Weekend Coffee Talk
Over the weekend, Draco and I spent a lot of time talking about the near-future. Tax-time is right around the corner and it’s the time of year when low-income families find themselves making the big decisions. For us, it’s been a question of if we are going to attempt to find cheaper housing and move from where we are now.
Originally, I was behind the idea of moving.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the neighborhood we live in is still absolutely beautiful, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. I still love living near the cemetery and the little lake pond that we can almost see from our back door. Our landlady has been, and continues to be, so very understanding and good to us (like this week when Draco’s check from Christmas week was only $140 even though our rent is $200 per week).
The reason I’ve been behind the idea of moving is simply because our rent is $200 per week, the fact that I have felt as if I were in hiding because everyone on our street is Christian, and we’re not, and the fact that since Mini-Me has come home and has decided to stay, we really need another bedroom (our little house is a 1 bedroom cottage).
Before Thanksgiving, I applied for Food Stamps. It was a decision that Draco and I reluctantly made at the urging of our landlady. It’s not that we think there is anything wrong with families that need help getting it, it’s just that we try very hard not to need help, from anyone, including the government. I found out last Friday that even though our rent is over half of Draco’s weekly pay, that we got turned down. Draco and I had said when I applied that if we could get stamps, we would try to stay where we are and if we couldn’t, that we would look for something more in our price-range.
As we kicked around options last weekend, we were also faced with having to tell our landlady, that has been so good to us, that we only had half the rent for last week and that this coming week was probably going to be the same. I fully expected her to ask when we planned to move out, but when Draco went to talk to her, she told him that she could work with us for a few weeks and asked when we thought we’d be able to get back on track.
When Draco came home and told me, I was shocked. We’ve never had a landlord, anywhere, that was that understanding. Most of them only care about getting their money. They don’t care if you have groceries, gas to get to your job so you can work to pay the rent or anything else that you might consider a priority, like car insurance. Most of them could care less about what you have or don’t have, and that’s been our experience. We’ve gone without more than once in an effort to keep a roof over our heads.
After the talk with the landlady, Draco and I started circling the moving issue again. Yes, on just Draco’s income (especially when work is slack like it has been the last 3 weeks or when the weather is bad), and with what we currently pay, it’s out of our price range and we do need that 2nd bedroom desperately (Mini-Me currently sleeps in the living room), but, where the hell are we going to find another landlord like the one we have? She let us move into this house without any kind of deposit, all of our utilities are in her name and included in the rent, she let us have Dutchess (and now Mini-Me’s cat, Miracle), she has given us food when she thought we might be doing without and not asked for anything for it, she throws odd-jobs my way (like taking care of her dogs and her house when she travels) so that I can make a little extra money here and there, she got Dutchess fixed for me when she found out that she wasn’t and that she was about to go into heat again because I couldn’t afford it….the list goes on and on. She has done so much for us in the short time we have known and rented from her, more than any landlord (and even most friends or family) would have done and she’s willing to work with us when Draco’s checks run short.
Draco, honestly, is against leaving from renting from her. He’s not opposed to a place with a 2nd bedroom, because he knows Mini-Me needs her own space and privacy, but he wants to continue renting from our current landlord.
It just so happens that since her Mother passed away a few months ago, she does have a 2 bedroom house sitting empty and unused right across the street from us. Draco and I have been giving it the eye since Thanksgiving and we even mentioned it before Mini-Me came home about possibly renting it instead, but it’s been tied up in probate and she was uncertain what she even wanted to do with it. Her original response was very non-committal and I told Draco I didn’t think she was going to rent it to us.
Of course, then, we didn’t have Mini-Me home and wasn’t sure she really would move down here. Now, she is, and Draco is thinking about bringing it up again and see what she says since she just mentioned the need to “get in there and get stuff boxed up” the other day.
Now, you want to talk about perfect? That house has it all. It is 2 bedrooms, has a pantry and a little storage kind of area outside the bathroom that adjoins to both bedrooms. It has a large porch with a gate on the front, a small enclosed back porch and then a huge open (but covered) deck on the back that leads into a large fenced in back yard. The back porch offers a lovely view of both the cemetery and the pond, year round.
Of course, our internet and phone signal troubles with be the same as now, but that can be worked around, and we’re not sure if she would charge more for that house because of the 2nd bedroom or not.
As for the price issues, there is a little wiggling we could do that might help. Right now, we pay $200 per week because our utilities are in her name and included in our rent, but we do have the option to pay $500 per month if we put the utilities in our name and paid them ourselves. $500 per month plus our utilities (as long as they are reasonable) is a little more do-able than $800 per month (for the months with 4 weeks, $1000 if the month has an extra week).
So, Draco wants to talk to her and see if she’ll rent us the 2 bedroom. If she will, we’ll put the utilities in our name and Mini-Me has offered to contribute regularly when she gets a job to help afford it because she really likes it out here as well.
The only real problem that will leave is the religious part, and I suppose I can work around that as well if I have to. It’s not like I practice Skyclad out in the yard or anything anyway. My main things have been a lack of privacy if I need or want to do an outdoor ritual and at the other house no one can see the back porch at night unless they come up the dirt road, which is seldom used at night except by us. I finally broke down and set up my kitchen altar here, so I guess it would be no different to do it there, or I could just put it in our bedroom and not let anyone in there.
So, we’ll see what the landlady says when Draco brings it up again. Really, if we can get that house, staying out here wouldn’t be so bad. Who wants to leave something like this anyway?