The House

Our decision to move from the country to the city required a choice. Would we want to live in a condo or a house? It didn’t take long for us to realize that we would really miss our back yard if we chose a condo, but we hadn’t thought that a house would provide such novel experiences. Our bungalow has some very unusual idiosyncrasies.

Because our new house is smaller, some areas have taken on extra roles. For example, the sun room doubles as a playroom for the grandkids and, when they want to do some “collaborating,” they retreat to a hiding place they have discovered under the stairs. The garage, which happens to be very large, not only holds both cars but also Peter’s workshop and the wine cellar. Peter used to avoid going into his workshop but now he seems to love it. The third bedroom has become an office space – for both of us. Together. The desk runs out from the centre of a wall, with chairs on either side. This way we can stare each other down, I mean gaze at each other lovingly, as we work.

In the dining room there is one interior concrete wall which doesn’t accommodate nails or hooks to hang any of our travel photos or posters. After some searching, we found our cardboard cut-out relief map of New Zealand and we bought Velcro strips to attach it to this wall. But the first time we went away on vacation, we returned to find the South Island on the floor. As we put it back up, we noticed that we had originally hung it upside down. Apparently Christchurch didn’t like being in the Tasman Sea. It wanted to be back in the Pacific Ocean. While we were away, the South Island had staged a rebellion.

Our new main floor bathroom on the front of the house has some very large windows which let in lots of light. But using the bathroom at night…well that’s a small problem. We found this out one evening when a guest forgot to pull the blinds as he was using the facilities. His daughter was outside waiting for him in the car. She rushed back in, screaming and laughing hysterically. “My dad’s using the toilet and everybody in the neighbourhood can see!” We now post a warning sign when we have visitors.

But the most unique feature of this house is the cacophony of sounds it emits. Along with some creaks coming from the wooden floors, the appliances all talk to us. The stove says: “ding ding the oven is up to temperature.” “Ding ding the cake is baked.” “Ding ding the cleaning cycle is finished.” The fridge speaks too. “Beep beep the door is open.” “Rumble rumble the icemaker is working.” The dishwasher says: “tweet tweet you forgot to turn me on.” “Tweet tweet time to unload.” The washing machine is more talented and hums a little 8-note jingle when the washing is done. The dryer, having no talent of its own, copies the tune.

The alarm system, however, talks so much we think we should start charging her rent. Every time we open a door she says something. “Back door opening.” “Garage door opening.” “Front door opening.” When we go out she takes on a very authoritarian tone as she warns us: “Arming Away! Exit NOW!!” We grab our stuff and hurry out, wondering whether she will ever let us back in.

Last Thursday night the best seat in our house was in the living room. This is where we have our comfy chairs and large-screen TV. And this is where we sat to watch the Raptors win the NBA basketball championship. Their win is a huge thrill; not just for people who are Seventy In the City, but for anybody, any age, any place, all across Canada.


3 thoughts on “The House

  1. Keep up the great work. It I’d always a fun read.
    Living in a confominiumin the city has it’s own issues and interesting times. Wish I had your way with the words.
    Our grandkids greatest fun, particularly the three year old, Auri, is watching police ambulances and fire trucks pull up to buildings in our area, pulling them away from toys, story time and even out of bed in a mad dash to the windows or balcony to see the excitement of the big city, even in Hamilton.


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