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Author Archives: Jeff Platt

Guido Life: AZ Shore Style


Transition Complete: The Final Outcome of Moving from an Apartment to a House

I was going to make this post about all of the differences in my life as they pertain to living in the apartment and the house. However, when I sat down to write it I realized that I really can’t remember life in the apartment, it’s just to fuzzy to take away any detail.

Is this even possible? Can the mind really replace 19 years of the life someone is accustomed to with 3 months of the polar opposite?

I suppose it seems this way because my entire life has taken a 180 degree turn over the past year or two, and my living situation was just the last to change which triggered my reset button.

All of this considered, this post will consist of all of the general changes I have noticed in myself since moving into the house that I would assume everyone making this transition goes through.

So here it is, the list of home self-improvements:

  1. All of the Billy Mays Products became so much cooler. (I think that’s deserving of #1)
  2. There is now more than one community in my mind. (The household, the neighborhood, and the general area.)
  3. I no longer have a clue of how loud I am being. (Mainly because I don’t have my mother to yell at me for it.)
  4. Drving has become leisurely fun-time rather than headache inducing frustration. (At $3.25 a gallon, why not?)
  5. Traffic is a surpirse. (Parking lot on the 202? I hope I can get the early bird special!)
  6. Presentablilty of my living space became a priority. (There must be less tornados in Arizona.)
  7. Buying stuff just for the sake of filling up the room. (If you don’t plan on spending 7 months worth of rent on this, you are smarter than I.)
  8. Mostly I learned how to do all of the everyday household chores that are on this blog.

These are only the major changes in my everyday that I felt were worth mentioning. However, they make you realize how dramatically this transition can affect you. These aren’t tin personal changes, but rather substansial changes in major character traits.

Keeping this in mind, if you are going through this transition, here are some general tips that might help you ease into these rather dramatic life changes:

  1. Maid/Housekeeper: If you can afford one, get one. Even if its only 1 day a week at $8/hour it makes a huge difference.
  2. Cable: Don’t get it. You can watch everything you need through streaming, and that doesn’t cost $50 a month.
  3. Stock your fridge, then keep it stocked. Don’t put yourself in the position where you are grocery shopping because you need to.
  4. House Phones: Don’t get them. If you don’t have a cell phone I feel bad for you, and if you’re home enough for some one to call you there, I feel even worse. No one needs two phone bills.
  5. Dishes: Put them in the sink. You can wait a little while until you wash them but at least put them in the sink.
  6. Rent: Pay it! On time if possible.
  7. Eviction: Don’t have it happen to you. It’s bad.

There it is, plain and simple. It’s been a trip living in this house. Sometimes I get the feeling that I am on vacation just by sitting on the couch. I guess that is one of the perks.

This is all I can say on the topic, well that and the previous posts. Saying that, I know say goodbye to you as this will be my last post in this blog. Still I encourage you keep the blog alive by starting your own conversations and continuing to talk about every nook and cranny you may find. So with that, farewell.

Smokers: The Only Quitters That Win

Parking: Satan’s Favorite Game Show

Back in Brooklyn my most common source of frustration was getting home to be reminded that I had to search for a parking spot for 20 minutes before I could head upstairs.

So how is it now that I have a guaranteed spot in my driveway I still get frustrated every time I get home and go to park my car?

The quick explanation is that I don’t live alone.

Not one, not two, but three cars in my driveway.

It never really made sense to me back in Brooklyn why people loved parking in the same spot everyday, mainly because my Dad’s car stayed in our one garage spot, but now I get it. There is just something mentally satisfying about leaving your car in the same place every time.

I even noticed this when I go to work and I see somebody parked in “my spot”. No my name isn’t on it, no it isn’t reserved for me, and no I don’t pay for it. But it’s where I like to park and I park there everyday that someone doesn’t steal it from me. But then again who wouldn’t try to steal the best spot? One of my co-workers probably went on this same rant when I started parking there.

At this point I have come to terms with “my spot” at work, but my spot at home is a completely different matter. Notice there are no quotations around my spot when it is at my house.

I always parked in spot on the far left of the driveway because it is right next to our tree and I like having a little bit of shade, that and it’s a nice tree.

Then one day John decides that he’s going to start parking there with his car that hasn’t left the driveway to go anywhere besides the mechanic in 2 months.

John's car (left) in my spot.

I know that this might all seem like a crazy rant but it does apply to the transition from apartment to house.

Back in Brooklyn I was competing against my entire neighborhood for a parking spot, granted even in those days I had “my spot” but the term was used much more loosely. In those days my parking routine was:

  1. Go to “My Spot” and see if it was available. (9 out of 10 times it wasn’t)
  2. Circle the block twice while repeatedly getting fooled by the same “not spots”. (ie. fire-hydrants, driveways, alternate side, ect.)
  3. Get mad that such a thing as “alternate side parking” exists. For those of you who haven’t experienced the devils gift to NYC, alternate side parking is when you can’t park your car on a certain side of the street one day a week for a two hour period so that the street sweeper can clean. (Trying to clean NYC is hopeless, let’s just throw the trash in Jersey.)
  4. Finally find a spot 2 blocks away and walk home. (2 blocks is far for city slickers.)

    The streets of Tempe with plenty of parking available.

Needless to say my routine is much different here:

  1. Pull up to my house.
  2. Pull into my driveway. (even if it isn’t on my side)
  3. Walk 10 feet and go through the front door.

Now honestly I can live without circling the block and alternate side parking. But still I’m not sure where parking is more frustrating, in the city or in the suburb. It almost seems that having to park 10 feet to the right is more annoying than searching for a spot.

Honestly I can’t tell, so I am going to need your help. I need you to tell me what you think about this so that I can decide whether or not I should start yelling at John or not.

There’s my House. Where’s my Home?

Turning a house into a home means something different to everyone.

Some examples are:

  • Home is where your rump rests.
  • Home is where your heart is.
  • Home is somewhere over the rainbow.
  • There’s no place like home.

Personally I could do without all of the clichés that people have contrived to determine what a home is. It just all seems rather unneccessary to tell people what they should think home is, where it is, or how they get there.

As I have mentioned before, this is the first house I have ever lived in. At first I had a hard time distinguishing a house from a home as I had never needed to know the difference before. Also for those of you who don’t know, I am a part of the Jewish faith. (I’m sorry if I misled any of you.)

The hebrew letter shin on the face to the mezuzah.

For me my house became a home last week when Rabbi Schmuel from Chabad at ASU came to my house to perform the Jewish ceremony of placing a mezuzah on the front and back door of the house.

A mezuzah on the front door.

Schmuel said, “When we place the Mezuzah on the house it becomes a Jewish home. Now every time you enter and leave your home you will remember that this is where you belong and this is where your faith lays.”

It was at that moment that my house became a Jewish home.

After the ceremony I took some time to reflect on what Schmuel had said to me. I realized that all of the clichés can’t describe home because home has no clichéd qualities.

From what I have learned in the transition of apartment to house to home, home is;

  • Where you feel you belong.
  • Where you pay rent.
  • Where your mail goes.
  • Where your faith lays.
  • Where you sleep.
  • And most importantly, where you control the thermostat.

Me touching the mezuzah as I leave the house for good luck.

These are the qualities that describe home. Or at least this is home for me, and my perception of home. Tell me, what you think home is? Where is it? How do you describe it? And should John stop touching my thermostat? What do you think?

Noise Complacency? I’ll Just Turn it Up!

“Turn that music down!”

It seems like yesterday that I was being yelled at by my multiple apartment neighbors to lower the music that was blaring from my dad’s apartment back in Brooklyn. That was four years ago, and since that point I have always been concerned with the volume of my music, tv, ect.

Oh how times have changed.

Now that the average separation between me and my closest neighbors is 60 feet and not a 12 inch thick wall, I could really care less about my volume.

Four speakers line one wall of my bedroom.

This is a topic that needed to be discussed this week rather than another household how to. I could be wrong but I feel that every person who has moved from an apartment to a house has gone through this change.

Lets be honest, once the only people who can hear you are the ones that live with you, your first thought is, “screw their ears.”

Although your roommates may not share your sentiments, that is not your problem. I almost see the right to buy a 6 speaker surround sound system just for your bedroom to play your music as loud as you want is a reward for paying your dues in an apartment.

Marcus's entertainment set, which can blow mine out of the water, stands proudly in the living room.

This carries us into the conversation of how the confinement of an apartment can change somebody’s personality. for myself it made me a lot less needy and in some senses, a minimalist. I think that in the end it is for the best mainly because most people in my generation will need to make the opposite transition and need too much for their space.

I’ll never forget the day I moved to Arizona, I only had one suitcase, and my wardrobe didn’t grow much from there for a while.

That is the story of someone who moved from an apartment. It seems much more compelling than the contrasting view.

Adam said, “I know this is a good-sized room but I just have too much stuff. I mean why should I have the room with a bathroom if I can’t even get the door to close.”

I am in no means calling Adam spoiled, but this shows how different people who grow up in houses think about their possessions as opposed to those who were raised in apartments.

I don’t want to continue on this roll because I can go for days. However I would like all of you to pick it up where I left off. Tell me:

  • Do you blast your music?
  • Do you care about your neighbors?
  • Do you let your roommates sleep?

If you can answer those questions and start this conversation I would be more than happy to join in.

Lazy Grass Won’t Grow on its Own

Today we are leaving the safety and comfort of the house, and going out to the backyard. I have been waiting a long time to do this, mainly because I have absolutely no clue of what to do out there.

This is the first backyard I have ever had in my life. That is of course if you don’t count the parking lot behind my old apartment building in Brooklyn. The biggest disappointment of this is that there is no grass in my backyard.

Plant food and a stick, the only tools you need.

In my dreams leading up to living in this house backyards were a place with grass and plants and space to run. I guess that this is because of my grandmother’s old house in Long Island.

My backyard is my own little piece of desert, not the green patch that I’m so desperately yearning for, but in the end it is still an improvement.

My own little patch of desert.

Anyway, enough of my complaining, these are the key things I have learned about the backyard so far:

1. Grass doesn’t grow on its own, you need to plant seeds. (I know that this sounds idiotic on my part but in NYC there are so few places with an abundance of grass that it just looks like it was meant to be there. Honestly I always just assumed that they built the parks around the grass and no the other way around.)

If you plant them, they will grow.

2. Water hoses are not your friend when they are pointing at you. (No one ever realizes how much punch a garden hose can pack when its being held point-blank.)

This is how the hose gets water. After 7 tries eventually you'll get it.

3. You shouldn’t put your grill under the shade cover or else it might potentially light it on fire. (Don’t ask. I promise that one wasn’t my fault.)

4. For those of you who cut your own hair, wind isn’t constant. Assuming that the wind will blow away your trimmings doesn’t work as well as you think.

I know that some of these are obvious, but to someone who has never had to worry about them before they are an overwhelming concern. That or I am completely wrong and you need to tell me if I am.

That’s it for this week, I still need to get more adept to this outdoor side of house living before I start giving advice. Actually maybe some of you should give me advice if you know better. Until next time keep wandering your homes and when that little voice in the back of your head says that something is a bad idea, it probably is.