Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Doin' it in Style

I live in a house of seven girls. We all went to England, somehow became friends, somehow ended up signing a lease and moving in together in a new town for this university year. It's one of those things that, looking back, you could never have seen coming...and it's been a crazy, we're-all-humans-here-so-let's-not-kill-each-other, amazing year.

However, there comes a point when (as you're scrubbing the mountain of dishes that somehow manages to accumulate because it's "your job") you ask the "what if?". What if things were different?..."What next?" comes pretty quickly after this. And that's how my house split into three groups. How my housemate (Meg) and I decided that, based on low-iron tendencies to eat the same foods, we should totally get an apartment together.

(Food is the true stuff of friendship, peoples. Whoever said the opposite couldn't have been drunk and must have been lying). 

Sending out inquiries for apartments on Kijiji is like throwing a message in a bottle into the ocean: you're not sure where it's going, and more often than not you never see it again. But after a few days, something beautiful happened...we started getting responses.

And so began Meg and I's Quest for an Apartment.

Certified Apartment Hunters

I ended up going to the first apartment showing alone. The tree cracking through the parking lot, looking very much like the one from Harry Potter that ate people, I turned around and beheld the "gem" before me: A tiny apartment, obscurely nestled next to an addition somehow connected to a mini-mart on top of which a balcony had been attached, barbecue precariously balancing on the edge.

"Possible tanning spot?" I pointed out to the other freezing Apartment Hunters outside. They all agreed.

Andddd that was about the first and last pro of that place. Unless you're into yellow-spotted ceilings, flooding bathroom floors and closet-sized living space...then SNATCH THAT GEM!

Let this be a lesson to you, dear reader: Streetview on Google maps does not lie. I learnt this after making the same mistake twice, dismissing the next apartment Meg and I went to view as "the wrong address" when it was clearly on top of the Chinese food restaurant with the beer store's "open" sign sparkling from the living room window.

Gosh, watta view. Heart-melting and all.

"Maybe they give food discounts?" Meg pointed out. The possibility weighed heavily on our shoulders as we left for the next viewing, just two blocks down the street. 

Now THIS ONE was a true gem.

Though I admired one of the tenant's attempts at sound-proofing his room with egg cartons ("You go, man." *thumbs up* ), the fact was that the third apartment we viewed wouldn't cut it. And I was also fairly certain something was hiding in the wall on the other side of that cardboard.

Having a Brownie living in my house had sounded like a pretty cool idea as a child...the thought of having one now was not.

(PS. If you don't know what a Brownie is, I suggest catching up on your fairy lore and looking it up - you are missing out. Also, they're a fantastic excuse answer to life's problems: "No, it is not my fault that so-and-so went missing, it's the Brownie's!...." No one can argue it. No one.) 

I looked at Meg, trying hard to stifle a nervous giggle. It is a problem when the bathtub is less tub than cement-that's-cracking, and another Apartment Hunter asks how bad the humidity is in the summer (forget air-conditioning ever existed - it does not) as he digs his toes into the already green, mushy carpet.

"It's pretty bad," the landlord admitted. (← THIS IS NOT A GOOD SIGN) .

Soooo...that was a no.

(Notice the pictures to the right of Egg-Carton Guy's? This is what happens when you can't afford rent - you start building pillow forts in your friends' living room and see how long you can steal their cable). 

The problem about apartment hunting in January is that most buildings (where the non-student populace lives) don't know whether or not they'll have vacancies until March. This left Meg and I in a precarious position: settle on one of these "apartment gems" or wait...So when I got a response to a message in a bottle I'd been sure the sea had swallowed as a side-dish, I set up a viewing with Anonymous and hoped for the best.

"The Best" is exactly what it turned out to be.

We walked in, took one look around, looked at each other, and said: "We'll take it." It was that simple; uncomplicated, and perfect. All the points on our list of Apartment Qualifications could be checked off:

- Everything was clean (the saying that girl tenants are "worse than guys" is the biggest untruth of life - at least they don't take pride in CULTIVATING MOULDY BREAD on their floor). 
- It's just a walk away from campus, 1 minute away from our favorite night spots (no more taxis!) and friends' places.
- It's affordable.
- The coin laundry building is right next to it.
- They were OK with Meg's Bearded Dragon lizard (as long as it stayed "in the tank").

My mother, between phone calls in which I managed the down-payment with my dad and she inserted "that this was a scam" because "that's what happened to so-and-so in Montreal, and...well, look at them now!" (don't you love references from I-don't-know-how-many years ago?), said that I would surely die (if not contract some terrible ailment) from the fumes wafting up to my apartment...But I'm willing to risk it.

(She also didn't approve of the fact that this was above a pawn which I pointed out that it was actually far enough in the back that we may as well have been on another building altogether.)

Though my mother remains unconvinced that this is actually a step toward my brilliant future, that's OK.  Because it's paid for, my dad's laughing at the whole situation, my sister approves because it means downtown shopping, I don't have to become best friends with mould, and, well....Meg and I have a place!

So here's to moving in May 1st, bearded-dragon and all! :)


  1. Blanket forts and apartment hunts. Those are coming up for me. I can't wait to come judge your new apartment. ;) The time that I find mine can't come soon enough.

    1. ...are the best: you're going to love apartment hunting! And yes, can't wait for you to see it :)

  2. Vraiment drôle! De beaux souvenirs!!!

  3. À quand les autres chansons sur ton blog!!!

    1. le video est fini! :D j'dois juste le chercher de mon prof, pi j'vais avoir une copie DVD :)