Thursday, March 01, 2007

Closing day.

We're homeowners. I feel like throwing up.

Our house is part of a suburban subdivision that was built in 1958. We are just its second owners. Just as many young families are buying new houses in developments further afield these days in Durham, York and Peel Regions, just outside Toronto, that's Scarborough was all about in the '50s and '60s.

My parents hated development, and twenty years of driving to Parry Sound every month showed us clearly how development was chewing up farmland. I hated it because they did, but less so now. There are few choices for young families who want to own an affordable home in an area they feel safe in. I grew up in an area where I could walk in the evening and feel safe. We knew our neighbours - they were ordinary folks with kids, and not obsessed with the curb appeal of their houses. That's what I want, and you just can't get that in most parts of the city for our price. Two years ago, it was a possibility, but house prices have just gotten so damn silly that we can't even afford a semi in East York now. So a fair handful of our friends and their families have headed out to these new developments, and we're heading into the 1958 version of the same dream.

It's a cookie-cutter, typical '50s house, just the kind my mother taught me to make fun of. (You can see it two posts down.) But it's ours, and it was loved by the original owners. They didn't do much with it - no renos, additions, patio or anything. The kitchen is small and dated, with avocado-coloured appliances, and the plate on the light switch says "Kay's Kitchen". We learned yesterday that Kay and her husband had passed away. Their son was selling the house on behalf of Kay's estate, but he has the same name as his father, and so we had bought the house thinking that the father, not an estate, was the vendor. All they left behind, besides the light plate, was a wall clock with a picture of a little dog (it will go into Iain's room) and a fridge magnet with a reading about grace. I will keep it.

I'm sad that they have both passed on - I wanted to ask the original owners about their home and the neighbourhood, and maybe send them a friendly note. I'll pick the next-door neighbour's brain instead. I met him on Tuesday. He was on his roof, shovelling it. That was surreal. He's about 70, and he and his wife have been there for 35 years. He was lovely and pollte, and told me that the street was pretty stable, a mix of old-timers and young families with kids. Perfect. I want to feel like we're in a community, not a question mark. They have a backsplit like ours, only they've added a sunroom to the back, without taking away much of their yard at all, and put a carport over the driveway. If we stay there, it looks like a great kind of addition to consider for our own house.

Anyway, we'll move two weekends from now, if I can get my mover on board. He's been a bit flaky and difficult to reach. He moved my mother and me into this apartment, and says he remembers my mother as a hero for treating him and his guys like royalty, even though she was terminally ill and moving under unhappy circumstances. I spoke to him about two weeks ago - he agreed to do it and said he'd visit me last week to give me an estimate. Haven't heard from him since. Eeek.

Well, pray for us.


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