OK, OK, so it’s been a while since I did an entry here. Like 8 days.
It isn’t as if nothing’s been going on. Life has been turned upside down by trying to do two things that are normally all-consuming when they are done on their own: selling your house, and buying a new house. We’re now doing them simultaneously. Oh, and the buying part is nearly entirely by long-distance in another country, and on another coast. But you knew that last part, dear reader.
Where to start? Well, with our house now on the market, it means that we still had to decide what to do about where to live in Vancouver. While I was there in March, I happened to strike up a conversation at the Massive Tech Conference with a fellow named Terry who just happened to be moving back to Toronto from Vancouver. He offered to show off his condo (in Canada these are called apartments, but the association that manages them is called a ‘strata’. Don’t ask me why, but that’s the term.) On a whim, I took him up on it. You never know, right?
It turned out that the place is small, but probably just right for us. So after talking it over and agonizing over the decision, Pam and I submitted an offer for Terry’s place. After some negotiations, we agreed on a good price (for both parties, I assume), we also agreed that the offer was good contingent upon the sale of our place here. Tomorrow a home inspector will take a look at it and send us a report (complete with digital photos — I wonder if we could have done anything remotely like this 5 years ago!), and next week we meet with a Bank representative in Vancouver to get a small mortgage. We decided that rather than cover the entire place with the proceeds from our house here, we’d take out a relatively small mortgage, mainly to start to build up a history of good credit in Canada. We also wouldn’t want to raise any red flags about us being drug dealers or something like that, buying a house 100% with US cash.
The apartment is indeed small, but it has some key features that make it particularly attractive to us; it is on the second floor of an 11 story building, and set on a hill overlooking False Creek. It has a large patio/deck, roughly the length of the place full of plants, including a set of tall bamboo trees. The view faces north toward the city and Grouse Mountain. The deck is large enough for a table and chairs, as well as another seating area, so it’s essentially another room. Also, the complex has a secure front lobby entrance, underground parking, a health club, steam room and jacuzzi. The location is near the Granville Bridge and Granville Island to the northwest, and a great neighborhood with many restaurants and shopping to the south and southeast. It’s extremely close to nearly all of the main bus lines into Downtown Vancouver, but in good weather is no more than a 20 minute walk from most of the places we would want to go. It’s has easy access to the main road southward toward the US, as well as the airport. It has a gas fireplace, good kitchen (with high quality gas stove, oak cabinets and granite countertops), broadband internet and a heated floor for the master bathroom. There is only one bedroom, but I think we can make the den double as a guest bedroom via fold-out couch or murphy bed. Rather than put up photos of the new place — and we have some —I’m thinking I’ll post them after our furnishings are in place. Terry and his partner’s (incidentally, in Canada, ‘partner’ can refer to the significant other of the same sex or the opposite sex — so Pam is my ‘partner’) taste in furniture and general décor are very different from ours, and I want us to show the place as ‘ours’ rather than ‘their’s and about to be ours’.
That said, there is another nice fringe-benefit of having to show off your house for so many prospective buyers: it looks nice, for a change. So I posted a set of photos of the interior to Flickr. On Saturday, a special videographer will be coming over to do a video tour of the place. I hope we get to take some of his footage with us as well. It’s nice to have a record of the place you lived, especially when it was looking it’s best, with most of the furniture and art you furnished it with.
So we’re off.
Not a minute too soon, either. I’m getting more and more upset with each evening newscast, as the Christian Taliban continues it’s inexorable progress toward taking over the government, media and lives of citizens here. This last weekend was ‘Justice Sunday’, where politicians and church leaders broadcast nationwide their intentions to take over the Judiciary. That would be the last branch of government they don’t have a firm grip over. It feels more and more like the novel The Handmaid’s Tale of Margaret Atwood. I used to feel like we were leaving because I felt that this was no longer the country that I grew up in. Now it’s even worse than that; it’s a country that I’m beginning to fear and loathe.