Moving into my First Calgary Apartment, Mother's Pizza

I hate moving…

I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. I’ve moved three times in the past four months. Makes the moves I did in co-op seem trivial (I moved only every four months). But this time I’m not going anywhere for a while.

For some strange reason, the apartment management wanted to finish a few things around the apartment. Although a “new” carpet went in (although it feels good, I can’t really tell if it’s new or not), they wanted to shampoo the carpets. I don’t quite understand that one, but who am I to argue something like that? Especially when I didn’t that close a look at the carpet in the first place…

On Saturday, I got up to a phone call. It took a moment for me to realise that it was my phone ringing. It was my parents. They’ve been looking at a new motorhome. Their existing one is a RoadTrek 190 Versatile. It’s essentially a converted (and slightly extended) cargo van. Very comfortable inside, and nice. But not for my parents anymore. They wanted something a little larger — a Class A RV.

Class A RVs are purpose-built vehicles. They are effectively homes on wheels. Very comfortable, and the ultimate things for travelling everywhere. I’d been sticking my nose into the dealerships around Calgary for them (there are quite a few here), getting details and offering my opinions.

They had recently been looking at 29′ Landau model built by a company called Georgie Boy ( I’d never heard of them before, but based on the number of dealerships they have in Canada, I can understand why. Mom had sent Aunt Brenda a blurb about how they were looking at a used one that looked not all that great. I had concerns.

This is what the phone call was about. Dad was concerned that I was concerned. I voiced them as well as I could, using one of Dad’s phrases: “If you’re going to do it, do it right the first time.” I was worried that they might settle for something they didn’t quite want. I wasn’t too keen on learning that the (rather expensive) motorhome they bought wasn’t what they wanted. So I dug up a local dealer (I love the Internet!), threw some clothes on, and went to take a look at one.

I had a quick (literally) stop at Registry Unlimited, where I picked up my brand-new Alberta license plate. I am now officially an Alberta resident. My hate of ICBC increased again when I found out I have to mail my old BC plates back — at least Ontario has the wherewithal to have the out-of-province registries accept the plates and send them back.

Whipping out my map, I looked to see if I could find South Highway Drive SE. It wasn’t on any of my maps. But there was a place in the South East quadrant of the city labelled “Blackfoot Trailer Park”. It seemed like a decent candidate for having an RV dealership nearby.

As I departed the Registry’s parking lot, my phone rang — it was Stuart. He was out test driving cars (I think this is one of Stuart’s most favourite things to do). But he was nearly done, and wanted to get together (assumedly for some moderate mayhem). I asked if he was up to helping me move. Albeit a bit reluctant (who isn’t?), he agreed to come by and help out. But first I needed to find a Georgie Boy.

I never did. The trailer park was a trailer park, and nothing else. Upon returning home, I found that the dealership is not far from Medicine Hat, quite a ways from Calgary. A little too far for my limited time that day.

Uncle Mike and I started loading up his truck with the smaller things in my collection of junk. This included boxes of books, speakers, a large sack full of CDs (I suspect the cases are mostly broken at this point, though not due to any mishandling on our part), bags of clothes … basically anything I didn’t have to worry about. But there were certain things that the truck would not hold. Like my TV…

For those of you who don’t know, I have a home theatre. I acquired this when I was living at home a couple years ago. The centrepiece is a 50″ rear-projection TV. It’s big. Not horribly heavy, but big. And you can’t lay it down flat (that would be bad, very bad). This necessitates a second moving vehicle, one with some vertical clearance in it.

Originally, I was going to move on Saturday, except that the building told me they were going to shampoo the carpet again. This meant the carpet would be wet. Not exactly ideal for moving stuff around. As such, we didn’t do anything but load my uncle’s truck.

Stuart arrived just as we finished. Not having anything else to do (moving-wise), the two of us opted for going out and doing … stuff. The first stop was at Revy. During my previous move, one of the casters on my stereo cabinet shattered, and needed to be replaced. Luckily, this wasn’t a big deal. My dad built the cabinet, so the casters were standard hardware. The ones I found were almost identical, save for the mounting plate, which was brass instead of silver.

Then we headed off for IKEA. I needed a bed and/or a couch (I gotta sleep on something) and wanted to see what IKEA had. First we ducked into the Chrysler dealership to view the new PT Cruiser. It’s a beautiful little thing — the only reason Stuart would every buy a minivan-like vehicle. Very stylish. We followed up with a quick stop at a nearby Volkswagen dealer (Stuart’s mildly obsessed with finding a silver Jetta, though with good reason) before finally ended up at IKEA.

The IKEA in Burlington (Ontario) is usually a zoo on Sunday. The IKEA in Richmond (British Columbia) is usually a nightmare on a Sunday. Stuart and I breezed through Calgary’s. Wasn’t even an issue. I love this city — people are civil here.

I found a couch, but I didn’t get one. It dawned on me kind of all-of-the-sudden like that I shouldn’t even be considering these things without discussing them with Chris, my soon-to-be-roommate. So no major furniture until then. I found a couple beds, too — but there were a bit pricey for what I wanted.

Leaving IKEA, we drove more-or-less aimlessly until we ended up downtown. I directed Stuart to my new apartment. I wanted him to see what it looked like. The carpet was bone dry. It looked like they hadn’t even been there yet. I was a little annoyed.

The aimless driving took us most of the way down in the South West without actually finding anything interesting. Except for Tom Jones’ new album. He covers “Little Green Bag”. Actually, the whole album is cover tunes. Great stuff.

Remembering that there was an outlet mall in the North, I asked Stuart if we could scoot up there to take a look. The mall was without content — we stayed only long enough to get the heck outta there. Outlet malls are not nice places.

Then we started The Mission. Stuart had been wanting to find something in the North of Calgary for some time, but hadn’t really had the opportunity before. Today, he did. And we were off, in search of The Most Fabulous Object In the World … or at least Calgary. We drove back and forth, in search of an address we could not find. Eventually, we hit the proverbial jackpot — we learned that the address was in the Beddington Village Mall.

It’s a non-descript mall, though it looks significantly better than its neighbour across the road. It’s got a Safeway, a London Drugs, a few other neat little shops … one special place that Stuart and I have been pining for for the last 15 years.

Mother’s Pizza.

Hmm… it just dawned on me that some of you have probably never heard of Mother’s. This was, bar none, the best pizza on Earth. It was a chain that was quite popular (at least in Ontario) until about 15 years ago, when they went out of business. Stuart tells me it was because they mismanaged their funds. Little Caesar’s went around buying up Mother’s locations, eventually wiping them all out. It was a sad day when their restaurant in Oakville closed. Stuart and I have fond memories (indivudally — we didn’t know each other back then) of going there for birthdays and watching black and white movies of The Three Stooges, Little Rascals, Abbott and Costello, and Laurel and Hardy.

Now this isn’t some place called Mother’s, this is Mother’s. Probably the last of its kind. It’s been 15 years since I last had Mother’s, yet I can remember the taste as if it were yesterday. We felt like Indiana Jones, unearthing the Ark of the Covenant in the Well of Souls … at least without the snakes. And the Nazis. And the sand. You get the idea…

We were a little apprehensive at first. Was this in fact Mother’s? Would it taste the same, or were we headed for supreme disappointment? There was only one way to find out. We ordered a couple of slices.

The anticipation was murder. Everything looked right. It was the same logo. The same boxes. The same smell … well, almost. The lobby of the Mother’s restaurant in Oakville reeked of mushrooms.

The pizza arrived. It looked like Mother’s. Hopes were high. We sat down, Stuart immediately diving into his, only to be repulsed at the high temperature. My slices were moderately cooler, so I bit into mine.

It was Mother’s Pizza. After 15 years, we could taste it again. It wasn’t exact, but it was pretty darn close. The major difference was that my pepperoni was underneath the cheese rather than on top of it. When I order from them again, I’ll make sure to correct that little oversight.

Fully happy with our conquest, we returned to my Aunt and Uncle’s, where Stuart dropped me off. He had plans for the evening, and I didn’t…

The next day was moving day. I got up earlier and headed out to Brentwood Village in the Northwest. A new store called Linen and Things was opening, and I wanted to see if there were any deals. I should have known better than that… I did find one thing that looked promising — a two-tier vegetable and rice steamer for $50 (with a coupon, regularly $60). I called Aunt Brenda first to see if she thought that was a decent price, given the one that she uses. She recommended I check out Costco.

Returning to my relative’s home, they gave me a little slip of paper. Costco members can “sponsor” a new member by giving them this little piece of paper. That, plus $45, gets you access to a warehouse full of stuff that you’ll probably never need. But they had the same rice steamer as Linen and Things … for $40. Already this membership was paying off.

Then it was off to get a van. I had zipped into Budget earlier in the morning and reserved a panel van to help me move. I figured it was big enough to hold the TV (that was my primary concern), based on a rough measurement. I thought it would be a quick pick-up, and I’d be off.

I should really know better by now…

They brought out a one-ton truck. I thought something was amiss when the clerk asked me if I new how to drive a delay-start diesel. (Most vans aren’t diesel.) I asked them to bring out the van I asked for. That was my mistake. I should’ve just taken the truck. It took them nearly 20 minutes to bring me the van.

By the time I got back to my relatives’ home, Stuart was there waiting. I didn’t have time to pack the remainder of my stuff in the basement, and opted for a quick haul of the main bulky stuff. Uncle Mike had a basketball game at 4:00, and I didn’t want him to miss it.

Sidetrack time … sorry, but there’s something here I need to say.

Two months ago, I felt very alone. I had a lot of friends at Radical Entertainment, but aside from them, I was alone. I went out to Calgary to visit with Stuart and Therese, at which time I decided I was going to leave Vancouver. But in order to leave, I needed a place to go. I intended to ask my Aunt and Uncle if I could stay for a couple of days, during which time I’d find some place to stay.

I didn’t even get the chance to ask — they offered. Three weeks later, I arrived with a truck (partially) full of junk. Without even a pause, they moved the contents into one of their (spare) rooms. For the next month and a half, they gave me a roof over my head and food on my plate.

I wasn’t alone. If only for that reason, they (and my cousin Jen) helped me through one of the saddest and depressing points of my life. Through their selflessness, their caring, and their help, I am able to stand out on my own again, and be the person I need to be. For this, I will be eternally grateful for all they’ve done. I hope that I can at some point be able to pay them back for all they’ve done … certainly at least for all the beer they gave me.

All my family has stood behind me. My sister Cathy was right there from the start of all this — were it not for her, I might not have been able to get the gumption to do what I did. I told her early on because I knew that if I wavered, she’d fly out and haul my butt out of the province. If anything, the threat of her coming out there got me out.

My parents were there all the way. There was no question of my actions — they understood. As did all my family. I know that a lot of you may argue with me on this, but I have the best family in the world. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

And for that matter — I have the best friends in the world. They’ve all been there for me. Not one negative word (at least not told to me), and many offers of assistance. From ex-roommates to former co-workers to my friends at Radical to my closest circle of friends. I thank all of your for all that you’ve done — even if it’s just a letter or a joke to cheer me up.

Okay, enough of this sappy stuff…

The TV was a problem. I measured wrong. (Figures…) We had to get creative to get the TV in the van. It fit once we got it inside, but the door was a little lower than the inside. In 15 minutes, we were packed and headed towards downtown.

I had the elevator booked from 2:00 until 4:00. There was another unit moving in from 12:00 until 2:00. I hoped they would be done. They weren’t. A huge Allied moving van was still there, and wouldn’t leave until nearly 2:30. It was problematic.

Moving in didn’t take too long, we managed to move in quite quickly, dumping virtually everything in the living room. It was where we had space. I’ll sort out the rest of that stuff later…

Almost as soon as we were done, Uncle Mike shot back out to make his basketball game. Stuart and I still had the van, so getting back wasn’t a problem. It also let us stop and get something to eat for lunch (though it was nearly 3:30 by the time we got to eat). A stop at Harvey’s solved that little issue.

We dropped the van off and returned Stuart to his car. He had things to do, and I had some more stuff to still pack. Aunt Brenda coerced me (like it takes a lot of effort) to stick around for dinner (my Last Supper, so to speak) before heading out to my new apartment. That gave me time to finish packing and put everything in the car. Then it was time for me to leave.

I moved the last of my things into the apartment (albeit with a little difficulty — I had one box that was quite heavy). Then I got to stare at my new life. An apartment with a lot of junk and no furniture, save for the TV and the stereo cabinet. The first order of business was straightening a few things out. I put the foam mattress (loaned from my Aunt and Uncle) in my bedroom and unpacked my sleeping bag. Then I got down to the serious stuff, and washed a few dishes (also loaners).

Then I plugged in the TV. I wanted to know how well it had survived the trip across the Rockies and across Calgary. Not only the TV work, but I had basic cable (the building manager seemed to indicate there was no cable). At least I could watch the X-Files…

For the first time in almost two years, I was the only one in the apartment. I was on my own. Considering I slept on the floor, I slept pretty well…

So I’m the process of getting settled, though I don’t know how long it’ll take. I need to get a lot of things — something to put my clothes in, something to sleep on (other than the floor), at least one chair, and a light or two. Maybe then it’ll feel more like an apartment, rather than a collection of junk…

Which reminds me — some of you might want to contact me now that I’m settled. Grab a pen and paper, ‘cuz you might want to know this:

[This information is not available on the web … sorry.]

I won’t move for a year and a half. I promise.

I hope all of you are doing well. I hope to be writing/speaking to all of you soon!