Decision Made

Monday we were excited about the possibility, but then overnight doubts set in for me. He talked me through it, assuaged my fears. The house around the corner with the beautiful views also needs work.

We called the owner for another viewing. Ric was right. My concerns were not founded. I was in. But then Ric had a change of mind. We talked it out.

Disability limits my financial input. The burden is on Ric. I don’t want him to stress over a move. I tell him so.

“But the house would be so much better for you,” he says.

“I’m fine,” I tell him. “The most important thing is that we are happy, and we are, right where we are.”

“I’ll give it one shot,” he decides. The owner is asking an exorbitant price. We both agree not to stretch beyond what is practical.

Ric goes to meet with the owner. The dogs and I wait. I anticipate our bid will fail.

Backyard through screened door off kitchen.

The owner accepted our offer. The house is ours. Now we just have to get this one ready for sale.

Send energy. I’ll need it.

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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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.

 

House Hunting

“Fasten your seatbelt,” Ric told me fourteen years ago when I first agreed that we were a “couple”.  He wasn’t kidding.

We’ve barely just settled in after a six month journey across North America and now we are looking for a home.  We’ve narrowed it down to one of three.

Option1Option #1 is in a 55+ community about forty-five minutes from the city I have lived most of my life.  It is exactly 1/2 between two of our daughters, and granddaughters, so ideally located.  The town is what Ric calls “AVCT” – A very cute town, known for its stone cottages and with a river running through it.

“Very photogenic” I call it.

The house is slightly bigger than I wanted, with cathedral ceilings in the great room (kitchen, dining, and living area), two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It also has an attached garage, a full basement, and a large deck off the side of the house.  There is a small green area around the house and all lawn mowing and snow removal is covered in the maintenance package.  It is well within our budget.

The main street of the town has mostly boutique shops and restaurants, and the town hosts a guest inn.  There is also a quarry with public swimming, a Y, and a seniors’ friendship centre with indoor pool and lots of activities as well as the community’s clubhouse.

Option2Option #2 is an hour from both daughters,  and located in another small town, although not as cute.  It is clear that this town has seen some hardship as there are many empty storefronts along the main street.

This home is part of a townhouse complex, but very well done with all brick exteriors, concrete drives, attached garages, and open concept one-floor living that offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It is a bit smaller than option #1 and does not have a basement.  There is a concrete patio at the back and a fence divider to make the area private.  This is all new construction, so we can select whatever fits our taste.  The price falls at the bottom of our budget.

This community is also adult, offers full maintenance and a community clubhouse.  This option is 20 miles from several beaches.

KettlepointsunsetOption #3 we are going to see tomorrow.  It is an hour and a half from family, but set on a lake, just north of another cute town.  These are also new builds and the option that Ric likes has a sunroom in addition to what the others offer.  This home would stretch our budget.

Ric grew up on this lake, so I know where he is leaning.  While the appeal of water is undeniable, I am not thrilled to be so far from family (and civilization) although each option does have a hospital nearby.

Tomorrow we will make a decision and put in an offer.  I feel like we are living our own version of “House Hunters” without the cameras and commentary.

Which option will it be?

(Photos from personal collection.  Sunset photograph is credited to my husband, and taken on the lake in question.)

 

Another Chapter Closes

The house creaks and cracks with such ferociousness, I am unable to sleep.  Perhaps it does not like the starkness of bare walls, the absence of furniture, the finality of boxes stacked and sealed.  It is my last night here – just myself, a king sized bed and a complaining house.

So much has changed in the five years since we bought this place, on a whim, a response to the fear cancer evoked in us.  I didn’t know then that it would be me, not my husband, who would benefit from the healing environment, who would be thankful for the small space, who would take to bed here.

But even an old character like this house can become a prison, and as life threw one curveball after another at us, we decided that we could either stay put and wait for the next one, or we could move on.

So, I spend one more night, while Ric does last minute preparations on the RV, and listen to the grumblings of the house.

“You have been very good to us,” I whisper.  “Now you will favour someone else.”

Maybe the house, like me, is afraid of unknowns.  She is older than I am so change must certainly be more precarious.  She emits another groan, and I concur.  We grand dames need more TLC at our ages, but I have faith – an injection of new life will do us both good.

Tomorrow we sign her over to someone else.  And tomorrow we embark on an adventure wilder than I’ve ever dreamed.

(Image of sunset over Lake Huron, our temporary new home, is compliments of my husband, Ric Knutson)

 

 

 

Letting Go

“I’ll cover the lying down!” I tell the two strangers, who have just entered my bedroom assessing what needs to be moved.

“Good idea!” the tall, lanky one named Josh answers.

The outside air is heavy with the threat of a downpour.  Inside I pull a blanket over my prone body.

th-6I hear the grunts of men hauling my china cabinet, the living room couch, the multitude of boxes, contents unmarked.  How do you define years of accumulation?  Silly really to still be holding on.  They will go to storage and be swallowed up by the black hole of Thingdom, never to be thought of again.

Afterwards, the sour smell of sweat lingering in the air, I wander into the main living area drawn by the echo of my husband’s voice.  He is now the only furnishing in the room.  The dining table stands stark, alone in its space, the kitchen counters glare emptily.

Layers of our lives have been stripped away in a mere hours.  There is more to go, but as this shell is vacated I feel a sudden pull of emotion.  Is it sorrow?  Doubt?  More a philosophical shrug:  What was it all about anyway?

The excitement has tired me and I return to my current profession:  warming my side of the bed.

th-5Tomorrow more strangers will come, set the house up so that it is no longer recognizable as ours.  Having loaded the last essential goods into our truck, we’ll pull away, point the nose of the truck forward, and move on.

 

Staging Challenges

Wedged between one satisfactorily completed task and an overload of unfinished chores, I am a mess.

We have decided to sell the house, and on the advice of stagers, are tearing everything apart, sorting into three piles:  garbage, Goodwill, and keep/store.  Purging, we are discovering, is exhausting.

In order to do some touch up paint jobs, Ric left me at the RV alone last week.  We’ve parked it at the lake for the summer season, and the solitude is welcoming.  Except that I woke up with severe pain in my left jaw on Monday morning, and after getting up and having something to eat, I started to feel very peculiar – sweating, nausea, and a strange dizziness that felt like the ground was sucking me in.  I called 9-1-1.  Crisis passed, and remaining a mystery (heart checked out okay), I returned home at the  doctor’s suggestion.

Sunday, the kids came by to help out.  At one point, I brought out freezies, and two bites into mine realized I was having a reaction – the top of my mouth felt like it was blistering.  I’d only had this reaction once before and it was while eating Welchade fruit snacks.

“These are Welchade freezies,” my husband pointed out.  Apparently Welchade uses an ingredient that I cannot tolerate.

Then yesterday, while scrubbing the bathroom walls, I felt and heard three pops in my left side.  Ric helped me to the bed and we immediately applied heat, but the damage was done.

Between the pain in my side, the lingering sores in my mouth, and an insect bite that wouldn’t stop itching all night, I have had little sleep.

We have two more days to get this house packed up before the movers come in and then the stagers and it’s listed.

No wonder I’m a mess.

(Image: psychicjessicac.com)