So my lease came up for renewal, and I looked at the exorbitant rent my landlord was proposing to charge on the renewal of my 3-bedroom townhouse (a $50 increase in this economy, what are they thinking?), and considered the fact that even without the increase the rent was exorbitant, and said, "I must move." And then I had to lie down on the sofa with an attack of the vapors, because there is no hell like the hell of moving. Seriously, surgery is less painful. (And I know whereof I speak; I've had surgery. Twice in one year, even.)
My landlord (one of those very large property firms) requires 60 days notice to renew or decline to renew a lease. This presented something of a problem because, mostly, that's too long a window to lock in a new place to live. Many, many hours of looking on Craigslist later and checking out every other online listing service I could find, I finally decided that there were sufficient options available that I wasn't going to be stuck in limbo, expected to move out of my current place but with no place else to go, and I gave my notice. Another attack of the vapors.
The landlord did offer to hold the line for one more year at my current rent, but, hey. Already exorbitant. Bad economy. Uncertain future income situation, cobbled together as it is between self-employment income and 3 part-time jobs. Reducing monthly expenses is the prudent thing to do. Then we considered putting me into a smaller (therefore cheaper) unit in the same complex, but nothing suits. Very depressing, because I really do like where I'm living now. Except for the exorbitant rent part. And the exorbitant heating bill part (the complex was built without insulation in the 70s, when energy costs were low).
I decided I had three non-negotiable needs in a new place: 1) a first floor unit, or a townhouse like I have now, or an elevator building, because I am not going to schlep groceries up stairs; 2) air conditioning, whether central or wall units, because my self-employment requires a home office with computer and other office equipment, and I need to keep it (and me) cool; and 3) in-unit laundry, because I have it now, and once you've had it you never want to go back to coin-op.
Lo and behold, I have found it all. It's a Cape-style house in a lakefront development, built on a hill well above the lake (so no flooding worries), originally a one-family but with the walk-out basement turned into a separate apartment with its own entrance. I'm looking at the main part of the house, which has a large living/dining room, eat-in kitchen, bedroom and full bath on the main floor, and a master suite in the second-floor loft. More square footage than what I have now. Beautiful views of Lake Hiawatha (no gas-powered boats allowed, hallelujah!), a terrific deck, lots of light. Lots of storage. Heat, hot water and electric (and snow plowing) included in the rent, which is $79 lower than my current no-utilities-included rent.
There is a catch. The place is kind of in the middle of nowhere, a vast emptiness (well, a small emptiness) known as Blackstone. Population about 8,300, most of whom live at the other end of town. I'd be no farther away from some of my activities than I am now, but for a couple of my part-time jobs, which represent about 7 trips a month total, I'd be adding 20-30 minutes to the commute, each way. And the second catch is that I don't know yet if I have it; there was one other person who had seen the place and if she got her application in before me, and her credit pans out, she'll have first dibs.
I really hope I get this place. While I'm waiting to hear, I'm staving off additional attacks of the vapors by weeding out and systematically getting rid of as much stuff that I don't need as possible. Yay for Freecycle. Yay for Craigslist. But as for the rest of the moving experience? Hell, pure hell.