Late last year Mr. Finger Candy and I sold our two-bedroom condo apartment and made the rather spectacular leap to single family home ownership. To say it’s been an adjustment would be an oversimplification, but not a wild one – we’re not in completely over our heads here (unless we’re talking about the snow from our driveway, now piled high on our front lawn, which, after four or five storms, now stretches way, way above our heads.)
Without a doubt, things have changed, but in very few ways have they changed for the negative. Mostly, I think we’re just plum delighted with our new-to-us house, and thankful beyond all measure that we’re out of our condo. We…did not enjoy living there for what I was about to say was just the last couple of months, but really, encompassed the entirety of 2019. We really, really did ourselves in with the unfortunate quadruple whammy of deceased pet, chaotic reno, employment strife and arsehole neighbours. It was hard to view the place, beautiful though it was, as anything but a burden after that.
So we moved on to greener pastures (or at least they’ll be green once the snow melts.) To be sure, we have taken on a mountain of responsibility that we did not have before, but weirdly, I think we both kind of love it. You just can’t tell me that this man, outfitted in his best Captain Canada attire, out sweeping the back patio in the middle of a snowstorm, is not getting off on this!
Things I frequently and delightedly note that I love about our new home? The quiet. Our street is – knock on wood – SO QUIET. Or maybe it’s not and I’ve just been brainwashed into thinking that anything less than 2,000 other people thumping up and down the street every day is peaceful.
Our neighbours seem to be kind, considerate and helpful souls. Snow has been plowed, holiday cookies have been exchanged and plans have been made for better weather get-togethers. I hardly know what to do with this bounty of good neighbourliness.
The red heat lamp in our ensuite bathroom rocks my world. I never bathe that I don’t have “ROXXXXXXXXXXXX-anne!” running through my head, or think that I’m somehow showering in the midst of an Alien movie. Sometimes it’s both, which makes for a very unique bathing experience. 🙂
We have a finished basement! And true, it might be colder than Cocytus, the frozen lake of Hell, but that’s just because we don’t spend a lot of time down there right now, and so the heat’s rarely cranked. But I suspect that once the warmer weather hits AND we’ve renovated the place into the ultimate Haunted Mansion-themed home theater, it’ll become THE cool place to be, in temperature and vibe.
Speaking of the Haunted Mansion, Mr. Finger Candy gave me this dope Honeywell doorbell for Christmas, and he programmed it to play the first 12 counts of the soundtrack to the Haunted Mansion. “Heheheheheh, you’re going to freak out so many Jehovah’s Witnesses!” a friend gleefully chortled. Delivery people certainly think it’s amusing. Weird thing to say you love a doorbell, but here we are. 🙂
We have storage, so much storage! Four bedrooms’ worth of closets, two ground floor cupboards, two gigantic basement cupboards and an entire furnace room filled with floor-to-ceiling shelving. The real kicker for us has been learning to spread out, as we’re both still in that “Maximize every bit of space you’ve got” zone we were living in back at the condo.
Every time I do the laundry, by myself, in my basement at whenever-the-heck-o’clock I please, I do a little jig of happiness. It is so, SO wonderful not being beholden to prescribed hours of use, or having to navigate the complicated and needlessly aggressive social strata of the Friday Night Laundry Crew.
The wildlife that dances about our private backyard is plentiful, varied and very, very charming. I say that now in the winter when the bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, blue jays and other assorted woodland creatures are snatching (provided) peanuts off our back patio, but I’ll probably be singing a different tune when they’re chewing up my garden. But I do kind of love “our” rodents. Maybe not as much as Mr. Finger Candy, who lays out back deck buffets of tiny peanut butter sandwiches, but I’m really rather fond of the little buggers.
A three-minute drive out of our neighbourhood in any direction brings us to a wealth of shops, restaurants and other retail establishments. Bit of a double-edged sword, that one. On the one hand, we’ve made excellent use of the local offerings – Indian buffet, Chocolats Favoris, Little Caesar’s, and one particularly inspired evening, Talladega Takeout (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Powerade.)
On the other hand, we’ve made excellent use of the local offerings. Maybe too excellent use. Our wallets and waistlines are demanding that we back off a smidge on this bounty of take-out and dine-in options and get back to our Hello Fresh-ing.
We’ve named our trees and wildlife! The chestnut tree at the front of the house is Chester, the oak in the back is Annie (Oakley) and the tiny squirrel with the kinky tail and the light brown tummy is Brown Betty.
I don’t even mind (too much) the cosmetic renos we’re carrying out – painting, molding and more mill work than you can shake a miter saw at – because at least we have real options for temporarily escaping the mess. Truly, this experience is night-and-day compared to the renos we had done to our condominium last year.
It may be a lot to lay at the doorstep of a new house, but this place has saved us. Back at the condo we were floundering, if not outright drowning, always desperately trying to make 800 square feet of concrete into a home, and invariably coming up short. There were simply too many rules, too many people and too many competing interests – a truly needless aggravation on top of (at the time) a pretty stressful life. As I testily wrote to our property manager last year, it wasn’t a home, it was merely a situation we were trying to survive. Badly.
Then somehow, against all odds, we found this place, our real home, and it saved us. We now have purpose, drive and positive responsibility. We have choice. And yes, we also now have larger bills, more square footage than we know what to do with, and a great big bloody pile of driveway snow that might just attain sentience and go off galumphing down the street, but these are acceptable trade-offs (maybe not the sentient snowman thing.) It’s worth it to know that these are things under our purview, and that if there is an issue with our home, either positive or negative, how we approach it will be our decision, and our decision alone.
I don’t sleep well, or at least I don’t sleep consistently. Back at the condo, the early morning hours were mostly a time to stress and worry and fret. And forget all that “rising gently from the depths of somnolence” business – hardly a morning went by that I wasn’t catapulted into consciousness.
These days I’m still rising early, but for a different reason. True, part of that reason is getting old/back is shit, but mostly it’s because I want to enjoy my new home in those impossibly still morning hours when it’s just me and the backyard bunnies and our plans for the future. Feels pretty nice, and like there’s maybe no place like it.