Monday, February 12, 2007

Very, Very Bad Job City

So this morning I woke up from a dream. In it, I was inhabiting some plane of ecstasy. I’d realized that I could stay in Home City and buy myself a condo, instead of moving to Icky Job City and buying a condo…There was a kind of jumping-up-and-down glee upon the dawning realization that there was nothing stopping me from staying. (In reality, of course, there is something stopping me from staying in Home City: the lack of a job.)

Why did I dream this? Because I have learned a few things lately about how difficult this whole moving thing is going to be. And how much I can’t stand the place

One of the reasons I decided to borrow a down payment and buy a place to live was because I had discovered what an incredibly dog-unfriendly place I am moving to. In a city with a 0.5% vacancy rate for rentals, there are really almost no places that will accept pets of any kind. I had been told this by a couple of people, and a look at rental listings confirms it. Most of the times I’ve looked, I haven’t been able to find a single place that would rent to a dog owner. And so, the buy-a-condo plan was born (a condo because I can't afford to buy a house there - a house would be my preference with the dog, of course).

Except, in talking to the person who I thought was going to be my realtor, two weeks ago, I learned that in this city – and it is peculiar to this oh-so-charming city, he told me – most condo buildings won’t take dogs over 40 cms high. I.e. my medium-sized dog, Mr. K (60 cms high), is out. Even if I am buying an apartment.

Add to this lovely information the fact that the gross frat-boy realtor was very obviously not impressed by the modest amount of money I have to spend. In a booming market, with plenty of homes selling for near a million dollars, my paltry sum clearly isn’t worth it to him. He has bigger fish to fry. He said he’d run a search for me and email me the results that day. I haven’t heard back. Asshole. I’m really insulted.

An email this weekend to another realtor resulted in a curt reply telling me that she wouldn’t work with me because I’m not spending the money necessary to get into the couple of buildings that would deign to take my dog. (And it’s not that there’s nothing available in my price range – I have done MLS searches, I can see that there are places…but in a hot and greedy market, my apparently “small” amount of money is not worth the effort to these people.)

I cannot believe it. What hell is this? I have also learned over the last couple of months, through Internet searches, dog advocacy groups, and conversations with people, how incredibly dog-unfriendly the city is in every other way, as well. It’s astonishing, really. As someone with no car, it will be virtually impossible for me ever to walk the (very high-energy) dog off-leash – hell, until a couple of years ago, most parks wouldn’t even allow dogs on-leash. Frankly, a city that micro-manages like this makes my hair stand up on end. I find this kind of thing deeply problematic, I really do. It is so not my kind of place.

I did yesterday find a realtor who is willing to work within my parameters, and was friendly and seems promising. But if it’s true that almost no buildings will take the dog, then I may well end up in some godforsaken area, with a dog who is miserable because he can’t be exercised properly, and me miserable because I’m stuck in a suburb with no access to anything. Spending all of my time fretting about the dog. That doesn’t seem like a life, for either of us.

Tonight ex-GF and I, over dinner, discussed the possibility of her keeping the dog. I think it makes sense on many levels – Home City is such a much better city for dogs than this fascistic gated-community nonsense I’m moving to. But it breaks my heart. Just breaks it. I wish I didn’t have to enter this whole “adventure” already seething with resentment about the place I’m moving to.


Flavia said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Hilaire. Is buying a car out of the question? That might relieve many problems, or at the least make you feel less trapped in a city you're not thrilled about.

What Now? said...

Wow, that really sucks.

I have the same question Flavia does: Have you considered buying a car? And are there places outside of the city that you could live in and drive in to work? It just occurs to me that if all of this is about ridiculous city regulations, maybe living outside of the city is an option. And your "small amount of money" might go further there as well. And I hope you find a realtor you like. When D. and I moved to Small City, the first realtor we talked to actually refused to show us houses in the neighborhood we were interested in; she told us we "simply couldn't live there"! So we got another realtor, one who specializes in the very area we wanted, and he was fabulous and helpful and really got us and what we were looking for; when we sold our house this year, we naturally went back to him, and he was as helpful as ever.

Sfrajett said...

i second the car advice. Something used.Also, that dog size requirement is discretional, not literal. Most people have no idea what the difference between 40 and 60 cm is. Check it out with the members. But most important? get a gay realtor. Get a guide, google a resource, go to a bar and ask, if you have to. That person will work for you. But do NOT give up on the dog. Seriously. This is the last straw. If worse comes to worse, you call up your new dept and bitch that you aren't coming because you can't find a place for your dog, and what are they going to do about it? you aren't nobody. And hang in there!

jb said...

Ugh, how wretched! I don't have any advice to add to what's been said here, but I feel for you. I had to give up two cats in a break-up a few years ago; while in some ways it's worked out for the best (I'm out of town a lot, visiting current SO), I still miss them sometimes. I hope you can work something out!

Hilaire said...

Thanks, all.

On the question of the car. This is complicated for me. I only learned how to drive a year or two ago - really, I barely drive. I really don't *want* to own a car, for all sorts of environmental and health reasons. But the biggest thing is that I really can't afford to buy a car - even a cheap used one. To get one that was decent enough and safe enough for me to invest in, I'd have to spend too much money. Things are going to be tight for me if I have a mortgage and am paying condo fees. I already have to spend big money to buy furniture, since I don't have any anymore, really, besides a couple of things.

I also think that being who I am, and driving everywhere, would just depress me. I'm used to walking 45 minutes a day - at least. With some dog walks, much more. I'm a mobile person. Call me crazy, but I don't want to give that up - it's so much a part of who I am. That's why I want to live somewhere very central.

WN, that's why I don't think I could live out in the country somewhere...away from "life" and restaurants and aliveness (such as it is out there). Your suggestion is a good one, though. Unfortunately, I also think that the countryside where I'm going is also at a premium, so that even if I was going to look into that, I'd be priced out in most places. Amazingly, I think I'm better off staying in the city in that respect.

And Sfragett, on the question of the regulations...Yes, I thought about this. But I have to say, I don't relish being the talk of the neighbours, all tut-tutting and hating me because my dog is 60 cm high. And you hear these horrible stories about condo buildings taking condo owners to task/court for things. I wouldn't it past these loons, frankly. I'd only want to live in a building that welcomes me, even if grudgingly.

But I love your suggestion of a gay realtor - thanks!! Gay resources are few and far between there (like, honestly, there's not even a bar, and no political or social organization), but I can do some asking around. And your suggestion of calling the folks at the uni and sounding the alarm is really great.

And thanks for your encouragement and suggestions, everyone. I am sorry to sound like such a naysayer to everything. Ugh - I hate coming off like that. I am honestly not *determined* to hate the place - have moments in which I can see some really good parts to do with the physical beauty - but they're making it hard! :)

Part of this *is* honestly about the dog, and what it will be like to just *have* him in a city that polices things so harshly. He's such a social guy - loves people, wants to kiss them and wag to them all the time. I imagine these scenes of me on the elevator with all these squeamish folks, and then walking him even around the neighbourhood...with him trying to ambush people with his sweetness, and them repelled. It doesn't sound fun.

Oof. So sorry to be hijacking my own comments here. But one thing that really pisses me off about this is how discriminatory it is. What with the rental and condo situation, and the fact that off-leash areas are far away, scattered throughout the sprawl, it essentially makes it very difficult to have a dog if you don't have the means to own a *house* and a car. Bah.

dbm/gaa said...

Oh yeah, welcome to Western Canada! For a part of the country that prides itself on being all about individual freedom it is very restrictive about housing, pets in particular. And for a part of the country that likes to market itself as all about the outdoors and green-friendly they are crap at getting people around without a car.