Monday, May 29, 2006

Nesting Instinct

Part of the Balabusta and fella's four day weekend was taken up with experimentally looking around for new housing.

Our lease is up at the end of June. The current house has a few basic flaws, ie, it is expensive, for where we are, very damp in winter, and occasionally overrun with ants. We worked ourselves into a frenzy in which this meant we HAD to get out. Because we are thirtysomething Bay Area types, I went to Craigslist.

We determined that we would pay no more rent than we currently are, and would like to pay less. We also decided to stay in El Cerrito, or the immediate El Cerrito area. This is both amusing and confusing the Balabusta's mother, who had until a year ago never heard of El Cerrito. She now suspects that we will stay here for years to come, that the fella will become the mayor, and that they will name a park after us. Not sure I'm that invested in El Cerrito, but now that we've had to move out of San Francisco, it's a place we both know, are all right with, and is easily accessible to most of the places we might like to work. Finding a whole new section of the East Bay seems exhausting and scary.

So we began to look around on Craigslist.

In order to fully appreciate the complications of the Balabusta and the fella moving anywhere, you need to understand that we are looking for totally different things in a house. Actually, we are looking for totally different houses, in totally different neighborhoods.

My fantasy: a big flat on second or third floor of a building in San Francisco's Richmond district. The sounds of conversation in Russian and Chinese fill the air, the smells of fifty cuisines float on the breeze. The bus lines run straight downtown or out to Stonestown, and who CARES what lies beyond the City? Everything I need is contained in one three-mile radius, or can be reached by bus in forty-five minutes. Little Odessa, Chinatown West, the Great Geary way--HOME!

His fantasy: a castle. You know, made out of stone, with a moat, drawbridge, towers, arrow slits...also lots of parking, and with easy access to big box stores.

Anyway, his key requirement was that it not be an apartment, because he says, he is done with apartments forever. This complicates things, or at least raises the price. But I tried.

First I found a really cute little cottage, and we applied, but they never called us back.

Then, this weekend I determined to show the fella a triplex, because I had a feeling that he might be more amenable to an apartment in a building with a limited number of units. When we got out he said "It's an apartment," but he agreed to look at it.

It was a very cute unit, which was about to be vacated by two young men who had just graduated from UC Berkeley. You could tell. The couch was covered with a sheet. They had ramen stacked in the kitchen. One boy actually had a foam pad on a futon frame, but the other was apparently sleeping between a couple of quilts thrown on the carpet. There was hard alcohol everywhere. I mean, bottles of rum casually left by the bed. A sort of minibar set up on a milk crate. It was pretty funny, to the nearly thirty-three-year-old ex-college kid.

The unit was OK,also cheap. But they found another renter.

I made about six calls. No one called back.

Later that day, I proceeded into Berkeley to look at a duplex, but the neighborhood was just too...Berkeley. No go.

Late last night I found a desperate posting from a woman who's abandoning her lease, and trying to find new tenants. Three bedrooms, just down the street from us. But she wants someone to move in a week from now, and may be crazy. We passed.

Anyway, now we're considering staying, at least for a few months, and I am considering reorganizing the living room.

Maybe we need a couch. Or some bottles of rum.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you might as well be trying to rent a place in dear old Boulder Colorado, the Berkley of the Mountains. Just be careful that you don't end up with rotten neighbors. That will make the ants look like the welcome wagon by comparison

Eliyahu said...

nesting instinct, eh? brings to mind children -- freudian slip?