Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Four and a half rooms of one's own

Last night, a centipede the size of a mouse ran across my living room floor, and I decided it was high time I stopped talking about moving and started actually making plans to blow this popsicle stand. Sayonara spiders. Ciao centipedes. I am outta here. So I found this place online and made a call, and now I'm waiting for a call back to come and look at it. Which might never happen, but it might, and I might like it, and I might write a cheque right there and then and begin chronicling Jen's Year-End Moving Adventure!! Which would be a companion tale to Jen's Rapid Descent into Ever-Increasing Debt!!! Good thing Jen works for a bank. A couple of things: if I do take this place - and that's a big if, it might be a total dive, it might be part of a sinister bait-and-switch plan ("Well, no, that apartment has been rented, but we have a 1-bedroom suite next door for only $1500 plus hydro and your firstborn child!") - I'd like to point out that, even though the ad says that the apartment is in "the heart of Rosedale", it isn't. It's on the outskirts of Rosedale. It's huddling in the shadow of Rosedale. It's east of Mount Pleasant Avenue, for Pete's sake. It's not in Rosedale. So don't worry. I haven't suddenly mutated into one of those annoying blonde women who carry their dogs around in Louis Vuitton dog-bags. I'm still me: refreshingly plain and ordinary. I don't even have a dog! And yes, I know that the two pictures with the hardwood floor and the windows and the rads are of the same room. I'm no fool. Apparently, one of the rooms is carpeted - that's what "Steve" told me. Note how that room didn't even make it into the slide show - it doesn't mesh with the "hardwood floors" part of the ad. But as long as the carpet isn't puke-green shag, I don't care. The carpeted room can be the junk room if this place is all it's cracked up to be. I have to get out of Centipede Central - I just can't take it anymore. I didn't set out to find a two-bedroom apartment. It's not like that was high on my Must Have list. What do I need with two bedrooms? I own, like, seven pieces of furniture - how am I going to fill two bedrooms and living room with that? It's going to take some time and some dedicated spending, let me tell you. But I noticed that the indexing on is far from perfect. So I took advantage of it in order to further my quest for the Perfect Place. Basically, you're supposed to be able to search for a place by location, by number of bedrooms, by rent, and by whether or not the apartment is shared, furnished, or unfurnished. I don't know how 'Shared" got thrown into the "Furnished/unfurnished" category but there you have it. "Rent" tends to be fairly straightforward. You can search in different ranges - my favourite ones are $600-899 and $900-1199, because they tend to yield the most results - for Toronto apartments, anyway. There are a couple of "rentless" apartments floating around - I just ignore them, because I'm too busy to call and find out what the rent is if it's not posted. Bedroom Number is also pretty obvious although you will occasionally pull up ads saying "One bedroom but can be turned into two" and that kind of thing. More devious is the search for a one-bedroom in a given range that yields a result for, eg., "$850 and up", which sometimes translates into "Bachelor apartments in this building start at $850, sucker". But "Location" is a crapshoot on Every advertiser has a different idea about what part of Toronto their apartments are located in. It is generally understood that Yonge is the East-West dividing line in the city, and I'd put the North/South border at Eglinton, but maybe that's too South. Who knows? Nobody, evidently. I've seen ads for Yonge and Eglinton indexed under "Central," "Central North" and "Central East". Given this reality, I intuited I was missing a lot of potentially good apartments. So, instead of using the interactive map feature and restricting my search to one-bedroom apartments in a series of neighbourhoods, I did a "Quick Search" on central, one and two-bedroomed apartments renting for between $600-1000 per month. And voila. Apartments in desireable neighbourhoods that had never appeared in my previous searches were suddenly a mouseclick away. Anyway, it's a start. Begin as you mean to go on, that's what I always say. Starting now.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

No news

Is good news, I guess. I really don't have much to report. I'm feeling rather drained and in need of a recharge. The schedule I've been keeping for the last six weeks or so has been very gruelling and I'm glad it's almost over because my enthusiasm is definitely flagging. If you've called me or sent me a card or an e-mail in the last little while and I haven't responded, I'm not ignoring you - I'm just really busy. What I need is a vacation but unfortunately now is not a good time. Also I'm torn between spending money on a trip somewhere fantastic, or spending it furnishing my apartment, which is still a shrine to Ikea and also to carboard boxes and assorted cat carriers. But right now, what I want more than anything else is 8 hours of sleep. That would be amazing.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Spring makeover

I ruthlessly weeded my wardrobe yesterday, tossing every item of clothing that didn't fit, that I hadn't worn in 18 months, or that I didn't like. I haven't lost weight, but I have lost fat I guess - a lot of them were too big. Even stuff I bought a couple of months ago is getting to be on the loose side, but still wearable, and too new to part with yet. And yes, there were a couple of items from 2001, the year I swam three times a week and got dumped for another woman, that were too small. Anyway - it's all going to Goodwill or Village or the Salvation Army. Bye bye unflattering clothes! I had a lot of empty hangers when I was done. Then I took myself down to my friend Rina's new full-service salon, RC Beauty Studio at Yonge and St Clair, for a trim. If you're in Toronto and looking for a stylist, I highly recommend Rina. For starters, she's something of an inspiration: she moved here from Hong Kong 14 years ago, and worked at various salons until this past spring, when she fufilled her dream of opening her own. She's living the Canadian dream! More importantly, I trust her with my hair. And she doesn't charge you a mint- you won't be paying $50 a cut, no way. E-mail me if you want location and contact info. Then I went down to the Eaton Centre, to start rebuilding my clothing inventory. I didn't see much that appealed to me, but I did buy two new retro-style skirts - a black full-skirted A-line at Jacob and a funky black-and-white floral print at The Gap. Today: shoes.