Life Lately: Late Summer Edition

  1. Living my best life with sparkling rosé and Ollie Irene mussels on a weeknight
  2. Solo Summer Friday trip to the Birmingham Museum of Art
  3. Railroad Park views
  4. Certain proof of aliens at the George Ward disc golf course
  5. At-home happy hour
  6. Homemade kimchi getting put to work in Carolina Gold rice bowls alongside Korean BBQ-marinated ribeye and crispy roasted broccoli
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True Confessions: Renter Edition

Renter Confessions

Is there an unwritten rule that says finding and living in rentals has to be one of the most frustrating experiences of adult life? Because it is. In case you haven’t made your move into the vast unknown of the rental market, let me give you a little insight into how it works.

Step 1: Realize you hate your house after saying you WEREN’T going to move for at least another year. Moving is awful. And expensive. And hard. And did I say awful?

Step 2: Commence the search for new rentals with all the optimism of a a college freshman who just moved into the dorm.

Step 3: Realize you can’t afford anything you actually want. Yet find yourself unable to stop looking at postings that exceed your price range by at least $1,000/month.

Step 4: Find a couple places you kinda think you would like to live in and find out they are available sooner than you can actually move.

Step 5: Every leasing company will continue to tell you that you’re looking too early. Call back next month.

Step 6: Panic because you would like your life (and home) to be planned out a little more than a month in advance.

Step 7: Try to regain optimism and schedule showings with a sort-of promising “leasing agent” from a local “apartment finder” company.

Step 8: Tour six apartments that you already told your “leasing agent” you are not at all interested in. Drown aggravation and visions of month-to-month with a $7 bottle of wine.

Step 9: Complain to your friends. Complain to everyone who will listen. Ask them all if they somehow own a wonderful rental property you could move into.

Step 10: Find a cool place at the top of your budget. Walk through it for five minutes and mentally place your furniture throughout. Try to ignore all the belongings of questionable taste that belong to the current tenant.

Step 11: Decide you love it and want to live there forever without remembering to ask important questions like “Does this unit have off-street parking?”

Step 12: Find out that your new sort-of dream place is no longer available because the person who saw it five minutes after you already signed a lease. Pretend you don’t care but feel physically ill when you read the email.

Step 13: Move up to $9 bottles of wine, or bourbon, while you call your mom and tell her that you’re never moving again for real after this time.

Step 14: Send another round of the same “please help me in my rental search” emails to “leasing agents” and even realtors hoping someone will take pity on your young professional soul who really can’t live without in-unit laundry.

Step 15: Find a lovely place that’s out of your budget while searching Craigslist for the 23rd time that day. Email them asking if they will lower the rent by $300/month because you have no shame at this point. Spoiler alert: They will decline.

Step 16: Receive groundbreaking email alerting you that the “five minutes later” people actually backed out of their lease, suddenly freeing up the cool place currently inhabited by the weird guy who keeps a toolbox on the kitchen counter.

Step 17: Fill out rental application at breakneck speed. Send it off with a check for a processing fee (surprise!).

Step 18: Could it be? A sixteen page PDF of a lease materializing in your inbox? Don’t believe till you see it signed, sealed, and delivered.

Step 19: Sign lease. Celebrate… how else? With wine (the good stuff this time).

Final Step: Solemnly vow to avoid moving again anytime soon. For real this time.

 

Presence in the present.

Watching “Eat, Pray, Love,” the movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir and of course there are plenty of messages that provoke plenty of thought, but one quote in particular resonates the most tonight:

“I remember an old catholic joke about a man who spent his whole life going to a church every day and prayed to the statue of a great saint begging “please, please, please, let me win the lottery.” Finally the exasperated statue comes to life and looks down at the begging man and says “my son, please, please, please, buy a ticket.”

We all have aspirations, goals, ideals that we would like to see happen in our lives. I know exactly well what my perfect life would entail if only I lived in a fairy tale… so what keeps us from crossing the line from fiction to reality? Laziness? Fear of failure? Most likely. We all want to win the lottery, but we don’t want to remind ourselves to buy a lottery ticket in the midst of our lives every day. Daily lottery tickets are expensive, they take effort, and they are not a guaranteed pay-off. Hard work does not always guarantee the success we want, the life we aspire to is not always attainable in the way we would like it to be. But nothing is attainable if not aspired to and worked for… something we (I) often forget.

Studies show that it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. Time to buy the first lottery ticket (or what have you).

NC Farmer’s Market

The North Carolina State Farmer’s Market is one of those places that looks the same as an adult as it did when you were a kid. Hundreds of people, dressed from Sunday best to faded overalls, meandering through the rows and filtering between one another, occasionally stopping for an especially juicy looking peach sample presented hastily on a plastic fork. It’s loud, but not in the stressful way one might think. It’s young girls working for their Daddy’s farms advertising watermelon (2 for the price of 1), the anticipation of finally getting to the front of the peony line and thinking the man won’t be able to hear you over the crowd.

Everyone moves at their own pace, some are seasoned with lists indicating their agenda for the day as they nod to the more familiar vendors they’ve written checks for in the past. Some are just visiting for the sport of it, pausing at every tasting opportunity and discussing amongst themselves which strawberry selection was actually as ripe as it claimed to be. Fruitful shoppers lug recyclable bags of green tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and red peppers. Less food-minded purveyors pause at a booth displaying perfectly styled terrariums, minute little worlds encased in glass thin enough to make you nervous as you carry it back to the car.

Across the parking lot, sticky tablecloths and the scent of hot oil call to lunch-goers who wander over. It’s easy to spot a new customer at the seafood restaurant, as indicated by their assumption that they will actually find a typical definition of a restaurant through the building doors. There are industrial sized trash cans, slips of paper limp with humidity and grease indicate the number of your order. Styrofoam trays heaping with steaming fried shrimp and scallops are continually passed across the counter, each lid squeaking as it strains to hold against the sheer mass of food behind it. There is no regard for the partitions in the trays: hush puppies, slaw, and the golden battered pieces of seafood are all piled together as if the kitchen had forty trays to fill at once, which is entirely possible on any given Saturday.

You never really need to find an excuse to run up to the Farmer’s Market, necessities in everyday life practically require a weekly visit. Where else can you go get your shrimp burger fix, flowers for a friend’s birthday, and the vegetable for dinner all in one fell swoop?