You may have noticed there has been a new byline in the last few editions of the paper. As the new reporter in town, I'll be replacing Jayne Foster, who is moving on to new projects within the company, although she will still be coming back to write the occasional story. Having read a number of Jayne's articles, I know hers are big shoes to fill, and I will strive to explore the community and tackle issues with the same dedication to the readers.
When I applied for the position, I was living in Innisfail, Alta., a small town 20 minutes south of Red Deer. Although I was thrilled when offered the position, the realization I would have to move all of my worldly possessions to Saskatchewan was daunting to say the least, because I have collected more than my fair share of junk. But when I told my family I would be moving to North Battleford, my grandfather, who is in the moving business, offered to get me a moving truck, and drive it to the Battlefords.
I was even further surprised when my good friend Jen said she would move with me. When I mentioned this to the editor, she told me there was an opening in the classifieds department, which Jen applied for and was hired. So we had jobs, but no home.
Finding a place to live turned out to be much harder than we anticipated. The only postings on the Internet were for people looking for a place to rent, not offering. The company that manages the majority of apartment buildings has a strict no-pet policy, and I have a dog. The few places listed in the classifieds were already taken. Jen and I soon learned to curse the new power plant for the lack of rentals.
Finally, we struck gold... or so we thought. An ad in the paper touted newly renovated mobile homes for rent. We called and were told that there was a singlewide trailer available for June 1, which is the day we were due to start work. We filled out the longest, most thorough rental application I have ever seen, then paid our damage deposit, over a week in advance.
Since the first was a Tuesday, we asked if we could possibly move in over the weekend, and were told that would be fine, but we'd have to meet the landlord Friday at 2:30 p.m., since she leaves early on Fridays, and doesn't work weekends.
That left us with nothing to worry about except packing and saying our goodbyes. Turns out we spent a lot more time on the goodbyes, and somehow I thought I would be able to get my place packed up in a day. Needless to say, when Grampa showed up with the moving truck Thursday night, I still had a lot of packing to do. Jen and I stayed up until 1 a.m. getting the truck loaded. A quick clean in the morning, to leave our apartments in sparkly condition, and we were off.
Grampa left first, since he had filled up the night before. Jen and I had to fill up, which took us maybe 10 minutes. But somehow, and I'm not going to say anything about my grandfather's driving, we didn't catch up to him until we passed Macklin, and I'm not a slow driver, if you catch my drift.
Around Unity, we thought we'd give our new landlord a call, just to let her know we were almost there. That's when things went sour. We were told we couldn't move into the mobile. Of course we asked why, but the answer kept changing. First she said it was because of the dog, but when we pointed out that the pet was listed on the application, which she'd had for two weeks now, she said it was because we had paid the damage deposit by cheque. Fine, we said, we'll give you cash when we get there. Then she said it was actually because the mobile home was renovated, and they were going to sell it instead. When we asked why she had taken our damage deposit on a property they weren't planning to rent, she replied there was another mobile home we could move into, but it wouldn't be ready until about the third. She explained the former occupant was in prison, and she would have to go to court to assume possession of the trailer. Then it would definitely have to be cleaned.
This really didn't sound like a place we would want to live in, and the moving truck was costing money by the day. It had to go back to Calgary.
So I did what any young woman does on the verge of a breakdown in a hopeless situation. I called my dad.
It turns out my dad has friends in North Battleford, a couple by the name of Ron and MaryAnn Braun. He gave them a call, and Ron said he would meet us at a gas station. He then took us to his house, and when we pulled up, the first thing MaryAnn did was come out and give Jen and I big hugs.
Ron, who is the pastor of the Community Baptist Church, let us store our stuff in the basement of the church until we could figure something out. Ron, MaryAnn, their daughter Melissa and her friend Russell, and Ron's parents helped us unload the truck, and didn't complain once, even though I'm sure they all had better plans for their Friday night.
MaryAnn found a place for Jen, Grampa and I to sleep, and made us feel so welcome in their home. The next morning, Grampa left for Calgary, and Jen and I started looking for a place to rent. We looked at one place that seemed promising, but it was too expensive for us. Then MaryAnn suggested that we call Westland Agencies. We spoke to one of their agents, Wayne Hoffman, who showed us a beautiful little house that was perfect for our budget. Upon hearing our story, Wayne gave us the keys that day, and gave us an extended period to pay the damage deposit. He was so understanding and really helped us out.
Once again, the Braun family and their friends; Dave, Patty and Rob, helped us move all our stuff from the church basement to the house. The house didn't have a washer and dryer, but one of MaryAnn's acquaintances was getting rid of her set, so they brought that over as well.
There is a saying; when God closes a door, he opens a window. At the time, I had pegged Friday as the worst day of my life, but it all turned out for the better. Jen and I have a beautiful place and great friends. Neither the Brauns nor Wayne Hoffman owed us anything or had any obligation to help us out. Nevertheless, they went out of the way to lend a helping hand, and in doing so made a huge difference in our lives and taught us the importance of showing the world a little love.