Fire and Ice: Seasons of a Vintage Apartment

I love the charm and location of my 100+ year old downtown apartment. It's the perfect, cozy little abode for two college gals.

My roommate/best childhood friend Hannah moved in without having ever seen the place (because that's 20 years of friendship's worth of trust) and with the help of our crafty moms, we went to town decorating our new home.

As summer came to an end, we lived comfortably in our air conditioned rooms. Life was good.

But then, winter started. And the radiators came on.

It all started with the bathroom. Now, let me first explain that our apartment is not huge. But each of the four rooms is home to a big, old, dusty radiator. When the temperatures started to drop, we noticed that the one located in the bathroom (just centimeters away from the toilet) was constantly on full force, turning the bathroom into a steam room when the shower was running, and a sauna when it was not. The rest of the apartment might have been freezing, but you always knew you could be warm in the little girl's room.

But one day, I trudged up the stairs after class and opened our apartment door only to be greeted by the most overwhelming heat I have ever experienced as I stepped inside. It was like hitting a brick wall--every single radiator was on at full blast. It was absolutely unbearable.

During our countless calls to maintenance (who told us we couldn't shut them off), complaints to friends who didn't believe us when we expressed the magnitude of the apartment volcano, and nights of snow in our face from sleeping with the windows open, we frantically searched the internet on how to calm an overactive radiator. At this point, the hazard of throwing a sleeping bag over them seemed like the best option--if the apartment burnt down, at least we'd get to go outside where it's nice and cool.

Finally, we got the reluctant go-ahead from the maintenance man to turn the big metal knob to shut them off. ("We just don't want you to freeze!", he says to the girl with sweat dripping off her head wearing next to nothing.) And with that, the sauna was no more. Happy days are here again.

Or so we thought. Despite the one radiator still in commission, the temperature of the outdoors and the apartment slowly became the same. No big deal though; sweatshirts and sweatpants became necessary, quite the relief from when a swimsuit seemed like too much clothing to wear in the sauna apartment.

But soon, it got cold. Really cold. So cold, that one day I opened up our fabulous vintage refrigerator, complete with old school ice box freezer, to find this winter wonderland:

And pulled out what used to be ice cubes...

But such is life when you live in a temperamental home, where the smoke alarms go off every time the stove turns on. And at the end of the day, I would much rather live somewhere quirky and unique than a bland apartment complex. I will take the snow on my face if it means being able to open up the windows and not be boxed in on the 15th floor somewhere. And I'll enjoy the sporadic heat from the radiator in the kitchen.

Happy Friday.


  1. I really like your blog writings. You are such a good writer and things you write about makes smiles come to my face.



  2. I think your writing beautifully illustrates the unique qualities of our unique apartment.


  3. unique unique unique

  4. and where is the pick with the homemade humidifier!?

  5. HAHAHAHA! That ice cube sculpture is classic--looks like something you'd see growing on the walls of Penn's Cave! Fun memories which will produce great story telling for years to come!


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