Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Epic DC Housing Story

It's been a while, so I don't know if anyone even reads this anymore, but, just in that case and the case you were wondering about our summer in DC, this post will hopefully answer all of your questions.

To begin, I must admit that we learned the very hard way to never, EVER rent a place before seeing it with your own eyes first. Not pictures, not promises of this or that, you must stand in the midst of the place and see it as it will be when you inhabit it. Maybe this sounds like common sense to you, but this bit of sense was not a natural thing for the Magees before this summer. First, there was place #1. We found it some time ago on Craig's List (mistake #1) and it sounded great. A five bedroom house in Alexandria, of which we would be renting a room and references that described the owner of the house a wonderful, fun, Christian man. Well, we never even met him. Brian arrived at about 8 o'clock on the night before he was to begin work to find no one home, but the door wide open. Upon entering, he was met with a scene that he cannot yet talk about without wincing. The whole house was covered with trash and there were animal cages everywhere-even on the kitchen counter! He said that it smelled like a bad vet's office and that his first thought was, "Kelli cannot live here." So he left and called me in a state just a little less than panic. He stayed at a hotel that night and we called everyone that we knew who might know anyone in DC or the surrounding area.

Fortunately, a friend of a friend lives in a house in Pentagon City with a bunch of guys and they graciously let Brian live there for several weeks while we sorted things out. He said it was a little like living in a fraternity house, but the guys were really great to live with and they charged him nothing in rent. Then, miracle of miracles, after a late night internet search, I found a one bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill in our price range that said it was ready to move in. This was just in time, because I was about to come up for the summer at this point and didn't really want to live with a bunch of guys. So, Brian signed a lease within a couple of days and was supposed to move in the day before I arrived. Well, come that day, the apartment wasn't ready. It was being renovated and would need a couple more days. Well, I came, and what was a couple of days turned into three weeks. I will not even go into the incompetencies of the liar that was the renovator. Meanwhile, we lived in house in Woodley Park that our landlord also owns with about eight other random people. The house was really nice and we loved the area we were in, so it wasn't all that bad.

Finally, July came and we were able to move into our apartment. On the day we did, however, it was so dirty that I had to go out a buy $60 worth of cleaning supplies and scrub the place for a day. Basically the guy "renovated" the apartment and didn't clean a bit of his mess up. Dust and nails were everywhere, not to mention the garbage disposal in the kitchen sink wasn't even hooked up yet. (To date it's still not.) In addition it was "furnished" with the most random things possible. A table and 3 chairs, none of which go together, a stereo that doesn't work, a tv and 3 remotes, none of which actually go with the tv, and a mouse pad and plastic cup in the way of decorations. In the midst of all this weirdness, the bathroom is entirely tiled in marble. I have no idea. So, we have made it as much of a home as possible and have really had a good time, although we are REALLY looking forward to going home to our apartment. It will undoubtedly feel like a palace.

I will end the saga with an event that took place two Saturdays ago. After a day of site-seeing with my brother and sister who were in town for the week, we stepped through the doorway to find that the ceiling right inside the door had fallen in. Yep. Not the whole ceiling, but a good 3x4 foot section of it. We cleaned up the mess, called the landlord, and patched up the hole with a garbage bag. Eleven days and counting, there's still been nothing done about it.