One overwhelming and very stressful situation that pushed my need to take the purposeful break from all aspects of my life involved another move.
While I was in the midst of my melanoma surgeries and still no indication the outcome would be the best case scenario possible, my landlord gave me notice that they were taking over my suite for personal use.
The housing situation in Victoria is crazy. There is a shortage of inventory. Overseas buyers are snapping up whatever they can and there has been a frenzy of home owners placing their home on the market to cash in on the ridiculous prices that home owners are receiving for their properties. My realtor is so busy. She told me she lists a home, has one open house the first weekend and then accepts all offers Monday morning. People aren’t even doing home inspections or placing any conditions on their offers. My realtor has been getting anywhere from 14 to 21 offers at once on a property. People are paying well over the asking price to make sure they win the bid.
As a result, the vacancy rate for rentals in Victoria is 0%. People are selling their homes to take advantage of the market and then renting hoping the market will either slow and they can buy back in or they are continuing to rent and just investing their money elsewhere.
I spent the 2 months after I received notice trying to find whatever I could as a place to rent. As a result of the rental demand not only have prices increased but landlords can be way more picky with tenants. I am not the ideal tenant as I have a dog, 2 cats (pets posed a problem for me even before the market change), 2 kids and no employment income.
Again, I had to rethink whether I could even stay in Victoria. If I were alone, I would definitely not still be here but my reasoning for staying the next 4 years is that I didn’t want to move my youngest daughter away from her dad, sister, friends and dance studio. Therefore, to find a place to live I was looking well out of the school catchment for my youngest daughter prepared to commute unreasonable distances just to keep her life as stable as possible. I had a hard talk with both my girls about options we needed to explore including them living with their dad at least temporarily until we found a place, placing the pets in foster homes and moving back to Ontario. Even my kids were trying to come up with ideas suggesting they would talk to their dad about him moving in with Janice and then us taking over his place and that Janice could have pets at her place so she could take them temporarily. They suggested staying on the island but moving up north 1 1/2 hours. In the end, they said, “Mom, we don’t care where we live but we want to stay the 3 of us together and the pets have to be with us.”
I investigated every referral from friends, searched online 4 or 5 times/day, placed my own advertisement, told anyone I met I was looking for a place, looked at places to camp and to stay over the summer for the interim and even planned out ways to exist as a homeless family. I tried to see if I could buy something even a trailer. I asked the landlord if we could stay at least a month longer and I tried to fight the eviction as well through the BC Tenancy Act dispute process to buy us more time. God was being clear; I needed to move on yet again.
Through a lot of prayer and perseverance, I found a place to move to 6 days before my eviction date. I found the ad on my 4th try that day on UsedVictoria. My daughter suggested I change my search to include smoking properties. I thought that would limit my search but it actually opened up this one property that didn’t care if we smoked or not in their unit. I knew from losing other places that I had to be aggressive. I called the new potential landlord, sent an email and although the ad was placed with no address, just the street name, I tried to drive by and find it from the photos as I planned to knock on the door to speak to the landlord. I couldn’t find it by driving by as I only had photos of the back of the house. When they called back they said it was too late for me to come by that night (I still asked). They were showing it at 10 the next morning. I asked if I could come at 9. I came with an application filled out, a letter about me, a page of referral names and numbers and a cheque to fill out for damage deposits and first month’s rent. They actually were planning on renting it July 1 but I said I would take it for June 1 as it was vacant and I didn’t care about any of the work they planned to do to get it ready. My dog was almost a deal breaker but I pleaded and asked if I could bring him by to meet them. I went and got the dog immediately and while I did that they called some of my references. We must have won them over because they accepted us.
$1300 in moving expenses and a lot of exhausting help from friends packing and moving boxes and hard-to-pack items over in advance confirmed again that I don’t want to keep going through this process. I have been getting rid of more and more stuff again as I am now renting less space for more money. More confirmation that the universe is telling me to lighten my load significantly. I better start abiding or I suspect I will be forced again to move and to get out of my comfort zone and lose more possessions. I am being prepared for something I am certain that is going to involve me leaving everything behind.
Right now, my youngest daughter and I are sharing a room. My older daughter is sleeping in what we call “the Harry Potter closet” as her tiny room doesn’t even have a window. My kids have never complained once about our new living environment. In fact my older daughter is the one to always say things like, “I lived in a dorm last year sharing a room and having less so this is no big deal,” or “we need to just be grateful we got a place”.
I am very grateful every day. I came back from the break refreshed, refocused and with a renewed energy and purpose. I have a lot to do and I am doing it.
7 thoughts on “Lifting my Anchor Again”
Let me get this right; You needed to contemplate homelessness because you don’t have employment income and rental availability is nil in your city. Yet you thought it prudent to go on a Hawaiian vacation? A Vacation to take a break from your ‘schedule’… your overwhelming ‘to do’ list’.
Lady you are an embarrassment to those single parents who work their ass off WHILE still managing our pets and children.
Are you for real?
Who’s the narcissist?? Hello Pot??
I had purchased the trip 2 1/2 years ago when my situation was a lot different. I hadn’t been able to use the trip and after being given a 3 month extension beyond its expiry date I booked it for my 50th birthday. If I didn’t use it, I was going to lose it–$3500 US. All I had to pay was the flight for me and my girls. It was off season and I booked the flights well in advance on a seat sale. It wasn’t money that I would have spent otherwise and I booked the trip well before I had any idea I was being evicted. Another friend came with me who purchased our rental vehicle and paid for me and my girls to do a couple excursions as a Thank You. My only expense was food which my friend shared the cost and which we purchased at Costco and Walmart. We had two nice meals out but otherwise cooked and ate at our accommodation for the 2 weeks.
I have a disability and I am not able to work. I receive Canada Pension Disability benefits. If an opportunity does come up for me to work at something that I can do that is temporary with flexible hours I take it. This year I have not been able to do that. Having a cancer diagnosis on top requiring 3 surgeries didn’t help. My ex just deducts any money that I earn from spousal support so it doesn’t really help me financially but I miss working very much and love it when I get the opportunity. I was very successful with my career. With my benefit and vacation package I was earning more than my ex at one time.
I volunteer when I can and take on temporary work when I can but at this point still I can’t work a regular part-time job.
My homeless situation had nothing to do with finances. It is just the market where I live. The vacancy rate is 0%. I can’t make a housing situation appear where it doesn’t exist. Having 2 kids and 3 pets does not make me an attractive tenant. If you watched the news in my area you would see as many as 40 people lining up to put an application in for one suite. I pay heavily for the place that I feel very blessed to have found just 5 days before I had to move so “homelessness” was real for us and it wouldn’t have made a difference if I was working or not. I literally begged my landlord to take us as his tenants.
I know it is hard being single and managing children and pets. I hope your children’s father provides support for you and your children on all levels. I hope that he is kind, supportive and caring and wants the best for his kids. I hope he doesn’t try to deplete any more of your time and energy and finances away from your kids and the things that you need to be doing for their benefit.
I hope your living situation and your employment situation and health situation remain the same…but if nothing else take from my experience that your life can change on a dime. I never expected to be where I am at and yet here I am. Be careful how you judge. I hope you are investing wisely in things that matter. How secure is what you are investing in? Don’t be fooled and lulled into a false sense that you are better, more stable and solid than I was or am. You could very easily lose it all tomorrow. Hope you haven’t booked a trip!
So forgive me if I decided to take a vacation with my children to make memories with them for my 50th birthday. To date, it has been the best investment that I have made.
Why did you change your user name again? You had so many previous ones to choose from like WTF, Devil’s Advocate, Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right, or Winner Winner Chicken Dinner?
This is beautiful. Your housing doesn’t matter. It’s your family that makes it home.
Much love and good thoughts coming your way.
Thank you so much.
I have been following your blog for a long time and I just want you to know that I worry and care for your situation. You seem to take so much with grace and it’s an inspiration. I’m sorry for the things you have happening, but god also seems to put situations and people in your life at specific times. I am trying to follow your lead and let sometimes weird solutions and strangers influence my world because opportunities sometimes are worth the strange.
Thank you so much for following me and for caring and for letting me know. It is the saddest and most difficult and frustrating time of my life but good happens throughout as well. I am happy that you are able to find something worth trying as a result of my sharing. I know there are many examples that people will be able to say, “Wow, glad she shared how that worked out so I don’t make the same mistake.” I agree that God is here. I am trying to trust in his plan. I don’t like so much of it but I also see there are things that are good for me to change in my life. I think these changes are preparing me for something so I am trying to hop on board and not resist where I am being lead. I wish you good luck with your situation and I hope that you find some amazing weird and strange!