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Scintilla Project: Day 2: How To Buy the Perfect Home

I'm doing the Scintilla Project for the next two weeks. Go sign up and join us, or read up on the other folks doing the Project! It's a great blog roll of people.

Today, I'm choosing Prompt B:

Tell the story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual (Step 1, Step 2, Step 3….).

(Technically this is something I did, not something that happened to me, but still good!).

How To Buy the Perfect Home

  1. Procrastinate on it a lot. Live at home for as long as you can stand. Waste money, live paycheque to paycheque. 
  2. Set really high, unrealistic goals of places to live. Bemoan this a lot.
  3. Change to really low goals. Look at tiny basement apartments with huge commutes to anywhere in dangerous neighbourhoods.
  4. Procrastinate until something in your life changes. This can be a job, weight loss, until you've saved x dollars. Change this a lot to make sure you never really quite achieve it.
  5. Housesit for a friend whose place in the city you once thought would be perfect for you. Discover it's not, at all. Recognize that there's nothing wrong with it, but just that you don't want to live in the same area you thought you did.
  6. Help friends move into a beautiful house, far away from everything, but absolutely stunning.
  7. Realize that you could likely afford their house, or something like it.
  8. Talk with another friend who's disdainful of the city and loves the suburbs. Listen to her thoughts and consider them.
  9. Browse real estate sites incessantly.
    1. Get family and friends in on this as well.
  10. Randomly, and suddenly, decide you've saved enough and it's time to start.
  11. Reject many places out of hand based on pictures on the internet. Nearly ignore what everyone is telling you and don't visit that one place you don't like the look of on the net.
  12. Go visit that one place first and realize it is basically perfect and everything you want, and some things you didn't know you didn't know you wanted.
  13. Visit other places you thought were awesome and realize the pictures made them look good when really they're terrible.
  14. Make your realtor work on the night of a big sporting event to help you put in an offer lest that couple you saw looking buy the place out from under you.
  15. Take the signed back offer.
  16. Wait a few weeks until everything is absolutely 100% finalized.
    1. Rage at people who pressure you for things. Do so quietly. Yell at your phone a lot with it not being on.
  17. Once purchased, wait until the last possible second to move in. Realize suddenly how emotionally difficult this is.
  18. Once there, host party ASAP. Bring people around as much as possible. Clean house incessantly. 
    1. Lighting BBQ on fire at least once is recommended, but optional.
  19. Fight off loneliness with alcohol and food.
  20. Expand cooking repertoire. Learn you really love your own cooking. Use exploring new city as an excuse to order lots of take out, initially.
  21. Get two adorable cats. Watch them hide for a week, then wish they'd hide as they climb all over you.
  22. Write blog post from your laptop, next to your window, and quietly realize that, yes, this is the perfect home for you. Maybe just for right now, but it is.
  23. Thank blog post readers for reading til the end, and stop talking in some kind of weird passive voice now.
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Pawnee, Ontario

Watching Parks and Rec has gotten me a bit interested in the goings-on around my own home town. Is the Parks and Recreation department of my suburban town as exciting and awesome as that of Pawnee, Indiana? Is there an up and coming Leslie Knope running for City Council in my town?

The thing about this is that, I don't really feel like the place I live now is my town. I never have, really. When I was growing up I couldn't wait to get out and see the world. I saw no redeeming value in this city. I wanted to get out to the big city or, barring that, the small town I went to university in.

I've been living back in my birth town the last few years, expecting to move any day now and, well, failing at that. As the move becomes more real, as I spent this evening poring over listings sent by my realtor while the oven slowly cooked my dinner, I started to think about the fact that I'll likely leave this town again and take up a brand new one. And even that town, I suspect, won't be my final resting place, so to speak.

I've kept myself untethered, I think in part, because I was scared of putting down roots. Roots are hard to dig up and I want to be mobile. For whoever my future wife may be, I want to be able to be there for her. I want to be able to say "Let's go, hun" when she gets a new job, or a new opportunity, or when the mood takes us and we decide to move to Iceland. 

I also still don't feel like I've really found that place that speaks to me. I loved Guelph and every now and then I'm tempted to say "fuck it all" and move there, despite how difficult (read: impossible) it would make my commute and how much it would limit my job opportunities. 

Of course, buying a house is certainly one way of putting down roots and that scares me, too. I feel like I haven't found that place where I belong.

I've found people I belong with, though. People I want to make sure are in my life for years to come. I think that's part of it too. For so many of my friends mobility is the name of the game. I am so connected with them, in so many ways, that where we are is unimportant. 

This is a little rambley, and I can't say I have a solid conclusion to share on this. I don't know why I've never really put down roots or felt like I belonged somewhere. I don't know if it's a reticence for fear of moving, or just a lack of need, or what. I kind of doubt I even will wherever I end up next, be that still in my home town (though houses here are still smaller and expensive) or somewhere else.

But, those are some thoughts for you on a Sunday night. If you have those roots, that connection to a city, a street corner, an arena, a bar, a house…I'm a little jealous of you, cause I don't have that.

Maybe that's my choice, though.


City Living: A Review

I spent not quite a month living in the city of Toronto.

In short, I didn't like it.

I'm struggling a little bit to explain exactly why, because it's not entirely clear in my head. I liked seeing friends, for sure. I liked being closer to them, being able to pop out for dinner at a moment's notice. I liked being able to leave work 5 minutes late and only be 5 minutes later, not 30. 

I'd also say I liked cooking for myself. I liked not having anyone waiting for me at home and being able to eat dinner at 8 if I felt like it. But those are things that would be solved by living on my own no matter where I lived.

What probably bothered me most though is something that I think is a key part of living in Toronto, and something that you likely get in any large city, which is the sheer speed of it. Everything moves quickly. Everyone rushes past you. No matter how fast you're walking (or even running) you're not moving fast enough for someone else. Everyone packs into everything tightly, squishes together, in their rush to get where they're going. And that bugs me. I'm a slow walker. I like to take a moment and smell the roses. To pause, sigh, and text someone. 

I didn't feel like I could do that comfortably in the city.

I felt constantly rushed and out of time. 

I'm sure there are areas of the city where this is not true. Emma was kind of enough to show me a quieter, nicer area of the city, that I could definitely see myself living in. But it would still mean crowding onto the street car. It would still mean dealing with the hubbub of that city and, honestly, I don't think that's where I want to be.

I've started to feel like I want to build something. To sound a little New Age for a moment, build the life I want, to attract the things I want. And I think that's primarily space. A nice porch. A backyard for a dog to run in. A place to keep a BBQ and learn to cook, like the neighbours beside me as I write this. A place to sit out with friends (those who will make the trek to visit me) and talk about life's important things. A room to meditate, to sleep and to play WoW (one for each, ideally). A garage to park my car. A house. A home.

Places like that exist in Toronto, I know. But they are likely 3 times my budget, or so far out that I may as well be living in the suburbs.

So, for now, I'm thinking suburbs. We'll see in a couple months, as I get things moving. Toronto did a number on my finances, so things will be moving a little slower than I had hoped, but I've also realized that finding the right place may take time. Which is good. I want to enjoy this time, now. 


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