But after finding a post on Craigslist featuring a rental which looked aligned with the housing goals I'd been ruminating over for weeks, I decided to take action. I called the poster, set up a viewing for an hour later and before long I was signing a hand-scribbled promissory note of sorts in preparation to lease the place.
It was a small condo that, after visiting the place, had all the earmarks of something I should not even consider, but I was overlooking these because the price seemed right and the location much better than my present.
You see, ever since I accepted this new job, I knew that the commute would be a point of contention. I hate driving a long way everyday. The traffic, the gas use, the escalating mileage and wear on Nugget and, of course, the tolls. We can't leave out the tolls. At over a hundred dollars a month in tolls alone, I find this very unsettling.
Plus there's the other factors such as the desire for change, especially of home lifestyle. I'm tired of living in a 200 square foot cell, dealing with poor insulation causing oppressive heat build up that can only be fought back with 2 air conditioners running full-blast 24/7. I'm tired of a pull-out bunk bed, an ineffective toilet, persistent insect issues and diminished cable. I know...boo hoo...poor me. But it gets old, folks. Real old.
But I still needed something inexpensive, I surmised, since, after all, my employment is not the most secure. And with virtually no assets or savings, I'd be left high and dry if my housing costs became an impossible burden...which would happen really, REALLY fast if the rent was too high. But cheap means flawed, in some way, let's face it. And this condo, as I found out, sure had its share of flaws.
First, there were the things I saw right away but swept under the mental carpet. Though within Winter Park, an Orlando suburb considered swank and posh in its older section, the town's Goldenrod neighborhood is considerably less prestigious.
The complex was shaky at best, total ghetto at worst. Hard to discern in a half hour scope, but when 5 other apartments within a two building radius have FOR RENT signs in their windows, reflective foil covered the insides of other windows, broken blinds and ripped sheets as curtains, torn up lawns, and row after row of rust bucket cars in the oil-stained lot, you know this ain't the Ritz.
The central A/C units in the front of each home looked original to the construction which would place them at about 40 years old. I thought it odd, being hooked up with central A/C, that the unit above the apartment I was considering had a small in-window air conditioner...I later found out why.
When I called Progress Energy, they wanted a deposit from me, of course, I kinda figured since I left Cypress Gardens in '04 with an outstanding bill. The kicker was the deposit was twice the estimated monthly bill.
I remember this from early '04 when I was moving into Cypress Gardens, I had to pay that since I had burned the utility back in '03 when I skipped out of Reflections. Oh yes, I certainly have "history" with the utilities.
So back then, it amounted to $120 but in this new place it was quoted as $230! I "rep shopped" (called another CSR to see if I got the same answer) and he told me that was right and it was based on the last 12 months, but since the apartment was vacant with no power for several months it help lower that average. When it was occupied, it ran an average of $250 a month! For a 600 sq. ft. studio!
I put a stop payment on the deposit check I'd given to the lady who tried to rent this place to me, a soft-spoken Hispanic woman who could barely mumble English. I thought I'd call her and tell her I wasn't interested any longer but I lost her phone number and the Craigslist ad had already been removed.
Oh well, she'll probably try to call me next Friday when we were supposed to meet up so I could pay the remainder and sign the lease.
(UPDATE: She called today, Monday Aug. 30th. She's threatening to sue for "illegally" stopping payment on the check I gave her. Oh brother...)
Now this fiasco has me thinking it might be better to stay where I am. Had I moved next week as planned I would have ditched this place giving Mike, in essence, a negative 3 days notice since I would have stayed here till Sept. 4th, next Saturday, when I'd have the time to move. Even if I paid him a prorated rent for those three days, it would still be a dickish thing to do.
Though I hate the distance as it is now, the commute to and from work if living at this Winter Park place might actually have taken MORE time and would have been more frustratingly traffic jammed, despite being a little less than 5 miles each way.
So, for now, I'm still a Lake Mary citizen, living in my Lake Mary bubble, waving a cheery "How ya Doin'?" to my Lake Mary glazed-over, suburbia-intoxicated neigh-BORES.