Sunday, January 23, 2011

Solo Living

For those of you who do not know, I recently moved.  This is nothing new:  I have now lived in four different apartments since I graduated from college in 2007.  4 places, 2 different roommates, 1 lost security deposit and endless boxes packed and unpacked later, I have my own place.

I have stewed with the idea of living alone several times before.  Each time it seemed either financially prohibitive or too lonely to tolerate.  And while everyone says that roommates come with a whole collection of problems, I had been lucky enough in the last 3.5 years to have lived with two different housemates (both males) with whom I got along famously.

Then I realized I was living 9 miles outside of "town" (town being the booming metropolis of Oneonta, NY, population approx. 11,000, not including college students) and driving into town at least once every day.  With a full-sized pickup truck (which I just HAD to have during my "all my friends drive big trucks and I want one too" phase), I figured I was spending between $6 and $9 a day on gas. 

Among a few other factors, this discovery spawned the search for an apartment.  My price range was quite limited, but I found a place in a building owned by a friend.  After my new landlord completed several minor repairs to the unit (including a bathroom sink that didn't drain and a leak in the ceiling), I painted the entire apartment.  Voila!  Home sweet home. 

I have been living in my apartment for about 8 weeks.  So many discoveries are made when you don't have to think about anyone but yourself.  For instance:

Garbage:  I have made exactly 3 full bags of trash since I moved in.  I am quite sure that Jeremiah and I (my last roommate) were disposing of about 1 bag of trash a week, sometimes more.  I haven't figured out exactly why I make significantly less waste, but I have been bragging about it to anyone who will listen.  Hey!  I'm going green!

Toilet Paper:  I have used about 3 rolls of TP since December 1st.  Don't worry, this doesn't mean I am neglecting my hygiene.  But it is interesting, since both of my former male roommates had suggested that I purchase the toilet paper because, as a female, I was obviously using more than them.  Ha!  Take that.  I'm going REALLY green.

Privacy:  My apartment is on the 3rd floor of a tall building.  In fact, the tallest building on the block.  When I look out any of my three dormer windows, I see the tops of other people's homes.  If I look down from my living room window, I can see what appears to be the next door neighbor's living room couch.  More often than not, the couch is occupied by a small gray kitten, so needless to say the view from up here isn't so bad.  I can also do anything I want in my apartment, with no chance of being seen.  Yesterday I baked 6 dozen cookies in my bra.  Talk about liberating. 

There are never dishes in the sink that I didn't use myself.  Every time I buy groceries, they're still in the fridge when I want to use them.  The perks are endless.  However, there are some downsides:

Cleaning:  I have never been particularly motivated when it comes to vacuuming.  I suspect this trait is genetic (sorry, Mom), but I never seem to think about vacuuming until I can actually SEE physical particles on the floor.  By this time the rugs are probably filthy with invisible dirt, but I so rarely have any guests in my apartment that it simply doesn't seem like a priority.  I also never put my boots or sneakers in the shoe rack where they belong.  You'd think this wouldn't be a problem, but that brings me to my next point...

Electricity:  My entire apartment is wired on one breaker.  13 outlets.  If I want to dry my hair, I need to be sure to turn off the television and most of the lights.  If I forget, pitch darkness ensues.  I woke up this morning at 6:00 a.m. to discover that my breaker had tripped in the night.  Curious, since I wasn't running any appliances or lights.  On my way out the door to the basement (tiny pen flashlight in hand), I tripped on 2 pairs of workboots and stubbed my toe on the door frame.  Ouch.

Now, if I can just figure out how to steal free cable to go with the neighbor's internet that I am illegally tapping into...


  1. I always thought my vacuuming aversion was because it was my 'chore' when I was a kid and we had this horrible heavy vacuum cleaner with a water reservoir. After vacuuming you had to go outside (no matter the weather) and empty the nasty, dirty, hair filled water tank. But maybe it's just genetics that causes me to put it off and put it off (usually until a friend with a small crawling child calls and says they are going to stop by for a visit).

    Also, isn't the dishes thing awesome? It's the #1 reason I don't think I could ever live with someone again.

  2. I'm a bad mother because I didn't even know this post was here until today!
    Katy--A Rainbow vacuum...sigh. I think the only people who buy them (at least, who buy them new; I'm pretty sure your family's was a yard sale item) are bachelors (the same ones who buy 40-pound boxes of assorted frozen meat from random guys in pick-up trucks with ordinary household freezers in the back, but I digress). Tony had bought a Rainbow shortly before we were married in 1989, and it took me (not for lack of trying) until 2010 to finally kill it. I don't remember using it being any of the kids' chores because it would have seemed like cruel and unusual punishment, but I suspect my own aversion to the damn thing has something to do with Cait's lack of a vacuuming gene.

  3. When I lived alone, I DID vacuum but at 2 a.m. when I was more of a night owl and had no neighbors. When you live alone, one cool/strange thing is that there's no reference of time. You don't know it's late because there's no one else in the house sleeping. "Meal time" is non-existent. I also produced little trash, and rarely had to purchase things like soap, sugar, tin foil, things we seem to run out of on a regular basis now. Let me warn you . . . once you live alone, you never get it out of your system. Even after 17 years of sharing a home, when I get the house to myself for 24 hrs, I am still giddy with the sense of being able to do whatever I want.