It's like the last leg of a race. My chest is burning, my legs are about to give out, and I just want to rip through that finish line already.
Still, I can see the finish line, which is ever so nice, and if I flip it around and look at how lucky I am I feel nothing but gratitude. I have to do all this maneuvering for financial reasons, and what if I didn't have Anthony? I'd have to hide the stuff in the garage at my new place and hope my landlord wouldn't discover it when we do the walk through. That would make for an interesting move in. Hey, how'd my stuff get in here? I think it's trying to freeload! Officer, arrest this stuff! Nah. I'm sure things would've worked out somehow, but it's a relief to be able to count on a friend.
While plotting and planning and prepping to settle here, I've figured out some things:
- Houston is not cheap. It's cheap for a big city. That ain't cheap cheap. I'm paying the same amount of rent I would've been paying in Los Angeles. Only I'm getting a 2 bedroom house for it instead of a studio apartment.
- Living the good life "inside the loop," in the convenient heart of the city, is especially not cheap. My house is what Houstonians call a "tear down." Meaning it's what was a fine and dandy home 25 years ago but now has been encroached upon by dreaded (yet coveted) McMansions, so there's no way to buy it and live decent in it and feel good about yourself. In order to face yourself in the mirror each morning, you'd have to tear it down and build something on par with the rest of the humongousness in the area. Yet it costs a princely sum to rent because of its inner-loop, tony zip code. I could've gotten a bigger, newer house for less money in the 'burbs. (What can I say? I likes me a fancy 'hood. Especially one in a place that's aptly named Bellaire.)
- This place is crying out for a Trader Joe's.
- Everyone you meet will be the nicest whatever. The guy I'm buying my bed from is the nicest mattress guy in the world. I ordered a set, then went back yesterday to test it out again, just in case. Of course on that second trip I was armed with all kinds of misinformation I'd picked up on the Internet. Just enough to be dangerous. But Kevin the Mattress Guy took the time to explain to me not only the finer points of mattresses, but his own business model and why he carries the merchandise he does. He did this with a set of mattresses hot on his truck, waiting to be delivered (when I pulled up he was on his way out). I lounged on the floor model of my chosen set, the Lexington Plush, and he explained everything with a smile. When I left, he cheerfully said, See you next time, Miss Carla. I've also met the nicest rental lady from whom I didn't rent but did have a 1.5 hour conversation. And the nicest quilt shop lady with whom I had a 45 minute conversation even though it was obvious I wasn't going to buy anything. (This conversation took place when I stopped at her family's shop, Tea Time Quilting, on a whim after having left the nicest rental lady's rental house. I prayed not to run into any more nice people that day.)
- Parking is a dream come true. I get what Mister Stevens likes to call "prime time parking" all over the place. I am free to roam the countryside without worry over cash for parking structures or validation or circling the block like a vulture looking for a carcass.
- There's a high likelihood of throwing a rock and hitting a decent human being. I didn't know S from Adam when I moved in here. Found her on Craig's List. Living in a room in someone's little house gets old real quick, but this experience has gone as best I could've hoped. I leave S and her stuff alone. She leaves me and my stuff alone. When we do interact, it's pleasant. (A far cry from the roommate I had who used to wear my earrings and swear up and down they were hers. Eventually she stole them all and I found them hidden in a bag in her closet.)
- Like Jay-Z, folks don't knock the hustle. S works full-time, bought this house as investment property, rents out this room, and operates a pet sitting business. The woman who owns my rental house is a university professor, national speaker, and owns multiple properties. Notice anything about Tea Time? It's connected to Jana's Flowers. That's because Jana, the nicest quilt lady's mom, owns Tea Time too.