I was only kidding about the voting.
Here's the Cliff Notes version of our day.
Mimico. Ewwww. Oh no, is this all we're going to see in our price range? How depressing, this sucks.
Home to walk Cody and receive email from current LL that annoys and infuriates us.
Beaches. Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod, this is the greatest house, I must live here. But wait, should we? Oh, maybe not.
Guildwood 1. Wow! Wow! Wow! Is it...? Yes! Is it? Yes! This is great! What? Oh no! Never mind.
Guildwood 2. Eww, I hope it's not that shack over there. Uh-oh. Ha ha ha ha ha, I don't think so.
Home to walk Cody, fax application to Beaches house, eat dinner, and receive further infuriating email from current LL. Exhaustion. One more house to see in Mississauga. Should we bother? I don't want to call the guy, let's just go. But we don't care because we're going to take the Beaches house.
Mississauga. We love it, let's live here!
* * * *
The house in The Beaches is amazing. Little front porch, great back deck, a kitchen to die for, a working fireplace (which I crave and have never had). Spacious yet cozy, dog-friendly, long-term rental, although not without some question about that.
Downside. $150 more a month than we're paying now, which we could do, but you know how that is - that's $150 less breathing room every month. We thought the change in transportation would even out the costs, but when we actually crunched the numbers, we'd only save about $25 a month on the commute.
More importantly, the location is not really walking distance to anything. It would seem a little odd to move into the city but have to drive or take buses to everything. This particular house is actually less convenient than most suburban places we've seen.
Also, it has no yard to speak of, just a small dirt patch. I felt that the beautiful deck makes up for that... until we saw places with nice yards.
Going from The Beaches to the Guildwood section of Scarborough was a bit of a revelation. The Guildwood house is on a quiet, suburban street, has a large, fenced-in yard, and is walking distance from a Lakeshore GO train and from good shopping.
We liked it right away, and were getting really excited... until we learned the that the basement apartment is rented to a woman and her two little kids. I'm glad the landlord isn't tossing her tenants, but if I wanted to share a backyard with children, I'd have some of my own. Plus, no basement means renting only one floor - kind of like living in an apartment that happens to have a shared backyard. Deal-breaker.
All afternoon it was Beaches, Beaches, Beaches, I hope we get the house, I hope we get the house. We went to the last house, the one in Mississauga, only because we didn't want to cancel after confirming twice.
And then we loved it.
It's immaculately maintained. The owner has been renting it for 18 years; it's his permanent rental property, and he wants the longest-term tenants he can find. (You can imagine that's very important to us right now!) It has a very large, fenced-in yard that's completely private - high hedge on one side and garage on the other - with a small patio and a walk-out from the dining area. It's dog-friendly. It's $100 less than we're paying now. It's walking distance from shopping, and extremely convenient driving distance to everything in Mississauga.
Downside: It's not near the Lakeshore GO line. I vowed I'd never live without that, but now I'm not so sure. It's only three trips a week, one way. (Like all evening law-firm employees, I get a cab home paid for by the company.) Maybe a bus from the nearby GO station on a different line? Maybe a bus to the Port Credit go? I'm not sure.
That is the only downside to this house. Other than that, it is perfect.
So after spending the afternoon singing Beaches, Beaches, Beaches, I suddenly lost my desire for that house. Deck vs. backyard? Backyard. Urban vs. suburban? Suburban. Space and quiet vs. hip and happening? Space and quiet. My, how I have changed!
The owner of the Mississauga house was excited to find gainfully employed, long-term renters, and pretty much told us that if our applications check out, he'd be happy to offer us a lease. So today we're driving back there to see further check out the neighbourhood.
We're not going to answer any other ads until we see if we are offered either of these houses. I'm a big believer in everything in life being a trade-off, nothing being perfect, and this may be as close to perfect as we're going to find.
* * * *
My own desire to live in the suburbs continues to amaze me.
I grew up in the suburbs of New York City - bored, depressed, rebellious, and counting days (for years!) til I could leave the loony bin my home had become. I always loved The City, spent as much time there as I could, and always wanted to live there.
When I left for college (university) in Philadelphia, I moved out of the house for good, never coming back for more than a weekend again. After Philadelphia, I moved to New York, and that was that. I swore I'd never live in the suburbs. (Never is such a stupid word!) I thrived on urban life for more than 20 years.
But my last several years in New York, I really wanted to live in a house, to have a little outdoor space, to own a car. There seemed no way to make this happen - until we moved here. But if our grand experiment with suburbia wasn't working out, this would be the prime opportunity to end it. Because apparently we could rent a really nice house in a great Toronto neighbourhood, retaining the benefits of some outdoor space and a car, but going back to urban life.
But we don't want to. We want to live out here. Part of me can't quite believe it, but there it is.