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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.

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?

My Dishwasher Doesn’t Have a First Name?

Triumph! As promised I have learned how to use the dishwasher and am ready to share the secrets to defeating that monster.

If you follow these easy yet somewhat inconvenient steps you will have clean dishes in no time:

Step 1 – Take the clean dishes that are in the dishwasher and put them away. If you don’t you will have no room to put the dirty dishes.

Step 2 – Take the dirty dishes and wash them by hand. I know this sounds completely outrageous because if you wash the dishes, why do need the dish washer? The answer is only minimally wash them to reduce grease build up, a heavy rinse should suffice.

Step 3 – Put the rinsed dishes and load them into the dishwasher. Put plates, pans and silverware on the bottom tray, while putting pots, bowls, and cups on the top tray.

Step 4 – The the washer detergent type thing into the compartment on the inside of the door and close the compartment. (Sorry I don’t know what the actual name is.)

Step 5 – This is by far the most important step, CLOSE THE MACHINE DOOR. If you don’t you and your floor will be very unhappy.

Step 6 – Push the buttons on the door that say “pots and pans”, “big load”, “extra dry”, and “start wash”.

Step 7 – Repeat steps 1 through 6 when the sink gets full again.

That is the full proof way to conquer the dishwasher. Also if you would like visual aide, they are located at the top of the page  in “Household Comics”.

While Marcus was teaching me how to do all of this Adam said, “Let’s just push all the buttons and see what happens.”

Sadly this is actually a good idea. I know this because me and Adam tried it one time while Marcus wasn’t home and the dishes came out spotless.

Remember I was also the guy who couldn’t properly put out the recycling (Which I did correctly this week!) so don’t exactly take my word on that last bit of advice.

Now as the house continues to be explored I am continuously finding new things that I do not recognize and I will post about them. However, in order for this to be a forum I need to post what you want to read about.

That being said, if there is anything I have yet to discuss that you would like to hear an apartment dwellers perception of please post it in a comment.

And as all ways keep wandering through that maze, just don’t touch anything that looks like it could cause you harm (ie. can opener).

To Infinity and the Bedroom

Just a heads up to everyone before you start reading this, the dishwasher will not be discussed in this post. The main reason being that I have yet to figure out its mysterious ways.

However, due to this weekends events I have been reminded of the biggest transition of going from an apartment to a house, the space. I ended up in a room this weekend about the same size as my old bed room in Brooklyn, 6 feet by 9 feet, and that’s when it came to mind that this had to be posted.

When you live in an apartment, especially one with only two bedrooms and six people, the little amount of walking space you have seems tremendous. It’s almost as though that Manhattan thought of “build up” gets ingrained into your brain when you design any room.

It isn’t until you upsize to a room double the size of what you had that you realize, “Wow, I have a lot of stuff.” Then again George Carlin always said, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get more stuff.” Notice he never once said apartment, only house. Believe it or not its true.

While living in an apartment you don’t care about your things because the hottest commodity is empty square footage, well that and a door with a lock.

However, in this house I have sacrificed windows, current bedroom count at zero, for an extra 100 square feet. Then like that “build up” mentality suggests, after the queen sized bed, futon, four dressers, closet, washer, dryer, coffee table, and computer desk; the widest walkway is two feet wide, and it feels huge.

Where was all this stuff going in that tiny 6×9 room? How did  it all in an Elantra? Why is there still so much room in this bedroom? Why is there a yard in the front and back of this place that aren’t made of cement? (Yes I am a veteran of the sidewalk backyard.)

These are all questions that anyone who has, is, or will ever go through this transition will ask themselves at one point or another. The answers can only be found after you’ve gone back to that 6×9 bedroom with a bunk-bed for a night and then they become clear:

1. It was stacked to the ceiling.

2. You didn’t buy the bed until after you moved here. (D’oh)

3.  There is an extra 100 square feet.

4. It’s called a backyard and frontyard. Stop complaining and go play tag.

Those are the simple answers and simple is always better. That’s where I’ll leave you until next week, and Adam is starting to get mad about my lack of dish cleaning so hopefully I can get that dishwasher down for you soon. Until next time keep roaming around that four bedroom maze.

A Home Without Upstairs Neighbors or a Recycling Shoot

What happens when you spend the first 18 years of your life growing up in an apartment in Brooklyn, NY and then move into a four bedroom house in Tempe, AZ? The correct answer is you now have at least four rooms that make no sense to you.

I’ll start at square one. My name is Jeffrey Platt, although “Jeff” will do just fine, and I am a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. I just relocated from my humble apartment style upbringings in New York to a house in Tempe, and after realizing that I have no clue of neither how to live in a house nor use half the appliances I decide to create this blog to open a forum of discussion for anyone going through the same change.

(Side note for all the ladies reading this; I enjoy long walks on the beach, poetry, and candle light dinners. Just in case you’re interested.)

Back to business. It only took me eight days to unpack and the first piece of guidance I would like to provide is to try and unpack in one or two days, not eight.

Now that it’s clear that my way of doing things is probably the incorrect way I can start using my housemates (Marcus, Adam, and John), who all grew up in houses, to help me provide you with useful information.

The first screw-up happened when I attempted to take out the recycling. The correct way is somewhat obvious, just not to me.

Marcus,who was raised in both Arizona and California, said, “When you take out the recycling you need to make the lid close. Also it goes in the street, not on the sidewalk. That reminds me next time put it facing the house not sideways.”

What happened to that small cramped room on my floor with the garbage shoot and one blue recycling bin for everyone to throw their bottles and cans? Its gone and now you’re responsible for taking you’re own recycling to the curb or the garbage man. Something about that just doesn’t sound right.

Anyway I’ll leave you to mull over Marcus’ brilliant insight on residential recycling, but that’s it for this week.

Stay tuned as next week we learn about the Apartment Native’s fantasy, the dishwasher.