It's spring break, and for the first time in a while, I'm not traveling. Instead, Kelly and I have taken the last week as an opportunity to rest, think, and deal with some of the things we haven't quite had a chance to deal with since we came to Richmond back in 2015.
We are not using the term "staycation," for the record.
For one thing, we're not entirely on vacation; we're taking care of a variety of tasks, not all of which are all that exciting. Getting the Forester's registration renewed, for example, was a necessary task, but not a lot of fun. There's also been the seemingly endless saga of our broken dishwasher and dispose-all, a tale for another time, but a tale that is, I assure you, even more exasperating than you're thinking. And, not unrelated to that tale, there's the fact that Kelly and I have been diligently house-hunting, trying to find a place to move this summer. At one point we were thinking about buying, but the volatility of the housing market in Richmond right now is almost terrifying. Houses go on the market on Thursday and are under contract before the open house is held on Sunday. It's nuts.
Thus, we spent much of the weekend visiting possible rental houses, found a couple that we liked, put in an application for one, and are (knock wood) going to be taking it over in a couple of months. It feels very, very good to have the search over so far in advance, particularly in comparison to our last search for living space. In 2015, when we were leaving Woodberry after 20 years, we were searching for a place to live from 75 miles away, and at the time I still didn't have a job, so we were scrambling to find something cheap and find it fast. Now that we're a little more stable in the financial sense, and a lot closer in the physical sense, the search was considerably less draining. Better still, the new place gives us some significant upgrades to our modern lifestyle:
*It's a free-standing house, so I can indulge my music-making hobbies at a reasonable volume without fear of disturbing the neighbors. Also, if we microwave fish, we're the only ones who'll know.
*There is a front yard and a back yard, and the back yard is fenced in. That gives Ripley both someplace to play and someplace to pee when we don't have time to give her a walk. It also provides me with the chance to put my bird feeders up again. Not being able to bring birds into view has been a decided drag on my sunny disposition over the last few years, so this will be a nice boost. Out back there are a few other features, including a low deck, a small patio, and a firepit, at least two of which I think we can use with ease.
*The house is a split-level, which offers us more square footage, a laundry room, a third bedroom, and (TA-DAAA!) a SECOND BATHROOM. After years of multi-toilet living, I can't express how happy I am to see the end of my one-bowl days approaching.
*We're not changing neighborhoods! Though we're about a mile away from our current digs, we're still close to most of the things we love on the South Side: Forest Hill Park, Crossroads Coffee, the WPA Bakery, and the mighty mechanics of Floyd's Auto. But we'll be even closer to some of the other things we love: Zata Coffee, Maldini's Italian Restaurant, Outpost (the local hipster grocery), Kitchenette (RVA's best spot for takeout catering), O'Toole's Irish Pub (for beer and sports viewing), and the newly-opened storefront of Happy Empanada. There are two drug stores, two gas stations, and a branch of the Richmond Public Library within easy walking distance, not to mention a fenced dog park.
*Kelly's commute will be fractionally shorter--maybe by as much as five minutes--while mine will be unchanged (if I use the toll bridge) or about two minutes longer if I use the free bridge.
All in all, I think it's going to be a good move for us, even if the rent will be higher than our current digs. In this instance, I suspect we'll get what we pay for. And I for one am ready to pay. 4:10 PM