As I was calling around Friday, I thought I had found the perfect place in Big Little Town*, I could tell from the photos that it was an older home–the one I was talking about in the previous post. My future colleague called me (how sweet of her!) and said that she would drive down to the place. I also contacted my cousin’s friend who is also a prof at Big Little Town U about the area in which this place was located. During the course of trying to get info about this place, my father, the ever vigilant webmaster did a satellite/web view of the property and decided it was no good and that I *must* drive down there and under *no* circumstances take the place unseen. (They had no problem with me doing this in Fancy Town, I might add). So, stressed at being treated like a child and a stupid girl, I called the hubby crying, stressed to the ever loving hilt. He rearranged all this work stuff he was supposed to be responsible for (driving people back to Home City Friday night and then back to the relief site Sunday when he returned), he cancelled our plans with our friends for Friday night, and he said that we should just pack up the car, drive down to Big Little Town, spend Saturday trying to find a place and hope for the best, and then come home Sunday. (Fortunately FEMA relief job is on the way to Big Little Town–one has to pass through it to get to BLT– And a friend (whom some of you may know as an occasional blogger, but I won’t mention who because she’s near where I’m moving) posted a FB inquiry about pet friend renters in the area and she got me a couple of leads, too.
I made a few more phone calls to try to get some stuff lined up for Saturday. I found in the course of my phone calls, and from talking with future colleague and cousin’s friend that you can negotiate the pet issue if you mention that you’re faculty at Big Little Town U because most house renters want to avoid having college students if they can and like to get faculty in their places. So I lined up four places for Saturday with people who were willing to bend the pet rule. One couple wanted to “interview” the mutts, so we had to bring them with us, just in case.
We made it in at 1:30 in the a.m. We get down to the BLT to find out about checking out the first place. They rented it the night before to someone who fell in love with it and put a deposit down. Before we call two others, we decide to check out the exterior first–no point in wasting time if we don’t like the area. Dad was half right about the area (as much as I didn’t want to admit–I would have felt less than safe and been less than happy had I taken the one sight unseen, price notwithstanding). Oy. Pockets of nice houses around. But also lots of pockets of not well maintained low income housing, trailer parks, and apartments. Most of the trailers were slanted and looked like they were about to fall down. The low income housing looked like it had been built in the 1850s and not maintained one bit since then. And the two places we were considering were flanked by these conditions. The one with the cheapest rent looked like it was about to fall down on the outside. The other one didn’t look that much better, truth be told. There were hardly any street lights, and there was a dump down the road, too. And probably there would be a fair amount of students living in the cheap housing in the area, too, and well, I don’t want to deal with that either.
We checked out another house. The guy was out of town, but he was trying to get me the key so we could go inside. The J found on-line inside pics of the house. It was older, but close to school. It had a fenced in yard. But, no central air. We decided that house was Plan B. Even with the dogs, I could tell the guy was anxious to rent to me. He was actually bending over backward almost. It was in a family neighborhood area, close to the school, and it was the right size and had everything we were looking for but central air (which could get expensive in the summer–the window units that is).
Fortunately it was still only about maybe 10:15 am, so we had accomplished a lot in our 45 minutes there. The plan was to drive around and take Anastasia’s advice and look for yard signs and try to set stuff up for the afternoon. Have lunch, and then call the two referrals I had gotten from the FB posting. But I was getting kind of discouraged. 3/4 potentials were out in less than 45 minutes, and one was fine and good, but I wasn’t excited about it, but the J was more than satisfied with the house, even without seeing the inside in person. Long story short (too late!), I made my way to a neighborhood the chair had driven me to during my interview because I saw houses for rent in June. I knew those would not be available, but I thought others might, and lo and behold! A For Rent sign! And the owner was working in the yard! We charmed him into letting us have the dogs, which he was more willing to do once he found out I was faculty and the J was military. It’s expensive I think for a house the size it is–I think if we bought a house that size that the mortgage would be half what the rent is, but it’s a pretty new construction (it’s got to be less than 5 years old, maybe less than three–it looks like a brand new neighborhood), so I get it. It has 3 bd/2 full baths, one of which is a master bath, which I totally had listed in my criteria. There’s a w/d hook-up (we need to get a new w/d, an apartment sized one because our full size won’t fit in the space, but that’s ok. They’ll be cheaper than full size and easier to sell I think in a college town of apartment renters if need be one day). It has a dishwasher (plus!) and a fireplace (plus!). It also has central air, and since it’s small, the landlord said that utilities are low. Stone/tile/concrete flooring throughout (yay! No carpet to deal with!!) I think I saw a fan in the master bedroom. The kitchen is small (not any smaller than what we have now, but there’s more natural light coming through the kitchen), but the J said there’s a small nook for a breakfast table (I don’t remember that, but anyway). And I can’t tell you what the closet situation is either. I didn’t even look, to be honest. (would have if we were buying). There’s no garage, but a two car driveway, and the yard is super small and not fenced, but that’s okay (again, we’re not buying), because since the J is going to be working out of town for six months, if I have to maintain the yard on my own (I’ve, uh, never operated a lawnmower in my life, btw), it’s manageable for me to do so. And it’s no more than three miles from campus. If it’s that far.
The other thing that we liked about it was that the landlord is invested in keeping his property maintained, so it seems like he’ll be Johnny on the Spot if something goes wrong, and he was working just as hard to convince the J to rent from him (while I was filling out the application) as we were to get him to rent to us. And to our favor, he didn’t run a credit check (which was a BIG concern of mine because my credit really profoundly sucks still right now–the apt. in Fancy Town is under my dad’s name), so the rent is under our names which will help our credit. And he was so grateful that we stopped by because he really didn’t want to have to rent to college students in the fall. He said, “thank you so much for renting. You saved me so much work. I’m so glad that you guys found this place.” We agreed.
So, we had lunch and turned around and came home last night. So, today will be a day of cleaning (Mom comes in Friday morning), and then M-Th will be nothing but working on that damn book chapter.
*I’m debating on pseudonyms here–I’m torn between Rusty Village and Big Little Town, but I think I’m clearly leaning toward Big Little Town despite the abbreviation being BLT which makes me giggle.