Category Archives: Apartment renting

Gimme, gimme, gimme a greedy landlord!

So yes, firstly to confirm, I do have somewhere to stay in Hollywood, its just not where I expected it to be! Landlord greed, which backfired on him badly. What would you rather have, £747 for a booking 4 months in advance, or nothing because seeing someone wanted to book your place, you hike up your rates 15%!

For those who dont know, when you try to book somewhere on Airbnb, you end up having to request the apartment, and it gives the landlord 24 hours to accept, or reject, or whatever. So yes, given I’d been told which place to book, and that he’d love to have me stay, I thought this would be a formality, but wrong. He just ignored it for the 24 hours, much to my surprise. Until…

Before I went looking elsewhere, under the circumstances, I sent a line to check why he hadnt taken the booking. Back came a reply saying that seeing he was starting to get interest, he wanted to raise the prices slightly. Fine, it was near the top of the range where the apartment option was only slightly cheaper than the budget hotel, but fair enough. A couple of days later, I checked again, to find out the price had gone up by 15%! Despite a request to let me know when he’d done it, I’d heard nothing! So funnily enough, I’ve gone elsewhere! I know, in town, he’ll probably get others who will pay the new rate, but seriously…!

In a matter of irony, I went and looked again. Now, whether this was down before because of a request, or whether he’d taken it down while he did something with his ad, or whether I had just been blonde, but who knows? OK, it doesnt look quite as nice as the other one, but it looks fine, its in an area I know (Just slightly further down towards town in Hollywood Hills area, and quite a bit cheaper! So yes, I applied, got accepted, and am now sorted! The other guy, well fine, serve him right if no one books it, but I doubt that will happen!

Now all I need to sort out, nearer the time, is my ESTA clearance, my travel insurance, and my shuttle. And then, California, here I come!

The video, some live Abba, for which the clue is in the blog title!

Going to make me a star?

Right, firstly, word of warning, its back to normal for the foreseeable future with blogs from now on, so back to twice a week, and all that. At least it gives me a bit more opportunity to use up material at a sane rate, I guess?

Well, I think I’ve resolved my first issue of 2017, my present to myself. Yes, the Hollywood trip is booked, I think. Flight is definitely booked, accommodation, I’ve made my choice, and requested it, but still waiting for confirmation on that. Yes, I’m waiting because I’ve gone for the apartment option, so waiting for that approval email at present. Given I sent a question to the guy, and he answered it, I’m assuming I’m not going to have any issues getting it, but until I get that confirmation, well…?

About one long block from Hollywood Boulevard (near Highland), and it looks fine, and I’m told there is somewhere nearby for provisions, so gone for it. So yes, for 10 days at least, a Hollywood resident again!

Make me a star? No, somehow I have my doubts, but who knows? I will go there with an open mind, and should the chance occur, then yes, I’ll take it. I’ll certainly plan to visit that agency this time around, arrange that appointment a lot further in advance than last time. But no, I wont rush to apply for the working visa just yet lol! Mind, if someone wants to tell me that I should? 😉

Probably only coincidence, but I was watching a documentary of the life of an actress, who won a competition, and became a famous actress because of it, Clara Bow. No, I’m not winning any competition, but if I could start with a small part, then…? Fine, I’m not 16, and its not that Hollywood Era, so… pretty sure I’ll be coming back!

The video, a clue in the title I guess?

Come back and stay, yes. But what choice?

Well fine, I still cant tell you what I got for Christmas, as I’m still the only one here at present. Having seen someone briefly on Facebook a couple of hours ago, I know they are about somewhere, but that could be anywhere between here, and London! I will actually have to go out for some supplies tomorrow now, as the milk is pretty much gone, and the 2nd loaf of bread purchased hasnt survived perfectly, but… Good job I’m not over concerned about what I am getting I guess, lol?

Anyway, what I started doing today, was to start looking at the final details of what I’m jokingly calling my present to myself, my 10 days in Hollywood next May! Given obvious budget limitations, then no, I’m not going to be staying at any of the swish hotels, unless someone else wants to pay! In truth, somewhere like here is probably more my end of the scale.

https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/travelodge/hollywood-california/travelodge-hollywood-vermont-sunset/overview

Or if I brave basic economy, mainly a leg issue, the money I could save would allow me something like this

https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/days-inn/hollywood-california/days-inn-hollywood-near-universal-studios/overview

which looks far nicer, is closer where I want to be, but yes, how hellish is that flight going to be?

The other option I’m considering, is what I did last time I visited Hollywood, and rent an apartment via Airbnb. To my surprise, I found a couple pretty close to Hollywood Boulevard that look decent, and are a reasonable price. For example

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/3281853? or https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/3292367?

Which both look nice, and I could then at least save on food, as I could cook for myself, of sorts, some nights. So which route do I choose?

The advantage of hotels is that when I arrive, everything is there waiting for me. No need to go out dashing for provisions, everything is provided, well in a coffee making sense, at least! And the bed gets made, and in these cases, breakfast is provided, so… The disadvantage, you’re eating out each night, or even if you get food delivered, you’re paying for the privilege. Not that I mind doing so, but if you’re trying to budget…

The advantage of a rented apartment, the fact that you can save (for a few nights at least) by cooking for yourself, by buying cheap meals in a store, which is what I did last time. Main snag, the fact that when I arrive wonderfully jet lagged, I have to go out and buy basic provisions, almost before I do anything, if I want a drink, and the like, and I suspect I will! The other advantage is, if one day I get inspired to write (ha ha) instead of hitting the town, I can. Hotel, the staff want to do your room, you have to get out, and so…

I know, no one is going to give me an answer, or advice on this on here, but I can ask. So which would you do?

1. Fly in comfort (prem economy), stay in a pretty basic budget hotel.
2. Fly in economy (coach), stay in a nicer hotel
3. Fly in comfort (as per 1), and stay in an apartment.

At this moment, I’m tempted by 3, but I know I will not want to go shopping soon after I arrive, even if it should be late afternoon/early evening, not late at night.

So…?

The video. As so often, the clue is in the blog title!

Verbena Drive, no more

Anyone who has been following this for 10 months or more, will know where I’m talking about, but for the sake of more recent visitors, and those with less than lengthy memories…

Last August, about a year or so ago to the day, I had decided that before I exploded over my frustrations with finding a new job, I needed to let off steam, and just get away from it all for a while. Having visited Hollywood for 10 days in April (trip planned before redundancy, for 7 days at least), and fallen in love with the place, and not having done half what I wanted to, there seemed one obvious place to go for a 4 week getaway. Yes, back to Hollywood! However, given the length of my planned stay, and everything, I considered another option, renting an apartment for my stay.

So, having looked at AirBnb, I’d tried to book a couple of places that took my eye, with no joy. Finally, at about the 4th, or 5th option, I managed to get somewhere booked. I’ll admit it, the place had caught my eye earlier in the search, but given it was up in the hills, just under the Hollywood sign, it wasnt quite as central as I ideally desired. But in the end, maybe it was fate, or something, that was the place I finally booked into, for a glorious 4 week stay.

In truth, the place was as adorable as it looked in the photos, and I loved my time there. Yes, it meant I needed a slightly more expensive travel pass, but very quickly, I didnt care! I fell quickly in love with the place, the owners were a delight to deal with, all in all, a heavenly stay. My only sad moment was when it came to being time to leave, I must say. My pledge at the time, as Arnie said, was ‘I’ll be back!”, but sadly, I wont.

Earlier this week, I thought I’d see what they were charging for a months rent this year, not that I’d be going, but I thought it would give me a guide to the price for next year, maybe. It wasnt there! Now, as I hadnt put in any specific dates, even if taken at present, it should have shown, but no.

So, as they say, Google is your best friend, so I went on there, hoping to find more, but found something I didnt want to hear, as to why its no longer advertised. Yes, sadly, the owners have sold up, and moved on, happened in May, seemingly.

I know, these things happen, and all that, and why would they think of telling anyone who stayed there, that it was going to happen, but yes, it was a sad moment for me. My fondest memory is going to be that bed, and climbing into it, though the whole place was a delight, in all honesty. But now I know, I wont be keeping my promise to return, and thats a shame. Hopefully, if I do the same next year, I can find somewhere equally delightful. But no, I probably wont visit Verbena Drive again, all the same

The video, you could say there’s a bit of a clue in the title

Bye, bye, Miss American Pie – A look back at 2015

Yes, I know, this normally requires 2 blogs, to keep them at sensible lengths, but I think 1 will probably do this year. 2015 has been a funny year, highs, and lows, and not much in between!

I must admit, if you’d told me back in January, when I learnt of the redundancy offer from Hills, that I’d still be job hunting at the end of the year, I’d have laughed at you. Fine, I’m not laughing now, but I’m still standing, for now at least. I was offered an option to stay on, but given it was the third time in 6 years that they’d made me redundant, and the offer was very good, I decided to go for it. One of the main issues for staying on, apart from being worn down by shop staff, was that I’d have to get myself home after 10.00 finishes, and buses dont run late enough for that around here. So I went for it, and took the chance to up my April holiday from 7 days, to 10, in Hollywood, as I wouldnt have to worry about holiday allowances by then! I actually left at the very end of March, having also managed to do the last escalated agent shift, a little while earlier.

Ignoring most details of job hunting efforts (you’ve suffered enough of those over 9 months), the big event in April was that first visit to Hollywood, the 10 day hotel based adventure. As you know, I fell in love with the place, but more of that later. Yes, its a crazy place, and thats not usually my scene, but for once…Fine, I soon discovered that even 10 days wasnt enough, and pledged I would have to return some day, not realising how soon that would be!

Pretty much nothing exciting then happened, until the end of August, when I decided that unless I did something to break the sequence of frustrating job interviews, I was going to do something crazy, or just go crazy. So, I did something crazy! I looked into, and ended up booking a 4 week stay, starting at the very end of September, in a rented apartment in the Hollywood Hills. It was going to make the money issue ‘more interesting’, but I could do it, needed to do it, so it was happening!

Earlier in September, I’d had booked, for quite a while, a week on Cape Cod, with my wonderful friend, Kate. It was a lovely break, and teaming up with her again was wonderful. Then it was back to the UK, for a whole 10 days, before setting off for my Hollywood apartment! Again, the details of the trip can be found in the blog, so lets focus on the other issues. All my travel to the US before, has been staying in a hotel. But I discovered that having your own little apartment is pure heaven! No, I wouldnt do that for a 7 day stay probably, but anything longer than that, absolutely! Oh, and to a slight degree, even a combined total of 38 days in LA isnt enough to see everything! Fine, one thing I would love to have seen (Harlow’s home in Easton Drive) was out of range of a non driver, but otherwise…

Oh, and one thing got delayed, because of the 2 close together trips to the US, the change of name, and in passport terms, the change of gender. But immediately after I got back, the name change request went through, and in the last 10 days (because I’ve been using my old passport for ID), the passport change has finally been arranged, and as the fee has now been taken, I’m now definitely known as Harlean (other than those who are so used to using Steph/Stevie/Stephanie at least), and I’m definitely female, with an extra bit, for now at least. I cant see me removing it, unless need really arises, but never say never…Really looking forward to moving forward as Harlean, and no gender issues related to passport.

Fine, lets not mention that awful job choice I made in December, when I could have been on a research trial, OK? Live, and learn, I guess?

The video, what I seem to have been this year, judging by the amount of time I’ve spent there (about 45 days in all!). A clever video, for a song too old to have had one.

Two old English ladies get to meet

OK, so lets catch up on things so far. Not that there was really much to report for the first couple of days, but after today, there’s more than enough lol.

Wednesday: Flights were smooth enough, the bit in between was entertaining though. Now I knew that when I got to Atlanta, I could go to the automated machines to pass through Immigration, and that was the plan. Only…I ran into Miss Jobsworth, who insisted I had to go join the lengthy queue to go through Immigration in the old fashioned way. So, 15 minutes took an hour and a half, only to be told by the guy on the desk that I neednt be doing this. When I told him I knew that, and told him what had happened, his comment was something akin to “You must have run into…”, and he passed me through very quickly. Then when I finally got to security, something set the machine off (I have no idea what?), which slowed me even more. Eventually a 2.5 hour gap before boarding for the LA plan, ended up being just under 20 minutes!

Oh, and the shuttle. Now, whether the guy had given the right address or not (I think we ended up dropping him at the East address, and he’d given it as West), but the sat-nav didnt want to go in the right direction. Eventually the guy sorted out where he wanted to be, and we dropped him off. Finally (3rd drop in van), we got to me, but despite telling her we were at the right place, she sailed by, and in a narrow road, it took her a while to find somewhere to turn round. But finally, about 9.30, I arrived.

The apartment is cute, and I love it, but the bed really is something else. I knew I had to climb up (literally) to get into it, but its even better than the picture suggested. I will have to move the cases, and take a picture sometime! That was it, grabbed nightwear, and to bed. Bed is very comfortable, btw.

Yesterday, really little happened.I got unpacked, and settled in. Did some shopping, caught up on the net, and…not a lot else. I did go down to the Boulevard in the afternoon, but principally for a very nice ice cream, and that was it. I did go and visit Jean’s prints at the Chinese Theatre, and her star across the road, but that really was it.

So to today. The one main place I wanted to visit last time, and didnt get to, was Long Beach. Mainly to see the Queen Mary, but it looked an interesting trip anyway. Oh, right, for those with a memory, the metro line goes through Watts, and Compton. Made for an interesting crowd on the train, shall we say? Yes, I survived, and got to see an English lady, far older than me, the Queen Mary! No, I didnt go on board, I am trying to be sensible with money, and $27 minimum to get on board (for not that long) seemed a bit daft to me. But I paid my respects.

The weekend should be relatively calm, though I will have to go shopping for bread, if nothing else tomorrow. Beyond that, a little college football on TV is quite likely. Hopefully, my team (Kansas State) against Kate’s team (Oklahoma State), but not sure if I will get that here? Sunday, a mix of NFL on TV (there is a game in London, which kicks off 6.30 am, my time), and meeting up with someone I met in April early afternoon, is promising me a tour, which I suspect is either going to be going up near the sign, or more likely something Jean related. More on that on Monday or Tuesday, I’m sure. I may, or may not get to the Dodgers baseball tomorrow night, we shall see.

Fine, the video. Well, I could cheekily say this is about me!

You can call me up and make a date

No, seriously no, please dont. But the title fits in with the video, and that fits in (of sorts) with the location, so…

Yes, you’re right, the search is over. For better or worse, for crazy or totally insane, or whatever, the sanity break is officially settled, booked, and everything else. And no, not Plan B either! Which is why I can use the location connected video tonight. OK, the story, before the headline stuff.

I finally heard from Plan A man, apparently he no longer owns said cottage, but for whatever reason, the website wont let him delete his advert. Funnily enough, by the time I heard from him, I was booked! Plan B lady also had an interest for a 3 month stay, that would have overrun with mine, so decided to pass on me. I hope she doesnt end up with mud on her face over that, but anyway, not my concern now, really.

So, head to Plan C. 2 options, slightly further out from the centre of things, but very nice places. One, the current renter had just extended their stay, but yes, the other was free! And yes, its not free now! Thats right, however sane an idea it is, and I’m still not thoroughly convinced myself on that front, the deed is done, apartment and flight booked, for a 4 week stay in Hollywood. No one amazingly has yet told me what a daft idea this all is. Now whether thats because it isnt, or whether its because no one is just prepared to say it to my face, no idea! Too late now, either way! If nothing else, the air fare is booked, and thats non refundable!

Whats that? You want a look? Oh fine… https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/5857564 should take you through to have a look. Nice, isnt it? Well, you werent expecting a Harlow mansion on my budget lol? 😉 But its got everything I should need though, for my sanity break, and everything else. The oven (and microwave) gives me the option to buy cheap meals, and eat in, at least to some degree, probably wise under the circumstances, as well as eating out sometimes.

Plans, apart from the crazy one of attracting the eye of someone from a movie, or TV studio, and getting employed by them (which may have worked in the 20’s or 30’s, but not now), are simple. Hopefully get to see some of the sights I didnt get to see in April (and there are plenty), see some again (including a return visit to Forest Lawn), and hopefully get some useful things, like writing done. And fine, should I see a suitable job opening while there, I might just have a go. Not going to happen, unless they are really keen on me, but hey, who knows? Would be wonderful though, but I’m being realistic. I’m sure there will be a couple of “silly”, more expensive excursions (Dodgers are at home my first weekend, end of season) as well, but on the whole, I will have to be practical on such matters.

Of course, I might get wined and dined by someone romancing me, but I suspect thats as likely as becoming a movie actress! If someone offers to buy me a coffee, I suspect that will be quite something! But hey, I’ll be in the home of romantic movies, so…no, not really!

Fine, yes, and not just in case someone at the Job Centre is reading this, I’m still job hunting. But clearly, I’m now looking for something starting at the beginning of November. Christmas season might provide some temporary work at least, if nothing else. So fine, now you know.

Miss Harlean Carpenter (I might have been, if I could have fitted the name change in, between trips) will be taking up residence in a private apartment in Hollywood for the month of October (close enough, 30/9 to 28/10), and open to all offers in that period

I will have to wait until I get back from the trip to arrange that, but I’ve left the money in the secure Paypal account until I’m ready. Thank you to 2 people for at least paying part of the cost of that. Anyone else that is still inclined to help, just ask, and I’ll pass you my Paypal account details. And yes, the idea of a major change, and going with Harlean Stephanie as my name is definitely winning out at the moment.

OK, finally, the video. Its a slightly different spelling, and definitely will not be my phone number while there (that will be a modern AT&T cell phone number), but its close enough

Almost there

So fine, I was assuming by now that I could tell you that yes, I was going to LA for 4 weeks, or that I’d got a job at last. Fine, the way things had been, I wasnt expecting the latter, and so it proved. Yet again, close, but no cigar, really does make me feel like screaming, and thats probably why I need the break, to get my sanity back.

Alright, I thought the one thing I could really on, was the accommodation, having been pre approved for somewhere on the outskirts of the city centre. So the main thing I was nervously watching was the air fare. That stayed the same, but…by the time I heard the news about the job, I discovered someone had jumped in before me, and bagged the apartment I had my eyes on.

Yes, I brought in Plan B, the back up cottage, a bit nicer, but a fair bit more expensive, but bit the bullet, and applied for it. Now I’m not saying my luck is out, but this guy supposedly had a 100% reply rate, within the 24 hours, so all would be fine. Me, I’m the first one he doesnt reply to! Of course, that could have been a 1 out of 1, it doesnt specify that lol. He could simply be unavailable (its a bank holiday weekend over there too), but…

So I took another look, Plan C if you like, and a new one had appeared. Looks even nicer, in fact. So I’ve applied for that one. Yes, you’ve guessed it, after 4 hours, I’m still waiting for a reply, one way or the other! I have also left a message for the first guy, saying that if he is just away, I am interested at the present moment. I did also spot a couple more at similar prices, just a little bit further out, so they are on the reserve list.

Ironic, when I do decide I’m going, I still cant get things totally sorted. Ah well, as a certain group said, things can only get better…hmm? No, thats not the video, I went for something more classy lol. You could say this gives a clue to a street that isnt a million miles from either of these apartments!

Just know that something good is going to happen?

OK, fine, first part of the duty is done, I did the interview earlier today. For me, it went fine, but then again, I’ve thought that before, and not even got a message of rejection from the company/agency involved. Hey, half the agencies (or more) that required me to register, so they could put me forward for a job, never heard from them again, post registration. I suspect they got their KPI target by doing the registration, and that was that. Some of the time, thinking especially of a couple of agencies, I’m not even sure the job ever existed in the first place. One at least I’m sure was just getting people to go on a course, to claim money from the government. Given I never even got the course certificate I was meant to get from that course, I’m pretty sure of that.

No, I havent booked the flight, and accommodation yet, not quite sure why? I suppose there is something at the back of my head saying that I’ll get a call, telling me I’ve got the job on Friday, but given its 1 position, I doubt it. So, should I wait, or should I book? Are 2 midweek flights likely to increase in price before Friday, I doubt it? The choice of apartment is made, and I’ve been approved, so just a matter of transferring money on to my card, and paying now.

Alright, in the end, its not a Hollywood address, though its not too far away, just a little way south, towards the centre of the city. Yes, its practicality, and reality, its about £200 cheaper for the month than the Hollywood one which had taken my eye. But then again, part of my thought behind this was to see more of L.A itself than I did before, so its hardly critical. And I can see the sign on a fair day, so definitely not that far away. But it looks nice, its a 20’s building, so it works in that sense. And besides, Jean lived in Beverly Hills, so living outside the movie capital isnt cheating in that sense? 😉

I know, part of me thinks I’m taking the easy way out with this, and I’ll almost certainly still need to find something when I get back, though I will still be job hunting for something that starts when I get back, while I’m here. There is also the logic that 3 (or even maybe just 2) weeks might be enough to work out the mental knots that have formed, but I suspect that by now, I’ve got that 4 week trip in my head…and its going to happen…unless? No, realistically, its just whether I book it tomorrow, or wait formally until Friday, then do it.

Right, so to the video. Given the drought situation in Southern California, they’d probably love a machine that could do this. Preferably not while I’m there, though for the odd day, in 4 weeks, might be fun? And besides, its a brilliant song

California, here I come…probably?

OK, the title of the blog gives a pretty good clue what happened with the council job, doesnt it? Those famous words, “You did really well, but…” were heard again yesterday. In the end, the fact that others of a similar standard had done that sort of work before, and I hadnt, pushed me the wrong side of the line? Or is that the right side of the line? Really, dont ask, I dont know!

So fine, by now, I should have taken the steps towards booking my trip to Hollywood, you reckon? Well, depends what you call taking steps? If you mean checking what the current flight situation is, and selecting an elite list of places that I would like to stay at, then done. If I’m doing the 4 week trip (just about doable), then I need to fly out on the last day of September, because for the Thursday, the air fare goes up by about £240 return, and the weekend is fully booked, for the flight coming back. If I settle for 2, or 3 weeks, then I could still do it on the Thursday. But you know me, assuming I havent got a job to come back for, in mid October, and the figures look the same when I check them again, then its going to be 4 weeks!

So why you’re asking, hasnt she gone ahead and booked it yet? Err, a job interview? Let me explain. About a month ago, almost to the day, I applied for a job in a call centre in Mirfield. It was only 28 hours a week, which would be at the bottom end of fine, but it did say there would be plenty of opportunities for extra hours, so I went for it. And heard nothing…until yesterday morning! In fact, they rang while I was signing on, but got a message, and phoned back. And so, I’ve got an interview there on Tuesday morning! I know, I know, I’m daft, but anyway…its sorted now. The way I look at it, they arent going to start me now before my holiday. Even if I started the following week, it would be 1 complete week before my holiday! And therefore, about a month before I could realistically get started there. So, someone else is going to get it, who’s readily available, right? But still, I feel its right not to book it until after that. I know, being daft, but…suppose they offer me a mid October start, because then…could do it, for 2 weeks! And have a job to come back to, so…

Fine, yes, I expect on Wednesday to be booking the trip, for 4 glorious weeks in Hollywood, and even though I know its not going to happen, maybe I get that lucky break, and get to stay there. Fine, stop laughing now! Sadly, the place I originally had my eyes on, is no longer available, but I’ve found at least a couple more that would be very nice, all the same, at a fair price.

So now you know. OK, the video. To say this is early Abba, would be putting it mildly, this is several years before they became world famous. But hey, what can I say, the first song is very apt, and its better than Al Jolson…just!