Usually, there is a lot that goes into house rentals - days of searching, viewing, and applying for tenancy. Moody landlords and real estate agencies, bargaining rent, and all the while still trying to find a place that meets your needs can get pretty tedious. At least, this is what I've heard.
A close friend of mine, who is moving to the city in order to do her Masters degree had been looking for a place since April, and was only approved for tenancy this week. She takes posession September 1.
What I still fail to understand, though, is how it is that we found this house. There is no downside to any part of the tenancy. Allow me to explain:
Back in June my friends and I had decided, a bit on a limb actually, that we wanted to live together in the fall. I had no concrete plans after graduation, but was already planning on moving to the city with my other friends. Liz then decided that she was unhappy at her former University, and applied for a transfer. Becky wasn't returning to her college program, and decided that she needed to work for a year. Candace was looking to transfer her nursing program, however when her admissions was declined, she began looking at other programs. She will now be working as she saves up to fund a new program which she desires to be in.
And so, back in July, the four of us (plus Jenny) made a trip down to see a house. But it was not this house. The house we went to see was located a block away, and when the landlady answered the door, she looked us all up and down and said in an unimpressed and condescending voice, "Wow."
While the house was nice enough, she was wretched. She was rude to us, and basically had her mind made up about the four of us before we even walked in for the showing.
Admittedly, scheduling only one viewing for a day when we drove all the way down from the Muskokas was a bit of a blunder on our part. So we did the only logical thing we could: sit in McDonalds and hope we could find some other house which could do a showing that afternoon. We called a few places, emailed a few people, and had nearly come to the conclusion that we would have to make another trip to the city another day.
So there we sat, hoping that there was something else we could look at while we were in the city. We heard back from one ad, which Becky found while we scoured the internet at McDonalds, and had a few calls which resulted in the need to return to the city. We had agreed to go to Candace's parents' house for dinner that evening, and so we headed off for some food, disappointed that our day hadn't been more productive.
Well, sometime between leaving the McDonalds and finishing dinner, we had arranged to see one more house before heading back to Muskoka. So we drove back to the city where we pulled onto an older street with older houses. We all sniggered when we saw a giant orange and black 'FOR RENT' sign on the front lawn. The five of us all looked at each other and figured we'd just humour it, since we weren't expecting much. The neighbourhood looked a little sktechier than my Redeemer townhouse parkinglot community, and compared to the sub-divisions located in the rich Ancaster suburbs, this older road looked like a ghetto pit. The front door was missing the bottom screen.
Then we walked in.
We opened the first door to find ourselves in a well decorated and renovated mud room, where a little white golden-doodle dog came out and greeted us. Soon after, we were shaking hands with a stylish and funny young woman. She took us around the house, laughing with us and reassuring us that any mad parties we had --and our idea of a mad party is watching Lord of the Rings and drinking wine -- would not affect the flooring because it was new and stain and scratch resistant.
She took us upstairs where we saw a bedroom with a juliet balcony. She took us downstairs where there is a 2 person jacuzzi bath in the bathroom. She took us to the dining room where there was a gorgeous chandelier that she wasn't planning on taking with her when she left. I am fairly sure all of our mouths gaped open as we were walking through. Original hardwood door and window frames and baseboards, a staircase to the attic, and high efficiency washer and dryer pretty much had all of us daydreaming about our year ahead.
Well, less than a week later, this 30-something-urban-developer-engaged-to-a-mechanic-and-moving-to-Toronto landlord sent us the good news: We had been approved for tenancy. The rent per person is phenomenally low, and she left us a whole host of furnishings for the house.
So this week we picked up the keys and sang Madness's 'Our House' as we moved our vintage plates (purchased at the Salvation Army in Huntsville), the dusty Brita water pitcher (been in storage since April) and some bowls (left over from Redeemer days) into our home. We then proceeded to run some utility hook-up errands, and took Liz to get her OSAP processed. On the way home (sounds so right!) we found a Chinese Take-Out place where we ordered food and returned to consume it on the living room floor.
Now despite the fact that the fortune cookie gods know nothing, and practically failed at their fortune jobs, the day was a success. We picked up our keys which the landlord had made for us, individualized with colour and design (cite ladybug key photo earlier up), and thanked her for being so kind to us. She even left us a basket full of welcome goodies --including jam, perfume samples, lip chap, tampons, and body oil from Bath and Body Works, and a little card which went up on the fridge beside the fortune cookies and the Chinese Takeout menu (new favourite!).
The City already felt like home, and the place we are renting has so much possibility and imaginative scope. There is a backyard which is pleading for a little exterior design, a front yard that will get a nice facelift with flowers, and maybe a tire swing (I can dream).
I think, though, that my favourite part of the house is the hidden closet we noticed while doing a walk through again this week. It's painted blue, leads up to the ceiling, has enough space to turn into a reading nook, and stairs which I can start my seedlings on --because there is a huge window letting tons of light into a very very small space.
It's going to be an adventure. It is a good adventure though. I feel peaceful about the move, and I know that God will be faithful and provide me with a job. He has a funny way of being involved in these sorts of things. I just feel blessed. So overwhelmingly blessed, and I'm not sure what I did to deserve such incredible friends, an incredible landlord, and an incredible house. And even if the job isn't incredible, it will be a job that will allow God to work incredible things through.
And though our house may not be a Maxwell House, fueled by Madness on loop (for fear of driving the neighbours and Becky crazy), it will be a home built on the Rock, and that is blessing enough.