....and yanno, my heart was just broken... *sigh* but life goes on and we will be okay.
Tax time is coming and we are looking at ways to make things better here in this apartment. A new bed is HIGH on the "need" list, since neither one of us can sleep the night through now for the aches and pains... time to replace that mattress, oh yes.
Something very VERY high on the "want" list is a washing machine. I never thought we could have one here but we did a little research and it's amazing--you can get a little hand-cranked washer that sits on your countertop for about $45, you can get a little electric washer that sits on your countertop for about $70... or you can get one of these....
It is the Haier Portable Compact Washer ($200 from Target), and it will wash and spin a 5 pound load of laundry in about fifteen minutes. It fills from and drains into your kitchen sink, and it plugs into a standard 110 outlet. I read many customer reviews and they were glowing! Several people mentioned that they no longer had to do anything but sheets and comforters at the laundromat and that's my goal. I want very much to eliminate my large laundry pile and keep us in clean fresh laundry without spending a lot of money or having to go downstairs into the dirty basement to do so.
I would have happily gotten the Wonder Wash (hand-cranked) or the Wonder Washer (plug in) but neither of them will spin the clothes; since I have carpal tunnel syndrome it's important to me that the machine do so.
Once we get the machine, I also want to get one of those folding racks for drying the clothes. Haier makes a portable electric dryer that also plugs into a standard outlet--although we do have a 220 outlet here--but it's $319 and quite honestly, clothes last longer if they are allowed to drip dry. I don't mind planning in advance and washing the day before--or maybe doing the occasional trip downstairs to dry a load of laundry.
What I am hoping is that once the constant need for quarters is alleviated, we can afford to do the sheets, towels and comforters in the big machine at the laundromat--maybe the coats and hoodies, too! Although come to think of it, the hoodies will go nicely in the Haier if I do small loads, and so will the towels. The sheets are full-sized; they might even work but they would definitely need to be dried in a dryer.
Also on the "make this place work better for us" agenda is bigger pots for the garden with better potting soil, and a grow light for inside gardening. I'm planning on getting organic fertilizer plus a row cover, some sort of shade cloth, and trellises or cages for outside--have to do it right if I want big yields.
We're also considering replacing the air conditioner with a new window unit that runs on 110 instead of 220. The unit that is here now is old and inefficient, and our apartment was hot all summer with a higher electric bill than my neighbors' upstairs. BUT the tax return will of course be limited and there is a LOT to come out of it, so I think we might try that reflective window film first. Low-e film worked for me in Phoenix very well, lowered my electric bill $15 the first month I used it and that would have been a month that normally had a $25 or so jump, so I think it probably saved me about $40 a month in a three bedroom house. If it saved me $5 or $10 a month in this small apartment I would be happy, especially since the difference it makes in comfort is very noticeable indeed! Plus, yanno, there's the added privacy factor and that matters to us, being in a corner apartment.
In the meantime, I keep looking around trying to figure out what I can do to get more space in here. Part of the problem is that the walls are plaster on concrete and there is a 1/2 inch space after the first part of the concrete; this means that there is just not enough room to open up a wall anchor (molly or toggle bolts) in the space, and that the concrete is not thick enough to support the weight of anything heavy by itself.
When you live in a small apartment and you cannot hang stuff up and out of the way, you're really crunched for space, yanno? We really have to figure this out... the apartment is too cute to go on being so cluttered.
If we have loads more money than I expect, maybe we'll even get a new computer desk, one with a hutch so that we can have our stuff up in cupboards/shelves. That's not the kind of thing that people normally throw out so I think we'll have to actually buy one... and while I have been really good at insisting on real wood furniture so far, I suspect I will have to accept knock-down furniture to get a computer desk.
We're so desperate to make better use of this space that I think I don't even mind, lol.... we'll see what happens!