Things You Need To Know Before Moving

Unpacked moving boxes in Living Room

If you follow this blog, or did when I was still posting on a regular basis, you know that I just moved. By “just” I mean like two months ago because I’m a piece of shit who can’t get her procrastinating ass off of 9GAG when she gets home from work…

Over the years I’ve moved plenty of times, including out of my parent’s house, but this was the first time I really changed residence as a full fledged, self assured, responsibility laden, adult.

I went into this technically a moving virgin. Sure I’d fooled around before, I’d moved my bedroom and signed a lease once before, but this was the first time I’d experienced full relocation penetration. As a result of my relative innocence on the matter there was a lot of fumbling, some mistakes, and in the end I felt dirty, used, and butt-hurt. My hope today is that by sharing my shitty experience I can prepare you dear reader and help you side step some of the sticky messes I found myself wading through. Just relax, it’ll all be over sooner than you think.

Finding Your New Place Is a Combination Of Timing and Luck.

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Before you can move I think it goes without saying that you need a place to move to. Finding that perfect little love nest, man cave, or lady lair, is nothing if not time sensitive. There is something of a sweet spot during the month for landing a pad and that is the first week of the month. If open residencies had a menstrual cycle the first week of the month would be their ovulation. Though it’s possible to lock down your new digs at anytime your chances are best then. This is because that’s when new postings go up and landlords want to fill open vacancies ASAP so the longer you wait the fewer properties are available. If you see an ad you like you have to jump on that shit right away before someone else does. If you have the option to call, then call, they’ll get it before they see an email and more often than not if there are multiple interested parties landlords/ladies tend to work on a first come, first serve basis.

Don’t get discouraged. You can spend hours out of everyday driving around neighbourhoods, and scourging kijiji and still come up with nothing only to find the perfect place through a post your friend stumbled across while absently perusing the ‘man seeking man for light petting’ ads on craigslist. In the end it all boils down to luck and good timing. Fortunately those are two things I have seeping out of my every orifice.

My friend (the only one) had also been looking for a new apartment at the same time as me and managed to steal the top suite of a house in a nice neighbourhood from an elderly couple who we can only presume are now being a burden on their children or living in a care home where their jewellery has started to mysteriously disappear. When my friend was maliciously tossing a pair of senior citizens, who may very well have fought Nazis, onto the street she learned that the downstairs suite was also available. And so, my roommate and I found our new home and this upper-middle class family neighbourhood gained a house of young, poor, foul mouthed, borderline alcoholics instead of a sweet little old couple and their one eyed rescue cat with feline diabetes who bring home made pies to block parties, and sponsor a nigerian orphan with HIV. For the record, I sleep just fine.

Giving Your Notice

Turns out letting your current overlord/lady/corporation know you’re leaving is a little more complicated than you’d think.

You are legally obligated to give you’re month’s notice by the last day of the prior month if you don’t want to be on the hook for another month’s rent. So, if you were moving out for August you would have to give your one month’s notice by the 30th of June. My roommate and I initially wanted to move out for May 1st but when we tried to give our notice on April 1st were told “tough titties” or some variant of. Who can remember exact phrasing? We were a day late and if we were to hand in a formal notice we would be expected to pay for May’s rent if they couldn’t find someone else to take our apartment for May. We decided to wait knowing that if we ended up stuck in a situation where we had to pay rent for two places we wouldn’t be able to afford it. Waiting to give our notice also meant we had to pass on the place we had looked at earlier that day despite it being perfect because they wanted the place filled for May.

This is were the problem lies. As discussed previously, home owners want to fill vacant spaces ASAP so they want you moved in for the start of the next month whether you checked the place out on the 1st or the 28th. No one is showing a place in April for a tenant to move in for June because that’s a whole month of an available space sitting empty not collecting rent. This means you are giving your months notice before you know for sure if you’ll even have a place to live for the next month.

The shittiest part of giving your notice is that you have to be out of there with all your stuff by the last day of the month, so if we decided to say “fuck it” and gave our notice on the 1st of April to be out for May and the didn’t find someone to take our apartment with it’s broken kitchen light, live in mice, and whole in the shower wall, for the beginning of May we’d be paying our slum lord rent for may but wouldn’t be able to stay there that month when it inevitably came to pass that we couldn’t afford to pay rent for our new place as well. We’d essentially be paying our old landlord to be homeless.

Getting Back You’re Damage Deposit.

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The more observationally astute among you may have noticed that last entry I mentioned a dead kitchen light fixture, mice, and a breach in the structural integrity of my shower. Let the record state that none of that was through any fault on the part of myself or my roommate. Turns out the property company that owns my old building wasn’t so big on holding up their end of our tendency agreement. Specifically the part that stated that they are responsible for performing regular maintenance and upholding the living standards of the complex.

We were living in an old apartment complex which generally means the building in inclined to fall victim to the ravishes of time. This property company at some point decided that they were immune to the effects of normal wear and tear and therefore were not obligated to check up on these such as the decay and disintegration of whatever water proof sealing that was applied to my shower wall 60 years ago when the building was first erected. The hole in my shower wall wasn’t so much a hole as it was a caving in of the tiles into the weak, water damaged wall. For the two months between when the tiles shifted and were sucked into the cavernous decay that is that wall and the day we moved out we had unsuccessfully managed to get the company to send so much as a handyman to even look at my shower in spite constant nagging whenever either of us bumped into our building manager, and a formal written request. I essentially spent two months bathing in the bathroom from Saw. Come to think of it a bloodied corpse might have cheered the place up a little.

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Pictured: A wall more structurally sound than my actual wall.

They also never sent an electrician to look at the kitchen light that stopped working way back in January that clearly needed more that a $75 dollar lightbulb change or anyone with pest control to take care of the bastard mice that came back for the second spring in a row.

Our apartment was in such a state of ruin that when I wrote our formal notice I sited “the deteriorating state of our apartment” as our reason for leaving and their “failure to rectify the situation” as why we expected the return of our damage deposit in full.

When we had a walk through from some dick-bag  from the company’s office two weeks before our move day, the first time anyone so much as looked at any of the places maladies, we were informed that they wanted to charge us for the state of the bathroom wall. Shit-Stain Von Douche-Nugget’s reason for why the ravishes of time was our fault was that nothing was noted on the assessment sheet that was filled out on the day we first moved in two years ago. Upon hearing this we were given lots of advice on how to deal with our bullshit situation and as per my father’s direction almost decided not bother having the curtains or carpets cleaned (as is your responsibility when moving out) or doing any sort of cleaning at all especially when our building manager told us we were expected to paint as well.

I decided to make my second call to the B.C. Tenancy Board in two months to ask advice from one of their reps. The lovely lady over the phone with the warm, motherly voice told me a few things I’m going to pass along to you.

1. As long as your walls are clean without any major damage, or holes larger than those used to hang picture frames, you are under no obligation to paint unless you have perviously painted the walls another colour.

2. You do have the option to appeal to the tenancy board in the event that your landlord does try to unjustly keep your damage deposit. They will investigate on your behalf.

3. You are obligated to have curtains and carpets professionally cleaned and the cost of doing so can be taken out of your damage deposit so it’s best to get it done so that if a dispute does occur you can maintain that you did everything to uphold your side of your tenancy agreement.

4. Slum Lords love to take advantage of first time renters. They don’t know what signs and issues to look for when you first move in or what they are legally allowed to ask from you when you move out and they will try to exploit that. Especially young people and most especially young women. The best thing you can do is educate yourself and if what your landlord is telling you doesn’t quite add up, you can always call the Tenancy Board for information.

In the end our building manager cut us a bit of a break. As it turns out his own apartment down the hall from ours was also plagued with all kinds of problems that even he couldn’t get them to fix. He said he’d only charge us $100 for the shower and give us back the remaining $425. It came down to either eating the $100 dollars that we shouldn’t of had to pay in the first place and moving on with our lives, or spending $50 and months of our time filing a dispute. In the end we decided to just cut our losses and be done with it all. I’d be lying if I said write about this even two months later didn’t still make me want to punch that shower tile into soggy, mouldy, confetti.

Learning From Past Mistakes

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It wasn’t until we were in danger of losing our damage deposit that we found ourself looking at online reviews from previous tenants from our building and other’s the company owned. We were unsurprised to find our story was nothing new or original. There were all kinds of tales of out of control bedbug populations, an assortment of plumbing related issues, and shoddy repair jobs involving duct tape. When we went in to look at the place we were pushed into signing the lease so quickly we didn’t have time to even think of doing any research on our new home.

This time was different. We actively decided we never wanted to deal with another absentee company again. We needed to be able to meet the person managing our home face to face and to have a direct number where we could contact them so we wouldn’t keep getting the round about. This time we knew what questions to ask and what to look for and we even had a point of reference from my friend living in the upstair suite. My friend assured me that when they moved in they had trouble with their washer and our landlady was there within a few hours to check it out and have a repairman in within the week. The people who own the house were a young couple who genuinely cared about the place and were easily approachable.

We really did hit the jackpot though. We did end up in that perfect place we had to pass on. Our Landlady liked us so much that in the end she actually DID hold it till June. They were so set on having the right tenants that a week after I told her we would have to pass she texted me to tell me that she hadn’t found anyone else she liked and if we still wanted it for June it was ours. Plus it definitely doesn’t hurt that her husband is in politics. If they were crappy land lords they couldn’t afford to have that getting around.

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Today’s Post Is Brought to You By The Letter C!

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Last week my mother came down to visit me. My mom is pretty cool. She’s easy to talk to, she can swear like a sailor, and to date she is the only person to beat me in a game of cards against humanity. She accepts me for the terrible person I am and has no problem sinking to my level when we hang out.

That being said, there has always been one thing I could say that was sure to have her frowning and exclaiming my name in the tone of irritation and disappointment that all moms know how to do. One word that never fails in offending her and getting me in trouble. The C-Word.

It makes no sense to go on talking about a word while completely avoiding the word itself so lets just get the shock factor out of the way and say it together on 1… 2… 3… Cunt.

There we go. Now we can move forward with our mature conversation about slanderous terms for female genitalia.

I didn’t grow up in a home free of cursing. “bad words” were pretty commonly heard around my house though not wildly used by myself until my teen years. I’d picked up many colourful terms throughout my childhood but cunt was not one of them. I don’t think I even heard the word cunt until I was maybe fifteen and it was probably a good year after that before I found out what it meant. It was just a bad word. A really bad word. I didn’t think I needed to ask what it meant, I just knew it was one of the worst words you could use based on the reaction it provoked from the adults around me.

When I did finally find out what it meant it lost a lot of stigma for me. You mean to tell me that this whole time people were so upset about being called a vagina? That’s it? Vagina. It seemed silly. Since that revelation the word cunt has had a spark of humour for me. I decided I liked it. It had the silliness of ‘vagina’ but packed the punch of ‘fuck’. It was shocking, but to me it was just another animated piece of vocabulary, even if my computer doesn’t acknowledge it as a word even now. I started using. Sporadically at first and never in front of my mother. Now I probably use it on a daily basis, though my reasons for doing so have changed.

I haven’t lived with my parents for two years now. I’m not terribly far away from them but far enough that it’s not unusual to go two or three months between visits. This has improved my relationship with my parents in a lot of ways but it has completely dulled my ability to censor myself in front of them. As my mom was visiting last weekend I couldn’t help but have the c-bomb drop in front of her. She was not impressed. I felt the need to defend myself and my use of what is arguably my favourite word.

“What’s wrong with saying cunt?”
“It’s not a nice word. When people use it it makes them sound ignorant.”
“But it’s just another word for vagina. Are you offended when someone says vagina?”

She said it wasn’t the same. The context of vagina and cunt are two different things. She’s right. They mean the same thing but the intent behind someone saying vagina and someone saying cunt are completely different. Vagina is clinical and objective. Cunt is used when you want to call someone the worst thing you can think of. Why is it that the worst thing people can think to call someone is a cunt? Why is it that the worst thing someone could be is a part of female anatomy?

On the flip side penis is a clinical term and dick is an insult but when was the last time you saw a rational person be genuinely upset at being called a dick. People brush it off. No one is offended at being referred to as a dick or a prick the same way people are offended by cunt or even pussy when there really shouldn’t be any difference. One genders private parts aren’t any worse than the others. It’s the stigma that being a woman is a bad thing that makes cunt such a bad word.  In a world where we still tell people they, “throw like a girl”, or that they need to, “man up and stop acting like a chick”, it’s not surprising that cunt is still considered as derogatory as it is. It’s sexist.

For some people the word being loaded with sexist connotation is why we shouldn’t use it, but for me it’s exactly why I feel I should use it. I use cunt ironically mostly. As a term of endearment in the same way close friends call one another “bitch”, “asshole”, or my roommate’s personal favourite “dickhole”. I nearly never use it in an angry context and when I do it’s mostly reserved for inanimate objects. I used to joke I was “taking it back” but the more I made that joke the more I realized that was what I wanted to do.

Upwards of 80% of incidences where I’ve ever heard cunt used it was a man using it to berate, shame, or devalue a woman. Occasionally I’ve heard women use it to tear down other woman, and once I heard a man use it to insult another man. It’s disproportionately used as an oppressive term towards women and that shit needs to stop. The best way to do that is to repurpose the c-word in the same way rappers repurposed the n-word.

We use it on our own terms and when some jerk uses it in a derogatory manner we come down on him like a ton of politically correct bricks to let the rest of the asshats know that their cunt privileges have been revoked. Then it’s use among misogynists will be confined to comments on the morally bankrupt cesspool that is 4chan where the rest of us will never have to see it.

How To Tell A Rape Joke

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Some people are of the opinion that rape jokes are never funny. To this I say, who slipped GHB in their drink?

The truth is rape is arguably the most despicable, and disgusting thing you can ever do to a person short of forcing them to reenact Human Centipede 2 or forcing them to watch Human Centipede 2. Being terrible doesn’t mean you can’t joke about it. Humour for many people is the best way to deal with horrible situations. Humour can also help promote a dialog about uncomfortable subject matter. Rape is a sensitive, heavy topic that can be intimidating for people to tackle. A joke made in the right way can deflate some of the stigma or in some cases cause offence to get the ball rolling. Rape is a serious issue and something that everyone needs to talk about. If it takes a few insensitive jokes to get people talking so be it.

That being said, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about making a rape joke. That’s why Amy Poehler and Tina Fey can be praised for making a rape joke at the Golden Globes and Bill Cosby’s attempt to make light of his accusations is decidedly distasteful and anyone who rewarded it with an applause should be deeply ashamed of themselves and might as well walk around wearing buttons that say “Proud Supporter of Rape Culture”.

As a humorist, a feminist, and what many call an”unfeeling and gross individual” I am exactly the person to tell you the difference between a good rape joke and a bad rape joke. I’ve compiled a little guide to help you learn how to make a proper rape joke that will inspire nervous laughter rather than outright rage… hopefully.

Understanding Rape Culture

Before you can even think about cracking wise about sexual assault or any other sensitive subject you have to understand the gravity of the matter. Lately you’ve probably heard the term rape culture tossed around a lot but do you know what it means? Do you even believe it is an actual thing?

Rape culture is a term used to refer to what is perceived as a normalization of sexual violence by society due to attitudes about gender and sexuality. Rape culture is things like victim blaming, misinterpreting of consent, and ignoring sexual harassment. Rape culture very much exists and it’s bad for everyone. It not only dehumanizes women but perpetuates myths that men can’t be victims of rape and that men are testosterone fuelled animals ruled by their libidos. Rape culture doesn’t benefit anyone except sexual predators.

If you don’t understand an issue then you have no business making jokes about it. People can tell the difference between pleading ignorance for comic effect and just being straight up ignorant. If you honestly believe that sexism doesn’t exist, that some people are “asking for it”, that rape itself is funny, or that people have no right to get offended when you make a rape joke, then you need to quietly remove yourself from society and stop holding back the rest of the human race.

Assessing Your Audience

Now that all of the jerk offs have stopped reading to focus on their angry comments the rest of us well meaning and educated, but twisted, sons of bitches can get back constructing our informed and tasteful quips about sexual assault.

Before you break out your carefully crafted rape joke, take a moment to take a look around you. Where are you? On public transit or at a women’s shelter? Maybe you should put it away. Who are you with? Co-workers or complete strangers? It’s probably best to hold off.  Are you at home surrounded by your closest friends? Go for it.

When it comes to making offensive jokes of any kind you have really pay attention to those around you. There is a time and a place for politically incorrect humour and it can take a lot of years of missteps before you can learn to identify when the time is right. Be warned, more often than not the time is wrong.

Other things you should take into account include: How politically charged is my joke? Are these people smart enough to realize that it’s a joke and I’m not a heinous human being? Is my joke a reference to a specific incident? Has enough time passed where it’s acceptable to joke about this incident?

That last one is very important. If the shock of a current news story is still hanging in the air it’s usually better to not go there. Take the other night for instance, I was watching Team America: World Police with a couple other people. During the opening sequences when terrorists attack Paris I stopped myself short of saying “They can’t all be cartoonists” because it was a terrible, terrible, thought to have and I didn’t need to spend the rest of the night averting my roommate’s judging eyes. Even sharing it now I’m not sure how it’s going to go over.

The truth is there’s no way to know for sure if your joke will be received positively. You have to play it by ear and use your better judgment. If you’re immediately met with appalled looks from those around you it’s best to start apologizing profusely.

Can You Get Away With It?

I hate being exclusionary as much as the next guy but there are simply some people who are allowed to make rape jokes and some who should never utter the world in a public place. I don’t make the rules.

I was born with a vagina so I already have an advantage when it comes to kidding around about sexual violence. Gentlemen, this is one the few things in life where you’ll find your penis is actually a hindrance. I know, I know, “but that’s misandry”, sorry guys but for the same reasons it’s more acceptable for a black guy to make jokes about black culture it’s more acceptable for women to make jokes about rape culture. Our day to day lives tend to be more impacted by the threat of rape then yours so we get more leeway to talk and joke about it. Same goes for domestic abuse, and the C word.

Being a guy doesn’t mean you have to give up rape jokes all together. Some of my favourite rape jokes have been made by men. You just have to know how to approach it. How comfortable people feel around you is a big part of it. If you’re a relatable and nonthreatening kind of guy you can probably pull it off. If you’re more on the aggressive side it’s gonna be more difficult. If you’re joking about yourself getting raped you should be in the clear but if you’re joking about doing the raping you may want to approach with caution. The exception to this bit is that you’re naturally so creepy that it becomes an uncomfortably kind funny but only when in a room full of people, never in a one on one situation. If your a comedian you’re pretty much golden as long as you don’t pull a Daniel Tosh.

If you have ever committed rape, threatened rape, or been accused of rape it should go without saying that under no circumstances should you ever make a rape joke. It’s not cool and I hope the authorities have been alerted.

Being Conscious Of Who The Butt Of The Joke Is

Above I mentioned Daniel Tosh. If you can remember he got in some hot water a couple years back for a joke he made at the expense of a heckler. During a bit where tosh voiced his affinity for rape jokes  a woman in the audience cut in “Actually, rape is never funny” to which tosh responded “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…”

Also as mentioned earlier Amy Poehler and Tiny Fey made a pretty great example of a well executed rape joke at this year’s Golden Globes.

The is one big difference between the two jokes. No it’s not the gender of the person telling them. The biggest and most important distinction between them is who the joke was mocking. The target of Poehler and Fey’s joke was the rapist where as Tosh’s was the, hypothetical, victim.

Poehler and Fey’s goal was to mock and shame those who commit rape in this case accused rapist Bill Cosby who, lets be honest, is almost definitely guilty. Due to statute of limitations he’ll likely never be found guilty in a court of law but when 20+ women come forward with eerily similar stories and nothing to gain, over the course of decades there’s little doubt that he did it.

In Tosh’s case he made a very poor choice in how to take down a heckler. Heckling is a shitty thing to do, but you know what is an even shittier thing to do? Telling someone you hope they get gang raped in front of an audience for interrupting you.  There were a hundred responses he could have given, even other rape jokes he could have made, like: “tell that to my rapist”, or “clearly you’ve never seen Sixteen Candles“. He could have followed up but he picked the absolute worst joke by making her a subject of sexual assault.

Accepting The Repercussions

When the incident happened it became an argument of comedic freedom vs common decency. As a comedian you should be allowed to joke about what you like. I firmly believe that. No topic should ever be off limits. That said, when you pick a topic like rape you do it knowing it’s a trigger topic. You know that you’re joke is going to shock and offend people and that’s why you do it. You want someone to be offended whether it’s for publicity, to start a dialog, to make a point, or because you just like to shock people. To fire back at the offence an audience member has taken, as if they have no right to be offended, is wrong.

For example: On my last period, which some of you may know was a particularly bad one, while eating dinner with my roommate I got into a monologue about having a hysterectomy. The gist was if I just had it removed than I wouldn’t have to worry about cramps anymore and would save so much money on feminine hygiene products. Of course the only way to have medic care cover this would be if I had cervical cancer. Exactly how long would I have to stand with my lady parts in front of the microwave to get cervical cancer? My roommate’s face became twisted in an enduring cringe; when I asked her why she exclaimed, “you’re joking about cancer!”, and that was a totally reasonable response. I share this with you now knowing that it has the potential to offend people with cervical cancer or with loved ones who have cervical cancer. Knowing that If someone leaves me a comment that “cervical cancer isn’t funny” and that I’m “an insensitive asshole” I brought that upon myself and I don’t not deserve it.

You do have freedom of speech. You have the right to say what you like but other people also have to right to tell you when they don’t like what you’re saying. 

I leave you with a good rape joke.