Apartment Living – Competitive Parking

Life in a moderate density apartment complex is fun, and I mean that in the most positive way. The property management team does try to be fair, particularly around “parking“.

Each unit has one assigned space. There is a “permit” (a mirror hangar) that looks impossible to counterfeit. And even if you could, the spaces are assigned, so each permit is numbered. We have one.

Of course, most units have people living with more than one vehicle in them, so the quandary is where to park.

There is no formal guest parking. No open slots in the lots to fight over. Cool, I guess. So it is on the street.

Sidebar: Clearly the people in San Jose never fucking learnt to parallel park, or they just suck at it. Or both.

During the day, it usually isn’t too bad, there are enough openings to get a decent spot. Starting around 6:00PM, it becomes brutal. Not enough linear feet + people who can’t park to save their lives = chaos. Some people leave acres of room before and after their car, and some insist upon jamming in close up. There are typically about 7 – 9 car spaces wasted by morons parking.

After 10:00PM, you are definitely going to have to go well int o the neighborhoods to find free space.

It doesn’t help that across the street are a series of duplexes virtually all with three garage spaces (split, 2 for one “master” unit, and 1 for the “rental”) that have been converted to additional rentals. That means that the small yards they have are now parking, and a lot of overflow into the street. Sigh.

Street cleaning day is the 1st Friday of the month, and it does mostly empty the streets. For a few hours anyways. Then the chaos returns.

The Office has a few reserved spots, and  there are 5 employee parking spots in the main lot. Of course, when the office is open, the residents do honor these reserved spots.  Until the office manager leaves, then BAM they are all filled. Strangely, the employee spots don’t get used (my theory is that we do have an on-premise maintenance person, and he is likely to call the towing company.)

There is hope though. There are a number of “extra” spaces that can be “rented” for $35 a month. Alas, they are all taken, and we are on the waiting list for one of them when it frees up, and our turn rolls around.

Apartment Living – The Exodus

While we have been here only a month, we have noticed an exodus of tenants. The residents are moving out in droves, hence the overflowing trash with household goods. I had wondered why there were so many people moving out, but hadn’t put much thought into it.

A part of the puzzle fell into place when about a week before rent was due, there was a knock on the door. A letter from the management that stated no longer will tenants be allowed to pay partial rent, and to make up the rest during the month. By itself, this had me scratching my head. Rent was due on the 1st, and we pay on the first, budgeting accordingly.

It never dawned on me that this wasn’t the practice in general.

Last week, my wife saw someone leaving (moving out), and asked why and where they will go? Apparently it isn’t dissatisfaction with the property or the apartment, but the change in the allowance for partial rent submission. Additionally, there have been significant rent increases in the recent past.

There is little doubt that we have many residents who are less fortunate, and struggle to make ends meet. Heck, you see that even in well kept single family home neighborhoods. But you have to live somewhere (unless you want to fall back to urban camping on Guadalupe Creek), and this isn’t too bad of a place to live. Rent for the area is pretty reasonable (and for us, the fact that they welcome our dogs is the winning factor).

Continue reading →

Apartment Living – Living with less space

Having the shock of going from ~2,400 sqft to < 1,200 sqft is enough. While we never filled out last house, we had collected a lot of “stuff“. But there are things we have lost that hurt. Today, I will talk about kitchen space

Both our houses in Arizona had ample counter space. In Tucson, they were fine Corien counter tops, with ample space for gadgets. But I didn’t need to keep the gadgets out, as we had massive amounts of cabinet space.

Chandler was similar. Lots of places to tuck and hide things to keep the counters clean, and presentable.

Add to that the large pantries, and life was good. You could stock up in a trip to Costco, or even goof and double up on things like condiments, or canned food. It didn’t matter, there was plenty of room.

Not so in Apartment land.

Continue reading →

Apartment Living – Maintenance

There is one benefit of leasing an apartment (or even a house) that I was looking forward to: Your landlord is responsible for all the routine maintenance. No longer if the plumbing springs a leak, or a drain clogs, or a hot water heater dies, do I need to call a repairman or roll up my sleeves and get it fixed. Woo hoo. Or is it?

Alas, there are downsides. We have had a couple of minor issues, and one major issue. The minor ones were simple things (a broken door knob, and some irrigation issues at our old temporary place, and a broken built in microwave).

I suspect that if there was something urgent, the maintenance team would be very responsive, but anything else will take some time.

After living here for less than 2 weeks, our Microwave broke. Just stopped working. Checked the breakers, checked the outlet, alas, it was dead. Sigh.

Called the office. The next day their maintenance man came and tried the same things I did. No luck.

Sidebar: He claimed that it was “Brand New” and that it was installed just before we moved in. Total bullshit, as the plastic facade has been scrubbed with something like a 3M green scrubbie… Nice try to guilt us.

They ordered a replacement (the brand is Hotpoint, not a typical brand), and it would take a week to arrive.


Friday it arrived, but it was too late for them to replace it. So it will be Monday between 9:00 and 11:00AM.

It sucks to not have a microwave.

If it was at my house, where I owned it, I would have gone to Lowe’s and bought a new microwave the next day, and replaced it myself.

Apartment Living – Communal Trash

The continuing saga of apartment living; today we will talk about the common trash area.

The complex has three parking lots, and in each parking lot has a common trash collection area. Three large trash bins, and one recycling bin. One would think that would be sufficient capacity. And they would be, if all was normal.

Fortunately, the pickup happens 3 times a week, so roughly every other day the trucks come.


Almost as soon as the the dumpsters are empty, the vultures move in. First to fill up is the recycling. Unfortunately the tenants here when they move, often jettison unwanted furniture and appliances. Straight into recycling. So by noon, the bin is full. Then they move to filling the trash dumpsters.

Alas, by late afternoon after the pickup, the trash bins look like the picture at the top of this post.

Then two things happen. First, there are some pros that come by to dump more. I see the same green older Chrysler minivan dump furniture and appliances. Overloaded to the max.

Second, the scavengers come. They pawl through the recycling looking for things with value (aluminum cans, metals for recycling, etc.) There are at least three different waves I see. Competitive recycling at its finest.

Then within 2 days, it all begins again.

I will say one thing, the maintenance staff of the apartment do a pretty efficient job of keeping it orderly, and as clean as possible. It is a daunting task.