end of January, I immediately brought Kaden to Raleigh and we spent a couple of days apartment hunting. I imagine apartment shopping can be fun if you have an unlimited budget and an adult companion searching with you. Unfortunately, a very limited budget and a rambunctious toddler were my accomplices on this journey.
Since we will be paying our mortgage AND rent until our house sells, my options were pretty limited when it came to apartments. I spent weeks before hand scouting out areas online, reading tenant reviews, and reading posts on Craigslist, trying to find something suitable for six months to a year of habitation. When Kaden and I set out for our hunt in the early morning hours, what looked like a bleak situation became a hellish one.
First of all, several of the places that had looked OK online, just didn't look as nice in person. In broad daylight. With scary people wandering around the parking lots. One place wouldn't even let me see the unit I would be living in until I signed a contract. Ummmmm, can I say RED FLAG?!
Secondly, several of the places that had seemed like a good deal online, actually tacked on numerous extra charges that weren't mentioned on their websites. For example, one dump was going to force us to pay for cable. The lady kept telling me, "cable is included with the apartment." And I kept wanting to say, "Lady, if you're charging me an extra $25 a month, that doesn't mean it's included." We haven't paid for cable our entire marriage. We had cable TV for free during the Provo years, but since then, we've been a rabbit-ears antenna household (with a little Hulu Plus and Netflix mixed in occasionally for good measure).
Finally, I had a toddler with me while discovering all of this information. I want to give credit where credit is due, and so, therefore, I've got to hand it to Kaden. He was as good as he possibly could be. But he is a toddler, and after a certain point enough was enough. He also pooped six times during our excursion. SIX. TIMES. He would always do his business at the most inopportune times, also. We'd just be pulling out in a golf cart with someone to go look at a unit, and I'd get a whiff of death. Plus, he HATES having his diaper changed right now. That made the diaper pit stops quite the adventure. If we hadn't had a portable DVD player with Cars, I don't know how he would have survived the car rides. We went all over the triangle area.
By the time late afternoon rolled around, we had to take a break, because Kaden was dying for a nap. We went back to Wake Forest where Chad was staying, I put Kaden in the pack-n-play, and then I hid on the stairs (you can't be in the same room as him if you want him to fall asleep), and I cried. Then, I prayed that I could find some place that was safe and decent for us to live for a few months. A few minutes later on Craigslist I found someone looking to sublease a townhouse in Cary from February through mid-July. I immediately emailed them.
When we went to see the place, I noticed a slight pet odor, but I figured, "Of course it smells like pets! Pets are living here! Nothing a little Febreeze can't fix!" And so, we signed a lease on a three bedroom townhouse in a perfect location for us, for only 10 more dollars a month than the two bedroom hovels at which I'd been previously looking. Plus, because it is a sublease we didn't have to pay a deposit.
Even with the lingering pet odor, I still think we made the right apartment decision. It is slowly getting better, with a lot of carpet powder, Febreeze, and Nature's Miracle Pet Urine Eliminator. I am just terrified that someone is going to come into our house, look around for pets, and assume we must urinate all over our floors when no kitty-cats are to be found.