abodes, past and present

J had a pretty cool idea while playing with Google maps. This is a shameless copy of that idea, plus just a wee bit of verbosity.

It’s kinda cool—yet ridiculous—when I look back at all the different places I’ve lived in. From the start of writing this post, its turned from a “hey, look at all the places I’ve lived” to “a brief history of kev”. Funny how that works.

This post is crazy long, so to see the rest, click the “more…” below.

  1. Hudson, Québec – Where it all started. I was born a little East of Hudson, but Mom and Dad were living there and teaching at MacDonald after they both graduated from McGill. I remember nothing of the first year of my life there, but it’s where mom’s family was. I assume I had a good time, as I’ve seen the pictures.
  2. Toronto, Ontario – Dad did his Master’s at the University of Toronto, so we moved to the big smoke so he could be close to the school. We lived in an apartment building, and I have dim recollections of pushing every button I could reach in the elevator whenever the opportunity arose. I started early, I guess. Dad also tells me that I could sit at the window for hours and watch the construction site across the street.
  3. Brantford, Ontario – While the Great One was a tyke, I lived here while Dad taught at a place he despised. Apparently I got into my first fight with the bully next door (and kicked his ass) while here. I don’t remember it. I do remember getting my new tricycle caught in the mud at the playground, the mud gooshing through my toes, and the nice policeman picking up the bawling child (me), and driving him home to mom (with trike). My little brother arrived on the scene while we were here.
  4. Thompson, MB – Dad took a position with (the now-defunct) Indian Affairs Canada. Not surprisingly, this involved a transfer to a place where there were people from the First Nations, so it was off to Northern Manitoba we went. I remember getting a new sister, 3-foot snowbanks at Halloween, Kentucky Fried Worms, the “too nosy” ski-doo and boat, getting my sister to bang her head on the coffee table as a source of entertainment, long drives to Winnepeg to see the eye doctor for my brother, and dumping said brother out the stroller and getting away with it (mom was more concerned about his new outfit being covered with blood than figuring out how it got there in the first place. whew.)
  5. Hudson, Quebec – We stayed in Thompson until I was about five-and-a-half, when Dad took a position with the Solicitor General in Ottawa. He lived for several months without his family in Ottawa until he was convinced the job would turn out and he found a suitable place for us to live. In the interim we stayed in Hudson until a suitable house was found. The only indelible memory I have of that stay was getting in trouble in during recess for pulling a girl’s top off during a “king of the hill” game. I was five, it was an accident… really.
  6. Bells Corners, ON – Bell’s Corners was the first place we all stayed together for more than a year and a half. I still remember seeing the house for the first time, driving into the carport and not believing that it was our new home. It’s where I started hockey, met my first “girlfriend” (at a ripe age of 7 – she was my last until university), got my first two-wheeler, and experienced my first leeches (at Bruce Pits, when there were large pools of standing water with rafts). It’s funny, because we rode our bikes to school a few miles away, would play wherever for long periods of time and no parental supervision, and just had to be home by dinnertime; something that’s unheard of today. The house was also the spot of the crabapple massacre, where some neighbourhood bullies with airguns attacked my brother and I.
  7. Glen Cairn, ON – Time passed and we all got a little bigger. The move to Glen Cairn (there was no Kanata at that point) marked our first real experience with death. My grandmother on Dad’s side passed away, and my grandfather came to live with us. The house in Bell’s Corners was a little small, so we moved to my parent’s dream home a little farther West. Despite never wanting to move back there, we all had a blast. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but it was fun all around. Memories include all of high school, skipping 5.5 weeks of school, some great parties while mom and dad and Ange were at Notre Dame, almost burning down the house one Thanksgiving, and it always being the place where all our friends came and hung out because the ‘rents loved having us all over. It was “home” in every sense of the word.
  8. O’Connor Street, Ottawa, ON My first venture into the big, bad world on my own. After taking the 118 from Kanata to Carleton for a year, I decided it was time to move a little closer to campus. I moved in with my friend Gray and a couple others to a place right across from the Museum of Nature for the summer. We had the best Canada Party ever, and managed to close down all but one lane of O’Connor. For those of you who don’t know Ottawa, O’Connor is the most direct way from downtown to the east-west artery. During Canada Day, there are a couple hundred thousand people downtown. Understandably, the cops weren’t amused when they discovered we had set up traffic cones to let the overflow of our party spill onto the street. They did, however, come back a couple hours later for a beer when they finished their shift. There were also several drunken trips across the street to ride the Mastadons – there are even pictures somewhere.
  9. Old Ottawa South, Ottawa, ON – Unfortunately, or fortunately, everyone who had been on O’Connor decided to come back in the fall, so I had to find a place to live. I was working at the campus bars, and a bunch of us decided it would be a good idea to get a place. We had a five bedroom house, and I would call it home for the next four years. There was a lot of beer, pots of food on the stove that morphed from one dish to another over the course of a week, roomates who couldn’t keep their clothes on when company was over. Lots of stories, but it was here that I fell in love with Old Ottawa South. I also put my fist through a wall.. it hurt, a lot. I won’t do that again.
  10. The Glebe, Ottawa, ON – During the early nineties a big chunk of Old Ottawa South was bought up by families and gentrified. That happened with the house I was in, so I had to find a place to live. My friend Karen and Sam were looking for a roomate, so it was off to Queen Elizabeth drive by the Pretoria Bridge. Phenomenal location with the canal, a beer store, and a liquor store all within a hundred yards. Great sights in the summertime, and the only downside was that Svend Robinson lived next door, and was an ass. Memories included a bunch of people from ESSCO sleeping on the floor, BDSM chat logs on the computer (the roomate shall remain nameless, and it was NOT me), Stompin’ Tom vs. Phantom musical battles, and Karen making Shannon laugh at 6am. This was also the real estate regret house; it sold for $137,000 when we moved out and I still kick myself for not finding a way to buy 🙂
  11. Centretown, Ottawa, ON – Things got a little strained at the house, and at the end of the lease the owners wanted to sell, so we were all out a year later. Karen, and Steve got a place in Old Ottawa South, Sam moved in with the boyfriend (if I remember right), and I decided to go it alone. Huuuuuuge mistake. I ended up in a hole on Arlington with a psychotic landlord who lived downstairs. I had the police show up twice because she had phoned them complaining of my “smoking and dealing dope” and “peeing in the ventilation”. Her finely-tuned sense of smell told her this. She made life unbearable, and I ran into the previous tenant who had a very similar story to mine. I made plans to move out, but was going to lose my deposit. Those plans were interrupted by my mom passing away, so it was pretty much the worst move ever. The worst moment of all was when I was moving out of there, and the evil landlord came up to me and started screaming at me for smoking dope every night (which would have been hard because I was living with my dad and family back in Kanata while we worked all the details of mom’s death). It’s the closest I’ve ever come to punching someone in the face in my adult life.
  12. Glen Cairn, Kanata, ON – Due to mom’s passing and the evilness that was my landlord, I moved home for a bit to be with my dad and help out. It was one of the most difficult periods of my life, and living at home was no treat at all. I did get a best friend in my brother out of the deal, though, so I can’t complain.
  13. Old Ottawa South, Ottawa, ON – Mom’s death marked a period of huge change for me. After four months of intensity at home, it was time to get back to where I had been. I had been talking with Karen, and she and Steve were looking for a third roomie (Update: to replace, of all people, J) I accepted, and moved back to Old Ottawa South. Shortly after moving back, I went through hell with the contracting company I ran because of a fight between regional director’s at PWGSC – short story, the head of finance was pissed at the director I had a contract with, and I was investigated with monies for services rendered withheld for almost five months. That spelled the end of working with the gummint, and Karen convinced me to give a fledgling company that was working with this Internet thing a try. A few hours of playing with Netscape 0.92, and talking with folks like Lalonde and Shaver, and I switched jobs. Over the course of my employment things got pretty strained between Karen and I, with work spilling into home on multiple occasions. It was time to get out. I also had a four-year relationship end at the same time. When I change, it’s usually a bunch of things all at once.
  14. Old Ottawa South, Ottawa, ON – Ed and James were looking for a place to live, and a house was available in Old Ottawa South (the second time I lived on Sunnyside). Said house was right next door to grrl, kblack, Beaudette, and Amit, so it was a pretty sweet deal. The three of us were there for the better part of the year, and we had a lot of fun. Highlights (or lowlights) were Ed and Sheldon with “the Ignitor”, Ed and his spaghetti/socks/hair-gel/comforter, some kick-ass blender parties where people and chandeliers were kicked, barbeque on the back porch, and burrito-men in the back room. Oh, and there was the bed skirt incident, of which I have learned my lesson forever. Top it off with regular trips to the pubs with our neighbours, and it was pretty darn good times. Unfortunately, the dynamic between the three of us wasn’t the best, so at the end of the lease we decided to go our seperate ways.
  15. Old Ottawa East, Ottawa, ON – I moved to a one bedroom just off Echo Drive, and the personal space gave me a lot of time to think. I switched jobs shortly after moving, and the apartment became a storage place for my stuff while I travelled a bunch with SGI. The location was great, but the landlord and his three boys were loud and ran everywhere. No insulation between the floors made this into a bad thing. I was here for just over a year, and after a couple promotions at work, I moved to a bigger, brighter place. 
  16. Ottawa South, Ottawa, ON – The only place I’ve stayed longer than two years in a long while. I moved a little South into a two bedroom condo with a huuuuuuge (20×16) patio on the top floor. The building was pretty much soundproof, and I had an office and a bedroom. I had some great neighbours who both worked at Patty’s who watered my plants while I was away, and it was a great place for me. The underground parking at work and at home meant I never had to see snow, and the property manager was a friend of Matt’s family. I had a blast while here, and the time there was great. I still can’t believe James went and kille dhimself the night before my big BBQ, but he scored major points when he showed up looking green.
  17. Manhattan, New York, NY – While the Internet bubble was expanding, SGI’s was collapsing – fast. My boss left SGI to join a company based out of New York, and invited me to come along. I accepted, and stepped into the big city in a big way. It took the better part of 6 months for the company to convince me to move to New York, and while they did that, I lived in an apartment across from the Lexington Hotel. It was on the 33rd floor, and had a balcony. Not recommended after drinking. The cool part was that you were eye-level with the gargoyles across the street on the hotel, and the Waldorf Astoria and Chrysler building greeted me every morning. The worst part was Lexington is one of the busiest streets in NYC 24/7, and it’s loud – really loud. Think sirens all night loud. While the company was convincing me to move down, I turned around and convinced James to move down, too. There were many evenings at Brother Jimmy’s, which led to the infamous “Spanish Saturday Morning Cartoon” episode. Well, it’s infamous to me. It’s also where I learned to drop my cel phone horizontally.
  18. Manhattan, New York, NY – When all the convincing was done, we had to find a place. We looked in a number of areas, and settled on the Financial District in the Southern part of the island because, hey, it was all stupidly expensive, and we may as well have fun. It was a Broadway address, and the walk to work included Wall Street, the WTC, City Hall, the Brooklyn Bridge, and all the court buildings you see on Law & Order. We ate far too many belly bombs from the Liberty Deli, had a whole bunch of people come visit, and had pretty good times, for the most part. We also met Lee and Walt, and spent a lot of time at the Wall Street Kitchen, The Kitchenette, The Bridge Cafe, and on the couch on Tuesday nights watching Buffy and Angel (well, they watched, I heckled).
  19. Minnetonka, MN – The bubble burst, and I was offered a job again by my director from SGI. This time it was to head up the technology component (mgmt team, business model, development, and product/portfolio analysis) for the corporate venture group of a tiny little company based in Minneapolis. It seemed like a great career move, and with the bubble bursting, I took it. A couple things didn’t work out quite so well. One, it was Minne-fucking-apolis, and I won’t say more than that. The second was that two days after I moved out, 9/11 happened. I never want to be 1,500 miles away from any of the people I care about when something of that magnitude strikes. It sucked. Best time was when the boyz came down for football, but that was the only good time there.
  20. Kinburn, ON – Big piece of advice to everyone out there: when you quit a really good job, make sure you have another really good job to go to. Expecting all the people who promised you something should you ever need it to stick to their word is naiive at best. I’m naiive, at best. An expected 2-4 week vacation turned into 6 months of job-hunting. Thankfully, my brother and his fam were happy to put up with me. I got to watch my neice learn to walk and talk (most notably looking at me and yelling “GO HOME!!!!”), and really got to know his wife and – unfortunately – the dog and it’s love of skunks/running away. It was a learining experience on several levels, and I’m happy my brother doesn’t hold our childhood against me.
  21. Old Ottawa South, Ottawa, ON – I got a job with another tiny little monopoly in product marketing, and moved back to the neighbourhood I loved. I could walk to work, had a goodly amount of space, and decent neighbours. I even ran into an ex-ingenia-ite next door, and still run and go for dinner with them and our running group every Wednesday. Being 5 minutes from Patty’s didn’t hurt (3rd Sunnyside address). It all went south with a father who decided helping his 16 year old, dope smoking and selling kid meant getting him a place to live unattended. After that ended, it went further to pot when a family with two out-of-control kids moved in. The insulation between units was next to nothing, and it became a fairly un-fun place in short order. The screaming kids are still there, the other two apartments are now vacant.
  22. Old Ottawa East, Ottawa, ON – Wanting to get away from the noise, but staying close to the area, I got a veteran’s home on Main. These are smaller homes that were originally constructed for vets shortly after WWII, with a design that allowed for expansion if needed. Mine was original size, and had a yard, a driveway, and no shared walls. It also had Main Street, a main artery for commuters who decided that because there are four lanes, it’s ok to do 90. James came and visited for a few months while he finished his thesis, which turned out to be a fair bit of fun, as he’s pretty good company. We had some good BBQ’s, lots of football, a wee bit of beer, and the odd ff2k1 draft. The house also came with settled insulation, which made the heating bill huge, and the sounds from the road maddening. 
    Update: The house has since been torn down and replaced with townhomes. They look nicer.
  23. Sandy Hill, Ottawa, ON – I got tired of every car passing by shaking the house, so I’ve moved one more time. Hopefully this will be it for a while. I have a newish job, great neighbours, a killer location, a relatively quiet street, access to all the running trails, and a lot of space. We’ll see how it all pans out.

Whew. I’m done typin’. This is my life, in a box.

24. …and an update. In 2008 I met a girl and her two kids. We moved to the booming metropolis of Kemptville, ON for a variety of reasons, including my neighbours in Sandy Hill chucking a sofa through their plate-glass window one night. I was working from home, and have continued to work from home for the last 17 years (except for a very brief period of commuting to a terrible job downtown). We chose Kemptville because it’s in the middle of friends and family, has great schools, and had a very small-town vibe that is rapidly disappearing as the big builders establish large enclaves between the Rideau and 43. We like it here, and this will be our last or second-last home.

5 thoughts on “abodes, past and present

  1. Sweet. My first (dis)honourable mention in one of Kev’s posts. Not sure if I should be flattered or ashamed… probably the latter.

  2. Honourable. That was still one of the very funniest things ever. An excellent show for everyone at that snow-filled BBQ in April, which was also followed up with Ed and his “Rachel, I’ve seen a lot of…” comment. Some classic memories from that place over such a short period of time – especially you two jokers with a TV, a Playstation, two $3.99 resin chairs, and a twelve-pack each of cheap beer in an otherwise completely empty house.

    Now the comforters, not so honourable. 🙂

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