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#3 is the new #5 (I’m home.)

February 2, 2016

No. 5 got bought out and the new owners are busy gentrifying my beloved little dump. They raised the rent with promises to go higher. I signed their 3-month lease and started looking for a new place. What I found was depressing. Small places on the outskirts of town, tiny apartments in the middle of Johnston Street….if I was going to have to leave the walkable downtown life, what’s the point of living in Lafayette, I began to wonder.

I was excited when I found a place a few blocks away, until I was given a tour. Up five flights of stairs was a more expensive, smaller apartment with no sunlight and the feeling that it was made of cardboard.

I decided to do what I’ve always done when looking for a place, drive around. So on Sunday afternoon I picked up a Jordanian I met on OK Cupid who was new in town. We drove around and he wrote down phone numbers for me and tried to flirt. Meandering around I found myself in front of the little house I rented with me ex, before we were married, when Lori was only 3 or 4. I asked the Jordanian to jot the number down.

I called the next day to find the rent predictably out of my range. “What are you looking for?” the renter asked. She had another place nearby that might be right for me.

A couple of days later I was standing outside a large, old, white house that I had driven past a million times. The front has a large bank of windows upstairs facing one of the busiest streets in Lafayette (well, the busiest downtown, anyway). The house had been sectioned into apartments. The one I was seeing was a one bedroom, slightly out of my means, but not as much at #5 promised to rise to.

I walked up the stairs, following the man with the key, down a creepy, dark hallway and through a door with a number 3 hanging above it. I entered a white washed space, filled with sunlight. I stepped onto the ancient wood floors and the man said, “Here’s the living room, this is a little dining area, here’s the kitchen, a bedroom, the bathroom and another little room, for….whatever,” as he lead me through the mini-maze of the shotgun layout. I followed him with my mouth wide open. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We walked back into the living room to face a porch-like area with a whole wall of big, glorious windows. I wasn’t paying attention to the kind of details one usually looks for when viewing a potential home. All I saw was light, wood floors and space after space after space. “Uh….”I stammered, “What do I have to do? Where do I sign? Who do I give money to. I want this place,” I told him.

We walked a block to the office and I made the necessary arrangements.

And then another miracle happened. Driven by fear I decided to confront my boss with my financial dilemma. There was no way to tap dance around the issue. I wasn’t exactly asking for a raise based on an assertion that I deserved one. I put it quite simply, “My rent went up. I’ve done the math and I need to make $x a year. There’s no extenuating circumstances and I know my finances are not your problem, but that’s just the fact I’m facing. If I can’t make that much here, I have to look at all options. This is a one plus one equals two situation.” She was a little taken aback but promised to bring the issue to the powers that be. It was a short meeting.

A week or so later, she asked me into her office and said the amount was approved. It was that simple. I got my raise. I had never done that before. She had some conditions like coming to work on time and improving things I know I need to work on, like concentrating in meetings or at least giving the appearance that I’m not zoning out. We agreed on mechanisms to keep me more organized. But it was nothing so critical that it upset me and nothing I haven’t readily admitted as my flaws.

So, now I can afford my new home.

I got the key yesterday and last night I did something I haven’t done in years. I swept and mopped a wood floor with Murphy’s oil soap. It was awesome. I am not a clean freak. In fact I am notoriously messy, but when I clean, I clean well. And I love the feeling that comes from mopping up dust and who knows what with oily, wood-friendly, sudsy soap and hot, sanitizing water. I cleaned behind the stove and fridge and began to mentally layout the furniture and fill the blank white walls with the plethora of photos and artwork and posters and all kinds of junk I have in big folders.

No. 5 have served me well. It was a good incubator.

But now, I’m home.

 

 

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From → Rantings

One Comment
  1. To new beginnings. Proud of your “gumption” on asking for a raise!

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