Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Irony and Uncertainty

Well, we lost the house on which we had an accepted (conditional) offer. Someone came in with a firm offer last week, and our place is still for sale, so we had to concede.

This morning I sent my "Wish(ful Thinking) List" to our realtors, and they will keep their eyes peeled for something suitable...but our list is long, and since we do love our current home (other than the layout issues and inability to have livestock), we are not prepared to settle for anything less exciting than the place we had hoped for.

Ironically, we officially lost the house on the very morning that Geoff headed back to work for the first time since February...in part to help finance our move to the countryside. Now, he will be working full-time again (at least for a while), we have a caregiver for the kids (so far, I think it will work out well - but oh boy, there is some testing of limits and behavioural expectations going on), and things are pretty much up in the air.

We knew the potential move involved some risk of ending up in this very scenario, but it still stings. We would have made some different work-related decisions had this not been our goal, and we took the plunge on some exterior renovations on our place in order to make it more appealing to potential buyers.

So, since Geoff is working again, and since we have spruced up our place, we are currently leaning toward leaving ourselves open to explore the market, and not making any hasty decisions about unlisting our house. Which means there is plenty of uncertainty combined with lots of adjustments for us all with getting used to the work and child care situations.

Time will tell...

Monday, 8 October 2012

Change of Seasons

Oh, autumn this year is bringing change along with it.

My leaves are golden and orange, and from the window on my left, the morning sun streams through them, illuminating them. 

To my right, rusty orange chrysanthemums add a seasonal touch to my work space. 

And on the front lawn, the blue real estate sign that I can now look at without knots forming in my gut. It went up Thursday evening, last week. And somehow, although we had been contemplating a move for over 6 weeks, that sign nearly did me in. 

It is all self-inflicted. The home we bought 12 years ago, in my mind hopefully forever...the home we brought back from the brink of its downward spiral into non-existence (it was a worn-out, poorly maintained bank foreclosure that last saw better days 20 or so years before us, when the story goes that it was meticulously decorated and maintained - likely those owners we can thank for some of the core electrical updates, etc., that made it at least worth our consideration)...this home may not be ours much longer.


I love our small town, its easy access to the city (I am never sure whether people believe me, but we can get anywhere in the nearest city within less than 30 minutes, which is better than living in one corner of the city and having to weave one's way through it), its quiet streets and proximity to hiking (um, yeah, we rarely avail ourselves of that...but still), the countryside I get to enjoy going to and from the city.

However, the lure of a few acres has never left me. And some issues with layout have presented themselves now that we have three kids sharing our space. My office, the playroom, and the living room are all in the same spot, and I work from home when I'm not seeing clients. Some days are long and distracting as I bounce up and down to assist and interject with various parenting duties. If we stay, the office must move upstairs, to the spare bedroom, which leaves no room for further family expansion (one never knows, right - our social worker has made it quite clear she is ready to work with us as soon as we say the word), and very little room for overnight guests.

A smaller family could easily use a bigger bedroom for a family room and work things out quite nicely, but for entertaining, well, I pretty much wouldn't bother having another family with kids over to enjoy a visit other than during outdoor season (we do have a huge yard, which I love). Our eating space is just about maxed out, and again, if we stay, we need to look at moving the table into the dining/lounge/foye space on the other side of our kitchen peninsula (we currently to that for sit-down meals with company), but then it really clogs up our main floor space what with dogs and children underfoot continually).

Every surface in our house has our touch. Every floor finish, every wall, all the bathrooms and kitchens. All the woodwork - all of it has been either refinished or replaced. To sell, we have now had the siding painted, added shutters, changed the whole exterior colour scheme, and installed a number of new windows (I caved at last...but must admit the new ones are exactly the same scale as the old, and I do enjoy having screens to be able to open them).

But we found this place. This yellow brick Victorian farmhouse on 5 acres - rolling acres with a bit of pasture, trees, a creek (and bridge), a pond. A barn. On a road far less busy than ours, but with some traffic to draw in customers for birdhouses and other bits and pieces we enjoy selling. Great zoning for all kinds of business and agricultural functions. Municipal water and gas. A cute town less than 5 minutes away, with basic amenities (including Tim Horton's and an ambulance dispatch - the essentials). A house with additions to meet our unique needs like a home office, crafting (and possible storefront) area, entertaining (with rooms for kids to go off and play nearby or further away, while the adults chat), homeschooling, and extended overnight guest stays. A house with room for more kids, just in case. An open staircase (with a great photo gallery wall). High ceilings. No closets. Oops, that's not a plus, is it? A house with all the essential modernities (electrical, etc.), but with few projects to keep us busy. Seems we are project people, like it or not - we gravitate toward a creative challenge. 

So here we are. Waiting to see what will happen. A conditional offer has been accepted, and our house must sell, so I keep speaking in hypothetical terms. At the very least, our current place looks a fair sight better now, and getting some momentum going on organizational and decluttering projects is not a bad thing, no matter what comes of this.

(And now, a brief interlude to enjoy some Canadian wildlife):

Added to all this, Geoff has decided to return to work later this month. He continues to take some courses, and needs a means of funding those. And of course, there is always the thought of qualifying for another parental leave if need be (seems worth some time at work, to earn that opportunity again). With my flexible schedule, we can minimize child care by having someone come to us, and have someone who is very much looking forward to the opportunity.

I never saw myself having child care...but this arrangement will be 3-4 days/week, with me being available most mornings, and our sitter/nanny likely being mainly responsible for the kids on those days for 3.5-4 hours, until their rest time, after which Geoff will be home while I finish my work day. I actually find myself looking forward a bit to seeing how it goes, and think it will likely be good for me and the kids for me to be more actively involved in some of their morning routines again, and to be their caregiver on Fridays (I definitely have relied a lot on Geoff for those things while he has been off, and am sometimes a bit disconnected, I think).

So, our season of change, and change of seasons has come. The kids are doing well at the moment. The boys have been responding well to the homeschooling routine. We have attended a couple of field trips with a local homeschool network. Baby girl decided to start using the toilet more often than not last week. Something just clicked one day, and she's been doing wonderfully since then (I never really pushed a formal training routine - just offered her opportunities to sit on the toilet here and there - and nothing happened, until last week).

It is Thanksgiving Day, and I should go join the family for Eggs Benedict now. Have a Happy Thanksgiving :)