After I had abandoned my photography business unable to compete against Walmart, I went to work for the government and since my former business was located over 100 km away from the government job, I decided to move. Not only is commuting 200 km a day costly, it also costs a lot in time spent. Hence it was not an option at all.
During my years as a business owner I have accumulated a great deal of possessions. Those included merchandise related to operation of said photography business, actual items that were for sale, lots of decoration for different seasons of the year, and crap loads of other useless junk I somehow felt appealed to buy when I saw it (corporate lifestyle ruled).
When time to move came along after I’ve been offered a job with the government, I packed it all up in boxes and moved to the new location I was going to call home. That however took place in the beginning of 2007. Edmonton underwent massive boom and rental prices went through the roof due to growing demand. Thousands of people from all over Canada flocked to Edmonton where economy was stronger than anywhere else in the country. There was more work available in Edmonton than there were workers.
With situation like that, there were no places for rent. Thousands of people looking, but everyone full up. Homeowners responded by hiking prices up ad nauseum. Since I have already left the notice with my old apartment, I had to leave, but I found myself in a deadlock. After two months of looking, I had no leads as everyone was simply full. It almost looked as though I was gonna end up on the street with dozens of boxes full of possessions and then I found a nice place the day before it would have been too late.
The place was nice, it only had a few catches. It was extremely expensive and was nowhere near conveniently located in relation to my workplace. I had to take it as that was the only available housing at the time. I asked my friend who has a van to help me move all of my boxes. We filled the van twice and moved most of the boxes that way, the rest I moved with my car. There was a lot of stuff in play, but it was all money.
Few months later, the housing situation in Edmonton has stabilized. Prices did not drop, but there was more availability. I took the opportunity and moved to a nice house with live in owner. He was a nice guy, the place was nice and it was close to work. I was happy. The owner let me use the garage where I have stored most of the boxes. The rest I filled up my room with. Life was pretty steady back then. I had little to complain about, other than the fact that there was no excitement in my life. I continued acquiring possessions as that is what you do when you live a corporate lifestyle. I bought myself a new, larger screen for the computer and 5.1 speaker system with awesome subwoofer that would bring any audio to life.
I stayed at that place for over a year and was surprised when the owner asked me to leave. I was happy there. It was close to work and no excessive noise to drive me insane when I’m at home. The reason why I was asked to leave, was that the owner, who had originally immigrated to Canada from Iran was able to get immigration papers for the rest of his family and needed his whole house so his parents and brother and sisters have a place. He recommended his friend and told her about me too. He was happy with me as a tenant, but the situation has developed in such a way that he needed his whole house for his family. I was unhappy about it, but had no other option. I still had my life in boxes and had to move all of them for the third time in a bit over a year.
I moved in with my former landlord’s friend at the beginning of spring. I was still driving at the time, but shortly after I moved to my new place, I bought myself a bicycle and started riding instead. This new place was on the 13th floor of an apartment building down town. Being downtown, it was again not close to my work at all and being on 13th floor, it made moving of all those boxes a major pain. I was pretty fed up with all that constant moving and was glad I had never unboxed cause had I done that, I would have to put it all back in the boxes in order to move. Keeping all I own in boxes had its advantages as it saved me a lot of time during moving, but it came at a price. You can’t find half of your stuff. You know you have it, you just don’t know which box it’s in. That forces you to buy what you already own. For example, you need a cork screw for your wine which I used to drink every evening (a glass of red dry each evening helped a lot with insomnia). I knew I had at least two of them, but for the heck of it I could not find them. They were in one of those boxes but each time I went through the content, I could not see any. So I ended up buying what I already had. Such is life when your life is in boxes. I also like burning scented candles and I knew I had plenty of those but rather than going through boxes, I opted for buying new ones. Corporate lifestyle which is all about acquiring possessions combined with life in boxes made for waste of money of unknown proportions.
Shortly after I had moved to the apartment on the 13th floor, I got myself a bike as my car was getting old and was becoming very costly to run and maintain. I made an attempt to lease a new car and had everything lined up, but it crashed and I ended up with none. Now I know this was one of the best things to have happened to me in a long time. But I’ll talk about it later.
I started riding bike to work. It was a 45 minute bike ride each way. I’m not a morning person so this forced me to get up earlier than normal in the morning so I could get to work in time on bike. Despite all that, commuting that way was enjoyable. Exposure to elements was making it tricky as some days it would rain like crazy, so I’d have to pack a set of extra clothes to take with me and change into them after I have arrived at work. Other days it would be so hot you sweat like crazy and stink whole day at work. Then it would get so windy you get to work exhausted as you pedal twice as hard but move twice as slowly.
But it was all good. I did it for a few months, until final element hit – cold. As soon as September came, it started getting brutally cold and biking became difficult. With each week it was getting colder and colder. Icy roads made for very unsafe biking and as you ride, you go against the air that’s freezing cold but feels twice as cold because you’re at a speed against it. I did it for as long as I could, but eventually had no other option but to move closer to work again. Driving my car was still an option, but it was the last resort. The car was completely busted, ate gas like crazy and didn’t heat up. It was still somewhat working, but it plain and simple sucked. I wanted to stick with riding a bike and it would be an option in winter as well, but not when your workplace is this far from your residence. 45 minutes of bike ride in summer equals over an hour in winter. It also becomes increasingly dangerous so it was just a question of time before something bad would happen. I had to move. Which meant I’d have to move all of my boxes with me AGAIN!
This time I found a place so close to work, I could walk to work in 10 minutes. I went through extreme pain of moving all of my boxes over to the new place all by myself (about 6 days of non stop work). The location was fantastic. I was so close to work, I was literally immune to any bad weather as I didn’t have to worry about traffic jams or cars not starting up. I could easily walk it to work in 10 minutes which was amazing.
This actually proved to be a heap of help as winter of 2009 was a tough one. It was extremely cold for extended periods of time. Whole December was below -30 Celsius. Then it gave us a bit of break and went down to beyond brutal again. Too many extremely cold days and these cold snaps also lasted for way too long. Not having to deal with any automobiles in weather like that was extremely beneficial. Sure it was beyond insane to walk for 10 minutes in such weather, but it could be done. On some days it got so brutally cold I had barely made it to work, but I’ve survived.
Unfortunately, I had really bad roommates in this new place close to work. I lived in the basement and the couple who lived above walked around like a herd of buffaloes. The noise was unbearable and never stopped. I spent Christmas suffering from severe headaches caused by non stop noise made by stomping of people above. I feared for my mental and physical health and had to leave as soon as I had a chance.
At this point I have already lost count over how many times I had to move my boxes from one place to another. I have been moving them around for so long, giving up on them was not an option anymore. In two years of working for the government I had to move 5 times and another move was imminent. Each of those times I had all of those boxes in my hand and each time the boxes were moved, they were just sitting there. Few essential items were at hand, the rest was just being moved in boxes. But the thing was – I have moved them around so many times yet never made use of any of it. I can’t give up on it now. If I were to get rid of any of it, I should have done it the first time I went to move. Subsequent moves would be so much easier. But since I haven’t done it, and actually went through eternal pain of moving each of them boxes around with me, I should continue putting up with it and wait until such time when it will pay for itself.
The breakthrough moment came with my last move. I had to leave the basement apartment asap because noise was just too much. There wasn’t much available at the time – everything was either extremely overpriced or extremely inconveniently located. Except from one place. It was a two bedroom apartment in a nice apartment building. It was reasonably close to work for convenient bicycle commute and reasonably priced: $850 for a two bedroom apartment. I figured I was gonna take it and find myself a roommate in which case the cost per person would become fairly affordable. So I went to move all of my boxes again. I had hoped this was the last time as having one’s life in boxes is extremely difficult and I was on the fringe of flipping from constant need to move them around.