We think we’ll stay in Reno. We’d never have dreamed as much — not if we could dial back to early 2012, anyway — but that’s the same story everyone has.
One of my fiancé’s colleagues has family members who promised, despairingly, that they’d “pray for” him when he relocated here. Naturally, he’s fine now.
“People come for an internship or something,” a local woman told me at a dinner party last week, as wine began to swirl up the part of my brain that’d prompt me to get her contact information, “and they wind up staying forever.”
We also know a couple in their 60s, a well-traveled pair with roots overseas, who quickly rented a place in Reno so they could stall long enough to find permanent property in California. That was decades ago. They never left.
Others, like my mother, hope to move here because her (sainted) future son-in-law and I arrived first, and because my stepdad would like all the classic cars and semi-rural properties. Mom is also 60, so she gets hot a lot — which makes her pretty livid during Texas summers. I get it. And I’m thrilled.
At any rate, we all hope to capitalize on Reno’s real estate market as it continues to recover.
Our neighborhood isn’t one for starter homes, though, and we haven’t mustered the guts to ask our landlady if she’ll sell.
Off Mayberry Drive, for instance — a nearby area with fewer historic buildings but better views and supposedly lower prices — I picked up an info sheet for a tiny, bare-bones 2/1, just for reference.
The house was nothing special, with boxy lines and no real landscaping or tree growth. Its asking price? $240,000.
That’s no real estate fortune, especially by Dallas standards, but the place was boring, and visually very similar to a mobile home. Ours is brick, nearly three times as big, full of mahogany trim and stained glass, and walking distance from trendy little bars and the Nevada Museum of Art.
This isn’t boasting. It suggests we may be renting well beyond our means, and that we should save for a down payment rather than get used to luxury we don’t own. Even if it’s not a stunner, our future abode will be ours — ours to paint, ours to landscape, ours to mess with until it feels like a self-portrait.
Buying art and furniture to match our rental isn’t exactly a genius move, either, but I’ve been doing it. I’m too smitten to stop. And the fact that our neighbor’s ivy-covered house makes our living-room window into a postcard is no help.
Georgia Fisher’s fiancee, Matt, on the shores of Lake Tahoe, which is a matter of minutes from Reno.
“No offense,” my old friend Eric told me when he and his DFW-born wife, April, visited earlier this month, “but we didn’t think Reno’d be anywhere near this nice.” (“You see a lot of bare trees this time of year,” I’d warned them, “which’ll give you a clear view of all the titty bars. It’s general nekkidness.”)
Actually, it’s nothing like that. Not really.
We took our friends to nearby Lake Tahoe, of course, winding through heavy pines and early snow as our car made the roughly 2,000-foot climb.
Georgia Fisher’s friends, April and Eric, were amazed by Reno and plan to move there, too.
“It’s like this is supposed to be home,” April murmured, her gaze fixed on an endless stretch of turquoise-clear water. “I just feel it.”
Another day, we zipped out to Virginia City — a touristy but convincing homage to the gold and silver rush that first brought prospectors to the area. The olde-tyme, hokey stores are one thing, but the mine carved into a mountain is real, as are the winding switchbacks that’ll lead you into town, and the striking old cemetery that seems to hang suspended over valleys as vast and quiet as the ocean.
Our guests liked Reno itself, though; the Middle Eastern food and hip secondhand joints on Virginia Street, for one, and the sweet people who’ll come out of the woodwork if you let them.
“That dude’s walking his cat on a leash,” Eric chortled as we made the very short drive from home to downtown.
“Yer cat’s beautiful,” I hollered from the car window, wondering if the longhaired old guy would take it as harassment. But his face broke into an ear-to-ear grin, and he waved hard as we took off.
By the time they left for Texas, our friends had decided in earnest to look for jobs here. April’s parents will be joining them, wherever they settle. This makes us so happy that we could scream loud enough to endanger the friendship itself, so we’re playing it cool.
They say Reno is how Austin used to be: friendly and funky and sort of small. We’ll take it.