Friday, April 04, 2003

Bringing Home the Friday Five

1. How many houses/apartments have you lived in throughout your life? Oh, geez, a lot. Let's see... I'm told we lived first in a trailer and then in an apartment when I was a small child, but I don't really remember either of them. The first place I remember living is a row house in Merchantville, NJ. Then, when I was between 3rd and 4th grade, we moved to a duplex in Pennsauken. Between 9th and 10th grade, when my Mom got married for the second time, we moved into a split level in Cherry Hill. Then I left for college, during which I lived in two different dorm rooms... I guess those count. Halfway through college, I moved off-campus and into the sprawling, ramshackle, psychotic-roommate-infested House of Insanity for a year. After that, my then-boyfriend and I moved into an adobe hovel where we lived for a year. After that we moved into a nice, new, far-too-small apartment for, gee, another year. Then his dad bought us a trailer, and we lived in that for a couple of years, I think. Then we split up, and I moved out and rented my own trailer. I lived there for a few years until my mother convinced me that if I was going to live in a trailer I should at least own the damn thing and talked me into buying the one I'm living in now (thanks to some helpful financing from the Bank of Mom). So, wow, how many is that? Thirteen, I think, unless I've miscounted somewhere. That means my lifetime average is something like a move every two and a half years (or, actually, a little bit less than that). Yeesh.

2. Which was your favorite and why? To be perfectly honest, I don't think any of them have exactly been idyllic places to live. Which is fine. I've always been more interested in having running water and a roof over my head than in living in a dream home. I kind of liked the Pennsauken house, I suppose, and the Cherry Hill one would have been fine if it weren't for the hideous decor, but they both had one major flaw: I had to share them with my family. And, dearly as I love them, sharing my living space with them was, um, not well-suited to my personality, let's put it that way. Oddly enough, in many ways, my favorite from that list -- and I'm stressing "favorite" here, as opposed to "objectively best" -- was the single dorm room I had my sophomore year in college. It was a pretty big room for just one person, it had a nice hardwood floor and, because I didn't have a roommate, I had two desks and two sets of bookshelves all for my own. I decorated the place with posters and clippings and such over pretty much every square inch of wall space, which was actually kind of cool, in a slightly visually overwhelming sort of way. The people living in the dorm with me were friendly fellow geeks who didn't generally party too hearty at inconvenient hours. And to top it all off, I was about thirty seconds from all my classes, which was convenient as hell. Having to share a bathroom with everybody else on the floor was a drag, though. And the fact that I was right next to the dorm's common room wasn't a whole lot of fun, either, considering that the wall between my bed and the communal TV wasn't nearly as thick as it should have been. Truth to tell, I probably couldn't stand to live in a place like that now, but at the time I thought it was terrific... probably because it was the first place I ever had all to myself.

3. Do you find moving house more exciting or stressful? Why? Stressful. Very, very stressful. For one thing, I've just got too damned much stuff, and moving it all is just a real pain in the ass. For another, there's always a zillion little annoying things you have to attend to any time you move. Did you get all the utilities hooked up? Have you filled out all the change-of-address forms? Do you need homeowner's or renter's insurance? Do you gotta buy furniture? Are you actually going to be home at whatever random time the cable guy finally decides to show up? I hate that kind of hassle.

4. What's more important, location or price? I'd say it's a tradeoff between the two. I mean, I don't want to live way out in the middle of the desert or something, but it'd hardly be worth having a house right across from work if it was going to bankrupt me, would it? I'm actually a bit farther out of town now than I'd really like, in fact, considering that I prefer to walk instead of drive much of the time, but the trailer park I'm in now is cheap enough to just about make up for it.

5. What features does your dream house have (pool, spa bath, big yard, etc.)? Oh, it would definitely have one of those giant bathtubs. Actually, the last place I lived did, but the water heater was so small that you couldn't fill it all the way up with hot water, so it was worse than useless. You know, heck, while I'm dreaming, let's make it a jacuzzi bath. Yeah, now we're talking! First and foremost, though, my dream house would have a library. A huge library, actually capable of holding all my books. After that, everything else is pretty much incidental.

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