Renting Shmenting – Where YOU stay at?

Renter’s Remorse: Ever since moving to Los Angles last August, I’ve been wondering if I made the right decision to live where I chose to live. Don’t get it twisted; I’ve never questioned moving to Los Angeles, just into the Park La Brea apartment complex.

Elevator Blues: I believe that where you live determines in a huge way your outlook on life. Your home should feel like your respite — your cave — your crib — your crate (if you’re a dog) — your safe haven. Park La Brea isn’t horrible, it just isn’t me. I chose a tower on the eleventh floor with a view of the Hollywood sign – had to have that! But mostly I chose the apartment because it was the most affordable two-bedroom, two bathroom place with easy parking for my son when he visits, in a great neighborhood. I’ve come to a place in my life that the last thing I want to do is say hello to strangers in a four by six box moving up and down twelve stories, in a seventy-five-year-old building, in a state known for earthquakes – every day, all day long.

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A Rolling Stone: I’ve had issues with renting versus buying my whole life. My father was an eternal renter – going from house to house to house.  He eventually became an eternal buyer/seller – buying and selling houses, until I counted and he’d lived in more than eight houses in San Diego alone – a rolling stone gathers no moss. And now, years later, I have an elderly father with no moss and little to no life savings.

Quick Nesting: When my marriage ended four years ago I moved to an apartment near my son’s school. My ex kept the house we lived in – I won’t go there. But, the apartment was a perfect locale for my son, and so a perfect locale for me at the time. Filled with recently divorced folks, one guy I met there called it the “spousal-outpost.” The year my son graduated high school, I moved to my first high-rise building. I was on the 21st floor overlooking the ocean and the seaport in downtown San Diego. Little Italy had fast become the hip and trendy place to live, but as my apartment was above an industrial-grade parking garage fan and the Amtrak station, I was unable to leave my windows open at night to sleep. A great view, but not so great in the peaceful sleeping department.

Time to Roll Out: Then Dr. Phil called. Well, not personally, but his web and social media department people did, and I had two days to find a place in LA, and two weeks to move. I thought it’d be a breeze. No problem, it’s LA, how hard could it be finding an apartment? Little did I know that the city of angels is a renter’s market? Real estate is so expensive, that unless you’re willing to live REALLY far from where you work or you have a million to drop on a place, you’re stuck overpaying for a very small apartment –which brought me to Park La Brea.

History of the Dwelling: The Park La Brea complex is a gated community that houses almost ten thousand residents and is located in the center of the city, in Miracle Mile. It was originally built for returning military families after World War II. Today, residents choose from twelve-story high apartment towers, or barrack-style “garden houses,” surrounding grassy knolls and flanked by overgrown jacaranda trees. BUT, within the first two months I realized why Park La Brea, or as I renamed it, “Project La Brea” is so affordable. Old has character, but even when you refresh it, within a short time, it starts looking and acting like the old shit it is. Drains drip, paint fades, dirt refuses to get clean, hinges fail, and most of all, ELEVATORS DIE! Take a breath I said to myself…

My Realtor’s a Scientologist:  She’s really nice. She worked as Jenna Elfman’s personal assistant for 15 years. That’s cool. Right? Then I saw “Going Clear,” and now I think I’m going to have to kick her to the curb. Either way, I’m faced with the decision to stay where I am, to move to another rental, buy a house or condo, to live by the beach or close to work are all options – and I’m feeling overwhelmed with indecision. Maybe the truth is, the fact that it’s a solo decision is what makes it so tough.

Time to Woman-Up: The last decision I made this big was marriage and motherhood, and I didn’t have to make those alone. BUT, today, this is all on you boo…don’t fuck it up!

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