Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

From the cockroach exhibit at the Caldwell Zoo. This photo still gives me the creeps! Also, not what we're looking for in a house, just in case you were wondering.

Now that it's finally starting to sink in that we are, indeed, moving to North Carolina and I am, actually, about to start my long awaited MFA program, I have begun to freak out about finding a place to rent in earnest. Yay for me?

Here is the problem (besides the fact that we are going to just drive on up there and find a place upon our arrival): I am (almost) 29 years old. Nathan is 30. I want to live in a pretty house, on a nice street, far away from raucous college kids but close enough that I can bike to school and walk to the grocery store. But! Despite being of adult age, I am also going to be a full time graduate student making very few dollars. My desire to live comfortably and my plan to follow my starving-artist dream do not exactly jive.

So far, I've stalked Craigslist and clicked through many homes that I would never set foot in, let alone rent. While there have been a few gems, they tend to be further away from the university. It's clear that we're going to have to make some sacrifices and I'm trying to decide which ones are the deal breakers. Here is what my ideal home would have:
  • A house where dogs are welcome. Not an apartment, not a condo, not a duplex. I am tired of having my living space attached to someone else's. And obviously I'm not willing to ditch my dogs in order to expand my options. You know me better than that.
  • A fenced in yard. The bigger, the better. We want room for the dogs to play as well as space to have a garden and maybe even a little chicken coop. 
  • A decent neighborhood. By "nice" I mean a street that I'd feel safe running on early in the mornings and walking my dogs in the evenings. It would be a bonus if our neighbors kept their yards neat and didn't pile garbage on the curb for weeks at a time. (cough*currentneighbors*cough)
  • Within five or six miles from campus. Closer would be better, but this is about as far as I can imagine living without feeling stranded or alienated.
  • At least two bedrooms. Preferably three. I would like a small office and a guest room, but I could also make do with an office/guest room. 
  • Hardwood floors. Because carpet is gross.
Those are the main things I'm looking for and I'm willing to be flexible on some of them. Other things I'd like are a washer and dryer, a mud room or laundry room, a front porch, a back porch, an attached garage (or at least a car port) and a little personality - I'd love a unique place that isn't a mirror image of every other house on the block. If we were planning to buy a house or had more time, I'd probably be able to find something that satisfied most of my desires. But the fact that we'll have two days before we'll have to return our U-Haul, a tight budget, two huge dogs and a temporary lack of employment is going to narrow our options quite a bit.

It's going to be okay. I know that Nathan and I are about to embark on a huge adventure and that no matter what, we'll have each other (and Seamus, and Calvin). We can be happy anywhere.

But I'm still crossing my fingers for a big backyard.