Jan 22, 2011

Poo, graffiti and the perils of online renting

I despise moving.
For those who know me, that statement would seem an oxymoron since I appear to be a chronic mover, uprooting my life about once a year.
Last August, however, I got the opportunity to make a very important move -- to Calgary. Despite the two-weeks notice and scramble to pack all of my worldly belongings into a 14-foot U-Haul and drive it, with car in tow, across the Rocky Mountains, it was a move I knew I wouldn't regret.
That, unbeknown to me at the time, was the easy part.
The challenge is finding the perfect, no scratch that, a decent place to call home that you've never seen in person in a city you've never been to.
Enter the Internet.
Like a mad woman, I scoured online postings for rentals in Calgary from my then-home in Kamloops, B.C. After myriad emails and phone calls (as well as bleary eyes and a sore neck), I found an apartment that was both close to my son's school and my work.
Perfect. Or, so I thought.
Nevermind the unease of sending a stranger money and heading to a new province with fingers crossed the guy didn't jack my security deposit and I'm left to sleep on the streets, the state of the building upon first in-person glance was jaw-dropping.
I rented a slum. 
OK, so the actual suite is decent, aside from the non-ventilated bathroom that resembles a cave due to moisture build up and the Easy Bake-sized oven and Holly Homemaker-sized fridge.
But the building itself is horrific. In the past six months, I've endured one pile of human poo, two sets of broken pipes, four days of no heat, two days of no hot water, one drug bust, piles of trash everywhere, dozens of tenant parties, less-than artistic graffiti scrawled in the elevator, one drunk guy kicking in the door beside mine and one homeless man, which turned into a hobo community, in the garbage room.
All of this on top of the fact it's always either too hot or too cold because I don't control my heat, my blinds still haven't been fixed (I had to taken them down) and my buzzer still hasn't been set up.
Maybe I'm just fussy, but I don't like to live like this. And, quite frankly, I shouldn't have to.
But, thankfully my lease (yes, I signed a lease. It was the only way to get a deal on the over-priced rent.) is up at the end of February and, no, I'm not renewing.
Lucky for me, I've found a much cleaner and hopefully quieter place in a decent neighbourhood that's both close to my son's schools and my work.
Well, aside from having to move — again.


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