My Life

A tale of 10 moves

Don’t you just hate the process of moving?

Packing boxes, cleaning, trying to convince your family and friends to spend the day helping you move in exchange for a couple of pieces of pizza?

Well, we dislike it about as much as you do and we’ve done it 10 times in 16 years!

Yes. That’s right. In just over 16 years of marriage, Joy and I have moved 10 times. Pretty impressive, right?

When we tell people that we’ve moved 10 times in 16 years, it makes us look like sketchy, transient people, but each move had a point.

I remember seeing a page in an address book at my parents’ house several years ago with my name on it. The page was filled with addresses and phone numbers that had been scratched out and replaced with newer addresses or phone numbers.

And if you’re wondering – no, we have never been evicted. 🙂

Move #1 – Petrolia

When Joy and were planning our wedding, we also needed to find a place to live once we were married. We started looking around at apartments that were within our very small budget and what we saw was discouraging. We toured a couple of apartments that were within our price range and there were in pretty rough shape.

My adventure with the grocery store a couple of years earlier had made things a little tight for us and I was getting concerned that we might not find a decent place to live.

And then one day about a month and a half before our wedding, our Pastor asked us if we had found a place to live once we were married. As it turned out, there was a couple in the church that had a rental available, but they were looking for good tenants.

We went for a tour of the place and even though it was $500/month utilities included, in 2003, at the time we were beyond broke and even $500 seemed out of reach. But, we made it work and we moved in just after we got back from our honeymoon. It was a great place to start out. It was a basement of a split level home and it was quite comfortable.

But we were only there for about 7 months.

Move #2 – London – Baseline Rd – Part A

Fast forward about 5 months of living in Petrolia and I got a job in London. For a short time, I drove back and forth each day, which made for a long day so January 1st, 2004, we loaded up a van and my brother-in-law’s truck and we moved to London. We moved into a 1 bedroom condo apartment on Baseline Rd and we were quite happy with the place.

One day about 6 months after moving into this apartment, we got a phone call from the property management company. They wanted to let us know that the owner of this particular condo had passed away and his family wanted it sold as part of his estate. We were given notice that it was going up for sale ASAP and we would need to move.

The search begins…again.

Move #3 – London – Baseline Rd – Part B

We started looking at other apartments around the area and we weren’t having much luck finding a place that was as nice as what we were living in for a similar budget. Our place had in-suite laundry, which was a big selling point.

One day I was talking to the building manager and she told us about a unit that had become available on the 4th floor of the same building – and it was a 2 bedroom unit. For $110 more per month, we could stay in the same building and have a spare bedroom and 2 bathrooms! It was perfect for us at the time.

Things were good there for just over 2 years. When we moved in we could hear what sounded like a toddler running around above us. Not a big deal.

But, 2 years later and a couple more kids who could at times, spend 8+ hours per day crying, it was driving us crazy. We had attempted to make contact with the family that lived above us, but they were not willing to discuss. They had 3 children living in the master bedroom just above ours – and they didn’t seem to mind that they screamed and cried for many hours each day.

It was getting out of control so we decided the easiest thing was to move.

Move #4 – London – Deveron Cres

We came across a nice, 2 bedroom condo apartment in a decent area of town and for $100 more per month, we moved in there. It was a nice spot overall and we were happy with it. The landlord was nice, it was clean, the neighbours were good and we were happy there.

At the time, Joy had been working for Ford Credit in an administrative capacity. It was a good job, but this was also at the beginning of the financial crisis and car companies were having a difficult time.

Ford was in the process of a “transformation” to make the company into a leaner, profitable company, which in real terms means consolidating offices and laying staff off. An offer was made to Joy, that she could move up a couple of levels in terms of pay grade and move to Oakville in a new position.

We didn’t want to leave London, but at the same time, it was a good job and we weren’t in a position for her to be looking again.

We chose to move, so in January 2008, we put all our possessions into a moving truck, and then into storage and we moved… temporarily.

Move #5 – Oakville – Homewood Suites

Our first stop in our move to Oakville was the Homewood Suites. We stayed there for almost 2 months while we were looking for a place to live.

This was a nice hotel geared toward business people. Our room was like a small apartment as it did include a small kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. It was paid for by Joy’s employer and overall it was a great experience.

I recall one particularly snowy morning, getting up and heading out to the car to clean it off before driving Joy to work. One of the front desk staff said: “Good morning Mr. Hyjek. Would you like me to clean your car off for you?”

I was impressed. I never took him up on the offer, but I was impressed that the offer was made. The service at this hotel was outstanding.

Move #6 – Oakville – Bronte Village

While staying in the hotel, all our worldly possessions were locked up in a storage facility somewhere, and we looked at various places throughout Mississauga, Burlington and Oakville. If you are familiar with the GTA, you will know that the prices are beyond crazy. Even though Joy got a pretty substantial raise when we moved, it was quickly eaten up by a higher cost of living.

It wasn’t easy to find something in our price range, but we did eventually find a place in Bronte Village (Oakville), and it was right on the water, on Lake Ontario. Strangely, it was just about the cheapest place we could find within our budget.

It was a lovely spot – except that the air conditioning didn’t work and it wasn’t situated in a way to get any airflow. It was HOT.

Moving day was like Christmas because all our stuff had been locked up for 2 months. As each box came in, we opened it up and were reminded of what we had. Somehow, even though we were only married about 5 years at this point, we had accumulated a lot of things that just stayed packed in boxes in the den of our new apartment.

About 10 months into living there, we got a knock on the door and it was a representative of TD Bank, letting us know that our landlord had defaulted on the mortgage and now they owned the property and it was going up for sale.

At this point we had a decision to make – do we find another place in Oakville, or do we move back to London? The thing is; almost immediately after moving to Oakville, we knew this was not a place we wanted to stay long-term. It was far too expensive and we just didn’t like the vibe.

At this point, Joy had a couple of months left in a contract that she had to fulfill, otherwise we owed them for our moving expenses.

We decided the best option would be to move back to London rather than sign another year-long lease somewhere else. We would drive back and forth to Oakville each day while she looked for work in London.

Move #7 – London – South Wenige Drive

We found a house for rent in North London – it was only about 5 years old in a nice neighbourhood. We thought that this might be a nice place to stay for a while until we could afford to potentially purchase the home down the road.

At this point, Joy was still working in Oakville and we lived in London.

We burned through gas at an alarming rate doing that drive each day.

Since I was working for myself, I had a flexible schedule and was location independent. I really hated the idea of Joy driving 1 hour and 45 minutes each direction, leaving at 6:15am and getting home around 6:45pm each day, so I decided I would drive her.

I had a good system for what I would do each day. I would drop Joy off at work for 8:30am and then I would take my laptop and work for the morning from any number of coffee shops with free Wifi.

I would often meet up with Joy at lunch and then I would head to the library for the afternoon. People tend to stay in libraries for a long time, so it wasn’t too bad.

But, we knew we couldn’t keep that up for long because it was exhausting. Eventually, Joy found a job in London, so our back and forth driving only lasted about 3 months and it was springtime, so the driving was fine.

Things seemed great. We had a nice house to live in, it was surprisingly affordable and Joy had a new job that she enjoyed in London.

And then one day, about 10 months into living there, I got an email from the property management company letting me know that a real estate agent needed to be allowed in to take pictures so they could list the house for sale.

We weren’t in a position to purchase it, so we were back to looking for a place to live. Again…

Move #8 – London – Westdel Bourne

We hit the jackpot with this place. It was a lovely, walk-out basement granny suite, in a large home just outside London. It was about as big as a small house and all utilities were included. We loved living here.

The only drawback was that the driveway was on a hill and in the winter, it was challenging to get up. We put snow tires on the car and problem solved.

We lived here for almost 2 years, but at the time, we had just begun the adoption process (more on that whole topic at a later date) and we needed something that had a legal bedroom. This place was only 1 bedroom, with a den, but because the den didn’t have a window, it couldn’t be a bedroom.

The adoption process wasn’t on the radar until we moved to this place. If it had been, we would have found a place with another bedroom.

So, we moved again.

Move #9 – London – Queens Ave

In looking for another place – we wanted to find a house, but everything we looked at was just too expensive in most areas of London. We had heard good things about Old East Village and that it was an “up and coming neighbourhood.”

We found a nice little house for rent there and we moved in. It was affordable, the landlord was great. We were excited about it.

On the first night, I was ready to move out.

It turns out that the house next door was a rooming house, with about 12 people living in it. It was hard to tell who lived there and who was just hanging around. They partied all hours of the night, every night and we decided that living in this “up and coming neighbourhood” wasn’t for us.

From our perspective, it had a long way to come up to even be called “up and coming.”  We completed our year-long lease and moved out, in search fo greener pastures.

One good thing about living here though; If you needed to get rid of anything, all you had to do was put it out at the curb and it was often gone before I even got back to the door!

Move #10 – London – Martinet Ave

And here we are.

On July 1st, 2013, we moved into our current home on Martinet Ave in London and we like it. The neighbours are great, it’s a nice neighbourhood and we don’t have plans to move anytime soon.

It feels strange to live in a place for over 6 years, but it’s a great spot. Starbucks is closeby and I think it’s the best one in the city, with super friendly staff. There’s a Pet Valu nearby for all the feline supplies we need and we can get to the 401 or 402 quickly without having to drive through the city.

And another bonus – it’s close to the airport. Not because we’re big “jet setters” but because I enjoy going over to the airport to watch airplanes take off and land.

I know. I’m a geek.

4 thoughts on “A tale of 10 moves

  1. Ain’t nothing. In the first 16 years of marriage, Mina and I moved 14 times. 5 cities. 3 provinces. 2 countries! And some cities were repeated. I still have stuff in boxes from our move to Saskatchewan which I have not opened. Probably don’t need what’s in there!

    1. Wow! That’s impressive. I bet Mina is an expert at packing, just like Joy. We also have things in boxes from several moves ago. They say if you don’t need something in a year, you likely don’t need it at all. Maybe it’s time we both purge. Haha.

  2. I feel your pain. Since leaving high school 17y.a.,I have lived in 12 different places. The plus side is that I don’t accumulate too much stuff.

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