A Puppy for Our Apartment

Every kid wants a puppy (or a pony) for Christmas. For Christmas 2012, Riel and I decided to get ourselves a Christmas puppy.

Sophie and the rest of the litter (plus one kitten!)

Sophie and the rest of the litter (plus one kitten!)

We fell in love with a litter of Miniature Australian Shepherd puppies that were born on Halloween. I grew up with an Aussie/Border Collie mix named Sadie and pretty much can’t resist those breeds. We drove 2 hours to examine the pups and potentially choose one.

We narrowed down our choice between two tri-color female pups that had sweet temperaments (we thought – hard to tell since their eyes weren’t open!) and were almost identical. Riel picked Sophie because of her white collar markings. She looked like a little cow/mouse hybrid.

IMGP7460 (2)We paid way too much for Sophie. I mean technically. The owner claimed that she was pure-bred. We met the mother and saw pictures of the father – who both seemed pure-bred. Sophie didn’t come with any papers, but we were in love with her. We paid the ridiculous price and brought her home on Christmas Eve.

Riel gave Sophie her first French fry in the car on the way home.

Now, Sophie is a part of the family. She has gotten into a lot of trouble, which is to be expected for a high-energy Aussie in an apartment, but she has also helped to make our apartment a home (see some other ways we make apartment living work for us).

A more recent picture of Sophie. In case you are wondering, she was not harmed by the wicker in any way

A more recent picture of Sophie. In case you are wondering, she was not harmed by the wicker in any way

How did you meet your furry friends?


Something Borrowed: Our First Tiny Apartment

When Riel carried me across the threshold of our first home, it took him four steps to cross the entire space. It was 340 square feet.

There was zero counter space in the kitchen. For a while we had the microwave on the floor. I had to chop vegetables on our dining room table which was also a desk, a nightstand, and a coffee table (It was a drop leaf table, like this one).

Our first 340 sq ft apartment

Our first 340 sq ft apartment

It’s a good thing we were newly-weds when we lived in our “box,” as we called it. There was no space for alone time – unless we wanted to hide in the bathroom which was almost small enough to shower while sitting on the toilet.

Have you ever stormed out as a tactic during a fight? Try storming out into the bathroom. “Oh, yeah?! Well, I’m going to brush my teeth for fifteen minutes and there’s nothing you can do about it!” Stomp, stomp, stomp, SLAM. Take that.

Our box was on the second floor of a very old building in a notoriously unsafe neighborhood. We couldn’t have company because there was no parking. Not to mention people thought they might be stabbed. I used to pull up to the apartment and call Riel to walk me in because he didn’t want me walking up alone.

In the six months that we lived in the apartment, there were three fires. All of them were in the middle of the night. When the first fire alarm went off at 2 A.M. sometime in April, I woke up with my shoes and coat on in the hallway. Riel’s protective instincts had kicked in and he was guiding me down the stairs to the courtyard.

After the first fire, it became a routine. The firemen, who promptly extinguished each fire, began to recognize us. Riel and I joked that I needed to sleep with my jeans on so that we didn’t have to choose between burning to death and going outside in my Disneyland pajama shorts.

The apartment wasn’t entirely miserable. Our neighbor to the right had a fabulous singing voice. Though we never learned her name, we enjoyed listening to her through the wall. And though the kitchen was tiny, we did cook our first meals as a couple there. Tacos and fried rice were the only foods we could agree on.

All in all, I’m grateful for that less-than-ideal apartment. The inexpensive rent was part of the reason we could afford to start a life together in the first place. 340 square feet of our own was infinitely better than living with mom and dad!