We currently live and work in the same building, which has suited us just fine. People who design retail stores with apartments above for the shopkeepers have our number.
But we moved our bricks-and-mortar bookstore from here to downtown a few years ago, and switched to using downstairs for our Internet bookstore, warehouse, and office space, not to mention the accumulation of random clutter, etc. It's a bit too expensive for those uses. For that matter, it's become too expensive, period, especially since my husband got seriously ill.
(For newcomers to this blog, my husband has been ill for months, and nearly died of heart failure in September. We've got some serious medical bills hanging over our heads. David's doing much better -- you may envision your middle-aged blog hostess dancing here! -- but the bottom line is that our expenses have been skyrocketing as our income goes the other way.)
So we've been looking. And looking. And have had horrible luck. Either the space we could find was inadequate or by the time we added up the rents and electric bills of separate places for offices, warehouse, and living, we weren't saving any money. If we couldn't save money, there wasn't any point in uprooting.
Last Friday, I noticed that a "For Rent" sign had popped up on the front of the house across the street and two doors down. The phone number on the sign was that of a landlord we'd rented from before, and left on good terms. He'd given us a year's warning that he wanted to build apartments where our home was, and we left the place in better shape than we'd found it. Yes, I know, leaving a place slated for probable demolition in better shape than you found it is a bit silly, but I have my pride.
My husband called on the house, the landlord gave us first dibs. My husband asked whether a small warehouse that this landlord also owns might, by any chance, be coming open any time soon. Well, yes. The lady in there has been talking about leaving the first of the year, he said. We have dibs on that, too. And this all comes just days after another landlord called to say that a storage unit had come open, did we still want one?
And, miracle on top of miracle, even adding together all the rents and utilities, etc., the total, even if we get all three places, is less than we're paying here, all told. Enough less that it makes all the sense in the world to move.
The tenant at the house finally got moved out, and we got our first look today. There are repairs that need doing: broken windows to replace, plumbing to fix, a couple roof leaks to banish, door locks to switch out. I spent a few hours cleaning today, and I've just scratched the surface. But the landlord is doing the heavy lifting: windows, leaks, plumbing, rewiring one room. And he's giving us the first month free in exchange for our cleaning the place. And he's providing paint and brushes, etc., if we want to paint.
Of all the landlords we've had, this guy was perhaps the best at showing up quickly to make repairs, if you just told him something was broken. If the departing tenant had worked with him instead of against him, I suspect the place would be in pretty good shape, more or less ready to move right into. But, then, of course, we wouldn't be getting a free month's rent. I guess it all works out.
One more blessing. The landlord didn't bat an eye when we said we had two cats. 'Sure,' he said, 'I don't mind.'
I don't mind telling you that I had given up hope of finding a place where we could keep our cats. Since Friday, knowing we had reached the point financially where we needed to move and not knowing if we could have pets in the new location, I have been holding them more often, and playing with them more. Being cats, they eyed me suspiciously when I changed the routine, but I did it anyway.
People have been coming out of the woodwork offering to help, both with clean-up and with moving. The man who oversees teenagers sentenced to community service has also offered a crew -- not that we're gung-ho on that option, but at least it's there if we need more sturdy bones and strong muscles than show up in the form of volunteers.
Our current landlord more or less expects us out by the end of the year, besides which we can't afford to pay rent here and elsewhere at the same time. So the race is on...
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