The previous owners of our house were meticulous on a huge number of fronts. When they moved out, they left us a drawer full of manuals, with stickie noted reminders here and there to indicate things we should do, people we should call, and when we ought to do it.
I absolutely adore them for that. It's funny how fondly I think of them to be honest. Though, I suppose, since this house was a custom design of their planning and approval, in a very real way we owe the beauty of this place to them.
I digress. Above you see one thing they left in a drawer, along with a note taped across it that said "This didn't work for us -- the battery life was too short". For the first three or four weeks we ignored it, as I continuously made plans to buy batteries, and kept forgetting. About two weeks ago though, I finally remembered, and loaded some batteries into the sensor ring, installed on the power meter outside. Since then, this meter has been sitting on one of our kitchen counters, giving us real-time feedback on our power usage.
What a fascinating thing to see!
Perhaps I'm slow, but seeing my power consumption in real-time has been a fantastically educational thing. Concepts that were largely hypothetical suddenly have a real weight.
Take for example, the humble microwave. Seeing one's power consumption jump by 1kWh really hammers home exactly the thousand Watts of a 1000W microwave! Similarly, noticing the power jump on the meter as Andrea boots our desktop computer is a reminder that everything we turn on takes power -- it's just a question of rate.
The local meter we have (and I haven't yet determined if the battery life will be a huge issue for us) is great for instantaneous power information. It also aggregates the total number of kWh consumed, and has a montly cycle built in, as well as the ability to program in the cost of power, as well as awareness of peak/off-peak pricing differences. However, I haven't used almost any of the advanced features, because it turns out Hydro Ottawa has a pretty fantastic app.
The app provides a very reasonable dashboard to your monthly costs, including a projection, and summary of where your power usage came from. There are more screens that I didn't screenshot, where they show what fraction of your consumption happened at the different power prices, as well as the temperature -- so you can relate your power usage to temperature.
All in all, I have to say, all of this data about our consumption has been pretty fascinating. I fully expect that come winter I'm going to be hugely irritated that I don't have this granular data about my gas bill.
Looks like somehow I missed the one month anniversary of us moving to Ottawa, by a little bit. Nevertheless, it seems like not a bad time to reflect, and look back.
The move was hectic. We had two friends help us move, and they are flat out saints 👼🏽.
Our condo wasn't nearly as tightly packed up as we thought it was, and it took way longer to get everything into the truck than I projected. We took so long that we ended up running into the next elevator booking, and through a goof, we managed to lose the bag full of condiments from our fridge.
The unpacking process went quickly, then slowly. We're still only at about 95% unpacked, with five boxes of books destined for bookshelves we've not yet acquired.
It’s been really nice living in the house, owning it. A little terrifying realizing what we’re responsible for, and that we've got no one to call up and be responsible for problems that occur. However, it’s been amazing, and every day I am reminded of why we fell in love with this house. It's full of light, and quiet, and is so overwhelmingly peaceful most of the time.
We do have some neighbours that party a little later than I'd like, but never loud enough that closing the windows doesn't fix the problem, and mostly, they're done by eleven thirty, which is almost reasonable (says me, 👴🏼).
I'm finishing up this blog post sitting on my rear patio, drinking a coffee, listening to the birds, crickets and chipmunks, as Andrea tends to the garden.
Living here, we both keep sighing in happiness, especially when it's not raining. Ottawa really has been a noticibly more relaxed city for us, and I have adored that.
There's parts of our life that have really changed by moving to Ottawa, and others that haven't changed at all.
While we still devour British murder mysteries in the evenings, I'm not quite sure yet what to do with all the time I'm saving by not commuting multiple hours to and from work every day. Every day that I am able to bike to work I am practically giddy with excitement from the change of pace, though, my podcast backlog is steadily growing.
We're working on getting to know people in Ottawa, and while we've not yet nailed it, I'm hopeful. Just today we volunteered with a group at IBM trying to turn the grounds into a food forest, an idea that agrees greatly with me, as corporate campuses can be such sterile useless places without care.
In the mean time, we've been taking care of business. I finally got my new learners licence, and have been trying to find a drivers education program (pro tip people: Spell check helps you look professional). I got a library card, and we finally got around to booking a honeymoon in October, and are very excited for that.
We've done a wee bit of exploring of the Ottawa area, though perhaps not as much as we would have liked. Still, lots of time for that. We're pondering a small hike tomorrow. Maybe I'll have good pictures when I get back.
This has been a meandering post, but in summary: We're both super happy.
Postscript: Just seconds before I hit post, we got to meet one of our neighbours! Hooray!
... waiting for the appointed time to jump. Perhaps the best way of describing how Andrea and I feel right now. We have made some big decisions over the last three months.
After another unsuccessful round of house hunting in Toronto, we were feeling beaten. Another period of record growth has outpaced our savings yet again, meaning that relative to our position a year prior, in a very real sense, we had gone backward in terms of what we could afford.
Sitting on the floor, all I could do was lament that this whole process would be so much less painful in other cities. I found myself feeling a good chunk of jealousy for the team we have in Ottawa, when I thought to myself... "Why can't I work in Ottawa?" I couldn't really come up with a good answer. A couple of minutes of research suggested to me the Ottawa real estate market was markedly different than the Toronto one. So, I wandered over to Andrea and casually asked "Would you move to Ottawa? "
After a couple seconds she asked me "Could we afford a house there?". After I answered, that it looked like we could, she said "Sure". I am not sure how serious either of us were at that point.
Yet, here I am, only three months later: a week away from closing on a house, two and a half weeks away from moving to Ottawa.
In only a few days, I had the answer from IBM that there wouldn't be a huge amount of trouble to transfer.
At this point we started the bargaining phase. We started to reason that if we were willing to relocate all the way to Ottawa, surely some suburb of the GTA should also be investigated. We had been pretty against the idea of suburban living, but in the face of an even more dramatic change we thought we had to at least consider it. So, after some research we started looking seriously at Oshawa, which seemed more reasonable price wise. That weekend we took a car and drove out to Oshawa to see the city. Despite it being better than Toronto, it... didn't really feel right.
So, we planned out first house hunting trip to Ottawa. We got connected though a colleague of mine to a fantastic realtor, and we booked train tickets and an AirBnB.
Early May we headed to Ottawa for a weekend. We saw ten houses on Saturday, and in the late afternoon, we saw a lovely older home. A small bungalow, built onto a hill with a massive front yard, the house charmed us both with the immense love of the home you could feel. It had been beautifully maintained its entire life, and every inch radiated with care. After the day of looking, we decided that we needed to see it again, and Sunday morning, sitting in the basement we started sketching out our offer.
By that afternoon, we found out a second offer was inbound. So, our offer was increased to compete, and we were told we would find out after a 7pm offer presentation. Unfortunately, our train back to Toronto left at 5pm.
On the train, after an enormous quantity of refreshes of our inboxes, we had the news: we had been sniped by a couple coming from Toronto, who had made an offer with no conditions for almost the same amount. We hadn't gotten the house.
So, we returned to Toronto, to lick our wounds, and to prepare for our wedding at the end of the month.
After the wedding, we returned for anothertrip, lessons learned, and ready for round two.
One of the earliest houses we saw that Saturday stood out. Brightly light, and flowing, the house was the embodiment of a singular vision. As we kept seeing other properties it nagged at the back of the mind. The fear of getting sniped again was real. That afternoon we put together an offer.
This time we succeeded.
And so, here we are: One week from possession, two and a half from the move, filled with a desire to just jump into our completely changed life.
Soon we will be
- In a house
- With our car
- Living in a suburb
- Finding our way in Ottawa
I can't wait.