Saturday, November 8, 2008

Giving in Action.

In January 2005, I became convinced that we were going to have to move into town when Jed graduated in June. He needed to have access to the bus system and other opportunities that were just not available 15 kilometers out of the city. Besides, our 6 bedroom house on five acres was starting to feel a little large and hollow for our shrinking family.

Although Albert wasn't totally convinced about the need to move, I began scoping out neighbourhoods I found acceptable. I wanted a sunny neighbourhood where the snow would be first to leave. That was my first priority. I didn't want to drive up or down long hills to get to work each day. Of course the bus system needed to be accessible to Jed.

I drove around neighbourhoods at different times of day on different days of the week to see how many unsupervised teenagers were "just hangin' out."

I didn't really care too much about the actual house. I knew Alb can fix anything. I didn't want something too big. And I didn't want one where all the houses on the street look the same. I also didn't want a quarter million dollar mortgage.

I spent the next couple of months scouring real estate papers and websites and making my arguments to my husband about the need to move.

By mid March I had him convinced, although he hadn't jumped on the house search band wagon just yet. I think he was more just overwhelmed by all the work needed to prepare the exsisting home for resale.

At the beginning of March a house on Sanderson Road was listed as a private sale through Property Guys. I thought it had potential: acceptable neighbourhood, south facing, reasonable price, had a shop, paved driveway....

At the end of March we went to Kelowna for spring break. As usual, I spent most of the journey in a semi-comatose state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness.

As we neared the end of the trip I sat up and said, "I just bought the house on Sanderson and built a little addition on the front to add character and put green siding on it."

Alb looked over at me like I had smoked crack for breakfast and was suffering hallucinations or something.

And life carried on.

Over the next couple of months Albert worked his butt off getting the house ready to list. We viewed a few prospective homes to purchase and played phone tag with the seller of the Sanderson house for about 2 months before we were able to set up a viewing time. Meanwhile the listing price had dropped a few thousand dollars. Always a good thing.

Long story short, we purchased the Sanderson house in July - two months before our other home sold. And Albert got his promised Goldwing and new truck. (Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to get your way.)

One year later, we were happy little campers as empty nesters in our small home that had potential, but no urgency, for updates.

The home as listed on Property Guys in 2005.

We worked on the yard a bit, leveling it and installing sprinklers and sod and planting some bushes and trees after we had to remove the large beetle-killed pine in the front yard in 2006.

In October 2007, after returning from our fabulous Goldwing excursion across Canada, we drew up plans to turn the small bedroom into a marvelous ensuite - the feature in our old house that we missed the most. Two days before we planned to purchase the supplies, Jed returned home from his 15 month venture of living away. And our lives were very unexpectedly altered and plans re-directed.

After much research and seeking God and general flailing about, we applied for and received a grant from Giving in Action, a division of The Vancouver Foundation, towards making a suite that would allow Jed to live somewhat independently yet still be "home."

It's been a long, emotional, stressful and dramatic-event filled year. And it's been labour intensive for Albert and his trusty sidekick, Jim. But finally it's all coming together.

After the walls went up on the entrance to Jed's suite, and the siding was ordered, I had a total A-ha moment of realization that I truly had envisioned this whole thing before I even set foot in the "Sanderson house" back in March 2005.

The process:

Digging up the unfinished basement to accommodate new plumbing.

The forms go in for the addition that will provide an entrance downstairs for Jed and a new dining area upstairs for us. A nice added bonus.

Hard to imagine that in a few short months Albert and Jim will have this transformed into a marvelous living space.

Of course it only made sense to replace the old cracked wood windows before we resided the house. Now that was a can of worms we hadn't planned on opening up! They basically had to reconstruct the entire front wall of our house due to nightmarish construction.

To save time, we paid a considerable amount of money to have a drywaller come in and professionally finish and paint everything. Uh, yeah. Live and learn I guess. His "6-8 day job" turned into 6-8 weeks and I know for a fact Alb and Jim would have done a better job. Oh well, it's finished now and we can move on.

I was anxious to use the new dining area and moved in before the drywall was up.

The entrance to Jed's place is down 1/2 a flight from the front door.

What a blessing to be able to equip his kitchen with new appliances, including a dishwasher (which I currently don't have upstairs.)

That's the bathroom door at the end of the kitchen and his bedroom door is just off to the right, beside the bathroom door.

This door at the end of his living area leads to a small office which gives access to the electrical panel to both the suite and our side of the basement. The little cubby area will have a built-in desk for his computer and printer.

Jed chose his own colour schemes in each of the rooms. While the combination of yellow walls with burgundy trim isn't on the top of most fashion lists, it does look okay. It's a nice bright basement suite.

Jed originally wanted to paint his bedroom pink in honour of breast cancer. (That was even before my mammogram and subsequent diagnosis of breast cancer)

I convinced him to go with a different colour so we could paint a pink ribbon on the wall. He chose a baby blue and insisted that the trim be breast cancer pink.

The bathroom looks a little pinker in the pictures than it actually is. It's a salmon type colour. He gave no explanation as to why he chose this colour. I thought for sure he would pick out a bright shower curtain with dogs or fish or something on it, but he went with basic ivory.

Not too many 22 year olds living in a basement suite can boast their very own brand new front loading laundry team. I'm sure he'll never fully appreciate what a blessing this grant has been.
But I do. I think.

Move in day will be Tuesday November 11. Which, by the way, is 23 years to the day Jed was conceived - the day his brother died. (not sure why I felt compelled to include that little tidbit of information, but now you know)

1 comment:

mari said...

Patrick and I are more than aware of any sort of plastic hanging around in our house, because of your loss and especially with all our moving - we use lots of garbage bags because we never seem to have enough boxes. I think I have your family in my prayers almost every night (what with that and then the recent breast cancer). I can't imagine carrying on after loosing one of our kids. You are an example of strength like no other in my life.

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