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Its time for March Madness
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I know there must be something wrong with me.

There has to be.

No one in their right mind would be packing up all their kit and kaboodle just nine months after doing it for the 11th time in 11 years.

But here we are, dragging out the bins and boxes yet again to pack up and move 12 miles down the road.

The new abode is a single family residence, as opposed to where we are now, in a condo building. I don’t consider it a condo per se, just a small apartment.

We loved that our current place has two bathrooms, but since the second bathroom has a bathtub but no shower, I’ve been using the tub for storage. I like having an extra toilet and vanity, though, it comes in really handy.

We knew when we moved into this place that it was for the short term, but I certainly didn’t foresee it being such a short term.

I’ve been scouring the papers and the Internet for a small house to rent since about the first day we got here, but my hopes were usually dashed at the sight of the how much the owners wanted for rent.

I went to look at a few of them, even though they were totally out of the budget. I just wanted to know what people were getting away with.

One little place that piqued my interest recently was steps away from a nice park and basically across the street from the ocean.

You couldn’t see the ocean from the house, but a three minute walk would put you right on the sidewalk that runs along it. Nice location, all in all.

I pulled up in front of the house and my immediate reaction was “Oh Lord.”

I could tell by the very lack of “curb appeal” that this place was gonna be a doozy.

I knocked on the front door that was slightly ajar, and stuck my head in, hollering “Hello!”

I had to holler a couple of times, but my eyes caught sight of the living room and I felt like I was spinning inside a time tunnel.

It was clear that this 60-year-old “cottage” had not been updated since the day it was built.

It was certainly roomy enough, but I knew it was a place I would never be comfortable in.

The owner’s son came out and introduced himself, a very nice middle-aged man who said he’d been working on the floor.

I couldn’t see where he’d done anything really, but he was making a good show of it with all the buckets and tools and dust.

I think the dust was just part of the house.

It clearly wasn’t anything he was creating by way of renovations.

He took me on the brief tour of the house and I had to keep pinching myself to stop from screaming.

So much wood.

Wood floors. Wood walls. Wood built-ins.

All I could think was “termites.”

Then as my eyes scanned the other rooms, it just had that old “granny” feel to it. He explained that he’d grown up in the house and needed to rent it out to pay for the 24/7 care his mother was currently receiving.

I knew how much he wanted for rent and I felt the place wasn’t even worth half that. Most of the “living” would have to be done out of doors.

There was a studio in the back that he had built for his lapidary and glass-blowing business, but that was not part of the rental deal.

The driveway was shared with the neighbor.

That in itself is a major no-no.

A shared driveway is what led to the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys.

He assured me that the neighbors were perfectly lovely people. Except, I’m sure, when they wanted to back out of the driveway.

I ventured into the backyard, which was a beautiful little oasis. It was well maintained and lush with plants, flowers and trees.

And oh my ... it even had the original clothes line.

At my comment on that, he snapped his fingers and ran into the garage to fetch his clothes from the washing machine.

“No dryer here, just the clothesline. And you’d have to let me leave some of my stuff in the garage.”

“Would I get to charge you rent for that?”

He almost dropped his wet drawers on the grass at that one. Guess he hadn’t thought of that.

“Oh, and when you cook, you might want to open the back door. It gets kinda hot in the kitchen,” he suggested.

Hmm. Don’t worry about that, honey. I don’t believe I’ll be doing any Hamburger Helper in this house.

I thanked him very politely for his time, wishing him good luck with finding a tenant soon.

We, on the other hand, ended up finding a sweet little house with a great front and back yard. It’s only got one bathroom, but the kitchen is double the size of the one I’ve got now and the price was just right.

I think I know why, too.

I am withholding commentary on the next door neighbor’s house because I feel quite sure there is a story there. They always say not to judge a book by its cover, but you can usually judge a house by the way it looks on the outside.

Boarded up windows are a good indication of some trouble afoot.

Trouble that includes elements of police, sirens, and handcuffs, I’m sure.

I will find out when I take them a pan of Hamburger Helper.

That will be for their big honkin’ German Shepherd that holds court over their backyard.

I anticipate making him my new best friend.

I’ll fill you in on the rest of it in the weeks to come...