dazzling and interesting on a shoestring
I got all excited and planned out my life for the next couple months—the stress of trying to find a cute, inexpensive place to live in a great neighborhood could be over. In other words, the miracle I had been praying for was going to cash in. My husband saw a posting for a darling little place with an extra bathroom, hardwood floors and even the possibility of a little yard. He replied to the posting, I replied to the posting– listing all my contact information and a lovely little description of myself, telling the landlords how much we loved the community (which was actually a bit of a stretch; I have little desire to settle with my family in the town in which I grew up) and what an all-around great couple we were. Also read: can pay the rent— although that was a bit of a stretch, too.
When we got no reply after twenty-four hours, I drove over there, all decked out in a fashionable but conservative ensemble. I even deeply regretted the mud-splattering tumble my toddler took as we were walking out to the car. Would these landlords with this charming apartment want to rent to the mother of a grubby kid? I figured I’d just carry her to the door, tucking her muddy pant leg behind me.
On the way, I put on a song with a positive vibe, hoping it would rub off on me. Do I sound desperate enough? Well, when you’re poor, you live a lot on hope, because it’s certainly not enough to live on your income alone.
When I pulled up in front of the yellow shingled home on a little tree-lined private road, my heart jumped—and then fell, hard.
Posted on the door was a hand-written sign that read in bold print: ‘THIS HOUSE IS NOT FOR RENT’
Furthermore, it went on to explain that the house was actually for sale, and that it was being targeted as an online scam. It also was thoughtful enough to remind me not to send anyone any money. Fortunately, I wasn’t that stupid, just desperate and hopeful, and woefully over-dressed for a drive around town. And when, two weeks later, I received an email loaded with grammatical errors from the supposed missionary in Africa (probably in cahoots with that Nigerian prince that’s been trolling the internet) I refrained from sending a $600 check for my “deposit.”
But how did I feel after reading that sign? Like bawling, actually. But I try not to make a habit of crying in front of my daughter, and besides, it would only succeed in making my toddler nervous and ruining my make-up. So I vowed to get on with my day, because I may not have been about to move into a charming apartment that I couldn’t really afford in a community I didn’t really want to live in, but I did have some writing I wanted to get done, and a little party to hostess. And what do you know—now was dressed for it.