The town we are looking to move to seems to have a really small assortment of available rentals. There are even fewer listed on Craigslist, which is what I have access to during the day and so I know that even if I hit the refresh button every twenty minutes for nine hours the same eight houses are going to pop up over and over again.
Mr. Brickie did look at a bunch of other houses and apartments for rent last month but they all wanted November 1st move in dates and we weren’t in a place where we could do that because everyone wanted paystubs which we didn’t have until last Wednesday. It’s been stressful, but Wednesday we were finally able to start looking on Craigslist in earnest. (Why is moving your entire life something you have to do at the last minute? This is insane.)
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes an apartment building pops up. Sometimes a house that was up last week but was taken down pops up. There are one bedroom apartments and houses that come and go like tumbleweeds across the plains.
But housing that accommodates my family? Few and far between. See, it seems there is a town law/ordinance that you can only have two people per room. So I can’t look for a roomy two bedroom I can throw a bunk bed and twin into for three girls. Nope. I have to go for the cramped three bedrooms or get a fine.
I don’t know who issues the fine. I don’t know how much it is. I could risk going to a different town but we’ve kind of decided on this one so figure that unless a better option presents itself through divine intervention we’re going to suck it up and get a three bedroom for a year or two.
This one apartment Mr. Brickie saw the day he toured seven available houses and apartments for rent in the area was still available as of last week. Saturday morning I saw the listing update and it was offering a $15/mo. reduction on the rent for a two year lease. I was all, “Divine intervention!” (because we all know discounts and sales are the work of a loving, divine presence in the world) and had randy call for the whole family to check the place out.
We got there ten minutes late because there was an accident on the expressway, so I was nervous. I told Mr. Brickie I wasn’t going to go in all super friendly and was going to keep it calm. I told the girls they had to have on their best manners because they needed to act like kids who would never in a million years have a fistfight screaming match while playing Uno. Basically I told them not to act feral, they asked what feral was, I gave examples, and they seemed to understand. (This is not foreshadowing, they did fine, I don’t want to make it sound like a cliffhanger.)
The guy showing us the place was nice. I toured all the rooms and was unsure if our king size bed would fit in any of the rooms. Mr. Brickie (who forgot his tape measure, of course) swears it will. I don’t believe him but figure that having an argument or making him lie on the floor were both weird options that would look bad, so I let it go and checked out the bathroom. I sat on the toilet and mimed wiping my butt. (So gross, I know, but seriously I’m going to be using that toilet for two years and the sink was kind of close and I wanted to make sure my elbow wasn’t going to get dislocated whacking it on the edge of the sink.) Every room was small but not tiny. The ceiling was a drop ceiling but not so dropped it was claustrophobic.
It was a passable apartment I could see us living in for two years while we get through the rest of Mr. Brickie’s internship and move him on to the world of being a journeyman with double the paycheck of what he makes now. You know, a pit stop on the race of life or some other deep analogy that makes it sound romantic.
I handed over the application I had filled out here at home already just in case this place was passable and decent and when I asked Mr. Brickie to pull out the checkbook to write the check for the criminal background check he said they would need and mentioned during the tour in the form of asking us if we were married because then it would only be one payment instead of if we were not married where they would have to do separate checks or something … but he told Mr. Brickie to put his checkbook away because that’s the NEXT step in the process. First his Mrs. has to go over the regular application and decide if she even wants to do the background check.
I asked him if he wanted the copy of the paystub or the printout of the savings account.
He said no.
I asked him what information she would get from the two page application that asked where we banked and the names of our employers and he shrugged saying, “I don’t know what she does to decide.”
He said that his wife had already turned down a bunch of people for the apartment. The apartment has been on craigslist for probably at least a month, it’s true, but on that Saturday morning it had just been edited with the new lower rent price for a two year lease. So I’m thinking you don’t really offer a discount if people are knocking your door down trying to rent your place.
But I’ve never understood landlord logic (and I used to date one) so I didn’t question what he said and figured if we were going to get to the next step it would happen. In the meantime, I’ve been hitting refresh on Craigslist every twenty minutes or so since just in case something pops up.
When we were in the town, we stopped by the realtor that has a rental listing for the town as a courtesy, but they closed early on Saturday so we weren’t able to pick one up. I think that is where most of the local listings show up first, because it’s a small town and they all kind of have this word-of-mouth mentality where they’re trying to keep a small town vibe or something. Honestly I’m not sure.
When we told the girls it was time to leave they went through the apartment and shut off all the lights. The potential new landlord noticed and said, “I wish my kids had done that at that age.” I said, “They’re good kids.” He said, “I can see that.”
So hopefully my non-feral kids sold the deal for me. We will see.
I’m really nervous about looking for a place during winter. Like, no one moves in winter. Everyone in the midwest is going to be on cold weather lockdown soon. We need to get into a place and be done with this transition stuff. It’s too stressful.
In addition, the polar vortex or whatever is going to start messing with paystubs soon, so having an almost 40 hour check (minus the two-ish hours he missed when the cement truck backed into the main power line last week that one day and he came home early because no power = no work) is kind of imperative to these places that want a paystub as proof we can afford to live there.
We are not so set on this place that we will all perish of disappointment if we don’t get it, but I would really like it if we could just get it and I didn’t have to think about it anymore. If I could stop hitting refresh on craigslist. If I could know what comes next for sure.
The fact that it’s a block and a half away from a park with a stocked fishing lake, a block and a half from the library, and a block and a half from a $3 movie theatre sure as hell don’t hurt, either. Oh, it’s also in the school district we really want to be in. So I would be lying if I said I wasn’t spending my time hoping we get it. We are hoping we get it. For sure. But I’m also trying to be realistic and mature. Or whatever the word is for not letting myself get my hopes up too, too much.