Ever since I moved to Denver in 2017 I have lived in the same 500-sq-ft apartment. I like the convenient location; it’s only two miles from my workplace so I often walked to or from work. There is a bus route two blocks away, and if I ever need to use the light rail there are rail stations only a mile away. The rent is the cheapest for its size in Denver, I think. It was completely renovated before I moved in, so the paint was fresh and the appliances, toilet and sinks were new.
Oh there are a few drawbacks too – what is life without a drawback now and then? The apartment complex used to be a motel so my front door faces the side of the yard, and my back door stares at a neighbor’s back door separated by a sidewalk to take the trash bins to the alley. The walls are chiefly plaster-covered cement blocks, so IF you can hammer a nail into it, you’d better be hanging something really lightweight. Sometimes I can hear a neighbor talking loudly in his/her apartment on either side of me, but most of the time I don’t hear a thing. Oh, and my windows are plexiglass with the old-fashioned crank-to-open feature – the only thing that wasn’t updated. Other apartments have been updated with new double-paned windows but they haven’t gotten around to mine. Probably won’t until after I eventually move out. There’s no yard but there are some pretty bold squirrels in the tree on the other side of the fence, so even a little container garden will get picked over before the first edible ripens.
Otherwise this is an ideal place for me. It’s small so housekeeping is simple. I’ve learned to consolidate items on the bookshelves for maximum effect. I’ve had to downsize and as a result, must have tossed out a few things I really wanted to keep because now I can’t find them. On the other hand, I’m currently working at home so I can further free up my closet if I need to find more space.
The kitchen is not a bad size at all for a single person, although there isn’t enough cabinet space. The radiant heat panels along two baseboards do not allow the refrigerator to move to make a handier configuration, but all the appliances are brand-spanking new. Not much counter space, but the stove is regular sized. I used to live in a house in Marfa Texas with a HUGE kitchen and a TINY stove so all in all, this works.
The bathroom is small but I like it that way. I’ve seen HGTV shows where people have these massive luxurious bathrooms and I shiver at the sight – Jeebus their heating bills must be enormous! The first month I lived here I went to the hardware store to buy some thin cedar boards, screws and small L-brackets, and threw together some simple shelving for the bathroom because – yep – nothing but the sink cabinet. I also got an over-the-tank shelf unit and use a little wooden table/footstool/ I don’t know what category it’s in, to hold my towels when I shower. The window is composed of square glass bricks with an unsightly vent in the center of the configuration. Fine; I don’t have to do any window treatments for privacy.
In hindsight I should have brought two small cedar wardrobes my mother-in-law said I could have, but I packed the moving truck by myself and couldn’t wrangle the wardrobes around the corner and up the incline to the driveway from the basement. I could have really used them, and mentally kick myself for not asking a neighbor for help. Oh well, it’s not the first error in judgment I’ve made in my life and it won’t be the last, I’m sure.
My daughter had some furniture waiting for me out here, so I didn’t have to move a bed, a dresser, a bookcase or a table and chairs. She later gave me a love seat, which is the perfect size for my little living room. I brought several small tables with me and considering I can’t have much on the walls, are handy to have. I did bring my nice drop-leaf side table, which now serves as my coffee-maker and hot pot station.
And oh lord yes, I have my Goat collection on display on some shelves that I used the last of my power drill to put the screws into the wall before the battery died. It was at that time I realized I did not pack the battery charger with it. Dammit! I also have my mother’s miniature pitcher collection on display in two CD cabinet shelves. I probably need to install some plexiglass sheets over the front of it to keep the dust off, but there are more pressing needs than that. My other hobbies are kept tidy in bins – cloth for sewing, yarn for knitting, a couple of hand-built looms for weaving. I keep most of my supplies in a plastic three-drawer system so all my beadwork and supplies are in there, too.
Home is wherever you hang your hat. I like living alone; I can do what I feel like doing when I want to do it. If I want to fix a fancy meal or just feast on a single bowl of lentils, it’s my decision. I don’t know anyone who lives nearby so I could count the number of visitors I’ve had on one hand, literally on one hand. Still, just in case someone does drop in I like to keep my place neat and tidy. Well, I do NOW. It took me DECADES to learn how to keep house properly but that is primarily because I had other priorities I deemed more important, like spending time with my children so they would never feel they were less important than scrubbing a tub. Now I enjoy doing things in my own time. Tom Waits nailed it on the head in his song Better Off Without A Wife:
I can sleep until the crack of noon/ Midnight howlin’ at the moon/ Goin’ out when I want to/ Comin’ home when I please/ Don’t have to ask permission/ If I wanna go out fishin’/ Never have to ask for the keys
I hear you, Tom.