Thursday, September 1


There are big changes happening fast for the Wells family these days. This week Eric was officially offered--and accepted--a full-time position as an academic counselor at UCLA. He's been working in this capacity on a part-time basis, but now he will be doing it full-time. Now that he will have a full-time job he will no longer be a full-time graduate student, so we need to move out of UCLA's family housing. The housing market in Los Angeles can be frustrating and intimidating, but a few hours of online research turned up a gold nugget--a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Redondo Beach.

Redondo Beach is Eric's hometown and is located about fifteen miles south of L.A. in an area known as the South Bay. Our key motivation to move out of West L.A. is to be closer to the Wells house, because that is where we take Liam for daycare. (His Auntie Heather watches him.) Attempting to make this arrangement work while living fifteen miles to the north in West L.A. has been nightmarish--fighting rush hour traffic for four hours a day (West L.A.-Redondo Beach-Malibu in the morning and Malibu-Redondo Beach-West L.A. in the evening) is no way to live. Moving to a place in Redondo Beach means we can give up this horrible daily traffic struggle, so finding an acceptable available apartment in the area is nothing less than manna from heaven.

There are a few other advantages to this place as well. It is in a building that only has three other apartments, where two other families and the property owner live. Given that the other tenants are young families, it seems like we would fit right in. The apartment is within walking distance of the beach, lets in lots of natural light, the carpets are new, the bedrooms are spacious compared with our current apartment, there are large closets, and the apartment comes with a small garage we can use as storage space. (Storage space is of paramount importance in apartment living, so this is was a big selling point with us.) The sacred triad of big city apartment hunting is accounted for: ideal location, rent within our budget, and plenty of storage space.

While the pros definitely outweigh the cons, there are cons. The building was built in the 1970's, and it looks like the appliances, cabinets, fixtures, etc. have not received much TLC since the Carter administration. The electric stove/oven is small and so is the dishwasher. The kitchen cabinet exteriors and interiors are scruffy-looking, and there is no refrigerator. The bathroom only has under-the-sink storage, the mirror looks aged, and so does the bathtub lining. There is also a large yellowed stain on the bathroom linoleum. These signs of age make for a rough-around-the-edges first impression, but they are not deal-breakers. First of all, we were told we could make improvements at our own expense if we so desire. Second, I think these factors will be less apparent once we move in and add our own homey touches (e.g. a rug on the bathroom floor). Third, more important factors like the location, cost of rent, and accompanying storage space completely trump such cosmetic concerns.

The more I contemplate the idea of living there, the more excited I am at the prospect. The availability of THIS apartment at THIS location at THIS time is a sweet, serendipitous circumstance that has been dropped in our laps, and I can take a hint. So, if the property owner will have us, we will happily yield to serendipity and make this apartment our new home. Stay tuned...

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