Stylocycle’s Blog

Finally! We’re home again.
September 13, 2009, 2:31 am
Filed under: around town

OK… long absence. We’ve been moving. It’s been about 6 weeks of complete chaos, first as we filled and piled boxes, and then moved them to the new house where they were unpacked and piled outside. OK… I’m fudging things.  Truth is: we have over 200 boxes, so we are not finished unpacking or breaking them down, or giving them to our immediate neighbours who are moving to Victoria at the end of the month. But we are getting there. OUr office is now functional. Our kitchen has become the centre of our social activity again; the living room is comfortable for sitting around; the back patio is a calm and quiet location to relax after work. I think we probably still have about 30 boxes to go (books, mostly). We also have suitcases yet to unpack because having moved from a 4 bedroom condo with walk-ins and 4 bathrooms to a century home with 3 bedrooms, 3 wee closets and 1.5 baths presents some challenges. It also asks us to consider whether we *really* need that many selection in personal toiletries. Furthermore, my shoe collection is looking a little bit indulgent. No new boots for me this fall… no matter how lovely the soft over-the-knee leathers are looking this year. Not only do we not have the space, my budget can’t handle it. We had to purchase wardrobes for the mudroom in order to get the linens out of our son’s dresser. We’ve had to purchase seating for the patio, all the appliances for the house, and have various workers come to install things like: a no-salt water conditioner and purifier, a gas water heater, and our gas range. Also, the cat became ill in August with pancreatitis and there were big vet bills to get her on the road to recovery. I have a conference at Yale in a few weeks and airfare to deal with for that… so yeah: no new shoes for me!

OK! So… the neighbourhood. We adore being ‘downtown’. Here in Kitchener-Waterloo the people who live in Waterloo (where we used to be) tend to be pretty self-satisfied and uppity about not being in Kitchener. Silly people. I won’t get into the kinds of ethnocentrism and racism involved in the silliness; suffice it to say that it’s a strong subtext. We never should have lived in Waterloo, in a 20 year-old suburb, in an area without adequate bus service, or community gathering places, or reasonable spaces for youth to socialise. We spent 9 years there in totoal, trying to make it work (for the sake of family who were really adamant that it was the only place to raise our son, and who made their modest but crucial financial support for our first home purchase contingent on their choice of neighbourhood).  Lesson: do not compromise about where you want to live. If it means waiting to buy a house, or having a smaller down-payment, so be it.

So, here we are in Kitchener. Being 20 minutes closer to Toronto makes our week-ends more pleasant, but more important is the fact that our neighbourhood has real people in it (not just working drones), and they talk to us! They say things like, “Welcome to the area!” OUr immediate back-yard neighbours (we’re on a corner) will come over soon for an evening gathering. We’ve met people from up and down the street. We can hear people living their lives…. playing with their kids, going for walks, heading out to uptown and downtown… and yet at night it’s blissfully quiet. There’s very little traffic noise, and in the morning we are awakened by the Church ringing matins at 7:30. We no longer have an alarm clock and I no longer feel the dread of hearing the “enh-enh-enh-enh-enh” of an electronic alarm in the morning.

My bike commute to work now takes about 20 minutes and is punctuated with a stop-off from the Sablétine bakery for a café-au-lait and a croissant on the days when I go in for the morning. I generally ride through the mid-town cemetery, stop at the bakery, then wind my way through the side-streets of Uptown, through Waterloo Park and past Silver Lake to get to work. It’s wonderful! If I need to do errands (like drop off dry-cleaning, or pick up wine for dinner, or something from the grocery) everything is between home and work, on my bicycle route.

If I have time in the middle of the day, I can still come home, and I can choose to take the bus to and from if I’m too tired for a second bike commute for the later return to campus. we can walk to the revue cinema and to all our favourite places both Uptown and Downtown. I wish we’d always lived here! It’s a perfect place to be a cyclist, and a walker and a people-watcher.

I’m enclosing some pictures, and you have to promise to remember that we are still unpacking.

our home Our 105 year-old, new home

foie gras: grilled with caramelized apples and served with Chardonnay jelly from the Niagara region.

Foie-gras: the last meal at the old home

Prepping the first dinner in the new home

Prepping the first dinner in the new home

first meal: grilled chicken, baby carrots, fingerling potatoes. All local.

first meal: grilled chicken, baby carrots, fingerling potatoes. All local.

moving is chaos

3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I like older homes and neighbourhoods too. The house in which I live, built in 1928, is one of the ‘new kids’ on the block. I have an intense dislike for the areas where the garage is the most prominent feature of the house. All those garage door ‘teeth’ snarling out of those ‘snout’ houses is frightening.
Enjoy your new home!

Comment by Sox

Thanks, Sox. I intend to start taking pics of the ride as the seasons change because our neighbourhood has such neat inner city routes (like alone the train tracks), through the changing areas of town (from factories to stately dwellings within a few blocks). What I need is a better camera.
I completely agree with you, by the way, about the dominant garage. That’s the kind of place we just left, and I hated it for every minute that we were there.

Comment by stylocycle

I am very happy for you. Your house is lovely. I understand how you feel about being able to hear other people living their lives. I miss that so much where we live. The sounds of people chatting over dinner or laughing on the porch next door are so comforting. In my old neighborhood it was quite the norm for people strolling by to stop and chat while I was pulling weeds in the garden; perfect strangers even who just wanted to know how I got my lavender so bushy or the name of that very striking lilly. We hope to find that one day soon.

Comment by Karen

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