Our First Apartment

5 Jul


A few nights ago I called my mom in a panic.

There’s a lot of change happening right now, all at once. A wedding to plan. A move. A new city. A new job. A new apartment.

Apartment hunting in LA.

(My hands tremble just typing that.)

We had just found out that the apartment we wanted had gone to another person, Hunger Games style. I was so disappointed. I’m talking tears came to my eyes disappointed, anger in my soul disappointed.

I LOVED the area this apartment was in. It was two blocks from the beach. Bright. Across the street from yoga and ramen and the farmer’s market and the historic library and the church and the best breakfast place and.

You get it.

I had already compiled a list of dinner party guests we would invite over once we had settled into the place. After a pasta dinner and light, refreshing dessert we would take our guests on a walk to the beach.

I can’t believe you’re this close! they would say.

We’re so lucky, I would say.

I had the furniture picked out. I knew which yoga classes I was going to.

I was in. My whole heart was in.

The disappointment was overwhelming.

We’ll never live that close to the beach again, I told my mom. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the only apartment in the area we could even remotely afford, and it’s gone.

My mother, all credit to her, did not laugh at my dramatics. She simply said, Jill, it’s a long life. You don’t know where you’ll live in the future. You just need a place to start out.  

The place you start out isn’t supposed to be ideal. It’s supposed to be the stuff of family folklore. The weird first apartment. Not the rest of your life.

My parents’ first place infamously required them to fill the toilet bowl by hand after each use.

I don’t know what this means, exactly, but I do know that it sounds awful.

Another one of their early places was small enough that my mom could vacuum the entire home from one outlet.

Another was in a neighborhood where they woke up to find their turnips had been tagged with graffiti.

Or so the family folklore goes.

Later in the week, Rob and I signed on our first apartment together.

It has no overhead lighting (read: dark). It’s significantly further from the beach and the yoga and the ramen and the farmer’s market and the historic library and the church and the best breakfast place and.

You get it.

I do not love the neighborhood, for I am not one who values convenience over charm, practicality over theatricality.

There will be no post dinner party beach walks.

And yet, I remind myself the words of my mother

Jill, it’s a long life. You don’t know where you’ll live in the future.

You just need a place to start out.  


Here we are, starting out.

Bring on the family folklore.

Bookmark and Share

4 Responses to “Our First Apartment”

  1. Trish July 5, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    I had to leave a comment to say two things:

    My last apartment had no overhead lighting, which was very bleak at first in the New England winter–but I figured out lamps and got used to the difference and let me tell you, I loved that little place. I had blinds that I permanently left open (the kitchen & dining area & even the frosted bathroom window!) and I got so much more sunlight in that way and it was fine. Even better than fine.

    Second I just got married last summer and I thought I would avoid some of the “family folklore” aspect of our first place because we’re over 30 and bought a house and I DID NOT. (Me: “can you please stop getting schmutz in the drawers?!?” Him: “uhhh ….that’s not schmutz.” Two exterminators later …). But we survived and I truly have never laughed harder in my life than the time I saw him confronted with a live mouse stuck to a trap first thing one Sunday morning. It is definitely a long life full of chances and I have a feeling you will do an amazing job telling the stories of each one. Congratulations on your wedding and all those changes … it is such an intense and stressful time but I think (hope!) we’ll only remember it a happy time, because at the end of the day it really is.

    • jillianlorraine July 7, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

      Thank you so much for this comment! I’ve been thinking about it ever since you wrote it. It helps to hear other experiences.

  2. Angela Kaufman July 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

    Your mother is absolutely correct. You will,probably move lots before you settle down to one place.!
    I’m sorry you didn’t get the other place. Be happy. I’m sure you will make it charming!

  3. Kay July 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    Your mum is right but I do understand you. I’m sure the memories though, will be worth it!

Leave a Reply