Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life in the Country

Once upon a time, a young engaged couple decided to buy a red brick house in the city with the intention of "one day" moving to the country. The boy fervently believed this to be true. The girl? Not so much....
In case you haven't guessed, this is the story of how I - the city raised girl - became a country lovin' mama.
When we first purchased our house on Gladstone we both agreed it wasn't our 'forever' house. It was a starter house that we would raise our first child in. Justin had future plans to move to the country. I, on the other hand, had future plans to move to a cute little subdivision with a trendy name like 'Orchard Park', 'Shaw Valley', or 'Southgate Village'.
Well, after 4 years of happily living on Gladstone Ave our house began to shrink. Little did I know, as a newly married woman, that one little baby would need a swing, a bouncy chair, an exersaucer, a jolly jumper, and a bassinet. Or that one little toddler girl would require a play desk, a 'Little People' village, a rubbermaid tote of blocks, a princess tent, and enough books to fill a library. It was time to move. But where? I started looking on MLS at all the cute houses in my favourite little subdivisions. Instantly I compiled a list of 20 or more houses that I would be thrilled to live in. You know the type - half siding and half brick, a few miniature spruce and dwarf lilacs in the front yard, and an LED house number above the garage. You know - the type of house my husband hates. After wiring these houses for over 3 years at Pro Electric, Justin developed a severe dislike for these houses. I am still a fan of these perfect, no work required, family homes. And if you're reading this and currently live in one of these? I may still be a teeny weeny bit jealous.
So it was time to compromise. A house that was still in the city, all brick, a decent sized lot, and maybe needed a bit of work. After a few months of searching we found a house we both agreed on, made and offer, and put our own house up for sale. At the time I was sure this plan would work and started picking out room colours, window treatments, and bathroom fixtures. But alas, this was not to be. Our house did not sell in the allotted time and once we realized how drastically we would have to drop the price of our house in order to sell it in the dreadful market, we decided to take it off the market and build an addition. Perfect. A living room (playroom) and bathroom off of the kitchen. Exactly what I wanted.
But wait - this addition was going to cost somewhere in the area of $50,000. And our house value to jump approximately $20,000. Maybe this was not the best idea after all. So? We'd keep looking.
Then one fateful afternoon in April we decided to take Fingal Line out to Jusitn's mom and dad's house instead of our usual Hwy 3 route. As we are discussing the sad fact that finding a country lot is nearly impossible these days we see a "For Sale" sign in the distance. WAY in the distance. In FINGAL. Ugh. Justin slows the car as we drive by. A yellow brick house in the country. Of course. I sent up a prayer - 'please let this house be ridiculously expensive. Or already sold, that would be great'. As soon as we arrived at mom and dad's Justin logged onto MLS and found the house.
"It's only $189,000" he exclaimed.
"Great...." I said as I silently said goodbye to Shaw Valley in my head.
"It has 5 bedrooms!"he cried
"Perfect....." goodbye Lake Margaret Trail
"3.4 acres!!!!" he gleamed
"Wow......." and there goes Southgate Village.
In my head I thought 'it's gotta be sold'. If it was as good of a deal as my husband thought it was than it wouldn't be on the market anymore. Who knows how long it had been for sale. Maybe there were a few conditional offers on it. 'Should have gone to Myrtle Beach' I muttered to myself.
The next day we were off to look at the house. It lived up to my expectations - TOTAL renovation. Lots and lots of lathe and plaster. An outdated kitchen. Shag carpet. The works.
The drive home was very quiet.
"I know you hate the house" Justin said to me. "But it's perfect, and you'll love it. Please agree to buy it."
How could I resist? In the 4 years that I've been married to Justin there have been very few times (maybe none) that he hasn't known what is best for our family. I had to follow him. So we made an UN-conditional offer (a very scary thing to do), put our house back on the market and prayed. Of course, God being perfect in His timing, allowed our house to sell quickly and made all things well. Kinda.
As the closing dates approached I would lie awake at night worrying about how I would adjust to country life. What if I needed to run out the store at 7:30 at night? Where would Justin take Emily for her nightly walk? How will I live through all that plaster dust? And oh yes, lets not forget the baby boy due to arrive a month after we move in. After worrying each night I said a long prayer and went to sleep.
Well, it's been 3 weeks since we moved. I LOVE IT HERE! Although this house may be slightly uglier than our Gladstone house, I wouldn't move back. I may have shag carpet in the playroom, but I have a playroom! The office may be mint green, but we have an office! Justin may not be able to take Emily on her nightly walk, so instead she just plays on the 3.4 acres of land and with the dairy cows in our backyard. I have a huge pantry that I can stock with extra diapers, lunch supplies, and laundry detergent. (And Foodland is only a 7 minute drive away!) In the country, a fresh pot of coffee smells better, the stars shine brighter, and breeze blows cooler. I've even come to find the sound of the coyotes howling at the moon oddly soothing. We have a long way to go with renovations, and maybe once the plaster dust starts to fly I may be a bit grumpier. But if it means having the house of our dreams and the opportunity to raise our kids in this great setting then I'll learn to live with it.
I'll let you know when the dust settles.....


Lucy van Eyk said...

Great read, Jen!
Hope all goes well with the new home and baby! God bless!

Mark, Linda, Alex, Carsten and Savannah said...

What a great life story! Glad you are loving the country life. The new homes aren't all they're cracked up to be either ;o) Fix your house up how you want and I might be a teensy bit jealous :o)

Amy said...

great post, Jen! ..there's nothing better than living in the country. :)

Jacqui's Quilts said...

Wow, Jen! What a lovely story. And, here I am in a subdivision where I never thought I'd end a brand new house and we've been at it for a solid three weeks moving stuff around, building shelves, rearranging, thinking of new ideas, planning a yard from scratch! No matter where you live, there's work to do :-). Your blog title says it all...everyday blessings! Thanks for the great post! So glad you're enjoying your new country home...knowing you, you'll make it look wonderful!