Well, if you’d told me on November 1st that I’d be a homeowner by the end of the month, I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, here we are.
My husband and I had wanted to buy a home for a long time, and were planning for that home to be out of Toronto. There were several reasons for this that I won’t bore you with here, but suffice it to say that my relationship with the city, complicated all my life, had reached the “creative differences” stage (of course, we didn’t decide to leave Toronto 100% because of me – I just don’t want to put words in Jason’s mouth).
After my months of bleary-eyed internet research, we’d created a shortlist of cities that matched certain criteria: Preferably west, reasonably walkable, good access to nature, within a fair distance of Toronto for job/friendships reasons. And, two weeks ago, we decided to look at houses in Dundas, Hamilton and downtown Burlington, just to see what was out there.
We ended up putting in an offer on the second house we saw.
Over a week has passed since that day, and we’ve gone back to the house twice, showed my parents, even had friends and relatives see it from the outside. We’ve had an inspection, and, barring something cataclysmic before closing, I can reasonably say it’s ours. Yet I still can’t believe it.
The night we put in the offer, we didn’t sleep. There were howling winds all evening, and Jason and I were plagued by alternating waves of nausea and excitement over the house and leaving Toronto. Talk about your pathetic fallacy. But now, even though of course we have our anxieties over leaving familiar Toronto for brand-new Hamilton, that fretful night seems so far away and strange.
Our new house is in a beautiful neighbourhood, filled with some of the most striking houses I’ve seen in Ontario. We can walk 15 minutes to a street of shops and restaurants, or 15 minutes in another direction to another street of shops and restaurants. There are conservation areas and hiking/cycling trails all over. I admit, growing up in the GTA I had the same negative opinion as many others about Hamilton. But over the years I started to hear little whispers about cool things going on there, and I got a little curious. And the more time I spend there now, the more excited I become to live there, to contribute in my own small way – even if it’s just to blabber to all and sundry about all the cool things Hamilton has going on. After nine years in Calgary, I have so much love for cities where community and art and creation happen against the odds and against expectation.
This entry is lacking a cohesive narrative, I know. After months of checking MLS listings online and tallying up my own mental pros and cons list, it’s strange to switch gears to a different way of thinking. The kind where I sit in my current apartment and envision myself sitting in that same chair in my new home, which has an exposed brick wall and a tin ceiling in the living room and I never thought I would ever live in a house like that but it just works so well. It’s strange to switch from grudgingly putting up with the cupboard door in my kitchen that never stays shut, to pricing pendant lamps to replace the one hanging over the island in my new kitchen. To planning out what we’ll do with the den that leads off our master bedroom, which of course will become a small library. Let me just say I never really got the appeal of Pinterest until right now.
I’ll try not to ramble on about home stuff forever. I’m just still kind of in a daze over it, and not being able to live in my gorgeous new home right now is something the next two months will probably make more and more frustrating. For my own sake, I’ll need to focus on other things, like work, and writing, and the holidays, and not focus so much on that fun website I found where you enter in your room dimensions and the dimensions of all your furniture and sigh dreamily at the screen once you’ve got your living room all set up. On the internet. Yes, less of that for right now, I think!