It's a strange thing, renting someone else's house for a year, sight unseen (apart from photos) - which is what I've elected to do in Durham - rather than renting an unfurnished apartment and some generic furniture, which is what I did eight years ago. Both choices have their up and down sides - I have a great deal of space to call my own, but there again, it isn't my own, and needs doctoring to make it so; whereas a rented apartment is a bland nonentity onto which it's easier to project oneself. But there can be footsteps above; loud parties next door; lines for the washing machines. But yes, I'd rather complain to a management company about roaches than to an owner - on the other hand, she couldn't have been nicer (or, let's hope, more efficient) about the problem. And I do understand it's still the dank and steamy time of year. So all in all, what with it being tenure/promotion letter season, and having to make an essentials (pans, kettle, cushions, hand soap, trash bags - etc etc - you know the sort of stuff) trip to Target that felt as though I was single-handedly kick-starting the Chinese economy, there wasn't any time to explore Durham and see what might have changed in eight years. But I did explore the extensive grounds (I'm promised lots of interesting critters, and certainly when I woke up this morning there was a woodpecker pecking away in a tree outside my window). And in the grounds I found a pool - an unkempt pool, to be sure, but it was a happy ecological refuge, so far as I could see, to a large frog family.