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Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

The house has been nicknamed “The Castle”.  A close friend, while helping us to demolish the house (READ: help the guys demolish the house while myself, mom and mother-in-law, shopped for a wedding dress), commented that the house is a brick house and is surrounded by a moat.  And so “The Castle” was born:

Front View: Our House Inspector Hard at WorkThe Back View: Ugly Porch and Bushes

But before we even closed on the house we took down the ugly porch that was in the back. SUDDENLY the house was brighter:

The Ugly Porch: Unsafe too so we had to take it down! So much brighter and more open!

We started with a 1950s/60s kitchen, that is now GONE:

 

UGLY laminate panelling that I took down the day after we closed on the house:

A gutted ugly 1960’s bathroom (I cannot WAIT for my soak in a new deep tub and the ability to step onto nice WARM floors):

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The plumbing is replaced, the electrical will be finished tonight, hopefully, and next week the insulation guys and drywall guys are coming.   Things are progressing!  Now we are at the stage of picking tiles and flooring stain colours.

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When I think of where I have dreamed my life would be it always included a family, a home and community.  When I was living in Vancouver, I had the community but the home was a small apartment and I did have family. My family is quite large, most living in the Vancouver-area, and we are quite close.  But that is not (only) the family that I mean. I meant my family: husband and children.

I also had trouble envisioning how having a home would work: housing prices in Vancouver are STUPID.  Vancouver is a beautiful city. I love it dearly, and loved living there. But, even as a two income couple, I can’t imagine how we would be able to afford a home.  Since I was curious, I went to one of the real estate websites for Vancouver and input our purchase price to see what range we would have been looking in and the choices we would have had (staying in the area I would have preferred to live – without a horrible & long commute) and I could have purchased a ~600 sq ft apartment, not unlike what I was living in before I moved. That place was TINY: perfect for me, but much too small for two of us. We are in a two bedroom apartment now ~825 sq ft and we have no space for anything. Never mind adding kids to the mix down the road.

So, life as I have written about in the past has led me to another city: we have found our dream home here, my future family will be from here and community is growing. Finally, on Feb 7th we closed on the house! To begin the steps of making the house “home”, enjoy the wood burning fireplaces (one of them at least) and give our friends a glimpse of the house in its “BEFORE” stage, we had a Housewarming S’mores Party.

The biggest gift I received was from two close friends from Vancouver, they drove down and surprised me with a visit. I have never felt so loved as watching them walk through the door. It was even better as she had called me that morning to tell me how sad she was that the party was on a Thursday and they couldn’t get off work on Friday! Sneaky friend!

The day after we closed, I had the pleasure of ripping off the ugly wood panelling off the living room wall.  It was a delight to be able to begin to transform this long-unloved home into my home, OUR home, the one we will hopefully be in until we are too old to stay there.

To come: Photos. I want to find a photo sharing site where I can link (and have the photos show up as a slideshow) without uploading it directly to wordpress.  I’m also hoping I can use the same link to show the photos on Facebook (so that I don’t have to organize and upload photos more than once), and I am hoping that way I can just email the link to those who don’t come to the blog or have a Facebook account (yes, they do exist).  Stay tuned (and comment if you have any photo sharing site opinions… I am hoping for free).

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January isn’t quite over and we aren’t in our house yet, but it is time to start planting. I have started some seeds: onions, leeks, beets, tomatoes and eggplants.

So here is a photo of Garden 2013, day one:

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Stay tuned for more garden photos and updates as we progress towards my ultimate goal of eating only produce we grow. Is this an attainable goal? I am not hoping or planning to achieve this goal this year but will work towards it as time progresses.

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Our New Home

One thing that is different between DF and myself is the number of times we’ve moved.  I can count on one hand, at least right now, the number of permanent homes I’ve had (I can count on two hands if you include temporary places I’ve lived for short months here and there).  DF, however, has moved so many times in his life he can hardly count them.  But, we both agree that we don’t want to move a lot in our life together. So, we set out to find our ‘forever home’.

We had a few criteria for our home, and initially we weren’t expecting to ‘seriously’ look until January.  But, we did feel it was important to look at places together so we would get a good handle on our likes and dislikes – we’d both looked at places in the past, but never together.

Our first trip out was quite productive and there was one place that was interesting to us.  We started talking about putting in an offer, but felt as though we should look some more.  It turned out that an offer was already accepted on that place. BUT, on our next trip out to look at places there was this one place. It was rough around the edges – a one owner home it is definitely ‘retro’.  But, it had a LOT of potential and met our criteria

So we took a leap and will own our home in a few short weeks!

So what criteria did we have for our home?

  1. Reduce my commute – I don’t foresee myself changing hospitals so minimizing my commute is important. DF could easily change locations for his job.
  2. Bright sunny big yard – big enough for kids, a dog and LOTS of gardening.
  3. Good community feel – in an ideal world close to certain friends so we can build community together, but also within a neighborhood that is community-focused.
  4. Quiet street – I want to feel relatively safe letting any kids we have (or friends/family’s kids) outside without one of us having to be close by at all times.
  5. Potential for what we envision in our future – as mentioned above.  We did not want a ‘starter’ home, but rather a home that could grow and expand as we need it to.

So, how well does our home fit the criteria?

  1. Right now it takes me ~30min to drive to work.  I try to walk out the door between 45-40min before I have to be there, to give me the time I need, especially with parking away from the hospital on weekdays.  The new commute drops down to about 15min.  The surprising thing is that this new place is only ~1mile from our current place. It’s amazing how a small distance can make a huge difference.
  2. The place has a big, sunny, yard – it’s on a corner lot so there is lots of space and no one on one side!
  3. The neighbors have already been quite welcoming, and are happy to have a couple move in (we are more community minded than the cranky 90 year old who lived in the house prior to us).
  4. It’s a dead end street, and our end is apparently used for street hockey and games regularly.
  5. There is great potential – if we need more space we can build on without losing too much yard, and with 4 bedrooms and 2 floors we have plenty of room for a long time to come!

We cannot wait until we close! Less than 2 weeks to go!

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As I reflect on what this blog is to become I can’t help but consider where my life is at now, and where it is going…

When I last blogged I had just moved across an international border, was starting a new job, adapting to a new place, living with someone again (I had been living alone for years – and have never lived with a partner before, and let me tell you I LOVE living with DF like I have never loved living with anyone!) and planning for the future…

Since then we have gotten engaged, started planning our wedding and began hunting for a home.  That hunt went quickly and we will be home owners when our place closes in a few short weeks!

Moving into our new home wont happen until the end of March, or so, since our place needs A LOT of renovations we will take advantage of the first few weeks to get things progressing towards.

So, with it being January, what are some of my goals for 2013?

  1. Plan our Wedding
  2. Move into what is hopefully our forever home and work towards making it a nicely decorated, welcoming place where our friends, family and neighbors feel welcome.
  3. Start working towards garden spaces in our home. One long term goal of mine is to be productive with our space so that we can reduce our grocery bills. I would love to be able to work towards 100% of our produce being grown at home. How awesome would that be??? That is definitely a long term goal, though, as for that to truly be an option I will need a greenhouse which isn’t a top priority purchase (a fence is a higher priority for outdoor purchases)…  But we can start this year, as we are right in the correct window to get gardens going…
  4. And of course there are knitting-related goals too…

So, for now I am going to post a couple of posts in rapid succession to help get my readers (if I have any left) updated on where things are at.  How will this blog be used (and will there be posts???).  I would like to resume posting and perhaps will have to set a goal or a plan – perhaps even booking it in my calendar.  I am envisioning blogging about the garden development and progress, the home renovations and how all of that interplays into our family’s life.

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This week has been nuts at work. It seriously has me second-guessing myself. It makes me pause because I don’t know how to broach my plans with those who need to know. Or if I even want to go through with parts of them. Maybe I should just go through with the other plans and deal with the debt later. Maybe that would be better for my sanity? I know I’m being vague right now, and for those who don’t know me personally (or who do know me but haven’t asked what the heck I’m talking about), I’m sure it’s frustrating and confusing to read.  Sigh. Anyhow, as soon as I have explained it to those who should hear about it from me, I will explain it in more detail.

Anyhow, after the last couple of days, I needed to decompress.  I’ve been planning on a berry run — to make jam and to freeze berries. Since doing things like this help me relax, I decided to skip running and make jam instead.  So, I made the jam tonight and now have 19 cups of jam. It may not make sense that I’m spending a lot on berries now when I have a lot of expenses coming up. But, this will hopefully stock me up so that I don’t need to spend as much on fruit for the next year, or two (two years might be stretching it).

So that’s me. Stressed but dealing with it by making 19 cups of jam and now it’s yet another night of being up much too late. Bootcamp’s going to hurt in the morning. Time to get ready for bed.

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A to do list…

I’ve been talking a lot about organizing and planning, and I suppose I’ve hit the 10 week countdown to the bend in the road. These next 10 weeks are weeks that I want to enjoy. Austin next weekend will be fantastic, traveling to visit friends later this summer will also be great.  But right at the moment, I’m thinking about what I want to do before the bend in the road arrives. So what’s my to do list?

  • Sort Kitchen Cupboards — I want to remove my shelving unit so that I can buy a portable combo washer/dryer (see this post for the math behind this plan) but before I can consider if the W/D is possible I need to have the space to put it, so this means things that I have stored on my shelving unit either need to be tossed or stored.
  • Entry Hall Closet — this is reasonable, but I need to go through it again as there are things that I think can be tossed. I went through it a few months ago, but I think there’s more that can be tossed. Perhaps some kitchen things could be stored.
  • Linen Closet — this is chaos. I need to go through it, get rid of old sheets, figure out what new linens I need (if any, it’s been FOREVER since I’ve had  new sheets).
  • Cleaning Closet — I got my grandmother’s almost new vacuum cleaner recently but need to clean it out and make sure I have all the needed attachments. I do still have my old (IE 35 years old) vacuum cleaner but I need to get rid of it.
  • Clothes Closet — Enough said. I need to go through my closet, it’s time to go though it and toss toss toss.
  • Bookcases — overflowing and there are boxes of books. I think I need to get rid of many of them, and streamline.  Some can be stored for the future, many can be donated.
  • Storage Locker — Oh the scary scary place. I need to go through that. It’s got all my aquarium stuff, old books (childhood even), boxes stored. It so needs to be sorted and most of it should be tossed.
  • Bathroom sink — under my bathroom sink I’ve fairly regularly organized it so it’s not that bad, it just needs to be tidied.  I should go through it though along with the hall closet.
  • Under my bed — it’s a storage area for me but it shouldn’t be, so I need to go through the things under it.

This is a fluid list but as I go I’ll be crossing things off this list. Slowly I hope to get it all done… Along with training for the marathon. Oy.

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