Have I used this picture on my blog yet? Honestly, I can’t remember. Between looking at my pictures and my blog far too much, and living a life that at the moment I can’t keep pace with, I think I’m starting to go crazy. Or at least I can’t be bothered to recall where my pictures are posted.
It has been a truly calamitous month so far. I can’t even think of where to begin.
Well, the first weekend of March we were in Vancouver. We toured several homes over one weekend that struck a balance between our budget and our needs, however we were incredibly disappointed in nearly all of them. I knew that money didn’t travel far in Canada’s most expensive real estate market, but seriously, was it so bad? Properties were averaging – averaging – $635/sq.ft. Fortunately, there was one that really took us, and in return, we took it. We’re very satisfied with the home, its attributes and the value of our investment (only $552/sq.ft.!) It was a frenetic week that followed; trying to meet requisite requirements, collect funds and satisfy our own conditions within only a couple of days. I’d forgotten how much fun buying a house is (tongue is in cheek). Anyway, we were able to connect all the dots with time to spare, and everything is now official.
Since that lovely period came to a close, it hasn’t exactly been time to relax. I’ve been busting my arse preparing our house and our lives to move. A quick glance at the calendar to my left tells me that we’re getting kicked out of our house in only ten days. Part of my effort, now that I’ve been off work for two weeks, has been devoted to purging ourselves of some furniture, because, as most people do when moving from a prairie city to a metropolis, we are downsizing. Funny enough, this is going to be our third home and each time we have downsized! Part of our decision-making in buying a place in Vancouver included being centrally located in an inner-city community, and achieving such proximity comes at a price – either costing a fortune, or compromising on square footage. We are capable of the latter. So, lately I’ve been selling things like couches, for which we will have no space in our new abode, on Kijiji. I’ve mentioned before that my sales skills have dignified themselves on everyone’s favourite online garage sale website, and I reaffirmed those skills again this week. In selling our collection of gardening tools, lawn mower, rain barrel, two older living room tables and three couches, I’ve easily surpassed $1,000 in tax-free, cash revenue, with some good items still left to dispose of. This income will help offset some of the fantastic expenses that moving to BC brings us, such as the landowner transfer tax, multiple legal fees, and moving costs. I’ve also spent a little on us, including a new hitch-mounted bike rack that I’m sure we’ll get lots of use out of once we’re living in our new bicycle-friendly and inspiring environment.
If there’s one secret I can share about successfully selling on Kijiji, it’s taking good pictures. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words, and a thousand dollars for that matter. I’ve fastidiously assembled my camera and tripod, studied my lighting, and taken several shots of every item in as much of a studio setting as I could concoct. It’s an asset to be able to broadly display items, but also their detailed craftsmanship and blemishes (and to mention each truthfully on the ad) so as to establish honesty and trust between seller and buyer. And my prices aren’t outlandish, but where there’s quality to be had, I’m also not giving stuff away. I am driving home the concept of value.
Other moments of my time have been spent updating our accounts, bills and utilities. I had about 30 in total to take care of; ranging from our energy provider and alarm company to our pet health insurance and magazine subscriptions. I’ve also had to retain and coordinate lawyers in both provinces so as to transfer titles and ownership for both properties. As well, I’ve been in communication with our movers, and have discovered that moving right before Easter and expecting our possessions in a different province shortly thereafter is unrealistic; meaning we’ll be homeless for a few days longer than we would have hoped for.
I ordered a new computer the other day. It’s a MacBook Pro 15″ laptop, polished to the nines with an upgraded processor, RAM and hard drive. I’d been holding out for what was discussed as an “imminent” product line refresh (everyone’s expecting new processors) but I couldn’t wait any longer. I need a computer for the start of my new job in early April. I also wanted to make sure it was purchased before moving so as to avoid BC’s 8% provincial sales tax. In deciding to go ahead and buy the current configuration, I figured that while tasks like processing photos on Aperture 3 are sometimes burdening on my computer, it’s nothing that the current line-up of laptops can’t handle. The new machine will be part of a bigger home office set up that we’re working towards, including an LED display, sound system, and a laptop for my wife (we’re thinking a MacBook Air once that lineup is in fact refreshed). In a smaller home with much of our daylight hours expected to be spent abroad, laptops are more sensible. Even simply to get our own space once in a while, it’s nice to be able to take our work or projects to bed, or out on to the patio.
We can’t wait to get back out to the coast again. I actually was out there again just last weekend. I put a dozen cases of wine in the car and made the trip in one day, took the ferry to my mom and dad’s home, dropped the wine off, and then two days later, returned to Calgary. The trip took 8.5 hours on the way there, and 9.25 hours on the way home. It’s a long drive, but is one that I’ve made dozens of times since I was a child and is one of my favourite trips. For some reason I find the drive quite invigorating and the scenery is spectacular. The landscapes, climates and vegetation change dramatically. Going east to west is by far the best direction, probably for no other reason than because I know I’m heading to the ocean. I begin each trip in a traditional way that my father taught me – that is, leaving at an unGodly hour (usually between 5 and 6 am), and beating a path down empty roads for a barren highway littered only by a handful of equally motivated travellers. But as day breaks, meandering through the mountains as high as the Rogers Pass, crawling the coastline through the moderate altitudinal climes of Sicamous and Salmon Arm and the rest of the Shuswap, into the arid and sandy hills of Kamloops, up the Coquihalla Highway, and finally down into the Fraser Valley, it becomes an unbelievable journey. My favourite part is the Fraser Valley. Once through Hope and entering Chilliwack, the hills become lush and green at all times of the year, and as the road flattens out and you get to Abbotsford, you begin to realize that you’re only an hour from the coast.
In our own bigger picture, we’re nearly there. Packing, cleaning and a few more sales, and then the move will be on.