Countdown

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Well it’s crunch time.  We leave in 7 days.  We are all very excited to go and explore our new surroundings.  We have been busy with several farewell parties and the general busyness of the last few days of school.  Our house is looking pretty bare.  Jess has done 6 trips in total so far with our rented trailer.  I think maybe two more trips and our house will be ready for the new owners.

Jess has been spending a significant amount of time in our new building.  He met with a plumber who has fixed most of our plumbing.  Now all 7 toilets work as do the numerous sinks.  And thankfully the urinals are no longer overflowing.  What more could a housewife ask for?  I’ll tell you.  I’ll take a shower and a fridge please.  And a stove as well.

The shower is on it’s way.  We were originally going to buy a cheap shower kit and install it for our temporary shower.  Then once our real bathroom was up and running we had planned on donating the shower kit to ReStore.  The whole thing was going to cost about $600-700.  Luckily, our plumber had a brilliant suggestion.  Since we have a drain in the bathroom floor, we could have a make shift shower in the handicapped stall.  He would even build us a basic faucet and taps so we didn’t have to buy new ones.

I love it.  The upside is we don’t have to buy more stuff.  The downside is I have to shower next to a toilet.  The obvious, additional upside is that it may make my whole morning routine much more efficient.

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Beauty

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Last week my friend Matthew made the trek to our school to take some photographs.  I really wanted to have our building documented to preserve what the school has stood for all these years.  It was built in 1956, and was in operation for over 60 years.  Thousands of kids have been educated there and many teachers have taught them.   I am really looking forward to hearing all the stories from the people who attended our school.

Matthew lives in my neighbourhood.  Recently, he had an art show and sale at his home to unload some of his extra stock of photographs.  I went as a courtesy and to buy a glass of lemonade from his step daughter`s stand.  I wasn`t intending on buying any photographs.  I was moving and did not want more stuff to pack.  The problem was that when I got to the sale I fell in love.

Matthew has a passion for photographing abandoned  buildings.  He has travelled the world and has taken some fabulous shots.  I bought a few photos and look forward to putting them up in our new digs.  I was thrilled when he asked to photograph our school.  Even though my place is not as run down as some of the buildings he has photographed, I think his photos show that there were many lives led there.  You can feel the sense of history when you walk into the building, and that is seen through his lens.  If you`d like to see his photos, go here.    And if you`d like more, go to his website.

Options

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Options, oh options, why so many options.  Badges, Badges, we don’t need no stinking badges!  Oops sorry I slipped into a WKRP time warp there.  At least they didn’t have to do any packing at WKRP.  Jennifer could just flirt her way out of any problem.  If only that were the case for me.  Needless to say, I am drowning in packing and have decided to ignore it and post instead.

I thought you’d be interested in one design option.  Our friend, Andrew did a napkin sketch for us.  He is our architect friend who has such a lovely house himself.  I would trade his house for my leaky urinals any day.  I’m not sure he would go for that deal.  He is much too savvy for that old one two urinal switch scam.

His proposal is that we do some living in the gym.  We would have a big fireplace on the south facing wall flanked by large windows with a walk out on one side.  We would have an open plan living and dining space.  The kitchen would have a large island in the centre.  We are looking into a commercial range with two ovens, 6 burners and a grill.  We are also thinking of a double fridge.  We are hoping to have lots of friends and family visit and they all need to eat!

We are going to keep the stage.  We’ve been talking about having a talent show once a week.  Each member of our family will have a week to hone a talent, and present it.  My husband is a very good magician, juggler, guitarist, and is also working on his stand up routine.  He is all over this talent show!  My kids think they are good at everything so they are also looking forward to it.  I’m not as confident as the others.  All of my talents don’t present that well.  For example, I am a very good multi-tasker.  And an avid reader.  I’m also really good at talking on the phone with my girlfriends.  And don’t forget the bargain hunting.  Somehow I have to work that all into my bit.

That’s all we have so far on the design front; a fireplace, open living space, some windows, a stage, and a talent show.  We are also thinking about bedrooms, some bathrooms and other stuff.  But I must get to my packing.  This house isn’t going to pack itself, you know.

Plans

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Lots of people have been asking lots of questions.  What are you going to do out there?  Do you have a job? What are your plans for the school?  As you can see, these are all very valid questions.  They are rational,  well planned, to the point kind of inquiries.

I have very vague answers for all those questions.

Let’s start with the first question.  What am I going to do out there?  Well there is that whole school/house project to focus on.  That may take up a little bit of my time.  Once that is in my back pocket and chugging along I have a few things on my to do list.   I want to try to make my own cheese.  Keep bees.  Learn how to do encaustic painting.  I have an idea for a book that I’d like to think more about.  Perfect my canning skills.  Exercise more.  Build a pizza oven.  Bake more bread.  Restore broken things.  Go to auctions.  Make good beer.  Knit more than a scarf.  Sew better.  Be outside more than in.  This list is growing everyday so I must stop here before this post gets too long.

Question number two.  No, I do not have a job.  Nor does my husband.  And no, we did not win the lottery nor do we have rich parents.  We also did not rob a bank and pin it on someone else.  We did not find a bag of money on the street and only give some of it to the cops.  We do have a wee cushion from the sale of our house but we will need that to live on and to renovate the school.  We have kind of decided that it’s ok to not make a bunch of money.  We are going to be entrepreneurial, and we have a number of half baked ideas that are certain to work out.

Let’s get the heck out of number two and jump into question number three.   What are we going to do with the 10,600 square foot school that we bought?  We don’t know but are open to any ideas if you care to share them.  A few people have been helping us.  Our friend Adam has given us lots of great things to think about.  He is a designer in many forms.  Our friend Andrew, who is an architect,  has also provided us with lots of ideas.  And Jess’ aunt Jacquie has done countless drawings for us and is a wiz at architectural drafting.  We do know that we are going to live in it, we are simply unsure as to how that is going to look.  I think we need to spend some time living in the building and  getting to know it a bit better.

As time moves on, I hope to be a little less vague in my responses.  Plans will come together and answers will roll off my tongue.  As soon as we figure it out, I’ll let you know.

All Ours

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So I was thinking of redoing my new bathroom.  Probably just a little touch up with the paint, and then I think it’ll be perfect.  What do you think?

We took our girls to our new home yesterday.  They hadn’t seen it before, and they loved it.  Only kids could be that positive.  Let me tell you, it ain’t pretty and it ain’t clean.  I had some other choice descriptors for our school but I am trying hard not to swear on this blog even though it is one of my favorite past times.  

My girls ran everywhere. Then they spent an hour turning the principle’s office into the new Spy Headquarters.  They went sleuthing around and found an old rotary phone, boxes of books, a huge amount of unused paper, and a box of old trophies from the 70’s.  Even though it was raining, they climbed trees and ran around our huge field.  

As ugly and as dirty and as daunting as this old building is, I still believe it will be beautiful one day.  I just hope I can survive it.  

My Buddy Dave

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Unbeknownst to me, my husband Jess wrote to David Suzuki.  He told him all about our plans to move and be kinder to the earth.  Well what do you know, the big D wrote back!  Hand written and everything!  I felt like I had just had the guy to lunch.  But really is was just a letter but did I mention it was hand written.  Ya, you heard me right.

When I mentioned it to Jess, who is forever hard to impress and is never star struck, simply replied “I bet that guy writes back to everyone”.

Maybe I’ll have to test that theory out.

A Fresh Start

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Oh my, oh my it is already June.  I planned to start this blog in February but I guess time got away from me.  Let me update you on the general plan.

Back in December, my husband and I decided it was time to ditch city life and move to the country.  We have been agonizing over this decision for years.  Visions of rednecks, isolation, and boredom always won out and and kept us in our urban lives.  And don’t get me wrong, we love our life in the city.  We live in a great neighbourhood.  We are close to downtown, the lake, green spaces, and fabulous restaurants.  All our family and friends are here in the city.  We just needed more space for our family and less work in our lives.  So we started the search for our rural property.

We looked for months for a new house and saw beautiful homes.  We almost put an offer on a lovely five bedroom house on 6 acres.   It was across the street from a vineyard and near to a happening small town.  But we got cold feet.  It wasn’t the right fit.

So I kept on looking.

Late one night on Kijiji I found our home to be.  It is an empty 10,600 square foot 1950’s public school.  It has been closed since 2011 due to low enrolment.  Long story short, we bought the school, sold our house and off we go on June 28th.  I’ve been there once for 45 minutes.

There are a few stumbling blocks that we need to sort out when we get there.  Here is the short list: insure the plumbing works, get an adult size toilet (we have 7 kid size ones), set up a shower, install some kind of heating device before the winter, and build a kitchen (there is a sink in every room).  I’m hoping we can get a lot of mileage from a sink, a cooler and a BBQ this summer.  Wish me luck!