Remembering Times Gone By

On January 1, 2012 my wife and I moved into a one-bedroom condo in a small rural Albertan town called Stony Plain, Alberta. We lucked out as this was a newer building with construction ending in 2010. The building had been built to house retirees. However the developer did not plan appropriately when it came to selling the 60-condos and had overpriced the units.

Luckily their error meant the property managers had to decide on an appropriate action and after several months of not being able to sell the remaining 30-condos they decided to turn them into rental properties. Thus when we “the lucky ones” moved from Paju, South Korea to Alberta, Canada with our two travel suitcases and backpacks, our things easily fit into the massive 850 square foot condo!

Over eight wonderful years, we lived in Stony Plain and commuted to Edmonton where we both held jobs. Every year, I would browse through condo and apartment flyers looking for an upgrade in the Big City, to consider moving to. What I found was the Big City, came with a big price tag and even though our commutes would be shorter in overall distance and time traveled the cost of living in the city versus the smaller community was too substantial. And we stayed.

Fast forward to 2016 and we started pursuing the idea about buying ourselves a home. We informed our landlady and she agreed to have us switched into a month to month contract. In case we found ourselves a home and needed to move out of the condo. We searched for two years and found only one possible location. Which ended up back in the small rural town. But that deal fell through.

Then early last year our landlady approached us with a possible solution to our wanting to move into the big city as she knew someone with a rental condo. She informed we should take a look. Then on the day we went for a showing we learnt the condo she wanted to show us was uninhabitable. But there was a second option. Option 2, came as a SURPRISE!, as it was on the first floor and had nearly 1,200 square feet of living space.

Option 2, was a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom with laundry room a slightly smaller kitchen, a natural gas fireplace and bbq hookup, and a nice patio. She says before we entered the building, “just remember to keep an open mind when you are viewing it. Look at the potential…” and she left it at that. The wife and I side-glanced each other then shrugged as we trusted our landlady’s opinions as she’d been super awesome over the last eight-years.

The first floor condo was atrocious with its over burdened amounts of furniture. Every room had two or three extra pieces of furniture. It was absurd. Speaking of absurdities the entire unit was painted three-shades of burnt-orange; light, dark, and darker. It was hideous!

We all agreed if the place was repainted, the carpet ripped out and linoleum or hardwood installed and perhaps some of the far too many mirrored closet doors replaced then maybe, this unit would have an appeal to us. She informed the price of this unit would be $100 more than what we were paying in Stony Plain. We negotiated a better price. Then talked about the renovations.

We agreed to painting the unit, and completing an upgrade in the kitchen by removing the old microwave and replacing it. As well as adding a backsplash behind the oven and behind the kitchen sink. We all agreed a move in date of August 1, 2019.

We were given the keys and leeway to stay in our current condo until all renovations were completed. Also, we agreed to help out the new owner with selling the furniture inside the condo to speed up the process of moving in. After this experience this is something I would never agree to do again; sell someone else’s furnishings and renovate their condo!

Then on August 1, 2019 we moved from Stony Plain, Alberta into the “Big City” of Edmonton. Our move out of a one bedroom condo into a new massive 1,150 square foot condo! Last weekend would mark our 1-year anniversary in the Big City.

During the move into the new condo, the two of us jammed the spare bedroom closet full of “things” which were stored in our previous condo’s large in-unit storage room. Without this room we realized we did not have enough storage space. Hence the spare rooms closet. Over the past few COVID months, the wife has been talking about pulling those stowed boxes out and finally deciding the fate of their contents.

Boxes on the floor she’s been at it for nearly two and a half hours reading things, finding old photos, postcards and letters from yours truly. Which brought about the reminiscing of our twisted paths and journeys. We’ve been sitting here laughing and enjoying the contents of those boxes. The reality is she held good intentions with the purge, unfortunately the reality is those things, photos and old memories still hold sentimental value and require more time before she will be able to depart with these items. That or she buys a scanner and starts digitizing all her papers.

Lost on a Map