If you’ve been reading this blog for longer than two months, you likely noticed this post. Since the lace looks about the same (a big blob of grey) I thought I’d give a little update on our post-fire situation.
As I wrote back in July, we have a new condo. It’s nice. We like it. The main floor is pretty awesome: very lofty-warehouse-chic, with it’s high ceiling and open-concept and wall of floor to ceiling windows. What the kitchen lacks in cupboard space it makes up for in fantastic appliances. The upstairs is alright, but it is much, much smaller than the last place. This is posing some serious issues with regard to unpacking. In order to unpack, we need to have a place to put everything, but in order to have that place we need to get the boxes out of the way and unpacked but in order to unpack them…you see? What we are calling “Peanut’s Room” is, in fact, wall to wall boxes, about four feet high. It’s a damned good thing she still sleeps in bed with us: there is no room for a crib anywhere. We’d have to put her in the living room, I think, if she was in a crib.
The neighbourhood isn’t bad. On one hand, we really like it. There are a lot of kids down the street from us, and they often congregate at the concrete barricade (the block is divided to prevent through-traffic) in the evenings, so once Peanut is walking (could be any day now!) I think she’ll really enjoy playing with her fellow toddlers. There’s a fabulous little Italian grocer at the top of the block. The Man has discovered that their fresh cut bacon is both better quality and cheaper than the cheap bacon from the supermarket, so he’s quite happy making weekend bacon runs. And I need to start generating some income if only so that I can support my cheese habit. They have the BEST CHEESE.
We’re walking distance – granted, a long walk – from a farmer’s market, where I have found the best garlic of all time. If you are on the knittyboard, you may have seen my thread in GHS about garlic storage. I still have to figure out how I’ll get and keep a stock of this garlic all winter. It’s just too good to go without. Buying local produce direct from the grower is nice for so many reasons, amongst them the fact that it’s usually less expensive (at least, for the vegetables and fruit I’ve been buying, it is). We like that.
It’s not all cheap bacon and garlic bulbs, though. While the street is largely residential, one end of it – our end of it – is primarily commercial. There’s a large storage facility for Public Works, a paint store/warehouse, and a smallish factory with several businesses including a presentation company (supply equipment for staging and events) and a couple of printing houses all right across the street from us. There is a giant semi backing down my street (because, with such a narrow street and that concrete barricade, they have no choice but to back all the way past my house) just about every single day, and almost invariably while Peanut is finally having a nap.
It’s infuriating. Add on top of that that places to which we used to walk in ten minutes now take about forty-five minutes and it has really started to make me wonder if we made a mistake. I’m sitting in our living room, the street outside quiet and dark, our main floor so bright and funky, and I want to love everything about this place, but I know that there could easily be a big Penske truck backing down the street at 2am tomorrow morning, should that presentation company strike a gig late at night. And I know that I’ve barely seen my very, very good friend K all summer. She lives around the corner from our old place, the one that burned, and took us in the morning of the fire – plied us with tea and strawberries and homebaked bread – and now it’s a chore just to spend a few hours with her. It makes me sad.
We may have prioritized a little incorrectly. It seemed so important to get a place as soon as possible, and someplace really nice so that we could essentially pretend that we wanted to move. Unfortunately, we may have missed the mark with this one. In fairness to ourselves, though, we only saw this place in the evening and on a holiday, so there was no way to know how much commercial traffic comes through here.
Homelessness is unpleasant. No, we were never living under threat of having to live under a bridge or in a box or in a shelter, but we were definitely without a home of our own for two weeks there. It was so unsettling it may have driven us to choose a home too quickly. Not having a place of our own was just too uncomfortable, too scary. And the real kicker is that it now appears that the building that burned isn’t being demolished. It now appears they will rebuild from the inside out all the units which were burned. The latest report is “all except the last three units”. So our former home will sit, empty and unloved and untouched and unharmed, for about another year. While we live here. It bites.*
We’ll likely stick out our year and then move back into the core. We really did adore living downtown, despite all the drawbacks, like lack of parking, noisy neighbours, sirens, and drunks wandering around the street. I think it’s where we’re meant to be.
For now, I’ll just have to be patient, and get used to long, long walks to see my friends.
*I know, I know, living immediately adjacent to a construction zone would bite, too, even worse, perhaps, than living where we currently do. Plus, there’s the whole “danger” issue. I think, as a victim of peril, that I have the freedom to be mildly irrational.