It was like searching for Goldilock's porridge.
Some were too big (i.e. expensive), some were too small (do we really NEED a bed?). One had a walk-in kitchen, and by that I mean walk one step in and that's it. Stove to the left, fridge to the right, sink directly in front. It was about the size of an airplane lavatory. One had very friendly, sleepy students who weren't afraid to squish as many on the elevator as possible, since they had been up all night and had a paper due. One was lovely, with an outdoor park-like private garden, but it was more than we wanted to pay, and they didn't have any vacancies anyway.
And then Spike saw ... The Doorman. Standing outside on that Saturday afternoon enjoying the sunshine, chatting happily to passersby. "Come in," he said warmly. "You are looking for a place? This is a great place. I will take you to the office. Where are you moving from?"
It was just right.
Turns out his name is Peter - "Peter the Great," he says with a smile. He's the reason we live here, and the other doormen are just as wonderful. Let me tell you, there is something awfully nice about having someone wish you a nice day as you leave in the morning and then welcome you home, casually walking over to call an elevator for you, however many hours later.
A few days after we moved in, Spike wanted pizza to round out his football-watching afternoon. Peter offered an instant recommendation, and Spike came back upstairs to order it. Meanwhile, I headed out to explore the neighbourhood, waving goodbye to Peter as I left. Returned an hour and a half later, and Peter didn't miss a beat - "Pizza's upstairs," he said, pointing upwards.
So ... we have doormen. We don't have blinds yet (that's another story) but we have doormen, and somehow that makes everything all right.