The Condo

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So we’re living in a rental condo while the remodel continues apace.  I haven’t lived in a rental since I think 1976.  My biggest problem before the move was the fact that we couldn’t look at the place until the day we got the key (it was occupied).  Once we saw it, it was and is very nice.

condo interior

Our house is 1,600 square feet and the condo is only 750, but our house is 2 stories, so this is about the size of our first floor.   It’s a good thing we don’t mind spending a lot of time together, there’s no room in a one-bedroom unit for a privacy freak.  There’s also (ahem!) only one toilet; we’re used to a spare on the other floor!  The kitchen is adequate (except that we both prefer gas stoves) but really not big enough for both of us to potter around in it at once.

As you may be able to tell, the view out that big south-facing window is amazing.  Here’s a better shot, from early the other morning:

Lake Merritt from condo

The condo is not air-conditioned, so that expanse of south-facing glass has some drawbacks as we come into California’s Indian Summer and the sun drops lower in the south as the temperature rises.  So far we’ve coped pretty well.

There are a few other photos taken from the balcony, some of sailboats on the lake, taken with the 300mm telephoto. You’ll find them at Views from the Condo on my Smugmug site.  I’ll share one more – this is with my new camera (I’ll explain that in another post) from the balcony on the cloudy evening before Halloween:

Lake Merritt at night

This is Oakland’s Adams Point neighborhood.  We’re about two blocks from Children’s Fairyland, which we can’t visit because we have no children to accompany.  We can and do walk around Lake Merritt, which is a major pleasure; it’s full of birds and squirrels (it is a wildlife refuge), and lots of people walking, jogging, and riding bicycles around the lake.  This is good, because we’re both used to a lot of contact with nature.  We have a very lush yard in Rockridge, with many resident critters.  We’re living on the 9th floor here, which means our contact with nature is limited – yesterday a hummingbird flew by the window and we both got up to look!

For two neighborhoods in the same city, Rockridge and Adams Point are very different.  Rockridge is very like a suburb; most residences are single-family homes on city lots, and the nearest apartment house on our street is almost 5 blocks away.  Adams Point is much denser and more urban; it has a very small number of houses tucked in among many multi-story apartment buildings, most of them 5-8 stories.  The 12 story tower where we’re staying is in a minority.  Both areas have a lot of foot traffic, but early on I noticed one difference.  When I walk, I am likely to nod and say hello or good morning to any walkers I pass.  In Rockridge, almost no one ever returns my greeting, at least partly because they have earbuds plugged in; but even the ones without earbuds don’t make eye contact and often don’t respond.  In Adams Point I’m much likelier to get a nod and a “good morning” in response.  I don’t know why, I just observe.

Rockridge is a pretty busy neighborhood, but we live half a mile from the retail corridor on College Avenue, so the traffic we get is mainly focused on the nearby school, plus drivers who know that Chabot Road is a shortcut to Highway 24.  Adams Point feels much busier, if only because more people live there.  A lot of Rockridge traffic centers on the BART station; Adams Point doesn’t have a BART station, but 4 bus lines serve Grand Avenue and generate a lot of traffic.  The “major” shopping area on Grand Avenue is about 3/4 mile from us, across Highway 580; but Grand Avenue itself is lined with little ethnic restaurants and shops, it feels very active.

Still, life in a high-rise condo is very different from a house.  We’re no longer at street level.  The place is very quiet (a good thing), but we lose contact with the neighborhood.   Our contact with the weather is different; we have to open a balcony door to see if it’s raining, but from our aerie we can see broad weather patterns not visible from our Rockridge canyon.   We carry multiple keys – the building door, the apartment door, the elevator, which has to be key-activated every time.  Doing laundry means riding the elevator down 9 floors, with the laundry cart, soap, and a roll of quarters – laundry is a dollar a load.  I always forget the quarters and have to go back up.  And then when it’s done, back up 9 floors in the elevator again.  In fact, between the elevator and the garage security door, getting out of the building to drive somewhere takes about 5 minutes.  On the other hand, up here we don’t get Jehovah’s Witnesses or political canvassers!  Or trick-or-treaters 🙁

On the whole, though, it’s pretty comfortable, and we’re glad we could rent it.  But we’ll be even more glad to go back to our updated home.

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One Comment

  1. Bobbie November 9, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    Thanks for sharing the views from your new “home away from home”, Karen. Beautiful! About the differences between the two neighborhoods, especially the morning walkers greeting or not, I guess different parts of Rockridge are different in that regard. Up where we live, almost everyone – walkers, runners, workers, – will give you a smile and a “good morning” or “hi there” even with their earbuds in. Once you’re back in your newly renovated home, you’ll have to come walk up here more often! 😉

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