Monday, April 18, 2011

Fingers Crossed!

The school is running late in getting housing offers out.  We don't have anything in writing, but they told us over the phone that they plan to offer us a three-bedroom apartment in the only building shown in the post below that has three bedrooms.  I am almost afraid to talk about it for fear I will jinx us and turn the news from good to bad.  So my fingers are tightly crossed, and I am just praying that the offer arrives in my email box today.

Meanwhile, the photos again, just with the one complex by itself and the three-bedroom sample floor plan only:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ah, The Anxiety!

Today is the day the graduate student housing office is supposed to be sending out offers on apartments.  That means today is the day I may or may not find out whether we have a place to live next year, and where.  I say "may or may not" because after I was informed that today is the day, I realized I am unsure whether these offers are being sent by snail mail or email.  Based on what I have read, I am fairly certain the offers are coming by email, but I don't know for certain, and if they are, why don't I have one yet?  It's almost noon! Does this mean I am not getting an offer?  They may not have an apartment available for us now, which means we will be in limbo for quite some time while they work themselves through the waiting list when people accept and don't accept the offers.

How long do I wait until I call?!

Can someone please figure out how to shut off my anxiety-induced push-the-refresh-button-every-ten-minutes-on-my-email-page behavior so I can focus on my work today?  Seriously! 

Twice I drafted an email to the graduate student housing office to inquire about whether the offers were coming by snail mail or email, and twice I deleted these draft emails for fear that if I sent them the person who has patiently dealt with me for months would finally lose it with my constant questions and decide not to offer me any place to live at all.  [Edited to add: I finally sent a quick email after writing this post.  I am just going bonkers waiting!]

I am losing my mind.  So in an effort to direct this nervous energy, let me share with you some more details. 

The housing application allowed us to request three places to live.  We started with the limited "family housing" apartments, of which there were basically two.  The first one looks something like this:

There is a very simple playground appropriate for younger children, in three sections, and there is a community room and kitchen in addition to a "Parenting Coordinator" (as well as a couple "Preschool Coordinators") who are supposed to facilitate community life.  There are outdoor grills and picnic tables.  And I understand the community is really lovely and diverse.

All the apartments have two bedrooms.  This is the sample apartment floor plan:

There are hardwood floors in the living room and bedrooms and linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom. The only overhead lighting is in the kitchen and bathroom, so it looks like lamps will be important.  There is some extra room for storage in the communal basement, and there is coin-operated laundry on site.  Heat, hot water, and wireless is included in the rent, but electricity is not included.  An "upgrade" to three bedrooms is not available because all units are two-bedrooms.

The next family housing apartment complex, which I hope I requested on my application (I am paranoid about all this stuff, I submitted my application at three in the morning, and my memory is failing), is:

There is a simple playground and there is a community room in addition to a "Residence Life Coordinator" and arts and craft programs for children and adults (as well as a "Preschool Coordinator") in order to facilitate community life.  There are outdoor grills, patios, and picnic tables throughout the complex. 

There are two and three-bedroom apartments available.  Here are their sample floor plans:

There are hardwood floors in the living room and bedrooms and linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom. I don't know what the lighting situation will be.  There is some extra room for storage in the communal basements of each building, and there is (coin-operated?) laundry on site.  Heat, hot water, and wireless is included in the rent, but electricity and gas (for the gas stove) is not included.  An "upgrade" to three bedrooms is available for just a little more than the rent of all two-bedrooms in all the complexes we requested.

The final option, which we consider our backup because it is the smallest and least family-friendly, is the housing that is on the exact campus where I will be.  It belongs to my particular graduate school.

There is a very small, simple outdoor play structure outside the apartments, but they do not often serve as family units, so we may be the only family in the entire complex.  I do not believe there is a community room, and I understand that the housing tends to attract "introverts" because it is not set up to provide a sense of community.  There are no grills, picnic tables, etc. with these apartments.  I think these apartments may also be the smallest.

The floor plan for this option is already posted here.  Just click the "where" tab above.  I also have some pictures of one of these apartments posted.  Just click the "tiny kitchens" link on the right side of this page and look for those pictures in the posts that pop up there.

There are furnished apartments available, which might be helpful if we decided we didn't want to move any furniture, but I didn't request one at this point.  The floors appear to be all lineoleum throughout these apartments, with basic carpets laid down like large rugs on top. I don't know what the lighting situation will be.  I also don't know if any storage space is available, but there is coin-operated laundry on site.  Heat, hot water, electricity, and internet (wireless?) is included in the rent.  No three-bedrooms exist in this complex.

All the complexes basically have the same cost, with the difference between them being mostly in what utilities are included and whether an "upgrade" to three bedrooms is available.  The first complex I show here is just $10 more than the others for a two-bedroom.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Note On Color

Everything I am reading seems to imply that we will be able to paint the walls in our apartment, whichever it is, as long as we end up on campus.

I must say, I am feeling very mixed.  There are so many ways to use color on walls in small spaces to bring them to the next level.  All the below photos come from Apartment Therapy.  I've credited all photos and linked to the original.  First, check out this baby titled: "Laura's Sophisticated Studio:"

However, I've noticed that a bright white works magic in expanding spaces and making them feel less cluttered.  Check out how welcoming and yet crisp everything looks in the space below. It's not my own style, but I can really appreciate the choices here including the value of the bright white walls (are those white/sheer curtains on the window, as well, or am I seeing things?).  In this apartment, which is named "Jordan's Light, Location, & Vibe," if you look in the far right corner of the living room you can actually see the fold-out dining room table I was looking at on the IKEA website:

And I also love some colors but wouldn't want to feel bathed in them, which I think is a bit of a risk in a small space.  In the below case, I feel uncomfortably bathed (just my own personal preference), but probably moreso than I would have felt with a less reflective oven.  This is called "Lindsay's Little and Luxurious:"

And then there are a lot of possibilities for making a place "pop" without necessarily painting a wall, or at least not a whole one.  The apartment below is the just the coolest teeny tiny apartment at 270 square feet.  Yes, if you check it out, you will find that it is cluttered (which I am hoping our place will not be) but at 270 square feet, if you are interesting and actually live in your space, what can you expect?  In many other ways, it is so my style.  This great space is called "Melissa's Maxed-Out Minimalism" for some unknown reason:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Form and Function!

So a friend of a friend has this amazing musical furnishings business.  Amazing!  You have got to see it:

The inspiring and motivating website is  On the surface, me sharing this here may seem a bit, well, odd. Most of the time on this blog I've been looking at space-conserving furniture, and of course loud furniture would be problematic with the thin walls of our little "dorm apartment."  (Besides, at this stage in my life I can't even come close to being able afford it anyway, as tempting as it is to justify, say, the Treasure Chest xylophone as something that could still be fit into a larger downsizing scheme.)

But I am posting this here anyway because it serves as a wonderful illustration of my basic take on furnishing our apartment.  I have so little space to spare that *any* piece I have should really be both functional and beautiful.  If it is not one or the other, it will diminsh rather than give the sense of "growing" the space.  At the rate we are moving, it may be a year or two into our downsized life before we get to that point, but that is the goal.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time Has Flown!

Okay, so it has been a while.  Life, especially at work, has kept me very busy, and now I am in crunch mode.  It's not looking great.  I think this is the point in the process during which it would be normal to freak out a little.  Here is the latest:

To-Do With the Old House
  • Pack: Started
  • Get rid of stuff not needed: Started (just took a big load to the thrift store this weekend)
  • Store any stuff to be kept for some later date: Started
  • Do necessary repairs or updates on the house: Started, but not much done yet
  • Paint areas of the house needing new paint
  • Clean the house from top to bottom: Started
  • Stage the house to get rid of it
  • Get out of the house to make it easier to get rid of: The family is on target with plans to move May sister is even flying out that weekend to help
  • Get rid of the house (Rent it out?  Sell it?): No luck with Craigslist or "For Rent" sign, so meeting with a rental agent tomorrow...will shift to sale strategy in late May

To-Do For the New Apartment
  • Decide on an apartment: Have generally narrowed down our options to on-campus housing
  • Rent the apartment:  Have put in student housing application
  • Set up utilities (including finally getting cell phones): Have been researching cell phones and cell phone plans
  • Design the apartment: Have been researching design for small apartments
  • Unpack
  • Buy any necessary items
  • Try to achieve the design (this will be divided into more bullets once it is clear what the design entails)

To-Do For the Move in General
  • Get jobs: Masasa has first interview this week
  • Figure out a good schooling situation for the kids: Have visited the majority of magnet schools, and we are keeping in touch with the schools since we didn't have a CT address in time for the lottery
  • Enroll the kids in school, if applicable: See above
  • Get bikes and a laptop
  • Teach the kids to ride bikes: As of baby girl's birthday, both kids now have a bike.  Hopefully baby boy will fit on his hand-me-down bike by late summer.
  • Get in shape so downsizing to one-car isn't too traumatic: Manina has started working out daily
  • Find new doctors, therapists, and all that stuff: Started research
  • Do all the change-of-address stuff