I hate to call this househunting, since I’m not buying a house, even though I really, really, really want to. But not in this godforsaken state. Here are a few stories (and at least one illustration).
Realtors here are spoiled. Not only are they used to business coming to them, they’re used to business begging once it gets there. We went to one place (keep in mind, we’re just renting, not buying) to ask for a rental list (MLS basically provides it to the realtors). They wanted to charge us a dollar, for “printing and secretarial services.” I told them I wasn’t going to pay for it, but I’d look through the list while I was in the office.
My refusal to pay wasn’t because I can’t afford it. I assure you, $1 is not an issue on my day-to-day budget. I found the idea of paying a company that wants my business ridiculous. MLS is basically an advertisement for them. “We have this! Please rent it!” Not, “Give us a dollar and we’ll tell you whether or not we have anything for you.” Fuck that. Fuck them. Furthermore, upon my self-righteous refusal, the lady got self-righteous in return, saying something like, “Well, this is a courtesy to people like you who don’t have a place to live,” in a very pointed fashion, seemingly believing I’m homeless and unemployed and at the end of my rope. I wonder how much business condescension earns her? We walked out.
Another place we called and asked a pretty standard question, “What’s the square footage of the house?” The answer: “Why do you want to know?” Well, because we’d like to know how big the fucking house is before we take the time to look at it! Moron. Rude moron.
One house we looked at belonged in the Alpines. It looked like this. We’re in California. Do you really think it’s going to snow? Let alone snow enough that you need a steep slope on the roof to allow the snow to slide off without collapsing the home? It was a decent sized home, but with slanted walls, it would have been nearly impossible to put anything like an entertainment center or a bookshelf against the wall. Plus the master bedroom didn’t have a door. It was open to the rest of the house. I doubt the roommates would have appreciated that. I wouldn’t have either. That one was about forty years old, I think. At least it had personality. It was also a block and a half from the beach.
Since then, we’ve seen a few other places. Some are nice, but expensive and/or far from work. Some are cheap, but shitty. Bad. Smelly, stained, and falling apart, with no plans for repairs. By “cheap”, we mean less than $1900 a month.
This will give you a general idea of what “nice” houses out here are like. You see here two Californian ‘houses’. These two are actually remarkably dissimilar for two houses in one subdivision. As you can see, the two houses are both touching the property line, and their eaves actually hang over the other yard. You might think, “Well, these are small and cramped lots. They’re probably not very expensive.” If you thought that, you’re not from California. My guess is these two houses are each “worth” (note the quotation marks) over $700,000. They build houses on lots less than a tenth of an acre, and still have the balls to advertise “big yards”. Also note, that a subdivision containing over 120 houses is usually built in a year. How well do you think they’re constructed?
On the bright side, or enforced relocation caused us to recycle our beer bottles. The place we took them goes by pound instead of by number of bottles (which is a good thing, considering how many bottles we would have had to count, but also not as lucrative as it could have been). I was guessing we’d have about 75 pounds of glass. We got $30.72, at $0.081/pound, that comes out to 379.3 pounds. So I was a little off. At one point, KrisDi and I found out that four empty bottles are approximately one pound, which makes for about 1500 bottles. This is somewhat innacurate, since it assumes 100% beer bottles, when we had a fairly small number of liquor and wine bottles in there too.
Also, Oblivion arrived at my house today. This presents a large monetary issue, since my computer does not have the hardware to support it.
My original plan was to take this current computer (which is pretty much a top-of-the-line 32-bit single-core pre-PCI-Express computer) and turn it into a web server, mail server, network drive server, and MythTV box. I had (and have) all sorts of elaborate plans for it. And then I was going to spend a lot of money building a new, genuinely top-of-the-line computer to use. After some research, I discovered that I was only a video card short of exceeding all the recommended hardware for Oblivion, and that building a new computer would have been more expensive than I thought. So I bought a new video card (*sigh*), and will (eventually) dual boot my current machine while figuring out how to configure it for all the fun stuff. Once I make this machine do everything I want it to do, *then* I’ll start to build the new machine so that this one can be dedicated. I’ll move this website to it, and upgrade my internet service so that home web-serving is feasible. And that’s the plan.