Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Continuance

As you know from the previous entry, last week was a wash. A waste. A downer. Some things have changed since then.

First, I had a phone conversation with LaLo (lord of this land) and he conceded to a July 1 closing date (extra month) and threw in a modest "inconveniences felt" fee. Considering that we're under no legal obligation to accommodate the sharky realtors, those two gestures have brought me back from last week's fits to the world of the quasi-sane, quasi-cooperative.

We're home this evening from the tenth property we've seen in the past eight days. It won't do. It was like walking up on the set of This Old House. But it wasn't Bob Vila. More like Zed Vila and his two helper-friends, one of whom was smoking cigs and sipping beers as we made way through the thick curls of paint vapors awaiting us at each corner. Hundreds of corners there were! This joint had smaller rooms off of every main room. I kept having the feeling I would hit my head on the low archways or scrape it against a rusty nail while peering in on one of the seven or eight nooks. Worse still, when it is finished, it will rent for $1700/mo (four students, $425 apiece). Good luck, Zed.

Among the ten properties we've looked at three or four remain in the hunt. All of them require us to compromise something; Ph. will be in a new school, the space will be much less, the rents will be more, and so on. At the same time this means that we have checked out five or six properties that are no longer considered options. Five or six phone calls. Five or six walk-throughs. Five or six small talks with niceties like "this has possibilities" or "we really like the location" tossed in. One rejection was especially easy because the ad said "recently renovated" "grad students preferred" and "new appliances." When we arrived, however, two of the bedrooms were occupied, there was a gigantic water stain on the ceiling, the dried memory of a toilet plumbing crisis on the second floor some months earlier. Said LaLo, "I need to do something about that, but I'm not sure it will get done before I rent it out again." Nice. Then we saw the kitchen. The range was wrapped in sheets of aluminum foil which were covered over again by thick black carbons of weeks-old overboil and spillage. I had to ask: "The ad mentioned new appliances?" LaLo had answered this one before: "It's fairly new. Only five or six years old. It needs to be cleaned. But the grad students who live here are too busy with their studies to clean." Me: "Guess so."

We'll find a place. We will. We have to. It's just that I'm not so sure it'll be in the University neighborhoods. Might mean a new school for Ph. Might mean Yoki will be on the auctioning block. And it almost certainly means a few more headaches, a few more detours, and maybe even a few more visits to shabby, overpriced properties before we settle on the right one.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at April 5, 2007 7:25 PM to Slouching Toward

The worst part is that you can usually tell in the first five minutes whether or not you'd seriously consider living there. And if you wouldn't? Have fun inventing 30 min of small talk.

Posted by: JW at April 5, 2007 11:19 PM

Sorry you have to deal with this crap. Hang in there, as they say.

Posted by: Lance at April 6, 2007 9:55 AM

Yeah, J., I'm getting better about trimming out the small talk. We still have a few tough decisions to make, but the visits are going better. One more (hopefully *the one*) tomorrow evening.

It'll come to wraps soon enough, Lance. Thanks for the encouragement. I blame my own naivete for letting the lease slip to month-to-month without thinking through the ways that might play to Lalo's benefit.

Posted by: Derek at April 8, 2007 8:15 PM