Tuesday, April 30, 2013
...in the Middle of our Street
We moved into our new house on April 6th. It's fabulous. I'm not a good mover, so have found the experience stressful, overwhelming and emotional to the tangible detriment of my physical and mental health, but I'm also busting with pride and excitement for what lies ahead.
You see, at age 52, apart from the first five or so years of my life - a period I have no recollection of - I've never before lived in a house. I've lived in all manner of condo/flat/apartment/bedsit and maisonette-type dwellings, but never a house. And the fact that it's ours makes this new experience all the more rewarding.
Over three floors, we have so much space we hardly know what to do with it! That said, we have more than enough stuff to fill it. An embarrassing amount of stuff, truth be told, but it's all books, music and art - the things we love dearly - so we will be surrounded by beautiful things.
Yet the reality of the space is that (a fireplace excepted) every need and desire we had when house-hunting is met. On the top floor we have cozy double and single guest rooms, separated by a sizeable area that will be Susan's "Girl Cave." Finally, we can offer visitors comfort and privacy, and my baby can have a space to call her own and do whatever the hell she wants in, away from her annoying husband. On the main floor we have a dining room with views of Mt. Benson, my large office (also providing aforementioned views), the master bedroom, en suite bathroom and large kitchen with doors leading out to an enormous deck. Many a BBQ will be enjoyed out there, for sure.
Downstairs we have our living room, laundry room, workshop and a second bathroom which we'll be gutting and redecorating somewhere down the line. We also have the ridiculous luxury of a room big enough to house our entire combined music collection, so that's what we're doing with it, and yet another room we don't even know what to do with yet! It formed the main part of the recording studio once operated by the former owner's late husband, but we'll be ripping that out (fantastically, to donate to friends moving to Gabriola Island soon...to set up a recording studio!), then we'll decide how best to use the space. Undoubtedly there'll be more books in there - likely all those devoted to music - and I quite fancy a pool table, but we shall see. It's all very exciting.
As the photos illustrate, we have a front yard and picket fence. In the front yard is one of three different apple trees on our property, and we also have a large cherry tree in the back. The backyard is huge, with a lawn, garden shed and carport, which is formed by the deck on the main floor above. For the first time, then, I have a proper yard at my disposal, and we have grand plans for it. We'll be concentrating on inside the house this year, but next year we plan to install raised beds and start growing our own vegetables. I've wanted to do this for the longest time, so here we go! Serving meals to guests that include vegetables grown yards away is something that thrills me no end. We've been the lucky recipients of such meals at friends' houses here, and there's no flavour or, obviously, freshness to compare. Yay for the 10 Yard Diet!
And we are in the loveliest imaginable neighbourhood. Just a 15-minute stroll away from my workplace and everything else downtown, it is beautifully quiet here. I actually jumped the other day when, for the first time in about four hours, a car drove past. Ridiculous, but true. In the mornings all we hear are birds and the very faintest hum of traffic from nearby Bowen Road.
Our best friends live a three minute walk away, but if we get bored with them we have lovely neighbours. On the day after we moved in, there was a knock at the door. It was Bernice and her daughter Moira from next door, with a gift of a beautiful orchid. "We just wanted to welcome you to the neighbourhood" said Bernice, "and here's something for you to look at when you're sick of looking at boxes!" Exhausted, sweaty, surrounded by the inevitable chaos of a move, we were so touched by this gesture that we welled up with tears there and then. What a delightful welcome! More was to come over the garden fence when we met Seoras, who rents the house on the other side. The owner, Connie, is an organic gardener, but does she realize that the meaning of her tenant's Gaelic name is 'farmer'? Amazing! Anyway, he seems a nice chap. Then across the street is Mark, but we have yet to meet his wife or other family members. An ex-pat like myself, he's a laidback guy who owns a waterfront coffee shop that all of a sudden it seems we may be paying regular visits to!
So, yes, this is all rather incredible. This was always going to be our final move, so the house had to be exactly what we were looking for, and so it is. Being an old house (built in 1912), it needs some work and updating, but that comes with the deal. I would rather have that responsibility and my own four walls than shared walls, rules and regulations and a strata fee every month. We truly are in our element and loving every minute of piecing it all together as we want it.
Most satisfying of all, however, is the truly humbling reaction we've received from friends concerning our purchase. Everyone is utterly delighted for us. Perhaps they recognize that in one way or another we've been through an awful lot of tough times the last few years, and are glad to see us so happy. Regardless, it's very comforting, but we are inclined to agree with them that we've truly earned this little corner of heaven!