Wednesday 10 August 2016

The house that wasn't meant to be

Last time I asked you the question: "Heart over head?" You gave me wonderful advice, I loved reading all your comments. Sorry if I'm even slower than usual in replying, it's been a whirlwind of activity here. I'll get to it, I promise! I appreciate your support tremendously. 

Let's continue our tale of trying to find a new home. 

It's Monday morning, and we are giddy: Today we're looking at "our" place again! If we still like it as much as we did when we first saw it, we will make an offer. Gah, it's so awesome! I'm super-stoked. 

Riding the wave of positive vibes, I call the manager of the Vernon hospital to inquire about possible job opportunities. This is very unlike me - I usually avoid speaking on the phone. But today I'm pumped, and wouldn't you know it - the conversation goes extremely well. He not only agrees to see me the next day, but promises that he will hire me as a casual tech. Booyah!

One hour into our drive, our agent (the one in charge of selling our house) calls. "The people who saw it last week want to come back today and take another look", she states in her matter-of-fact fashion. "Can they come this afternoon?" We explain that unfortunately, they can't, since we are out of town, and agree on two days later. "It's looking good!", she says, and am I mistaken, or is that a hint of excitement in her level voice? "They are really keen." And with these tantalizing words, she hangs up.
This day just keeps getting better and better!

For the rest of the drive I think aloud how I will decorate our new home, ignoring Rich's cautioning words that "we haven't bought it yet". Surely it's only a formality at this point?

A few hours later, we arrive.
The owners are present, because the agent figured we would like to ask them some questions. We do. I made a long list, including everything from how good the Internet is (if I can't stream videos, I'm out) to the quality and volume of the water (having animals requires a lot of water).

We meet the pleasant couple, and hit it off right away. They are such nice people! Five minutes into the conversation, Rich realizes that he knows the woman - she used to be married to one of his chicken club buddies. We all laugh and comment on the smallness of the world. The conversation continues effortlessly for a while. Under different circumstances, we might become friends.

Rich and I decided beforehand that we would walk along the entire perimeter of the property, checking the fences and taking a closer look at the soil and the grass. The first time around we didn't do that.
Hiking down the hill, we are once again taken by the prettiness of the place. It's lovely.
However, we now see that the grass is much sparser than it looked from afar. Well, it doesn't matter, right? There's 22 acres of that stuff!

Arriving at the bottom of the hill, we see that there actually is a neighbour. You couldn't see him from the road or from the house, but now you can. That's okay though. Maybe it's better that way, you never know when you might need help.

The fence looks good. Sturdy and well built. However, it's a barb wire fence, which keeps cattle and horses in, but is of no use for sheep and dogs. We will need to install pagewire on top of it.
Rich is quiet, taking it all in and thinking. I chat with the agent, who is (not-so-gently) pushing us to buy. "It's perfect for you two!", she has said numerous times already.

Once we are back at the house, I start with my list of questions. The owners answer them patiently, and all is well, until - "Did the well ever dry up?" I ask, pen poised to check off this question with a reassuring NO on my list.
"Actually, it did, once", she admits, adding hastily, "that was many years ago". I look up alarmed.
"We had 56 cows at the time, and we didn't realize how much water they drink. They drained the well."
She says that they drilled a second, deeper well right next to it, and that they haven't had a problem since. However, they also sold 50 of the cows and only kept six. Rich and I exchange a worried look.

After another tour of the house, we say our goodbyes. We arranged to meet the agent in town for coffee to discuss everything.
On the 10-minute drive into town, we are both quiet. "Do you still want it?", Rich asks me at some point. "Sure", I say, not quite meeting his eyes. "You?"
He hesitates for a split second. "Yes", he says eventually.

In the restaurant she pulls up a history on the house. "It has been on the market for over a year", she begins. "They also tried to sell it three years ago, but took it off the market again because it didn't sell."
A house that doesn't sell. It doesn't bode well.
But no matter, right? We live in the present, not the future, and who cares about 20-30 years down the road?
The agent really wants us to sign the contract today, but Rich has this rule of always sleeping on important decisions. "Tomorrow morning", he says firmly, and she concurs.  We agree to meet her in her office the next day, and then we drive to our motel for the night. There is a pub next door, and we go in "to celebrate".

We are still quiet. This is completely different from what I expected. I thought we would be ecstatic with happiness! Instead, we are both incredibly drained and exhausted. After one drink (half for me, I can't even finish my beer), we head to our room.
"I need to lay down for a while", Rich says, and I understand. I need a walk. We brought Lily along, so I snap a leash on her and take off to explore the town.

It's Monday evening, 6pm, and Lumby is dead. There is barely anybody around. I discover that several of the stores are borded up. The town that looked so charming a week ago in the morning sunshine now appears deserted and sinister. Or is it just my mood? I'm being overly dramatic. 
Two drivers in passing cars wave at me. That's nice! I try to snap out of my funk, only partially successful. 

Half an hour later I'm back at the motel. Rich is awake, and we settle down in the chairs outside under the awning, sipping cider and talking. After a while it begins to rain, and we watch the fat drops coming down hard. Soon, we go to bed.

I wake up in the middle of the night. Lily is restless, and I let her out. Afterwards I can't fall back asleep. I stare up at the dark ceiling, willing my thoughts to stop. I try to meditate, but give up after a few minutes. "Are you awake?", I whisper into the darkness.
"Yup", Rich answers, sounding wide awake.
"I can't sleep ", I tell him. 
"Me, neither ", he replies. 
After a moment he adds: "I don't think we should take it. I'm worried about the water."
My first reaction is relief. 

All afternoon and evening, I have tried to convince myself that what I'm experiencing is simply a case of cold feet. That's gotta be normal before making a big decision, right? 
"I didn't get cold feet when I married you", Rich says sweetly when I share this thought. Hmm, me neither. I also didn't when I packed all my things and came to Canada. 

This is different. There are too many little things that bug us, amounting to an overwhelming feeling that this house, this pretty place, isn't for us. 
"Are you sad?", he asks me.
I can honestly say that I'm not. 

The next morning we treat ourselves to a hearty breakfast, after having called the agent with our decision.
We narrow down our criteria, increase the budget, and she's off searching again.

The hunt continues!


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