Stuck on the couch...Here...apartment review.

I've got a foot surgery booked on the calendar, so I know that I'll be spending more time on the couch.  Maybe I can make up for 10 years of light blogging.

As you know, Alex and I have lived in DTLA since 2008.  We've lived in a couple of places, and we will be forever renters.  We've toured a TON of apartments - some we can afford, and more that we cannot.  Nevertheless, we know apartments, amenities, and assholes.  LOL.  Not a lot of assholes, just Art the Ass.  #neverforget

With so many apartment buildings, check this's what I think...

We currently live at Wren, and there's a lot of things to like about this place.  The community amenities are on the 2nd floor, the rooftop is understated and totally practical.  The apartments feel very sturdy, and practical.  The business center is practical.  And, the Lease-Up team did a great job attracting people who actually want to be neighbors, and not just the quiet unknown people you share walls with.  There's regular events, hosted by management.  The building crew are invested in the building, don't know how, but they care.  Maintenance requests are handled promptly and correctly.  The restaurant on the ground floor just opened.

There are a couple of buildings that are opening up.  I'm not interested in moving, but I wanted to write something about these new places....

La Plaza Village: next to the Gold Line's Chinatown station...the 2B&B description includes "Barn Door"...say no more, I'm curious to see what that's all about.  Check out the pool layout.  Heads up...big pools lead to big parties.  You probably don't remember this article that (hopefully) gave property managers the heebie-geebies. Small pools are boring.  Nothing good comes of large open spaces in apartment buildings. 

Hey, look...while looking for the Heebie-Geebie article, I found this VRBO touting the pool at the rental property.

OliveDTLA is right across from Wren, and there's silly rivalry. The building looks like there's younger-ish residents, the two story apartments look like they have gatherings with interesting programming for lights.  I've seen the stairway doors opened to let in a group of friends.  That says the building is happily busy.  It's nice to have a healthy building rivalry...that means we are all watching each other. Their ground floor will soon have the doggie-day care.  The pool is not on the rooftop, and is a good size to avoid lalaPOOLooza, and is close to the Expo & Blue lines' Pico stop. For those who don't want to drive anymore, it's a no-car friendly neighborhood.

Another close to us property - Axis...there's one on 11th and 12th.  Because there's an Axis on 11th, and and an Axis on 12th - the website is confusing, and you cannot multitask when viewing the website.  Like all these properties, make a list, look at a map, and then make some appointments.  Getting to know property managers AND leasing agents will always be the way to go in DTLA.  Some of my most favorite people in DTLA have been leasing agents who we've followed from Santee Court to PE Lofts.  AND, property managers who started off as leasing agents and now run their own building.  Following lease-ups is really the secret sauce in DTLA.

Circa Hashtag: so pretty but no way can we afford this.  It's got everything you need - Metro bus and rail stops.  Across the street from LA Live, there's bike lanes. Ralphs and Smart and Final. There's restaurants.  I'm sure they'll have a fancy coffee machine in the lobby.  (All the lobbies should have fancy coffee machines in the lobbies when paying more than $2K/month.)

Grace on Spring uses an old AF photo to describe their location.  That's sad.  Another bummer, those with'll have to talk about what to do with the non-master that's the one with the balcony. But, given how they've lined up their website...they look to pack in a bunch of 30 somethings with dogs.   For reals, look at what I've become.

Okay, fine.  I'm stuck on the couch, and I'm grumpy.  Let me tell you about two places that I've watched and like.  Wakaba and 1000Grand are great options for two different reasons:

Wakaba is in Little Tokyo, and is P E R F E C T for foodies.  There's always going to be a new place nearby, and there's always going to be old standards.  Yes, the neighborhood is currently running down the checklist of how a neighborhood is gentrified.  Nevertheless, you don't need a car, there's transit, scooters, and bikes all over the place. Grand Park is nearby, there's a local library.  The Double Tree is there, stores, Little Tokyo has everything you need. Keep an eye on the floor plans, as one plan has the non-master balcony thing going on.  (On that front, Little Tokyo is home to most of the daycares and preschools in all of DTLA).

1000Grand, I've toured.  We tried to get in, and Wren took us first.  1000Grand has **THE** best rental property closest I've ever seen.  The lobby feels like a brand new Embassy Suite, and the community amenity layout creates a great atmosphere for your tribe's dinner (Small groups, not a 20+gathering).  And, the closet...if you organize your closet, look here first, and then compare this to the rest of your appointments. The balcony is off the living room, so the grownup can rest easy, knowing that your kid won't be able to access the balcony while playing in their room.  Silently.

Wrapping it up.  Another thing I really like about Wren...big huge windows.  Jackie Brown is all about watching the pigeons sitting on the roof next door.  In fact, I think it's driving her crazy that she can't reach out and swipe at one. 

Welcome to DTLA. Let's talk about your car.

Right?  LOL.
Someone new to DTLA isn't going to read this. I don't know how many people read this blog in the first place, let along keep reading it.  Alex and I have been here for a while, but definitely not the longest - however...being that I'm a busy bee, nosy-neighbor makes sense that at some point, I'd write this entry.

When Alex and I first moved to DTLA, we lived at 7th/Los Angeles at Santee Court. The move in was delayed a bunch of times because of rain.  Ley-Jit.  Rain. We moved in, and another winter of rain.  And, it was Bad.   Once it stopped raining, some of the apartments had fuzzy walls.  We were young and stupid.  We didn't realize it was mold.  Whatevs.  That year, Alex and I each had our own car. We were on first name basis with all our neighbors, because we were all new together.

K.  This wasn't the point of this post.  This was...the building that you are moving into was a part of a big lift.  It took a whileProof....  And, you are here now, so welcome! 

And, you need to get rid of your car. 


You live in DTLA now, and your busy bee, nosy-neighbor have a responsibility to tell you - turn in your car way before the lease is up.  You don't need it any more.  The neighborhood you've moved into...has 1) cars to share, 2) grocery stores all over the place, 3) restaurants all over the place, 4) you've lost all your friends from the westside or valley...and in order to make new friends, you have got to walk around your building, walk around your neighborhood and meet new people.

Having a car will prevent you from building your new neighbor relationships.

I don't want to be the person who just says "do this"....I'll provide you with a walking road map.

1) skim some SoPa history.  You need to know that you are not in The South Park, but rather the South Park neighborhood.

2) Meet the next door neighbors.  When we moved into our second DTLA building...I couldn't figure out how to work the HVAC.  Also, getting to know your neighbors, building a friendly relationship can help to determine what your lease renewal may look like. My example: Art the Ass. Man...that dude was an ass.

3) Your neighborhood has pre-existing conditions.  We are a "wee" short on public restrooms.  We've known if for a while, and there's been efforts to add toilets.  With the number of people coming in, additional public restrooms are needed.

4) You need a tap card. 

5) Read all the news and blogs.  Just google DTLA and start reading.  Do I miss some Eric Richardson and Ed Fuentes reporting on Blogdowntown.  This is pretty much all that's left.

5.1) Don't forget about the Facebook Groups (bonkers.) and twitter.

5.5) The Downtown News Restaurant Guide is something to keep a hard copy of. 

6) That each BID has "clean & safe" teams, and you can tell which neighborhood you are in by the color of the shirts warn.  You'll know you've adopted your neighborhood when you realize that calling the Purple Shirts leads to a faster response (or one at all) from LAPD. 

And, that DTLA has two LAPDs.  If you don't  Back to #5 you go.

7) There's brunch on Saturday AND Sunday.  And, there's churches in DTLA.  There's also kids.  It's a thing.

8) If you are new to know that car chases are our "thing"

9) We have two neighborhood councils in DTLA.  There's actually more, but DTLA gets a little insular, and snotty about the DTLA boundaries. 

10) Off the wall things happen in DTLA.  Anime Convention.  Art shows.  Parades (ya dude...there's parades)  Protests, and gatherings of friends who have "one thing led to another" and there's an impromptu gathering of 56,876 bicyclists at 11p on a weeknight. Live in their joy.

All that to say, this blog post went way differently than expected.  Here I was all trying to scare you away from driving your car in DTLA, I hope I've casually convinced you just to turn in that car...and walk on the sidewalk.

Cats, 3 things, and my Eagle Creek bag.

I may have accidentally caused myself to have three different blog entries. One:  I’ve come to a realization that mean people are actually just like cats.  Two: There are three things one needs to be able to do, and if they can do those three things, they should never be without a job.  Three: I’ve lost my Eagle Creek guide bag. 

Number one: Mean people are like cats.  I love Scooter and Jackie Brown, but they have asshole tendencies.  Consider this: inanimate objects in their way are simply pushed off the shelf, without regard to the safety or others around them.  Cats will take a bird, mouse, baby duckling – some other animal –attempt to nearly kill it, and then just create a joyful moment for themselves –as they relish in the pain of another. Finally, cats will fart (silently) waft it about the room, and not care one bit about how you respond to it.  I’m on to you mean people.  I am arming myself with catnip.

Three things: I’ve got a gaggle of interns right now.  I’ve been trying to impress upon them the importance of three things:

>Check the printer before you start work, every morning.  And, top off the paper trays.  You can be that person who pays attention to this detail.  You can be the person who is known at the office who is the team player (because you are filling the paper tray even when you don’t have a computer connected to the printer).  Additionally – you can read all the left behind materials that some person (referenced above) was too careless and left behind. You are schooling yourself on the ins and outs of what people are up to. 

>Know how to send a meeting request to a person.  Six to ten times a week, I decline calendar items because I’m already booked.  Had the person simply known how to check my calendar for availability, we could have meet for 15 minutes today, rather than 15 minutes 8 working days from now.  Know how to send a calendar item, know how to check someone else’s calendar for availability, and get a conference room!  Master your messaging by controlling how the meeting comes together.

>Mail Merge. You say “Ginny, printing letters are so 2005”.  Yes, maybe.  However the fine art of mail merge still is needed.  Knowing how to link your address book to a piece of documentation is still needed.  Added bonus: you can do an email merge with add-ins for Gmail and Outlook.  Again, master the communication path, and you can free yourself to master the actual communication.

My Eagle Creek guide bag went missing on Tuesday. It was a busy day.  I started in my cube, and put the bag on. I went down to the 4th floor – getting the interns settled in for the day.  Had a quick meeting on the 5th floor, ran up to the 19th floor, and back down to the 4th floor.  Then, realized that I had a meeting on the 25th floor.  I’m starting to think I may have left my bag in the East LA room, on the 25th floor.  But then…maybe not.
After the 25th floor, got in the elevator, down to 15.  Ran in to Yvette and traveled with her back to 25.  Then, back to 15th, then 13th floor.  I know I had my bag at lunch. As I remember keeping my work ID and cell phone in the bag.  Plush, I showed Alex that I was carrying the bag again. I got back to the building, headed up to 13, back to 4, then to 13, then 14.  Rounded out my day – 14, 15, 25, 13, 19, 4, 13.  (Note to all: This is why my feet hurt all freaking day)

Then, I realized the next morning that my bag was missing.  In it: a power strip, phone charging cable, and 23 years of memories.  It’s gotta be in the building somewhere. I've been retracing all the conference rooms I've been in, looking around...but maybe I've just passed over it again.  As soon as I find it, I'll attach a Tile to it.

Head Cold

I knew that I was going to get sick during the CRM project. The whole team (with likely the exception of Super Steve) has picked up a head cold.  Of course, I went all extra, and had an allergic reaction to thousands of pieces of fresh printed materials left in my cube.  Added bonus - my IUD was replaced on Friday.  Man.  Being a grown up sucks.

I made a promise to myself that I would focus on "getting better" this year.  Not quite a new years resolution, but a goal to get to the doctor(s),  There's been the dentist, know...I'm not going to recount all of this.  You'll just need to take my word for it.  As a result, there's been a downturn in the total number of times we've been able to go camping, I'm missing Girl Scout meetings.  I'm missing Church things, meetings, and stuff.  I'm working hard to get beyond myself.  So - there's the good and the bad.

Long story short - this is what a functioning person with anxiety and depression looks like.  I snicker, but it's real.  I'm working on myself, and I feel like a lot of people are spending a little bit of their time helping me to work on myself, and I really appreciate it. 


DTLA is either your favorite ex-girlfriend or your soulmate (sometimes both).  
Alex and I moved to the Fashion District, Memorial Day weekend in 2004. Hal did it.  It was the housing tour. We came because Alex was familiar from his filming crew days, and me...from all the 2000 election protests.

Due to an error in the leasing office, we were given an incorrect move in date, and we lived in the building for a week before the rest of our neighbors moved in.  We spent the week using the model units shower, as the water in the building wouldn’t be turned on until then.  And, I started blogging at Ginny Here and There.

Our first Christmas in DTLA was one to remember.  As we received no gifts from our out of town family and friends.  We soon realized that our mailman was leaving boxes “at the door”, as in the corner of 7th and Los Angeles.  Skid Row enjoyed fresh jams, jellies, canned peas, carrots from my dad’s backyard in Washington State.  No regrets.

Then came the night we found Golden Gopher. I don’t know if that was before or after we decided to partner up with the neighbors and have a big huge multi-loft housewarming.  Then, there was that time we all sat in the courtyard, playing a serious game of pattycake, and Parker Posie and I became BFF for all of 5 minutes.

At the same time, Alex and I switched churches from Santa Monica to DTLA. Our non-DTLA friends, who promised to visit...never came.  And, our world got smaller, and fuller.

We lived on the same street as the Midnight Mission.  I would tell people that I wasn’t upset about the streetlights not working, as the crack pipes light my way.  I have had this long time comfort that since I’m not in DTLA to sell drugs, that I wouldn’t be a target for any crime.  So, I’ve used this unreal and sincere sense that anyone, everyone who calls DTLA my neighbor.

So, imagine my pollyanna sense of bewilderment when I see little kids peeing on the street.  Old men, peeing in the shadows.  Then, watching and old woman pooping on the sidewalk.  I couldn’t imagine having to poop or pee while people just walked by me.  I can’t poop if I know someone could be waiting for my stall.  I heard about toilets getting installed around the City.  Then I heard that a Westside Councilwoman was holding up the install in her district, and as a result - NONE of the Automatic Public Toilets (APTs) would be installed in any of the other districts.  

There was this blog - BlogDowntown.  Eric and Ed...they were the hot beat reporters.  Man..these were the days.

And, then we moved to PE Lofts.  Mostly because back then (like again now) you could hop from place to place, taking advantage of lease-up opportunities.  We followed the “lease up” team to PE Lofts, met MORE people who would become lifelong neighbors (cough...Alexandra, Alexie, Hanna, , the punk-ass kid who stole my favorite white towels, and the all important Art The Ass). I ran for neighborhood council, on two planks… Work to get “Dash after dark” and these dang APTs.  

I got onto DLANC, I met Don Garza, TK, Bytof, Celia, Jim, Ben, and tons more. Rocco, Jessica,  DLANC...Frank, Coach Ron, Russ, Russell,  Anastasia, , Neal, Amanda, Ken, Michael, Brady, Victor, Leslie Taplin, General Jeff, OG, and omg.  So Many more people. 

Then, I was working on this project - Regional Connector...and I met EVEN MORE people.  And then, all the sudden I was 6 months pregnant, had to move to a new apartment...our first time into the infamous Barry Shy property.  

Alex and I found ourselves very much feeling all alone in DTLA...Until I realized that another group of people would be joining our world...parents.  Hat tip to Chinmaya, Simon, Amany, Alisa, and more.

Then, Rotary...and who can forget the time Dearden’s asked us to visit, and provide feedback on what the new “lofters” wanted.  I hate that word.  Lofters...the misconception that all these people moving into DTLA only lived in lofts. 

And, there we were...a a loft.  In DTLA.  People kept asking if we were moving. Almost as often as when they’d ask if I was going to have more children.  (No on both). Sure, we’ve moved a couple more times (Financial District, Union Station adjacent, and now in South Park).  We’ll be forever renters (thanks Student Loans), and this is just where we belong.

The challenge with having a child in DTLA isn’t so much the location of a school, access to childcare, or where does she play outside.  The challenge with having a child in DTLA is that my family is often described like a novelty.  Like we are something unexpected in DTLA.  We love DTLA more than she loves us.  And, I’m just fine with that. Sure, there’s real inequities in how we treat each other. There’s a stigma attached to those who appear to be too well off, or live on the street.  Our neighborhood is quick to judge, and slow to appreciate.

And, in all of this, there’s a glory. (Watch out, here comes the soapbox). DTLA is a small town, in a big city.  We find a way to rely on each other - it may be through a boozy-brunch, coffee time, a stroll...or in a serious time of reflection.  The cranky offsets the beauty.  The horrors of mental illness can make way for a bright spot of relief.

DTLA - this is the neighborhood that just keeps taking it in.  This is a neighborhood of yes.  Yes, density, yes - to more people.  Yes - to people who care, who want to build a community of Yes.  A community of open hearts, minds, and souls.  This neighborhood loves me, and this neighborhood has the capacity to love you even more.