Househunting in Glebe

I’m in Sydney this weekend to find a place to live. I start my new job on 22 February, so I have just over two weeks to get my arse up here and situated. I may have been a bit ambitious with the start date but I’m determined to make it happen.

I only went to one place today, in Glebe. I got there early so I could have lunch and explore the neighbourhood. I’ve been to Glebe before, but only twice and only for dinner. Mexican, both times. (They have two of the most awesomest Mexican restaurants in Sydney on Glebe Point Road. Having lived in Houston for five years, I love me my Mexican food. But I digress…). So today I wandered around a bit more and looked at it from the point of view of a potential resident. And I liked what I saw.

Lots of cafés and restaurants. The iconic Gleebooks. Alternative and organic shops (though I would probably give the organic hair colour a miss). All in all it had a nice low-key-but-still-inner-city vibe. Not quite as funky as Newtown, which has been my preferred/imagined suburb of residence, but it would be a great place to live. Maybe even a little more ‘me’ than Newtown.

I got to the property early and the agent was late, so I waited out front for a bit. The front was cute as – a little white terrace house with wrought iron fencing. The house even had a name, with one of those brass plaques next to the door. With no agent in sight, I wandered up to the corner – Baker’s Delight, a fruit stand and a flower shop all right there. I imagined myself strolling up to the corner on a lazy weekend, grabbing some fresh fruit, a loaf of bread and a bunch of flowers. And maybe a soy latté from the café that was right there. I became convinced that this was going to be it – the first place I saw was going to be perfect and I was going to move here and life was going to be wonderful.

Then the agent came and opened the property and my little fantasy came to the end. It was touted as a three-bedroom house, which would be true only if you counted the teeny tiny living room as a bedroom. Which if you did, of course, meant you didn’t have a living room.

And when I say ‘teeny tiny’, I mean ‘holy mary mother of god is this shitbox small – you could raise veal in this room’. Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to get much more than a small sofa in the ‘living room’ (aka known as bedroom #2). I looked around trying to figure out where my tv would go – it’s big, but not as big as some. There was no fucking way it would fit, thanks to the horrendous Victorian-esque fireplace which took up more than half a wall with all of its wooden ugliness.

I walked through the rest of the house with a look of feigned interest. It was, after all, the first place I was looking at. And the neighbourhood was great, the location fantastic. I headed up the stairs to the master bedroom and realised there was no way in hell my arthritic 11-year-old Golden Retriever would ever make it up the stairs, they were so incredibly steep. She’d be banished to the downstairs, even at night. And she has this pathological thing where she has to follow me around – if I leave the room she’s in, she gets up and follows me if I haven’t come back in like two minutes.

When I finally got to the top, it was like being in an unfinished attic. Exposed beams, weird hidey holes – I’d never see my cat if I lived here. He’d vanish into some nook or cranny and not be seen for days, while I ran around screaming his name and thwocking the side of pouch of Whiskas in a vain attempt to located him.

The whole place seemed old and unfinished. I felt like you were paying for the location, not the house. And for as much as they were asking, I wanted someplace I’d enjoy being in on the weekends and in the evenings. I didn’t want to live in a garret-like hovel that made me feel like The Little Princess *before* she was rescued).

Hopes and dreams dashed, I ventured back to the hotel and revisited the list of properties I had planned for tomorrow. Looking at the photos associated with each one, I realised that if these were the best rooms/features of each, then most of these places were going to disappoint. None of them really seemed to be what I’m looking for – something clean, open, and modern, yet with a touch of heritage. I also want air conditioning, parking and a dishwasher. Clean, open and modern only gets you so far, you know.

I pulled up all the rental properties in Glebe in my price range and there really wasn’t anything more than what I already had on my list, except for the ones that had told me they wouldn’t accept pets. But looking at the surrounding suburbs netted me one that looks like it would be awesome – and a call from a realtor about another (albeit in a neighbourhood that doesn’t really interest me) said ‘pets are GO!’ so it too was added to my list as an alternate. So maybe there’s some hope.

The fun starts tomorrow at 10.30, with the last inspection at about 1.30. I’ll be getting around on foot and by cab, so I’m pretty sure once my day is done I’m going to need a nap before hitting the poker room…

Oh yes – there is definitely going to be poker while I’m here.

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