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A Room With a View: Portland Version

August 4, 2017

Just as I did when I left my marriage some 6 years ago and settled for a room with an old college friend to escape my childhood home and my crazy Dad, I have found a room to rent so I can finally move out of my daughter’s house.

After searching every day for a few weeks, putting my name on waiting lists, driving to scope out locations and falling in love with places either unavailable, too expensive or not practical only to be crest fallen when I came to the inevitable conclusion that I couldn’t live there, I decided that it was time to give up the idea of a solitary abode and start looking at rooms for rent.

I came across one in southwest Portland, near the zoo and sort of in the forest. From the pictures, it seemed worth a look so I emailed the owner requesting a view.

“You should come soon,” she wrote back, “I have a lot of interest.”

I drove there the next day after work. I was surprised that it only took me about 40 minutes to get there. Not too bad a drive. I wondered if it would be the same the other way at 8am. Once I got into the higher elevations, the drive was beautiful. Nothing but forest on either side of the road and lots of bikers coming and going.

I parked outside a fence and Ms. J let me in the gate. The house is old with lots of windows. Wood floors and white walls, with a cute little kitchen that you step down into. Walking down a short, narrow flight of stairs, there’s a windowed door that leads to a platform outside and the room is to the right. It begins with a short hallway and opens up to a generous space with three large windows that look out to trees. It has light walls and wood floors and a private bathroom. It felt like a little studio and standing there, I felt somewhat disconnected from the rest of the house, which I liked.

Ms. J showed me around the rest of the house. Her belongings were not messy but not tidied either. She did not have everything in its place and perhaps each thing did not have a home. She had an interesting collection of books, revealing an interest in culture, history and art but on a sort-of surface level; a lot of encyclopedia-like collections, like her interest is more of a survey of things, not an in depth delving into one subject or another.

I didn’t like the idea of a shared kitchen, yet sitting there at her table, looking over at the well-lit kitchen with its black and white checkered floor and gas stove, I could picture Mr. Canada and I there, me sipping wine, he cooking and socializing with the other occupants.

There’s one other woman living there, a graduate student maybe or doctorate, I don’t remember.

The rent is $650 with utilities which is quite good compared to everything I’ve been looking at around here. I was beginning to view $800 as cheap. With utilities, the rent is really $500-550.

I told her I was interested and asked lots of questions. I was surprised at how few questions she asked me.

She was looking for someone right away, we were 2 days into the month, after all. I told her I might not be ready to move in right away but I might be able to put the deposit and August rent down.

As I said goodbye, another car pulled up and a young, Asian girl walked out and introduced herself to Ms. J. Competition.

I drove away feeling like this could be a good thing. A good compromise, but I wasn’t sure. I had felt the same way just a few days ago when I looked at a studio in the Pearl District. That place had its own little kitchen but a shared bath. And parking was tenuous and cost extra. Mr. Canada had talked me down from it, which at the time I found disconcerting. But he was right. It was a ridiculous situation.

I wondered what he would think about this one. I was crunching numbers in my budget spreadsheet when he asked about my day. I told him about the place and we discussed it by phone. To my surprise, he thought it was perfect and thought I should jump on the opportunity. I had already followed up with Ms. J by email and when I got her reply, I told her, “I’m in if you’re in.”

I went for a walk with Lori to tell her about it too. She was a bit happier about it than I was comfortable with. I think she’s been more anxious for me to leave than I realized. But it’s understandable. She, too thought it was a great opportunity, especially given the location and price. So, I told Ms. J I could bring her a check the next day.

I signed papers and got keys and found a way to scrunch the futon mattress I bought a couple of weeks ago into a ball and stuffed in the back of my element.

Place to live: check.

Next: Winter coat and boots.


From → Rantings

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