OK, we may have found our rental.
my friend Natalie and her family are relocating to Utah. they have been renting their house from her father-in-law for the last few years. The house is in the perfect location - one block from Paul's school, one block from a park (and the Aliso Creek Trail runs through said park), and church is within walking distance. it does add just over 2 miles to Dan's commute, raising it to 5.9 miles one way. yes, that's ridiculously short by soCal standards, but for 5 years he commuted only 2 miles - so it is an increase of more than 100%!! i think i need to get him an electric bicycle.
the house is small, 1200 sf, and on top of that it has FOUR bedrooms crammed in somehow. but since that will give us an office/workroom we hopefully won't miss the spare space in our bedroom. the kitchen is very small and is designed to be an eat-in, but there's no way that's happening. we'll move the dining area to the living room and move the living room to the enclosed rear porch. i'm just waiting to hear when the house might be empty. meanwhile, we gotta get our place fixed up and ready to rent! i need to call our handyman again.
what i'm excited about is the yard and the neighborhood. it's a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood, so what that means to me is we can grow vegetables in the yard and keep two chickens in the back and probably nobody will care. there are so many things i want to do once we have a little bit of land to play with and a garage to work in. vegetable garden, chickens, composting, refinishing furniture, experimenting with running a diesel car on vegetable oil... yes, we are a couple of danged hippies. and we'll just rent until we figure out what the heck is going on with real estate here. if there's a crash (and Dan doesn't lose his job), we'll buy a house.
oh, and Paul loves kindergarten, and it turns out i'm doing OK with it, too. he's happy to go and happy when he gets out, and so far so good. the bad news is that his upper incisors developed an infection and had to be removed today. i feel like the world's best mother. so now i have to torture Eli with toothbrushing in order to keep his teeth from rotting, too. oh, and Paul is having ALL of his adult teeth sealed! i want to save him from becoming a metalmouth like me.