It’s springtime. The dandelions and the realtors’ signs have popped up all over the County. LOML and I live in an old house. A seriously old place. Most of what I consider quirky or charming or put-up-withable, another person would consider annoying and in need of upgrading. There are some folks who drool when they see the gingerbread on our front porch. In the right light, a building inspector would see most of our house as “existing and non-conforming”. Yup, that’s our house. It’s existing. It’s non-conforming. It’s quirky. It’s charming until the gingerbread needs to be scraped and painted. Mostly, it’s just put-up-withable. I have to admit, I do have concerns if we happen to be listening to some great music when we’re in the kitchen and dancing breaks out. It’s a scary situation, what with those two hundred year old floors that have more bounce than brace.
These days when I look around the County I wonder what the H E double patio doors and granite countertops is going on with the real estate market. I’ve seen more for sale and sold signs in the last few weeks than I’ve seen in all of our forty-five years living here. When we moved to the County from Toronto finding a rental accommodation was darn near impossible. For a while LOML and I thought he’d continue to live in The Coach House Motel while I would call our Toronto apartment home. It helped to know someone who knew someone who had something available. As it turned out, a woman LOML worked with knew a couple who’d rented a place and then bought a place and the rental was going to be vacant. While we had hoped to find something apartment-like here, it turned out that the first rental place that became available in months was a house. In 1972, there might have been four places which were actually apartment buildings, and the wait list was too long for us. After weeks of looking we were fortunate to be directed to a rental place. It was an entire four bedroom, two storey farm house located on a gravel road about five miles outside of Picton. Not only was it a huge house, we soon found out we shared a well with two other families and a party-line with just about anyone who wanted to listen in on my once weekly conversations with my Mom. Don’t get me wrong, we were thrilled to have a place to live. It beat commuting. But, as it turned out, like any old home, it had a few quirks. A huge water tank loomed over the bathtub and I swear it gurgled at me throughout the night. There was a cistern in the cellar and I’m pretty sure it was inhabited by frogs. Between the gurgling from the second floor and the croaking from the basement, a city gal could get pretty spooked. Don’t get me started about the cows in the side yard and the mice in the pantry.
For the first ten months of County living all I wanted to do was return to the city. And then? Well, and then a friend of a colleague’s mother decided to share a house with someone else and a much more appropriate “apartment” became available in town. It was located in the back of an old house complete with mice, bouncy floors, a cellar with dirt where the floor should have been, too many doors, not enough windows and the Canadian Tire Store in the backyard. It seems, after finally buying our current home about thirty years ago, LOML and I can’t shake old-home-ownership. We probably wouldn’t realize enough from selling it to find something suitable and have dollars left over. Honestly, I don’t think I could stand to see someone park a dumpster in the driveway and strip the charm out of this old place. We might be the only things that leave this house in a box.