Saturday, March 31, 2007

Life's little lessons

I think life knows my silly little traits, and decides to challenge them every once in a while, just to remind me how ridiculous they are.

For instance- I'm not so good with ambiguity. I want to know what the next year in my life has to bring. This is not to say that I'm not a fan of spontenaity... but I can't stand, for instance, not knowing where I may be living, or whether I've gotten a job, etc. Not too good with the whole notion of que sera, sera, so to speak. So, every once in a while, my life makes me wallow in a pond of swirling ambiguity and uncertainty just to make me realize that I can indeed tolerate it, before things slow down and become clear again.

Another Princess-y tendency, as seems to show itself time and time again, is my catastrophizing.

Today I went to see a suite. It ended up being lovely-- smack dab in the area I wanted, hardwood floors, claw foot bathtub, and actually at the low end of my price range. I also seemed to get along well with the landlady, who made commented towards the end that I seemed like a great fit (even though there had been several other interested potential tenants) and that she would check out my references and get back to me by the next day at the latest. I left feeling excited and cautiously optimistic-- I know my references are good, but I also have this weird superstition that tells me that overconfidence dooms me to failure.

I give my month's notice to my landlady, not solely because of this place, but because I am determined to finally escape the suburbs this summer. She responds by slipping a notice that proclaims that they were giving me 24-hours notice to have access to my apartment from 8am to 8pm to show prospective tenants until it is rented. Ummmm.... I don't think you can give 24 hours notice to have a month's access....

I get a call this evening from the prospective landlady. She says that although all my references checked out , so did those of another woman who looked equally good on paper and came to see the apartment the day earlier, so she was going to have to give her the suite based on first-come, first-serve.

Despite the fact that I still have a month to find an apartment, and this was only the second one I'd looked at, I start to worry. I go back to an ad on craigslist I'd considered replying to, only to see that they had over 50 people show up at their open house. I begin to think that I will have to resort to someone's woodshed to get something I can afford in a decent area of town, and even then I would have to be first in line. I worry that I shouldn't have given my notice.

Just as I start to calm down, and remind myself that I have another appointment the very next day, as well as the fact that 30 days remain until I'm out on the street... the landlady calls me to inform me that the other lady decided not to take the suite, so it is officially mine.

Strike one against over-catastrophizing.

Still, my little foot-in-the-mouth moment, even if only witnessed by me (okay, and my guy who happened to get one or two pessimistic text messages about my soon-to-be homelessness), should serve as a nice little lesson for next time.

14 comments:

Ant said...

It all seems quite formal (with references and the like) - my experience of renting places has tended to be far more casual: "Yes it's yours. Rent is this. Pay it or have your ass dragged in and out of court until you do..."

John said...

Was thinking the exact same thing as Ant. My experience of renting is even less formal..."It's yours if you want it...bills + rent = X. Pay it or fuck off". Bypassing lengthy court proceedings & added expense.

iFreud said...

Ok - everyone has provided me with a very good reason why I want to get out of Canada for my PhD. Just to avoid the hassle we have to put up with to rent in Canada. I like the "pay of fuck off" types of attitude better than, "You shall be responsible for snow removal, yard care... you may not use the woodstove, the dishwasher...pay two months in advance..." yada yada.

LMizzle said...

Awww yeah! Love the claw foot tubs!

psychgrad said...

ifreud - I've rented outside of Canada with the pay or fuck off mentality and found that that mentality was there because they only cared about making money and not the actually living standards. My landlord was a super-bitch and checked references because she wanted to make sure that people moving into her property cared about the place and weren't going to trash it. I would rather have bipassed the bitchy faze with her, but I'm glad that she cares about the property.

I think it also depends on the vacancy rate...

Princess Pointful - congrats on getting the place! Depending on where you live, I think the rule is that they have to give 24 hours notice each time they access your apartment. Not...24 hours notice that they will be accessing your apartment for the next month. You can probably find this information online with the local tenants act.

Eve said...

Congratulations on finding a place!

And I think it's not so much that you'll jinx something by being excited about it, I think that if you expect it to happen, and then it doesn't, the let-down is big. I've gleaned this from a lifetime of catastrophizing things and having high hopes.

John said...

Psychgrad - I have that attitude, but I'm not the landlord. He couldn't give an arse what happens as long as he gets his money. I do care though. Both about the property (I've lived here for 6 years) and who moves in. However, I live here and like people to pay what they owe...makes life a lot easier. And saves me getting shitty phone calls from the landlord because I'm the longest standing tenent.

Mom of Three said...

We have four dogs. We also have letters of amazed reference from our former landlords--on how we left the places better than anyone without pets. But no matter, we typically ended up renting rough places. Then we'd have to improve them a bit to make them livable to us--hence the fully returned deposits.

Now they do credit checks, which makes it even more complicated. I'm just as glad we bought again. And our house has an original clawfoot tub!

Dorky Dad said...

I've had moments like that. Years ago my wife and I were upset at not being able to rent this really nice apartment ... for a day, until we got an even better one we didn't think we were going to get. So it worked out.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Alright!

Giggity.

Goo.

Lynn said...

Haha, I do the same thing, be it about a job, an apartment, etc. Congratulations on finding a place!

Princess Pointful said...

Ant & John- It actually seems like the procedures have been getting increasingly more and more formal since I've been out on my own. There is a lot of competition for good (and affordable) housing in this city. People are also really status conscious about living in the "right" area of town (which I despise)... so landlords can be as big of sticklers as they like, sadly.

iFreud- I know! Some of the concessions they want you to make are insane! My favourite is always those who specify all the criteria they want you to have... um, if I'm a single 40-year old professional, please shoot me if I need to rent a room in some family's house and pay them to cook for me! One time a landlady tried to tell us there was no drinking whatsoever...

Lmizzle- Me too! So excited for some serious bubble baths!

Psycgrad- Yeah, I think there are some benefits. It's good to know that everyone else in the house (it's a big home with 5 suites) has all been through rigorous checks.
I actually think my landlady is just trying to be a stickler. They are renovating my suite as soon as I leave, so I don't even think they'll be showing it in the current state. I think she just likes to show off her authority.

Eve- That really is a much more logical way of looking at it :)

Mom of three- Thanks for dropping by! I really like your blog- very thought provoking.
Yeah, the pet thing is ridiculous, in my eyes (I'm sure Lmizzle can attest to this). I think if you have references for your pet and pay an extra deposit for any plausible damages, pet owners may infact be particularly good tenants, as they are responsible and committed.
That's another great thing about this place- a cat is allowed! This is the longest I have gone pet free.

Dorky Dad- Good to see I'm not the only one :).

Ultra- Giggity indeed!!!

Lynn- Cheers for finding more overcatastrophizers! Thanks for stopping by!

The Butterfly Bar said...

I wouldn't call that over-catastrophizing. You're pragmatic and highly conscientious.

Besides, if you didn't act fast, you may have been homeless. I'd be a bit on the up tight side, too.

Good thing you got through it all! Stay confident--it's a great trait in a woman, even what you might call overconfidence.

And thanks for the comments on the story. See how nervous I was about a short story? I was all advertising for readers, practically. But your opinion is among the best ones becasue you always look at something that nobody else has, which is cool--I can tell that you try to be different and it's so totally appreciated.

And Singleton says hi. She was tickled by your comments, especially the one on the Every Night Cinderella, and the Atomic Moon poem.

Gotta go to bed--yeah, I know, it's early for me. About 4:11, if you're wondering. I can sleep in tomorrow, but I'll probably wake up ten, like always.

The Butterfly Bar said...

See you in April!