Main Street Davenport vs. Main Street Durant

Day 9 in my new digs at 324 North Main Street in Davenport, and I can’t help but compare and mostly contrast my new surroundings with the old.

I’m taking on a Letterman format with this one.

Top Ten Differences between Main Street Davenport and Main Street Durant, Iowa:

10.  On Main Street Davenport, I can open my windows.

On Main Street Durant, I could only open two of my twenty windows because they were either painted shut or too broken to open without losing the entire thing.

9.  On Main Street Davenport, I am within walking distance of the Figge, Redstone Room, restaurants, library, St. Anthony’s church, and a tattoo shop.

On Main Street Durant, I was within walking distance to nearly everything in town, with the hot spots being the Dew Drop, Westfair Drug, Jeff’s Market, and the American Legion.

8.  On Main Street Davenport, my apartment is small and cozy.

On Main Street Durant, my apartment was large and cozy.

7.  On Main Street Davenport, I am greeted by lots of people on the way to my car in the morning – apartment staff, the deli guys, a random homeless person, and a new person who wants to chat.

On Main Street Durant, I was greeted by people honking their horns thinking I noticed who was driving by.

6.  On Main Street Davenport, my new apartment was spotless when I moved in.

On Main Street Durant, I had to clean my apartment multiple times before it was suitable to live in.

5.  On Main Street Davenport, everyone seems to want to swing by and say hi.

On Main Street Durant, only friendly stalkers would want to swing by and say hi.  Everyone else would say, “Where’s Durant?”

4.  On Main Street Davenport, I hear random city noises, but the inside of the building is relatively quiet.

On Main Street Durant, no city noises existed.  I’d hear the occasional fire truck since the station was across the street, along with a teeny bopper squealing tires.  Inside, I could hear downstairs neighbor Kathy yelling at her grandson, arguing with her daughter, or talking to her dead husband.

3.  On Main Street Davenport, I say hi to the property owner in the hallway and the next day I have a discount on my rent.

On Main Street Durant, my landlord only visited the property when something had been broken and I repeatedly called to have it fixed.  And then I had to fight just to get my deposit back.

2.  On Main Street Davenport, I have some anonymity.

On Main Street Durant, everyone was watching.

1.  On Main Street Davenport, I feel at home.

On Main Street Durant, I felt at home for almost four years.


From Small Town Mouse to Small City Mouse

Things have been a bit crazy since I last posted.  ‘Tis the season for filing taxes, assembling the annual Scott County Republican Women‘s directory, assembling packets for Gloria Dei’s annual meeting, and taking on new things every day.  The latest new item is moving from Durant to Davenport.

I received a certified letter from my landlord on the last Tuesday in January, notifying me that my rent was increasing by about 30% a month, effective March 1.  My heart sank.  What timing.  I’m totally finding my groove with my semi-hippie lifestyle (sans hallucinogens), and that is when he decides to raise my rent for the first time in almost four years.  True, my rent was cheap to begin with.  But in exchange for that, I accept that my landlord does not do snow removal and also slowly responds to maintenance requests (even when it’s an urgent thing like not having water).  However, raising my rent and having to deal with those slum-lord-ish issues is not acceptable.

I allowed myself to be angry for about ten minutes before I went into action mode.  Anyone who has talked to me about housing during the past four years knows I have continually planned to move to the Quad Cities, only to put it off for another few months or another year.  Now I had my sign.  It was time to do it once and for all.

I’ve had my eye on The Davenport apartment building since doing some work for Landmark Properties as a Victory Enterprises consultant in late 2009.  I called them up, and they had two open apartments.  I looked and fell in love.  Then I crunched the numbers.  With the Durant rent increase, it would cost the same to live in either place.  Within two days of receiving the terrible rent increase letter, I had sealed the deal on a new place and literally opened a new door in my journey.

I am more city girl than country girl, but I’ve been living in a town without a stop light for nearly four years.  How does that happen?  Convenience and cheap rent.  It was easy to move my furniture in storage only four blocks down the road, especially after having hauled it across the country from Houston.  It was easy to commit to cheap rent and no lease.  And it was easy to be in close (lately too close) proximity to family after missing them for so long.

While Davenport is no Houston, it offers just enough city life to get me excited.  I will be within short walking distance of the Mississippi River, Rhythm City Casino, RME, Figge, and various restaurants.  And days after my decision was made, I found out RAGBRAI would be ending on Bix weekend, with everyone celebrating in adjoining streets to my new place.  I’ve found a place to belong!

Durant isn’t bad – it just isn’t me.  I have been able to live here only because I didn’t grow up in this small town.  No one really knows me, and I don’t socialize much here.  It’s my bedroom community.  Working at the church has introduced me to more people, but even that becomes suffocating when people comment on what they saw me doing outside of my car that morning, whether it was checking oil, scraping car windows, or looking ridiculous hauling too much in one trip between my car and apartment.

Moving is a great chance to reflect on a segment of life in one residence, while looking forward to a new start in a new place.  Whether it is moving across town, to a nearby town, or across the country, the act itself can be therapeutic.  I think back to where I was when I moved into this apartment in March 2007 and marvel at all that has happened in life since then.  I recall hosting a bachelorette party here and naming the various rooms “Powder Room”, “Ladies’ Lair”, and “Diva’s Den”.  I think about seeing this place trashed when I moved in and gradually transforming it into a cute place, with help from a little carpet shampooing, paint, and friends and family.

And now I have the opportunity to create new memories in a sixth floor downtown apartment.  I can’t wait to be a small city mouse and have new places to explore and people to meet.  I have splendid visions of my new artsy-fartsy decor, as well as not having to shovel myself out of my apartment in the foreseeable future.

snowed in

Zuckerberg and Materialism

Time Magazine’s 2010 Person of the Year award was spot on.  Mark Zuckerberg has revolutionized worldwide communication and is an inspiration to anyone with an idea.

I was most impressed with Mr. Z’s lack of materialism.  He drives a used Acura and lives in a pretty normal apartment.  He’s also still with the chick whom he met before he struck it rich.

I have not seen “The Social Network” yet, but it seems that much of Z’s personality was tweaked for the big screen.  According to Time, he is a sociable person.  And no fault to Sorkin and gang.  I would have painted him as a more outwardly anti-social person too.  After all, most computer geeks I have met prefer to socialize online rather than in person.  However, Z likes using the online world to supplement the face to face world.

He seems to genuinely care about people as a whole, which is why I think he finds it so easy to shrug off the whole money thing.  He’s not settling a score or proving anything.  He simply loves what he does and feels his work is benefiting people.  Sure, it helps that he can make a lot of dough too.  But that’s not his driving force.

Z provides his employees three free meals a day, plus snacks!  That’s awesome.  He doesn’t stroke his ego with a big corner office.  They are all in the open together.  No walls.  No cubicles.

Before I continue, I want to emphasize that I’m no Mark Zuckerberg.  I never will be.  He has developed something huge.

One small commonality he and I currently share – besides a freckled face – is the lack of materialism.  I’ve had moments when material things meant a lot more to me, but lately that is not so.  I live in a very modest apartment, and I was happy with it until my landlord decided to tell me via certified mail earlier this week that he’s raising the rent.  Nothing is fancy, but it has character and is home to me.

I have gone from buying random crap to getting rid of random crap.  I am purging, organizing (yes…AGAIN), and feeling the weight of useless material objects lifting from my shoulders.

Now, this lack of materialism is pretty easy for me at the moment because I’m starting businesses and working part-time jobs to keep everything afloat.  Would I change if I struck it rich?  I sure hope not.

OK, I would buy my new Camaro and a beach house.  But that is it.  And the beach house would be a shack-like, authentic beach house.  No beach mansion.

I mainly seek money for security and the freedom to experience lots of things.  Zuckerberg seems to travel and enjoy life, so that is reassuring to me that he is pretty normal.

If you tell me about your brand new furniture or Coach bag, don’t be offended when I lose interest.  I’m just not into that stuff right now.  But if you share a great concert story, I’m all ears.  And if you have awesome life experiences, let’s block out an hour or two and discuss over coffee or wine.