Home is supposed to be where the heart is, but my entire adult life, I’ve been content to settle for far less – take my apartment, for example.
First of all, it’s in a basement that can only be accessed through the garage. Last summer, I had an infestation of some kind of flying ant and every so often, a large and leggy centipede turns up, scaring the bejeezus out of me. And I can’t control the thermostat.
Still, I was ready to stay because I so hate to move. It stems back to my childhood, when, thanks to my Pop’s job (he’s a retired bank guy) we lived in a different city every few years. I grew up always being the new kid.
But one night last month, the landlord made an unexpected visit. As of June, my parking space would no longer be available and while I was offered a discount off my rent to compensate, which was nice, it didn’t eliminate the rather large problem of what to do about my car.
I asked a neighbour if I could rent her driveway (she declined). I asked the place where I park for work if I could leave my vehicle overnight (they agreed, but then I realized I’d have to walk home). I was left with relocation as the only feasible solution.
My first viewing was at an apartment in Hintonburg. I thought rent was a little high for a one-bedroom plus parking, water and heat — but the apartment was cute, and had big closets.
Then a tenant entered the rental office, insisting someone had entered his apartment and stolen a knife. OK. Next.
I loved the next place – an amazing one-bedroom, just blocks from the Metro office. There were video cameras in the lobby and polished hardwood floors that shone. But at nearly a grand per month, plus parking and utilities, I decided location wasn’t that important.
Thirteen buildings later, I was thoroughly confused. Good, affordable apartments in Ottawa are hard to find.
I checked out an apartment a friend had recommended. It was close to work. The lobby was clean and the hallways devoid of cooking odours. Then I saw the Ottawa River view from the huge balcony. It was perfect, and relatively affordable.
But then the boyfriend mentioned that a two-bedroom was opening up just down the hall from his place.
Extra space for the dogs. A balcony for lazy Saturday-morning breakfasts. Not one, but two hall closets. It offered the perks of living together, without our parents killing us. And all for a mid-range price, plus parking.
I didn’t give it a lot of thought, but before I knew it, I’d sealed the deal. Mike was really excited and I knew I’d made the right choice.
Home may not be where the heart is, but it can be awfully close.