As far as apartments go and I've experienced many of them in my lifetime, the one we rent in the urban jungle isn't too bad. It has an excellent location with a nice view of the valley and city below, it is close to some excellent eating establishments and a dozen or so blocks from downtown. We opted to get our apartment on the third and uppermost floor on the corner of the building and thus really have only one neighbor, another doctor in residency that works with my wife. He too is married and his spouse and he commute about two hours between homes, just like us. Thus he is not there too often and when he is, we haven't heard him. The apartment building was completely rebuilt from the inside out before we moved in and so we are essentially the first tenants and have all new paint, carpeting, appliances, etc. The rent is affordable and the management, though slow to respond, seems to be nice. It seems ideal other than it is an urban jungle and our hearts are back in rural Iowa.
There are two drawbacks to this apartment. The first we discovered this summer in the form of the air conditioner. It is just a window model set in a hole in the wall between the two living room windows. It has a thermostat so you can set it to maintain a certain temperature and it does that well. However, when it runs, it sounds what I would imagine a 747 preparing for take-off with the back of the engines mounted inside your living room. When the air conditioner runs, conversation is out. Even the television must be turned up full blast to hear anything. Then when the air conditioner shuts off, you are immediately blasted by the noise of the television and must turn it down to avoid injury. So in essence, you must sit there with one hand on the remote changing the volume approximately every three minutes. I would rather have the temperature vary five degrees instead of the one degree the thermostat seems to maintain to give slightly more time between volume changes but that option is not available. So in the interest of maintaining sanity, we spent quite a bit of our time with fans in the window sweating constantly and dreaming of winter when we could use the building boiler heat which would make no noise.
On the first cold snap of the year, we turned the wall thermostat on and waited for the silent heat to warm our bones. We waited and waited and waited. Four days later with the temperature in our apartment hovering just south of fifty degrees, I went home and my wife camped out for the night in front of the electric oven. Finally a week later, the apartment management had the boiler heater delivered and installed, a miscalculation on their part and we finally had heat. It took us about a few hours to realize to our horror, that the wall mounted thermostat had absolutely no function other than to provide a hand hold for taking off your shoes. The apartment is apparently all hooked together and the apartment owner can't control the heat at all. This in itself wouldn't be so bad if the ambient heated temperature were say seventy degrees plus or minus five degrees either way. However, it seems as if the steady state temperature is about ninety-five degrees or their abouts. I don't know for sure because we took to controlling our temperature by opening up the windows and even putting fans in the window. Let me give you an example. A couple weeks ago when the temperature outside got down to nearly twenty below zero at night, we had a living room window open all night with a small fan in it blowing cold air in at medium speed. We slept comfortable all night and in the morning, the living room had a slight chill that was evenly solved by putting on a pair of socks though I was still comfortable in a t-shirt and shorts. And thus we are passing our winter quite comfortably with our windows open 24 hours a day. Kind of odd but having the fresh air always available makes it kind of nice. Fortunately the heat is boiler heat and we don't have to pay for it other than through our monthly rent. I wonder if the management will finally get the hint when they see their heating bill and all the windows are open in the apartment building all winter long. It is getting close to February and they haven't yet so I'm not going to bet on it.