Saturday, April 25, 2009

Move It On Over

I hate apartment hunting. Amazingly, I've rarely had to do it, even though I've lived in a bunch of different places.

When I moved from Halifax to Sault Ste. Marie, I got a list of places that rented rooms to students. I called through the list until I found a guy who had worked in the same hospital as my mother several years ago. He knew, and remembered her. I decided to live with him. In retrospect it wasn't a good place to live, but at the time it seemed like the obvious choice.

The following year I moved to Toronto where my aunt and Uncle lived. They offered to give me room and board for roughly the cost of having me there. I lived with them for a year. It was an obvious choice.

When it came time to move back the Sault Ste. Marie the following year I met a friend there who rented a room from someone. My friend was moving out. His landlord needed to find a new tenant. I needed a room. It was perfect. It was the obvious choice.

After three years there, the landlord needed my room back, so he told me I had a couple of months to find a new place. That night I met with a friend at a local Wendy's. When she asked how things were going, I told her I was going to be moving soon. I'd start looking for a place next week. She mentioned she and her husband had a couple of spare rooms in their house they were thinking of renting out. She talked to her husband, and they made me an offer I couldn't refuse. It was an obvious choice.

After about a year living there I decided it was time to move on. I was about to get a job with the provincial government, and I wanted to live alone. I mentioned this to some friends. One told me that she and her roommate were going away for the summer and they wanted someone to sublet their place. It was in the building I have always wanted to live in. It had a good location, nice apartments, solid walls for quiet living. I couldn't afford to live there alone, but they only asked for a little more than half the rent. It was an obvious choice.

(Incidentally, that was the building Craig and I would eventually move into. Craig and I lived in the unit one floor above the apartment I was subletting.)

At the end of the summer I needed a new place. I did the traditional apartment search and ended up in a bad building. It was next door to the apartment in which I was subletting. At least it had a good location. I had a job with the provincial government, so I could afford a one bedroom apartment. The choice wasn't obvious, and it turned out to be not good.

After a couple of years there, my contract with the government ended, and I couldn't afford to keep the apartment myself for too much longer. At the same time Craig's current roommates were moving out, so he needed a new place to stay. So we moved back into the building I was in before. I didn't even have to shop around. I just knew I wanted to live there. It was an obvious choice.

Then when Craig and I moved to Ottawa, I came down with three weeks to find a room for him, and one for me. I spent the first week just getting to know the city. When it came time to actually look for a place I got a list from Carleton University of places that rented rooms to students. I called a few places. I hate apartment hunting. As I was walking to the first place to look at, my phone rang. It was Pastor Jack. He wanted to offer Craig and I to live at his place. He gave us an offer we couldn't refuse. It was an obvious choice.

I've lived with the McQueens off and on for 5 years this fall. As regular, long time blog readers know, there were frustrations. But there were a lot of good times. I spent a lot of time looking forward to moving out on my own. Now that that time is being thrust upon me, I'm not looking forward to it. I've started apartment hunting. I hate apartment hunting.

If you've paid close attention to this post, you will have noticed that the apartments I get through regular apartment hunting have been the worst. The best situations come from happenstance - usually a chance meeting, or a phone call. Serendipity. A God event. I've looked at a few places. I've liked two of them. They're just a wee bit expensive for my taste. (But, it may be worth it.)

Then, the other day Pastor Jack says "I don't want to sell, and there's a small chance we might not have to. So, if you don't mind living with uncertainty, you're welcome to stay."

I don't really like uncertainty. I have been looking forward to having my own place. But something about this doesn't feel right. I'm wondering Where's my chance meeting? Where's my phone call? Where's my serendipity? Where's my God event? Is it really time to move out?


Craig said...

Ironically I just put down May rent for a room on Thursday.
I'll be moving out of my Aunt and Uncle's in the next week or so.

I hate looking for apartments too and for the last little while tried the newspaper,, talking to realtors, etc...

One place I found in Hamilton fit my budget, but was a real dive. The "furnished" room advertised was for a single-size bed with a huge dip in the middle, and a floor-model tv. The "cable" mentioned in the ad was coax laid through the middle of the room on top of the carpet to get to the tv. and the other room. Next.

This was a Craigslist type of thing. The guy just bought this house a couple years ago and usually rents one (or both) of the rooms on the second floor to people while he lives in the basement.

With so many people moving in and out he decided only to rent to one person for the next bit. Turns out that I was that person. The rent is right, and it is a four-minute commute to work in the morning. The house is right across from a shopping plaza with an A&P, gym, and other stores.

On another note, I was working in Customer Service the other day and there was a caller asking if there were any Tim Hortons in the city of Ottawa...

Andrew said...

Wow. I'm scared to ask how much the rent is.

The way I see it, if I live where and how I want, it will be expensive. If I live cheaply, I'll have complaints.

I might just take the expensive place. Eating is overrated anyhow.

In the worst case scenario, I can take a second job. There's a Tim Horton's around here that is in dire need of help. I have been there three times, and have had three bad experiences.

Craig said...

The rent is affordable, I was quite surprised.

A lot of it is, you get what you pay for.

If your concerns haven't been dealt with to your satisfaction by the manager, call 1-888-601-1616 and they can work with the District Manager to get the problem solved. I'll be working there Monday and Tuesday just answering e-mails...