And we looked. We looked and looked at listings and different apartments. We started looking at listings in March. March! And the snow fell, and melted, the leaves budded on the trees, the grass grew, tulip season came and went, the summer heat came on...and still we looked.
Occasionally I despaired a little. We knew that we needed - both logistically and financially - to move before the snow was on the ground. But as June pressed on and with it the deadline to give our two months notice and be out of here by September 1.
Then one evening I went to the grocery store.
In a new fit of budget-conciousness, I drove to a grocery store I don't normally visit. Driving home, as I approached a particular neighbourhood in which we've considered living. It was early evening, the weather was nice, the girls were at home: the timing was ideal and I thought, on a whim, "I'm going to drive around and see if there are any For Rent signs."
And there were.
Some looked more promising than others. I was fairly certain - and correct - that several would be out of our price range. But then I came up Bank St and saw a sign on the verge in front of a building where dear friends of mine used to live.
Because I already knew the apartments in the building were big and bright and airy and affordable.
The wait to call the next morning was long, the week-long wait to see the unit even longer, and then the wait to hear if our application would be approved was almost interminable. June ended. July began. The deadline to give our notice for July 1 sailed past: we were now looking at giving notice for October 1, but knew the unit was available for August 1. We fretted. We looked into how one goes about assigning a lease. I started biting my nails again.
We escaped up to camp for the long weekend. It was a welcome distraction, but even so, I found myself wondering in quiet moments, "What if...? What if we don't get it? What if we can't assign the lease? What if this place I have my heart absolutely set on doesn't become ours?"
A week later we got our answer.
We got it. It's ours.
We emailed our landlord. And she, kind - and wise - woman that she is, let us out of our lease.
No assigning the lease. No looking for new tenants while trying to pack. We simply cut ties and move on.
So we've been busy: sorting, packing, donating, trashing. Divesting ourselves of the excess that weighs us down and endeavouring to bring only that which has value, either sentimental or utility. We've donated 6 bags and several boxes of clothes and dishes and glassware and miscellaneous items to a local charity. We're donating five boxes of cherished - but neglected - books to the public library. We've contributed to the wonderful, self-sustaining urban ecosystem, setting out a bookcase and a dresser on the side of the road. And we've trashed things that no longer have use to us or to others.
Slowly but surely, our home is emptying and the boxes are filling. Piling up. Making ready for another transition, hopefully our last for a long while.
We're feeling hopeful. I am feeling hopeful. Hopeful that our new apartment - larger yet more affordable, located in a green, family-friendly yet urban community - will be a place where we can settle in, make a home, own our space.
We have plans, so many plans, to claim our space and make it ours. If you follow me on Pinterest, several of my boards are dedicated to the ideas I have brewing to make our new place a home, a home where we can be comfortable and - dare I hope it - organized.
For now, though, we pack.
And what left us feeling a sense of richness? A little more space for playing and growing. A little extra cash in hand. No more terrible baseboard heaters.
A tree-lined street.
Children playing nearby.