My footsteps echo hollow throughout the now-vacant house. The moving company loaded the furniture, appliances, and boxes onto a truck yesterday.
Today, I’m here merely to let the cleaners in. For two months, dog-sitting, house-hunting, and travel meant cleaning was the lowest priority. The tub and kitchen sink need a good scrub. Taking out the furniture revealed warrens of dust bunnies. The cleaners will earn their money.
The echoing emptiness reflects how I feel, I realize. I’ve moved a lot, and as a sentimental person, I usually feel some emotional attachment to the homes I’ve lived in for any length of time. Not this one. We’ve lived in this shitty PMQ (an old acronym for military housing) for eight years. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere, ever. And I can’t wait to leave.
On a practical level, I am grateful — we had a roof over our heads, at a great rent, and in a stunning location (Royal Roads University campus, Victoria, BC). There’s a castle here, literally in our ‘backyard’! It was our COVID refuge, and I will miss the sense of community forged during lockdown. It felt like a safe, welcoming place during an uncertain time, and we have the best neighbours. I will miss the people, no doubt.
But we weren’t supposed to be here for eight years. Initially, it was to be two years; the time remaining on my partner’s contract. His pension locked in, we could then search for our ‘forever’ home. However, happy to be back in British Columbia, he then signed another 5-year contract. Why not? We were settling in and earning a full salary, rather than a pension, would put us ahead financially.
Then came the post-COVID manic housing market. Our invested equity from previous home ownership was nowhere near enough to compete in the bidding wars that pushed housing up by 25% overnight where we live. Suddenly we were going backwards financially. Another contract commitment kept a roof over our heads and a salary coming in for the foreseeable future. Still, desperation and apathy took over as we tried to figure out the longer-term next steps.