A Little Bit Western


Home Sweet Home 2.0

Nov 25, 2014

In a column I wrote earlier this fall I started to share a little compare-and-contrast exercise of some of my house renovating observations from a decade ago. Shortly after landing our house in the middle of a pasture in 2004, I had sent a newsy email aptly titled “The Top 10 Reasons to Move a House into the Middle of a Pasture” to some friends and family members. One recipient saved it and sent it back to me. There are still a few disconcerting points worth sharing so here are more “Top 10 Reasons” of yesteryear with my present-day update.

2004: You can become one with nature. I actually watched a coyote roam through the front yard. And when asked where all the feathers in the house came from, Other Half replied “Oh, that’s from when I caught the bird that was in the house.” Of course, how obvious.

2014: Fortunately, our inner sanctum has remained free of wildlife, avian or otherwise. The outdoors, however, is teeming with critters. During the summertime gophers, hunted by badgers, hawks, owls, and the odd weasel share our yard. Coyotes continue to amble up to the house, killdeers spend the summer vocally worrying about our presence, and barn swallows swoop at my head whenever I enter or leave my home. During the wintertime rabbits dart through the trees and the odd deer tries to find a quiet nook in our yard in which to relax. There aren’t many things about our yard that exude peace and quiet, so to any prospective deer interested in coming here to chill out, I say good luck with that. Naturally, our domestic critters often trod a thoroughfare through my space as well, and that probably won’t change.

2004: You can shock everyone with the crazy colours you’re painting your house… that’s right, we’re painting rooms NOT WHITE.

2014: Clearly, the whippersnapper who wrote that last point had a pretty youthful (ie. naïve) colour palette which has fortunately mellowed….it had to, there was no other direction for it to go. A bright yellow laundry room, a kitchen coated in fresh apple (okay, neon) green, and a living room that turned out much more peach-coloured than I would like to admit… I’ve traded all of the colours in, not for white mind you, but much more foregiving tones. Neutral colours receive bonus marks for their ability to camouflage mud, sticky-hand residue and manure.

2004: You get a new perspective on things. I mean, come on, is a candy pink bathtub really that bad?

2014: It was. While I’m sure it was very stylish in 1961, the cotton candy-coloured bath tub and associated fixtures were some of the first items to be removed from our house. Not having the proper tools to actually remove the tub, I believe a potato fork among other things, was called into service during the destruction phase. I clearly remember tossing that old tub into the bucket of the tractor and watching it ride off into the sunset. We replaced it with a new shiny white tub. Oddly enough, my inexperienced self didn’t consider white as a good colour for walls yet it was (fortunately) my preferred choice for bathroom fixtures.

Our little house on the prairie continues to evolve and change to suit our needs. We’ve updated windows and siding and added a front and back deck, and as per an earlier column, we recently had our kitchen renovated. Although our house hasn’t grown from its original dimensions, the number of occupants has grown by a factor of 2.5 which means the mess has increased exponentially. But other things that have increased include the hugs and kisses. And the bathroom line-ups. And the cuddles. And the uniform distribution of toys scattered across the entire floor. And the giggles…I could go on and on but I think you get my drift.

Ten years later our house is a home.

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