Monday, February 6, 2012

Farewell to the Little Yellow House

For the first eight months of our marriage Laura and I have lived in a basement apartment in Provo just south of BYU. We loved our apartment. From the very first day (or night since we got in extremely late after a cross-country flight) it felt like home. We had all sorts of adventures in our place, like when we tried to cook our first meal and the contents of a very hot pan suddenly combusted. I think Laura wrote about that one. The moral of that story is to not leave a cast-iron skillet on the stove too long before adding ingredients. Come to think of it, there was one more incident involving that pan. I tried to cook a steak in it. The recipe said to leave the pan on the stove to heat up for something like five minutes. By the time I threw the steak on, the pan had become rocket hot and within about 13 seconds the entire apartment was filled with smoke. It wasn't just a little bit either. It was almost like a scene out of Back Draft. Now that I think about it, I don't think that I like that pan very much.

But this post is not about why you shouldn't use cast-iron cookware. Getting back to the story...We loved out our little apartment. Laura thought that it was perfect. I agreed with just one exception.

On our first night in our apartment we discovered something: we had no control over the heating and air conditioning. On that night the upstairs neighbours cranked up the a/c. It was downright cold downstairs. I got up, went to the thermostat, and turned down the temp. We waited. Nothing happened.

Apparently the thermostat in our apartment wasn't connected to anything. It was just there. It didn't really serve any purpose other that letting you know how hot or cold the apartment was.

During the next couple of months we endured many sweltering nights. You see, the next set of neighbours didn't ever turn the a/c on. Come winter time we found that they didn't like to turn the heat on much either. Once we got into November it started getting cold. How cold? Most afternoons (afternoons mind you) it was in the low to mid 50s. At night the heater would come on, but Laura and I had to sleep with every blanket we owned to stay warm enough.

This went on for a while. I happened to mention it at work (University Mall management). One of the security officers (all of them are off-duty cops) works for Orem City. He told me that I should get in touch with such-and-such a department and they might be able to help us out. In my mind I assumed that that meant we would get control over the heating system for our apartment. I shot off an e-mail to Provo City. Nothing happened. Enough time went by that I figured that we would not hear back at all. Then one day I got an e-mail from someone. It was just a short request for our address. Knowing now what the outcome of that was, I probably should have hesitated. But I didn't. I gave him my address. A few days later I get a call from that employee. He said that our house wasn't zoned for a basement apartment and unless the house owner could come up with some sort of documentation (what kind he didn't say) we would be forced to move.

This was not what I wanted to hear. Moving during the middle of a semester did not sound like fun to me. Moving period is not fun. He told me that he would call me in a few days when he had heard back from the house owner. Then he actually thanked me. Maybe he gets the bureaucratic equivalent of brownie points for every newly-wed-student couple that he gets kicked out of their apartments.

Well, since Laura and I are now living in new accommodations, you can probably guess what happened. On a Monday afternoon I got a call from the landlord. We had to move and we had 30 days to do it. The other thing that made this difficult is that I hadn't told Laura. I thought that until I knew if we had to move for sure I wouldn't worry her about it. But she handled it very well. She only got slightly furious/raging mad/run for your life she's lost it.

I know Laura is reading and raising one of her eyebrows at that last comment. Actually, she really wasn't mad at all. Good thing. I felt really bad. But regardless of whether I did or not, we had to start looking for a new place. The one that we liked the best was a two-bedroom apartment next to Sierra West Jewelers.

Most of last Friday was spent moving. I don't think that we had any idea how much stuff we've already accumulated in eight months of marriage. But thanks to a lot of help from my family (I'd like to acknowledge my parents, brother Blake, and sister Amber) and from Laura's (thanks Mike, Mark, and Jill!) we did it.

We're still faced with at least a week's worth of organizing to get the apartment into a decent shape, but we're at least moved in.

So, goodbye little yellow house with the blue door. It's been great and we'll miss you.