It wasn't about the picket fence and the family for me; a home of my own was about putting down roots. It was about taking something and saying "This is where I am."
I've always been a home-body. I would get homesick on sleepovers until I was a teenager. I needed that sense of security.
My mom, my brother, and I shared that need. The rest of our family was happy planning for what strange land they would visit, while we wanted nothing more to be at home with the people we loved.
My mom and I spent hours going through magazines and the Sears catalogue cutting out pictures of things we would decorate with if we only had the money. We wandered through the neighbourhood peering into people's windows for decorating inspiration (and sheer nosiness!) We loved to see how others lived and talk about what we would have done instead.
For both of us, having a home where people could come and be themselves was top on our lists.
Let the rest of my family travel. I want my own bed. My own bathroom.
When my mom died, I used my inheritance for one thing I knew she would understand. A BRAND NEW CAR!!!!!!!
No, wait. That's The Price is Right.
What I did was use a big chunk of it for a downpayment on a house.
Deciding to buy
My dad did what they always tell people not to do in the first few months of grief -- he made major life decisions. He sold the house where he, my mother, and my sister lived and bought a condo. My sister was suddenly homeless and our family had no centre.
I felt like I needed to create a new base to make up for the one we had all lost when Mom died.
So, you know, I made a major life decision.
I spent a long time looking for the house of my dreams. I'm sure we looked at 20 before I found the one I wanted. I saw a lot of houses, but the ranged from the "meh" to the "ugh".
Finally, I walked into the house on Chinook. It was very 70s and not the good retro kind. Old cupboards with older hardware. Wooden spindles creating room separation. A backyard that was all garden (aka: a weed plot) It wasn't much, but I knew it could be home.
I bought it and less than two months later was in the doors.
My very first house. It had a ton of hydrengeas which I happily tore out.
Much to the dismay of everyone else in the neighbourhood.
My first home
My sister, Lyn, moved in with me.
We went to town picking out paint chips, deciding on room layout, painting, and decorating. I made a hundred to scale room designs complete with cut out furniture I could arrange and rearrange.
We started painting almost immediately and had a lot of it done before we moved in.
When the time came, I had a house that was almost totally me. I painted almost every inch of the house.
Of course, being the procrastinators we were (are), we decided to wait until we moved in to paint the kitchen a gorgeous cherry red.
In the 3 years we lived there, it never got done.
I left the paint for the next owners.
My living room: Eggplant on the main wall, Lilac on the other.
I bought the blue furniture brand new and won a trip to Mexico.
I loved that house. Every room had my touch (except Lyn's room... I wouldn't touch that if you paid me) and it all meant a lot to me. I scoured books to learn how to do electrical work and I changed every outlet on my own.
I fixed things and built things and hung shelves and pictures.
It was exactly how I wanted it to be.
It broke my heart that my mom couldn't see it. But, I was doing what she couldn't anymore -- I was trying to create a home for my family to migrate to.
My bedroom displaying my paintings and the plant I kept alive for 3 years.
Thanks to Ky. She watered it everytime she came to visit. Once a month.
Despite all the trouble there was in that place -- a ever-renewing lake in the basement, an entire yard of weeds that were supposed to be a garden, the biggest lawn known to mankind -- it was my home.
I loved it.
Too much of a good thing
When my sister Ky moved in with Lyn and I, we were the happiest bunch of happies that ever happed. We were three sisters living the dream.
We watched a lot of So You Think You Can Dance and ate a lot of take out, but we had a great time.
Then one day, the neighbours mentioned to me how great it was to see the place as it was meant to be. They explained how three spinster sisters had moved to the house in the 70s and lived there until the last one of them died just before I bought the house.
I joined Lava Life the next day.
The rest is history.