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Rental adventures

I am out in North Carolina scouting for a place to live. One location was in the lead for several hours, until I came back later to reexamine the neighborhood and saw this on the neighbor’s porch:

You can change that label from “Roach away” to “Potential tenant away.”

At another place, the rental agent recognized me! (Hi, Holly!) This is only the third time I’ve run into a reader in real life outside of a blogging conference. It is bizarre, but kind of cool too. Sadly, that place is a bit out of my price range, but it would have been cool to live someplace where I am totally famous.

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ragtopday • May 17, 2010 at 9:31 am

How cool to meet a reader in real life! I’d like to think I’d recognize you!

As someone who lived in South Carolina for 2 years, I can tell you that roaches are very, very common everywhere. It wouldn’t surprise me if roaches like NC just as much.


Jess @ Jessica is Getting Fit • May 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

That just looks like a classy joint – don’t you feel like you’re missing out on lifestyles of the shoeless and roach infested? :)


Karen • May 17, 2010 at 10:28 am

Good luck in your search. I hope you can find the just perfect place.


Hunter • May 17, 2010 at 10:31 am

I tell you, sometimes casing a joint will save you heartache (or roach-ache) in the long run. Good luck in finding a new home. Speaking from the cat’s point of view, make sure there are plenty of sunny windowsills with screened in windows, good places to hide, and finding an occasional insect probably wouldn’t be a bad thing with them. I’ll be thinking about you and your quest for a new apartment. =^..^=


Amy • May 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm

You’re going to have a lot of trouble finding a place in NC that doesn’t have any roaches. It’s not because the places aren’t clean and well-maintained. It’s because water bug populations are huge, and it’s nearly impossible to keep them out without a lot of vigilance. Frankly, I’d love to live next door to people who are actively fighting the problem! And really, are there places where civilized people don’t take their shoes off at the door? You’d really track dirt and mud and who knows what else into your house. That photo looks like a sign of great neighbors.


karenl • May 17, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Good luck with your search ….. but in the South – roaches are a fact of life and roach-away is mothers milk.


Amy • May 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

It would seem that we are doomed to shoveling snow or spraying horribly large bugs. Sigh.


Tish • May 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I hate roaches! But I’ve lived in SC (the Palmetto [BUG] State) and agree that most apartments will have them. They should also have a good insect control program in place that should come with your rent. Good luck finding the perfect place. Where’s HGTV when you need it?


The Merry • May 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm

My only advice would be to avoid reading Kafka. You don’t want to start wondering if the roaches have names and jobs and live gray, despairing lives lost in a pathless bureaucracy.


PastaQueen • May 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm

@The Merry – But Kakfa also gives good extermination advice. I just have to throw an apple at one of those suckers and they’ll die of injuries, or from the unbearable weight of life’s cruelness and inhumanity.


Lisa • May 17, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Everywhere in the south has roaches by one name or another.


KittyLuvr • May 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Hope you brought an umbrella!! It’s raining like mad now…and will be for the next couple of days! I hope you find something soon! You might try some of the outlying areas too…Knightdale, Zebulon, Morrisville, and Apex all come to mind!


Natalie • May 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm

When I moved out of my parent’s home, many years ago, one of the first apartments I looked at was unfurnished but with a can of roach spray on the kitchen counter. Urg! And yuck! I left in a hurry. But of course I found that just because other places DIDN’T leave roach spray lying around, didn’t mean they didn’t have roaches. Maybe the landlord left it out to prove they were doing something about the problem?
This was in Sydney, Australia, so I guess bugs are just everywhere – especially where it is warm. I currently live in Canberra, Australia. Much colder. Hardly any bugs. Bugs are just like people, they want to live in the nice warm places too.


Lisa • May 17, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Eeew eeew eeew!! Run away fast from that place. Good luck with the search. Apartment hunting is exhausting.


Mom Taxi Julie • May 17, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Definitly good idea to go at all hours of the day. I still swear that all the crazies were in hiding when I got my 2nd place to live. They all came out the day we moved in and never went back in!


Jodi • May 18, 2010 at 10:52 am

First comment from a long-time reader: I moved to the South three years ago from Northern climes and have just now (after three years) gone from beyond horrified to see roaches to only mildly horrified to see roaches. Advice from the voice of experience: First, look for a apartment with a pest-control program included, and ask what it is. Second, look for a place without a lot of foliage up next to or touching the house/apartment — greenery looks pretty but it’s the bug highway. Third, don’t live on the ground floor: as a general rule (with many exceptions), there are fewer bugs the higher up you go. Enjoy your trip to find your new home!


Cheryl • May 18, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I live in Greensboro, NC and I promise you that you do NOT have to resign yourself to living in any place that is infested with Roaches (or any other insect, for that matter). They may be commonplace in SC and I know that there are problems with them in the Houston, TX area – but, they have NEVER been a problem for my family in NC. Please keep looking until you find the right place. And, just for future reference: Most of the time if your neighbor is fighting an infestation – the insects will surely run next door! LOL No kidding. Good luck with your search. You’ve selected a great state to live in.


M.R. • May 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Despite Cheryl’s reassurance, as a former southerner (Chattanooga, Tennessee), I have to say that it is a constant battle against roaches. Look at it this way — the fact that the neighbors are fighting the good fight is a plus! I used to swear by boric acid.


Rachel D • May 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm

As another Greensboro NC resident I have to chime in, my last apt (my first place alone) had roaches like crazy but it was old(1931) and the people I rented from did have a pest service. My new apt does not have roaches. go for something that has been built recently and follow Tish’s advice and go for a place that has regular pest control services, that is way more important than pools or tennis courts. Bugs are not everywhere in NC you just have to know how to avoid them!
PS: sorry for the long comment but welcome to NC!


Rachel D • May 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm

@Rachel D – opps I meant that my first apt did not have pest control.


Julie • May 18, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I always look at the types of window coverings people have. Sheet = maybe not the kind of neighbors I want.


Beep • May 18, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Which towns are you considering? I live in Durham and really like it.


Holly • May 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Hi Pasta Queen!

Sorry I couldn’t show you around the other day. Things get really crazy in Chapel Hill in the summer! We include water, sewer and trash and a washer and dryer, so we are a little higher than some places because of that.

I would be happy to give you advice on some other good places in Chapel Hill if you would like. There is a fine line between scary and happy living here. I’ve got the low down on the good eats and bus routes, too. Feel free to stop by back the office or email me and I will be happy to help you with any questions or anything else you might need.

Happy apartment hunting!

Holly the rental agent
P.S. I’m a former Hoosier, too!


Denise • May 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

The only thing I know about NC is that the lead singer of my favorite band lives in or near NoDa – which I gather is the arty/hipster section of Charlotte :)


Rose • May 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

Okay, random knowledge, but the boric acid that’s found in roach powder can be used to kill the bacteria in shoes that causes odor. Works like a charm, and given the juxtaposition of pwder and shoes, might be the case here.


Beth Moore • May 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I know you don’t know me from Adam, but my in-laws have 38 townhomes and have a couple for rent right now in Raleigh. Feel free to e-mail me if you’d like more info. And, good luck in your search!


Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • May 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Oh my word, that is funny, good thing you went back!


julia • May 20, 2010 at 8:56 am

After reading all the comments, I’d go back to the first lead apartment!


PurpleGirl • May 21, 2010 at 2:25 am

I so jealous of you–I want to pick up and move, but I don’t have the courage yet.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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