I went to see another apartment, knowing from the walk-up (it was a big building about a block from a freeway ramp) that it probably wasn't the one for me. But it wouldn't hurt to see. After a brief look around, I told the owner/manager that although it was a nice place (lots of natural light) and would be great for someone, it didn't quite fit my needs: no off-street parking, and slightly out of my price range. She said she couldn't really do anything about the parking (I'd be put on a list and be advanced when current spotholders moved out) but asked me about my range and was willing to decrease the rent to fit into my budget. Especially after I told her that at my last place, I got over 100% of my deposit back (the owner wanted to keep some of my improvements). Pretty good! But, having learned my lesson, I maintained that the parking was important to me and so, unfortunately, I was ultimately not interested. We thanked each other, and I took off. No sweat!
I decided to just drive around the neighborhood and spot-check another apartment I had eyed on CL. When I parked across the street, though, I saw a sign that said, "For Rent: Studio," along with a phone number. I shrugged my shoulders, thought, "Pourquoi pas?" and dailed the number. The resident manager answered, was available to show the unit, and had a one-page info sheet about the studio to hand me right away. He showed me the grounds first because the current occupant was there and in the process of moving. 24-hour access laundry room. Swimming pool. Not just off-street parking, but an assigned spot in an underground, gated lot. With a three-feet deep storage space. When I finally came in to see the studio, there was no more furniture, just a few boxes. And it was perfect. Like, really perfect: well planned, a good amount of space -- even a private patio. The occupant also offered to answer any questions (he had finished med school; had lived there four years; loved it; thought the management excellent; had no problems; an overall glowing review). Oh, and did I mention that it's within walking distance to the Metro (where there's a weekly farmers market), Trader Joe's, the library, cafes and restaurants, antique shops, yoga studios (and even a yarn shop, which, unfortunately, I don't like it very much)?!?! I submitted my rental application, got okayed, and moved in last weekend. (I meant to post this sooner, but I spent most of last week coughing up a pound of phlegm. Anyhow, I moved!)
Of course I stayed up much later than I should have -- even though I was/am still sick! -- arranging furniture, clothes, books, yarn; lining shelves; eyeing rugs online; and even afterwards, in bed, dreaming up mental images. It's coming together nicely.
I'm becoming a grown-up again!