Well, we can relax. We found a house on Kijiji. And today we get possession of it. Thankfully we have 2 weeks to move, which is great because it turns out I’d rather do other stuff – like write blog posts – than help move.
*Disclaimer – the pics in this post are kind of random – photo albums are already packed so not much to work with.
This major life event, causes me to reflect on our other homes of our married life. All three of them. When we got married, I moved half a block away from my parent’s home, into a cute little house we had rented. We thought it was a palace. It was tiny, without a basement, and had two little bedrooms. When I put stuff away in the cupboards, I could also do a weather check, because there were huge cracks where I could see outside – that is unless they were too iced up. Our castle had a “portable toilet”, which was especially pleasant since we hosted lots of parties with our 20-something pals, where mass quantities of beer were consumed.
We stayed there 3 years. Hubby had always wanted to have a bit of property, so we found ourselves looking ½ hr north, at a 10 acre piece of land with a cute little bungalow. It had no basement, but the toilet wasn’t portable so it had me at hello. The young couple who were selling it had built it themselves, and we were young and naïve enough to think that was a good thing. In hindsight, Mike Holmes would have been apoplectic. The young couple was extremely good at staging and had really nice furniture. We were dazzled by the charming décor, and so excited at the prospect of our “hobby farm” that we failed to notice that the house itself kind of resembled a double-wide, and that parts of it were held together with fence staples. The reason I know this, is because fast forward a few years, when we had 3 little kids, and those 3 little kids had 2 little friends over to play. It was a windy afternoon, and they were all 5 playing in the living room, and the drop ceiling got real literal and “dropped” on top of my happy little toddlers. After that, helmets were mandatory as we searched for our new home.
By now my hubby’s appetite for land had become insatiable. He wanted a farm, and he had a list of attributes it had to have – bank barn, maple trees, creek, etc, etc. We started looking another ½ hr north, and looked at so many places that I eventually stopped going with him because it was too hard to haul all the kiddies along. One day he came home and said he thought he’d found the place. It was a January day, and I remember riding in the car to look at it and driving for what felt like hours through frozen tundra. The house had been empty for a year, so the staging was a little less inviting than our first house. Each room had a charming little pile of dead cluster flies under the window. And there was a decided “hill” in the floor of master bedroom.
On the bright side, this place had two toilets of the not portable kind, and it had a basement. So what if it was the kind of basement you don’t want to go into unless under threat of a Wizard of Oz category tornado. I had chronic fatigue also known as numb-y mummy syndrome in the 90s, so robotically signed the papers, and we moved in on June 26 1992, with a 1, 3 and 5 year old. My biggest concern was how I was going to keep them all safe, with a pond and a creek, and a barn with a ladder up to the rafters. I had visions of a well-worn path down our driveway from emergency vehicles, and being on a first name basis with all the 911 operators. Hubby was enthralled with all the fields and dirt and trees that we could call our own. He saw past the insulbrick and the long grass, and fell deeply in love with the maple lined driveway and the white board fence and the big red barn and the bush out back. He thought this was a great place to raise the kids. Turns out, he was right. (I can admit that, because he hardly ever reads this.)
After 20 years, we’re moving on. It’s bittersweet – it’s a small town and most people have lived here FOREVER. The folks in our community who eyed us suspiciously for the first 10-15 years, have started to warm up. (Mercifully we didn’t realize at the time how sorely we stood out at our kids athletic and school events. We thought we were anonymous, and really we might as well have been wearing sandwich signs that screamed “stranger danger”.) Now ironically, we will be making trips back to the old hood to visit. We will miss our pals.
Even though we’re empty nesters now, the kids are having a hard time with saying goodbye to the old place. I tsk tsk them and tell them how great the new place will be … but secretly I’m dealing with flashbacks of 3 little curly headed imps fishing through the cracks in the bridge at the creek, or all 3 sleepily listening to Tom Petty songs while crammed into a tractor cab with dad as he plowed fields, or 3 teens huddled behind the driveway trees waiting for the bus, or countless family barbeques with spectacular sunsets.
I can’t think about that too long. Instead I choose to focus on the fact that the place we’re going to has an unprecedented 3 normal toilets, and a basement that I will willingly spend time in, even without weather network alerts.
And the best part is, the family moving in to our old house has 3 little kids under 5. The dad is visibly excited about the fields and barn and trees and bush. The mummy is not at all numb-y, and is thrilled about calling our old farm home. They think it’s going to be a nice place to raise kids. They have no idea.