Shipping Container Chic

No doubt about it. Seattle is booming. The city bird should be the construction crane. Despite the astonishing number of buildings being erected, contractors can barely keep up with the housing demand.

Because of this, landlords know they can basically charge whatever they like in rent. According to Rent Jungle, as of May 2015, the average apartment rent within 10 miles of Seattle was $1853. One bedroom apartments rent for $1501 on average, and two bedroom apartment rents average $2015 per month.

This, to me, is obscene, but it gets worse. Since it obviously is quite profitable to own apartment buildings in this town, they’re cropping up like mushrooms overnight. And they’re being built as cheaply as possible, with little or no regard for aesthetics.

There’s an architectural trend in this city that I like to call “Shipping Container Chic” because these buildings look like your basic metal shipping containers, stacked one on top of the other, and the apartments themselves have about that much charm. And half the time no allowances are being made for parking, which is adding to Seattle’s gridlock.

The proliferation of this style means that this city is getting uglier by the minute, but apparently that’s okay, because, by God, it’s profitable. If this keeps up, the whole area will harken back to Communist era housing, with a little bit of colored paint thrown in as an afterthought. What ever happened to style and variety? Ugh.

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My Old House

Once I realized I was leaving Jacksonville for what could be the last time, I decided to swing by my old house for one last look. I was a homeowner once. I miss those days. I am heartily sick of being at the mercy of arbitrary strangers in the form of landlords.

I got butterflies in my stomach as I drove down that street that I had driven down nearly every day for over 20 years. This is an emotionally charged street for me, full of memories, good and bad. As I got closer to my destination, I could see a younger version of myself walking to the library, playing with the dogs in the park, doing yard work.

But a funny thing happened. I nearly passed the house. I didn’t recognize it at first. The new owner took down those accursed asbestos shingles. He painted it a different color. He changed the position of the porch swing. He took down the ratty awning and railing and replaced the front steps. He removed those scraggly bushes. It made me wonder what changes had taken place inside and in the back yard.

This stirred up an interesting stew of emotions for me. The guy has done right by my beloved house; he’s done better than I could ever afford to do. If I had stayed there, I’d no longer have a mortgage. Can you imagine? But the place would be falling down around my ears. Instead it’s revitalized. The house is no longer mine. It has moved on, just as I have. I’m a work in progress, too. I can only hope I’ll do as well.





Territorial Disputes

One of the best things about having two dogs is that you learn a great deal about the concept of territory. The alpha dog spends a lot of time defending his turf, and the beta dog uses up a great deal of energy demonstrating that he knows he’s not in charge. “I’m just a submissive visitor in your land, sire. Please don’t hurt me.”

Even though it may not be as blatant in humans, the concept can be quite similar when you encounter a hostile individual that for some reason you have to get along with. For example, if you are being trained at work by someone who resents your very existence, there are many ways to handle it, of course, but my thought process is as follows: This person has been a grumpy old troll for years, and nothing I do or say is going to change that. There’s really no point in wasting energy by getting into a confrontation with someone like that. The situation will remain the same. So I let them pee on their psychological fire hydrant until they get it out of their system. And usually after that we do fine.

While this person has now forever lost all my respect, I never show it, because I am crossing into their land. There will be taxes incurred. It’s best to just pay them and move on.

And yes, it galls me to have to put up with someone’s crap, but the older I get, the more I realize that I have to pick my battles. I have very little energy to spend on territorial disputes. I’m much more content letting others be the landlords, if it’s all that important to them. I just nod and say, “Yes, sir, whatever you say sir,” knowing full well that they have absolutely no control over my opinions or my thoughts, so in the end, my inner territory is completely and utterly mine.

I used to kind of feel sorry for beta dogs. They seem to be constantly picked on. But now I actually feel more sorry for the alphas of this world. It must be exhausting to have to spend every waking moment trying to control everything and everyone around you. Especially when all of us puppies tend to wander around the yard willy nilly the moment your back is turned. It has always been thus.