So I still can’t believe it all worked out so well. J and I knew we weren’t going to be able to move until, at the earliest, May 1, because his lease wasn’t up until May 31 and mine until June 30. I’d been obsessively scouring Craigslist and had set up a few search feeds in Google Reader. Every day, I’d find many places I loved, only to see the words, “available immediately,” “move-in ready,” or “available March 15.”
Then, one Sunday, I was over at his place, doing one of my daily CL scours, and I landed upon it.
“Baby, look, this place is available May 1!”
“Yeah?” He seemed interested.
“Yeah listen…” and I rattled off the ad to him. Orange tree in the back yard. Tastefully decorated, many new updates, unfurnished. Hardwood floors. Two bedrooms and a bonus room. Oh man, oh man…
“HOW MUCH IS IT?” he laughed as I read through the entireeeeee ad.
“Oh! Uh… $995 per month! We can do that.”
Luckily for us, the landlady had posted only three weird photos of the place… well, actually, one of the back yard and two of her dogs.
So I emailed her, and the next day she sent me a slew of photos – cute, cute, and cuter!
The deposits were doable, so we went to look at the place. I tried not to get my hopes up. I mean, it was six weeks before our earliest move date, and it was the first place we’d looked at.
But when we pulled onto the block, I couldn’t keep my hopes down. The neighborhood was clean and quiet, the neighbors were frolicking with their dogs on their front lawns – even the mailman we approached was nice. He lived nearby, he said, in the same neighborhood, and it was great. Quiet, no crime – a really good place to live.
Once we were inside, for me, it was a done deal. It just felt like home.
So once J and I had signed the lease, I decided to revisit a little tradition of mine called “What I Love About My New Place.”
This ritual started when I moved from my ridiculously depressing one-bedroom in Bradenton into a much more spacious place in Tampa. I was so happy to be leaving the old place that I waxed enthusiastic about my new apartment for weeks.
While I love my current apartment and will be sad to leave, there are so many things I’m just so excited about. To start:
- It’s the place I’ll be sharing with the love of my life.
- It’s a house and not an apartment! Nobody above me! Nobody below! Nobody sharing my wall! Nobody stumbling in drunk, and late, and loud! Nobody fiddling with the entry box at 3 a.m., trying to figure out the code, leaving the busy signal on forever!
- It has a big, beautiful, fenced-in back yard and the landlord takes care of all maintenance with a lawn service that we don’t have to pay a dime for! I’m thinking of using the dryer less and doing more air drying to extend the life of my clothing/lower the amount of our electric bill. We do live in Florida, though… so perhaps indoor drying would be the way to go.
- There’s a one-car garage that contains a washer and dryer and plenty of storage, both in built-in shelves and loft space. Washer and dryer included = no more coin laundry for me! (J had already been living in an apartment with a W/D, so it means no culture shock for him.)
- Did I mention that I’ll be living there with my soul mate?
- The kitchen has a pantry and lots of cabinet space, greatly reducing the need for me to purchase storage.
- The front door opens into a bonus room that can serve as an office for J and I, and which can be closed off from the living room with French doors. So if he wants to watch a game or play PlayStation, or I want to watch a movie or talk on the phone, and one or the other of us has some work to do – no problem! Just close off the pretty French doors.
- That front door I mentioned? Is red, and inlaid with two Frank Lloyd Wright-style stained glass windows.
- There’s a window above the kitchen sink – I just may execute my vague plans for an indoor herb garden and/or window box vegetable garden.
- The kitchen sink is a double basin, so I’m exploring in-sink dish drying racks and cutting boards to save us on counter space. This, for me, is a necessary “spend” because I love to cook and despite crowded counters.
- There is already a microwave there, so I don’t need to drag mine there.
- The walls are painted adorable and appropriate colors – sunny yellow in the kitchen and dining room, terracotta in the living room, misty green in the master bedroom, light cream in the spare bedroom – so we barely need to do anything to the place to make it feel like home.
- And there is an ice machine in the freezer door! No more buying ice, no more crowded freezers.
- The closet in the master bedroom has a cedar closet, helping me save my sweaters from moth and silverfish smorgasbords in my clothing.
- The house was built in the 1950s and has original oak hardwood floors and original molding, but many updates have been made. Charming and modern… my favorite combination.
- The city comes to pick up our trash, from our curb, twice a week. I don’t know why, but that makes me feel like an adult.
- There are several little waterfront parks nearby for dog-walking, people walking, etc. I’ve been wanting to start some exercise, and J was afraid he’s miss his waterfront walks. Now, I can start, and he can continue!
- It’s exactly 34 minutes, door to door, from both his office (in Bradenton) and mine (in Clearwater). Which, to me, seems like kismet.
- Central air! Central heat! My window unit was fine, but it really only cooled the living room and made quite a racket.
That’s what I have for now… I’m sure I will find more to be terribly excited about as we approach our move-in date and actually settle in. For now, I’m spending my time packing way too early and getting rid of the stuff not worth moving on Craigslist. I guess it’s my way of giving back for the gift CL has given me – our new rental house!