At Home

A perch to greet the world


a corner to keep my books
(could use some sorting)

A pot of home made soup on the stove
(Chicken tortilla – our favourite)

This is home.

(For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: at home)

Bricks and Stone

Our town’s quaintness is derived from the stone buildings, sourced from the local limestone quarry.

As magnificent as these historic buildings are, I understand they are hard to heat in winter months.

Our winters, in southwestern Ontario, Canada, can be harsh. I am grateful for modern materials like clay bricks, and of course, insulation, that keep us safe and cosy inside our homes.

(For Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: bricks and stone)

Blessing of Serenity

Settling in a small town, especially a senior’s community, is not something I would have ever envisioned, and yet; here we are.

Funny how life works like that, and thank goodness it does. I appreciate this place that we have landed more and more each day.

It has not been without difficulty, this move away from the city. One daughter balked that we would choose to distant ourselves from grandchildren. Another worried that I would be okay should anything happened to Ric.

There is always resistant to change. As the children have made time to visit, they too are coming to love what makes this place unique.

It’s the little things that fill our hearts with gratitude. Here, away from the noise and bustle of the city, my heart finds fulfillment.

(Thursdays, I have committed to expressing gratitude. I’m also linking this up with Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: serenity.)

Landed

The travel angels saw me home safely, even ensuring I had a whole row of seats to myself on the flight – a gift to someone wary of germs and overpowering scents.

The excitement of being back on the canal and immersed in milder temperatures overrides this total exhaustion. I slept on and off for eight hours following yesterday’s journey – a feat that rarely happens for me.

The plan was to have a quiet day, enjoy the reunion with Ric, and wash my clothes. I did not intend to get dressed. But, like all good plans, there is always something that pops up.

Today it was this beautiful, calm white Pelican, who glided downstream and lingered outside my window. My camera demanded I quickly dress and pulled me outside.

So good to be back.

(My challenge this week is destination. So often, in my dreams, I am on my way home, as if home is place I’ve not yet secured. Today, settling back into life with my husband and the birds, I feel like I’m home.)


Home: A Wrap

We arrived Wednesday, our vehicle stuffed full, including a blow-up mattress for me, who would be camping out the remainder of the week.  Ric would travel back and forth, staying at the RV, and I would manage deliveries, and oversee the laying of new floors.

I set up in the living room (bedroom carpets were to be torn out) – a single bed, a sleeping bag, my computer and a flashlight.

“It doubles as a weapon,” Ric reassured me with a smile on his face.

Finding the bathroom the first night felt like going on safari, the space being so much larger than our current home.  I shut the doors to extraneous rooms, so as not to feel overwhelmed. Then there was the silence.  It is quiet here, beyond words.

“We’re an eight to six community,” a passing neighbour told me.  “Nothing happens before or afterwards.”

As promised, deliveries started – we’ve bought everything new as we’re starting over – and I turned my focus to what goes where, and what else do we need.  It’s a bit like being a newlywed, I thought, building our first nest.  So exciting.

Friday, the flooring team arrived bright and early, and later on our new appliances.  By mid-afternoon, I was exhausted, and lay down in the midst of it and napped.  At six, as the last of the workers left, I collapsed in a chair and considered the tracks of dust and dirt.

Ric went for groceries without me and then headed back.  In the morning, he would pick up a moving van and gather the boys to move the rest of the stuff.

At 4:00 a.m., having slept for five hours, I was wide awake.  I put on the kettle and found the broom and mop.  Silly, I suppose, but it was weighing on me.  The first deliveries came at 8:30 – all needing to be assembled.

Friends arrived, like angels descending, and immediately set to work.  By the time Ric and the boys arrived, we had a bed together, a dining room table, and a chair to sit in.  (I use the royal ‘we’ here – not much effort was exerted on my part.)

Soon the house was filled with more boxes and bodies, and the bustle of activity.  By five, I whisked them away,  muscles refusing to hold me upright any longer.  One last ring of the front bell was a neighbour delivering fresh cherry tomatoes from his garden.

Ric and I sat at our dining room table, eating take out and fresh lettuce with tomatoes, bursting with gratitude for those who took the time to help us, and the contentment of knowing we’re home.

***

This week’s challenge focused on the concept of home.  Olga at Stuff and What If talks about home being a place within, first missing, and then evolving to a place of contentment.   Proscenium, caught in a deluge of constant rain, describes home as a place to get comfy, and “enjoy guilty free living” when the storms come.  Sgeoil’s description of home involves roots, people, and connections, and reminds us that it isn’t always just one setting.

I loved the posts this week, and am extremely grateful for all the comments and encouragement during the transition.  This online community is a home unto itself.

Be well all, and see you tomorrow for a new challenge,

V.J.

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V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #9: Home

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.”

– Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 

Home is on my brain this week, as we take possession of our new house on Wednesday, exactly one year after having sold our last one.  For a year, we have been living in our motor home, traversing the country and living a rootless life.  It has been magnificent in many ways, and so it surprises me that I am excited to be moving into bricks and sticks once again.

“A home filled with nothing but yourself. It’s heavy, that lightness. It’s crushing, that emptiness.”
Margaret Atwood, The Tent

I often dream that I am away from home.  It’s been a running theme for as long as can remember, and causes me to question the concept of ‘home’.  What defines home?

My parents moved house frequently; Mother claiming it was better than spring cleaning.  I seemed to have caught the bug, and am always on the move – just ask my kids, and they’ll roll their eyes and moan in response.  Is it the allure of something new, or the quest for the unknowable?  That I can’t answer.

“I believe that one can never leave home. I believe that one carries the shadows, the dreams, the fears and the dragons of home under one’s skin, at the extreme corners of one’s eyes and possibly in the gristle of the earlobe.”
Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

What does ‘home’ mean to you?  Are you a wanderer like me, or have you dwelt in the same place for a long time?  Is ‘home’ defined by a single space, or is a feeling not confined to location?

Look forward to your posts!

(Note:  To participate, create a post on your own blog, and either drop a link in the comments, or create a link back to this post.  Photos, poetry, or other forms of expression are welcome.)

And the Winner Is…

WindowsWhat I didn’t tell you in my last post is that we put an offer on Option #1 immediately after viewing it.  It has everything we want and more.  We had driven to this community and looked at houses before, but they sell fast, so when we found out this one was sold conditional on the purchasers selling their own home, we asked to view it.

Hard to tell, though, which way people will go.  Put in this position ourselves, we would waive the condition and leap – but that’s us.

“There were competing offers at the time,”  the realtor warns us.  “They fought for this house.”

So we let it go and set our hopes on the lake, knowing that Option #2 would serve if nothing else did.

“When did you know that this wasn’t for us?” Ric asked me on the drive home from the lake.  “I knew right away.  Too many hidden costs. I felt like I was being taken for a ride.”

treesnhouseI hadn’t known.  I was looking for a solution that would compensate for losing the first house.  We stopped for dinner in the second town, and then drove around the neighbourhood, orienting ourselves.

Option #2 it would be.  Budget wise, this was the best choice.

“I like that the backyard is private,” I stated.  We’d picked out the unit we wanted.  Tomorrow if the sales office was open, we’d make an offer.

“Maybe we should wait?”  I dared to suggest.  “Maybe another house will come up in the town we want.”

“No.  We need to take care of this now.”

We lingered over our morning beverages, he on his screen, me on mine.  Then, just after noon, he decided to cut the grass, while I decided it was a good day to clean the motor home.  At 2:15, his phone rang.  I answered.

“How did you like the Bluffs?” the realtor asked.

StMary'shome“Well…it was interesting,” I answered, trying to be tactful.  I elaborated on costs, size, facilitates, lack of maintenance.

“Good thing it’s not a problem for you then,” she said and my breath froze on the intake.  “The house is yours!  Drop by the office tomorrow and we’ll firm up the paperwork.”

We take possession August 1st.  In the meantime, we’ve got some work to do.