13 years ago and 4 months I lived in a redbrick converted housed on Gilmour Street, centretown, Ottawa, Ontario. The bachelor was on the third floor of a converted house. And it wasn't the only room up there (that is how small it was); mine facing the street and another facing the backyard. Three of us showed up to view the room (a few months prior) and we all wanted it. The landlord deduced that I had called first and therefor it was mine.
Last night I was thinking of my first real (not student housing, not shared housing, not a bed in the furnace room ... my OWN place) apartment on Gilmour. I was making 24,000, paying about 750 for this bachelor. I owned a bike, one student loan and no other debt. Occassionally I went to the movies. We shared pitchers beer after work on Fridays. And sometimes mid week. I was happy.
I loved my one room with three nooks, kitchen in the closet and the white bathroom bested by the natural light flooding in the fireescape window through the shower. Each morning I would go down the two flights of stairs and decide whether I wanted to bike or walk. Biking consisted of going down to the basement and hauling the bike up. The walk was about 35 minutes or more ... down the street, through a greenspace that took up one city block and had concrete chess boards and an early morning tai chi class. Through china town, over a bridge to Holland St and into the pleasant concrete and green glass office building. The bike ride was much faster. I equally did both, bike and walk.
I was proud of my work. At the busiest, I managed 5 document conversion projects at the same time. I worked with the programmers to code a program to convert the manuals (from legacy source to sgml). Write an instructional manual. Send project to production with instruction manual. And then quality check the returned work. Eventually I oversaw an assistant do this part. Make sure each book or manual was converted to electronic format as required. Return work to client.
Days were fulfilling and rewarding. Life at my digs was simple. Bed to sleep, table to eat. Clothes to wear. Stereo and vinyl. And my beloved bike. My only transportation. No car. No TV. No phone. Yep. I didn't even bother setting up a phone. I recall this now and tie it to the fact that I am one of few that do not own a cell now.
A friend was organizing a birthday party. A small group of people at a restaurant. If I do the math I could figure out which birthday it was, maybe 32nd? My sister gave me a phone and a phone line gift card. I guess she wanted to be able to call me.
Shortly after that, I was offered a job south of the border. I apologized profusely to the very understanding landlord and moved into a hotel in my current town and set up a production facility down there. That happened mid October.
Just before the job offer, my only goal was to work another year in the industry and then look for a job in reforestation up north and find a cute home to live in. I imagined my time divided between trudging through forests, an office and my small cute home with children.
I recall all of this last night as my sweet pea cuddled in my arm, falling a sleep and my son at a sleepover. I love my children. That is all I ever wanted. I imagined the three of us living in my bachelor and how we would be just as happy there.
Although I have always owned a camera, getting my first one when I was around 18 I do not recall taking pictures of my room on Gilmour Street. I would have to scan those in anyhow. So instead of a photo of that place, a couple recent photos of my little loved ones, cheesy grin Lucy and my camera shy boy.
epilogue: Yes, I was 32 with my first salaried job and my first own apartment. I think I will try to write more about times in my life...
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