It really is. So I had to say no to the gorgeous apartment. It just wasn't big enough, and the landlord wanted me to take it in July, but I'm not moving until August.
In the end, I found this huge, beautiful apartment which occupies the entire second floor of a lovely old house built in 1927. This place has it all. 5 closets (not counting the one in the bathroom and the pantry, so I guess really 7), beautiful cherry floors, windows on all 4 sides, with beautiful western exposure in the (ginormous) living room and dining room, which are connected with glass French doors. There's a cute coal-burning fireplace in the living room. The kitchen and bathroom were being gutted and completely replaced when I visited, so I'll have all new appliances, including a dishwasher. Excellent hardwood cabinets and a new vanity with a marble sink. And hot water is included in the rent, which makes me happy. There are two bedrooms with deep closets, and a back and front entrance, a very wide driveway and a nice big green back yard. I'll be sharing the house with one other tenant, who lives on the ground floor. It's more space than I've ever had all to myself. I can't wait to turn the second bedroom into a study.
The only drawback is the campy fake paneling that lines the stairwell and front hall. The landlord claims it cannot be painted. Is this really true? I'm planning on hanging curtains over it, or even covering it with removable wallpaper or stretched cloth. Does anyone know of other good treatments to mask the fake wood veneer? Painting it would be best and I'm not entirely convinced the landlord is right to say it cannot be painted. There are probably nice plaster walls underneath, but ripping it out would undoubtedly damage them and cost the landlord a fortune and months to properly repair or replace. Or I could just learn to rock the camp. Maybe put up some animal horns, fishing tackle and a couple of rustic "gone fishin'" and "home sweet home" signs.
After I found the apartment and filled out the application, shaking hands with the classically southern laconic landlord, I had a celebratory scoop of pistachio gelato (they were out of cantaloupe), and headed off to a concert with my host and her husband.
And here's where it gets weird. My host's husband lives 2 hours north of here. He's a scientist and an academic. And he lives in the same city as the family of a very old friend of mine, a boy with whom I've recently re-established contact online after 27 years. Yes, this boy and I were good friends in nursery school. He used to throw tantrums and lob tonka trucks at me, but we were inseparable. Anyway, when I asked said host's husband if he knew this boy's family, it turned out that he's known them a very long time and they live across the street from him. Huh. Small World!
I learned all this in the car on the way to hear Dar Williams play in a large-ish college town about 30 minutes away. She was very good, but listening to all that Dar Williams made us a bit lumpy in the throat and a bit annoyed at all the touchy-feeliness. We were hoping she'd sing more of her recent political material, but she only sang one blatantly political song, about burning draft cards, which was pretty good. I think she's at her best channeling her lost childhood and teenaged innocence. I could do without the sappy and instantly forgettable new mother songs.
So as we drove back to our town, we decided to stop in at another music venue, and discovered that Tift Merritt (originally an alt country singer, but now she's become much more rock and soul) was playing there and to a very small crowd. We wandered in and she was enthralling and rocking the house. That little lady can SING and PERFORM! She reminded me of a young Bonnie Raitt with a little Dusty Springfield and Cowboy Junkies mixed in. She really rocked the house with her incredible stage presence and joy. Her song "Shadow in the Way" turned into a gospel revival, with each band member improvising some blusey riffs. We felt incredibly lucky to have chanced upon this explosive and ecstatic performer and her excellent band.