Life, man, life.
The last year has been trying. We’ve confronted big, grown up, emotional, heart-wrenching hard stuff and our inner struggles with the ramifications from that. We moved. Tom started a new job. We almost bought a house. Our cars broke. We got a new car. Tom’s company reorganized. The bus keeps throwing curveballs. There are a lot of bugs here. It’s hot and rainy all the effing time.
I kept telling myself that, if we could make it to September – when all the mayhem of the new job and move hit in 2015 – that it’d all settle down. That we’d be okay. In September.
So, when we heard on our second wedding anniversary – August 31st – that our landlord wants to sell the property we’ve lived in since last November, we took it as a “shit or get off the pot” moment. We don’t want to buy this house, so we’re getting out.
But that means another move. Four moves. Four years. Another Christmas letter in which I announce our new address and no one remembers. Because why would they at this point? Another home for the bus. Another situation that requires serious adjustment. More packing. And cleaning. And this time there’s a yard to consider. And, for goodness sake, we just got settled. Again. And we’re finally making serious headway on the bus by living with it. And why didn’t we get it done yet? It was a nightmare to find housing that met our criteria last year. Why do I have to try to find a place? Why can’t anything go smoothly? Ever?
I buried my face in the hotel pillow. I wouldn’t talk. I couldn’t. For about ten minutes.
But then I realized: this is the situation at hand and we have two choices leading to the same end: we need to get the eff out. We can either fight it like we usually do – bemoaning that these things keep happening to us, putting off what needs to be done, arguing about what we want, and growing more anxious by the day. Or. Or we could just get shit done.
So I chose to get shit done. The first couple days, I thought about alternative living options – buying a little slice of heaven on which to park a partially finished Possibility and converting a stock shed into extra living space, buying a finished tiny house to tide us over, or just making do in a partially finished Possibility and doing an RV park. Then I looked at the options to which we’ve become accustomed over the last few years – privately-owned rental apartments and homes that meet our excessive list of must-haves. Dog friendly, cat friendly, a driveway long and wide enough for a 40′ school bus, air conditioning, and preferably with washer dryer hookups (or at least a washer/dryer in unit), space to work outside, and two bedrooms.
But when we talked about what we really wanted, I realized we had other options available.
Because what we want is to grow again, to feel secure in our living situation, and for Tom to be able to take the car if he wants or needs to without completely shutting me off from the world. What we want is to live in a nice safe space with good management, a place where something breaking down isn’t a huge inconvenience. A place where I can go swimming during the summer. A place where we can get back in shape – and Tom can work out before his ridiculously early start time.
I researched, recorded, made calls, took notes, created charts, and assembled an information booklet concerning what I called the – monthly and yearly – “true costs” of renting a space in each of the apartment complexes I was most interested in. We scouted around the city on Monday and started looking at places on Tuesday. On Wednesday afternoon, we viewed one more and chose it. We returned Thursday morning with our application in hand.
12(Rent/Mo + Pet Rent/Mo + Garage Rent/Mo + Utilities Added to Bill by Complex/Mo)
+ Admin Fee
+ Application Fee(s)
+ Pet Fee(s)
= True Cost/Yr
(True Cost/Yr) / 12
= True Cost/Mo
And today we received confirmation that we’re good to go for a top floor end unit with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and no neighbors (except for below) because there’s a storage unit next to it! There’s a 24/7 fitness center, a pool, valet trash service (I’d never heard of it, but I think I’m in love), a trash compactor on site, a garage available for us, elevators, our first dishwasher, a provided washer and dryer, vaulted ceilings, and a balcony with a nice view.
Obviously, we’re making compromises. While it’ll double Tom’s commute time, it’s all interstate and highway, so it’s not so bad. It’s also in the metro area, so it has the conveniences of nearby shopping options, access to taxi services and public transit, and good management. Rave reviews all over the inter webs. Possibility will have to live at a storage yard again, but not too far away to entirely halt work. Our laundry and stove will go to live on her earlier than planned, too, but that’s not a bad thing. We’ll be paying more for the convenience of having help when needed, security that could never be matched by broken lock or a hollow-core door, and fun extras.
We’re being less local than we’ve been in the past and that’s a little sad, but I’ve got to say I’m so excited that I’ll be able to reach someone right away if the toilet stops flushing at 5 am our first morning there. I’m excited about professional maintenance crews and snow plows and elevators. I literally danced when we got out of the office after the property manager mentioned there are no neighbors.
This is going to be different, but we’re really excited and I’m really proud for being able to reframe this into something manageable. I’m hoping I can continue that manageability into the next phase – the pack and purge. Since this will (hopefully) be our last move before the big bus transition, we’re planning to get rid of a good chunk of stuff in order to simplify – and in order to keep order when we drag bus stuff into our new home, which is, I’ve learned from the stack of flooring in my living room and the RV toilet which preceded it, inevitable.
Sometimes, I guess, rebellion takes the form of conforming. We’ll have more time for the bus without yard work. We’ll have more quality time for our little fuzzy family without so much junk. We’ll have more peace of mind without a private landlord. I’ll nag Tom less because taking out the trash will be as easy as sticking it in the hallway. I’ll feel less housekeeping pressure because we can run a dishwasher. And we’re already having less stress because we got it all taken care of in under 10 days.
New record. Let’s go.