Erin's Journals

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Just a thought… Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love. [Nate Berkus]

How’s your week going? Well, I hope; I’ve got so much going on in our house these days and so much of it has to do with OTHER houses. First off, some great news: Phil and Brooke’s three-bedroom in Barrhaven, outside of Ottawa, went up for sale yesterday (after they’d moved out and had it tarted up) and there are no fewer than 13 showings booked for today.

An actual offer came in yesterday but they’re just kind of biding their time. Who could have imagined that in a time of such uncertainty and upheaval in almost every other area of our lives, the real estate market would be red hot in so many places?

Actually, we had an inkling earlier this summer of how things were going when we were helping Phil and Brooke find their new forever home here on the island: most of the houses in their price range were gone before we could even get a viewing! We all count ourselves lucky that they found a lovely place so close to ours. But for now, they’re really close – right here.

Tomorrow it will be three weeks since they landed at YYJ…and still no word of where their moving truck is. When Brooke checked in with the small company yesterday she was told it was “in transit.” Um-hm. (Like their truck, or whomever they’ve farmed out to, doesn’t have GPS or something?)

How fortunate they are not to be paying a nightly hotel rate or enduring some other huge inconvenience. We’re just loving having them here and we even get to sleep in a little while they’re quietly starting their day. Perfect! There are a lot of blessings to count and, trust me, we’re doing it daily.

Next week I have the opportunity to record a podcast with Sarah Richardson, launching on in early September, for the Canadian Real Estate Association show that I do monthly. In talking with Sarah, whom you know as a designer, creator, author and broadcaster, she brought up something really interesting – and quite true – about the current housing situation and it extends not only to homeowners but to those folks who rent as well.

With the self-isolation and work-from-home world we have inhabited since March of this year, people have come to see where they live through different eyes. For many, our homes have multi-tasked as restaurant, office, gym and hotel. And people are starting to look at their surroundings and ask what if this isn’t just a 2020 thing?

We’re changing how we see our homes and want to make them suit us for so much more, if we are able. It’s why, in the early days of staying locked inside our homes, paint stores were doing a booming business. People decided to make their homes more livable. And why not? I mean, as long as there is the money to do it, a coat of paint can be the next best thing to a renovation.

It ties in with a motto I’ve long had: we should live in our homes as if we’re about to sell them. When does your place ever look better – cleaner, more orderly, fewer paint chips or broken door handles – than when you’re listing? Yesterday when she saw the pictures and video of their Ottawa place, our daughter-in-law said, “It almost makes me want to live there!”

Fortunately, that feeling passed and the door has opened – literally – for another family to call their freshly painted, cleaned and touched-up house “home” – and soon!

At about the time their house closes (we hope), our tribulations with the house that we bought in Palm Springs will also be over. Having left it in a flurry in March, I swear to you as I said a quiet good-bye in my head, it occurred to me that I might never see it again.

Wondering if the pandemic or political fall-out might lead to a complete societal collapse, I let the thought cross my mind that we would never return. And I was right. Of course, we made this happen because of the happy turn of events in our lives north of the border, but who knows when we’d have been able to get travel health insurance again anyway?

Yesterday we spent three hours on FaceTime with a kind friend of my sister who is packing up six boxes or so of our belongings to FedEx back to Canada. We don’t know how else we would have done this and are eternally grateful for her time and work and considerable inconvenience in helping us get some clothes, books, a few kitchen items, family photos and odds and ends back to us here in Canada.

Of course I got Rob a guitar last Christmas! It’s on its way too; we sent an empty case down via FedEx on Monday. The headaches are enormous and we’ve been having to deal with the IRS, which mistakenly thinks we’re making a cent on this sale. (Actually, far from it, lest you think everyone who sells in a pandemic is coming out ahead.)

We are not complaining – not in the least. I remind Brooke when she feels guilty about us saying good-bye to the place in California that if someone had come to me while I was floating in the pool in February under clear skies and said, “You can have this, or you can have your family living just a few kilometres away – which do you want?” I’d have been packing my bags in my bathing suit.

After chasing happiness, it’s come to us. So the least we can do is be here to welcome it with open arms, right?

Have a good weekend and we’ll be back with you on Monday. 

Rob WhiteheadThursday, August 13, 2020