The envelopes and minutes that matter

Ottawa government buildings

Today I learned for sure that someone else got the best apartment I have seen so far. It was the people who were leaving it just as I arrived to see it. No matter, because I found a less good but entirely acceptable place on Chapel Street, near Rideau. I submitted my application and then learned that someone else had already done so. There is some chance I will get this new place, but it seems likely that the slog will continue.

Next time I am presented with a renter juggling different application envelopes, it may be wise to introduce some confusion. I know that I have trouble remembering which envelope was on top when another suddenly appears with a neat collection of large bills inside…

I suppose it is all a bit ironic. The federal bureaucracy seems pretty amiable, very professional, and more laid back than expected. The housing market is opaque, full of frustration, and tinged with the unseemly on many edges.

[Update: 18 July 2007] It has been confirmed that the previous applicant got the second apartment I applied for. Having this happen twice in as many days is very frustrating. Clearly, good apartments in Ottawa are snapped up in hours. The bad ones, by contrast, linger for weeks on the various listings. Wearily, I must continue the search.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

8 thoughts on “The envelopes and minutes that matter”

  1. You should be ashamed of the crisp bill idea. How would you like it if you were first to one of these places, then found yourself shunted aside by someone less prompt but with deeper pockets?

  2. It was more a joke than a serious suggestion, though several people have suggested such bribery as a way to get good housing. I agree that the spoils should go to the swift, rather than the wealthy – despite how neoclassical economic logic suggests that the most efficient outcomes are achieved through the effects of price signals.

    One other notable matter: when presented with a decent looking thermos for $15 and a collection of a similar looking thermos, insulated mug, and insulated food holder for $20, you may want to choose the former. In my recent experience, the thermos and mug in the latter set are both leaky to the point of being garbage, as well as virtually uninsulated.

  3. Antonia,

    There is still some chance I will get the place, though it is contingent on the previous applicant failing the background check for some reason.

    I should find out today.

  4. David Barber of the University of Manitoba is leading a 10-month study of flaw leads – huge cracks in Arctic ice that create open bodies of water. The Arctic, he said, is a bellwether for how climate change will affect the rest of the planet.


  5. I feel your pain Milan, I’m suffering the same out here in Van trying to find an apartment in Kits.

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