In which I sincerely hope I never move again.

I’m no fan of moving. Haven’t been a fan of moving since, well, the first time I did it. More often than not, it ends up turning into a headache which then leads to stress and confusion, which then leads to more headache, and the circle goes round. This move wasn’t quite as migraine inducing as some others (I’m looking squarely in your general direction, Bell), which is a thing that works in its favour. But yeah, if it’s all the same to you, I think the next time the possibility of moving comes up I’ll just, er, not.

The move itself went quicker than anything I’ve seen in approximately ever. May and I had a ton of help (thanks by the way, guys, times a million), so the actual moving process didn’t take nearly as long as I was figuring–everything was loaded at one end, transported, and offloaded at the other in a little over 2 hours. Coordinating the administrative end of it all, though, was a large part of the exercise in patience, tolerance and general–well–restraint. Did you know, for instance, that if you’ve got your phone through someone like Bell Canada and your internet through someone like TekSavvy, to get both services switched over requires a remarkable skill in fancy dancing? Yeah, neither did I.

Either TekSavvy or Bell (my money’s on Bell, personally) requires your phone service to be on at the new place for at least 5 days before they’ll let anyone touch your internets. I suspect this is a Bell idea largely because I’m pretty sure if we’d gone back to their Sympatico service there’d be no such foolery, but you’ll have that. May and I are both in school, so 5 days with no internets during approximately now is kind of a big deal–more so for me, given the nature of the program I’m involved in. Several phone calls and some numbers fudging later, it was still mildly annoying–but fixed, and with a minimal amount of bloodshed, but the time between mildly annoyed and fixed was just enough to remind me why if it were entirely up to me and US long distance requirements weren’t a consideration, there would be no Bell in relatively short order.

The place itself is kind of awesome. Three bedrooms, two of which are currently playing partial temporary storage for the long list of crap we’ve yet to unpack, sort through and optionally get rid of, plus an overall not crappy living space. The living room area, for example, is large enough that I can sort of turn part of it into a defacto office–this will become useful if/when I end up needing to decide between homework and hockey, but y’know, priorities and all. We lose our back yard, but the currently half-snow-covered balcony will make up for that–just as soon as I get around to acquiring things that belong out there. And then, well, find the energy to clear the thing off so they can belong out there. They lock the laundry room here at night–oh, yeah, and relatedly we actually need to leave the place to do laundry again–so there goes our waiting ’til half past dark on the day we need to leave for somewhere useful before we decide it might be in our best interest to actually, you know, leave with clean clothes. But we’re back to a secure building, which is always a plus–particularly when family decides they feel up to dropping in and you’re not even close to awake, nevermind dressed yet (yes, this has happened before).

This apartment’s laid out similar to another I used to live in–and, actually, is owned by the same company, so moving in here I kind of knew what to expect already. Still, the level of awesome was just a tiny bit surprising–I’ve met and had actual conversations with more folks in this building than at most others, for one, which could potentially be positivity material. And they seem quick to react to issues as they crop up, which–yeah, some other places could probably stand to learn from (note: intentionally not naming names, but the info’s out there), so there’s at least that. And holy crap on toast the amount of stuff we’re actually able to walk or bus to without needing to aquire a degree in creativity. It’s almost like the place I lived in when I first moved to Ottawa in that respect–all kinds of places a minimum of a few minutes’ walking and a maximum of 1 bus away. Or two, if you need to stretch it because there’s just no other way. Unfortunately it’s like where I lived when I first moved to Ottawa in that I also don’t right now have a whole lot of time for actually, you know, figuring out the best way of getting me from here to most of those places–back then it was working, now it’s school. Go figure. But when I’ve got the time for it, this place is going to turn around and probably be completely perfect–or, you know, as close to perfect as you can probably have for what they expect from us in rent per month.

I can’t stand the idea of moving to save my life. But since I’ve kind of, well, done it, I suppose I could have picked a far worse place to move to. And hey, if the trend of apartment living continues, I might actually have to start taking notes again–my last few places provided nearly as much blog material as I could come up with on my own. Because, you know, other people and other people’s problematic problems, but you’ll have that.

Two things I’ll just kind of drop here that I picked up on in, say, the first week of us being here. Thing the first: we are not the only blind folks in this building–I literally ran into one on my way to class this past Monday. And thing the second: Apartment-level blogging more than likely won’t include the third rendition of the weed basement. And for that I say, freaking thank you. Now, I suppose I ought go unpack something…

I hate moving. In other news, we’re moving.

Every few years, almost as a matter of routine it seems, it comes around to a point where for whatever reason a pack up and move operation needs to happen. I moved to Ottawa nearly 10 years ago to take a job. I moved to Petawawa 2 years later when that job went south. I moved back to Ottawa because Petawawa’s job market sucks. I moved 3 times in roughly 6 months within Ottawa until I ended up where I’m living now. And next week, due to things we can’t control, May and I will be moving yet again.

The rent we’re paying here isn’t cheap by any means. The tradeoff, though, is the place we’re in is freaking awesome. There’s enough in walking distance that if we really needed something to do it could happen. The bus routes aren’t perfect–okay, so on weekends we tend to avoid taking the bus, but who’s counting–but during the week, it’s hard to blame them for not getting us from A to B. Not getting us from A to B on time, on the other hand, is another story–but that’s an entry for when I’m not actually, you know, killing time between classes. The problem with the current situation is a simple one. It’s a math problem, surprise surprise.

If we’d stayed where we are now, at the end of this month our rent would pretty much max out our price range. Factor in that we pay for our electricity here too, and just keeping a roof over our head and heated gets just a teeny tiny bit, well, expensive. So we started the usual routine of wander the neighbourhood, look for a place, slap our name on it.

The good news: the bank, it is not broken. As of next week, at least for the next two years anyway, I won’t be having dreams of my bank account being taken to the side of the road and beaten at midnight by my landlord. And by the time that two years is up, well, it’ll be just in time for this routine to start all over again–so, you know, business as usual and such.

The bad news: Say hello to the return of apartment living. We’re in a two-story house right now. Awesome place. Plenty of space, fenced-in back yard, hardly a disturbance from the neighbours, the works. The last time I spent any amount of time actually living in an apartment, the basement spelled decidedly of weed on an almost regular basis. It’s just a little tiny bit of a downgrade. But, it’s a company I’ve been with before, and we’ve got decent history, so there’s that.

Most of the place is packed, except what’s being used. We officially get the keys next week. After that, all hell officially breaks loose. This on top of school means holy crazy freaking busy if you’re me. Geek in training? Try geek on marathon. I love it. Now, about that 5 minutes I need to breathe…

In which James is clearly not supposed to move anywhere, ever.

When I started this blog, I had no idea I’d end up moving to Ottawa. Meaning at all. And yet, I’ve officially been here twice–and every move has been quite the adventure. When I moved the first time, the hour and a half drive on a good day became the 4 hour drive in a snowstorm. Moving back to Petawawa, we were soked to the skin before half the truck was unpacked. Which made hauling boxes and the like into the apartment an exercise in timing. Moving back to Ottawa presented its own issues, most of those logistical. And, naturally, most of those could have been avoided if–no, nevermind, that train left ages ago. Moving in September presented yet more logistical–and logical–difficulties. Not to mention took way longer than ever it should have (for the record, the next person who tells me we can move sans Uhaull gets a UKick squarely in the UFace). Shockingly, moving in October, to the apartment we’re in now, was a breeze. Well, after trying desperately to work out the finer points of logistics on that end and having half of them fall apart on contact. The majority of the huge crap was moved in only a couple hours. And, well, after the help left, we handled the rest.

So fast forward to this month. I may have mentioned–at least in passing on Twitter–we had another move pending. The reasons are plenty, and they’ll make the blog when the smoke clears, but suffice it to say things went from awesome to suck in 5.2. So yesterday and today, we took off to poke around the new neighbourhood. Y’know, do the old fashioned let’s see where this goes, what this does, and exactly how painful getting from $home to $place will actually be. And today, it decided to be minus cold while we did it. I should probably point out it was fairly well above freezing this past weekend–and just barely at freezing yesterday. So today’s sudden dive was a particular act of cruelty. Or, as I’ve decided as of 5 minutes ago to declare it, mother nature’s little warning shot. Staring at temperatures right now makes me very glad we did our poking around earlier this morning–for folks familiar with the measurement, it’s -15 C.

We’re doing it again next week, largely because–hey, it gives us a chance to figure out how best to get ourselves lost when trying to get somewhere simple. And I’m trying my damnedest to not even think right now about exactly how far away from freezing–on the absolute wrong side of freezing–we’re supposed to get just in time for us to go about doing exactly that. And from this, I can draw only one conclusion. James is not allowed to move anywhere, at least in Ottawa, ever. It’s just not natural. And if, on whichever day we actually decide to start haulling things over to the new place, everything goes to hell, I’ll have my proof. And I’ll still be incredibly pissed with mother nature. Which, I’m fairly sure, is exactly how she likes it.

BRB. Melting. All over the place.

So I’ve been hella crazy busy since I got back. Wicked busy. And it’s culminated in a brand spanking new place. Two stories, 4 bedrooms (or 5, if we do it right), and in a wicked quiet part of the west end of Ottawa. I’ll probably write an essay on the thing soon enough. But right now? If there’s a wall, I’m bouncing off it. Twice. I’ll calm down eventually, but the blog might just take a beating first. Sorry. Except not really.


Moving is almost always a 2-week exercise in waiting. Sometimes, it’s even a 2 month exercise in waiting. There’s the waiting for the approval in the new place. There’s the waiting for the confirmation the new place won’t fall down around the previous tenant’s ears before he moves out, nevermind before you move in. There’s the waiting on things to finally cancel themselves out at the old place so you’re not paying for phone or electricity services you’re not gonna need anymore. There’s the waiting for confirmation you’ve got your vehicle of choice ready to throw your entire life into the back and hope like hell it comes off that vehicle in one piece. And there’s the waiting to see how long it takes before multiple people blow a blood vescel with the help of the company renting you the afore mentioned vehicle containing your entire life. That was escentially last weekend for me.

I finally got the approval for the apartment officially, and subsequently blogged–again–about it. Which meant in about 45 seconds, everything and its dog got cancelled, transfered, delayed until its effective cancelation date, packed in a box or otherwise done away with. So all we had to do was the easy part–pick up the UHaul trailer, load it, get it to the other end, offload it. Easy, right? Except for those parts where it wasn’t.

Because of scheduling issues with the primary driver, we had to have someone else go pick up the trailer on Friday. Now, standard procedure would be the thing passes at least one safety inspection before it’s allowed to leave the lot, nevermind any last minute checks that get done as it’s on its way out. Standard procedure. Unless, apparently, the trailer’s being rented in Petawawa. It got to my parents’ place, where it would be spending the night until we were ready to use it, initact. Well, mostly. The primary driver did his usual run around to make sure everything was appropriately glooed in place the next morning, and discovered it was obviously put through its safety inspection pre-departure by someone who just so happened to be nearly as blind as me. There were no working clearance lights on the trailer. Not overall a huge matter–they aren’t exceedingly used for a whole lot anyway. But, there were also no working break lights on the trailer. Yeah, as you could probably guess, that posed a small problem. So we were shoved 4 hours behind schedule while that got looked into. No huge dealy, really–we still got loaded that day. And the garage we took the trailer to was more than willing to bill UHaul directly for the repair work–an offer, I have to admit, at which I spent the rest of the day snickering. So we get everything to Ottawa, it’s intact, and the trailer hasn’t blown itself to pieces inexplicably. Cause for cellebration–which we did after everything was offloaded. But not before we made an attempt at taking the trailer to its final resting place–well, as far as we were concerned, anyway.

See, the thing about being in Ottawa is there’s half a million UHaul locations capable of receiving vehicles like this between here and the east side. The bad thing about living in Ottawa is there’s half a million UHaul locations who could easily decide they don’t want to let us make them this trailer’s final resting place. We were given the address of, what we would later find out was a small little convenience store type dealy or something. That convenience store type dealy just so happened to be registered UHaul location, so UHaul told us “Yeah, sure, go ahead and drop off that trailer over there. They won’t mind.”. They did. And made it very clear they did. Which prompted us sitting in their parking lot while my father, who happens to share my name and can do things like this, called up UHaul and unloaded with both barels. The end result was spending a few more minutes at $1.40 per liter driving across town to their primary drop location for the Ottawa area, and finally getting rid of that trailer.

So, we eventually got everything loaded. We eventually got the trailer tossed somewhere that isn’t attached to the back of one of our vehicles. And smartly, UHaul hasn’t as yet tried to turn around and bill me for their failed safety inspection. And all it took was the twisting of approximately 3 arms, and the smashing together of the equivalent of two heads. Not bad for a weekend. For the right price, UHaul. At this whole organization and basic covering your ass thing? UFail.

I has an oh my god busy.

Things that happen when you go 3 weeks without updating, episode number I’m not sure how many. House hunting, of a sort, didn’t turn out to be a complete and total flop–hence the, well, nearly a month without updating this thing. Which, yes, means I’m once again nearly a month late with April’s highlights–that’s on the list. In between all the other insanity. Sandwitched between trips to see family, an entire life shift kicked me in the face. Not only has the job market actually at least done a relatively average job of not sucking, but as of 3 days ago officially, I have a location that will for the foreseeable future pretend to be a new place to live. And, surprise, it’s back in Ottawa–roughly across the street more or less from where I used to be. The apartment’s laid out pretty well like the old one was. And, to boot, it’s in the same building as–and, in fact, is directly below–the rental office that used to manage the building I moved out of.

Shane and I have had a running joke amongst ourselves since before he moved in here that I’d eventually be evicting him from my living room. So, when we first got wind we’d be landing this apartment, I wrote him an informal eviction notice–which, naturally, got blogged. It generally wasn’t received all that well by many, in spite of references to it for the majority of the 5 or 6 months he’s been living here. Still, it was mildly entertaining to those who actually had some involvement with it. And, officially official now, on the 15th of this month–yes, that’s in 2 days–I sign the papers for the new apartment, and officially evict him from my living room. Larger apartment, more space, major city, and in a decent area for getting to potential places of employment–not much could be better. Well, except for having something to do at one of those potential places of employment–but we’re working on that.

Speaking of potential places of employment, I’m encountering indications things might actually be trying very hard to return to some kind of pre-2010 level as far as job market activity goes in Ottawa. What lead me to that theory? For the first time in just about ever, Rogers, who I’ve gone rounds with before for other reasons on the customer side, has once again at least temporarily started posting openings–and I’ve applied for just about all of them. And if that wasn’t a vague attempt to possibly lull me into a false sense of getting somewhere, another potential employer I hadn’t heard from in nearly a year threw out a few positions of its own. Alcatel-Lucent, who I’ve had an interview with in the past–and who’s building is actually laid out very similar to the one Dell used to own–is, also at least temporarily, back in the hiring business–and likewise got poked with an application or two. I’m not sure what all will come from any of that, or the few job postings I responded to by more conventional means from companies I haven’t seen much of in the 3 years I’ve been looking, but hey, I can’t exactly do much worse off on the job front.

what all of this means is I’ll potentially have plenty more in-person things to comment on and/or mock rather than the occasional dumping of links that also hasn’t actually been happening in quite a while–I need to fix that–or the seemingly lacking actual coherent thought that happens to have more to it than 140 characters. Such thoughts may or may not involve version 3.0 of the pot-smelling basement. Or, they may be extremely disjointed list-type stream of consciousness “I’m sick, so have an entry” type posts–not entirely unlike this one. Or they may be little more than 140 character thoughts in blog format–at least, if Twitter keeps doing what it was doing for most of today, anyway. Still, things are trying real hard to calm down now–and will do a whole lot more of that after this weekend. Which, you guessed it, means the mockworthy comes right back to where it started. Hey, on second thought, I should go 3 weeks without updating more often. No, wait–next time something important might actually happen.

Anyone wanna guess what this is?

No? Okay fine. This would be, for the first time in a little bit over a month, my attempted reemergence into the realm of this whole blogging thing. This may or may not include yet more mockery, and that thinggy I’m supposed to do about what you guys were reading last month–conveniently, 4 or 5 days before I should be doing that thing about what you were reading while I was being all unavailable and things. There’s an abso-freaking-lute metric ton of crap I probably could, and should, be writing about. Sadly, most of it kind of stopped applying about 2 weeks ago–sorry, life does that to ya. Things that do get a mention here and may or may not be elaborated on when I have slightly more brain power. In list format, because hey, first post in a month, here. Lazy.

  • Moving: Jessica got herself all moved in, relatively in one piece and with most of what sanity she has left after dating and being engaged to me intact. Her stuff, thankfully, also made it to the other end in one pice. Find her take on that and several million other things over on her blog. Go now. I’ll wait.
  • Technology: I’d started the process before I left, and finished it while down there–in and around the above mentioned move. Shortly before my return to Canada–where I’m currently flaed out now, the new laptop I’d been aiming for met me here. It’s nifty cool, in the wicked sense. Still getting used to using Windows 7 on a more than occasional basis, but hey, so far I’m not complaining much.
  • The stupid: there’s acrap ton of it. It starts with local cab companies, and it’ll all warrant separate entries. Again, see the need for more brain power.
  • Hockey: the playoffs are closing rappidly in on us. There will be playoff mockery involved. There will not be Leafs recaps involved–again. Ah well. You saw it coming.
  • Leafs: I quit. At least for this season. I haven’t done a recap since mid-February. To recap this many games would be both exceedingly spammy and a very good reason to develop a migraine. Naturally it would also double as an excellent exercise in frustration–like all mid to late season attempts at playing the comeback kid do. You’re just not that team, Toronto. Sorry.
  • Mockery: Oh, dear lord, the mockery. Not in this post, but the mockery. I’m buried in it. It’ll get posted over the next couple days. Trust me–it’ll be more than worth the wayt.

So that’s kind of where I’ve been. Now, where’d I put my caffeine?

Moving week festivities. Or somesuch.

Apparently, March is the month of moves and potential moves. Back in January, I was looking at the possibility of returning to Canada and right away diving into a move of my own. At the same time, Jessica has been building up to her own move. Mine fell through, but in this last week of February, hers is in full swing. To the tune of several dozen boxes, storage bins, and various other containerlike objects that can and will be used as packing boxes (thanks, Heather, by the way). This tiny apartment almost looks like it would be cramped with all the packing materials that have yet to actually be turned into things what contain personal belongings. It’s extremely odd to think in a week from now, most of this stuff will be exactly where it should be in the new place. And I’ll have been here to make absolute sure it gets there. I guess I’m participating in a March move after all–just not my own. Hey, whatever works. Now where’d I put that roll of packing tape?

In which James seriously needs to stop failing at this blogging thing.

It just randomly occured to me, as I was plowing through various things that have been piling up while life was busy throwing us curve balls, it’s been exactly, as in to the day, two weeks since I’ve actually posted anything up here. And probably longer than that since the anything had actual content. Oops. Publishing don’t number 1, and I did it. Oh well, you’ll have that. And the worst part of it is, the two weeks in question actually stood a chance at being somewhat exciting. If by exciting you mean a small rolercoaster of fun.

Where to start. Big news in the nowheresville household, we had our eye on a larger apartment and moving back to Ottawa. Well, back to Ottawa for me–Shane has never actually had the good fortune of living there, specificly. So we had the apartment lined up–the lady showing it to us had us sold within the first 10 minutes. We filled out the application. Then, we sat around here and waited. The application ended up not going through, which made things very interesting–note to readers, if you’re looking to make a major move like this and you’ve already gone ahead and set things in motion to have services moved/activated on your moving day, watch out for that quick 180. It’s real hard to hit the off switch when they come back and say you can’t actually have the apartment. Or maybe that’s just a Rogers thing–anything’s possible. We ran into that problem when the phone call came in that we didn’t actually land the apartment. We have a pretty good idea *why* we didn’t land the apartment, and while yeah it sucks, we know for next time. Too bad, too–it was a wicked awesome apartment.

Fortunately, since we look for bright sides on this here blog when we can, the apartment falling through means it doesn’t complicate our return from yet more planned events in the past two weeks. Shane had originally planned to drop in on his girlfriend at the beginning of February, but situations ended up coming up that sort of necessitated he be down there now. I’m still on schedule for bothering Jessica, who has actually managed to update her blog more than once this month, at the beginning of the month as initially planned. We were originally going to come back from our respective vacations on the second of March and promptly pack the place up for moving, but now we have a little bit of flexibility re: when we come back, just in case things decide that falling sideways while we’re down there is the order of the day. It also gives me a bit more time, if necessary, to help Jess with her own move at the end of February without having to worry about shooting back up here for mine. And, since I like not being attached to a deadline, I can presently put a questionmark on my return date–we shall have to see how things play out.

The fun doesn’t stop there, however. In list format, with explanatory posts to come when I have more brain power. Because presently, this caffeine thing isn’t working for me anymore.

  • Life decides at the worst possible time to throw one hell of a curve ball. We got smacked with one this past weekend–and are still recovering. Which reminds me, I need to move a few more things over to the replacement external HD.
    • Related: Hey Dell? You can ship Shane’s laptop any freaking time, now. Seriously.
  • Those guys from Toronto actually one a game or two. That should be posted about before I forget. Again.
  • Sadly, they also lost a shitload. That, I wish I could forget about posting about.

Related: Mixed in with the last couple weeks’ fun helping of funness were multiple large doses of snow. And yes, an extra side order of snow. I’m selling it for cheap. Want some? Please?

Now, let’s see how many of these hockey posts I can crank out before I go fall over. And later today, or tomorrow, a metric ton of mockery. No, I’m not kidding. I’m looking at two pages of blog material over here. And now I actually have time to post it. This might get very unpretty.

Roommates, apartment hunting, and inching forward with employment. Sort of.

The job market’s been doing a very good impression of a miserable failure the last year or two, at least up here. Very slowly, the interviews I was involved in began to slow to a trickle, then eventually stop. Then the same happened with jobs I didn’t have to have lived in a university for the past 10 years to apply to. Now, jobs in the Ottawa and valley area are kind of at a premium. I’ve been doing the disability income thing for the last year out of desperation, so I’m not forced to go back to living at home–not that I don’t like my parents, but from over here, please. This after being on employment insurance since the job I did have went to India in 2008. That has, naturally, required some financial creativity to keep myself ahead of the curve. My latest attempt at financial creativity consists of turning my one-bedroom apartment into a somewhat improvized two-bedroom, and taking in a roommate. It kind of works, seeing as he’s needing to get just about as financially creative as I am. I love my own space, but sometimes, sharing is caring. Or in this case, sharing is not ending up in the poor house. So on December first, shane will be borrowing my living room. Bright side: there will be much geeking. Not so bright side: some of our debates, when we start having actually meaningful ones, may or may not end up bloody. But hell, that’s half the fun, no?

The roommate situation has kind of pushed forward the necessity of looking for a new apartment. Because, really, while this works, I’m not quite so mean as to restrict him to the coutch for the foreseeable future. Particularly given he’s probably just about as likely to have a significant guest show up over here as I am. The coutch, while folding out and quite comfortable, is probably not conducive to, well, much of anything beyond sleeping. I’ve been looking for a bigger place the last week or so as a result, and have come to a very not quite surprising realization. Finding an apartment that doesn’t generally suck, have craptastic heating, or fit rather easily into this one is pretty near to impossible–at least in Pembroke. Which may mean our financial creativity will probably end up taking us back to Ottawa. Good, ish. Except for that part where the rent in Ottawa was what sent me all the way over here in the first place. Fortunately, the only deadlines we have are how long we can keep this whole creativity thing going. And the only restrictions we have location-wise really depends on whether or not, and where, one or both of us may end up working when we decide to move. In the meantime, hey, I like this kind of adventure.

As for where one or both of us may be working, it’s pretty much certain I’m probably not going to be working at Online Support after all. You may or may not recall I was waiting for questions to be answered, and paperwork to be processed before I could start over there. And oh yeah, Freedom Scientific‘s JAWS for Windows program so I could actually, you know, use their computer and know what it’s yelling at me. It took a little longer than I expected, but the ball’s finally rolling on the purchase of the screenreader–give or take the time it takes me to drop kick certain answers from certain individuals, I should have a copy that runs on windows 7 professional by the end of the month. Problem being now, though? Online Support hasn’t responded to me since a day or two after I wrote that last entry. The guy I’m dealing with from Ontario’s second career program has been trying to get a shot at them as well and hasn’t gotten anywhere. I’m leaning very much in the direction of just writing off the company. except for the fact they’re pretty much the only thread that hasn’t snapped off completely over here–yet. I’ve always suspected if I did end up employed again, it would probably be somewhere that isn’t Pembroke. This is kind of lending a bit more support to that suspicion.

Things are definitely happening, and in a quickly kind of way. But they’re definitely happening. And in a couple weeks, it’ll be nearly four years since the last time I developed a roommate–no better time to snap that streak. Or something. And just in time for that, we’re lining things up for a goodly portion of insanity. In other words, just another day in the life of me. I think I need a new one.

God, I’m glad I don’t do this very often.

Only slightly less irritating than job hunting, and for completely different reasons entirely, is apartment hunting. Sadly, in my case, doing the one almost necessitates doing the other–see, and if Ottawa employers had just returned my phone calls we could have avoided that. If I go for the position who’s offer has just about everything to it but my signature, I’m going to end up needing to move closer than I am right now, strictly on the principle that my day’s pay would otherwise be going to transporting me to and from. Which leads me to a bit of random curiosity digging around today. And that promptly left me exactly where I was this morning.

To start, folks in Pembroke don’t advertise. At all. Unless one counts the occasional thinggy you’ll pull out of the local newspaper’s classified section. The ones that do advertise, like the one I went in to have a look at this afternoon, shouldn’t advertise. At all. It was a basement apartment, which literally was just the basement of–I’m pretty sure–someone’s house, turned into apartments (yes, plural). It had virtually no distinct living room/kitchen area to speak of, something that vaguely pretended to be a bedroom, and no closet space–what we thought was closet space turned out to actually be furnace storage space. And given I saw nothing in the place that would indicate I controled my own heat or whatever, my guess is the floor above me has it for the building. This is not how these things are supposed to work. Added on top of that, with utilities included it rang out to the tune of approximately $40 a month more than my rent right now, plus electricity, for this place–also a basement apartment, laid out much better than the one I looked at, with an actual living room and a distinct, if not exactly roomy, kitchen area. And heat I don’t need to knock on my upstairs neighbour’s door for.

I ran into similar problems in Ottawa, only with a twist–apartments in my new, post-layoff price range located not in the middle of nowhere amounted to little more than closets. My room when I went to college was bigger. I have a rule when I go apartment hunting. If I can throw something and hit my bed from the front door, it’s way too small. I could do it with a hundred percent accuracy in some of those places. Granted, if the potential job possibility in Ottawa ends up being something that doesn’t vaguely resemble nothing, that’ll be significantly less of an issue and I can safely look for something a step or two up from closet.

I’m very glad I don’t actually have to do this very often. Now, if I can just skip forward to the point when I don’t have to do this at all, that’d be awesome. Failing that, anyone have a spare paycheck they’re not using? Yeah, didn’t think so. So much for my master plan of getting rich by being lazy.

Note to potential landlords. My age has nothing to do with giving you money.

I’ve been trying to find halfway decent ways to save me some money–cutting back on things where possible, changing companies if another company offers me a price significantly lower than what I’m paying now, and most recently, looking for possible places to call my temporary residence that end up being relatively cheaper than that which I’m currently staying in. On top of trying to get me properly educated, but that’s another entry. Since no one around here wants to hire folks in my particular fields, and since no one in Ottawa has gotten around to calling me back yet, saving money until either situation changes is the thing to do. Enter a bit of research being performed on my part over the last couple days.

There’s a possible building I’m looking at moving into. When I called about it on Friday, they didn’t have anything available. I got a call just a few minutes ago that one of the renters there may be looking to sublet the apartment. Over the course of the conversation, the process of 20 questions ended up starting. Around question 19, I was in full WTF mode. He asked if I was working at the moment, which–okay, I get it–you need to be paid. So do I. I told him I was presently on disability, but that I had been working. I didn’t tell him if I have my way I’ll either be working or back in school by this time next year, mostly because that would generally lead to me informing him I’d be moving out just as soon as either situation came to light. Then, he asked my age.

I’m not one to keep my age a secret by any means–I’m 26, if you’re curious–but, er, what does that have to do with my ability or willingness to pay the rent? I don’t get it. If it’s a disability thing, I’m kind of WTFing just a little more–but that, at least, isn’t altogether very surprising. But, still. I have money in hand. I want to give this landlord money. I can keep giving this landlord money until such time as either I go completely and totally broke or he raises his rent beyond my price range. My age has very little if anything to do with that. So, uh, what’s it to him? Anyone have a clue? Can I borrow it?

And sometimes, Canada Post isn’t quite useless.

It’s a rare thing when it happens, but a pleasant thing. On the odd occasion, when investigating exactly how much money I’m supposed to be putting into how many hands and how soon, I come across a small detail left over from October’s move that I thought I’d rectified, only to have it slap me in the face with a big fat no you didn’t. This happened yesterday. Well, actually, it’s been happening fairly often, but mostly yesterday. I was logging in to get an account number for something that demanded I waste no time in forking over my life savings, and the savings of my future children, to satisfy a bill payment. Well okay so perhaps not quite that bad. And in doing so, I come to two very distinct realizations. I’m not actually *getting* a large portion of my bills the way I’m supposed to be getting them–specificly, online. And I’m not getting them that way because Canada Post’s website still believes I live in my old apartment in Ottawa. That, and because I’d neglected to add one or two of my new accounts to the list of accounts for which to send me online bills, but largely it’s the former. So here I am, sitting in the new apartment now for 2 months, and I’m still grasping for the finer details of some of my newer required expenses (rental fee for a hot water tank, anyone?), and our postal service, which tries its very best to at times equal the US postal service, still thinks I haven’t moved. One would think that to be the third thing I change over–next to my phone number and banking info, but apparently, that’s not how I think. Sometimes, I don’t necessarily need technology to have a minor fail moment. And sometimes, surprise of surprises, technology makes my potentially minor fail moments look slightly more like moronic WTF moments. Which, while aren’t much better, I’ll still take. But, for a rare first, a crown corporation, under direct regulation of the Government of Canada, actually managed to prevent me from completely breaking things rather than being the reasin things end up breaking. I take back most of the things I said about crown corporations. Not all, just most. And I’ll probably say them again before 2010’s over, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get there. Until then, I’ll let the small surprise of Canada Post not entirely being useless sink in a little. Okay, that’s better.

How’d I get here?

I keep threatening to do that post about what the hell happened to me since the last time I was actively blogging (Um, LJ-ing, perhaps?). Well, consider this my attempt at doing so. I’ll warn you in advance there will probably be things that get missed–it *has* been about 4 months, after all.

For starters, there were more than a few trips across the Canada/US border between myself and Jessica, who’s rarely updated LJ is over here for anyone who doesn’t already read her. Things in that department I don’t think can get much better. Well, beyond the elimination of the border but eh, that’s coming. Beyond that, I’ve been doing a lot more experimentation with Gentoo, my for the moment linux distribution of choice. I’d messed around very briefly with Debian and Ubuntu, but couldn’t get quite what I wanted out of those distributions. That, plus I rather like a challenge and Gentoo definitely provides that. I kept an old HP laptop around for the purposes of experimentation–and, actually, it was the same laptop I did most of my blogging on in the old days–so I can break it 6 ways from Sunday and not really be set back more than a couple hours’ tinkering. Works perfectly fine for me. In addition to that, I’ve been continuing to pound pavement in hopes of landing me a job. Not an easy thing to do when every day the unemployment line gets longer, but we manage. This in between trips to catch up with family, because… well, you know, they don’t tend to like it when you avoid them for long stretches at a time.

Then there was the move. I’d spent the last year and a half or so on employment insurance while I looked for work, thus enabling to keep my rather nice–even if I do say so myself–apartment in Ottawa’s west end. Not having found anything though, it became necessary for me to find somewhere else to call home lest I end up going very broke very quickly. So, on October 23rd, everything I own and a few things I forgot I owned got stuffed into one box or another, and carted an hour and a half away to this, a basement apartment who’s upstairs neighbour has perhaps one of the creakiest floors I’ve heard in my life. Now, I’m still looking for work, still finding time to do a little geeking, and still–at least, as of about 2 weeks from yesterday–making trips across the border when I have the time, money and transportation. Not a whole lot has changed, save for my mailing address–which I’m still finding things that didn’t get the notification of that change–and the fact some things in life just plain aren’t as convenient as they were a month ago. But, win some, lose some. That be life.

Once I have the space in this apartment, and everything I’ll immediately need to do so out of boxes and set up, I plan to get back into tweeking the laptop and making things work just that much better. And, with a little luck and a small miracle, it might result in me accidentally coming up on a skill or three I can put in a resume. Never hurts to say you can do something, particularly when that something didn’t require you shell out money you don’t have for a college/university education. Of course, if I don’t get that out of it, then maybe I’ll just have a computer I can use should I ever decide to wipe windows off this one. Either way, I can’t find a down side here.

Well, that’s the summer and part of spring in a nutshell. Not very exciting, just… chaotic, really. Semi-organized chaos, but still. And if this is any indication, the next couple months don’t plan to be any different. Which, surprisingly, is how I like it. Can’t very well go researching new and somewhat impressive things to buy if you don’t have time to, after all.

My cable versus satelite predicament or: the only truely evil thing about living in ottawa.

When I shoved my entire life into boxes and got the hell outa Pembroke way back in December, I acknowledged then that my hockey watching days, unles I wanted to convert to being a Senators fan, were either over or extremely, extremely numbered. Which, naturally, pissed me right the hell off. But, the job was here, the paycheck was here, and considering my schedule now–hello, night shift–it probably wouldn’t make much difference anyway. Still, I had thought I was pretty much S.O.L. because the land lord didn’t want us putting up satelites and whatnot. That whole securing things to the building thing, and all that jazze. Then I find out I can, just as soon as I go over to the office and sign some stupid piece of paper or something that basicly says I won’t try to stick it on the roof. Not that the thought still won’t cross my mind to try anyway. So now, it’s not what to do since I can’t get satelite–it’s do I even want to pay the higher price for it, and which semi-monopoly do I want to support? Although, the second question will probably be answered when I figure out which higher price to pay and subsequently answer the first one. At the moment, my choices–neither of them pretty so far–are to give even more money to mother bell, who already has my landline and internet money (Rogers uses Bell’s phone lines anyway and I will *not* get cable internet), or Star Choice, who I had living with my parents, but the nasty rumor mill tries to warn me they’re expensive as hell. I dunno–I didn’t pay the bill the last time I delt with them. Or, I could always just stick with the other evil empire (read: Rogers), and put up with the fact they refuse to offer the channels I’m looking for in Ottawa, which is IMHO about the most ridiculous thing out there–but that’s a rant not suited for this non-ranting entry. My choices, of which there are so precious few, are also at the moment… quite crappy. And… quite dependant on me getting off my lazy ass and signing some “I’ll behave myself” document. Heh. The idea of me behaving myself is amusing. No snickering, people who know me. That is, unless you’re thinking the exact same thing I am–you will never know, for I will never tell. What I will do, though, is… contemplate maybe actually signing that stupid piece of paper. After I make some phone calls. Which I’ll do later. Translation: ain’t nothing getting done now on that front. So the point of me writing this entry was… oh yeah, right. There was none. Oh well.

I’m back, and mostly unpacked!

And it only took me a small eternity. Seeing as it’s now 5:00 in the morning and I’ve not yet been to bed, I’ll try not to make this entry too painfully long. That said, though, I do have one thing to say right quick. Being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, while living in Ottawa, is quite possibly the only bad thing about living in Ottawa. And only because I’ve yet to see the Leafs actually play a game since I moved here. Not that it matters really, since the games I missed seem to have been wasted efforts anyway–thanks loads, Mike, for briefly catching me up on the train wrecks that were the last 3 games or so. Hm. I start work in… not counting today, 3 days. And there is a chance I will freeze my ass off on my first day. This, compounded by a 4:30 wake-up call on said first day (by the way, uber le damn!), does not make for a truely wonderful beginning to my working experience. But, on the bright side, I get paid to sit there and listen to someone go on and on about things that probably won’t even need to be talked about for another month or so, when they actually, you know, become an issue. So, I’ll take it. Hmmm… I had more to say, but after banging my head against a wall dealing with my internet people, and staying up until now getting everything working the way it needs to be, I need sleep. And then, I need to go look over certain individuals’ blogs I have missed reading over the last week or so. There will be at least one rant later today, that’s a guarantee. But for now, I’m moved in, I’m mostly unpacked save the, like, one or two boxes sitting in my closet, and now I actually have my interweb. And now, sleep. Then cleaning. Then potentially laundry. Then ranting. Or maybe ranting then laundry. Or ranting then cleaning. I’ll figure it out later. G’night ‘n things!

Moving day.

In the span of two days, I have managed to get every single thing I needed out of the way, and in record time. Which… actually explains my rather lacking blogness for the majority of those two days. And now, paperwork is in the hands of the Dell folks, rental applications are secured, checks made out, final rounds made to make sure everything’s packed, and my parents’ computer nearly updated. As I write this, a moving van is outside being loaded, and in less than an hour, I shall be Ottawa bound, a one-way trip to a whole new level of oh my god I’ve lost my fucking mind. And, on that lovely note, I shall be back with a vengance in very nearly a week’s time. You are not allowed to miss me!


I can tell today is already going to be the day from hell, and it’s only coming up on 10:30. The obvious indicator of it should have been when the phone started ringing more often for my way too soon to be sister-in-law than for anyone who actually lives here. Not helped was it by the fact her damn dog reminds me very much of those kids you just wanna tie to a chair and inject with the heaviest sedative going until their parents come to collect them, which in and of itself is going to be still way too far away from now. I just hold my breath, count to 10, thank the gods I move in 4 days–starting to count hours, now, too–and wait for the inevitable screw-up that will no doubt result in my sister-in-law being given the choice of either finding that damn dog a home or having it shot. I love my family, but there are a few members I could stand not to see for a good long time. She’s becoming one of them.
And in other news… I officially kick myself for picking the apartment I did. There’s gonna be a fair bit of walking involved in finding my bus stop. Not good if you’re a lazy fuck, and well, I am. And it’s gonna be a uber bitch come the days of 20 below. Ah well, can’t have it all. Good job, good apartment, decent city, so of course the location’s gonna turn out crappier than it looks. Then again, that’s why they invented carpooling. Or I can always, you know, take my own advice and stop bitching, suck it up and walk, dammit. But, no. It’s my blog, I’ll bitch if I goddamn well wanna bitch. Then I’ll suck it up and walk.
This unusual combination of topics brought to you by boredom. Screwing people out of being distracted/entertained for longer than I care to guess at.

A job update.

Because people have been asking. There’s absolutely not a damn thing that’s changed since the last time I mentioned it, though. I’m still waiting for paperwork to land in my mailbox. Paperwork that I was told would be there by early this week at the latest. Well, now it’s a little tiny bit past early this week, and the HR person I’ve been in contact with is apparently out of the office until early *next* week. Needless to say, she got yet another email from me–and another phone call–and I’m about 30 seconds from calling the guy that originally was the one handling my file. Why they keep transfering me from one HR person to the next, though, is beyond me. But they do. So now, I’m a week away from moving to Ottawa, and I’m really no closer to having landed this job. And if I lose the deposit on this apartment, I’m *really* going to be significantly less than impressed with these people.

That was too easy.

I’ve mentioned before I need furniture for the apartment. There isn’t anyone in my family who isn’t aware of that. I mean, they’ve all seen my stuff. I can fill a bedroom just fine, but… heh, I’ve never had my own place before, so filling the rest of it will require some creativity. Or a mother looking for a bar fridge. My parents bought me a minifridge last Christmas, because… well, I buy a lot of my own stuff, and if it goes in the family fridge, it’s lible to get eaten before I can get to it–that was true mostly when my brother was home. But, since the place I’m moving into comes with a fridge, and there will be no brother to eat what I don’t get to, I have no use for the one sitting on the other side of the room as of once I move out. I’ve offered to give it to my parents before, since you know, they’re the ones who bought the thing for me and it’d save them going out and buying a second fridge to put in their bar when they’ve got one that won’t be used in 2 weeks anyway. And now, we’ve decided on a trade, of sorts. She gets the fridge, and I get a new kitchen set. Can’t complain with that one, really. I mean, still gotta sit on the floor to watch TV, but at least I’ve got a place to eat! And one less thing I have to spend my money on. I love my mom.

So I lied. Sue me.

On the bright side, though, those of you who actually thought I’d be offline for upwards are a month will be pleased–or, perhaps, not–to know it’ll only be a week or less. So, yay small fortunes! Or… something. I went into Ottawa yesterday, as I threatened to, and finally got to the signing of the lease. Of course, then we didn’t stop there, so spent an hour or two in the afternoon doing a little browsing. Hey, I hate shopping as much as the next person, but I needed furniture. Still do, in fact. So shush already. And somewhere in the insanity that is productiveness, I set up my cable instalation and whatnot, so I *will* have TV the night I move in. Which means I will absolutely not be missing Saturday’s hockey game. Unless the bastards put a Senators game on instead, at which point someone will be cursed out to no end. I meant to write this entry last night, but by the time I got home, got everything sorted out, and all that, I was about ready to pass out. So, I kinda half-assed my way through the last entry, shot the shit with a couple people over IM, and then promptly passed out. And now, I go make, find, or invent food. Then finish setting things up for the move. Yay not having a shortage of things to do.

Now that’s progress.

And I should so be in bed by now, but I’m just… well, sleep isn’t happening any time soon. And no, it’s not because of the half empty can of coke sitting to my left. Although I suspect that probably won’t exactly serve to be a sleep aid. So what has me up at this otherwise ungodly hour? Well, for once, it’s not talking to a certain very interesting young lady (more on that when I figure out exactly what’s going on). Rather, I did in fact get stuff faxed off. And then I got dragged around the mall for an hour or so while my apparent future sister-in-law (by the way, damn) looked at wedding related things. Then we went to another store, where I started pricing out kitchen sets and the like–yes, I’m going to need furniture. Anyone willing to contribute to the “fill James’s apartment” fund can do so at their own leasure. I accept all forms of major creditcards, checks, money orders, cash… or you can just buy me things! *nods* 🙂
So, we’re looking at one of said kitchen sets, when my cell phone rings. Now, this is like 7:30 or 8:00 at night, mind you, so I’m thinking it’s nothing too terribly important–just someone wanting to shoot the shit, that kinda thing–and am about ready to tell them I’ll talk to them probably online when I get home. It’s a good thing I didn’t, though, because it was the phone call that pretty much cieled the deal. I am now the proud rentee of an apartment in Ottawa. The lease gets signed this Friday. Two weeks from then is moving day. And in between now and then, I still have a whole shitload of things to do. I may decide at some point to probably pilfer one of Stacie’s ideas, and throw a to-do list up here at some point, just so I don’t end up forgetting something. O’course, that doesn’t guarantee I won’t forget anyway, but at least the next time I look at this thing then I can soundly kick myself for forgetting, and then go about the business of remedying that situation. I’m going to have quite the busy couple weeks… and it’s all gonna start tomorrow. And the once half empty can of coke is now empty, which means I should be attempting sleep. Good gawd, the prospect of having something akin to a routine is gonna kill me.

There is an end, and it is near!

The most progress I’ve ever made so far has been made today. I have now in my hands their official letter of offer. Well, as official anyway as it can be without the rest of the paperwork that’s ordinarily supposed to come with it. Which means, after getting something resembling food into me, I shall spend the next hour or so faxing crap, and generally… being all manner of productive. Shocking as it is, it’s very relaxing, in a way. Or maybe I’m just being a sadist. That’s a distinct possibility too. Either way… the apartment–and the job–is mine! Mwa!

Is it over yet?

It might be. My haunting of people’s voicemails has paid off, in that I am now apparently about to receive at least a letter of offer from them. They’d originally wanted to send it with the rest of the paperwork either this weekend or early next week. Not bad, except I need something today. Well, actually, I need something yesterday–but who’s counting? So, now it would appear they’re smartening up, and sending me at least proof that they are in fact wanting to hire me. So, as soon as I get that letter in my otherwise empty inbox, I’m out the front door and to the nearest fax machine. And hopefully, this puts an end to my search for an apartment. At least until I move somewhere else in 6 months.’