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So, the smoke got so bad on Saturday, that we spent Sunday night in a hotel. The landlord has been very understanding, and hired one of the building's maintenance men to plaster the walls behind the convectors/seal up all the spaces where smoke might be coming. He came and sealed things up last night (although the job isn't completely finished--he still needs to caulk/plaster around the edges of the convectors, because they were not installed completely flush with the walls--he's doing this tonight).<br><br>
We went to bed and had a pretty restful night--didn't wake up to smoke smell, didn't have horrible sore throats in the morning. Were feeling pretty upbeat...<br><br>
Of course, starting at around 7 am, we started smelling the smoke again. It doesn't pervade the room like it used to, but you can still smell it when you go near the convectors and breathe in. I don't know how "bad" that much smoke is for us. Our stuff doesn't smell like smoke, I think, but if we turned the heat on, the air would be blowing into the room, not just leaking from the heaters. My chest certainly feels a little tight when I'm in the apartment, but I also don't know how much of it (if any) is psychosomatic.<br><br>
So, we're looking for other apartments, but it's proving to be a huge logistical nightmare (to say nothing of a financial one, see below). We've been looking for a week and can't find anything so far. The DC rental market is actually pretty small, and, because we have a dog, we're automatically excluded from the vast majority of apartments. We don't have a car (and I don't know how to drive, anyway), which means we need to be reasonably accessible to public transportation and necessities (supermarket, drug store). Most of what we've seen has been pretty crappy, and the one apartment we LOVED was a walk-up (our elderly dog can't do stairs at all, and I'm not strong enough to manage a grocery cart or stroller up three flights). In retrspect, I almost wish we had taken it, because we haven't seen anything else that seems even remotely reasonable.<br><br>
To make things even more complicated: dh has a very prestigious fellowship for next year--the kind of opportunity that basically transforms his career. But we don't know how much he'll be making (this is the sort of thing that, when you get the offer, you simply accept it). There's a reasonable chance that he'll be taking a pay cut--and we already took a significant pay cut for THIS year's clerkship. Long term, doing these things makes sense financially--he already has the offer for the year after next, and it's way more than he would be making w/o the two years of clerkship/fellowship, besides being work he's totally excited about--but it does put us in a bit of a tight spot in terms of paying for a move and even figuring out what we can afford.<br><br>
Honestly, everything is so complicated and stressful right now, between the prospect of a move itself and currently living in a "toxic" apartment, I feel like I'm at my wit's end. I was hoping to spend my last ten weeks finishing up some long-overdue schoolwork and setting everything up for the new arrival, and instead I'm running from crappy apartment to crappy apartment, getting more and more discouraged.<br><br>
Argh, sorry for the pity party...I just needed to vent. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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Ug Amanda, I'm so sorry that you're dealing with this ongoing nightmare! Clearly your dh is doing the right thing though it will make things very tight for the next year. Give the rental thing a little time. We rent with dogs and it always seems at first like nothing is out there, but with spring here, and schools letting out soon, things will start to turn over. My only real advice, which always helps me at least some, is to just believe that the right situation will present itself to you. Hugs and good luck, it's not fair that you're dealing with this type of stress now!
 

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ahhhh - sounds like the last thing I would want to be doing as well. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> - sending you incredible apartment vibes!!!!!!!!
 

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IT may be worth it to seal off the vents, buy air purifiers and electric heaters. I bought an air purifier for our bedroom recently and it is amazing. I have alergies in the spring-but like to sleep with the window open a little. So far so good with the purifier. The ionic breeze is one my sister used so she could live in her last house with pets it helped a lot. I know you are not dealing as much with allergies as pollutants-but the purifiers help with both.<br><br>
much luck to you.<br>
gretchen
 

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Hi...just jumping in from another ddc to offer a few suggestions...hope that's ok.<br>
Have you looked at managed properties in the d.c. area (properties owned individually but managed by a realty company?) <a href="http://rentals.realtor.com/FindHome/RentalsSearch.asp?poe=realtor" target="_blank">http://rentals.realtor.com/FindHome/...sp?poe=realtor</a> is a good place to look for those.<br><br>
Also, I'm not sure what your financial situation is (if you can borrow money from family or not) or how long you plan on staying in the area (over 2 years or not) but when we lived in d.c. we bought a condo. We bought at a time when the market was much lower than it is now but financially speaking it really, really paid off for us. Owning for a short period of time is smart because while you live there you are essentially paying yourself back and when you move out you typically make a profit (at least in that market) but if you don't you typically wouldn't lose more than 10% which is less than the amount of money one would have spent on rent for 2 years. For example, we bought a 2 bedroom, 2 bath 700sq. foot condo for $84,900 with 20% down that we borrowed from dh's parents. Our mortgage was $570 per month plus $190 for condo fees. We sold it 2 years later at $151,900. So that after paying back dh's parents we profited $52,000. Not bad, imo. To a person that might be risk averse this is slightly riskier than renting, but the d.c. market is a great place to try this kind of investing.<br><br>
Lastly have you considered d.c. suburbs that have easy metro access and a pedestrian friendly style of living (like dowtown silver spring or takoma park.)<br><br>
Best of luck to you!
 
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