Apt/Condo Dwellers Tribe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 02-27-2009, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm sure there must be one... but where?

Feeling the need to brainstorm with other mamas that have no yard to put their child into when everyone is going stir-crazy, who do container gardening, who's nearest park to walk to is a school, etc etc.

Point me in the right direction please! Or let me know if there are others out there!

Ecstatic mama to our one and only Aurora (Apr 07)
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#2 of 29 Old 03-01-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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OhOh, count me in!!!
Unfortunately, with the economy the way it is, me and mine will probably never be able to afford a house (sigh) but...I know where every park is in my town and in the two towns surrounding
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#3 of 29 Old 03-10-2009, 10:09 PM
 
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You are definitely not alone! Except for the first six months of DD's life, we've lived in condos/apartments since forever. And not just out of necessity, but truly out of preference. There are so many good things about condo/apt. living that you just don't get in a house...

Sounds like you are struggling a bit with living in an apt. instead of a house...what's the biggest challenge you've found? What are your fave things?

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#4 of 29 Old 03-11-2009, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think if I lived in an urban center, I'd be more at peace with the whole condo thing. However, being in a suburb, I find that I'm surrounded by homes and the distances between things that homes allow for. That said, I'm on a great bus line and live across the street (literally) from one of the best children's museums in the area.

I think I'm mostly struggling with wanting to get some space for my DH and me, as well as space for the toddler. We're also in a basement condo, so dragging the stroller up and down the stairs is making me nutso.

I think things will be easier as the summer approaches when the weather won't change every 30 minutes, so making the jaunt to the park/pool/farm won't be a crap shoot on whether we'll make it home dry or not.

Not sure if that answered your questions. In a nutshell:

Biggest Challenge - my DD doesn't have her own space (she has her own bookshelves, but toys are under the sofa and in storage under desks) and DH and I would like to have a bedroom for her as well as a bedroom for us.... that and very little seems to grow on my partially sunny deck.

Favorite Things - our location is great, 20 minute bus ride to downtown Seattle, across the street from grocery stores and museums, no yard to clean up, low heating/cooling bills, knowing that my current ecological footprint is fairly small.

Someone else talk up their favorite things as well! I'm sure I'm missing how great this can be, or what I can do to make this space more of a home, instead of just an abode.

Ecstatic mama to our one and only Aurora (Apr 07)
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#5 of 29 Old 03-15-2009, 02:16 AM
 
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I'm in! I've lived in the city since I started college. I've lived in six different places over the last five and a half years! And that's not counting two sort of in-between places I stayed, either. The first five were apartments, now I'm in the condo that my boyfriend and his brother co-own. But we are moving into our own apartment in May & the brother will get a roommate that suits his bachelor lifestyle a little better. So that will be the seventh place! And hopefully we will be there for a while, but any place we can afford now is not a place we'll want to be when (if) D starts school in a few years... >sigh<
I always loved the density, the nightlife, the coolness factor -LoL! Now I want a real homey place, with a clothesline and a garden and friendly neighbors & the like... and we are going to find it! Having both lived in this same area forever, we decided to find a new one & I went to see our first prospective apartment today! It wasn't "the one" but it's exciting to be looking again
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#6 of 29 Old 03-16-2009, 11:09 AM
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i like living in a condo because it is

easy--no yard to clean up, no exterior up keep

efficient--small, easy-to-use spaces and storage, easy to heat/cool, easy to keep clean

affordable--less expensive housing but it still keeps it's value so the equity is great and it also makes a great rental property if you choose to move to a larger place (condo or otherwise).

our current condo is in a suburban area, so we have a lot of green space and a neighborhood play area. but, we have to drive everywhere because the nearest bus stop is about a 4 mile walk.

we are planning to move into a harbor city, into a two or three bedroom condo (our current is 1300 sq ft and 3 brs/1.5 bath) with a small communal yard/green space, within walking distance to where we work, the children's park, and the beach part of the harbor, with great public transportation to the other areas of the city and outlying suburbs, and then we can rent cars/campervans to go further abroad for vacations!
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#7 of 29 Old 03-16-2009, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think this might be a case where I'm not so much against the condo living, it's just that THIS condo isn't quite what I was hoping for. Of course, we purchased before having the kidlet, so that changed what I wanted and needed from my spaces. We did figure out a way to get DD her own room with much furniture changing, but I think that will greatly help how crowded I feel.
For those that don't have green space nearby, do you simply walk/drive to the nearest park? For those that live in urban centers, are there parks nearby?
I have been trying to focus on the positive (no yard work, outside is maintained by HOA, walking distance to museum). Now to reconfigure so that we get more usuable space on the inside.

Ecstatic mama to our one and only Aurora (Apr 07)
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#8 of 29 Old 03-16-2009, 01:58 PM
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i don't know how long you've lived in your condo, but you might consider talking to a financial planner about using the equity from your condo as the down payment for a larger one (one that fits your needs better) and using your current one as a rental.

here, we would earn about $300 per month over the mortgage plus HOA plus HEL as well as the fees for a rental (eg, setting up an account for repairs, eviction proceedings, etc which would be about $200/mo). so, you'd make income on the property and have more of what you want need.
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#9 of 29 Old 03-18-2009, 04:34 PM
 
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There's defenitely pros and cons to the apartment my family and I currently rent. We live in a quiet area, the apartment is more updated and more energy efficiant. However it is a little further from town so walking anywhere is impossible, and since it's subsidized there are more regulations and general rules to follow. Right now I'm worried that my kitty is going to be an issue, even though when we moved in six months ago she was okayed to live here. I also wish that I could personalize my space more, but that's an issue with pretty much any rental. I can paint if I get permission and repaint when I leave, and I can install ceiling fans but I have to leave them here. If I stay here long enough the paint may be worth it but I'll probably refrain from putting in fans since they can get pretty expensive and honestly they don't even leave them in the apartments when you leave, the landlords take them down and get to keep them so why would I agree to that? I don't have any yard at all, which could be an issue in a couple years but right now my daughter is an infant. I do have a little porch that we're going to put some plants and flowers out on though.
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#10 of 29 Old 03-21-2009, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There's defenitely pros and cons to the apartment my family and I currently rent.... I do have a little porch that we're going to put some plants and flowers out on though.
We're doing the potted plants on the deck as well this year. I think it will help me feel more in charge of my space, and also help a little with the grocery bill. (We got a great harvest of cherry tomatoes last year!)

I definitely think some new paint might be a necessity as well. It could really open up some of the spaces that are still beige and drab (to me). Thanks for reminding me how easy it is to make the space my own.

I thought of something else that makes it worth while... we happen to have a community pool. Not many "free" pools in the Seattle area, so this is a wonderful thing to look forward to in the summer and share with my other mama friends.

Ecstatic mama to our one and only Aurora (Apr 07)
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#11 of 29 Old 06-08-2009, 07:57 PM
 
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Glad to see this thread. We're hoping to move into a "full" home next year but right now we're here in the mercy of apt management without a deck/patio!

Amanda 20 m old V new baby on the way planning VBAC and tandem nursing
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#12 of 29 Old 06-08-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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2 adults, a 2.5 year old and an infant, plus 3 cats, in a 2-bedoom condo. It's not ideal, but it's OK for now. We're not allowed to grow anything on our balcony. Plus, I have inherited my mother's black thumb.

We don't have enough space most days. We use every bit of space, with DDs sharing the bedroom but no toys in there. DD1 can play in there, but we don't store toys in her room, since she's a sleep fighter and would just get out of bed, turn on the light and play all night. We use the dining room for dining and for crafty-type play (coloring, playdough, etc.). We don't have enough toy storage space - her stuff is all piled up in one corner of the living room.

It's going to be a lot harder once the baby starts to crawl, too.

We like it, though, for the most part. It's not tiny, just wish we had another bedroom. Not much would change if we were someplace else, though: the computer would still be in the main living area, we'd still do messy/crafty play in the dining room, etc.

We're walking distance to several stores including our bank, a Trader Joe's and a CVS. Our complex has 3 playground areas and a pool and a baby pool, which is nice. We drive to parks, which sort of feels off.
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#13 of 29 Old 10-16-2009, 06:11 AM
 
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good to see this thread. I realize its mostly parents and not so much not yet mamas like me, but there are still plenty of shared bits of apartment living. We're (me and DP) in a 1 room studio with a small closet, no porch or deck for growing things or sitting on, and a decent kitchen (room for a small table.)

I have to go to work in far too few hours, but I'm glad to see this thread

Caroline, partner to J, post partum doula, kitchen manager, aspiring midwife, soon to be nursing student, mama to my furbaby, someday a mama to not so furry munchkins, G-d willing
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#14 of 29 Old 11-21-2009, 03:18 PM
 
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i live in an apartment in MEXICO CITY!!! not many green areas here...fortunatelly we have 3 parks nearby, metrobus to get around and walking distance to everything. we make the best of what we have. i would love a garden, or a beach... but we are thankful for what we have at this moment.
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#15 of 29 Old 11-24-2009, 02:29 AM
 
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Subbing to this thread, we're downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment. No kids, but we do have two puppies that will be nearing 60 pounds in a couple of months!

Newly single, chronically sleep deprived mama to my little wild thang wild.gif, born 11/17/12 

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#16 of 29 Old 11-24-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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I wish I could join you!! We moved from a 2br condo to a house a couple of months ago and if I could go back I would in a heartbeat!!!

Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
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#17 of 29 Old 11-24-2009, 06:33 AM
 
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Subbing.

DH, DS (2.5 years old), DD (7 months old) and myself live in our 2 bedroom apartment in a high density inner-city suburb.

The upsides:
- 5 playgrounds within easy walking distance
- FANTASTIC parklands across the road
- we can walk to absolutely everything ... shops, libraries, public transport, council, health services, cinemas, parks .... everything we ever need.
- our friends all live within 10-15 mins walk to us
- helps us keep our lives free of clutter and excess possessions
- no upkeep of lawns or external areas
- I don't need to spend much time cleaning

The downsides:
- no laundry (there are shared washing machines, but no clothes dryers)
- we live on the 4th floor, no elevator
- our space is very small for our extremely energetic toddler son, and a normal amount of toys on the floor makes the apartment looks like a bomb has ripped through it
- no yard or outdoor area to do messy play (water, sand etc)

Mothering my 4yo DS and 1yo DD
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#18 of 29 Old 11-24-2009, 07:17 AM
 
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Do any of you have noise issues in your apartments?

I live in a four family flat downstairs and the people upstairs are so loud. I can hear their every step and they have loud sex at 2 am. It is so loud I can hear it at the front of the apartment! So there is no way we can sleep through it.

On the flip side I have kids here all the time and I know we are loud to them. I feel like I go out of my way always keeping the kids quiet but I am starting to wonder how much I should do really to quiet them all the time. I do not want to be a nuisance but I also do not want to stress over the kids making a racket if the upstairs neighbor can't be bothered to remove her heels before stomping around above us all night when she comes home drunk. :/

I do love the area we live in. I could never afford a house here. The grocery store and target are a block away. three great parks all right here. There are buses to all over the city. I can't beat the location but I do envy the families who have houses here. They can be loud and have fun and not get disturbed in the middle of the night.

Jenn- Geeky momma to one fabulous Tiny Diva (10/27/08)
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#19 of 29 Old 11-25-2009, 03:06 AM
 
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What do you do when you feel the urge to move but just can't yet? I'm just pretty much done with this place. I'm ttc number two and I'd like more space, be it a garage or storage space or a three bedroom. I'm tired of my landlord, she's pretty shady. Things are starting to get worn out and getting anything fixed/replaced around here is a pain. It's going to be at least a few months and up to a year before I can move on though.
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#20 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 03:51 AM
 
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I'm in the city. Right now me and my SO share an apt. with roommates. We're looking at 1 bedroom apartments in the same area we live in now.
I am early pregnancy and I have been having issues with roomies since I've been here, and now their even bigger than before. (Two very untidy, unsanitary, and smelly men. That are not my SO)

happyhats -- I wish I could move tomorrow!! We're trying to save up for a deposit to get out ASAP.

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#21 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 06:14 AM
 
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What do you do when you feel the urge to move but just can't yet?
My DH and I sat down and wrote a list of pro's and con's of our current living situation. Then we looked at the cons, and put stars beside the ones that we could actually do something about (even if that something was asking our landlord to make changes). Some things we're going to implement are asking for block-out curtains, asking for permission to put up extra shelving, buying a kitchen island to create more space, buying some adhesive (suction-cap) storage options for our tiny bathroom etc. Some things we can't change .... the endless flights of stairs, lack of internal laundry, lack of third bedroom or garage etc. But we decided that if we moved, there would undoubtedly be things that we didn't like which were also unfixable, so it was better to stay here where we knew the score and could make some positive changes.

Mothering my 4yo DS and 1yo DD
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#22 of 29 Old 11-29-2009, 10:25 AM
 
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Do any of you have noise issues in your apartments?
Ha! I have an entire thread in Personal growth dedicated to my noise issue. It's titled" I need help having a talk with my neighbor" if you're interested in reading. They're getting better but we had the issue with chickie wearing heels late and early too. And they'd drop stuff at 1 am, LOUD stuff .

We like our apt. and the area though and can't really afford a move right now.

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#23 of 29 Old 12-03-2009, 12:17 PM
 
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New to the Motheringcommunity and also an apt/condo dweller in the 2nd most densely populated area in the United States . . . West New York, NJ We live in a 750 sq feet railroad apt; the second one thing is out of place, everything is out of place. Fast to clean, but easy to mess up. ugh. On the plus side . . . I get cabin fever so easily that we are always out and about. Living in an urban area has lots to offer: museums, science centers (DS's absolute favorite) playgrounds, festivals, libraries, puppet shows, theaters, etc. However, I do wish he had the opportunity to run after chickens every once in a while.
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#24 of 29 Old 12-29-2009, 10:14 PM
 
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I'm new to this forum and am almost a mama. My guess date is Jan. 6th for baby to debut. We also just moved two weeks ago into a 2 bedroom condo in a new town, and because of tax rebate reasons we really need to stay here 3 years. My concern has been the lack of yard or even sidewalk/driveway for him in a couple of years when he's active and wants to run and play outside. I do have two small dogs which are at my parents - it's difficult to take them out here, especially in the winter while I'm feeling vulnerable to falling on the ice and I'm so close to baby's birth date. I'm looking forward to hearing and sharing the positive - that's always helpful - and any problem-solving of course.

Love Monkey (LM) Mama with 2 Maltese LM's & DS LM to arrive any day now!
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#25 of 29 Old 01-01-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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I live in a city where there are more apartments than family homes, and buying a house within city limits is prohibitively expensive for us. I grew up in a house, but I've only ever lived in apartments since I left that house.

We were lucky in our old place that the floors blocked footsteps really well or that our neighbor were just really tolerant, because DS ran around all hours of the day and night and we never got a complaint. We now live in our new apartment (which we love ), but we have to be very careful about making noise at night because the walls are much thinner. Thankfully we are on the ground floor, so no worried about footsteps, although we can't hear our upstairs neighbors all that well and we are probably the loudest family in the house (we're really not that loud, we just tend to stay up really late).
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#26 of 29 Old 04-09-2010, 10:17 PM
 
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2 br condo in the 'burbs here. with 2 kids. the latest issue of mothering has a great article about making the most of small spaces.

Lauren (33), writer, recovering academic, WOHM to a highly sensitive child (Robin, Feb '08) and mellow little Holly (Jan '10). Newly diagnosed Bipolar I. rolleyes.gif
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#27 of 29 Old 04-20-2010, 12:05 PM
 
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we moved to a condo in a very "green" area. we are just off a lake, and people canoe, swim and fish there regularly.
we have neighbors on either side with young tots/babies. so i'm sure they dont even notice the noise we make, and they are respectful of noise after 7pm, which other neighbors here are not. wahoo!
we have the potential for a small garden in front (verrrry small)
and a deck big enough for a sandbox and small patio set. we are happy to have ANY space at all! we are also surrounded by woods. i was gifted one of those plastic baby swings that you attach to a tree... but there arent any trees short enough that i can get away with "touching". major gripe, as our condo fee pays the maintenance on said trees and i think i should be able to swing my kiddo on one.
i have a HUGE problem with the mail. community mailboxes with 25 ppl to a shard area, all unlocked. sometimes i order expensive things and pay extra for it to go UPS just so it's at my door!
i havent really made friends though. almost all WOHMs here.
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#28 of 29 Old 04-20-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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Hey HiItsMeSandy,

We're almost neighbors. I live in Ridgefield. I guess you would call it a suburb, but it is a part of a huge metroplex which includes New York City. So it's a suburb within a city area. Our little boro is very small. We don't even have a grocery store here. We have to go to neighboring boros to shop. We are not likely to move from here because we have rent control. My husband has lived in this apartment since he was 8 months old. I hate it. The neighbors are not friendly at all. The few families that speak English are older retired people. The families with children don't speak English and stay to themselves. My son has no one to play with. We have a huge front yard and a small back yard but we are not allowed to use it. If you leave anything outside the apartment, the management steals it. They say it takes away from the ambiance of the building. (What ambiance, sterile, dull, unlived in look?) We are not allowed to plant anything. A few years ago people were planting in the back area. So the management put poison stakes in the ground making it worthless. I try to plant things in pots on the back steps, but management will frequently steal them as well. Last summer my son had is bike chained up to the back steps. My neighbor heard something and came out to see the maintenance people trying to saw off the lock. She told them it was a little boys bike and they told her it was garbage. Fortunately they couldn't get the lock off. When we came home she came over and told us so we could bring it in before they came back. We are fortunate that there is a park and tennis courts a block down the street. There is a pool as well but the city charges over $300 a year for membership.

I guess the up side is that we are ten minutes from New York City and all it has to offer. But I would much rather live in the middle of ten acres somewhere. We don't have to do any lawn care or snow removal. But I can't plant very much. I can't compost. I have to sew on a corner of the dining room table. Actually our table is used for everything. I sew on it. I make candles on it. My husband and son build rockets on it. DH has taken apart computers on it. About the only thing we don't do is eat on it. We have to drive for everything. Grocery stores are two towns over in either direction. The Children's Museum is 15 miles away. There is a library in town that has a decent children's department. I really really hate it here.

We also have the problem of noisy neighbors. Sometimes when it is really quiet they will drop something that makes me jump out of the chair. Or they stand out on the front porch and smoke so the smoke comes right in our windows. Also the parking lot is at the bottom of the hill and our apartment is at the top of the hill. Since I have disabilities, it is really hard to walk up the hill. Sometimes I will sit in my car for half an hour just trying to get up the energy to walk up the hill. And there are half as many parking places as there are apartments. If you are not home by five o'clock you odn't get a parking space. Sometimes you have to park three or four blocks away. I can't walk that far so I don't go out at night unless my husband is home. When I come in late, he will move his car so I can park in his parking space. Or we go out together. Then he will drop me off in the parking lot and go look for parking.

Kathi

:::Mom to 5 adult children and 8 year old, Dakota "Why do they call it homeschool, we're never at home?"
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#29 of 29 Old 04-23-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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I live in a 2 bd/2 br condo...bought it when I was 20 didn't think I was gonna have a kid at 23! It is very crowded...but I have a good job here and my significant other is in school so we are kind of in place here for awhile. The worst thing is that there are some really undesirable people here where the owners have rented to sketchy people, one couple had the cops there like 2-3 times/ month. Ridiculous! Have tried to plant smallish gardens in the flower bed area around my unit, they don't do a lot of upkeep so you can kinda do whatever. Not enough sun for veggies, mostly do flowers and herbs.

We have a little playground and a pool, so that is great for my 3 year old...hoping to move to a house in 3 years or so when we can better afford it.

Social Worker Mom to a fantastic four year old nocirc.gif
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut
Never put a period where God has put a comma!
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