Sunday, March 02, 2008
I Hate Big Decisions Like This

I went to see that couple about the room today, and came back feeling optimistic but confused. It's a very good spot with a few significant drawbacks. The challenge for me is to figure out honestly whether all the good stuff justifies the not-as-good stuff, or whether I should just keep looking. I'm wavering back and forth -- one minute convinced that this is exactly the right place for me, and the next minute thinking I'm fucking crazy for even considering it. So I'm opening it up for public discussion.

The good:

- it's a good house, in an up-and-coming part of town, spitting distance from the city center. It's an easy stroll to Overlook Park, which I've been told is one of the best views in Portland. It's a pretty vital section of the city, and one of the fastest-growing districts since it has so much going for it. It's definitely a transitional neighborhood, but one that seems to be headed strongly in the right direction, while still retaining the funk that makes it attractive (and financially feasible.)

- it's a short block to the MAX stop -- barely farther than I currently live from my bus stop, and I can see my bus stop from my front door. That's a major connection to to the rest of the city, and makes travel by public transit that much more pleasant.

- it's stumbling distance to the city's only good Tiki bar (so I've been told), which is fucking awesome. I loves me some fruity cocktails with little paper parasols in them.

- it's a decent room, and my own full bath, for less than what I'm paying now. It's sunny and bright and quiet. I have access to a huge, finished basement for other things, and was invited to put bookshelves or other furniture in the downstairs living room at will. They said they wanted someone who would make the house their home as well, and were happy to make space for me. That counts for a lot.

- I liked the couple who're renting the room. They said all the right things without my having to ask, which tells me that we're all on the same wavelength where cohabiting is concerned. And we're into a lot of the same stuff, had some common ground from which to start building. That's a good sign.

- the male half of the couple works at the nearby crunchy local organic supermarket, and tells me that on a frequent basis he arrives home with crates full of free organic produce. He says he brought home 60 pounds of oranges last month, most of which was rendered into a constant supply of freshly-squeezed OJ (they have an electric juicer.) Over the summer, there'll be more locally-grown organic veggies than any two human beings can eat, and that I'd be welcome to as much of it as I can stand to eat. He also told me that his employee discount extends to his household, so I'd be welcome to use that as well. Nearby are dozens of good little restaurants and ethnic food stores, an Italian bakery, etc. Free groceries + discount + lots of local resources = happy kitchen.

- he's also a former chef and he regularly cooks. A lot. The female half is into canning and preserving, so there's a shiteload of jam and pickle put up. And I can have that, too.

- the landlord lives next door in a big old Victorian house (very similar to the one I'm looking at), and according to the couple he's responsive, but not intrusive. In several years of living there, they've never had any problems with him. That's good.

- they've got an awesome dog, which I consider a major amenity. The landlord is dog-friendly, and the possibility of getting another dog later on is always welcome. And I've always wanted to get a dog.

- they'll be living almost entirely upstairs; they've even got a separate sitting/TV room up there. The kitchen will be the only place where our paths cross much.

- they've got a fucking ginormous back yard, as well as a greenhouse.

- and the big one: in time, the house might become, from a renting perspective, my house. The couple told me that over the next year they're planning to begin the process of buying their own home, and that their ideal is to find a housemate who might eventually take over the lease when they move on. At that point, every significant potential negative factor evaporates, and the situation becomes almost insanely ideal. I could move to the upstairs to the master bedroom/office/sitting room/bathroom suite and settle in for the long term in a pretty sweet location. I would also end up with rather more responsibility, but not that much -- it would be like all the good parts of owning a house with very little of the bullshit.

The not-as-good:

- dude, that's a big-ass back yard, and the tenants are responsible for keeping it mowed. I would be part of the effort. Ugh.

- the female half of the couple was a little cool. Not unfriendly, but seemingly sizing me up. She warmed up a bit as we talked, but she didn't strike me as someone I'd choose as a friend otherwise. I think, though, that we'd get along fine. I've certainly managed to get along with less-appealing roomies.

- they're having a baby, for fuck's fucking sake. Even the guy admitted that if our situations were reversed, he'd be disinclined to move into a house where there was soon to be a new baby. They said that they intend to go to every possible length to keep the baby thing from infringing on my life downstairs, and that I would be in absolutely no way responsible for any aspect of routine baby maintenance. But I know that it's only reasonable to expect some direct baby fallout. The kid wouldn't show up until August, which would give us a while to get used to each other before everything turns upside down, but by then it would be too late, because...

- if I moved in, they're asking for a year's commitment. Mostly they just don't want to have to deal with finding another housemate while they endure the first six months of new parenthood, which is entirely understandable and a request that I would feel honor-bound to fulfill were I to sign on. But that means making a year-long commitment to living with someone else's pregnancy and then the presence of an infant to which I have no other connection. (God, would they want to have the kid at home? They're totally the type to go that route -- I should've asked. But I can hardly think of a more awkward question to ask a potential housemate; "not that it's any of my business, but were you planning to actually give birth here in the house?" It's one thing to ask if someone smokes, but something completely different to ask if they plan to pass a placenta in the upstairs bedroom. It makes my brain squirm just thinking about it.)

So, there it is, as best I can figure. Thoughts, opinions, advice are extremely welcome.
10:10 PM ::
Amy :: permalink