Friday, August 13, 2010

Grays: 1 The Man: 0

Oh, you thought you were gonna raise our rent, did ya? THINK AGAIN.

As you know, over the past few months we’ve been checking out a few other housing options in an effort to save a little money. It seemed like each house we visited was worse than the one before, so we decided to stick it out where we are for at least another year. That is, until Gary reviewed our lease agreement and discovered that our rent was suddenly $20 higher per month.

He called me with this news early one morning last week and asked me if I wouldn’t mind looking for some more houses we could check out. I cried a little, then did as I was asked because I’m a good wife and when I don’t complain Gary buys me presents. (Kidding! We can’t afford presents.)

Gary emailed our rental company and, calmly and politely, told them that he felt it was unreasonable to raise our rent at this time considering the fact that we live next to an abandoned crackhouse that caught fire last weekend. I’m no real estate expert, but it seems like something like that would actually decrease the value of a home.

While we waited for a response, I trolled Craigslist for rent houses. As I was wading through the usual trash, I stumbled upon a house listed at an intersection that’s just a couple blocks from where we live now. If we have to move, it would really be best for us to stay close since I rely on Sarah to get me everywhere, and right now she lives approximately 200 yards away from us. I called and made an appointment to go look at the house, and actually felt kind of excited after I drove by to see what it looked like. It was in a non-scary neighborhood and none of the exterior seemed to be crumbling or infested with anything; in fact, it was mildly adorable!

With the change in our rent, this house would save us $80 a month, so I entered into the process with a positive attitude. I gave myself a nice little pep talk before we went to look, assuring myself that even if this house wasn’t as nice as the one we have now, it would be worth it to save that much money every month. Formidable as the idea may seem, I think if I tried my hardest I could find a way to survive without a stained glass window in the bathroom.

Gary and I walked through the house with the current tenant, and I managed to remain optimistic. None of the windows in the living room open...but there’s a sun nook! And sure, the kitchen counters are an ugly white tile with grout that I’m pretty sure used to be white but which has turned black over the years...but there’s also a breakfast nook! Apparently whoever built this house went a little nook-crazy. They have linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom, but maybe that means we’d actually be able to use that Swiffer WetJet we bought when we got married, since it seems to have been rendered absolutely useless by the ridges between the beautiful stone tiles in our kitchen and bathroom...okay, stop thinking about the tiles before you burst into tears. Alright...tiny bathroom, but I can deal with that! Just because our bathroom is the size of a basketball court doesn’t mean we need that much space. I’m sure we can find somewhere else to practice our layups. The backyard’s about a third the size of ours, but they do have a garage where Gary could set up his woodshop so he could finally build me the adult-sized racecar bed I’ve been asking for all these years.

In all seriousness, the house was not bad at all. It was just old, so of course it wasn’t quite as sparkly as our house, which was completely redone right before we moved in. We took an application with us, and when we got into the truck, I told Gary that I would be totally down with living there if he was. Apparently I should have included him in my pep talk, because he wasn’t biting. In fact, I’m starting to think he doesn’t want to move any more than I do. I mean, I think he wants to in theory, because everyone knows that saving money = good idea. But when it comes down to it, he’s actually pickier than I am. He can’t reconcile with the idea of Brutus not having a football field to run around in or the idea of me carrying a heavy laundry basket down to the ancient washer and dryer in the basement every time I do laundry – which is sweet of him, but let’s be honest: if I did laundry more than twice a year, maybe the basket wouldn’t be so heavy.

In a surprising turn of events, none of this ended up mattering, because we came home to find an email from our rental company saying they had spoken to the owner of the house and they agreed not to raise our rent this year! We didn’t miss the implied hint that they’re gonna try to raise again it next year, but we’ll be ready for them when that time comes. Word on the street is that the good people over at All Seasons Rental Co. are extremely superstitious, so our tentative plan is to claim that the house next door is haunted with little crackbaby ghosts.

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