We rent. I think we always will. It's a philosophy of ours. We can spend 25 or 30 years paying a mortgage and, in the process, end up paying twice what the house is actually worth, only to sell it later for less... or we can spend a couple hundred dollars less every month and not have to deal with property taxes or repairs, and we can pick up and move whenever the heck we feel like doing so.

It's because we're renters that we managed to get from Alberta to Vancouver Island as easily as we did. We didn't have a house to sell, we didn't have to find something "perfect" in BC to replace it with, and we didn't have to time everything perfectly. We just rented a van and went for it, letting the chips fall where they may.

There are a couple of down sides to renting that I can think of. Landlords can change their minds and give you the boot (which has happened to us twice), and some people assume that, because druggie crack-users are generally renters, all renters must be po' folk. To those people, I say "I own little, but I owe even less. I'm in debt to the tune of about $1000. How's your mortgage?" About the only thing that might make us consider buying a house is if we won the lottery and could just hand over the cash. But even so, we'd be more likely to spend the money on more important things than "stuff" and travel instead.

The reason I'm talking about the rental life is that Patti, our landlady and a wonderful woman, has finally finished her reeducation and has met someone, and they both want to move back into this house to settle down together. She told us this in December, and gave us "as much time as you need" to find a place we liked. That was bleemin' awesome of her, because in a town with only 3000 people the number of houses that go up for rent is... small. What's opened up around here has, indeed, been rented by druggie crack-users. You can tell by the torn up carpets and the holes in the walls and floors.

It's taken us this long, but we finally found a clean, cared for place that suited us for a price that wouldn't break the bank. It's only 12 years old, has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage, a little yard that I might not hate mowing too much, and a nice little deck, all in a quiet little cul-de-sac and, literally, a stone's throw from the lake. For the first time, ever I think, we're not dreading a move. Patti's giving us two weeks, rent-free, in May to get our stuff out and clean the old place up. And I think we'll be able to get the keys to the new place in mid-April. Having an entire month in which to move makes it pretty easy, all things considered.

We don't generally accumulate a lot of cruft, but there's some chunking out we'll have to do. For one thing, the new place is smaller than what we're in right now, and for another it's about time we replaced some of the furniture that's been abused by growing kids over the years. Now that our youngest is 13, we're finally at the point where it makes sense to have some new and undamaged stuff again. To that end, we've decided to replace two beds, three dressers, all the living room furniture, the kitchen furniture, and other, smaller, odds and ends. We'll also be getting some real desks instead of the tables we've been propping our computers on. Sadly, we can't afford to do it all at once and will have to haul some of the old junk over, but I suspect we should have what we want by the end of the year.

What with Jaq's non-smoking, her improved weight and health issues, her job (which she still likes), my new training, our dual income (we waited until the kids were older for that), and the fact that our rent is going to go up only $50 instead of the $300 we feared, things this year have actually improved enough that it makes Hell Year 2006 worth it.

I'll try to get some pictures. Not for you. You don't care. A house is a house. No, for me. If I post 'em here, maybe it'll be neat to see them ten years later so I can reminisce. That's what I do as I age. Reminisce.
WTF are you doing? It took you months to post again, and then you post TWO in a day? Tsk.

This sounds really positive, and I _would_ like to see pics, even if you don't believe me. ;)

Oh, and you had a year 2006 from hell, too? :( Welcome to the club. *sigh*

Let's drink to a better 2007!
Oh, and good to hear that your Lady keeps up the non-smoking thingy. Congrats to her from me. :)
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