'What were you expecting?' asked the landlord via email this morning. He was replying to my having told him to go ahead and advertise the townhouse I am renting from him since the price is too high. He offered me an increased rent for the following twelve months, which I thought absurd.
One frustration begat another today as I drove the 40 minutes to Southwest Austin to look at a house for rent. As soon as I turned onto the street, I said to myself 'no way'. The place looked run down with old houses and ill-manicured lawns. The house I set out to look at had no photographs of the actual house, only one of a waterfall. As I set foot into the place, I realised the reason for the lack of photographs.
The smell of paint hit me as I walked into the place. It was small with low popcorn ceilings which I noticed had most likely not been updated since the birth of the house back in the 70s. The attempt at a modern kitchen was not a good one as the faux granite countertop was poorly executed with half-inch thick tiles instead of a thick slab of granite one normally sees these days.
The new carpet was piece together upstairs as I stared at the floor of the master bedroom and noticed a slightly different colour beneath my feet. Nothing in the house was appealing to me, certainly not the price I would be expected to pay.
After I left, I sat in my car for a few minutes contemplating my next step. There was another house in the area which I ended up driving by since the realtor was too busy to show me today which was a good thing since the neighbourhood of that place was no different than the one I was in previously.
When I wrote the realtor my need to move in April and not now, she responded by saying I was 'starting your search WAY early'. Then she attached a PDF document about how leasing works in Texas. The use of capitalised letters I found to be unprofessional and unnecessary. To me it is the equivalent of someone yelling at me. Thus, I did not respond.
My friend from college who works in real estate in California wrote me to let me know he has connections in the area if I needed help. He also advised buying instead of renting as I would be paying someone else's mortgage instead of my own. I was glad for the advise but the big issue is my lack of income. If I had a steady income, I would be looking at houses to buy instead of rent.
In an attempt to find my way back from the south of Austin to downtown, I took a wrong turn then spent 15 minutes getting back to the 71 freeway. Missing my exit, I found myself at the airport and had to turn around to get back on 183. I decided to go to the North Austin Whole Foods instead of the one downtown as my previous attempt to find the correct exit caused the delay in the first place.
Once home, after getting some necessary food supplies, I finally sat down to eat the pea soup from yesterday as I had skipped breakfast due to the scheduling of the house viewing. A quick search for jobs yielded nothing useful, adding to my frustration. I started to wonder how I was ever going to make this all work - this new start in this new life.
I picked up the children from the bus stop and we sat down for a snack. Peanut butter with honey on French bread and a Cara Cara orange. Then it was time for homework before they were able to play. They wanted to build the last set - the lighthouse - but needed to take apart the boathouse set first. Since it was already late in the evening, the construction of the new set would take place tomorrow.
The highlight of my day of frustration was being able to see and talk with my boyfriend. He has a way of making me feel better despite the difficult circumstances of us being so far apart and the challenges we are now facing in our attempt to make it to our goal of being together on the same continent by the end of the year. It will not be easy but we have to keep reminding ourselves that nothing worthwhile is ever easy.