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Tuesday
Feb092010

I Never Planned in My Imagination

Oh, and by the way, I'm moving to Alabama.

This news arrived as two feet of snow was falling, so... God pads the news when necessary.  And it's necessary.  The last time I saw Alabama, residents of it were pelting the cast of Top Gear with rocks.

We still don't know when the move is going to take place, and also the people of Alabama seem to harbor an alarming resentment against washing machines.  It's a downright dealbreaker for us, to have a washer and a dryer in our new home, and they apparently don't exist south of the Mason-Dixon line.

I've spent the past four days staring at Craigslist ads (1 CAR GARAGE GREAT FOR PARKING!!!!)  and on the phone with rental agencies.  The former is far preferred, even  after answering the ad which promised a kitchen island, a custom built office, and the fabled washer and dryer.  The prospective landlord sent many nice pictures and a long, mostly-properly punctuated email explaining that she'd been burned by previous renters, such as the ones who vandalized the place, but she lived here for two years with her young son, and would we mind submitting to a credit check? At this particular link?  At no charge to us?

We would not.  We did not, and then days and days went by without a reply from Washer Woman, until I Googled her phone number and the first hit included the words "SCAM!" and "This house is currently for sale in four different cities."  I'm thinking we shouldn't send in the security deposit.

I actually prefer potential identity theft over dealing with a rental agency, which today sucked twenty minutes out of my life with the following conversation:

"I need to find a property with a washer and dryer."

"Oh.  In the house?"

"That's preferable, yes."

"Well, let me refresh my brain.  My list of properties is in my car."

"Do... you need a moment to go get it?"

"No, that's okay.  I think there's a property that has a washer and dryer on Greeley Road."

"Yes, I'm looking at it right now on your webpage.  Can we have a tour of it, please?"

"Maybe."

"Why wouldn't we?"

"Well, the police haven't told us we can yet."

"What about this one on Cottage Court?"

"Oh, honey, no.  That's an old house and it's got mold."

"...Awesome.  Hampton Road?  There's a washer-dryer stackable in that one."

"Really?

"That's what the website says."

"Yeah, my list is in my car.  Wow, I really need to refresh my brain on this stuff."

"...Wow, yeah."

"You know what, I think we rented that one six months ago or something.  I'll get my son to change the website.  Oh, you know what you would like? There's one on Providence Road, a three-bedroom--"

"...Okay, that one's on stilts."

"Oh!  That must be the fishing retreat we've been trying to unload."

"Jackson Drive.  What about this?"

"Well, that does have a washer and dryer."

"Fantastic."

"But no refrigerator."

And so on.  I do not understand this.  Florida, Virginia, Indiana:  You might have to do a little selective narrowing on the Rent.com descrambler, but you were fairly assured of finding at least several apartment complexes offering a W/D.  The entire city of Mobile?  Has two.  And one isn't even built yet.  (But the office staff will be glad to show us around the hole in the ground where the hookups will be.)

What's going on here?  I was under the impression that Mobile was a fairly well-cultured city, with a Gulf of Mexico and a minor league baseball team and a landfill and everything, and here residents apparently take their Snuggies and relaxed-fit Dockers down to the cruise port to beat against the prow of the good ship Carnival Sensation.

Updates as conditions warrant, but I'm pretty sure there's not going to be any warranting for quite a while.

produced Jimmy Buffett, anyway, so we can rejoice in the fact that Mobile gave us the $499 officially licensed margarita maker at:  mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (9)

Alabama! I was nearly as terrified when I moved here for college (I go to Auburn). It's so strange to me that you can't find complexes with washer/dryers in Mobile... the apartments around the university all come with them, and college kids don't even do laundry.

As for the state itself, I don't really know what to say-- it's far more charming than I had thought it would be and I actually enjoy it, but then again, I grew up in NC. AL's tax structure is kind of wonky and I've met people whose accents were the kind of things people made fun of in movies. Nobody's thrown rocks at me yet, so that's something.

PS: You're always welcome to use my washer/dryer.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjosie the college reader

Well, at least you won't have to worry about snow storms :S

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Yeah, watch Craigslist. Saw an ad for a townhouse for $700/mo. Seemed legit, so I sent an email. Got a response from the "owner" saying he'd been conveniently sent to "West Africa" for "business" and would I mind having the rent (and every last penny we ever earn) coming out electronically.

My delete key has never seen more action.

Good luck with the move. If I win the lottery, consider yourself the proud owner of a new washer-dryer and fridge.

February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I got an even awesomer one: From a Catholic priest in Nigeria (yes, they're still using Nigeria) who wanted to rent the house because his wife told him to. Where shall I send the $5000 deposit?

February 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMB

You'd think scammers would do a little research, don't you? Good luck with the move.

February 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Ah, This is great!

February 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdish

[...] As previously noted, Mobile awaits us with sweaty armpits.  But first?  Oklahoma City.  Josh The Pilot must take himself amongst the flatness for a training session, and since it’s almost two months long, he would like to take me to the amongstness.  The FAA is providing housing, which, given my experience with the FAA thus far, is terrifying.  I would not be surprised to be handed the keys to the fusalage of a hollowed-out Canadair regional jet, complete with stuck bathroom door and troll-sized pillows.  That’s a place to (ostensibly) sleep.  That ain’t home. [...]

[...] government will not fund Josh The Pilot’s transfer to Mobile, or for storing our furniture while we stay in FAA housing during his Oklahoma City training.  [...]

[...] Well, at least now I know where all the washers and dryers around here went. They all sued for back overtime pay, then retired to Arizona. [...]

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