John's brother has a friend named David Moody who owns a local realty agency Fairhaven Realty, and he said that he'd be happy to show us neighborhoods and houses and schools and stuff. So we arrived at his office at 9am and got held up with some of his other deals. So it is, they were pretty significant and he did his best to give us something to do and think about while that happened, so that was good.
Then we got into his comfortable car and did a very intense tour of nearly all the neighborhoods in Bellingham that might have enough sunlight for a garden, lots of neighborhood kids, and were well within our price range. The good news was that there were more than 50 houses that fit our criterion, the bad news was that there were so many as well, and we did our best to hit just about every one of those things. He liked using the phrase "Intense garden" when there was only a little bit of very sunny land.
It was great for my way of learning things. I love getting a whole sea of data before making any decisions, and getting to know all the neighborhoods and tour a typical house in nearly all of them was great for me. It was fun to just soak things up and see everything that was going on. It was great and it was tiring, and he even took us for teriyaki lunch on my request at a little hole in the wall that had a broken bathroom (failed Mei's bathroom test on that); but the food was cheap, great, and grilled. It was very tasty and I had enough leftovers for whole other meal. He told us we were the cheapest dates he'd ever had.
The characteristics of the houses were just amazing. Lots of different stuff going on with a lot of things. David seemed to eat, breath, and sleep the houses and neighborhoods and history of this place. He had a story for a house in nearly every neighborhood, and a touch of history and a touch of humor as we drove and drove and walked and walked. He was great about meeting our basic criterion of garden and kids, and so we got to see dozens of houses that fit most of those characteristics and a few that didn't, but were beautiful anyway.
He had other things going on, and had to have a client sign some papers. The client ran a Thai restaurant right in downtown, so we got some phad thai while we waited for the deal to close.
I'll admit that I'm amazed at the lives of real estate agents and the people they work for. I knew people were hard, but it's pretty astonishing to really see someone whose whole business is people in all their crazy array really work.
I was also impressed that he pretty much got us into every house but one on nearly no notice at all. Some were just astonishingly beautiful and well made with some manicured gardens and lawns, access to trails, views of mountains and lakes, and it's just gorgeous up here. With the sea on one side, lakes all over, and mountains holding this town like a jewel in a great, green hand, there's a lot to look at.
I'm tired now, though. We hit nearly 25 houses, and ten neighborhoods, and got to see a lot more.