Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lease on Life

Moving from the Austin housing market to the Santa Barbara housing market made this an easy choice for us. When you can't buy, you have to rent. Closed case. This wouldn't have been our first choice, but there are a couple of things we had forgotten about renting, and we have become reacquainted with those benefits.

The biggest benefit is the house maintenance, or the lack thereof. When we moved in there was a non-working furnace. Since then we've had poles fall over in the back yard, a mouse infestation, and a garbage can mishap. In every case we just call the landlady and magically people fix things without expecting money from us. It's been shockingly great. We haven't had to dig through the phone book to find someone that is (hopefully) reputable, and we just generally haven't had to worry about anything. I did change one light bulb once, but that's about it in the maintenance department.

Then, since it's not our house, the owner is the one who is responsible for the yard. I can't remember the last weekend when we didn't need to work in the yard. Not that we worked in the yard every weekend by any means, but we needed to. Now, we don't. A gardening trio comes every other Monday to make the yard beautiful, and we just eat the ginger and the oranges that grow there. And the grapes, once those are ready. We're not even responsible for the water bill. Crazy, I tell you!

Renting is phenomenally cheaper than buying in this town. We are living in a much more expensive part of town than we could afford to buy in, and we're sort of getting spoiled. We have a bigger place than we did in Austin, but we're still putting away a decent amount each month. How weird is that? By the way, we love this part of town -- anyone want to donate to the Help-Heather-Buy-The-House-She-Lives-In fund? Nobody buy this house while we're working on building up that fund, okay? Fat chance, I know. Our furniture has made this place seriously appealling and it's starting to annoy me. If one more realtor tells me how great our furniture looks in the house (grrrr)...but back to the point at hand...

With all the time and money we save not working on the house or in the yard, we can actually enjoy our weekends. Some of this comes from my fancy schedule where I'm done working at 3pm and have this whole giant afternoon to do the stuff that has to get done, but some of it is that there is just less stuff to be done. This weekend we went to the Botanic Gardens, and figured out what that nifty tree we saw on our first hike was. It had this dark, smooth bark, and these light green leaves, and the almost backward-ness of this coloring was really pretty. Well, now we know it was a variety of manzanita. And now we've seen about 30 more varieties from groundcovers to bushes to trees, some with berries and some without, and I believe I am smitten. Then we drove to the top of La Cumbre peak. It's only 4000 feet, but next time we go to the top of that mountain, it'll be on bikes.

Next weekend we have an appointment with the chalk-drawing festival that goes down on the grounds of the Old Mission. No worries -- you'll get an update of that, but I'm looking forward to it. The great weekend excursion opportunities make me want to cancel that trip to Texas in a couple of weeks for the company summer party and the annual triathlon of the women in my family. But I won't -- it'll just make me enjoy the weekends when I'm in town that much more.


James said...

Sounds idyllic. The house and the mountain. Unlike here, where there's nothing over 600, except of course the temperature starting in a few weeks.

And, thanks for linking me as one of the cool kids in your fr10 post (it won't let me comment there).

Heather said...

James -- Ha! With all the cold weather we've been having, I can tell I'm going to miss that 600 degree weather. Sorry about the random 10 randomly having comments turned off. Never had that happen before, but it appears it's happening to you quite a bit lately. :)