Well we have now been in Southern California for a week and a half. Let me quickly recap what has happened during that time and give you our plans for the next week. We arrived on a Tuesday night into John Wayne airport in Orange County. As soon as we were on the ground we went to pick up a rental van that Melinda's step mom got for us. We had a bit of an issue renting the van because we did not have a major credit card to use for the rental. I have had this problem before, but somehow I thought I could avoid it because I was not the primary renter. Sue, Melinda's step mom, had to drive 15 minutes to the airport to rescue us. So two hours after landing we were on the road to Sue's house.
We have been so blessed to stay with Sue since we got on the ground. She has an upstairs bedroom that fits our entire family. The boys are sleeping on twin size beds and Hanale has a crib. This is a nice place for our family to use as a home base as we work on setting up our new life in Cali.
The two major objectives in California was to find a three bedroom house to rent for about $2,000. We also needed to find a vehicle that would fit all five of us. We only had the rental van for seven days. This meant that we really needed to work hard on both house and vehicle at the same time.
Finding a Van
Finding a family minivan was a challenge. There are plenty of vehicles listed every day on craigslist, but only a handful of them fit our budget and would work for us. I test drove a couple of wagon type vehicles; Volvos, Subarus, and a 4Runner. We even raced out to Lake Forrest to check out a SUV that a guy was practically giving away after breaking up with his girlfriend. But in the end we found a Mazda, MPV that a guy named Edger was selling.
Edgar ended up being quite the Mexican salesman. We drove out one night to test drive the vehicle. The following day I had my Southern California mechanic drive out to check it out. Once he gave it an inspection I decided I would buy the car if the Edgar would drop the price from $3,900 to $3,300. This was not a low ball offer by any means. Blue Book was $3,295. So I started the negation process. Edgar told me I was not being fair. I was not being loving to his family. I was not being flexible. I was not reading the right Blue Book. He could get his cousin to make the car more "special" (whatever that means). Finally, when he would not come down lower than $3,500 I told him he could call me if he was desperate. That was the end of the call. I dialed the number for the next potential vehicle and while I was on the phone I got a call from Edgar. What do you know? He must have gotten desperate... He told me it was Christmas and that he was ready to sell the van at $3,300.
Melinda and I hopped in the rental van and we headed off down the freeway. It was poring rain and it took us twice as long to get there than we had planned. But eventually we made it to our meeting place. We paid the money, signed the papers and took our van home. We are very happy with our purchase. It seems like it will work very well for us as we transition into life in California.
Finding a House
We had a couple of house tours set up for the first couple of days. The first house we saw was full of character and had four bedrooms. They were asking $2,275 per month. This was a little higher than we had hoped to pay, but we submitted an application anyway. We continued to look around at other houses but did not see anything we liked as much as the first one. We were hoping that we would get it. About six days later we got the news that the owner of the house had selected another applicant because they were able to make a long term commitment to the house unlike us. This was disappointing, but we move onto the next option.
The next option was less than five minutes from Sue's house. It was an older "gingerbread house" that we were planning on looking at Wednesday afternoon. We met Raji, the property manager, and looked it over. The price was under our budget. It had three rooms, and seemed like it would work for our family. We also found out that Raji was a believer and interested in helping us get into the house. We submitted the application and got the call telling us we were accepted on Thursday afternoon. So we ten days after landing on the ground we had a van and a house lined up. Praise the Lord