Almost home…

September 17, 2010

A ‘regular’ life is on the horizon.

Barring an unforseen disaster during our home renovations – our carpenter is finishing up drywall, and The Boss is painting the upstairs like a trooper despite being six months pregnant – we should be moving our stuff into our new house on Oct. 1.

The flooring and kitchen are both slated to arrive late next week, although we expect to get nothing accomplished next weekend because it’s Ripley Fall Fair, the most wonderful time of the year. Except for the Sunday… for some reason it generally sucks, although no 3 1/2 hour drive to Port Hope this year makes it seem less daunting.

That means we’ll soon be able to unpack our boxes, bother to put up our bed frame, find our kitchen utensils and begin our life in the home we’re going to raise our soon-to-be larger family.

There’s a good chance this is the house our kids will graduate high school from, if I dare to think that far in advance. Of course, you never know, we may sell the house along the way, but that’s my thought process going into this new house. For the first time in my adult life, I will have a home.

Our first house in Edson, Alberta, was never going to be more than a stopover and a great investment, and it did both jobs very well. Our condo in Kincardine sufficed for our childless year there, but I knew in my gut we wouldn’t be spending too long there, and sure enough it was a year to the day when I started my new job in Cobourg. Our Port Hope house was simple yet perfect for our young family, but it never felt 100% like home to me, despite the wonderful time our family had while we lived there (led by The Hurricane’s birth, and first three years of her life).

It came close, but I never day-dreamed about Layne getting her diploma from Port Hope High.

But this time, it’s for real. And it feels right. As things come together and the house begins to look more habitable, I’ve started to think about things like the positioning of our streetlights and how they will affect road hockey games, or putting a rink in the backyard each winter, or walking Layne to school, or charting Layne’s height on an upstairs wall, or who in the neighbourhood will make a good babysitter for the next 10 years (and they MUST be within walking distance, because why get a babysitter if you have to drive them home? Am I right?).

I have always had a penchant for looking towards the next opportunity, instead of living in the moment and enjoying life in the now. I was too young to know any different when living out west – oh to have back those many Sundays spent on the couch recovering when I should have been hiking in the mountains! – and I spent a better portion of our time in Kincardine and Port Hope plotting our next move.

But no more.

Oh, I’ll still dream big, and long to see parts of the world many wouldn’t give a first thought, but now it doesn’t involve packing everyone up and relocating again.

It just feels right to be home.


Wrecking our new house

September 7, 2010

So we destroyed our new house on the weekend, just two days after being handed the keys.

This is how it looked on Friday morning:

And this is how it looks now, after the long weekend:

On Friday and Saturday, I had help from my uncle, my brother-in-law, my father-in-law, my Dad, and The Best Man (circa 2004) in tearing our 129-year-old church/home a new one.

We took up the main floor carpeting, saving enough to redo two bedrooms upstairs in the coming weeks. We took out the kitchen, stripped the lath and plaster and paneling off the walls of the kitchen and dining room (which was a den), pulled down the old ceiling tiles, removed an antique woodstove and the two layers of bricks supporting it, and took out a four-foot section of wall. We also removed about 8,000 tiny staples that held the former carpet’s underlay in place, as well as another 8,000 which held the ceiling tiles up.

And that’s just on the main floor. The Boss – a trooper, despite being 24 weeks pregnant – and her sister, my Mom, a friend and even The Hurricane did an awesome job stripping decades-old wallpaper off the walls of two bedrooms and a bathroom, setting us up nicely for painting within the next few days upstairs.

Luckily, we’re not living in this mess, and we hope to have all the renovations completed in time for October 1, but you just never know what you’re going to find in an old house. Although I’m knocking firmly on wood as I type this, we haven’t come across anything earth shattering yet, and that’s a testament to the care the previous owners took of the home in the 40-plus years they owned it.

While all this destruction was taking place, The Hurricane was just in her glory. She spent two full days running from the ground floor to the second floor and backĀ  to make sure everything was on track, seeing if she could help out in any way, and chatting non-stop, even if nobody was really listening, which is hard to do with all that work and noise and dust and swear words going on.

We were worried she wouldn’t let us get as much done as we wanted, forcing one of us to be on parental duty at all times, but she really stepped up and let us accomplish everything on our weekend to do list, and then some.

So now we have to get our electrical roughed-in, and then our carpenter begins his task of drywalling and levelling out the floors of the old girl, before handing it over to the kitchen guy and then the hardwood floor installer. Although it looks like it’s a long way off right now, I’m pretty happy with the progress we made this weekend and can only hope the rest of the renovation goes as smoothly from here on out.

Oh, and I now know ripping down walls is as fun as it looks on TV (except for the dust and the crowbar-accelerated chunk of wood in the nuts, which made me a little more tentative for a few minutes, but gave the brother-in-law a good laugh so, uh, no harm done).