Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Living on a prayer

I have to get a 2-bedroom place, for when my daughter starts to come stay with me. Since I haven't worked for almost 2 months now, money's getting tight. And the system here, first and last months rent, and a deposit. So I'm looking at almost 2,000 just to get into a place. And I'm not working. If I can get in, I'll be alright. Between my Army retirement and my disability and what I can make over here, I'll be able to pay the rent, the utilities, buy groceries, and pay my child support. And not much else.

I have another problem, when it comes to living conditions however. I might have to move out of where I am right now. It seems I was misinformed. I found this place on-line. Its a shared student house, which is common, because there is a university here. 4 bedrooms, and shared kitchen, bathroom and living spaces. A guy from Ghana, a guy from Spain, a girl from the Congo, and a couple from the UK.

The girl from the Congo moved out and went back to the Congo. I guess people do that. The guy from Spain is off somewhere making a movie. So the let me move into the room the Congolese girl had been living in. I was in to replace the couple downstairs. Seems they were moving out early, and had to find someone to replace them so they could have their deposit back. Which I wasn't aware of until after the fact.

They also told me the rent was 300. Come to find out, its actually 340. When I asked about it, they told me they would pay the extra 40 a month, and put it in the landlords account. Then they disappeared, and no one knows where they moved to. Add on top of that, here in the UK they have something called a council tax. I'm still trying to figure out what that is. But their exemption for students ran out, so now I am supposed to pay it. Another 78 a month.

To add to all of that, they had told me that Internet and cable TV was provided, along with a washer/dryer. Which it was, until they moved out and took it all. Now I'm a little pissed. Mainly because they left the place a pigsty, and I've cleaned it up. So the landlord says if I want to stay, I need to pay the extra cost and the council tax. But I still have to be out by the 1st of August, so she can rent it to a new group of students. She's only charging me by the week right now, and giving me a chance to look for another place to live.

So I've spent all day on line, and looking through the paper, and going to all the convenience stores where they let people post notices. I've called at least a dozen places, and have gotten nothing. I don't know if its because I'm American or not, but I'm starting to wonder. I don't think its because they dislike Americans here. They just don't understand us as immigrants. In the 4+ years I've been coming here, I've heard exactly 3 Americans speaking. And its possible some of them were Canadians and I didn't catch the accent.

Here's my main dilemma, however. What kind of place do I look for. Eventually, my daughter will be staying with on the weekends, but when? So do I look for a room to stay in until I get back on my feet (working) and then look for something later, when she is ready? Or do I go ahead and try to get a place of my own, hoping maybe she'll be able to stay even sooner? And if I do that, will I be able to afford it, with the deposit and all?

Do I stay where I am, and pay the extra, and try to move into a place in August, when I'm short of money, on the hopes my daughter might stay with me? Or do I try to find a temp place for a few months until I can afford something? I want to move into a house/apartment once, not several times. Where ever I find, I'm staying for at least 3 years. Until I'm ready to think about buying something.

The problem might be solved for me if I can't find a room. The only answer I received back was from someone wanting a 6-month commitment. I can't do that. Or more appropriately, I don't want to. I have enough issues in life without worrying about this one. And I just have the nagging feeling that I'll make the wrong one, whichever one it is. But that's okay too.

Because I've already made the only one that really matters, and it was the right one.

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