Category Archives: Renter Solution

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Buenas noches! It has been much too long since I have sat down and typed out my thoughts. You were probably wondering “where has Nikki gone?” I am coming to the end of my first Seattle year and I have to say, what a year it has been. I didn’t do very much DIY this year, and that makes me sad :( However, I just signed a lease on a house (with a porch, a deck, a garage for work space (maybe I can finally use that saw I’ve been lugging around), and a yard complete with a fire pit so I am pretty confident that 2016 is going to be a great year.

If you were following along, you may have noticed that I was dating a man. Well, alas- another one bites the dust. You really can’t always get what you want. After seven months and a very long night working on Halloween costumes (we were going to be a pair of mittens) we decided to part ways the following morning on Halloween day. I was momentarily crushed, and while I do still miss this person I am realizing how much of myself I lost during those seven months.

I just got to Seattle, and I want to be in love with the place. I mean, it is amazing! Water is everywhere. There are mountains. There are jobs for creative/behind the scenes right-brained people like me (in very unexpected industries). While I was dating that man who had been here too long I failed to let myself really experience all this glorious place has to offer. And if you remember, I spent all of 2014 trying to find the place that had that right feeling. It was Seattle, and it still is and I still have that infinite possibility feeling. Since I have returned to my normal cat-lady status I have done sooo much more. Hockey Night now happens once a week. Good old mid-west kids gather in a bar and eat wings and watch our Blackhawks destroy the other team. I am actually performing better at my job. I started working out during a lunch break (which might be helping me perform better at work). I accept invitations to meet new people, or to attend events. I’ve even volunteered.

The thing is, I stopped being that awesome person that I am. I stopped making art. I stopped writing. I stopped shooting polaroids. I don’t want to be that person, ever again. I am not someone that needs to change for another person. I also don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t know how they feel about me after seven months. And while, you can’t always get what you want, some of the time you can. I didn’t work so hard to get here to settle. It’s hard sometimes, 30 feels so old and I am not where I thought that I would be. But that is ok. I have lived, I have loved, I have learned. My glass is still always half full (when I’m lucky, it’s wine).

I am going to move with my current roommate. She is just the most wonderful human to exist. She is so kind and hilarious. She listens to Christmas music in her epic blue minivan. She loves the kitties. We got a Christmas tree! It’s amazing. We went to a farm and cut it down while sipping on hot chocolate. It is comforting to share a safe place to live with such an amazing human. I am so excited for our house and even more excited to get out of Capitol Hill and our little attic apartment. (And sitting on the deck! Or the porch!).

So this year is wrapping up, and I have to move (ugh!). But once I do I am excited to make curtains, build things, start painting and drawing again. I’ve already shot over 20 portraits since October and I look forward to restarting 500faceproject. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes what you need is just a little time for yourself. And maybe when I’m ready, so will be my little work-affiliate crush ;)

Seriously, pinch me.

Bon Jour! So someone, please pinch me because things are just going too well right now. I am settling into my new job and apartment. I’ve been on multiple dates with the same person. I found a wonderful kind person to live with in an apartment that is WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE OF WORK. I even just signed up for a ceramics class. Back in October when I decided I was “done with Chicago” I honestly had no idea that I would be able to make such incredible changes in my life. Some how, Seattle has all the answers to questions I have been asking for years.

About my job- It’s quite a learning experience. Everyday is something different and something new. If you could have asked October me what I would be doing in six months, clean technology is not the industry I would have expected. It has been a great way to get to know Washington. I’ve even met one of my legislative representatives down in Olympia! (I don’t even think I knew the name of the governor when I lived in Illinois).

About the new man- Also, not the person I thought I would be dating six months ago. But he’s great (so far!). I was all set on giving up on internet dates and he suggested I go on one last one… 10 dates later and I’m afraid I’m beginning to like him. We spend a lot of time going on car rides and looking at water. We have an ongoing game of naming 90’s bands. He made me go to a golf range and well, as you can guess I was terrible at it but I rather enjoyed it. I don’t know, but there is something nice about a person you can be around without having to talk all of the time.

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Mount Baker is in the back, we went to Edmonds for brunch last Sunday.

About the new roommate- What a gem of a person. I wanted to live alone and then I remembered that I just moved to a new city where I know no one. Her posting for the apartment said something along the lines of you should be hilarious and have an affinity for unique living spaces and well, I do believe I possess both those qualities. She was most excited that I came with two cats, and well, I was more than happy to roll with it. We are slowly meshing all our stuff together in our sweet little attic apartment that we lovingly refer to as “The Penthouse.” I was really worried about the open shelving and the cats but it hasn’t yet been a problem. Also, considering that we are on fairly similar schedules we don’t really get in each other’s way. I have to admit, it’s nice to have a human to talk to about your day, about your job, and about your new boyfriend.

I took a few photos of the apartment this morning. It’s a Wednesday, so the place might reflect a smidge of that mid-week mess…

where I sleep

My little bed nook

My bedroom is an “L” Shape. On one side is my bed, the other my arts and crafts area.

My art area

Our penthouse is technically on the third floor, and we reach that via a staircase from our front door which is on the second floor.

The view of the “Front Door”

There aren’t any windows on the sides of our apartment, only in the bedrooms. We get all our daylight through a skylight.

The skylight

Another view of the skylight

The open shelving I was so worried about…

Open shelving in the kitchen

So that’s the place! My roommate also has a room which I did not photograph and a weird railroad style bathroom (is that what you call it? All I know is it has doors on each end and runs alongside the back of the kitchen wall.).
Some weird things- I’ve seen they guy who sat next to me on the plane on my move out here three times while running! People in Seattle recycle and compost everything. That’s about it. So, maybe someone doesn’t need to pinch me because maybe I got too excited about everything and spoke too soon… Who knows, we’ll see.

xoxo-Nikki

Sleeping Again in Seattle

Hola, err’ body. You may have guessed that I finally found a job due to the lack of posts! So yes! I found a job. A tier one, company that does something good for the world that needs that extra person to wear all of the hats and do everything for the least pay in the organization job… Actually I pretty much found the exact job I was looking for and couldn’t be more pleased. I have been learning a ton about an industry I know nothing about, writing content (which we all know how much I love writing!), tinkering with websites (again, though tedious it’s something I like to do), attending board meetings, working on social media campaigns, and heck, I even took head shots for the company. I am sleeping again (mostly because I am quite tired by 9pm) and Seattle is absolutely the place I am supposed to be. I even have my next apartment lined up (Look for the future post about the stuff retrieval) and should start moving in the next week. I found the most awesome midwestern girl off Craigslist who has the last affordable-ish apartment in Capitol Hill and was in need of a roommate. I am excited to DIY up the space as it is a uniquely shaped attic apartment with L-shaped rooms, a skylight in the main room, and has open shelving in the kitchen… we’ll see how the kitties behave. But let’s talk about the most pressing issue. I’m turning 30 in 2 days! 30! How the heck did that happen?!!!

20150307-075821-28701829.jpgLast weekend I flew to Las Vegas for my best friend from high school’s bachelorette party/30th birthday/wedding. I am glad I got to be there. Thankfully, flights to Vegas are the cheapest flights out of Seattle. I even managed to crash in someone else’s room. I wore a dress I already owned. I actually took public transportation from the airport (I rode the bus!) to Target. If you are not aware, Target is my happy place and I measure the quality of a place I am visiting by my experience at Target… I must have looked like I knew what I was doing because at least three people asked if I knew where places were. After Target I USED A TRANSFER (see how thrifty I am Mom!) to take a bus to the Strip.

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Somehow before the trip I magically connected with a friend of the groom who happened to be the only other single person at this wedding so luckily I had a date! My dear friend Cynthia got married in a little chapel and then they rented a double decker bus that drove us down the strip at Sunset. Even better about this bus was the fact it had a singing Elvis impersonator and beers!  (And you know, one of the friends you have known the longest has just found the most awesome and handsomest husband definitely isn’t the worst thing in the world).

As fun as it was, I feel like I never ever have to go to Las Vegas ever again. While I managed to get a run in, and even visit with a different friend from Chicago, and even have amazing conversations with two girls regarding women entreprenuers, using social media for business, and general opinions about turning 30, I don’t think I ever need to go back to there… Perhaps it’s the Seattle rubbing off on me but I missed my green and nature. (And what kind of Pisces would I be if I didn’t mention how much I missed my water! Not the rainy haze, but the views of the Sound and Lake Union). It was very strange when people would ask where I was from and I had to think 20150307-075820-28700367.jpgso I didn’t say Chicago because now, I am from Seattle.

So two friends down. Cynthia got it all for her 30th, mine is probably not going to be as exciting. Last night (a Friday) I took myself shopping at Banana Republic for proper work clothes (Thanks Aunt Vicki!). Then I hit up Trader Joes for some wine, cheese, and meat. Then I plopped myself in front of the very computer that I am writing you from and watched about three hours of Netflix, only to retire before 10:30. Yes, adulthood, I am here. Today I have plans to do some laundry and cleaning, run, and maybe fill in one of my polaroid tattoos (I mean, I’m a grown-up now so I better finish up this sleeve so I can stop getting tattoos, right). I was really hoping someone would surprise me and fly out for my birthday but it looks like I’ll be spending it alone.

So everyone, I’m doing alright here in Seattle. Still have yet to meet the man of my dreams but I’m doing what I can to slowly climb Maslow’s pyramid and the hierarchy of needs. Would you believe it my Grandfather told me not to wait too long to get married! Yes, because I didn’t just spend nearly four years with someone I thought would be that person. Not to mention how I single-handedly executed a cross-country move, found my dream job, and crashed a Vegas wedding all on my own… But enough about that already. I’m here, doing the best I can. And hey, I’m finally sleeping again (on my own), here in Seattle.

xoxo-Nikki

So Far So Good

I’m here! It’s crazy. Actually, it’s quite normal and boring but so far so good. I am adjusting to my new life as a resident of the Pacific Northwest! I have taken about 100 selfies with the Seattle Space Needle and even walked myself to Target. (This was the big activity of the day yesterday). NYE was fun and I met a bunch of people who won’t remember me but I did get some great polaroids for my project and was even smart enough to write their names on the back.

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Space Needle Selfie. I get a lot of compliments on my Chicago hats.

The neighborhood I’m staying in is called Queen Anne Hill and guess what, IT’S ON A GIANT HILL! Walking up and down hills is new to me. I’d say I miss the flatness of Chicago but that would be a lie because it is just beautiful here. Basically, you turn a corner and you get treated to views of mountains and water and colorful buildings and it makes every half-mile climb at 100 degrees straight up worth it (even with the winter grey sky background). On my first day here I made the mistake of trying to go for a (simple, three-mile) run. I looked on the map, selected a small loop and set out. Turns out that the map did not indicate that there were MOUNTAINS in the middle of my pre-selected path. Well, my three-mile run turned into a 5 mile run/walk that was uphill both ways. You know that grandpa who had to walk to school in the snow for 15 miles uphill both ways? He might have lived near here. Needless to say I may have some mild shin splints now. Grumpy face. Since I am determined to get into the best health ever I signed up for a yoga class this afternoon and we’ll see how that goes. I’d rather be running but I think my body needs to adjust to the new topography. At least if I like it I can get a free week of yoga.

greenery

I see why they call Seattle the Emerald City!

My plants survived the plane! (So far so good!) I have all my cuttings in jars around the house and even repotted Aloe Vera Wang. I have to admit, I appreciate living in a grown-up house. Yesterday I did laundry like it was a normal thing to do. I must be embracing the old-ladyness of the house because I have been going to bed by 10 pm everyday. Probably explains why I am waking up at 7 am but it has allowed me to watch the daylight begin each day, which is a new and wonderful experience for me. I live across the street from a little park and not only is all the green a welcomed sight, it’s quite fun to watch the dogs that run around. (And the kitties are fine! They love sitting in all the windows and checking out what is happening outside).

indoor plants

Aloe Vera Wang and Jade in their new home!

A year ago I was in Chicago, wanting to leave but not knowing how. Though I ended a relationship, I still felt stuck. As soon as I began my job I started saving. When I tell people I didn’t decide to move to Seattle until Thanksgiving they seemed surprised that I pulled it off when in reality I was planning for it all year. I just didn’t know that the Emerald City would be the place for me. I know at times I do things that seem very impulsive but usually I have been preparing for them for quite some time. I feel quite excited these days. I used to feel this emptiness which I thought another person could fill but I have realized that hole was the nagging persistance that I needed to fulfil my own desires. I wouldn’t mind having someone to share adventures with, but I am not afraid to have them on my own. I had wanted to leave Chicago forever, and I made it happen. I went to graduate school, have done many interesting projects, and I have faith that my brain is better than food service (but man oh man do I miss the delicious fry diet). I’m in Seattle and so far so good! Hopefully on Monday every HR person in the city checks their inbox and snags me up before someone else grabs me! I’m ready to get to work.

xoxo- Nikki

The Cross Country Move Spectacular

Whelp, I’ve nearly completed my cross country move spectacular. Me my three suitcases and two cats made to to the airport and through security, on the plane, and to the house I’ll be renting for the next three months. Yes, yesterday was a big day. I woke up on the couch because I had already packed my bed, showered, and tried to cram the cats in the carrier.

At least Bon Jovi likes his cat carrier

At least Bon Jovi likes his cat carrier…

Now let me tell you. The hardest part of the cross country move spectacular was the 12 minutes at my old apartment that I spent trying to get the cats in the carrier. Let me back up and say that I had gotten a top of the line Sherpa carrier (size medium). This carrier both is guaranteed to be able to fly and sturdy enough that sneaky gatos can’t get out. It would have been the perfect size for one, but this was my only option for the both of them. I could have got them cat valium, but from what I read an assortment of calming treats and sprays should have done the trick. I started by purchasing this carrier weeks in advance. Almost daily I would put a little bit of catnip in the carrier. This really only worked on Bon Jovi who would munch it all up then hang out in the open carrier. Tuesday knew better and stayed away. Twice, I managed to get them both in it and tried to reward them by carrying it downstairs and opening it in front of their food. I also daily fed them the calming treats (not really sure if they did anything, but at least the kitties thought they were getting something). For the first 10 minutes of my journey, it was the opening act at an angry circus. I would get Bon Jovi in only to have to chase Tuesday around the apartment. Naturally who knows where I had packed the calming spray, so a lot of good that did me. So back to cat-catching: Tuesday would be hissing and clawing, and then I would have to try and unzip the carrier without letting Bon Jovi out. He would run out and Tuesday would claw up my arm and then we would have to start again. They would start hissing and paw-punching at each other and boy, you should see my arm right now. Eventually I got Bon Jovi in through the front opening, zipped him up, grabbed a towel, captured Tuesday, opened the top opening and (forcefully) dumped her in. The sounds they omitted were the angriest I have ever heard. Gulp, this was going to be fun. I ubered myself a ride (It cost me less than 20$ to leave Chicago… well, 20$ plus the costs of moving…). I was less than pleased when the driver deposited me exactly halfway between doors to the airport. I had two giant suitcases, a smaller one, a cat carrier with meowing cats, and the world’s heaviest backpack. Somehow I managed to put on the most impressive one-woman show and got all this into the doors in the airport. Then, naturally I was nowhere close to where I needed to be. I attempted to roll my all my favorite worldly possessions towards the Southwest check-in, feeling like a giant spectacle. A good Samaritan helped me roll my luggage to the beginning of the checkout line and a Southwest employee helped me the rest of the way through. They were nice enough to let me go to the counter closest to the end of the line. At this point, only a few meows were escaping my mobile kitty-prison. We checked in, paid my fines for having pets and too many favorite outfits and headed to security. I made it through the initial checkpoints and then they sent me to a separate scanning portal. Upon realizing that I had pets I asked them to inspect us in a separate room. They made me send my shoes and coat through and stand to the side and I anxiously watched as I was at the before point and my computer, prized possessions in my backpack (polaroid camera and photos and wallet with all documents important), and coat/shoes waited for me past the scanner. They found two female officers who made me go through the metal detector alone, then comeback though to pick up the cats. They wouldn’t let me touch my favorite things, so a gloved officer grabbed everything. We then went into a little closet, and they told me I had to take the cats out. I was very worried about this due to the earlier experience at the apartment. I had purchased a leash for each of them so one by one I leashed them and let them out of the carrier. Bon Jovi wanted some snuggles and Tuesday crawled under a table. They took the carrier and scanned it. They made me touch around the cats’ harnesses then scanned my hands for bomb residue. Then they brought back the carrier and said ok, you are good. We’ll close the door and let you put the cats back inside. I put it on the ground and put Bon Jovi at the opening, unleased him, and HE JUST WALKED ON IN. I didn’t even zip it. I grabbed Tuesday, held her at the opening, unleashed, AND SHE JUST GOT IN! Seriously, WTH cats!!! Why all the fuss at the apartment? It took me longer to repack my computer into my backpack.

This is one of my checked bags. I managed to bring a few plants!

This is one of my checked bags. I managed to bring a few plants!

After that I went to the gate, then the other gate when they assigned a new one, got on, got my window seat, made nice with the people around me, and prayed I wouldn’t catch the plague because EVERYONE ON THE PLANE WAS COUGHING LIKE THEY WERE LOOSING A LUNG. There were actually quite a few pets on the plane. I heard a few peeps from the noisy one but they did ok. At the gate before I boarded I booked a car service to pick me up and it was there when I landed which saved the stress of getting a cab. I was smarter this time, on my cross country move spectacular and payed for one of those luggage carts to get all my personal effects from the baggage claim. My driver was kind enough to stop at a drugstore and I got some cat litter and a diet coke. We made it to my sublet, which is a real nice little house in an area of town I doubt I’ll be able to afford in the future. The landlady’s son was doing some yard work and came and greeting me saying “Are you Chicago?” and I was like, “I am!” and he carried most my luggage up the stairs. I came in and met my landlord, who hugged me and said “You’re here!”

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Cats on a plane!

I set up the cats who crawled and looked around and we talked. Then the little old lady decided she wanted to show me off, so we went to the grocery store so she could get a prescription. She took me a few places to introduce me to everyone. The best part about all of this was she couldn’t find her hat and I let her borrow my Chicago Bulls one, so we were both wearing Chicago beanies. We talked to basically every employee in the Trader Joes and even went to the library. We came back and drank some almond-flavored champagne with her son, while we looked out the big picture window. I did some unpacking and then SHE MADE A PIZZA! Pretty certain this lady is my spirit animal. Exhausted from my cross country move spectacular I went to bed at 8:30 and didn’t even hear the lady leave for Mexico at 4:00 AM.

Mount Rainier!

Mount Rainier!

Maybe it’s because I went to bed so early, or I’m still on Chicago time, or maybe I’m just excited about being in Seattle, I woke up before 7:00 in the morning. I am currently sitting in the middle of the couch (with Bon Jovi) watching the sun rise out the window and sharing my adventure here. I can’t believe I actually made it! Now that all that stress from the cross country move spectacular is nearly over (I’m going to have to find somewhere else to live in three months!) I can focus on (whelp,) finding a job. I do, however have a NYE date and regardless of how that goes I am pretty certain that 2015 is going to be the start of everything.

xoxo-Nikki

Moving and the Holidays

Hi folks! Nothing says end of the year like moving and the holidays! My ducks are all starting to get in nice little (boxed-up) rows and my (nearly) 30-year-migration back to the place of my birth is in full effect. I have been working crazy hours to squirrel every penny away for the big move and in the time between sleeping and working I’m packing (and downsizing) my life. Like Santa, I’m making lists but mine are more like “To do’s” and “Take care of this,” and my favorite, “Don’t forget!”

When I told my father I planned on renting a uHaul and driving my prized possessions across the country he sounded terrified. Apparently my move would include crossing the Rocky Mountains in the middle of the winter. On second thought, that sounds like a terrible idea! Moving the cats upstate in an old pickup truck during a blizzard was hard enough. Instead I have booked a pod service to transport and store my stuff for the three months of my sublet. Not only is it cheaper (really, I should be saving at least a grand over all) it’s much more time friendly. The only problem is now I am paring my life to fit in a 5’x6’x7′ box.The only real downside is I am going to have to leave behind all of my plants. (Tear).

So moving and the holidays includes me being the most hated person on an airplane. As for actually getting to Seattle, I booked a flight with Southwest (two checked bags for free!) and cats ride for 95$ in a carrier. (This will be a future blog post, “two cats, one carrier”). So I will arrive in Seattle with my cats, my favorite outfits, possibly two plants crammed into one of my suitcases, a few necessities, and my polaroid camera and portrait collection. Then, it will be New Year’s Eve and I’ll be all alone and honestly I’ve really never been more excited for anything!

Sorry friends and family, I won’t be able to buy anyone Christmas presents this year. However, I have a really great little handmade thing I will be giving to all of you (I found it as I have been slowly packing all of my belongings up). I am making daily trips out to the alley, and hopefully this time around someone else is finding alley treasures as I slowly purge things I’ve moved three or four or 10 times. I’ve cut my wardrobe nearly in half because although the clothes fit, I probably shouldn’t be wearing things meant for teens and 21-year-olds. My cousin Hannah, however should be having a very, merry hand-me-down Christmas.

I started the year off by breaking up with someone I had at one point thought would be in my life forever. I actually ran into them on the street the other day and while he seemed exactly the same, I realized I felt more like myself for the first time in years. While a struggle at times, I had an incredible year where I traveled to see multiple wonderful friends and cities, ran a marathon (while raising $1500 for charity!), displayed art in shows, experienced in full a Chicago summer, worked my butt off to be able to afford to move across the country and now, to wrap it all up I am moving and the holidays, well the holidays are even more special because I am making it a point to tell everyone just how much I love them.

xoxo- Nikki

I am on the cusp

Holy balogna,  I am on the cusp of making this all work out. In October I made the decision that I was through waiting tables. I have soo much more to offer the world than food service. I quit a fairly well paying job (gracefully and with a two-week notice) and really got cracking on my job search and relocation process. Obviously I fell in love with Seattle and hopefully in 24 hours I will have successfully secured a three month sublet.

I was a little naive to think this process would be easy. I have learned my lessons the hard way, so a friend I hardly know is doing me the ultimate favor in delivering my check. I found a little old lady on Craigslist who sublets her home for the winter months while she goes and lives someplace warm. It’s a bit more then I would like to spend but she will allow me to bring along the cats and this way I don’t get stuck blindly renting a studio (and hating it) for a year. I have had some of the most wonderful conversations with this woman. She is very positive and told me she has never regretted any of the risks she has taken. I think my story speaks a little to her because she told me she has others interested in the house but she is holding it for me. Sweet as she sounds, I know better than to just send her the money without a receipt.

Because I am on the cusp of making this all work out I have been researching how to physically move myself and my cats across the country. As of now I have a reservation for a Uhaul truck on December 26 for the whole week. It is EXPENSIVE! I looked into pod moving services but I would still have to get the kitties to Seattle. I do not like the idea of flying them so I think the Uhaul is the best bet. I am currently planning to stop for a night in Kansas city to pick up my friend from her parents house and bring her with me for a little road trip! (I also am looking for a free place to stay). This same friend has passed my resume around her work and they might even have a remote content writing position for me so I wouldn’t be moving to Seattle unemployed! Seriously. This is going to happen. To me! I can hardly sleep at night.

I have started trying to get rid of stuff. The cheapest option is a 10 foot truck so I need to shrink my stuff down to 10 tiny feet. I am trying to sell my TV. My roommate has told me whatever I leave will probably stay exactly where it is. I plan on leaving behind one of my desk/tables, my awesome bookshelf (made from two separate pieces and painted gloss almond).  Things I am taking for sure include my elephant stands, my nightstands, my drafting table desk, my “Eames” chairs (4 total), my 2 chairs that started this blog, my books, my blue rug, my bike, and one of my dressers. It is crazy hard trying to par stuff down. Basically I’m only keeping things that I am sentimental about. Meaning, when I finally get my apartment I will have lots of chairs and side tables but no couch or bed or normal eating table. I am sure I can make that work though.

I hopefully will be able to relax (but only a tiny bit!) once my friend gets that receipt. It really is a kindness I will never be able to repay her for since we barely know each other but I hope she knows I am eternally grateful for her help. A boy wrote a song for me about us just being specks in the universe and it really is crazy how all this is happening. (We’ll save that story for another post). If you’ve missed my DIY adventures hold tight! In 4 months I’ll hopefully be where I want to be and have a whole new home to decorate. In the mean time stick with me as I prepare to trade wind for rain and share this whole adventure with you. I have waited all year and finally I am on the cusp of starting the rest of my life!

xoxo-Nikki