Farewell, Maria -- We'll Miss You
In any case, my husband's company gave us exactly a month to find a place. Thus, in the end, we were kind of forced to settle. The place we're moving into is way WAAAAAY too expensive. It's one storey above a busy eight-lane thoroughfare. And...there are these weird clouds of flies that permanently hang out in the lobby. My husband mocks me for objecting to the flies. They're just flies, he says. Okay, no, they are not "just flies." Flies are ordinarily drawn to garbage and things like that, right? But these flies--these massive dark thunderclouds of flies--just hover in the air, in a very scene-out-of-a-Stephen-King-novel-made-into-an-HBO-made-for-television-movie kind of way. Seriously. It's ominous and plain freaky. What do they want?
All that aside, really I should be very grateful that we found anything at all. Palo Alto shop people might be nice about dogs but the apartments people are not. And, hey, after the dog pee at Macy's incident, I can't say I blame them for not wanting all the potential hassles.
Also, I had forgotten how crazy Americans are about the whole "credit history" thing. Which is unfortunate--since my husband and I don't have any! We actually had our apartment application rejected initially. Totally humiliating experience. One second, the leasing agent was all but clasping me to her pillowy bosom, crying, "Welcome home!" (seriously), and the next, I was getting ear frostbite after an extremely chilly phone call informing me that our credit check had come back with unsatisfactory results. Duh, woman, we just moved here from Japan.
Not to get into the nitty-gritties, but eventually, we were rescued by a real estate company that will act as a guarantor of sorts--for a small fee, of course. Which we very gratefully agreed to pay. Makes me wonder though how other foreigners deal. AT-&-Bloody-T refused to give me a stinkin' phone line because I didn't have a social security number or a driver's license--one or the other; no substitutes. And Verizon demanded a $400 deposit from my husband for cell phone service, after another of those pesky credit checks came back with not much to show. I'm telling you, I was practically holding my breath when I called the electricity company, wondering if they'd actually grant us impudent aliens a little light in our new home. Thankfully, they were nice, so at least I won't have to head over to Wal-mart for candles.