Housing acquired

So, I survived my journey over the weekend to Future City, to find housing. It was one of the more frustrating housing searches I've made, which probably says more about my past good luck finding apartments I've liked than about Future City housing. On one level, everything I saw had what I was looking for – air conditioning, dishwasher, disposal, full sized washer/dryer in the unit, a balcony. On another level, nothing had everything – for each bonus there was a potential deal breaker. For instance, one place had by far the nicest grounds (they were GORGEOUS – lots of mature trees, vines, very green, and HUMMINGBIRDS!) and complex layout (everything felt really private and cosy). But the carpets, kitchens, and bathrooms looked kinda worn out and rundown, and it was the most expensive place I saw. Another place had by far the prettiest interior – nice layout, and built only a few years ago, so nice shiny new kitchens/bathrooms – but was in a less interesting neighborhood (not unsafe or anything, but kind of boring) and the opposite end of town from the Whole Foods and Trader Joe's (what? how else will I feed myself than with overpriced pre-prepared foods?). A third place had an almost equally pretty interior/layout and decent kitchen/bathroom, but the only units available overlooked parking lots, which I HATE (it feels like being in a hotel).

So I ended up going with what was kind of the Goldilocks place – not that it was JUST RIGHT, but it was sort of in the middle of all the others: nice (though "apartment complex-y") grounds, good neighborhood, kitchen/bathroom somewhat out of date but acceptable, maybe a bit smaller, but a nice layout, and the least expensive. AND it doesn't overlook a parking lot: Photo 2 (5)

(Overlooking a road totally doesn't bother me – just parking lots.)

I realize it's a crappy iPhone pic that flattens the mountains and the desert-y stuff looks (at least to my east coast-trained eyes) sort of scrubby and sandy, but the view is actually quite pretty. (And there are pale little prairie-dog like things running in and out among the sand!)  

Of course, I've been suffering buyer's (renter's) remorse since then, and wondering if I really shouldn't have, after all, gone with the expensive place with the gorgeous grounds… the trees and vines and plants were just so PRETTY. (Although admittedly not especially environmentally appropriate.) But I think paying the rent they were asking for the aged interior would have grated over time. 

Keep reminding me of that, okay?

So, I have now spent about 56 hours total in Future City… there are things about it that are lovely (I'm surprised at how much I like the open desert, with its open skies and all its spiky and sage-colored flora). But there are things about this part of the world I just don't get – I've spent the largest part of my life in the east and the midwest, and it's very different out here. My default for what somewhere should look like is deep dark woods – green trees, moss, pine needles, dark earth, no clear vistas, hills but no mountains. All this sand and rock looks kinda like the moon.

Next is all the boring awful logistics of moving – figuring out dates, booking a truck, hooking up utilities, packing (UGH) and so on. NLLDH (who will be returning to Long Distance Husband status) and I need to figure out what I'm taking and what he's keeping, and I've become OBSESSED with getting a new sofa and/or rug for the new place (the rug is a much more realistic possibility). Because looking at sofa and rug colors is MUCH more fun than planning all the rest of it.

12 thoughts on “Housing acquired

  1. I will remind you that you wouldn’t want to pay for a worn-out residence. You really wouldn’t!
    Definitely look for a new rug – that’ll be instantly cheerful – and check out to see if there are any good thrift stores, ReStores or Hotel Closeout places (like CORT) in your new city if you actually do need some furniture but don’t want to pay a fortune. They sometimes have fabulous deals on really good pieces.

  2. Thanks, Janice! The thing that’s tormenting me (well, not real torment, but…) is that I’m not sure, now, whether the expensive pretty grounds place – which was one of the first places I saw – was so worn down compared to the other complexes in that area – which are all probably 15-25 years old) or just in comparison to our place here (which was completely renovated in 2007). I’m kinda wishing I’d gone back to look at the unit again, after seeing the rest, to get a better perspective on how it compared. I can’t quite shake the feeling I’d like it better than what I picked, at the same time that I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s overpriced. (And part of me wonders if I should/could change even now, which means the issue feels frustratingly unresolved).
    The thing I have to remind myself: the place I picked may not be the perfect place, but it’s perfectly fine; I just have to avoid the worst choice!) (which was none of the ones listed above).

  3. You need to congratulate yourself on avoiding the worst choices, for sure, and I expect that the high price combined with the rundown elements of the pretty outdoors place would have grated in different ways.
    But the most important part is knowing that you’re not going to have to live out of a box. Vacancy rates have never been high here in the Big Nickel: when I first moved, it was hellish finding a place where I could live and keep a cat. Twenty years later, I’m only paying $200/mo. more than the rent I paid on that place for the mortgage on our three bedroom house: finding good and affordable rental housing can be so frustrating!

  4. Did you look at furnished apts? If you’re only there for a year why move all your stuff and then move it back 12 months later.

  5. Congratulations! I feel you, in so many ways (although I went with the partially-furnished sabbatical house, so I’m delaying the delicious sofa/rug/bed shopping for a year.
    Best of luck on the division and move. Lesson learned the hard way: Make sure to get the chargers for any electrical gadgets you’re taking!

  6. Janice, rental housing does vary so much by region! I’ve been pretty lucky in the past, so it was a bit of an adjustment. But no, no cardboard box!
    loyal reader – furnished places are a good idea, but I bet they’re less likely to take cats. Plus, I don’t know yet where I’ll be living after this gig, so may not be going back to the same place.
    meg – yes, I’ve been feeling your moving-related pain! Although you’ve been pretty chipper about it all. And your sabbatical place is lovely, and since you’ll be there longer than I will here, it makes sense to get to know the place better before committing to anything. (I also feel like you and are a flip flopping climates…)
    What Now? – yup, just a year. Thanks! I hope all is well with you!

  7. Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious that my dithering was purely the manifestation of general anxiety about this whole process: when I wrote this post I coveted the pretty grounds place. I spent much of this morning pining for the 2 1/2-year-old place with pretty pretty kitchen and bathroom, in a different part of town entirely – in part because it’s right near access to a lovely trail along the river. Then I explored further and figured out how to get onto the mountain trails right by the place I leased, and became much more content. I also spent about an hour determined to get & learn how to ride a mountain bike. Which I still kinda wanna do, but clearly this whole process is just making me psychotic!

  8. You’ll feel better not paying the higher rent, since you’re in a good-enough place. When I moved to my current location I had a choice between renting two different houses, one of which was about 25% higher rent than the other. But it had a hot tub! And it was slightly bigger and so on. But the other place was big enough and my husband didn’t want to deal with the hot tub upkeep (we wouldn’t have been allowed to drain it and leave it empty, for some reason). And in the end, various things happened and I was happy to have the extra money to deal with them. And the house we did rent really was good enough.

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