Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Search

I am displaced. Well, not really as of yet, but half of my life is in boxes. Why is this so you ask? Oh, just the normal thing that families do, they grow. And even though mine has only grown a half, my daughter is just six months old, and she is quite teeny tiny, but it seems that Christmas broke us. Not in the ways of cashola, but in the ways of space. Let me explain…
Going from living in a large four bedroom house, with a huge pool on a 7,000 square foot lot in Burbank, to living in a 700 square foot two bedroom in Santa Barbara has taken it’s toll. Yeah, yeah, it’s super charming and walking distance to Leadbetter beach, but damn people! How do you do it? There is no room here! I have a hard time having a clear thought in this small space, but maybe that is the wine from Santa Ynez that I enjoy too much, but I am sure it’s the space, yeah, the space.
I mean yes, we could buy a nice home here… Wait, I have to stop laughing, it’s hard to type. Ummmmm, ok I’m back.
Not to worry, we are happy renters and only strive to find the home that we can rent, afford and thrive in for a very long time. And that my good people of Santa Barbara brings me to the point of this whole column, it only took me two hundred and seventy seven words to lay the ground work but here it is… How the hell do you find a decent rental in Santa Barbara?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a bit of a rental snob and I have extremely high standards, which is cause for a slight panic, and twitch that has become part of my psyche, as I search Craigslist for the umpteenth time, but I have faith- because I have caught glimpses of greatness, a few that hold our application within their teeth, but I must trust that the perfect home, and landlord have been waiting for my little family and all is well in rental heaven.
It’s funny… because I will not live in a condo, nor townhouse or duplex, and Santa Barbara has GORGEOUS condos and townhouses and duplexes. Such is the fate of a musician and mother who will not quiet herself, nor her own children or husband for that matter, who is a wizard on guitar, nor risk suffering her neighbor the audacity of her own and families existence, one that we find relaxing and totally normal.
And therein lies my conundrum. So I search, and search, and search some more, and acquaint myself with more parts of Santa Barbara than I care to meet. I find huge homes in Goleta and my new friends scoff, ‘Goleta? It’s sooooo far away!’
Really? Really people? I lived in Los Angeles where it took me thirty minutes to go to the grocery store, and if one of my friends moved from Hollywood to Santa Monica it might as well have been Canada for all I cared, I would never see them again and they knew it.
But alas, I understand because it’s something that I have grown to love about Santa Barbara living- I can get ANYWHERE in ten minutes. When I say I will be there in ten minutes, I mean it.
So I keep searching, and I keep packing because I know it’s out there… I even made my dream board with my three-year-old son last week. My requests to the rental universe? Three bedrooms, two baths, vaulted ceiling’s, a big fireplace (that works), lots of outdoor space so I can plant a garden, with a fenced yard to keep my kids locked in safe and possibly for a future pet, (on a side note… why don’t landlords take pets? It’s amazing the amount of ads I see that don’t allow them. They would rather allow a group of seven to ten students rent their home, than a family with a dog? Come on, didn’t they go to college? I did, and I can’t seem to remember most of it. Sorry landlords, for all the pet owners out there, I had to say something.)
But back to my list… A lot of privacy so I can make noise and not worry, lots of light, a view, whimsical architecture, and lastly a great school district. Too much? My son added that the home needed to have a red door and a cool doorbell, so there’s that too.
I know it’s out there, I’ve actually seen it and if I thought the landlord (who lives in Connecticut) would read the Sentinel you would think I was baiting him. No, I’m just pissing in the wind, but after talking with a few friends about the tough rental market, I thought it needed to be written. Is this a rant? Heck no! I live in Santa Barbara, or at least I do until March 1st, I have no worries at all.

*as seen in the Santa Barbara Sentinel for my American Girl Column Page 25