By the time anyone reads this, Cate and I should own a small percentage of our very own house. With that in mind I provide the following list of things I will not miss about renting:

1. Flushing money down the toilet. Not long ago, I figured out how much money I have spent on rent since I got my first apartment in college. It is a lot. It is almost enough to buy the house we will own part of after tomorrow. This is depressing.

2. Waiting for someone else to fix problems. I like to fix things myself. Specifically, I like to get things done right-freaking-now. This does not happen in apartments.

3. Sharing neighbors. When a table “falls over” (read: is knocked down by the drunken idiot who lives upstairs) at 3 am, you will know.

4. Not being able to change things. You need permission to paint. You need permission to plant a garden. You need permission, in some places, to hang a freaking picture. This is because it is not your house. It is someone else’s, and you are borrowing it.

5. Landlords. I have had a landlord take two months to fix a leaky roof, shut off the heat for the whole building without telling anyone, shut off the heat as a coercive measure, tell me I would get my deposit back and then withhold it. There’s more, but you get the idea.

6. The security deposit. See above. I have never trashed an apartment, but rarely have I gotten my deposit back. I think security means that landlords can feel secure knowing they have an extra month’s rent in the bank.

7. Weird utilities. In the new house we will have central air and heat. This has happened to me exactly twice in the 12 years since I moved out of my parents’ house. Both times were for abbreviated stays. I am very happy to say farewell to forever to window units, radiators, and winterizing plastic.

8. Instability. This is the biggest one, I think. For a long time, I liked the idea that I could just pick up and go somewhere else more or less whenever I wanted. Maybe I am getting older, but I am tired of that. I am tired of packing and unpacking and acclimating. I am ready to sit still for a bit. There are things I want to do that do not involve moving. I am excited to do them.

May Book Log

June 1, 2010

If you read my last post, you know that this has been one hell of a month. We just got officially under contract on a house today, and June figures to be quite a frenzy. That said, it would be hard for it to be as hectic as May was. What I am saying, really, is that I did not get nearly as much reading done as I had hoped to. Only four books. I didn’t even finish my queue. I’m currently reading One of Ours and I just didn’t get to Dune at all. I might read Dune sometime this summer, but I’m not putting it on a list. We’ll just have to see. Onward…

1. Blue Angel by Francine Prose (4.0/5) – Once I started it, I could barely put it down. It’s compelling, biting satire. But, man, did I hate every single character. I read this on the heals of Rabbit Redux and the two of those books left my reading palate with a very unpleasant after taste. The ending seems maybe just a touch rushed, but very good.

2. Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (5.0/5) – I definitely count myself a Martel fan after reading this. He is such a gentle story teller. His gentleness also makes the terrible things seem truly terrible instead of merely sensationalist. And there are some terrible things in this book. This is a beautiful book and very true.

3. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (5.0/5) – The last book I taught this year. The prose is just out-of-this-world, even for Shakespeare. I find myself tiring of Romeo and Juliet the more I read it, but I continue to find new and interesting layers in Caesar.

4. Native Speaker by Chang-rae Lee (5.0/5) – I spent a 13 year chunk of my life becoming a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. This came with a lot of exposure to Korean culture. This book about Korean-Americans and written by a Korean-American was a correspondingly fascinating read. This is a very sensitive portrait of some very flawed people. Most of whom, redeemingly, realize they are flawed. A very pretty book, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Okay, it’s now summer. Time for a new book queue. Let’s see if I can finish this one before school starts back in August…

Summer Book Queue

Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane
Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet by Bill McKibben
A Tear at the Edge of Creation by Marcelo Gleiser
Pandora’s Seed: The Unforseen Cost of Civilization by Spencer Wells
They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell
Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo
Something by Michael Chabon (probably Mysteries of Pittsburgh, I don’t know what I want to re-read yet)
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
New Author #1 (Someone I haven’t yet read, TBD)
New Author #2 (Ditto)