We're getting kicked out of our house.
I came home from the Green River on July 6, feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. That feeling was promptly given a punch in the throat when my roommates Will and Jer told me our landlord had called that week and said we had 30 days to be out of the house. Fortunately, I was out of cell phone range at the time, which kept the news from worrying me on the river, which left me more brain power to calculate how much blood I had lost with the 200 mosquito bites (I really did have a good time, mosquitoes aside).
Since then, we've been searching for a new place to live and it's been rough going. It's not that there aren't plenty of places available around town, it's just that our standards have been raised over the past two years living in this house. It's a perfect size, it's old and has character, but it's also been well maintained over the years. The tiles in the bathroom are checkered black and white. There are wood floors and a fireplace and ivy growing on it outside and it's next to a cool old creepy barn that people come from miles away to have wedding pictures taken next to (really).
Over the time we've been there, we've gotten it just how we like it. We managed to fit our three abnormally long thrift store couches, Saga, Hater and Mom, in a perfect configuration (with Mom raised up to the right stadium-seating level using cinder blocks). Decorations from cool parties we've thrown over the years adorn the walls, including a ghost and pumpkin from the 2006 Halloween Party, the paper weapons from Violent Times Day 2008, and the Light Brites and tournament bracket from March Sanity '08 (when I narrowly defeated Andy in a winner-take-all round of Intellective Plank to claim the tournament title).
Needless to say, we're a little annoyed at the landlord. When people ask why we're getting the boot, I'm not even sure how to respond. In the message he first left me, he said something about maybe renting to someone else and maybe renovating. It seems to me he should know exactly what he plans to do with the house before he decides to put three guys out. I don't think he's being completely honest with us about it, which is too bad, because I had always thought we had a good relationship with him. He never complained about us or tried to cheat us out of hundreds of dollars (like a previous landlord did).
In any case, I have spent several recent evenings slowly cruising up and down the streets on my 10-speed looking seeking For Rent signs, calling the numbers on the signs, swearing when voice mail answers, and leaving messages.
We went on a tour of three houses for rent yesterday. In each house, an impromptu game of Name That Smell began almost immediately after entering. The most frequent winners were cigarettes and animal pee, though many strange and new smells existed in those houses.
The smells alone were enough to drive me away, but there was also just the fact that they were in disrepair. I don't want to live in a house where parts fall off unexpectedly, or where the paint is sagging 10 inches from the ceiling because of water damage or where burglars can sneak in through the crack in the wall and steal my record collection.
It's not like we'll be homeless. If it comes down to it, we'll live somewhere less than perfect. Maybe even an apartment complex, though the asocial curmudgeon in me would prefer to receive a punch in the throat every day. There is plenty of student housing around the University, but the thought of sharing a wall with some 19-years-old who just needs to blast hip-hop music late at night to get her through the latest breakup with Taylor makes me shudder.