I know that it has been some time since I have written a blog. Honestly, I just have not had a chance to sit down and write, but since I have some time now, I will update everyone!
The last day of the trip was simple. It was a two and a half hour drive. We were leaving the snowy mountains of Flagstaff for the warm weather of the Valley in Phoenix. By this point, I’m pretty sure it was something that we all needed.
For the end of the venture, I stayed with the group. It didn’t make much sense to go ahead. I wasn’t getting a hotel room. I wasn’t scouting the area out for food or to rest up. We were almost at our destination. It was kind of a good feeling. You know, to know that it was almost over. To know we were almost in Phoenix.
The final two and a half hours went without a hitch. We arrived in Surprise in the middle of the afternoon and got established in the Lemma residence. It felt nice to just get somewhere. It felt nice to relax and hang out. For Kyle, it was nice to get back to his wife, his children and his dog. The entire experience was just pleasant.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time to rest. Not for me at least. I had to find us a house. I had been searching on Craigslist and on Realtor.com for months trying to find a place, but every time that I found one that I liked, I emailed the realtor about it only to find out that it was taken. This was a process that was repeated over ten times. It was frustrating, so I stopped. There was no reason to try to find a house beforehand, by the time we got to Phoenix it would probably be gone. It was important that we got to see it in person because I wasn’t going to just sign a lease over the phone or the internet.
But what that meant was, we were very limited on time. We arrived in Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, and we had to return our moving truck by Sunday morning at 9:00 am. I called Penske and found out that it cost $100 for each additional day that we kept the truck. Needless to say, we were short on cash before we arrived, so we didn’t exactly have an additional $100 to spend each day we didn’t find a house.
Kyle offered us storage through his work, but no one wanted to unpack all of our belongings from the truck and then try to fit them in a storage container, and then have to unload it again back into the house (once we found one). So, I locked myself in the bedroom upstairs and started calling houses and realtors and pretty much anything else that I could find.
We needed to find a house.
It wasn’t until the following day (Friday, Day Six) that we started to get around and got to see some houses. We were looking primarily in the Surprise area, but unfortunately weren’t finding much. There was a house across the street from Kyle that was available, however, it was not even close to big enough.
The most important thing for us in this house hunt was space, because if we didn’t have enough room to not be on top of each other 24/7, I can guarantee you that we would have killed each other by now, but it seemed like the rental market in Surprise just wasn’t there for us. We couldn’t find anything that suited our needs. We found a house that was a little bit East of Kyle’s that was nice, but it was a bit out of our price range. So, we started branching out more.
I found an ad on Craigslist for a house in Phoenix. The ad was a little bit shady. It didn’t have any pictures of the place, and the details were pretty spare, but we were desperate, so we carried on. The ad specifically requested that you text the owner because it was the way to get the fastest response. Being someone that needed a quick response, I texted him. I waited an hour, no response. Texted again, no response, so, I called him.
Of course, he answered.
The guy told me to go check the property out. He said to look at the outside and if I liked it to give him a call and he said that he would come show it to us. As soon as we got there, we decided unanimously that it was definitely worth checking out the interior, so I called him.
No answer. Called again, no answer, so we waited.
After fifteen or twenty minutes, we decided that we were going to leave because he wasn’t going to answer, but on our way out of the development, we saw a similar house with a realtor sign. We got the number and gave them a call, but of course there was no answer. It seemed like we were out of options and we didn’t have much else to look at, so we headed back to Kyle’s a tad bit frustrated.
On our way back, the realtor called us and said that if we wanted to look at the house that she would give me the lock box combination if I sent her a picture of my driver’s license (which was incredibly, incredibly convenient. Also, getting to look at a house without someone drooling down your neck is pretty wonderful).
She sent the lockbox combo rather quickly and we raced back down to Phoenix to check the house out.
First of all, the house was huge. It was everything that we could ask for in a house (besides the lack of a pool), but it was beautiful. It was roughly 4100 square foot with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a three car garage and a corner lot with plenty of yard space.
The only problem was that the property wasn’t cleaned and wasn’t going to be done until later that week. I explained to the realtor that we didn’t have that kind of time, and asked if there was anyway that we could get in the following day (Saturday). She expressed some uncertainty, but suggested that if we could get our credit applications in, that she would do her best.
We scrambled to get everything we needed in line for that morning. We got our bank statements, our drivers licenses, our applications and the fees together and met with her at 8:30 AM. After we handed it over to her, she said that she would get in contact with me as soon as possible.
We were left with nothing but the hope that the owner of the house would be okay with us renting despite the fact that we had two large dogs and more importantly, were currently unemployed.
We were optimistic. There was some doubt, as a collective group, our credit score wasn’t exactly something to brag about, but we were assured it was good enough to rent. Still, I think that in these types of situations, you’re always a little bit nervous because you never know what’s going to happen. It’s kind of silly really, because realistically you know your credit history. You know if there’s something bad on there or not, yet for some reason, you still have this inkling of doubt. You still feel like there’s a chance that something unfavorable might just pop up. You still feel a little bit unsure.
After a few hours of waiting, I received a phone call from the realtor telling us we were approved and that we would be able to meet up with her in two hours to sign the lease, then we could move in.
Up to this point, everything seemed too easy. It seemed like everything had gone too well. At every turn, I was waiting for a monkey wrench to get thrown in our plans, or to find some kink that we had to work out, but it never came. The road trip from New Jersey to Arizona couldn’t have gone better (well, aside from getting a ticket). Finding a house (that we weren’t settling for) in less than two days, couldn’t have gone better.
Everything went perfect.
We got the moving truck to the house, we got all of our stuff inside and we slowly began to unpack. From there, we have just been in a constant state of exploration (mostly of Wal Marts, Pizza places, and Targets).
Sure, there have been upsides and there have been downsides. Sure, it still doesn’t feel like home. It doesn’t feel like I live here, but I think it will get there.
For now, I’ll just have to get used to it being 70 and sunny every day.