Finding your first apartment is a bigger pain in the ass than purchasing your first car. The whole expedition of finding a livable apartment that's affordable and located in a generally young area is virtually impossible. It will also consume your life, and the experience of it is right up there with getting fisted in the ass: no matter how painful, memorable, and twisted, it just has to be experienced if you ever want to move out of your parent's house.

I may not be moving into my new place until September, but I am already looking through all of parent's stuff to save myself some money in the long run. On my days off I have taken to hoarding extra garbage bags, paper towels, and toilet paper into big Tupperware bins and stock piling them in the basement. I have about two hundred bucks of these necessities hidden behind our fake Christmas tree and plan to start stockpiling the laundry detergent and dryer sheets next. The first year on your own is the roughest-it's a matter of survival, and not having to worry about having enough paper products to wipe your ass, well, you can't put a price on that kind of comfort. 

Moving out was inevitable. My mother is a pack rat. I found a strobe light from 1992 in the back closet that she refuses to throw out-and she's EPILEPTIC! I told her, "You realize that if you ever turn that on you'll probably start to seizure and spaz yourself to death?"  Her reply, "You never know when you'll need that for a party." Yeah right, because slow motion dancing is on its way back in style.

As I squirreled away tissue products I stumbled upon my old stereo from high school. It broke my senior year and was left for dead in the basement next to a manual lawnmower and red tricycle, both of them missing their wheels. I left it out in the hallway to remind myself to throw it out, but my mom tripped over it. So when I refused to put it back in the basement where I found it, she dramatically threw it out of our second story window, confirming to our yuppie next door neighbors having a rooftop party that we belong in a trailer park and not on Chicago's Northside.

Apartment hunting is so hard though. My budget barely has room for food, much less a real estate agent to help me find a place, so I am constantly searching on Craigslist. And seriously, for those of you posting places on Craigslist and not including pictures of your "cozy, fully furnished place with great views," we assume that it's probably a dump with a great view of the dumpster in the alleyway, right next to a flea infested couch formerly owned by a bum who took up residence next to said dumpster, and a couple of dead decaying plants left by the former owners. Very picturesque indeed.

My family owns a tenement building and have always been good landlords, so they expressed their wishes to come with me when my two roommates and I decide on a place.  While their experience and input would be appreciated, I can see their presence actually frightening the building's owner.  My dad is an electrician who will pose as an engineer to determine the stability of the building, and my mom will bust out a makeshift CSI kit and immediately begin looking for animal feces, uninvited bugs, and hidden voyeur cameras. Then they'll probably ask the owner hundreds of unnecessary questions just to see if they can handle the pressure with poise and grace. Finally, Dad will discreetly break something (like a water pipe) so he can see if it's been fixed when we come back a second time. All of this prep work and investigation, yet they'll never realize I've horded away two hundred dollars worth of their paper products right under their noses.


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