We have now been in Oklahoma one week and 2 days. Living in the sorry excuse for temporary lodging that Tinker offers. Trying to exhibit some sort of positive attitude. Failing on an almost daily basis. Frustrated and discouraged in our housing search doesn't even begin to describe it, but I suppose I'll just warn you guys that this is gonna be a long one and start at the beginning.
There have been a couple things that have been huge blessings since we got here. Number one, Chuck's barely had to go to work at all. He doesn't have to return to work full time until the first week of August. He has to go in some, and will go in more and more as we approach that time, but that's when his class to become re-certified in the jet begins and until he's re-certified, he can't fly. Which makes him kind of useless. At work, not at home. I like him here and he is most definitely not useless.
Blessing number two is that Oklahoma has been surprisingly ok. I was trying really hard to be positive coming here, but was having a hard time. I mean, I was stationed in Alaska. Amazingly beautiful, wonderful, want to live there forever and ever Alaska. Then Virginia, which isn't my choice of places to settle down, but has a lot to offer and was really a great assignment. So when I heard Oklahoma, I basically thought "I guess it's time for a bummer assignment". I know that every assignment is what you make of it and is largely based on the friends that you make, but yeah. Thankfully, I have been pleasantly surprised. The city truly isn't bad at all... plenty of shopping and such. They have a few water parks that'll be great to take Jade to and lots of parks and trails and stuff. So it's been very nice to not really feel like I've moved to the middle of nowhere. Plus, we aren't far from the middle of nowhere and I like that. I love being able to drive to nowhere and just meander, which was something you really couldn't do in Virginia... well, without fighting traffic first. It's nice to feel like you have room to breathe.
Blessing number three is that we have decided what city we want to live in. There's lots of little suburbs and stuff and it's been nice to have that narrowed down. The right house could change our minds, but for the most part we're focused on Edmond and it's nice to have an idea of where we'll be settled.
And here comes the rant. Ohmygoodness at the lack of houses for rent. Truly, though, that hasn't been the biggest problem... the biggest problem is actually being able to SEE (you know, something other than the pictures posted online) the houses that ARE for rent. We have found several potential homes online. We then do the next logical step and call the phone number listed. Sometimes it's a realtor/property manager, sometimes it's the owner. Now, let me be clear that I essentially never expect a realtor to answer the phone. I understand that they're very busy and are generally with someone or already on the phone. I do, however, expect them to call me back! And to say "yes, of course, we would love to show you that home". Because, ya know, they are trying to rent it. Right?
We have called about some homes and never gotten a call back. Some, we have left messages, gotten a call back that said "yeah, I should be able to get you a viewing tomorrow... I'll give you a call in the morning and let you know" and then nothing. Many call back and offer to show us the house 5, 6, even 7 days later. Many of these houses are empty. They have no tenants to coordinate with. So what gives? When our house was on the market in Virginia, if a realtor wanted to show the house that day, I packed up my two kids and got the crap out of there. Once, I got 30 minutes warning and I still made it work. Obviously, we were motivated sellers but why wouldn't these property managers be motivated to show the home? A week is a long time when you're trying to find a house.
I have wondered numerous times if this is happening simply because we're looking to rent and not to buy. But that still doesn't compute, because our house in Virginia was on the market for sale/for rent and we treated every viewer the same way. Plus, if that is why it's happening, it does't actually change anything. We're not going to say "oh, we're being treated like crap because we're renters, so let's buy!"
We found one home online that sounds absolutely perfect. Chuck looked up the location on google maps and it's within walking distance of a small water park, a playground, and a park that has a 3-mile trail. Perfection. We emailed the owner (it wasn't listed with a property manager) at about 8 pm. Heard nothing for 24 hours and then received a response that said "we should be able to show it to you this weekend, call this number to set it up". So we call the number. Only the phone is turned off. Straight to voicemail. We leave a voicemail. Nothing. Needless to say, despite the perfect location of said house, unless the owner calls and informs me he's been in the hospital all day, we will not be renting that house. I can't imagine dealing with him if something's broken and needs to be fixed.
So we decided that we would just drive around that general area looking for signs. We drove. And drove. And drove. Nothing. I guess everyone agrees that it's a good area and doesn't want to leave. Jade is in the backseat screaming that she wants to get out (can't blame her) and I'm just... done. Told Chuck I was going to cry, that I was so discouraged, so frustrated, so grumpy, that I just couldn't hold it together anymore. Said "I just don't know what we're going to do". And I look over, and the license plate on the car in the driveway we're passing says "bestill". And in my frustrated, hardened, angry heart... I ignored it. Didn't tell Chuck I saw it. Told God that I couldn't be still right then because I needed to find a flipping place to live.
After a run through the CFA drive-thru for some much needed drinks (for all the good I've discovered in Oklahoma, it is HOT), we start to drive back to TLF and I realized that I couldn't really ignore God like that. He was trying to tell me something. And I need to trust Him. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still going to look for a place to live. After all, we can't live here forever (for logistical and other reasons... they only allow a certain amount of time in TLF). But I have decided that for 24 hours I'm going to take a break from the search. I know I won't be able to stop thinking about it, but I can at least stop fanatically scouring the internet and turn my worry over to God when the thoughts do enter my mind. We're supposed to hear back from a property manager on a house Monday (we'll see if that happens) and I'm not going to look for another house between now and then. There's no telling how many miles we've driven looking for places and my poor kids need a day that they're not stuck in the car.
I'll admit that part of the reason I'm typing all of this is to hold myself accountable. Although 24 hours might not sound like a long time, when you're living in what feels like a shoebox (stole that from Nichole... and this place is MUCH smaller than your house!), it's a long time. So there ya go. This is me, trusting that God has the right house for us and abiding in that trust instead of saying that I trust Him and then working myself into a panic attack.
If you read all of this, I'm amazed. So here's a smily face for you :)
Yeah, I know, that was exciting.