Our next duty station is in the civilian world. So despite being in a large metropolitan area, it feels like we're going to a remote location. No commissary. No military hospital or military doctors. None of the usual groups and services that I usually just take for granted: Spouses' groups, LINKS, base childcare, base chapel (I secretly like them because I know everyone there "gets" it), oh the list could go on forever. So, as you can see, I'm a bit nervous of leaving the safe harbor of military living and making this initial foray into civilian living.
Well, let me tell you, my recent house-hunting trip did very little to allay those nerves! I spent almost a week (and let's not talk about how much money) going to the area with my mother-in-law and looked for rental property. It was incredible frustrating. My first choice, while not ideal was in a great school district, had a grumpy landlord and/or property manager who refused to do basic things to make the house fit to live in. So cross that one off. My second choice wouldn't come down on the rent (I didn't really expect them to) so cross that one off. My third choice... well, I thought it was decent compromise of the things we were looking for and, at first blush, the landlord seemed great and accommodating. We signed a rental contract and I handed over a deposit check and a check for the first month's rent. And I returned home.
The following week, the lease was faxed to me for approval. I could feel my blood pressure rising as I read through it. Stretch probably thought I was going to have a stroke as I kept saying things like, "No! Um, no! What?! Is he crazy?" Bottom line: the lease didn't come close to resembling the terms of the rental contract. For starters, deposit and rent amounts had been increased. The military clause had been left out. And from what was written, it appeared the landlord intended to return very little of the security deposit. After going "high and to the right," I calmed down and put on my lawyer hat. I emailed my realtor with a list of why I viewed the landlord as being in breach of contract and gave examples of him showing bad faith (one example was he'd cashed the rent check despite not having a signed lease!) and expressed the need to have all money returned to us immediately. (We did eventually get our money back, by the way.)
So what did I have to show for my week in the area? Lots of stress (and physical manifestations of that stress) and we STILL don't have a home.