October has always been one of my favorite months ... the hot, humid Louisiana weather gives way to low humidity, pleasant days and cool nights. Then there's the leaves on the trees .. I LOVE the leaves! Orange is my favorite color, so seeing the mix of gold, red and orange colors along the landscape is like a "welcome home" feeling to me. October is a season of change, and change is a beautiful thing.
It seems that October has also become a symbol of change for our personal life the past two seasons. Last October, we were packing up the house and moving the last loads to our 2-bedroom condo on Halloween night. The year has flown by, and it seems like deja vu. .. once again we're packing up and moving into a condo! We're changing with the season and downsizing yet again ... this time to a one-bedroom that's fully furnished. That means we're forced to sell our bedroom set, dining room set, and living room set. We'll only have room for our two televisions, a few things for the kitchen, basic toiletries and even less clothes. We're making progress!
It's weird how things happen. Two days ago, Ken and I thought that we'd be staying put on a month-to-month rental basis. I even mentioned in a recent post that we had looked for another condo to rent in hopes of being near the water, but couldn't find a place that would do a short-term lease. We've been excellent tenants and figured our landlords would be fine with letting us stay on a month-to-month basis (with plenty of notice before we left) instead of signing another year's lease. After all, we're landlords and value our good tenants. We let good tenants stay as long as they continue to pay on time and take care of the place. Evidently our landlords don't appreciate a good tenant and thought they could take advantage of our situation. (They don't know our plans .. just that we planned on moving further South soon).
The night before last our landlord called to say that they wouldn't force a one-year lease, but we'd have to pay another $200 per month. That's almost a 20% increase! I was surprised .. and speechless. I told her I'd have to talk to Ken, as I didn't know that an extra $200 per month would work for us. She said she'd see me when I paid the October rent, and she'd have the paperwork ready. Um .. I don't think so. Maybe it's my red hair or maybe it's because I'm a Scorpio, but I have a real hard "turning the other cheek". I can't allow someone to take advantage of me .. I mean, it drives me nuts! I'm hard-headed and I will not leave one stone unturned when I'm on a mission. My mom has often said I should have been a lawyer.
Not wanting to burn any bridges, I was cordial on the telephone but spent the next morning (yesterday) on the computer looking for every possible rental. Luckily, I'm a real estate agent and have access to all the local listings .. not to mention craigslist. I spent hours scouring the internet trying to find a place. I feared that we wouldn't have a choice but to pay the extra money, as we had a few requirements. Not only did we need a short-term lease, but to make it worth moving we really wanted a garage (for all our boat stuff while working on Nirvana), a unit on the ground floor, and one story. Oh, and we needed an approval by the end of the day! Yep, if we were to meet the required 30 day notice to our landlords, September 30th was the deadline. Oh yeah .. we were gonna need a lot of luck to find something.
I only found one rental that met all of our criteria ... we hoped it wasn't a dump! The rental we looked at was a condo on the opposite side of town ... where we lived before we sold our house. We prefer that side of town, as it's where the waterfront properties are and it's much closer to the marina that Nirvana will soon be in. We liked the well-maintained, gated community and the condo was actually pretty nice. The decor isn't quite our style, but it's not bad either. We could live with this. We'd definitely have to downsize again the next month, as we'd be giving up an extra bedroom and storage space. But, we need to start downsizing again anyway before moving on Nirvana. This may just be the nudge we need. It didn't take long for us to agree that I needed to go fill out the application.
Luckily, the listing agent knows Ken and I very well and has done business with both of us for many years. We were approved by the end of the day! We're excited about taking yet another step in downsizing, and I'm not gonna lie ... we were happy to give our 30 day's notice. The landlord already had an idea, as she was called by the listing agent to get a reference. We were told that when called, our landlord was "very surprised" ... don't know why.
So, just like last October we're gonna be packing and downsizing. I've said before that things seem to work out as they should, and this may be another example. Not only did we get all the requirements on our list, but we'll be paying $300 per month less .. $500 if you include the increase in rent we would have paid. Everything aligned within 24 hours! The only thing we didn't get (which we knew better than to make a requirement) was being on the water. But, we're only about 5 minutes from the marina so that'll work. Oh, and did I mention that there's a pool and a gym?! While it may soon be too cold for the pool, I'm already looking forward to time with an elliptical machine. Oh, how I've missed that machine since I gave up my gym membership years ago.
We signed a 6-month lease, the minimum required. The lease will expire the end of April, which is pretty much perfect for our plans. We've learned that we haven't been realistic in the past with our timeline, but we're thinking this should be a good, realistic goal for us to get Nirvana ready to live and travel on.
Sounds like another busy month!
Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!