Embracing Change

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I feel sooooo much better now that I have successfully found us an apartment in Victoria, BC.

My friends, this was a big change these last few months.  When we received an email from our landlady about their intention to list the house we are renting for sale, I immediately knew where this was heading.  Eviction.

We’re also in a different position than we were when we moved out here from Toronto in 2009.  We’re in our fourties now.  We are less comfortable flying by the seat of our pants, because we’ve lived through some tight and tough times, and we want to be able to save for a rainy day, and one day – retirement.  We just can’t make that step here in Tofino / Ucluelet, so we have to let it go.

And you know what?  I’m completely on board now!  In February – March, I could tear up quickly when I thought too much about the up coming move, part of it stress, part of it sadness.  I decided to make a list of all of the worries in my brain, so I could get a handle on them.

Here’s what the list looked like:

Things on my mind

I need a new job.

  • Call (guy who works in supply chain in another department)
  • Apply for (various job postings)
  • – redo resume, cover letter

We need someplace to live.

  • Don’t worry about that right now, we aren’t evicted yet and I need a job first.
  • We are going to have to sell a lot of our stuff.
  • – Sell stuff now?  No, focus on applying for jobs.

DEAL WITH THIS LATER.

This list kept branching out and needed re-writing as I applied for (so many) jobs and didn’t hear back, re-worked my resume, kept calling colleagues and friends I’d make in other departments, and the weeks, then months ticked by.

The MOST uncomfortable space for me is when I don’t know how things are going to turn out!

Then, at the end of April, after 9 weeks of active job hunting, it happened – I got a job offer!  Thank goodness!  Cross that off my to-do list, and suddenly, finding an apartment became URGENT because my new job started in THREE WEEKS.

Frankly, it was getting urgent anyway.  In the middle of April, when we became aware that there was an accepted offer in on the house, we knew we had less than 90 days to get out.  I was starting to think we might have to rent an apartment before either of us had a job, which is what I’ve had to do in previous relocations.  It’s not ideal, and the sort of landlords that accept unemployed tenants aren’t always the best people to rent from.

So job offer accepted, I went to Victoria this past Easter Weekend with one mission:  find us a *pet friendly* place to live!

Of the 20 + inquiries I’d sent out, I got only TWO viewings in pet-friendly buildings.  One in a corporate-owned building, and one is what I called “the haunted building”.  Behold, the text-message thread between Sweetie and I:

haunted 1

haunted 2

haunted 4

haunted 3

To put it frankly, I wasn’t a fan of the haunted place, and I was going to see it only because I didn’t want to put all of my hopes on this one corporate-owned building.

Well, when I went to see the haunted building, I was pleasantly surprised!  It wasn’t *bad haunted* it was simply 100 + years old and had a lot of character.  The super turned out to be the owner who had inherited the building and had been running it her whole life.  It was a purpose-built boarding house, and actually quite beautiful, in a slightly faded, Grande Dame sort of a way. I was surprised to like the building as much as I did.

It turns out that the couple who had lived in that unit before, were disliked by the other tenants because they had loud, screaming fights, regularly.  Everyone was happy to have them out.  That explained the “bad haunted” vibe I had been getting from the photos.  They had been out less than two weeks, and the unit itself, along with the building, felt open and kind.

The trouble turned out not to be the potential haunting.  It was that Sweetie and I are just in a phase of life where we need *amenities*.  There was only one washer and dryer for the *whole building* and it was down an extremely sketchy flight of wooden steps.  There was no parking.  At all.  And the nearest paid parking lot was $300 / month.  YIKES.  Really, this place would only work if we sold our car, which we had considered, but as my new job’s hours are 4pm – midnight, I really need my car to get back and forth from work.

There were quirks about the unit too.  The bedroom was just the size of a queen bed – meaning a queen bed would press against all four walls.  So it wasn’t really a bedroom.  We need a bedroom, because of my aforementioned work schedule.  We expect that Sweetie will get a 9-5 type job, so she’ll need to be able to sleep through my late homecomings, and I’ll need to be undisturbed in the mornings.  There was a communal porch just outside the unit windows, meaning any of the other tenants could sit right outside our window and smoke, and talk on the phone or whatever.  It was much more of a commune feeling than a typical city apartment building.

Honestly, I really wanted the straight-forward, 60-page lease of a corporate owned building.  I wanted parking, storage, and a decent-sized laundry room.  I wanted privacy and a degree of removal from my neighbours.  We need convenience, not additional challenges.  I didn’t need to commit every Saturday for the foreseeable future to a laundry mat, and circle the neighbourhood every weeknight looking for street parking, competing with every other person with a resident sticker.  Oh, the resident sticker was an issue too, as the building was allotted only 4 permits for the whole building, and there was a line just for street parking.  I really couldn’t see a solution to that problem.  Without a parking permit, you are only allowed to park for an hour at a time.

So the “haunted” building, as charming as it was, with it’s wainscoting, ceiling molding, brass hardware, stained glass, and busy colony of rufous-throated hummingbirds, just wasn’t going to work for us… so we took a leap of faith and let the unit go before we received confirmation that we were accepted by the corporate building.  Fortunately, the corporate unit came through for us.  500 square feet of James Bay, Victoria.

We will be moving in early May, so the next update will be from our new digs!

And the neighbourhood is full of houses like this:

cute house james bay

It reminds me so much of Cabbagetown, in Toronto, where I lived for 8 years.  I am really going to enjoy living in a neighbourhood where the gardens are constantly changing, where there is just so much to observe.

I stayed an additional day in Victoria after I viewed the haunted place, so review the 60 page corporate building lease and get that sent in, to be available in case any of the 18 other buildings called me with a viewing opportunity, and to walk our potential new neighbourhood.  I really needed that time to get my brain aligned with this change.  As much as I’ve worked to go with the flow, and focus on the practical thing I need to do next, I was not completely on board with the change until last weekend.  Cities have a lot to offer, but I had wanted to leave Toronto for years.  I didn’t like the crowds, the noise, the pollution, and the sense of competition for limited space.  I knew Victoria was our best option, but it was a brain decision, not a heart decision.  Moving out to Ucluelet / Tofino was a heart decision, and getting evicted felt like a breakup.  It felt like getting dumped.

When the sunshine came out on my third day in Victoria, and I spent several hours walking around, I felt my heart finally come into alignment with this change.  I needed the time to see what I was going to love about Victoria.  There’s theatre and comedy, grocery stores that stay open all night, and food delivery!  We haven’t ordered food to our home in 10 years.

The miles of charming Victorian buildings, beautifully landscaped parks, and public waterfront just a few steps from our building, I started to internalize what my new life would be like… it will be good.