Rambling Over Coffee: Missed Opportunities in My Life - Looking Back

I was glancing at some farmhouse kitchen photos online today and as I glanced at a very small, galley like kitchen, I suddenly had a flashback of looking at a rental house in Southern California with a very, very tiny, galley like kitchen....

And that is where this post was born.


My husband and I married young and moved to Southern California where he attended school.  We originally landed in an apartment but about 2 years later we were looking for a home to rent.  For any young people stumbling across this post, remember there was no internet back then.  Finding a place to rent meant combing through the free PennySaver ads that came in the mail every week, and driving around the city for hours, through neighborhoods, looking for rental signs.  That, and asking everyone you know if they know of any homes for rent!

We weren't having good luck finding something in our price range and getting people to actually call us back to see it, or finding one that wasn't 'already rented' by the time we called.  Good rentals were snatched up in hours or even before they listed.  But through a sister of a friend of someone I worked for, we heard of a home that the couple had just had their second (or was it third?) child, had outgrown their home and moved into a new one, and were going to rent their starter home.

I had told this church friend what our budget was, and she thought her sister/husband were renting it a little higher than that, but told me to look anyway.   The house was small, but cute.  I recall it being very dark brown... inside and out.  And the kitchen was... tiny.  Oh so tiny.  About the size of an RV camper counter space and stove/oven space!  And I was a cook!  I did all our cooking and baking as we couldn't even afford McDonalds back then.  We were hard pressed to come up with a dollar. 

I have no idea what the 'wood' streets in Riverside are like now, but back in 1990 they were very highly sought after for young couples and families.  Very safe, kept up and had a great neighborhood camaraderie.  This home was on the wood streets.

But it was out of our budget... and oh so dark brown with zero sunlight inside or out... and that kitchen was just mind boggling.  They must have ate almost every meal 'out' as there wasn't even room to turn around.

We passed it up.

And then some things in life went crazy and we were in a fairly big hurry to find a place... and we ended up finding a rental that was the EXACT SAME PRICE as that house in the 'woods' street neighborhood.

The house that was hell
This house and the landlords were nothing but a nightmare from even before we moved in... until we had to make a midnight move a year later and moved across the country to get away from them and their stalkerish tendencies towards our newborn baby. 

Looking back, I see that one decision... the night we said "no thanks" to the cute little house on the wood streets, "no thanks" to the sister of a church friend, who would have been a wonderful and kind landlord, "no" to a home we probably could have been happy in and rented for 2-3 years until we had saved up enough to put down on a home of our own....  "no" due for the most part because of the monthly rental... which we ended up paying anyway for a house and landlords that were nothing but hell and problems for the next year of our lives.....

We would not have moved from California when we did, had we rented the better home from the honest and great landlords.  SO many things changed when we moved from that house in the middle of the night and drove across the country. 

I do wonder how different our lives would be with that one little change... the difference it would have made in our lives had we said "OK!" that night we went to see the house instead of hesitating and saying "no".

... meh, ignore this.  It's just the coffee talking again.  And me seeing a galley kitchen that reminded me of the rental house we should have said "yes" to all those years ago.