Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There's No Place Like Home...No, Really.

I remember years ago hearing a story on NPR about how homeless shelters in communities around Silicon Valley were filling up with families where both parents were gainfully employed and together bringing in over $100k a year.  Due to astronomical housing costs and an absolute dearth of rental properties, families, who would in other parts of the country be living in McMansions, were unable to afford or find housing and instead found themselves putting their belongings in storage and ending up in shelters.  Seemed insane to me then.  Still does (I mean, stay at a hotel, right?!), but after this past weekend of trying to find a rental house in Silicon Valley, I kind of understand.  

Silicon Valley is comprised of all of these adorable little towns where the super-geeky and their families come to live.  I guess it was inevitable, given Husband's relative geekitude (read: off the charts) that we would end up there some day--it is his Mothership, after all.  And it's finally called him home.  Except, without an actual home.  That part is up to us.  And it seems that a lot of the other super-geeky and their families got here first and took all the good stuff.  

Being the financially conservative types that we (read: Husband) are (is), we are trying to keep ourselves in check by renting something that isn't our dream-house and doesn't cost us dream-house money, given that we are renting and not investing.  This means kissing a LOT of frogs before finding the prince--and by that I mean, looking at a plethora of dumps before finding the pretty little house we want to live in.  

We drove up after Ethan got out of school on Thursday afternoon.  This meant approximately five hours of listening to "Are we at the San Francisco yet?"  Even though we weren't actually going to San Francisco, we figured it was easier than trying to tell him we were going to the "San Francisco Bay Area, specifically the peninsula and Silicon Valley..."  So, San Francisco it was.  

Thankfully it's easy to make Ethan happy.  A hotel with a pool, some arm floaties and a few noodles, and he's pretty much set.  Although I was a bit taken aback by his affinity for the little hot tubs around the bigger pool.  Ethan got in touch with his inner geriatric and wanted to hang out in the "hot pool" a lot more than the cold one.  Fine with me.  It was refreshing to be in a climate that wasn't so sweltering that the prospect of getting in hot water made me want to curl up in the fetal position and cry.  

Ethan also makes friends quickly.  At the only house we went to that we actually liked, another family was also checking the place out.  While Husband and I suspiciously sized up the adults as our competition for the only truly eligible house in the area, Ethan taught their 21-month old to roll from one side of the carpeted dining-room to the other and engaged in a giggly, breathless game of tag through the bedrooms. 

We also reconnected with friends from the East Coast and were treated to a family reunion of sorts because their entire family was in town.  Nothing says, "Welcome home" like an entire family of friends from the DC area living three miles from your potential new home town. 

So back to the homeless part of our story.  When we first showed up at this one possible house, with it's pretty little white-picket fence, it's double oven, three outdoor patios and an artist's studio in the backyard (can you say writing studio, yo?!) we were greeted by a, um, sturdy looking woman on the front porch with her arm folded over her ample bosom/midsection (they kind of did that unfortunate run-together).  We thought perhaps she was the realtor, albeit an angry realtor lacking in social skills.   Nope.  Turns out she was there to see the house, too.  It wasn't until I heard something around what would have been her waist (had she possessed one) that sounded like a dispatch radio that I realize she was a cop.  And she was there to see the house, too.  

So, folks, we are up against a cute family with a sweet 21-month old who takes direction well from his elders (ie Ethan) and a police officer--possibly a state trooper.  An angry one.  She marched in the house, gave it a once-over and filled out her application, hunched over the kitchen counter, arm covering her work, as if Husband might cheat off her on his application.  I'm almost afraid to get the house over her---I can totally see us turning into some bad movie script where the happily little family is terrorized by scorned protector of the peace.  It could get ugly.  

We filled out the application on Saturday.  It's Tuesday.  We've heard nothing.  Well, not exactly nothing.  Today the realtor called Husband and told him that he wasn't able to do any work on that house yesterday, as he had a "big deal" he was closing.   But that he'd call us back by the end of the day today.  No call.  Soooo, I think that means we might be back to homeless status.  And we'll be putting the three year old back into the car on Friday morning to drive back up to "the San Francisco" to start all over again.  We shall see. 

But for now, please enjoy this melange of weird photos from the past weekend.  

Thank goodness Ethan passed out on the trip up--we weren't so lucky on the way home.  

Husband has an irrational fear of running out of gas and I've spent a good portion of my relationship with him making fun of that fear.  This time, he was>this<> Fortunately we rolled into a desert town on fumes and were able to get a full tank of gas.  Phew!

Not sure why I had to take this picture--I just love the color and texture of those hills.  

More hills.  Now, with rocks!

Dust devil.  These less-frightening cousin of the tornado are all over the place out there in the desert. 

Ethan and I take a spin on the weird choo-choo in San Mateo's Central Park. 

Oh yeah, people.  There are CVS's in Northern California.  With giant plastic M&Ms in them.  Ethan is content with life.  

Ethan and Jon, hopped up on Chinese food and Baskin Robbins.


Becca said...

The picture of the hills reminded me of the time I rode in a cab from Monterrey to somewhere (San Jose maybe?). The topography was SO COOL!! Rolling hills, rocky hills, giant trees... Wonderful!!

Sorry about the frustrating house search! I know something will work out.

cicadalady said...

crossing my fingers for you! i can relate oh so well!