Ok, so I think it's time that I shared the story of our arrival in Jacksonville.
So we FINALLY pull into town, and we're on the right street looking for our apartment. We realize we've gone to far, and turn around. We realize that again we've gone too far, turn around again. Finally find it. It looks like this:
Doesn't really look much like an apartment building, does it? Ok, to set the stage, it's about 7 pm so the sun is almost set. We pull into this strange parking lot that we have finally realized is our apartment building. We try to call our landlord (he's supposed to meet us there)...no answer. We decided to go inside; maybe he's already inside waiting? So we walk in and this is the first thing we see:
Oy vey, talk about inspiring confidence. Not to mention the air smells heavily of cigarette smoke. Great. We go up the stairs and turn to see this:
Now, to be fair to us, this picture was taken after the walls were painted, the carpets cleaned, and about half of the lights had been replaced. Trust me, it looked MUCH sketchier when we got here. So we go to the very end of the hallway (of course) and it's locked. We knock, no answer. But there's a baby screaming somewhere to our right and some man starts yelling somewhere behind us. We went back outside, rather quickly, to wait.
I'll be honest, at this point I'm kinda freaking out. And the best word to describe it all was "sketchy". It was all sketchy. Spencer is trying to keep me calm, keeps hugging me and telling me it will all work out. Then some guys pulls into the parking lot. On a Harley. With a doo-rag and a leather jacket. I turn to Spencer and jokingly say, "Just watch, that's our landlord". A few seconds later, "Oh. My. Gosh. That IS our landlord!" I couldn't believe it. Granted, once he took off the jacket and the headband he was quite respectable looking (he's a lawyer in Springfield) but the first impression was just perfect for the whole experience.
So he let's us in and shows us the place. He tells us that they've been working on it every night for weeks to get it ready for us. The only thing I keep thinking? "I hate to think what it was like before you starting working on it!" Slanted ceiling, nasty carpet, broken flooring in the kitchen. Spencer keeps looking at me, making sure I'm not going to have a meltdown. And then he asks me, "So, are you ok with this?" I take a breath, close my eyes and tell him yes, we'll take it.
I've had a few people in the ward who have been to our apartment ask if we're ok (they thought it was super sketchy too) but now that we live here and have settled in it really doesn't seem that bad. At least as long as we're inside. We have some very interesting neighbors, and the building is still a little weird, but we've found our little piece of heaven. Our apartment is our sanctuary, and we love our little home.