Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How I found my little house

I lived in Toronto from the age of 3 to the age of 9. Then my family started moving – a lot. By the time I started high school in Michigan I had attended 9 schools in 9 years. This was not fun but I sure did learn how to make friends quick. Then when I moved to Ann Arbor for college I moved what seemed like every 4 months, spent a winter living in the Canary Islands and a summer in Italy. So after graduation, when I could go anywhere I wanted, I decided to move back to Toronto and found a fantastic apartment in an old building with a carved marble fire place (which didn’t work, but who cares), tons of crown moulding and stained glass, on an incredible tree lined street in Little Italy. And I lived there for 13 years!

Now I loved that place and so did Marcel. That was the only home he had ever known and it had the perfect little window for him to go in and out without me having to open a trio of doors. It was his ‘hood and he liked it. So many parties, over-night guests, lots of swing dancing on the hardwood floors in the living room, friends visiting from out of town, Marcel bringing dead birds to the front porch and killing mice in the bathtub … ahh memories.

But I had been dating Perry for a couple of years and I decided I actually wanted to live with him (and it had been a loooong time since I’d been willing to do that). But I didn’t want to live in his place and he didn’t want to live in mine. Fair enough, we’d have a new start together in a new space for both of us. And though I loved that place, I did feel like it was time for a change and a new adventure. Marcel did not.

We moved anyway, Marcel & me, into a large and beautiful apartment with Perry (right next to the hockey rink). To make a long story short it did not go well. I think in the first week Marcel took a piss in Per’s hockey bag, put some serious claw marks in Per's leather ottoman, and would not stop stretching all over and scratching Per’s real Turkish rug. Now these things weren’t insurmountable but a few other things turned out to be – ah what can you do?

Well move out for starters! So with a plan to move out on December 1, 2008, I started looking for a place, all the while kicking myself for ever letting go of my old “perfect” apartment. Now I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and I’d had roommates in the old place off-and-on since it was a two bedroom, so I figured I’d move in with someone and get a little closer to the subway. And that is what I found: an adorable place with high ceilings and stained glass, on another great street, with a nice woman who loved cats and loved to cook.

Umm, well, turned out said “nice woman” was a tad unstable and when she started telling me that I couldn’t move my living room furniture into the place and that Marcel would have to stay with Perry for a couple of weeks because she was looking after her old roommate’s cat, I told her that none of that was cool with me since I’d paid rent. She replied by giving me back my money. So with December 1st only a couple of weeks away and Per’s new roommate moving in soon, I had no apartment – f*&%!

This was a pretty major crisis for me, since my brother and sister were also coming to visit from out west over the x-mas holidays, but what could I do? Craigslist here I come – again. Finding an apartment for Dec. 1, turned out to be impossible. But Perry’s roommate didn’t actually need to move in until the middle of the month so that saved my bacon for a couple of weeks, then a close friend in my old “perfect” building was going out of town for the holidays and said we could all stay there for a week. Now all I had to do was find a great place that I could move into a bit early.

At this point, I’d decided to live alone, and I kept wishing I could find something like my old apartment. It had been such a wonderful place to live alone or with a roommate when I needed to "reduce expenses". So after seeing some truly disgusting basements, I went to look at a two bedroom apartment at a very good price on the main floor of a Victorian house, on a very nice tree lined street in Little Italy, on a snowy day, with hope in my heart. The front room was big with a bay window, nice. The first bedroom was small, but not too small. The kitchen was big enough for my table, good. The bathroom was a bit odd, but surprisingly spacious. And when I got to the bedroom at the back of the house – which was huge – I told the landlord I’d write him a check on the spot. Then some other people knocked on the door and he said he still had to show it to the people who’d made appointments – f*&%!

But the next day the landlord called and told me how nice he and his wife thought I was and it was mine!!! Only later did I find out it also had a back yard!!!!! Marcel we hit the jackpot!! (but it was still winter and he was not impressed). What made this place even better was that the guy who lived there was moving to the apartment upstairs and he wanted to be in by x-mas, so I could move in a week early - yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The whole thing was incredibly stressful and exhausting, but almost a year later I am very thankful to be here in my little house – and so is Marcel.

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