New Digs

Damn I’m tired.  Was moving always this hard?

The day before the move I packed, sorted, purged, and packed some more from 8:00 in the morning until 1:00 in the morning, with only a short dinner break.

And of course I couldn’t sleep when I went to bed, so after a mere 2 hours sleep arose at 7:00 the next morning to wait for the movers. By 11:30 we were on the road and, an hour later, started the whole process in reverse.

Buddy the dog and Clancy the cat did very well through all this upheaval.  The day of the move Clancy snoozed in his carrier, while Buddy went down the hall to explore the garbage shute (little bugger snuck away when I wasn’t looking.  My neighbour brought him back to the apartment, whereupon he was summarily jailed in the bathroom for the rest of the move-in.)

A week later I’m unpacked and more or less settled.  I was so looking forward to relaxing in the pool when I was done but unfortunately the pool is closed for repairs.  So for now, I’m parked on my balcony and enjoying the view, relishing the fact that I no longer have to cut the lawn.

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My balcony overlooks a sweet terrace. I consider this to be MINE.

I love my flowers.

I love my flowers.

Close-up of the community gardens.

Close-up of the community gardens.

Move Countdown: T Minus 11 and Counting

Moving day is gettin’ close.

I received the keys to my apartment on June 15, and have made several trips to the apartment to get a head start on settling in. Mostly, I brought storage items in order to determine whether I have more purging to do.  I’m proud (and a little shocked) to say that the apartment’s three closets will accommodate my storage needs.

example of thermofoil doors.

example of thermofoil doors.

A few weeks ago I asked the property manager about replacing the existing kitchen cabinet fronts which had seen better days.  I didn’t hold out much hope, but to my delight and surprise she approved the request and the new white thermofoil fronts, with pewter pulls, are being installed this week.  My delight was tempered with a bit of concern after I read online that thermofoil cabinetry isn’t heat resistant, and has been known to peel if there isn’t a heat shield installed around hot elements, like a stove or dishwasher.  I emailed the property manager about this, and she assured me that she’s never seen this happen and that the “beauty of a rental is that if there’s damage it will be repaired or replaced without cost to you.”  Good.  I’m keeping that email and holding her to it.

Rocky Road by Benjamin Moore, aka my apartment journey.

The rocky road of apartment selection.

In addition to new kitchen cabinet fronts, I decided I needed a new colour on the walls to replace the sickly yellow ivory.   It’s a fairly large space to paint by myself, so I recruited family members to assist. One thing led to another and family members decided that they would hire a professional painter as an apartment-warming gift. Except for the bathroom and bedroom, the entire apartment is now painted in a nice neutral shade, emblematically called Rocky Road.  It’s amazing how a nice paint colour can transform a space, particularly an apartment, which otherwise can be fairly boring.

The complex is an interesting mixed bag of residents:  seniors and university students.  My building is 80% seniors, several of whom I met over the past week. It’s interesting how differently the old and young interact; from the younger residents you get a polite hello, while the senior residents give you their life story in a 30 second elevator ride.  (Well, not quite, but they are very chatty.)  During one of my trips,  I met Catherine, who happens to live down the hall. She told me that no way was she going to live somewhere and not know her neighbours, so she gave me the lowdown on each of them. So now I know that the 90-something-year-old lady who lives on my right is a nice lady who doesn’t get out much but shares her newspaper with everyone, and that the 80-something year old lady who lives on my left is afraid of dogs until she gets to know them.  I must have passed muster, because Catherine told me that the ladies will be so happy to hear that they will have a “nice neighbour.” And I think I’ll have nice neighbours too.

Downsizing Part III

The Great Apartment Search of 2015 (GAS) had its official start April 10, when I received a cash offer on my house.  The home inspection was done the following Wednesday, and by Friday all conditions were removed and the SOLD sign announced to all and sundry that this house was taken.

The GAS acronym is appropriate: three counties, 4 cities, and tons of highway driving in really crappy weather.   I isolated three companies that had a good reputation and visited most of the buildings they operated.

First up was a building in Sarnia, where I presently live.  They had two units available in June. One was gorgeous and the other a bit beat up. I took too long to make up my mind and lost both.  Since there were no other decent apartments with vacancies in June or July, I knew for sure that I was changing city as well as abode.

So, I hit the road and visited a building located an hour away, in the largely agricultural city of Chatham. Very nice apartment and, as I discovered, smack dab in the middle of a cornfield.  I thought it would make a nice retirement residence for all the farmers in the area, seeing as how it was so close to their farms.

chatham apartment

Living among the farm folk wasn’t to be my destiny, however.  The rent was high and the hydro costs were even higher. I really didn’t want to move to Chatham anyway so I wasn’t that disappointed.

If you recall, I had posted earlier that I had decided to move back to Windsor.  While initially excited about the prospect, my excitement waned when I found out just how awful the apartments in Windsor really are.  Most of the buildings are managed by companies with less than stellar reputations, and are woefully out of date (one building still had built-in ovens, which were all the range in the early 70’s–which tells you how old the appliances are).  There was one nice little building in Windsor that was managed by one of my short-listed companies, but there were no vacancies so that was that.  I wasn’t too upset by that either–moving back home required more uprooting that I was prepared for, when it came right down to it.  I set my sites on London.

Cosmopolitan with tons of green space and only an hour away from Sarnia, London is the centre of education and cutting edge health care in Ontario. It’s the city with everything, but without the huge price tag compared to other major urban centres. The first building I visited was located in a pretty area known as Springbank Park.  The building manager was great and the apartment was gorgeous, but it was on the ground floor and the patio faced a wood fence behind which was the building’s garbage/recycle area.  I envisioned being burgled at night to the sound of people discarding their bottles and paper products.

hidden garbage area in otherwise nice building

Another apartment I visited in London came highly recommended–a friend of mine lives there.  Unfortunately, the unit I was shown faced a very noisy, busy street, unlike my friend’s unit which faced the other direction and was very quiet. I also suspected that the building had some unresolved structural problems after my friend told me she fell asleep to the sound of her upstairs neighbour having his nightly wee.

Finally, a friend and I took another trip to London to view apartments in a complex called Cherryhill Village.  The complex is like a little city:  13 buildings nestled in tons of green space with its own health club, indoor/outdoor pool,  word-working shop, recreation centre, garden plots, and walking paths.  It even has its own shopping mall which, while open to the public, caters to the unique residents of Cherryhill, most of whom are seniors.

Cherryhill Village’s Health Club

Shuffleboard for seniors.

Shuffleboard for seniors.

Outdoor Pool at Sunset.

Outdoor Pool at Sunset.

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Cherryhill Village Mall.

Arial View of Cherryhill Village.

Aerial View of Cherryhill Village.

I found a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor with a den and huge balcony, overlooking a park-like terrace right below and the outdoor pool a few hundred yards away. The complex was built in the 1960’s, judging from the charming little decorative details you don’t see in newer buildings, like a recessed nook for a telephone and shelving in the kitchen for knick knacks.  The down side is that there are no window sleeves for A/C so you have to use the window opening itself.

So it’s all over but the packing.  And the painting.  And the purchasing of draperies, air conditioners, microwave, and maybe a portable dishwasher. 🙂