Category: House Updates

The Neverending Closing #NaBloPoMo

I have the theme song for The Neverending Story stuck in my head now.

Mortgage Guy™ emailed today and those two pesky accounts are still listing Mr. Brickie as an authorized user even though I took him off those accounts at the end of August.

In case I haven’t said, Mortgage Guy™ said that the letters the companies gave me stating he had been removed were not good enough because “things can be altered” so we had to wait for them to not show up on the credit report anymore.

Now I’m over here and I know beyond knowing that I was removed as someone’s authorized user when I was 15 and that card STILL showed on my credit report when I was 21 and so I never thought it was possible all these cards would somehow magically disappear from his report.

I have probably also mentioned that the amount it would cost to pay off the two cards in question is the same amount we have in the bank right now set aside for closing. We only have enough to close or pay off the cards, not both.

Today, though, he’s saying we just have to pay off the smaller of the two cards and now my ears perk up because yes that sounds like something we might be able to do. I email back and verify we might be able to do that fairly soon because he’s coming back into town and it sounds like he’s going to start working right away as long as it’s really just the one card we need to pay off.

He says it will take too long to pay it off and wait for the credit report to update so we can pay it off at closing and now I’m like WHAT?! we never knew that was an option or this could have been done a month ago. Now I email him back and I’m like, “Hey there, so we just need to have $9700 in cash for closing then or whatever $8k + that one card’s balance equal? Okay then, I’ll talk to Mr. Brickie when he gets out of meetings tonight and we will see if we can find a way to make that happen and I’ll let you know how soon it will be.”

He just emailed back that my math is correct and now I have to somehow come up with $9700 to close on this place.

Right now, in all accounts including THE CHILDREN’S accounts because I’m trash and will borrow money from my children. (Hey, they live here too and I will pay them back. You haven’t seen a refractory paycheck yet I don’t think. Yeah, we can pay them back right quick.)

Checking: $6795.94
Kids’ Savings: $1142.35

So we’ve been floating with $7938.29 (I just paid the NIPSCO bill so that’s why there’s a hair less than $8k) and now we have to make $9700 happen. (Technically that card has a balance of $1871.56 so we actually have to prove we have $9871.56 to close.)

I may tear all the hairs out of my head in ten seconds.

If we can get him back on a night shift he’ll make a hair more than that in a week for take home but that doesn’t include paying bills.

I really want to walk away but I don’t think that’s the right choice. If we couldn’t afford the place I would walk away and not feel an ounce of pain over it, really, I am over having some deep desire to own a house and I am totally over giving a shit what anyone thinks of my rent/own situation in life. I don’t need to own a house to feel fulfilled or secure.

But we’re here and the price is right and we can afford it fairly easily once we get past the closing stuff and I have given it to the universe and the mortgage company haven’t pulled out of the deal so I guess we’re staying. We just have to find two thousand dollars. Or conjure it. Or borrow it.

I’ll talk to Mr. Brickie once he’s done today and figure out our next steps.

My hair tearing moment has passed. It’s only a house. This is only a process. None of it means anything in the long run. We will either close or we won’t. We will come up with the money or we won’t. Either way is fine and in ten years we’ll look back and know in our hearts whichever way it went was really for the best because that’s what humans do and I am deeply and totally human.

No matter what my kids might tell you.

A Week In The New Place

I was telling my friend yesterday that I was so sure we would have to move into some awful sacrificial place because we were such failures I am having trouble getting comfortable in the new place.

The bedroom is bigger than at the house.

The kitchen has a better flow.

The windows are all normal and not kissing the ceiling with a narrow dare to find decent draperies.

There are blinds. Have I told you I’ve fallen in love with blinds? They’re so….easy.

Thanksgiving was uneventful in all the best possible ways. The food all turned out perfect and the company was great. My girls were talking about how nice it was for families to get together and have a nice holiday together where they could be in love and watch football and fun movies (we watched Despicable Me 2).

I keep feeling like it’s Sunday and I feel my brain and insides kind of bear down to get prepared for Monday where we have to find out about the school lunch issue…oh, I haven’t told you about that, have I?

We hit our first snag in the new school.

I sent Middle Sister with a dollar on Wednesday because they have snacks. When she got to the counter, the lunch lady took her money and didn’t give her the snacks because they haven’t been put into the system for the free lunch program yet. Middle Sister was so sad when she got home but said she didn’t cry at the school because the lunch lady looked like she felt really bad about taking her money and Middle Sister didn’t want to make it worse. So sweet, right? I told her I would replace her dollar and we would try again next week.

In the meantime I’ll find out Monday what’s going on and what I should do to make sure it won’t happen again.

She DID receive her lunch so I have no problem with what happened. They just didn’t let her have the bottle of water and the chips. 100% no big deal.

The night before last was the first night since we started sleeping here Sunday that we really slept. It was great.

It’s funny because when we were talking over whether we were aiming to rent a house or an apartment we never in a million years thought we would actually get the best of both worlds. The main floor of a house converted to apartments with an add-on bedroom and a little (clean, well-lit) basement to do laundry. No lawncare, no snow shoveling, no remembering what day trash day is. No water bill, no trash/sewer bill.

A private back door and a 90% private front door. Windows looking out onto the street where I can type and watch the cars pass and the kids ride bikes and walk.

Because did I tell you? There are kids everywhere. Walking, riding, moseying everywhere. No one will look at me funny if I let the girls walk to school (which I will when it’s not bitterly cold out) or let them bike to my cousin’s house a mile away. It’s a normal part of life here.

I feel like after having a fundraiser we should be in someplace made for serving time or doing penance for the wrongs of our choices. But we did look diligently and saw many places before this one opened up. I remember wanting the four bedroom we saw so much. I still would have liked to give each child their own room but that’s just decadent and unnecessary. Their bedroom is for sleeping and the third bedroom is for their toys and books and a friend is going to give us a futon so they have a place to sit. (Because of course the couch wouldn’t fit through the hallway. Nor would the chair and a half.)

We haven’t eaten out since we’ve been here, although we have had cup o’ noodles a couple times because the counters weren’t clear until the night before Thanksgiving.

We all gave thanks for this place.

It’s good here.

Thank you to my readers who shared links to LIHEAP in Indiana. We don’t have a utility bill yet so I think I may have been jumping the gun there. I have not put in the paperwork for Little Sister to go to Head Start yet because we can’t find it just yet. The refrigerator that would not fit is off our back porch and sold. We are still working on selling the stove and the dryer.  Mr. Brickie goes to the house every day to make sure we have the things we need as well as to make sure the house is safe and not broken into.

We are still very much in transition but we are more here than there and that is amazing and comforting for all of us.

Last but not least Mr. Brickie found out there is a job he is going to after the current one ends. Hallelujah!

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Craigslist to the Rescue (I Hope)

Mr. Brickie was breaking down (uninstalling? unbuilding?) the beds as we tried to figure out a new date to ask everyone to come by and help us move. We also went over moving truck options like U-Haul or renting a big truck from Enterprise and using that to move things.

The biggest issue was the immediate (or near-immediate) need for my king-size mattress so I can sleep in our new place.

After going back and forth I asked Mr. Brickie if I could look on Craigslist and he was all grumpy and grunty and NO about the whole thing. He didn’t want to pick up random strangers and have them touch our things and know where we live. So I went looking for a business that had a website. While you and I might know that a website does not a reputable company make, he’s more easily swayed and I figured I could use that to get a couple quotes anyway.

Side Note: He tried to get a quote from Two guys and a Truck and they still haven’t gotten back to him with a quote but since we’re moving over state lines that causes a whole heap of mess with being insured in both IL & IN. So I sent him the website all, “Look what I found!” style and he called and the guy couldn’t help us because of the licensing thing. (He’ll be licensed in two weeks and could help then! Gah!)

So I found another one that specifically listed Chicagoland AND Northwest Indiana and looked for a website on the listing but….yeah…no website.

I had to come clean and tell Mr. B that I found the first one on Craigslist and this one, too, and he didn’t really care anymore so he called and the guy and his buddy are going to come by Sunday morning at 9am with a 27′ box truck and move ALL our stuff to our new place.

So now we’ve switched from a U-Haul and a few friends and a few things moved to ALL OUR STUFF IN ONE BIG TRUCK IN ONE TRIP and while I know I should feel thrilled I can’t quite manage it.

The closest thing I am to relieved is probably cautiously hopeful.

Because there are too many horror stories to ever feel not a little bit worried about Craigslist. (I did a search for the company name and the dude’s name that runs the company and nothing bad comes up so that’s a start. Yea for due diligence.)

So instead of Saturday being our first night sleeping in the new place it will be Sunday night.

Since my Internet is getting hooked up on Saturday night (between 5pm and 7pm if I’m suuuper lucky) the bright spot here is not having to move in to a place before it gets Internet.

In the meantime it’s piles of boxes and Rubbermaid bins and separating and labeling and getting everything into the living room so on Sunday morning we can move everything as quickly as possible. The movers are hourly, so being prepared is going to save us money.

Prepared? Oh yeah, I can work with that.

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A Wrench In The Works

We were totally planning on moving this Saturday and all we have done to this point has been to prepare for that and we were sad Mr. Brickie hasn’t worked this week but it was also kind of a blessing in disguise because he’s been able to paint and move things every day and gotten us a giant head start.

When he called tonight from the apartment it was to let me know the painting in the kitchen was almost finished (the last room!) and that he received a text from his foreman that the crew was working on Saturday.

He called because he was unsure if he should go in. The union can’t mandate weekends even if it’s a make-up day and he wanted to run it by me before he decided not to go in.

I’ll give you one guess what my response was.

Have you guessed yet?

How about now?

Okay….

I told him the reason we’re going through this hell is because he found a job he is good at that he loves and our commitment to his career has us moving across state lines and changing the kids’ schools and flipping everything we’ve known for the last eleven years into the air and hoping it falls in some kind of order.

There is no way he’s not going in to work.

It might not make any difference to the company or the foreman that he goes in on Saturday … but it could make a difference if he doesn’t. Not legally or by the book but the kind of guy he is might be called into question. If he’s really the kind of worker that can be relied on for the long haul.

Maybe not. But we aren’t going to risk it after coming so far.

He agreed immediately. I knew as soon as he agreed that he was only asking me for a backup opinion. I get the feeling he was hoping I was going to say go in.

I’m really proud of him. Not only did he really want to go in, he knows how anxious I’ve been so he made me part of the decision and didn’t just drop it on me like a little bomb or horrible surprise.

It was a really kind thing for him to do.

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The Girls’ Room – Painted!

It’s a good day.

The bathroom got a second coat of white paint so it looks brighter in there and the girls’ room is painted.

I had a chance to show Middle Sister the video and her eyes lit up, “It’s the same color as our room now!” We told the kids we were going to paint the rooms the same colors (not just because we had leftover paint from all the rooms but, let’s be honest, it’s free and they already like the color, we weren’t going to give them an option for a new color so we could buy more paint) and they were very excited. I guess it’s because they are kids that she didn’t really hold on to that information. Or maybe she’s scared the things we have promised them won’t come true.

kids-room-purple

That last one might be me projecting that fear because man, I’ve been having nightmares and last night’s was a doozy that had me tossing and turning so much I ended up with a tweaked muscle or pinched nerve in my back under where your wing would be if you had wings. Everyone calls those muscles wing-bones, don’t they? Probably not but I do.  It hurts like the dickens.

Here is the video I showed Middle Sister. The single twin bed will be what you see when you are standing where the video starts (to the left of the closet) and the bunk beds will be put in that recess to the right of the closet.

We have kind of a weird thing where we would rather the girls use the bedroom for sleeping as much as possible and then play or do things in other parts of the apartment/house/wherever. I think it leads to better sleep and a better nighttime routine. Your mileage may vary. Hell, my mileage varies on any given night because kids are kids and they can only be so consistent.


I think that video plays through flash so if you’re on an iOS device you might not be able to see it. If you can’t you can see it on the jennydecki page on Facebook directly. If I had known it was going to show the whole status along with the video I would have at least tried to be a little more witty than OH HAI HERE’S MY VIDEO FB. I’m going to just call it a win I got it up there and up here at all.

I know it doesn’t matter but that purple dries darker. It’s not a pastel. I think you can see it better at the bottom edges where it’s already begun to dry. I think I’m providing unnecessary levels of detail because my brain is melting.

Mr. Brickie wants to go have dinner at the new place tonight. Just some frozen pizzas, TV trays, and a blanket on the floor for the girls to have a picnic-style dinner but I’m firmly freaking out. It sounds like such a good idea but I’m just so nervous. I feel like if I don’t look at it I won’t have to deal with moving everything over there and organizing the kitchen and the next few days which will be all the transition in the world and I don’t mind change it’s the part where you’re actually changing I hate. I just want to go to sleep in my bed here and wake up there and be done.

I need to tell you about the new school and he’s almost home and we have to figure out this whole dinner thing. That will have to be the next post.
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We Got The Apartment!

lease-and-key

It was brought to my attention I never wrote an actual post stating we got the actual apartment.

Whoops.

I can only blame being half crazy with lists trying to get everything done. I feel silly, though, because I should have been like I’M GOING TO BLOG THIS RIGHT NOW when we signed the lease.

So, here is our new place.

my-new-place-2

The “Our New Home” graphic is off center because I needed to hide the “For Rent” sign with the phone number on it and that’s where it was. We are on the main floor and the length of the apartment goes straight to the back of the house and there’s a little deck off the back.

This is not the apartment I talked about in this post. This is a different one that was never on Craigslist and Mr. Brickie only found during a drive-by search of For Rent signs in the neighborhood. When he called the landlord said there was already someone about to sign a lease. Lucky for us they fell through and we were able to secure a much larger, brighter apartment for only $25 more per month than the other place we were hoping for but didn’t get.

This place is really perfect for us. We are going to set it up the same way we are set up here. Living room becomes dining room/computer room with turtle tank. The third bedroom becomes a TV/Playroom with room for the tv, couch, and even the chair and a half for reading or lounging. The girls’ bedroom will fit the beds and a large dresser without any trouble. It’s not a giant room, but bedrooms are for sleeping, not playing or doing stuff, so they won’t be missing out since they have a playroom/tv room/reading room to take care of all that kind of stuff.

The kitchen is a decent size with decent counter space. Past the kitchen is a mudroom leading to the back door where there is an 8×10(ish) nice wooden porch and then parking in the back. A place for boots and shoes and these little benches I was afraid we would have to leave behind.

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I’ll take more pictures when we actually move this weekend.

The kids should be able to start school Monday, no problem.

If I get a declaration page from Geico tomorrow in my email, I can print it and that plus the lease will be enough to prove we live at the residence and we can get the driver’s license portion of the show on the road.

I think we’re starting our renter’s policy tomorrow (picked State Farm because it was the least expensive) and the declaration page for that will also be sufficient to prove residency. Basically, I’ll get a license (or at least apply for one) this week sometime no problem. Everything is getting done nice and quickly.

Really I just want to hurry up and be done so I can just be in the new place and have it be my place and know that we don’t have to leave. The low-grade constant stress is driving me bonkers and keeping me from being able to form coherent thoughts at times. I mean incoherent way beyond my normal quirky “what was I trying to say because I just realized I’m talking about black holes” shenanigans.

Also, my hand is in pain from all the school forms I filled out tonight. It seems in the new school 4th grade gets, you know. grades. They’re still getting meets, progressing toward goal, and exceeds ratings at the current school so I’m excited they’ll get a better gauge of performance than M/E/P on every piece of homework. It might help Big Sister actually remember to bring home her homework, too. It’s like a constant battle. I have to tell you, though, her interest was definitely piqued when she heard of this magical Honor Roll and asked me what she had to do to be on it.

I’m so glad they’re exited.

As for the public aid office, it was deserted. Like, no people except the employees. When you go to my poor folk office there are literally two hundred people all being loud and impatient and if you accidentally make eye contact it’s an instant glaring contest which is like a staring contest and I always lose because I’m not getting into some “who can be more angry and impatient” contest of wills at the public aid office. Here? The lady at the information desk was polite and smiled and volunteered information and it was like I’d traveled to the land where Mr. Rogers was in charge of the public aid office. She asked where Mr. Brickie was moving from and he said Cook County. She smiled kindly and said, “Welcome to Indiana.”

Welcome, indeed.

AfterStory Note: I don’t think the woman at the public aid office was implying anything beyond just being kind and welcoming. As a person not used to kind and welcoming from government agency workers it was hard not to think there had to be something else at play but I don’t think there was. The people at the school were also really kind. Mr. Brickie even got laughed at (kindly) when he asked the clerk at City Hall if he had to buy a City Sticker. The clerk asked him where he was moving from and when Mr. Brickie said Cook County the clerk smiled and said, “Welcome to Indiana” too. So far the moving experience has been really bizarre in the absolute best way possible. Part of me is waiting for it to turn into some kind of Twilight Zone episode. It’s actually reminding me of a movie but I can’t put my finger on which one.

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The Moving Order of Operations {Part 1}

I’m trying to figure out what order to do everything in.

Mr. Brickie (who couldn’t work today because of the temperature) went in to the school and got the transfer forms. I received a call from a very nice lady making sure I knew we could leave them in their current school for the rest of the year but I had to tell her as much as I’d like to do that, driving 30-ish minutes to and from the school twice a day was out of the budget in terms of gas. She was very understanding and kind.

We need to get our assistance switched over to Indiana so the kids can get fee waivers for public school as well as get signed up for the free lunch program. There is a preschool there that we might qualify for a scholarship for as well so poor Little Sister could stop dying with jealousy every day and get into a school for the second half of the year! My fingers are crossed.

So first he’s talking to public aid.

Then he’s going to talk to the school district now and find out about how the transfer will work.

A driver’s license would be a first choice except they do this SecureID thing and mail your driver’s license to you within 10 days of applying. My kids need to be in the new school in ten days, not waiting on the mail carrier. I have nothing against the more secure procedure, I’m just trying to figure out how to get everything done when I know there’s going to be a period of time where I might not have proof of anything. That is a scary thought.

After those stops it’s off to the Indiana Farm Bureau and State Farm for quotes on renters insurance (as well as a renters/auto combo, of course) and we will see what the best option is for insurance. I changed our online policy to reflect the new address and the six month price dropped by about a hundred dollars (yay!) but the policy starts over with a new address so in December I have to pay $187 to pay the policy through May. It’s a good deal to pay that much for an extra three months of insurance for sure, but every time I see another bill added to the pile I cringe. I’m being really careful with the moving fund money. I guard it. It’s the safety net to get us to the tax return.

If Mr. Brickie isn’t working by the time we have all this stuff taken care of (hopefully he is) he’s going to start making calls for painting jobs or get a seasonal job somewhere. We aren’t going to just hang out and lament the poor weather. He is going to get out there and hustle. That’s just who he is and I love him for it.

Oh, Comcast has already been scheduled to show up next Saturday for the Internet. (Only the Internet.)

I can’t change the bank account yet because I’m not sure how that works with the employer address on the check matching the bank and those records matching the union records. Direct Deposit is the jam, for sure, but I don’t want to mess everything up by changing the address prematurely or changing the wrong address first. We’re going to try and change them on the same day and see how that works out. I don’t know if it’s even possible but I’m going to give it a shot.

I have a list that’s a whole page long with two columns of everything I have to change the address on and I’m sure I’m missing a bunch more things. I’ve been paying attention to the mail but I’m just sure I’m missing something important. That’s what the post office change of address form is for, I guess, but even ten years later I still get stuff here that’s from the previous owners of the house so I know that’s not 100% accurate.

It still feels surreal that we thought we were going to move between Thanksgiving and Christmas and now the kids are going to be in a new school next Monday if we can manage all the proving and the form-filling-outing and everything else.

What a whirlwind.

As for stuff, we have moved a bench, the board games, and all the pictures to the new place. It’s a start.

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Paint Is Magic & Helps Make A Transition Easier

We didn’t paint anything in the current house for the first five years we lived here.

I just wasn’t into that kind of thing. I don’t know why.

When we finally did paint, I picked a color that most people probably wouldn’t have. A rich teal.

Then we got an IKEA bedframe and it looked like this:

teal-kid-bed-03-31-2012

After some picture accents the room looked really, really nice and I was happy. Really happy. My bedroom became a refuge and sleep came easily. Everything in my bedroom is calculated to make me feel comforted, special, and loved. I know talking about a bedframe making me feel loved is super weird but bear with me. The person I feel like I am when I see that bedframe is the kind of person that owns that bedframe. I like that person. I want to be friends with her. I think she’s a super cool chick.

This is why I feel paint is magic. That bedframe in a white room would be fine. In a neutral colored beige room it would be fine. In my deep teal room? It’s magic.

So, when we looked at the new place we were fine with the walls being painted a neutral shade and, in fact, appreciated there was a well-done fresh coat of paint on everything.

But.

I want MY bedroom. Realizing I could transport that feeling of comfort anywhere was a really big deal for me. The color of my room was a big part of that comfort. So, when Mr. Brickie texted me this picture of our new bedroom.

bedroom-before-after-2

I’m not ashamed to admit I got a little misty. It doesn’t matter where we are geographically and I have no pride connected to owning vs. renting because I don’t have much pride left about anything after the last couple years, but I have my bedroom. My bedroom that’s going to look the way my heart wants a bedroom to look.

….and my bedroom is going to look magnificent.

 

Waiting & Wondering & Picking a Moving Date

The conversation between The Landlord™ and Mr. Brickie had all the word cues of a done deal. The Landlord saying “your keys” “when you sign the lease” “after the first year you can…” and other things that show where his mind is at. Things he did not say the first go round. (Feel a little bad for poor Mr. Brickie who has been trained over the last 10+ years to remember the exact words people say and then parrot them back to me so I can analyze them. I’m awful. Really.)

It turns out the reason they needed to meet in a Cabela’s parking lot is NOT “because Indiana” but because the landlord does not live in the same town as his building. Luckily he was really happy to hear from Mr. Brickie and was amazed at how clearly and neatly the application was filled out. I take care in filling out applications because a person might not judge bad handwriting but they’ll always appreciate not having to make an effort to read your name.

The next step in the process is the background check. They use a company. He put in the information last night so – sometime this morning – I should receive an email letting me know someone requested a background check and to “click here” if I approve of these strangers having my most personal information.

Yes, I’m hitting refresh on my email every five minutes.

When the background comes back clean (it will) and the credit check comes back not great but not bad (I honestly don’t know how to find out a legit credit score because yeah my Walmart credit card and Credit Sesame tell me my credit score every month but those aren’t the reports that get run by actual people, are they? I thought I read somewhere that getting your own credit score was relatively inaccurate) we will have to decide on a move-in date.

Because the landlord would really, really like us to move in sooner than December 1st.

Mr. Brickie was sent home today because it’s too cold to work (the mortar that hold the blocks together won’t set) and next week looks bad too, so we’re about to miss the “we have paystubs” window.

I think this one is going to go through, though. I really have a feeling about it. The fact that I had the feeling before knowing the rooms are pretty much the same size as our bedrooms here at the house? I think that’s a good sign and isn’t driven solely by a desire to not live in a shoebox. Although, I have to be honest here, it would be really nice to live in this place because it’s definitely bigger than shoebox. The last place we looked at the conversation was, “Well, we could get a full size bed and just be cramped for a couple years.” This place? The king size bed fits with room to spare for nightstands and a dresser. So we wouldn’t have to replace anything.

Wouldn’t that be nice? I could just sell or get rid of everything we didn’t need and not have to get anything new.

When we move, I assure you, I am not cluttering up the new place. If it doesn’t have a place in the new apartment it doesn’t have a place in my life. Period.

I’ll let you know as soon as I get the email. After that, it should be 24-ish hours until the get a response and we get a final decision.

So the question is…when do we move in? We can pick any date we want and the rent will just be due on that date every month. We could pick this Saturday or next Saturday or try and hold firm on December 1st. Are there any pros/cons you can think of when it comes to a move-in date?

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We looked at an apartment on Saturday

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.

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