I've been waiting to post this for about a month now. How does a gypsy admit that she's taking a little hiatus from living out of the trunk of her car? Does this mean she is no longer a gypsy? Or does she maintain her title, even though she has a permanent (and I say that loosely because nothing in this life is ever permanent) place to lay her head and shelves to surround herself with books?
My last living arrangement was always temporary. A six month deal. That deal ended May 31. I started looking early. This mountain town, Bend, has a particularly small number of rental vacancies. Due in no small part to the housing collapse that flooded the rental market over the last 5 years, and then you have the tourist industry, that with housing prices so low the last couple of years, nearly every available house was bought up by investors looking to create vacation rentals. All that creates a less than 1% rental vacancy for long-term rentals. It's crazy, y'all.
And as you would guess, because the rental market is so tight, prices have shot up in just the past year alone. Now granted, we have much better rates here than many other parts of the country. But let me give you a little perspective, do you remember that little studio I moved out of last year? Someone built townhouses around the corner from there that are now renting for 4 times what that studio cost when I moved into it 5 years ago. Let's just say, I was more than a little worried that I wouldn't be able to find a place, much less afford one when if I did.
Here's where it pays to build a solid relationship with others, so that when it's time to take a break from gypsy life, you aren't left living under a bridge. I contacted my old property manager to find out if she had anything coming open. It just so happens that she did, and it was owned by the same person who owned that little studio. I trusted the property manager and scheduled a viewing. I was a little nervous about the location as it wasn't in the radar of places around town I'd thought to look. But I brought Mountain Ma and Pa along to help me. And it turns out that property manager was right. I did love the place. So I submitted my application (which was really sort of a formality since I already had a long-standing relationship with the property management company and the owner). And I got approved for the place all before the house had a chance to even go on the market.
So last week, I signed a year long lease (gulp). And moved all of my wordly belongings into a little tiny house with just a few trips in my poor Camry, who hit 229k miles just over a week ago. That sweet car has a heart of gold. I abuse her so much, and she rarely fails me. I also had the help of a few kind-hearted and generous friends. I couldn't have done the move without them.
I am still unpacking. I have boxes and boxes to go. It's been so strange to find things that I haven't seen in over 13 months. I finally did unpack a few (of the 12) boxes of books, just to get a little color in my living room. If you read at all, you will understand the joy I felt as I placed those books on the shelf. It was almost like seeing a good friend after a long separation. But books can't give big bear hugs, and that definitely makes a reunion with friends 100 times better than a reunion with books.