I looked at a few rental properties and put down my deposits and signed a lease on a townhome today. I get keys (and garage door opener) in exchange for my first month’s rent on Wednesday — and I will start moving stuff into it shortly thereafter.
Why, you ask, am I doing this?
K and I are ending our marriage. This is the thing I’ve been dancing around for a few months. We reached that decision point in July, but we both had a collection of travels and other things that prevented much progress on actually splitting up until just the last week or so (after I got back from Kansas).
It’s all very civil — remarkably so, as these things go — and we’re still sorting out the Stuff. The stuff-sorting is going very smoothly, really. We still have some financial things to settle, as K is in grad school for the next 4 years and only working part-time, which means I will be fulfilling a promise I made to her to enable her to pursue that dream. I’m not saying this out of any sort of nobility, just simply stating a fact: I will keep my word. Short-term, fiscally, it’ll be tight. Long-term, it’s the right thing to do, and will beat the hell out of any sort of a court battle. Michigan is a no-fault-divorce state, we don’t have any kids requiring custody decisions, and neither one of us has either the financial or emotional overhead for any sort of battle, protracted or prolonged.
Bottom line, we are ending our marriage, but we are remaining friendly, and I have every intention of keeping it that way. K is a good person, with a lot of smarts and a genuine desire to leave a better world in her wake. There are just some things that make it better for both of us to not be married anymore.
I’ll keep my rolling stock (truck, trailer, both Mustangs). She’ll keep the house that was hers to begin with. With the way the housing market has tanked here, there’s precious little equity built up since we re-financed a few years ago — and she did spend a fair chunk of money she inherited on the windows, roof, siding, and kitchen in the past few years. The rest is getting split up by us. We’ve actually tackled a good deal of the house already and have just a few areas still to cover.
The new place is a 2-bedroom 2-1/2 bath townhouse that’s only about 5 miles from my office in the greater Royal Oak/Clawson/Troy/Birmingham area (not giving any more specific info than that). First floor is garage and a "den" that I’ll probably use as a hobby room, as well as a full bath with a stand-up shower. Floor 2 is the main level, with kitchen, dining, and living areas (open floor plan), a 1/2 bath, and a small balcony off the kitchen. Floor 3 is the two bedrooms with another full bath, this one containing two sinks, a stand-up shower, and a soaking tub I can actually fit in and will probably use twice or fewer times. The laundry (washer and gas dryer provided!) is also on the 3rd floor. LOTS of closets and storage scattered throughout.
It’s a loft-style place, which means tinted concrete floors on the first, a nice birch hardwood on the 2nd, and oak hardwood on the 3rd. Open trusses in the ceiling for the 2nd, and cathedral ceilings in the 3rd. There is a skylight, too. It was built in 2006, and has central air, gas forced-air heat and gas hot water heater. I *might* be able to fit the truck in the garage, certainly can fit one of the Mustangs, and I actually have room to work on it if I wish.
The balcony will be where the DirecTV dish goes (it faces the right way) and also shelters the garage entry. Interior unit saves on fuel costs (better insulation) — and the property owners have a "gas bill guarantee" that if the 12-month average monthly bill is above $75, they’ll make up the difference.
I like it. It has a lot of space, being almost twice the size of the house I’m in as far as square footage goes, but more importantly it has a great feel to it. Brought friend H along today and got a full agreement (we looked at several places). It’s not *cheap*, but it’s not outrageous (I looked up some lofts online today that sell starting at $455K and lease from $2700-3400/month — these were roughly the same square footage but with higher-end amenities including a heated underground parking garage for tenants; and another condo development nearby with the units — smaller than what I’m renting — selling for $230-280K, though to be fair they have double-deep garages and a private elevator(!!) in each unit). I’ve run some numbers and I can swing it. Just, when factoring in the support to K, but doable. Cutting my commute from 18 miles to 5 each way will help a bunch, and it’s do-able by bicycle on nice days (may actually be quicker at certain times of day to bike).
Scooter should like it. He will keep his cage, and all, just have a new locale for it. K has even volunteered to birdsit when I have to be gone for extended times.
Now that I have an address, I can start doing all the other stuff (bank account, utilities, etc.) and start looking into a Move Date to schlep all the big stuff over. Part of that will have to do with availability of my Very Talented Moving Squad, aka friends who will schlep for beer & pizza. I have two reasonably entertaining pieces of furniture to move, notably the Couch of Doom (which is a hide-a-bed) and the big entertainment center. The rest are reasonably straightforward, though there are a few kind-of-massy pieces.
I must admit the pen paused above the lease… not because of the money, but because of what it represents: a true separation from the life I’ve had over the last 10 years with K. I am both sad that it is ending the way it is and excited for the future.
Bottom line? I’ll survive. I always manage to do so. I have a solid Team Jim to help me out, and they are simply the best bunch of folks on the planet.
I contemplated making this a friends-only post, but decided instead to keep it open and hide the mess behind a cut to avoid blowing up F-lists.