Moving On, Part 1

As y’all may have gathered from my earlier post about needing a vacuum cleaner, I’ll be moving into my own place soon, leaving Doc Russia to get his house back at last.

A couple of thoughts:  Doc had originally offered to put me up for a year, and subtracting the time I spent over in Britishland, France and South Africa on my sabbatical last year, that year is up (plus a month or so because it took me longer than I expected to find a suitable place to live).  Needless to say, my gratitude for his generosity is beyond words — as I’ve said several times before, that generosity (coupled with the same from Mr. Free Market and The Englishman in Britishland) quite literally saved me, giving me time to relax, recover and rebuild my life after becoming a widower.  No more need be said on that topic, because I’ve said it all before and anyway it just embarrasses them.

So:  where to live?

Fortunately, I’d done a lot of earlier research after I sold the old house last year, and I’d at least eliminated the places that were totally unacceptable.

The biggest decision, about location, was the hardest.  Of course, I’d want to stay in Plano (because I love the place, and it’s close to 2/3 of my kids);  but where in Plano?  The options:

  • an “urban” location — e.g. in one of the three “town centers” that Plano offers (Old Town, Legacy West or Shops At Legacy):  small, quite expensive, likely to be noisy, but handy and not requiring me to get in the car if I needed a pint of milk, plus having restaurants on tap within walking distance — all the pros and cons of the urban lifestyle
  • a more “suburban” type of complex:  quieter, larger, more affordable, but more remote.

When I started looking at places, though, the situation became much clearer.  Frankly, the urban apartments, while all attractive from a location perspective, were either too small (500 sq.ft), too expensive, or a little run-down (Old Town especially).  I liked the convenience, didn’t mind the noise, but ultimately I realized that I would need more space — and most importantly, none of them offered an attached garage:  parking garage or street parking only.  What I learned about that type of apartment served to crystallize my thinking on what I really needed, as opposed to what I thought I wanted.

My criteria for a Plano apartment, then, became quite simple:

  • Affordable (duh)
  • Ground floor.  After busting one of my already-fragile knees in the Scottish Highlands last year, I’m done with stairs — there’s a sound reason why I have a CLP (Cripple’s License Plate) on the Tiguan
  • 1-bedroom with attached garage (so I can let the storage unit go, and have somewhere to store my tools)
  • Large-ish (more than 750 sq.ft), to hold my still-massive book collection, my artwork, the Chubb which holds the ahem few guns I still possess, and Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer
  • Decently-finished (no crappy carpets, worn-out kitchen cabinets, etc.)
  • Gated.  I keep strange hours because of my part-time gig with Uber, and need to know the place is more or less secure whilst I’m gone;  also, if I  ever travel back to Euroland, I need to be able to “lock and leave” with some degree of confidence that I won’t come back to an empty box
  • In a decent neighborhood, and with residents who drive late-model cars and don’t keep junkers up on blocks (if you get my drift)
  • Within reasonable walking distance from at least a few shops, restaurants and such so I can get some exercise, at least.

I narrowed the choices to half a dozen “suburban” complexes, but three of them were really suburban, being miles away from any kind of shop, supermarket, drugstore, restaurants, whatever — and they were all expensive, too.

In the end, I found what I was looking for, and it satisfied every single one of the criteria listed above.  In fact, the place is perfect save for two ugh!  features:  it has an electric stove top, not gas;  and the cable/Internet provider is… AT&T*.  [pause to allow the moaning and groaning to subside]

But those two problems aside, the apartment has mostly wood floors with carpet only in the bedroom, a separate dining room, a small study and a massive garage — almost one-and-a-half-car size — with lots of storage inside the apartment itself.

And cheap (for Plano).

I’ll be moving in around the middle of July.  In the meantime, I have to earn Uber-$$ [sic]  so I can afford to get the necessaries, e.g. some furniture, a washer and dryer (no laundromats for Kim oh no) and so on.  Also, as The Spoiled & Ungrateful Children made off with all the kitchen goods, I’ll be needing to build that particular workshop from the ground up.  Fortunately, I know quite a bit about the latter, having worked in the Housewares department in a large retail chain, so that won’t be as difficult as some of the other areas.  (By the way:  since when did halfway-decent kitchen cutlery become so damn expensive?  Granted, it’s been about thirty years since I last bought the damn things, but still.)

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range pick up some passengers…


*I’ve had dealings with AT&T before, and they are the most dishonest bastards I’ve ever come across.  Even their connection speed leaves room for dishonesty:  “up to 50Mbps” — so they could deliver as little as 5Mbps and still be “technically” within their promise.

11 comments

      1. This! These are issued to new students at the New England culinary Academy. I ignored them when I was recently building up my kitchen. I bought Ken Onion Shun, then Zwilling J A Henckels chef knives. I had a 20% off at BB&B, and wanted to try the Victorinox as I had been reading good things about it. For less than $30, what the heck.
        It’s a better cutter and slicer than either of the above two. Yes, the handles are nicer on the $100+ knives, but that’s the only downside. The Victorinox pairing knife is amazing too.
        I wish I had bought all my kitchen knives from Victorinox Fibrox line (btw, there is no difference between Fibrox and Fibrox Pro, but it is different than Classic).
        I’m a knife collector, and also bought some kitchen knives from Spyderco. They’re good, but seem to be sized strangely. I also splurged on the Benchmade Prestige knives years ago, but they’ve stayed in their presentation box. I only pull them out for formal dinners, which is never.

  1. I can’t promise anything, but if my job brings me to the heart o’Texas in the heart o’July, my Transit 350 can be made available to schlep a few boxes around, under the theory that any friend of Bill Whittle is…well, he can’t be all that bad.

    1. Thanks, Dave, but I have some local movers already scheduled. (I have to move stuff from both Doc’s house and a storage unit.)

  2. Kim, I wouldn’t spend a dime on a washer/dryer unit from any of the popular retailers.

    Instead, do a bit of research, and find your local vendor who sells & services the Speed Queen line of equipment to your local laundrymats.

    They’ll sell you a unit sans coin box, and that machine will last you till the end of your days on Earth. And if they don’t have a compatible dryer, then buy one from the Big Box store, without *any* electronics in it, whatsoever. Simple, mechanical timer, NO computer, motherboard or such.

    And whatever you do, avoid the Samsung brand. They make great TVs. Their appliances pale though in durability, compared to LG, which seems to be taking Maytag’s place in the reliability race.

    As to the ‘lectric cooker….well, my neighborhood here has no gas service available, so electric it is. The GE glass-top unit here has been doing yeoman’s duty now for a decade, with no signs of flag or fail. It’s only flaw is that it’s a four-burner top, with five now being the norm. It holds temperature perfectly though, with the one flaw of it being too slow to lose heat once a burner is turned down or off.

    Gratefully, it’s stupid easy to clean that glass top though. That’s a plus.

    On the driving front, I notice a lot of drivers with both Uber and Lyft stickers in their windows. They don’t care which one “pings” ’em, long as one DOES. Don’t know if that might up your earnings potential or not, but what the hell, I thought I’d float it out there.

    Anyway, an early Congratulations on the housing find. Housewarming? I’ll bring ammo or whiskey, the only proper gifts.

    Jim
    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

  3. I’ll second the motion on buying a Speed Queen washer and avoiding Samsung appliances; a minor burp from my toy electric company a few years back roasted the control board in a 1-year-old Samsung fridge, which the dealer would have fully repaired under warranty except the replacement board was no longer available. It was solved with a warranty replacment of a US-made box (Whirpool), and I added insurance in the form of a 1500VAC UPS between the cold box and the idiots in the generator house. Jim’s recommendation for a bare bones dryer is also dead on (heard from a local appliance dealer that SQs might be in short supply because the gummint was buying most of 2018’s production, dunno if that’s true).

    RE: storage – nothing’s more frustrating than knowing you have Item X but not where it is; wire rack shelving from a restaurant supply house, while a bit spendy, is worth it. Available in a wide variety of shelf length and width, number of shelves optional and their spacing selectable in 1 inch increments, plus heavy weight capacities, makes life easier. Translucent plastic bins and shelf spacing for them is the way to go. ThriveLife dot com makes fully adjustable and customizable FIFO can storage for pantries; like SQ a bit spendy, but worth it. I use standard 4X2X2 job site boxes as an ammo locker and for power tool storage, Tractor Supply frequently puts them (JOBOX brand) on sale for $50 off, the Delta brand is slightly heavier steel. Not as secure as a “real” safe, but coupled with a basic alarm system easily prevent “60-second grab ‘n’ go” type thefts, and enough lead in the bottoms prevents carry-off, and job site boxes can be had in sizes from 36 inch to 72 inch in 1-ft increments

    Kitchen tools- Woot frequently has Cuisinart sets on sale, you already know what knives you want, use the restaurant supply house for the mundane stuff. Stop by someplace like Woodcraft or Rockler’s on a Saturday AM and make friends with someone who owns a Tormek (and knows how to use it); the standard 600 grit wheel does a truly terrific sharpening job, the 1K grit wheel (a bit spendy) will make razors cry in submission, and the real OCD guy who has a 4K wheel can produce knives so sharp they’ll cut clean without even taking them out of the drawer.

    1. True, as long as you can use your existing pots and pans on them, otherwise it’s more expense as you have to replace all that sort of thing too. Over here in British land, I’ve got a single, flat, black glass sheet that heats electric elements underneath. No knobs, switches or areas to trap nasties as it’s touch sensitive. Might be worth considering.

      1. I have an induction cooker, and when I buy my pots and pans (the Spoiled & Ungrateful Kids stole all the old ones), I’ll make sure they’re induction-ready.

  4. I had to do the same thing relatively recently. I’m in Columbus, OH which has certain advantages. I stumbled across a very nice condo that met my requirements and then some.

    The decision to eliminate the laundromat is a very smart move. Once I got my own washer and dryer, I swore that whatever else happened I would never do the laundromat mambo again.

    Best of luck to you.

Comments are closed.