tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

20Dec/124

The Day

I woke up naturally, but with worry on my mind. I knew I should get up and go soon, but also really, really wanted sleep. I could hear my mom frantically running around the house. She was nervous too.

The coffee was sweet. The toast surprisingly filling. The drive to the bank seemed to take ages.

The tellers were excited for me. I showed them a picture of the house. I joked about wanting to strap the cheque containing more money than I'd make in several years to my body for transport.

Google guided me to the small town where my lawyer works. A WoW podcast kept me company, but didn't shorten the drive.

The lawyer's assistant didn't acknowledge me when I walked in, so I walked back to her office straight away. Handed her my life's savings (plus some extra). She said she'd call me in an hour or so. Took down my cell phone number.

The pub beside her office was playing an Irish Christmas radio station. The servers greeted me warily, but warmly. The power went out after I'd given in my order. Patrons talked of technology and Christmas gifts. Work emailed me with an urgent worry I could do nothing about.

I went to a coffee shop and read blogs. Started writing.

As I just finished my blog, I got the call that I could come get my key. The key to my home.

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13Dec/120

Oh, hi, I’m alive!

A short post to say yes, I am alive! Work and house stuff has been CRAZY. But, barring the unforeseen, this time next week I will be a homeowner.

HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS

It's been a few weeks of calling utility companies, lawyers, mortgage people and real estate agents. Dealing with time off work, weird hours and tons of things. Organizing things with my parents, talking with friends and just generally feeling a bit overwhelmed.

It's good, though. Definitely good.

I even actually over budgeted on a few things, which was nice to find out.

I've been trying to make time to visit the Toronto Christmas Market, too. I went last year and it was a lovely way to just escape the hustle and bustle for a bit, and enjoy some mulled wine, poutine and just the sights and sounds. I'd been waiting for it to snow a bit, but time is running short, so I may aim for next week. It's weird, maybe, that it's important to me to go. But it is.

Ah crap I just remembered the day I had planned I can't do. Maybe the Friday. It'll be busy, but maybe still worth it.

How's life for you?

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5Dec/125

Guest Post: Getting Rid of Stuff and Moving On

Today we have a guest post from my BFF Ashley. I'm pretty pumped about it, and hope you are too!

Internet! It’s Ashley from Writing To Reach You. You may remember me as Tom’s BFF. I’m here again, because Tom asked me to write about how to go through and get rid of stuff when you’re preparing to move, and how to setup your new living space as a minimalist. The first thing I’ll say is that while moving is the perfect opportunity to purge, you don’t have to transition into a minimalistic lifestyle all at once. Some people sell all of their worldly belongings and set off to travel for a couple years, but I took the approach of getting rid of things in phases, slowly learning to live with less. This can be where you start. It doesn’t have to be where you end.

I would suggest going through everything you own. It may take a while, but it’s worth it. You will be packing anyway, so you might as well. You don’t want to start your new life in a new space with a bunch of crap you don’t need and don’t care about.

The first thing to get rid of is trash. That’s anything that has no value and means nothing to you. This can feel kind of wasteful, but if you have a half-full bottle of cheap cologne around that you’re never going to wear again because it smells terrible, then get rid of it. Get rid of the box that your old flip phone came in, because it’s probably too late to return it. Recycle whatever you can, use up whatever you can, but be realistic about the stuff that you’re just going to move to a new location and then never touch again.

Get rid of stuff that doesn’t work and that you have no immediate plans to fix. I’m not talking about the piano your Grandmother gave you that just needs tuning. I’m talking about that table from IKEA that has always wobbled and the old iPod that doesn’t hold a charge and the sweater with a hole that you thought you might patch. You probably held onto these things with the best of intentions, but it’s been two years now, so give yourself a break and let them go.

Get rid of stuff you don’t use. This seems simple enough, but we all like to hold onto things just in case. I have this coat I never wear. It’s perfectly fine, but it’s almost never coat weather where I live, and I have another coat that I prefer. Every time I go through my stuff, I keep this coat, because it’s a perfectly nice coat! Then I proceed to forget about it until I go through my stuff again. Last time I tried it on I thought, “This would be nice to wear to a funeral.” So, basically, I’m holding onto this coat so that I can wear it to a funeral? I think this coat would be much happier with someone who needs it, so I’m going to donate it. If you’re unsure about an item, then move it to the front of your closet and see whether you actually wear it once it’s in front of your face. Or, do what I do, and put it in a bag of stuff to take to Goodwill and see if you miss it even for a second. Just because something is nice or was expensive doesn’t mean you need to keep it. Keep what you actually use.

Get rid of stuff that represents failure. This means the pants that are two sizes too small, the paint brushes and canvas that were going to start your career as an artist, the three boxes of Christmas cards you never sent out, the journals you were going to fill, and the books you planned to read to impress that person. I know that getting rid of this stuff feels like actually admitting to the failure--of really giving up--but it’s already happened and it’s time to let go. Maybe you will take up painting one day, but not because you looked at those unused paint brushes and were shamed into picking them up. Forgive yourself and move on.

Get rid of stuff that someone else could appreciate more than you. People often get the grand idea to sell the things they don’t use, and then they put them in a box labeled “Stuff To Sell” and never touch the box again. Don’t do this. Either start the process of selling that same week or give it all away. Some stuff is hard to just donate because it was expensive or has some sentimental value. Give these things away to people in your life who value them. It’s actually a really great feeling to part with stuff you don’t want and to know it’s going to someone who can really appreciate it.

Think about the kind of life you want to live. As you go through your things, think about whether you can see them as part of your life in this new space. What does that new space look like in your mind? Is the bookshelf that leans to the left there? Is the Justin Timblerlake poster prominently featured? This is a new part of your life you’re starting, so give some thought to what you want it to look like.

Don’t be in a hurry to fill your new place with stuff. Take your time and select pieces you really like. It doesn’t matter that much if you go several weeks without a kitchen table or a desk lamp. Your couch probably looks fine without a bunch of throw pillows. If you buy stuff just to buy it, then you’re going to end up with a bunch of stuff later that you just have to give away. Your parents will still love you even if the first meal they eat at your new place is served on the floor. Take time creating your new space; you may find that you need less than you think.

Continue to go through your stuff regularly. Don’t wait until you move again to get rid of stuff. Clean things out every season or once a year or every time you buy new stuff--whatever works for you! There will be things like that funeral coat I own that you will keep holding onto until you finally convince yourself that you’re never going to wear it. If you go through things regularly, then you’re aware of everything you own and what actually matters to you. That makes it easier to get rid of the stuff you don’t need.

If this seems overwhelming to you, then remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Even if you just take one of these steps, you will be further along than you were. Simplifying your life isn’t done overnight; it’s a process by which you teach yourself to live with less. Go slowly.

3Dec/1215

So I bought a house

The title, in ways, says it all. And, in other ways, it says absolutely nothing.

A week ago I went house hunting with my realtor. The first place we saw was in a small city just west of where I am now called Oakville. It's a popular area, but generally expensive. The townhouse was just on the edge of what I could afford but, in a word, beautiful. The pictures online had not done it justice. The complex was nice, it was steps from a bustling, well-kept plaza with everything I could ever want (short of an Apple Store, perhaps) and the inside was far more spacious than I had thought. The kitchen had a beautiful built in wood table, the living room was bright in the midday light, the floors were a beautiful hardwood. The basement was unfinished, but clean and full of potential. The two bedrooms, each with their own ensuite bathroom, were bigger than any room I'd ever lived in.

We left and saw two more places. Nothing was as bright, spacious or nice. Some were dirty, far away from everything, and cramped. Cheaper, but, I decided, not worth it.

Later that Sunday night, feeling bad that I was keeping my realtor from a big football game (though he didn't seem to mind) I signed an offer on the house.

They signed it back to me at a bit more. I agreed to that offer.

The last week has been a whirlwind of lawyers, mortgage brokers, realtors, faxes, a home inspection and my phone ringing off the hook.

But at 12:30am on Friday night I got the email from my realtor. The conditions had been met. The deal was, as they called it, "firm." I had a house.

I take possession on the 20th of December. Those of you following along at home will notice this is a short closing, but it's what worked best for all parties, so that's okay. There is still much to do, much to prepare. I'm starting to think about how I will lay out my house. Canvassing relatives for any spare furniture that may be wasting away in their basements. Scouring IKEA and Craigslist for good deals and nice pieces. Sharing joy with friends, and having trouble sleeping, worrying a bit about the finances. I believe I've factored in everything, and even assuming I haven't, I should be okay, but it's still scary.

But, you've gotta dive in sometime, right? 27's as good an age as any.

In the coming weeks I'll be talking about the moving process, and there's a lot on my mind. I'd like to share the whole process for those who've never done it, cause I think it was kind of neat (and freaky). I'd like to talk about moving to a new city (even if it is only 20 minutes away from where I am now), setting up utilities and taxes, the process of deciding which room to take, of how to lay out my life. The sharing of joys with friends. 

And, of course, there will be pictures. Lots of pictures. For now, I just have one to share. The table will be there, still. The chairs will, too. That blue will change. But this, my friends, is my house. My home.

I hope you can drop by some day.

Photo

p.s. So I have more pictures, but they're all tied to the realtor listing, and I'm not really wanting to post my new address all over my blog. ;) Drop me a line if you want to see it!