The good… the bad… and, well, there really isn’t an ugly…

I had a meeting today with the agency that’s helping me move and they had my move in date!!! I’m going to be moving on February 5th, nineteen more days! Which is great but I have so much left to do. I didn’t think I’d be moving so soon. I’m sure panic will get me through the next few weeks.

My main concern, once I found out my moving date, was Colin. He’d been assured that he’d have a place by the end of January but nothing more was said and his next appointment with the agency is the end of January. So I called the cheerful, optimistic lady who’s been assuring us everything’s fine and got told that they had until the end of February to move him and, if they didn’t find a place, they’d “try” to get him a storage unit and would place him in a homeless shelter. So a good chunk of this afternoon was spent looking at rooms for rent. He’s already messaged one place and is waiting for a reply.

I got to see pictures of an apartment identical to mine. I’m still worried about my dresser but the kitchen looks great and the bathroom looks amazing. The only downside is the side of the tub is lower so it’s easier to get in, which means no baths. This would be a huge disappointment for Colin because he loves baths but I’m not fond of them and have maybe one or two a year. I’d much rather have a shower.

Well I’m off to work on my holiday bins. I know that I don’t use as many decorations as there are in my bins so there’s plenty to donate or pitch. The storage room looks like something out of a horror movie so wish me luck!

I went through a year with a move with no date…

livingroom2Now we’re getting to the deadline. At least I’m assuming we’re getting there. Neither Colin or I have an actual date yet. He’s got someone coming in to help sort and pack next week. I’ve got my own two hands and panic to help me through mine.

One nice thing is I’ve got pictures showing me what my living room and kitchen will look like (I’d love to see the bedroom). And I’ve got a layout that gives me a good idea too. I’m still worried about where everything will go but I’ve worked out most of my furniture and am confident I can fit almost everything in, except maybe my electric stove, which is tiny but my room will be a tight squeeze for most furniture.

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The hard hat is not included

I’ve been peering at the kitchen photo, trying to figure out where I’ll put things. The cutlery is easy. As for the rest, I’m thinking it’ll be easier to plan once I’ve moved in and start organizing.

My apartment is going to be great once it’s done. All new appliances… all new everything. Laminate flooring and a lot of kitchen space. The counter’s a bit smaller than what we have here but it has three outlets, which will be a help.

There’s three ways this move is anxiety inducing. The main one is simply not having a move in date. I can’t organize the movers, change my address via Canada Post and the government, or request elevator time with no move in date.

The next is comfort. This here is my home and my room is my sanctuary. I have a lot of new pretty things for my new room but will it feel like my room? Where am I going to go to feel safe? I had an anxiety attack the first time I thought of this and it still makes me uneasy.

The final is socialization. Right now I have friends who live in the building behind mine. I can get there in two minutes. We sing karaoke about once a week and chat on Facebook between times. I also was going to two groups a week, which was great. I’d meet friends on the bus there and there was always something interesting going on. I mentioned groups to one of the support workers whose going to the new building and got told, “Oh groups! Maybe we could throw something together”. That does not make me feel comfortable. Hopefully I can meet people around the building.

Time keeps moving me closer and closer to the date, even if I have no idea when said date will occur. So now I will head down to my storage locker to organize my holiday decorations (I have so many bins) and decide what I need and what can be donated. Hopefully I’ll have an actual date before I post again.

The Ten Year Challenge…

Lately my Facebook newsfeed has been filled with photos of my friends from 2009 to today, leaving people to see the differences. I added mine but felt so much was missing, namely the history going along with the first picture and the growth leading to the last one. They say that a picture’s worth a thousand words but I think some words can really round out the story.

10 year challenge

In 2009 I’d just finished a job working at a call centre representing Sympatico, a Canadian internet company. I started off in the tech support department and moved to billing after half a year. The job paid good money (compared to minimum wage) and came with benefits. The downsides were leaving a 12 and 14 year old home alone until dinnertime. I couldn’t even call them until 5pm. And the extreme pressure. One pressure was time. Three minute bathroom breaks (even if you were on the far side of the building from the washrooms) and getting written up if you were 30 seconds late from any break. The second was also time but phone time. You had to clear security, fix the problem, and make a sale in 15 minutes for tech and ten for business. That had to include any phone calls to other departments, bill adjustments and, for tech support, getting people to unplug every phone jack, except for the one they were calling from *click*. Yeah, quite a few people disconnected the phone.

That summer I got a job at Tim Hortons, a Canadian doughnut store chain, it was still fast paced but not nearly as fast as the call centre. I quickly made friends and got to know the regulars, some of whom came in two and three times a day, every day. The constant movement helped me drop a lot of the weight I’d put on at the call centre (the weight loss was after this photo). I was extremely lucky that my managers were willing to work around my quirks (later diagnosed as autism).

We also lived several blocks away from my parents and sister in a three bedroom apartment in an apartment complex. It wasn’t the best place to live but it was convenient for transit and shopping.

Fast forward to today. I’m about 40 days away from moving into my tiny home and I got to see pictures of one of the units. It looked gorgeous. A spacious kitchen and laminate flooring. I’d hoped to see more of the living room but the two pictures were backlit by the patio doors so all I could see was a wall and the flooring. I won’t see my own place until I move so it was great to get a view of what it will look like.

I haven’t worked since 2016, the year I became suicidal, and am now on disability. It’s hard in some ways. The friends I made through work have faded away but I’ve made new friends in my groups. I’m lucky enough to live in a community with lots of supports and, even though I’m leaving some of my supports behind, I’ll have new supports where I move to.

In 2009 I was positive I was straight; any thoughts to the contrary were quashed immediately. I’ve spent the last five years learning and understanding my sexual orientation. 2009 me would have been both shocked and scared to find out I’m a panromantic asexual and, for a short time, had a girlfriend (who I’m still friends with).

I now have a 22 year old, a 24 year old, and a one year old grandchild, none of which are moving with me. I’m facing my first move alone (well alone with five cats). Colin was supposed to have a meeting for moving options on Monday but it got cancelled at the last minute. He has another meeting tomorrow. And Kait has her own tiny home and family now. It’s her turn to experience childhood second hand.

I’ve been exploring my new community along with my Mom. I’ve done a shop at the local grocery store to see if they have everything I need (they do). I’ve registered the cats at the local vet and myself at the local dentist, both right across the street from my new place. There’s also a pizzeria and a pub which has karaoke. It looks like a good place to settle down.

So much has changed these past 10 years, more than I could ever have anticipated. I can’t help but wonder what my life will be like in 2029!

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A filtered phone taken from one of the trails where I’m moving

Two steps away from reality…

I had a fairly busy morning yesterday. Colin and I hurried through a downpour, sans umbrellas, to catch our first bus. I spent that entire trip checking the bus app to see how long we had until the connecting bus and silently cursing whenever we stopped. By the time we got off our second bus the rain had stopped. We went to meet my Mom and walked to the restaurant for lunch… and it was closed even though their site said it was open. So onward to our favourite Indian restaurant where I had our worst food from there ever (and they’re usually amazing). I tried something new, which turned out to be tasteless, and our onion bhaji appeared to be onionless. From there we went to the grocery store, which was necessary but was one stop too many for me.

I went to pick up one last item then looked around in bewilderment. This is one of our regular grocery stores, we visit it about twice a month. I felt like I slipped though some sort of mirror. Everything was sort of recognizable but at the same time not. The only way I could describe it was by being two steps away from reality. I tightly gripped the shopping cart handle as if I’d fly away if I let go and slowly made my way to the front of the store, which was a zoo. Thankfully my Mom gave me her car keys so I could sit in quiet. There were police dogs by the exit, a promotion for their calendar, and I couldn’t even stop to pet them, that’s how badly I needed to leave. Thankfully I was okay soon after I got home. I looked it up and it’s called dissociation; just something else to tell my psychiatrist.

There’s been way too much happening. So far my occupancy date is set for January 1st but they have staggered move in dates. I can only hope I’m before January first and not after. Then there’s Colin and his move. He’s been having long meetings with one agency and has another meeting tomorrow that might be talking about a potential place. They’re even talking about a site in Toronto, which would make it hard for family to visit. But it’s urgent and any apartment is better than none. And, finally, there’s Blackie. She’s doing a lot better now with antibiotics and is absolutely ravenous, even with her sore, rotting teeth and mouth ulcers. We haven’t been able to see into her mouth so it was an unpleasant surprise to see her back teeth. I’m feeding her whenever she begs because she was starving and needs the calories. So far she’s had three dinners tonight. I need to drop some paperwork off at the vet clinic on Wednesday for a possible subsidy for her bloodwork and xrays. Then submit them again for dental surgery. But even there there’s a lot of uncertainty.  What if the bloodwork turns up something worse? I can’t picture my home without her.

And then there’s the whole move. I’ve bought beautiful things for my new place but it’s not going to be here. I’ll have a brief panic, like an elevator dropping a bit too fast for a few seconds and then the OMG moment hits. I’m not going to have my room there. Not with my teal and glitter walls. It’s going to be different. Everything’s going to be different. And I’m going to be alone in all that difference. Completely and utterly alone. Then I practice my breathing until I’m not going to pass out from hyperventilating and try to get on with my day.

And my world keeps spinning like a whirligig and I just keep hoping that my psychiatrist is right and this move will be a big help for me. Only 65 days to go.

 

Don’t worry…

It was late winter of 2012 and I was looking for an apartment for Colin and I. I had my eye on one the next town over. It had an indoor pool, which made me fall in love with it, and it was close to everything. They had two units available, one on the 11th floor and one on the 7th. The 11th floor was meh. The previous tenants had done a midnight move and left a lot of stuff behind. My Dad and I entertained ourselves by finding what they’d forgot, from the clock on the wall to the Christmas tree in the closet. Then we saw the 7th floor apartment and it. was. perfect! Two balconies, tonnes of storage, and there even was a pantry/storage area big enough for its own light.

The downside was we were at the end of the month and the office needed to decide who to choose. I told her I had to give my 60 days notice on the first. She told me there was nothing she could do. So I walked to the office of my then current building and told the woman my concerns. She looked at me from across the desk and said, “Kathleen, you’ve been a good client here for years. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve given me your notice. Your word is good enough for me.

And that was that… at least for five months. That was when my parents got a letter for me from CapReit stating I owed them $465 in arrears for not giving notice until the 8th of March. So much for my word being good enough.

And here we are again. I’ve got an apartment I’ve been waiting (and waiting) to move into. Now I’ve been told twice that the apartment will be ready for January 1st. But the official website still reads December 1st. Everyone says “don’t worry” but not everyone has needed to pay almost $500 due to a conflict with their moving schedule.

I’m counting down to January now and am resigned to the fact that Christmas is going to be full of boxes and not decorations. And all I can do is hope they’re right and I’m not walking into a big financial mess.

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Tiny homes…

I’ve never been a fan of tiny houses. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go through the pictures and marvel at how they managed to cram so much into such a small space, especially while keeping it looking clean and relatively spacious. But I’ve never wanted to live in one.

Apartment layoutBack in February I desperately wanted to figure out the layout for my new apartment, I didn’t want to move in blind. Except they didn’t have a layout, just a floor plan. No problem, I copied the floor plan into my photo editing program then drew lines over every blurry line in one apartment and, voila, I had a layout. I had no idea how accurate it was but at least it gave me some idea.

Last week I was told there would be a viewing in a nearby apartment building which was made by the same company as ours. The apartment was apparently identical to the one I’d be moving into. I was so excited, finally I could know what my apartment will look like and get an idea of where I can put my furniture. I could hardly wait.

Monday finally arrived and my Dad, Colin, and I arrived at the building. The lady doing the tour commented that the unit we were viewing was accessible so it wouldn’t look like mine. I’d just get a general idea of the size. So I’m still moving in completely unknowing what to expect.

My first thought when I walked through the door was “Where did they put the rest of the living room?” It was that small. I’d originally planned on putting my couch and hutch on the same wall (the one beside the stove in the layout) but the main wall was too small to fit both, it was barely big enough to fit a couch. The little cubby was there, same as the layout, but it turned out to hold the heating and air conditioning units and is not to be opened. The plus side is I’ll have total control over my own heating.

The kitchen was nothing like the one in the floor plan. It was bigger in some ways and smaller than others. There was more cabinets than I’d expected but the cutlery drawers were a third of the size. The previous tenant had their cutlery tray on the counter and the top drawer contained tinfoil and saran wrap… that was all it could hold. Now I can’t help wondering about mine.

And to make moving just that bit more interesting, they’re negotiating a new date, somewhere from mid-December to early January. So I’m thinking this is going to be a New Year’s move. If I’m up at midnight this year it’ll involve lots of tears and packing tape.

As for now, I’m jettisoning some furniture and getting ready for my own tiny home.

 

Everything’s coming up roses…

I went into my Friday meeting with one question to ask. Was the move in date still December 1st? The answer to that was yes but there was more. The team manager had gone to the construction site and introduced herself. They gave her a hard hat and took her on a tour of the building. She described it as amazing, luxurious, and gorgeous. Apparently every unit has high ceilings and, since there are no balconies, there’s going to be a sitting room with lots of windows on the first floor. It sounds wonderful and I’m counting down the days until I move.

new apartmentToday I went back to the neighbourhood with my Mom and had lunch at the pub across the street. I also registered all five cats at the vet clinic and took a picture of the building. It’s so close to completion but obviously still needs a fair bit of work. I’m assuming those tenants want patio doors and not plywood.

I’m looking so forward to moving. I love Colin dearly but we have so little in common. Right now we’re bonding over anime, which is not my thing. He talks to himself on a regular basis, watches videos on YouTube which irritate the hell out of me, and stays up past midnight. I go to bed between 8 and 9pm, tend to be quiet, watch videos like The Dodo, and talk to the cats. It’s hard to find common ground. I’ll miss Colin, of course, but I’m looking forward to the quiet and having it just be me (and the cats).

This move has gone well so far, other than the inevitable construction delays, and I can’t wait until I’m settled in. Only 97 days to go!