We had made arrangements to stay in Chicago with our friend Mark until August. He rents a house in Wheaton. We wanted to wrap up some work stuff, have time to spend with friends and figure out moving and housing logistics. We moved everything out into storage in time for the first closing date. We thought we had plenty of time (we were allowed to stay with Mark for 6 weeks by his landlords). But after the closing date kept getting moved, we were starting to get tight on time. Arrangements were made with Allied to move us, but they wanted an arm and a leg (almost $3K) to store our stuff from the end of June until we actually moved in August. And then it turned out they had no trucks available in late June anyway. Should have taken that as a sign… So we ended up renting some trucks and moving stuff to a storage unit ourselves. Around this time, Kristin’s dad had open heart surgery and she had to go to PA to be with the family, so I was doing a lot of the moving and packing by myself. Fortunately we had a lot of good friends who pitched in and helped out.
We had decided to move to Vermont and I wanted to look for housing, but without an official “cleared to close” I was afraid to find a place or sign a lease. I had to reschedule my flights twice before I could finally make it out to Vermont. By the time we finally closed in the 3rd week of July, I only had a few weeks to find a place to live. To make matters worse, the rental market in Vermont is fairly tight AND tends to be expensive, so the choices seemed a bit limited. There is really no central web site for rental options either. Armed with a list of options from Craigslist, I flew out to Vermont for a long weekend to try to find a place for us to live. The first day or so didn’t go that well, but then things started picking up and I was able to make a series of appointments. The only place that Kristin was really intrigued by turned out to be the place we landed, but it was a bit further out than I wanted and I wasn’t sure it was still available.
I was staying with a friend in Essex Junction and when I mentioned Bristol to him and his wife, they got excited and said how great a town it was and probably a good fit for us. The house also had plenty of room, a garden and wood stove heat; all things we were excited about. I contacted the owner and she did get back to me, but thought someone else was already very interested. I found out later she was being very picky and not even getting back to many people, so in retrospect it is surprising I even heard back. She was already showing the place on Friday, so she said I could come by after that. When I got there, the other person had gotten sick and didn’t show up, so I was the only one to look at it. I immediately connected with the place and probably would’ve rented it on the spot. Leslie (the landlord) wanted to chat for awhile and then wanted me to think about it and talk to Kristin. I told her we were expecting and she was excited about the possibility of having a young family in the house again.
I left to go look at another place, but that only reinforced how much closer this place was to what we wanted. Kristin was all for it, so I called Leslie back that evening. She agreed to rent us the place and I drove down on Saturday to finish the deal. We hung out most of the afternoon and worked on a lease together. Vermont is very much a “handshake deal” kind of place, particularly in the rural areas. I got to meet her husband Jim and we immediately hit it off. He was excited to talk about all my farming research and ideas. We share a lot of common interests in doing things “the old way”. Every time we get together the discussions are always interesting.
So I was able to leave Vermont with a great place rented, some new landlords who also seemed to be fast friends and an excitement to finally move. But we still had to make that happen and there was going to be one more hiccup on our road to Vermont.
This is a four part series, check out the other posts here: