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Originally from Texas, I am a reader, writer, pseudo-gardener, baker, record collecting student working on my Ph.D. in the Midwest.

Friday, April 1

Renting Convert

For a while, I wanted to own a home. I wanted to buy house so that the husband and I would have something which was ours. When we paid our monthly payment, it wasn't just going to a company. Nor would it feel like we were throwing money out because we would be paying a mortgage, which would mean that in the end we would own something rather than not keeping anything. It's kind of like the difference between leasing a car and buying a car - with one you own it and with the other you have to give it back.

The other reason I wanted to own a home was because I would be allowed to do things to said home and no one could tell me otherwise. I could paint, I could garden, I could put as many holes in the walls as I wanted because it was my own. I could try different things over and over because it's mine and I don't have to get clearance with a landlord.

I also want to say that I hate corporate apartments. They feel sterile. You can't add color and I've found that they are difficult to make them feel homey. No matter how many lamps I bought, I've never felt comfortable in a corporate owned place.

Last year, when we knew we had to find somewhere else to live otherwise we would be homeless, we started hunting Craigslist. That's where apartments are listed here, especially ones downtown. I wanted to find a house to rent, because by God, if I couldn't buy one we would rent one.

The one I wanted fell through. We could never get a hold of the company to show it to us and then it was rented. The next place we looked at I fell in love with. It was teeny apartment, maybe 500sqft, but it had a sense of home and a sense of community. The guy who managed the apartments lived on site and he was just awesome. You could tell he loved his tenants and he cared about the place. He would also allow you to paint and do whatever you wanted. Plus cable was free.

The husband wasn't a fan. It was a very small apartment with an unbelievably small kitchen. It had a mini-stove, and the husband was not going for it. We turned him down. Finally, we decided to contact this place that only ever listed studios hoping we would find something we liked.

The first apartment we saw in this complex was a gorgeous one bedroom, third floor walk up. It had a claw foot tub, stained glass windows, a beautiful murphy bed, a dressing area and best of all a farm sink.

The husband didn't like it.

The next apartment we looked at about a month later was a one bedroom under construction. The only redeeming quality it had was a gigantic kitchen with two sinks and built in booth seating. The husband didn't like that one either. That was okay because I wasn't sold either. As we were leaving, the owner said, "Well, I have another apartment that just opened up. It's a two bedroom first floor. The people who lived there before really didn't take care of it..." We thought, what the hell, and walked with her to go look at it.

Today, I paid month 12 of our rent and we're getting ready to sign a two year lease.

12 months later, I have made that apartment home. We've painted, and hung pictures, wine holders, hooks, and curtains. We've bought a dining room set, found a papasan chair, and built shelves. We've downsized and have learned to cook meals for 10+ people in a galley kitchen. We hung plastic to keep the cold out and used Window ACs to cool us down.

And this weekend, we're going to work on the coolest part yet. We're going to put in a garden.

I can't wait to show y'all.

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