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We'll Always Have Newport:Chapter 4-Gimme, Gimme Affordable Shelter In A Fashionable Neighborhood!

(March 2010)
I am looking for a good neighborhood close to the Naval base and downtown Newport. The Sailor has sent me information and I submit possible addresses for his input.
During one of our conversations, we brainstorm on the perfect apartment.
We agree that the ideal apartment is close to  both the Naval base and downtown Newport. It has 2 bedrooms, it's located on the 2nd floor, no more than $1,000 a month.  
On the face it, the procurement of this apartment does not seem like it will be too challenging.  However,  I fail to fully grasp that Newport is a popular resort location from about May through early October. In addition, people come from all of the world to work as servers, bartenders,  housekeepers, nannies, and groundskeepers.
Basically, I am  competing with a whole bunch of unseen people whom are familiar with  the real estate and rental market of Newport, RI.
 The first thing that hits me is how much more expensive everything seems to be up there. Santa Fe, NM is not exactly the inexpensive capital of the world and yet...Newport  still seems ridiculously over-priced in comparison.

My quaint one bedroom casita  in Santa Fe is a steal at $635 a month.

A similar guest house rents for $1,300 in Newport. This is not even taking into consideration the fact that food, gas, and other common items are twice as much in Newport than they are here in the Painted Desert.

Yet, relocating to Newport is still cheaper than attending law school. As the rejection letters pour in, I begin making phone calls to realtors and potential landlords from listings gleaned off of Craigslist and other real estate websites.

Either the places are over priced or they don’t have any openings until September . Law school rejection letters aside, I am more than likely going to relocate to Newport in June which of course is the height of the tourist season.

One of the realtors warns me that I am probably looking at paying at least $1,200 a month for a decent place near downtown.

Never mind, trying to get the two bedroom upstairs apartment which is on our wishlist.

However, I surmise that securing an apartment in Rhode Island, might be the best way in which for me to get a job. I have at least 6 months worth of expenses saved up.

I spend 18 hours out of the day, either working the phones and/or pounding the virtual pavement in search of this seemingly  impossible criteria.

Fortunately, Santa Fe is 2 time zones behind Newport. This enables me to work the phones and email for a couple of hours before work each morning. I am signed up for at least 5 different apartment listing services. My lunch breaks have become a near satire of "Let's Make Deal" the rental market edition.

After 2 months of heavy phone work, I hit pay dirt. A two bedroom apartment located on the second floor for $700 a month. Heating is paid, a decent amount of street parking and within walking distance of downtown Newport.

I can totally afford to live in the place without stressing out about bills. Immediately, I dial the realtor. She is a middle aged lady with a lot of moxie and one heck of a New England accent.

We exchange a few pleasantries before she dives right in.

“So, do you have a job lined up in Newport?”

I pause for a moment. I wasn’t expecting her to cut to the chase so quickly.

“Currently, I am employed as a contracts administrator for an IT reseller,” I say.

Perhaps, a little deflection may help my case.

“Okay, hon. But, do you have a job lined up in Newport?”

So much for my Midwestern charm offensive.

“No. But, I was able to land a job in Los Angeles in 33 days, I was able to secure employment in Santa Fe, NM back during the summer of 2008. Is Newport a concrete jungle of sorts?”

I hear a faint chuckle on the other end of the line. My heart soared a few inches off of the ground.

“Not exactly. But, the economy here  in Rhode Island isn’t that great. Why are you moving here anyway?”

I debate on whether to confide in her about my relationship with the Sailor. At the last moment, I decide against it. Instead, I tell her about my secondary reasoning for leaving the Painted Desert.

“I have always wanted to live on the East Coast. My cousin lives in Boston but, it’s so expensive there. I am a small town girl at heart. So, Newport seems to be more of a fit for me.”

“What is it that you do again?”

“I am a  contracts administrator.” I reply.

A brief silence. I could hear the gears in her mind working.

“Tell you what..I am going to run a credit check on you and I’ll also need 3 character references.”

“Sounds fair,” I reply.

I email her all of the requisite information and continue my apartment hunting. My extensive background in relocation has trained me to always keep moving. If this place didn’t pan out, I am certain that something better would come along.  

The following day, the realtor leaves me a voicemail with instructions to call her ASAP. I speak with her on the phone and am taken aback by the excitement in her voice.

“Okay, so I talked to your references and I have to say that in my time as a realtor, I have never heard such glowing reviews. Plus, you have great credit.  So, if you want the place, it’s yours.”

I breathe a sigh of relief.  We  spend a few more minutes ironing out the details of when I should expect the lease to arrive in the mail.

After, the phone call ends, I immediately call the Sailor to tell him the good news.

“What does this mean for your law school plans?” He asks quietly.

So far, I have received 10 rejections out of the 13 schools to which I have applied.

It’s a pretty safe bet that I am not getting back into law school.

“You never know,” He counters.

“It’s not looking good,” I say.

“Are you alright with that?” He asks.

“Yes.” I reply.

I honestly am more excited about taking on the exciting adventure of Newport and life with the Sailor than getting a law degree.

“I love you.” He says.

“I love you, too and I can’t wait to be in Newport.” I reply.

I have less than a month before I leave  Santa Fe. I need to say my goodbyes  and wrap up all the necessary loose ends  

My family will be here in a few weeks to help me move my furniture back to Kansas.

As the moving date gets closer, my anxiety level goes through the roof.

What if this is a ridiculously endeavor after all? What if the Sailor and I don’t work out? I could end up stuck in Newport without a support network.

Worse yet, I would be another statistic in the game of long distance love.

I do a quick risk utility and surmise that my lease is only a year and at $700 a month it is practically a steal. Also, I have been  phone interviewing for a contracts administrator job in Warwick, RI which pays a little more than what I am currently making. The interviewers seem impressed with my past work history and are starting the process of reference checks.

All there is left to do is meet them face to face for the final interview.

It looks like I am well on my way to starting my new life in the Enchanted Seaport.


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