The joys of apartment living

should have listened to Maggie.

It began with such promise — a beautiful neighborhood, with short walks to a coffee shop, a branch library, bikeways, trailheads and numerous restaurants. But my return to living in Boulder after an absence of 25 years — mostly in Northern Colorado — was not destined to go all that smoothly.

After years of home ownership, I’ve returned to renting for a short time, and decided to do so in Boulder, so that at last I can live in the same community in which I work — something I haven’t done since 1990.

No. 1 criteria as I returned to the world of apartment dwelling? Walkability. I looked at various apartments but decided on one that had a beautiful pedestrian-friendly environment and that was just 10 minutes from work. The initial tours went great. I liked the design, the layout, the fire pit, the underground parking, the health club and other amenities.

Nothing left but to process the digital signatures, pay my deposit and move in, right?

If only the key had worked.

The recently cut key was not quite right, you see, but fortunately the second copy worked fine, and I was able to open the door.

But Maggie, my beloved Aussie/border collie mix, was having none of it. As I led her into the apartment, she tugged backward on the leash, struggling mightily against placing her paws on the dark-brown, wood laminate flooring.

She’s always had a phobia for dark wood flooring, and as she trembled on the kitchen floor, terrified that she might fall through, I took a quick look around the kitchen. Somehow, during the initial inspection,I had missed the fact that the microwave had no handle.

Leading Maggie to the safety of the carpeted bedrooms, I noticed — also for the first time — that the bedrooms had no overhead lighting. Going to the patio door — accessible from the bedroom, I noticed that the blinds on the door were about six inches too short.

And then the beeping started. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from at first, but I finally decided that a smoke detector in the hallway was the culprit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t reach it. No furniture had yet arrived, and my laundry basket was collapsing under my weight. Nothing to do but call maintenance, which quickly arrived.

As he replaced the battery in the hallway smoke detector, we both heard another beep, as a second detector’s battery was also bad. Unfortunately, he had brought only one battery. But he was able to adjust it so that the beeping stopped. He left, and Maggie and I went to run some errands.

Upon our return, as I coaxed Maggie back onto the dangerous wooden floor, we both were startled by the shrill beeping of the second detector. Immediately I called the after-hours maintenance person, only to find that he lived in Thornton. I couldn’t bear tearing him away from his family for a stupid smoke detector, so I drove with Maggie to Target to buy a step ladder. One disconnected smoke detector later, and all was well.

Until I tried to go to the exercise room. Neither key worked. I tried to park in the underground garage. The garage-door opener didn’t work. I tried to hang a towel in the spare bathroom, only to find that it had no towel rack.

Eventually, all of these troubles were behind me. The microwave had a handle. The smoke detectors had batteries. The bathroom had a towel rack. The garage-door opener worked. Of course, the parking spot that I was assigned actually belonged to someone else, but that’s another story. All else seemed to be in order.

Until I tried to get my mail. You guessed it. The key doesn’t work.

Oh, well. The views are great.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-630-1942, 970-232-3133 or via email at