It is also fun being on Eastern time in a Central time city: being up, showered, walked, and eating breakfast at a quarter to eight.
Matt and I sat on the bed and played cards until the time arrived for me to leave for the big apartment hunt. I found an apartment finding company that is free for the searcher and is paid by the apartment management company. You meet the agent at the office, go over the possible options, then the agent drives your around in his car to look at the properties. I had the diaper bag packed out with extra diapers, food, a sun hat, and a trail mix snack for me. I was wearing Abigail in the sling and carrying the car seat when I had my melt down. I was nervous about being robbed on the train, nervous about not being able to find a place, nervous about choosing a place that was too expensive in order to get the location I wanted. Over the course of the week, in the time following my having booked the tickets and hotel, two companies and a few individual appointments bailed on me, so my nervousness was heightened by the fact that this company was my last hope. In a truly chivalrous move, my husband decided to come with me. I was marred in guilt for making Matt skip studying after I promised to try my hardest to leave him be for several blocks before Matt made clear in no uncertain terms that he had made a choice to spend the day apartment hunting with me and it would all be okay.
So we took the train to the northern side of the city, didn't get robbed, and managed to keep Abigail from melting down besides the fact that we were traveling through the big city during nap time. After going over my requirements and preferences, the agent pulled up two listings. Two. In all of Chicago, two listings fulfilled our meager requests (price, 2 bedrooms, cat friendly, safe neighborhood - that's it). The agent drove us to the two listings, which were in one building. The two small units (1st and 3rd floor) were down tall, narrow hallways and had awkward floor plans. One was still occupied and had not been cleaned in quite a while. We climbed over piles of clothes and surveyed stacks of dirty dishes in the hot units with squeaky floors. The only thing the places had going for them was that they were in the neighborhood I wanted. The agent kept saying, "Isn't it great to have options!" and "These units are huge!" Options? Two units is having options? When I was searching for places online, I had found tons of places! So many places I was having trouble narrowing them down! As we made our way back to the main office, the agent explained the frustrating truth: Chicago is experience a huge, unexpected rise in demand for rental units. Un-rivaled in any other big city at this time and with no clear explanation, apartments are flying off the market at unbelievable rates. Apparently last Saturday, then rented out 112 units. In one day. Frustrated by the lack of success, the 100+ degree temperatures, and getting in and out of a parked car with a baby, I did a quick searching using Matt's cell phone and pulled up a unit I had seen on their website the previous night that met our criteria. I knew as soon as we walked in the door that I wanted the unit. The layout was great, the location was perfect, and the price was significantly below our limit. We scurried back to the main office for the third time, and as the agent returned from dropping off the keys, he gave us the bad news: in the time it took us to view the unit and drive back to the office, someone else had scooped it up.
The agent found two new listings while we were at the office and we rushed out. One of the units was a good second. We made it back to the office, returned the keys, and filled out the paperwork without any word as to another renter. It is possible that someone else got an application in before us, but we should find out tomorrow for sure.
At this point, it was about 3:30, neither of us having eaten since 7:45am (I forgot about my trail mix snack), and both of us dripping in sweat. We had numerous frustrating key problems, including the agent forgetting the keys once and us making another trip back to the office, the keys repeatedly not working during the first ten tries, and impossibly difficult lock boxes. I fed Abigail in the car between trips, and she caught maybe two ten minute naps all day. If we loose this unit, I have no idea what we are going to do. I spoke with the manager and she said right now is the perfect time to be looking for an early August move-in date, so if we do loose it, I think I will have to buy more train tickets, book another hotel, drop another couple hundred dollars, and come back to Chicago again next week. Oi. I have my fingers crossed and offer up prayers pretty much every hour.
We cooled off at a nearby sandwich shop and came back to the hotel for some much needed rest while it rained. This evening, we set off for Navy Pier, a touristy place about a mile from the hotel.
It was a wonderful end to the day, one with lots of exercise to work off our annoyance, lots of family time together, and that relaxed no-responsibility feeling that usually accompanies a trip for pleasure rather than business.
Somebody's starting to get a few curls:
Carrying Abigail can be very difficult, sometimes. You know how when kids fall asleep, they are pure dead weight? Well kids with Down syndrome have low muscle tone, so they tend to avoid using their muscles whenever possible, which means Abigail is almost all dead weight almost all the time. She hates using her abs in particular; we call her Little Baby No Abs, in fact. So this is how she looks, pretty much all the time:
Many-a days have my wrists and forearms hurt from carrying this kid long distances. This is another reason why I love having a sling handy.
Our train leaves the big city tomorrow just after 4pm. Matt plans on spending the day studying, particularly catching up after missing most of today, so Abigail and I will have the afternoon to ourselves. I'm not really sure what we're going to do or where we're going to go. But I'm sure we'll think of something : )