As you may know, I like to plan. Since we've known about this move of ours, I've been a property-management-website-and-craigslist-aholic. Are there meetings for that? If so, I should be there every single day. I also am now fully capable of making my millions [I don't have a millions-making plan] by writing a book on how to tackle finding a rent house. Actually, I might be better at what not to do. Yes, that is true.
As we left Montgomery at four o'clock on Friday morning [thanks to Hotel Moll&Bran], I thumbed through the manila-bound print outs I made of each of our rent house possibilities which included any and all details I could squeeze out of the real estate websites. Actually, I think I slept for half an hour [or maybe two hours] that morning. But that's beside the point. In my hand, I thought I had all of our options with one of those being the solution to our home needs. Yes - I though I had the solution. Why? Because of what I thought were hours upon hours of tedious research and planning. And planning to very best of my ability. Honestly, its worked for me before.
When we were about 45 minutes outside of Columbia, I got a call from who we will call Rent House Rep #1. He told me our first option [and probably our first choice] had been rented just that morning. No big deal. Four more options to go. And we will take my very wise big sis' advice and get a paper when we get there. Nothing to worry about.
Since we got to Columbia earlier than planned and had some extra time due to our rental being rented, we plugged the address of our other options into the Garmin. Ok, I had already saved them in the favorites menu. But you know what I mean. We eventually found our way to each and every rent house. All dumps. I'm not saying we need some high quality home. Not even. But we would like our walls intact. Though I did not laugh at the time, it is hilarious now that one option which appeared to be a cute little white bungalow was actually a nice shade of dirty yellow now.
At this point, we canceled our afternoon appointments at 1:30, 2:15, 3:00 and the last one at 10 AM the next morning. Enter freaking-out-Meagan. Good thing D has been calm for the vast majority of his life including that afternoon. It is a good good thing.
I had also made a list of restaurants from Design*Sponge's Columbia City Guide.
After more unsuccessful phone calls and pure confusion, we found our way to the Chick-fil-A parking lot to totally steal their wifi. Desperate times call for desperate measures. My heart and D's words were constantly reminding me that the Lord had a plan for this trip and for how He wanted our life in Columbia to begin whether or not it was our ideal situation. And I wish I could say that my actions and attitude reflected those resounding words. But my strung-out, verge-of-tears self was constantly reminding Dustin that most property management offices were closing in three hours and would not be open tomorrow all while violently shaking my hand palm-up towards the Mazda's dashboard clock [and I'm pretty sure smoke was coming out of my ears too]. That wouldn't be enough time to make an appointment, see a house, apply, get approved by a gazillion different people, and sign a lease. The realistic/planner side of me had taken control. And the realistic/planner side knew that we wouldn't be able to view any more properties that day, we wouldn't find a place to live that trip, we'd have a miserable first Saturday in our new hometown, and it would be a stressful week attempting to find another time to get to SC to impossibly find a home in the middle of our ever-so insane lives. I was Mrs. Doomsday.
While frantically searching my well known property sites, I happened upon a house that I had loved from the very beginning of my searching [and no other houses I've liked from the beginning are even still on the market]. It was ever so slightly out of what we had planned to spend on rent. And so I had originally disregarded it
Our dear friend Garmin led us to 1514 King Street. While we waited for Bonnie, we peaked in the windows. I squealed a lot. It was perfect - inside and out. Even though I had only been out. Wonderful Bonnie only showed us the living room, dining room and kitchen before we were telling her we wanted it and asking her what the next step in the process was. Yes, we looked at the rest of the bedrooms and the outside. But what's not to love when you find a home with old-house charm whose electrical, duct work, and efficiency needs have all been 100% updated? D and I had previously joked about how we wanted opposite things in one residence - and old house and an efficient house. It is exactly what we got.
After we knew we wanted it, the application process began. We went to their office, asked a million questions, filled out the application, asked a few more million questions, and were told it'd probably be a few business days until they could get it approved due to some different players that often hold up the process. A few business days meant limbo for the rest of the weekend. A few business days meant going back to Baton Rouge with a possible rent house. We calmed down [sort of], reminded one another that we serve a sovereign God, and drove to check into our hotel. We really didn't expect for the property manager, the property owner, our credit checks, and our current landlord to all align and approve our application in 45 minutes. We didn't expect them to in two hours which is when they closed. But they did. As D was coming back outside with our room keys in hand, I was listening to a voicemail from the company secretary telling us that we had been approved. We got right back into the car, drove right back to their office and put our initials and signatures on paper after paper after paper. Gladly. Joyfully. In astonishment.
I continue to be amazed an overwhelmed by the Lord's detailed provision in this process. I continue to be amazed at how pitiful my months of planning look in comparison to the Lord's eternal plan which was accomplished. Obviously, mine was not. I continue to be amazed by the love and support we experienced from our friends' and family's constant prayer and encouragement and phone calls and text messages. I continue to be amazed that this God loves me so much to still provide for one of his children who did not act like she thought He could. I feel ridiculous and ridiculously loved through this process. I have experienced, yet again, God's abounding grace by Him giving me more faith-growing moments. Without anything pertaining to me specifically, His Word gives me plenty of reason to have faith in His love and provision and sovereignty. But He blesses me with these experiences as well. Because He is so good, and He is merciful. I still don't know the very best way to have handled that situation. But, next time, I will remember that He is a better planner than I. Because of this experience, we will also never forget that this house, and places we live after this one, are from God and to be used for His purposes. May this be true of 1514 King Street. We do not at all believe that God intends for us to have quality material possessions. If He provides something very different next time, we will still know, because of last weekend, that it is a gift.
There it is. An account of the works of our detail-oriented, well-planned, loving Lord. Yes, we are so pumped about the house. Yes, we would love for you to come stay. And, yes, I did take a gazillion pictures. For now, here are a few of my favorite details:
More to come about our first weekend spent in Columbia. Mainly what food we ate. Are you surprised?