Our Move

You guys…this has been the craziest week of probably my whole life.

(FYI: this will be a very lengthy post.)

To start with, I have to say that I recommend not doing a lease takeover.  There’s always the possibility you’d have a better experience than us, and that would be awesome.  Even though there are pros to a lease takeover (such as not having to worry about first & last month’s rent/security deposit, etc), there are definitely cons.

For instance, the previous residents of our new apartment completely screwed us over.

The frustration with them began the week of our move, when the resident absolutely stopped communicating with me.  We had already seen the apartment (with rose-colored glasses for sure) and been approved through the office, and then she just stopped even looking at my messages.  She still hasn’t looked at them and we’ve been moved in for a week now!

Since it was a lease takeover, I was trying to communicate with her about when/how we would get the keys, when their utilities would be shut off since the office required our utilities to be activated before we moved in, etc.  And, she just ignored me and completely checked out of the conversation.  She basically abandoned the apartment–even flew off to Florida–before we even signed the lease.

Random, but Zelda loved all the boxes as we packed to move!

The frustration continued when it was the day before our move and I still hadn’t heard anything from her and this girl’s roommate was supposed to drop the keys off at the office for us to pick up the morning of our move.  All day, we kept calling and checking in, and yet there were no keys.  We asked the office to contact them since I didn’t have her roommate’s info or anything.  Ten minutes before closing, we called the office again and they let us know that apparently the roommate wasn’t moving OUT until the next day–the day of OUR move!  So, lots of stress and frustration and we had already reserved the U-Haul and everything because we all agreed (and signed!) that our lease began on that day.

Needless to say, we had to rearrange our plans for the move because we didn’t want to waste anyone’s time since we had no idea when we would even get the keys (or how).  We still picked up the U-Haul that morning since it was previously reserved, and Joshua’s family and a coworker helped us pack everything.

We arrived at our new complex at about two in the afternoon, and when we went to the office, they still didn’t have the keys.  By that time, just gonna be honest, Joshua and I were royally pissed.  We decided to just knock on the apartment door.

Thankfully, they answered and we explained that we were supposed to be moving in today and asked when we could get the keys.  Just another hour, we were assured.  I gave her my number to make sure we would have direct contact.  Relieved that we finally had an answer, we walked back to the car and ran out to get some lunch.

By three or three-thirty, she texted me and handed over the keys.  That was supposed to be the end of the issues, but that really was only the beginning.  We walked inside and stood there in horror, staring at the apartment.

They left it FILTHY.  Like, you guys, they lived there for three years and I’m convinced they never cleaned an inch of it.  It was disgusting.  The ceiling and baseboards were BLACK with built up grime and dust.  The walls were splattered from top to bottom with mud, dirt, and grime and who knows what else.  Cobwebs hung in numerous corners.  Grease coated the wall behind the stove and the backsplash.  The bathroom was nauseatingly disgusting and there were strands of hair stuck everywhere–even in the oven.  The yard was piled with three years of dog poop and trash.

Who leaves an apartment like that?!   I don’t care if you don’t have to deal with the apartment complex holding you responsible.  You just don’t leave that filth for other people!

When we had originally toured it, I at least noticed the place was dusty, but it hadn’t been a concern for me because I thought surely they would clean it–that’s just what you do.

I haven’t even gotten to the damage yet.  There was a gaping hole in the bathroom wall from a towel rod being torn out, which I had asked for them to fix before we moved in.  They assured us it would be fixed, obviously lying.  There was a six-inch hole in the bedroom that they simply plastered over instead of patching it, so it simply sank into the hole.

They damaged/bent the dead bolt so we literally got locked out of/inside our apartment until we could get emergency maintenance to fix it because it simply wouldn’t unlock.  Beyond that, the bedroom blinds are trashed with nearly half a side missing (something we wouldn’t have seen because she had the curtains closed when we toured), there are numerous big nail holes and other cracked and spackled places that we never saw when we first toured the apartment.  Admittedly, we weren’t looking at the details, but rather, the big-picture.  (Though to our credit, I did ask to tour it again so we could look more specifically for damage, but the resident stopped responding to me.  With a lease takeover, the complex automatically makes us responsible for all existing damage, so we have a lot to fix.  No wonder these residents did a lease takeover instead of finishing out their lease with the complex so they wouldn’t be accountable for their actions.)

We had no choice but to scrub every inch of the apartment.  Before we could even move our things in, we had to first spend hours scrubbing the living room so just had a clean place to put them.  It was dark before we finished unloading the U-Haul.

I promise I had fully planned on taking pictures of the empty apartment to post on my blog for the exciting moving adventures.  However, that was definitely not happening with how disgusting they left it.

This entire week has been spent scrubbing the apartment from top to bottom, inside and out.  I have discovered that bleach water is literally the best thing EVER for getting anything  off.  There are numerous areas of grime that multi-surface cleaner couldn’t even touch but it would come off with a scrubbing sponge and bleach water.  Bleach water also puts my mind at ease because now I know everything is sanitized.

We finally tackled the yard this Saturday and it was even more disgusting than I imagined.  They had a full trash can of poop and trash outside, yet, the yard also had layers upon layers of dog poop and trash–like they just gave up even trying years ago when the trash can got filled.  We started with filling a kitchen size garbage bag just with trash and random dog poop.  Then, we went out and bought shovels and work gloves.  For the next several hours, we shoveled and dug and filled fourteen garbage bags with dog poop.  FOURTEEN.  They were ridiculously heavy and I’m not sure my arms have ever felt more sore than after that.  There was even dog poop in the fire pit! -_-  Joshua’s coworker has recommended we pour hot bleach water on the dirt to kill any bacteria leftover from the poop so our dog doesn’t possibly get sick.  Do you think that is a good idea?  I’ve never heard of putting bleach on dirt, but the logic makes sense to me.

On the upside, the apartment and yard is now sparkling clean.  ❤  We are considering throwing the grill out since it was never cared for, covered, or maintained, so it’s corroded, rusted, and just not safe to cook on.  We plan on, instead, purchasing a $70 brand new charcoal-grill and calling it good, lol.  (However, Joshua’s coworker is confident he can get it looking brand new again and completely disinfected, so if they want to put in the work, we might just keep it.)  I guess we will see what happens.

Even with all this, we love our new apartment.  It’s SO much better than our previous one and it actually feels like we can make a home here instead of at our studio–which, let’s be honest, isn’t anything more than a glorified room.  I also love that this apartment doesn’t have any carpet, which reduces pet damage. 😉

We still have the living room to finish organizing.  We found out that we can’t put any indoor objects in the outdoor storage because there’s all kinds of spiders and creatures in there and I wouldn’t trust bringing anything back into the apartment.  It makes for a great place for outdoor items, however, like shovels, firewood, charcoal, a trash can, etc.

I am totally LOVING having a washer and dryer and dishwasher. ❤ ❤ ❤  It may have taken us five days to fill the dishwasher between the two of us, but those five days were the easiest days of dishes ever!

On top of everything with the apartment this week, I found out that my current project with my job is ending, so I’ve had to start training for a new one.  We also had to switch internet companies because our previous one didn’t get hardly anything at our new place.  That’s actually a good thing, though, because we are now saving money.

Oh, and about three days after we moved in, the management for the complex changed, so we haven’t been able to set up anything for paying rent or seeing our bills, which has added stress to the existing situation due to it just being the 1st of the month.

It’s funny, when I think about it, this has been one of the craziest and most stressful weeks in my life, and my face broke out in response.  Yet, I’m just so happy and excited to be here at this apartment!  I pretty much despise the previous residents with every fiber of my being, but that doesn’t diminish my joy of having this apartment.  Weirdly enough, all the cleaning for this apartment has kind of made it feel more like ours.  It’s a fixer-upper rental, lol.  I told Joshua that for all the work and money we are putting into this place, I sure hope we can keep renting here for years to make it worthwhile, haha!

I can’t even express adequately how awesome it has been to have a yard for letting Kona out!  It’s absolutely amazing to not have to walk her out whenever she has to go–especially in the early morning and at night.  On that note, we have such plans for this yard.  We are hoping to get solar string lights to hang along the fence, as well as put in a kind of roll-out walkway for the grill & by the gate to reduce bringing in mud and dirt.  We have to build up the fire pit a bit more and I have plans for a tiny garden this summer. ❤

Kona and Zelda have adjusted well to the move, though apparently Zelda now thinks there aren’t any rules since this is a new place.  We had so few rules before anyway (I mean, what cat truly listens?), but she at least knew she really wasn’t supposed to get on the stove or lick out dishes left on the stove.  Now, any existing rules are out the window and she is just all over the place.  It cracks me up.  That’s a cat for you, I guess!  Oh and even though they are adjusting well, it’s easy to tell they miss carpet.  They find anything to lay on to avoid the hard floor!

As for our improvements so far, we have re-patched the hole in the bedroom wall (which was already on the list, but Kona made it a priority by eating through the existing spackle, the bad dog) and patching the hole in the bathroom.  We still have to texturize them, but at least they aren’t gaping holes any longer.

We also replaced the shower head, which wasn’t damaged, but it just didn’t work well.  It basically didn’t have any water pressure so it took like five minutes to just rinse shampoo from my hair.  I bought a handheld sprayer with great reviews off Amazon for $16 and Joshua just installed it!  I’m super excited about it, especially since it will work great for bathing Kona as well.

If you made it to the end, I’m super impressed!  I wanted to share this with all of you, but I also needed to work through it all and chronicle it.  I’m a writer at heart, and writing helps me sort through events and emotions–especially when it’s been so much happening at once.

I hope all is well with you guys and I’m working to catch up on blogs whenever I have the chance.  🙂

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤


We’re Moving?!

If you have been reading through my blog for the last few months, you’ve probably noticed that I keep talking about moving.  Back in December or so, I was very excited thinking about moving when our lease is up in 2018, yet in January, I talked about how we pretty much decided not to move due to finances and simply rearranged our apartment to make it easier to stay.

Well, our plans changed again.  While I feel kind of annoyed at how back and forth we’ve been about this, we honestly always wanted to move, and we were just trying to make the right decision for our situation.  I’m reminding myself that nothing was set in stone, so it’s totally fine to change our minds. 😉  Through a series of events, we’ve come to realize that moving is definitely in the cards for this year and everything has aligned rather quickly.

In fact, we have taken over a lease at another complex and will be moving this Saturday, the 24th!!

Now we’re just looking for a lease takeover on our apartment, but we’re moving regardless of someone taking it over or not.  (We’re not breaking our lease, just not going to live there for the last couple payments.)

We are so excited about this new place, you guys.  Let’s look at the stats of the differences between our current and new apartments:

Current Apartment:

  • 450 sq. ft.
  • $1176/mo
  • No outdoor balcony/patio/yard.
  • No storage.
  • No dishwasher.
  • No washer/dryer (or hook-ups).
  • Utilities included.
  • Studio floor plan (aka no bedroom).
  • No A/C or air ventilation since there are two windows on the same wall.
  • Non-smoking building with a smoking neighbor that the complex does nothing about (aka the smoke comes into our apartment!)
  • No parcel locker
  • 15 minutes to hubby’s work

New Apartment:

  • 611 sq. ft
  • $1130/mo
  • Private fenced yard (perfect for our dog, plus it comes with a grill and fire pit!)
  • Private outdoor storage unit
  • Dishwasher
  • Washer & dryer in-unit
  • Utilities separate.
  • 1 bedroom
  • A/C!!
  • I don’t know about non-smoking, but the windows are set-up differently so neighbors can’t stand directly in front of them. 😉
  • Parcel locker
  • 15 minutes to hubby’s work

Any tips for moving?!  This is our first move together!  To be honest, I will say that I’m slightly saddened at the thought of leaving this apartment, not because it’s great or anything, but because this has been our first home together.  Still, it will be even better than what we have now, so that’s what I’m reminding myself of.  🙂

We’ve reserved a U-Haul for Saturday, and have already packed up a few things, but still have the kitchen and other random items to pack.  We have set up a forward for our address, contacted our internet and insurance, and called about activating utilities.  Can you think of anything we are missing??

Thanks guys!!  I can’t wait to take you along this adventure with us. 🙂

Until next time,

-Tialla ❤

Halloween Decorations!

I want to share with you all how Joshua & I decorated our apartment door and porch for Halloween!  I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks since we totally decorated the last week of September.  I’m sure our neighbors couldn’t tell we were excited for Halloween at all.  What can I say, I love October and getting into the holiday mood, and Michael’s had decorations 50% off, lol.

We bought a glass lantern with a fun skull design, a little plaque that says “Come in and sit for a brew,” and an ornamental stack of books that totally gave me a Harry Potter vibe with “Curses,” “Spells,” and “Potions.”  Actually, all of the props felt like Harry Potter inspired to me and that was definitely intentional.  😉 #Potterhead  We’re nerds, and I feel like Harry Potter-anything is always acceptable.  In fact, I just made Pumpkin Juice last night using this recipe and it was beyond tasty!  I was pleasantly surprised because “pumpkin juice” doesn’t necessarily sound appetizing.  I figured, though, it had to be since the characters were always drinking it!

We also picked up three pumpkins on sale and wrapped fairy lights around the middle one.

Halloween was only something my parents let us celebrate for a couple of years.  When I was about seven or eight, they decided to no longer do anything with Halloween, and they would even turn the lights out to avoid anyone coming to the door.  They didn’t want to celebrate Halloween because it was such a “dark” holiday, yet we always spent Halloween in the dark to avoid it.  #Ironic

Anyway, my husband and I both enjoy Halloween.  It’s fun and I get super excited once October 1st hits.  Time to enjoy the creepy things, the freaky things, dress up and for once in the year not take things so seriously.  2015 was my first time watching The Nightmare Before Christmas & The Corpse Bride, can you believe it?  Also, Halloween is like the epitome of “let’s celebrate everything Harry Potter,” which I’m always down for!  We also ordered from Amazon a Harry Potter sign for our door and it’s perfect.  We love it so much, we are considering keeping it up all year after the holidays.

Since we started dating in 2015, our tradition has been to watch “The Corpse Bride” on Halloween night.  This year, we seriously considered handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, but then we realized we have class that night, which doesn’t get out until 9:15 PM.  We will just celebrate around class with watching The Corpse Bride as soon as my hubby gets home from work (early mornings means early evenings, yay!), with glasses of chilled Butterbeer in hand.  (Totally making this recipe.  I’ve never made it before so I don’t know what to expect.  Have any of you made it??)  We don’t have costumes for class unfortunately (#thebudgetlife), but it will be fun if anyone else dresses up.

Of course we had to get the $1 decoration tape for “Keep Out, Haunted House” and “Zombie Zone.”  It doesn’t go with the Harry Potter theme, but I like it regardless.  We wrapped it around our door as you can see in the above picture, and also across our window.  This picture was hard to get because we have trees in front of our apartment and in one way or another, there’s always shadows.

In case you can’t tell with the shadows, we hung a broom on the window trim.  I think it was initially intended for a witch, but it also goes with our Harry Potter theme.  I wrote “Firebolt” in gold Sharpie and drew the Deathly Hallows symbol on the handle to give it a little something extra.

All in all, we are really happy with how our decorations turned out!  Our apartment complex is having a decoration contest, so it’s been a lot of fun walking around and looking at what people have put up.  I don’t think we’ll win any prizes, but it has still been fun to decorate!

What are you doing for Halloween?  Going to any parties?  Are you dressing up?

Have a spooktacular holiday! 😉

-Tialla ❤

Carpet Repair

Back in my post introducing our fur-baby, Zelda, I mentioned a post would soon come regarding how she tore up our carpet.  I completely forgot I had mentioned that until I recently read through the post again.  So, friends, let me tell you about what our adorable baby girl did. 😉

This cutie?

We adopted Zelda at the end of November, and we soon discovered she did not like it whenever we closed the bathroom door.  Note that we live in a studio apartment, so the bathroom door is literally the only door in the apartment to separate rooms.  Anytime we closed the bathroom door with her on the outside, she scratched at the carpet and tore at it relentlessly.  Somehow, in her cat brain, she thought she could dig her way through?

Damage soon began to show on the carpet, so we decided to bring her into the bathroom whenever either of us showered, but she wouldn’t have that either.  The moment she realized she was “trapped,” she would yowl without end.  Turns out, Zelda needs her options.  If she’s in the bathroom, she wants out.  If she’s outside the bathroom, she wants in.

Unfortunately, her behavior continued even if I barely stepped into the bathroom to pee, so within just a couple of weeks, our carpet at the door was ruined.  This kitten.


We tried stopping her in various ways, such as yelling at her, spraying no-scratch stuff on the carpet, trying to glue it down, but to no avail.  Once her mind was set, nothing was a match against her claws.  The carpet wasn’t even just unraveled–it was unraveled and separated from the padding below.

Thankfully, we at last found a makeshift solution with a thin enough rug to fit under the door to cover the carpet.  The rug worked to prevent further damage, because she just tore at it instead of the carpet.  We didn’t really know what to do with the existing damage, and we planned on re-signing our lease for the year, so we put it on the back-burner.  Wasn’t that what our pet deposit was for anyway?

However, with August came some major issues with our neighbor (who has continually given us issues since we moved here in July 2016) and we requested to switch apartments.  At that point, we focused again on the carpet damage and brainstormed solutions.

After looking into what our pet deposit covered in our lease, we found out we were indeed responsible.  Apparently pet deposits are simply to allow the animal in the apartment, not any damage from the pet.  It sucks–and I know that’s just life as a renter–but I would like to know the purpose of the pet deposit then.  Why charge $500 when it doesn’t go toward damage?  Basically, I found out that if there’s damage, they keep the $500 and then additionally charge us whatever it costs to cover damage repair.

Anyway.  Rant over, lol.

We hired an awesome carpet repair place–Northern Arizona Carpet Repair & Cleaning.  They quoted us an exact (& very reasonable) price ahead of time just from the description and photos.  The owner himself came out to fix the carpet, and threw in the metal divider free of charge just for giving them an honest 5-star review.

It was such a relief to finally have the carpet fixed!  We ended up not switching apartments, but we are glad the carpet is repaired anyway because we are planning on moving when our lease is up, so it’s one less thing to think about then.  We are extra watchful of Zelda now, and though the issue has faded since we put the rug down, when it gets colder, she will just have to deal with being trapped in the bathroom during showers.  I would much rather deal with her meowing & crying (and I’m sure she will eventually adjust) than have carpet damage again.

This cat has been crazy.  We’ve had to change the litter box twice–from using liners to without, and from a regular litter box to a huge bin because she kept peeing over the edge.  We changed her litter because she is messy and doesn’t cover her litter when she goes to the bathroom, so it smelled to high heaven with just normal litter.  She tore up the carpet, chewed through fairy lights decorating our “bedroom,” and chewed through our Christmas tree lights.  She also jumped on my lap when I was taking a drink of water once and rammed the glass into my tooth, chipping it!  Dental work fixed it, but it’ll never feel the same.  She also broke one of our drinking glasses by knocking it off my dresser.

The negatives don’t outweigh the positives, though.  It’s just part of having a pet.  She consistently melts our hearts daily.  She’s our baby girl, she’s adorable, she loves to cuddle, and she lights up our home.  Our sweet Zelda can be a brat, but she loves us and she is precious to us.  She’s hilarious, adorable, and sassy.  A dog could easily cause just as much damage.  It also majorly helps that by now, she’s matured and we’ve adjusted to each other.

How could this sweet thing cause such trouble? 😉

Have you ever had any pet damage like this?

-Tialla ❤

Apartment Hack: Damage-Free Curtains

Hello friends!

Long time no talk. 😉 My absence has mostly been because my life has been both overwhelming with job and medical stuff right now while also not giving me anything particularly interesting to blog about.  Here’s what’s gone on recently in a nutshell (aka bullet points):

  • My husband got a new job (yay! It’s his dream job!). He’ll be working as the IT Coordinator at a charter school here in town.
  • I had some seriously intense dental work done two weeks ago.  We’re talking $2k, eleven shots, and 2 1/2 hours of trauma.  We’d saved up for this treatment for seven months.  I still have to go back to fix it a little.  Not at all excited!
  • Two weeks ago as well, the maintenance required light came on in our car, so we had to take it to the mechanic which wasn’t exactly best timing budget-wise the day after the dentist.
  • I had to quit my remote job one week ago (not the one I just got in February; the one I’ve had since 2013).
  • I’m job-hunting hard core and praying somebody calls me in time before our bills are due.
  • On the same day I had to quit, I ended up in the E.R. that night due to a weird reaction connected with a herpes simplex 1 virus breakout I got in reaction to the intense dental treatment I had done.
  • If you didn’t catch that, it means an E.R. bill was generated on the same day I quit my job.  Exactly one week after we spent our savings of $2k.  Oh and it was also the day of our eleven-month wedding anniversary.
  • On Sunday, the back door of our car stopped latching.  That meant, whenever we drove, the door would just clunk open and shut randomly on curves and bumps.  We had to take it to the mechanic again and just got that fixed today, which, you know, is more $$$.

Now you’re all caught up.  Like I said, it’s been overwhelming.  But in other news, my husband and I recently put up curtains in our apartment and I want to blog about that!

For those of you who don’t know, we rent a tiny, 450 sq. ft. studio apartment, and as with most rentals, we can’t really put holes in the walls.  Because of that, living in an apartment isn’t necessarily the easiest when it comes to decorating and making the space feel like home.  However, when we realized that curtains would not only make our windows with vertical blind slats a whole lot more private, but cozy as well, we found a way to still put them up without any drilling or screws.

Command hooks are one of my favorite things ever.

I think we got the inspiration originally from Pinterest, but I honestly can’t remember.  I do know for certain, though, that we headed to Walmart and picked up black-out curtain panels (my husband is from Alaska so he likes it really dark), curtain rods, and three command hooks per window.  As with traditional curtains, it’s important to have a center command hook to hold the rod up so it doesn’t bow with the weight of the curtains.

The process was a little tricky for us to get the command hooks positioned right (we are so not naturally gifted DIYers), which meant we actually had to position this center one on the blinds itself because we didn’t really know what we were doing and put up the edge hooks first without measuring how low it was.  We don’t mind, though…I’m just glad to have the curtains and I think they make our apartment look so much more home-like!  Overall it was a simple process (and probably a walk in a park for those who do home projects and DIY all the time).  We love how they turned out!

For those of you who rent or have rented, what kind of damage-free apartment hacks have you discovered?  I’d love to know!

Until next time,

Tialla ❤