When we first had to move out of our townhouse, it was a bit of a scramble because the new house wasn’t ready. We almost rented a friend’s basement (it would have been perfect) but the timing was not ideal, and in the end, it turned out that she needed to do some significant renos in there anyway. We combed Craigslist looking for people who were open to short-term rentals (I thought maybe until February or early March - ha!). I came across a surprising number of scams. Finally we found a family who wanted people to rent out a house short-term because they’d be knocking it down. We had a look at the house, and it was tiny, and definitely in need of knocking down! But it had a roof (or at least a tarp over the roof) and was warm (well, a bit warmer than outside) and the owners seemed like nice decent folks, so it was any port in a storm! We dubbed the place “the hovel”.
I haven’t posted anything lately because I was very busy packing up everything we own and moving from the hovel to our first housesitting gig. Now that I’m out of the hovel, I realize how awful it was. So here is a list of things I will not miss:
- The leaky roof - sure, a roofer tacked down the tarp that was up there, but it was anybody’s guess when the tarp might get blown about and let more leaks in.
- The lack of a dryer - finding time in all this to go to the laundromat to dry clothes was challenging. Plus it was expensive due to all the sushi dinners we had to have at the restaurant down the block from the laundromat.
- The grotty little old gas range and the hot water heater access panel that kept falling off.
- The countertop dishwasher (what people don’t already have a dishwasher but have enough counter space for this beast?). Oh, and those drawers that were just boxes fitted into holes in the cabinet front.
- The fridge around the corner (wha?) and the leaning tower of appliances. Appliances which all had to share one outlet on that there peninsula - the microwave, toaster oven, washing machine (on the other side of the peninsula), the dishwasher, the kettle, the toaster. You could only run *one* thing at a time, or the breaker would trip. In fact, there were only 8 pairs of outlets in the whole house.
- The hideous window coverings - I took them *all* off except for the shabby but serviceable vertical blinds in the living room. We used these old couch cushions in the master bedroom side windows. And one of them actually got moldy on the window side and I had to throw it out. Ewww. We used a flattened box and a Bob the Builder fleece throw in the other bedroom. So classy.
- One of the ickiest bathrooms I’ve ever used. Yes, that’s a plastic container lid in the window. I don’t know what’s up with the plastic lace “curtain”. The panels of the shower surround were only barely attached to the walls, and there was only the merest suggestion of caulking anywhere. You can’t see it here, but the sink was installed tilting slightly out, so the water didn’t drain properly and we had to use a vice grip for the hot water tap. The cold water tap worked, but it was installed backwards somehow so we were always turning it the wrong way. Kinda like most of the light switches - most of them were installed upside down. Most, but not all.
- The furnace. It sat in the hall between the living room and bedrooms, and we put a chicken wire cage around it to make sure the cats didn’t get too close - it put out so much heat that the baked enamel on the grill work at the top was partially melted off. Of course there were no ducts - this was literally central heating - and it just blew heated air straight up into the tiny hallway. So we always had to leave all the room doors open, and the kitchen got hardly any heat. We had to dry dishes on cookie racks over the furnace because they just didn’t dry in the freezing kitchen. We also strung some clothesline in the hallway to dry and/or warm clothing.
- The windows that were all painted and nailed shut - ventilation was so bad that we couldn’t dry more than a couple of items in the house (hence the laundromat-and-sushi trips) and the walls were damp from condensation.
- The fleas! Yes, the one carpeted bedroom turned out to have fleas, which we only discovered a couple of weeks after we moved in. The cats (indoor cats - they didn’t bring the fleas) like to sleep in our dresser drawers and laundry baskets, so we had to wash every item of clothing as well as the 10 million blankets we’d been using due to the cold. At the laundromat. I waged chemical warfare too, so all told, this was an expensive little problem.
|Ollie climbed into the top shelf of the pantry to get at the treats - who left the door open???|
One thing I will miss is our cats. Since we’ll be housesitting for people who have their own cats, we’ve sent Skittles and Ollie to my in-laws’ house until we finally move into the new house. Ollie had been there before, so he immediately walked around and rubbed against everyone and everything. Skittles hid in a corner and is apparently still hiding under my mother-in-law’s bed. Poor wee thing.
It was very stressful sorting out our stuff and packing it all away. We now have 3 mobile mini storage units, a storage locker and stashes of stuff at my sister’s garage, and my in-laws’ house. Since it will only be a few months, I downsized my wardrobe further. It now fits in these two suitcases. Well, plus a few other items that went in a bag, and an armful of closet clothes - of which ⅓ is chorus costumes! So if you see me always wearing the same shirts and pants, just pretend not to notice.
And now we're staying at a *lovely* house in Mount Pleasant - only 2 blocks from our first house. I love this neighbourhood. And there’s a boy the same age as Kid 2 on the other side of the duplex (there’s even a secret door between the two sides), so they’ve been having a great time together. It’s warm. It’s dry. There’s an awesome washer/dryer pair. The bathroom is the swankiest I’ve ever been in (overhead rain shower, ginormous tub...). Unfortunately, we can’t attach our dishwasher to the fancy sink faucet. Anyone want to buy a countertop dishwasher? Almost new!
And look - our fancy new drainage system! Work is continuing apace at the house now. Here the worker is laying gravel around the drainage pipes (one line is peforated “drain tile” pipes, the other is for the gutter downspouts) in preparation for inspection. It’s not a fancy bathroom, but if it keeps the mold away, I’m all for it. And now that the entire lawn is chewed and dug up, I don’t even have to kill it myself - it’s like a 2-for-1 deal! Huzzah!