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 much 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.

 

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So many emotions!!!

It feels like it was weeks ago but it was only yesterday that I got the call. A stranger introduced himself then explained he was with the housing department of CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association). Was I interested in an apartment? It was a new unit in a building that wouldn’t be completed until July or August… in Bowmanville.

I was all yes, yes, yes until he got to the town. Bowmanville is two towns to the east of us. We used to pick apples at a farm there that was surrounded by fields then and is surrounded by houses and big box stores now. That’s all I knew about it. A quick look at Google Maps showed me I’d be able to walk to the farm but I needed to know more than that.

I love Google Maps and used them so much before Colin and I moved here. And now I’m using them again. There’s a Wal-Mart and a Superstore (a Canadian grocery store) within walking distance… and a Dollarama. I need to have a Dollarama! I didn’t bother looking much further because stores can change so quickly. My Mom and I will drive up there soon enough and we can see what’s local.

There’s a gym a fair hike down the street and a COPE office right near my place so I might be able to go on the walking track and in the pool there and I might be able to join some groups through COPE. That’s too many “mights” for me but I should have answers soon.

And, finally, the bus. I’ll be able to take the bus westward to visit the kids and my parents and to the east to visit L. And I’ll still have my relatively cheap Access Pass to visit them with.

It all sounded good so I called the office this morning and told them I was taking the unit. Then Colin called disability to ask if he could get a form to claim obesity. If you’re fat they’ll give you $50 a month to improve your diet. Colin’s hoping he qualifies because $50 more for food would be a huge help. While he was on the phone, he mentioned that he was looking at the building behind our current apartment because it’s only $895 for a one bedroom. And he was quickly informed he’d get kicked off disability if he moved there because he’d be paying too much for rent and wouldn’t have enough for food. Which doesn’t make sense to me because if he got kicked off he’d haveĀ no money for food at all.

So now we’re taking up juggling. We need to save for moving trucks and last month’s rent while finding an affordable but clean unit for Colin. He’s already planning on asking if he could get into my building, even though I’ve explained it’s all subsidy and the people on the list will get spaces first.

I hadn’t expected to be moving this quickly. I was told right after Christmas that I had about a two or three year wait, which would have given us plenty of saving time. Now we’re really going to have to pinch pennies and each as cheaply as we can. Lentils, pasta, and I are going to become really well acquainted.

August will arrive in due time and I’m sure all these issues will long be sorted out by then. But, until then, I’ll be a bit of happy, excited, nervous, and antsy while I juggle agencies, finances, apartments, and moving dates. The next few months are going to be interesting.

 

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A boy went past me today and said, “Hello Mrs Rainbow Lady” I certainly can live with that as a name!

Cloudy with a chance of confusion…

Our language needs a word that means relieved and disappointed. I need that word right now but it’s not there. Bittersweet just doesn’t cut it. Maybe reppointed? Disalieved? Umm… nah for both.

Two weeks ago I asked one of the social workers from the Canadian Mental Health Association (I deal with a revolving team) where I was on their subsidized housing list. She didn’t know but would look into it and let me know the following week. Last week it wasn’t her and that worker hadn’t been informed of my question. She had, however, heard the housing manager mention me by name and thought she saw my name near the top of the list. Cue excitement and panic in equal amounts.

When I applied for the list last year, I was told there was a four to five year wait list, which gave me plenty of time to save up for a moving truck and any extra necessities. It also gave Colin a chance to get farther along with school and college. Now, suddenly, we were faced with an imminent move. How soon was soon? July 1st? September 1st? We had no idea.

What about my plans? We get what’s called a Trillium Benefit in Ontario and you can choose to get it monthly or in one lump sum in June. I was going to save this lump sum and next one for moving expenses then switch to monthly and start putting most of that aside too. I’m figuring I’ll get around $500 each payment. One payment is meh for hiring a mover and my closest friends are in wheelchairs (plus I don’t drive) so I can’t exactly rent a Uhaul and get friends to help out.

And what about Colin’s plans? He’s currently taking an accelerated program that crams all the core subjects of high school into a matter of months. He’s struggling already. Having to pack and move while going to school every day would be too much.

So the both of us have spent the past week alternating between excitement and panic, relief and disappointment. Our own places sound great. No clutter for me and no one nagging about the mess for Colin. No getting woken up at 5:45am because the sun was up already and it’s close enough to morning (seriously Colin?). I could put up the wall art I’ve been saving and use the dishes I have tucked away. But who would help us move? And would we have enough saved. Both of us had thoughts running in circles.

And then came my meeting today. Colin called right as the woman met me at the front door then begged me to ask her right now while he was on the phone. So I did. I’m 40th on the list so it should be a couple more years before there’s a place available.

So there’s a disappointment that my new apartment will not be soon. I will not be celebrating my birthday or Christmas in my own place. And yet there’s a relief that I will have time to save up for an easier move. Now to live with Colin and his clutter for three-ish years.

Also, you should be seeing less of me soon. Not less of me posting, just less of me. Last fall I started watching what I was eating and getting 10 thousand steps in each day and I lost 37 pounds. Then winter came and I gained 14lbs. Just a setback, right? I’d lose it quickly with exercise and healthy eating. Except I didn’t. It’s been over a month now and I have lost, zip, zilch, nada. What had changed? Nothing except my psychiatrist put me on Mirtazapine this winter. So I googled and came up with this…

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I’m already on three other antidepressants and an anti anxiety medication so I didn’t really need it. And I certainly don’t want to gain any more weight. I saw the psychiatrist yesterday and I’m being weaned off as I type. I’m down to half a pill a day for a week and then nothing. I am looking so forward to getting back to a healthy weight. I’ve walked 15 thousand steps today so I know I can do it.

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A pink trillium growing beside our building

Five more years…

Five more years. That’s the estimated time until I can get a one bedroom apartment through subsidized housing. It should also, hopefully, get Colin through a good chunk of his schooling and prepare him for living on his own.

Getting him to be independent has been a process, not a one shot deal. Since he’s autistic and delayed socially, I started teaching him in late elementary school by sending him across the street to buy a small amount of groceries on his own. Something that made him feel quite proud of himself. Of course back then he was using my debit card but it was a start. His high school teacher was speechless when she found that out. Apparently he was the first student, out of all she’d taught, who had grocery shopping as a skill. Now he has his own bank account and a pre-paid Visa. He can spend exactly what he put on there and no more. Giving him responsibility without the worry of overspending.

Our bills are split relatively even. I pay extra on the rentĀ  and pay our insurance while Colin pays for our Virgin bill (phones and internet). We were doing our grocery shopping together until this month. I lent him my card to buy three items at the grocery store. He forgot my three items then went to Dollarama and spent $71. So separate grocery runs from now on.

Colin’s all excited about his new responsibility because that means he picks what he wants, namely canned ravioli and macaroni and cheese. I figure he’ll broaden his horizons food wise once he gets bored with processed junk. Tomorrow I’m going to teach him how to make real macaroni and cheese, starting with a roux. Tonight he’ll be learning how to prepare tofu. The sauce is in a bag but it’s a start.

I’d say it’s bitter-sweet to be preparing for him to move, but it’s not. We’re both ready for places of our own. Splitting expenses just makes the inevitable move a lot easier. I’m looking forward to visiting Colin, and his clutter, in his own place then going home to relax in mine.

The weird part for me will be living on my own. I moved from my parents’ house right into my fiance’s house then our marriage broke up and I lived with our two kids. Kait’s flown the coop and is doing amazing. Now it’s Colin’s turn. We just need to wait five more years.

p.s. For those who are concerned about Blackie. She is doing 100% better now. Gobbling up her wet food and running to greet people at the front door. I’ve put her euthanasia money into a savings account but I don’t think she’ll need it any time soon. Which is amazing considering it was only a week ago that I was dithering about getting her euthanized. The appointment had been scheduled for a week ago tomorrow at 3pm. I’m so glad I dithered and cancelled the appointment. She’s such a sweet kitty and she’d leave a huge hole in our hearts.