Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Hick, a House, a River, a Pug, a Family, a Really Nasty Old Pickup Truck… life in Smallburg...

I would like to share the view from my front porch, in the first week of September, shortly after we moved into our new home:

Yes, if I sit on the steps of my front porch, I see a hay field.

I live in town.  That is a fact.  Am I okay with this?  Y'know what, I am!  I can see a field and trees.  There's a river close to my house, and it's surrounded by crop fields because it's flood plain, and there can't be any buildings.  To get to our house, you'd have to cross one of two bridges, because of the river on one side and the train track on the other.  It's like an island.  The other end of our street eventually ends up at a dirt road.  This is as country as you can get and still have fast internet.

Best part of all?  My husband shares this home with me.  And our two younguns, one working for a living and getting her business going, the other here on weekends while he's in college.  And the Pug of course.  And a lot of music gear.

It's been a loooong time with him working in the city while we lived on the farm.  We're out of the city.  We are no longer commercial property owners in Toronto and couldn't be happier about that.  He still has to drive in to do recording quite a bit but generally he's working from home.  We have just unloaded a huge amount of stress.

Technically, we live in town.  I have less wide open space - unless I focus on that flood plain field across the road.  But even though the neighbours are closer, this place feels very private.  Our backyard is surrounded by evergreen trees and lilac bushes, but there's enough space that I don't feel crowded.  Well, honestly, even at the farm I could feel a little crowded.  It's a busy farm area and I could see like, nine other barns from the farmyard.  I'm just kinda weird in the way that I don't want my neighbours too close.  It's okay, though.  I see trees when I look out the window.

But the house… wow.  May I brag?  I have to.  I waited six years to get my own house.  I love this house.  Oh my gosh.  I love the high ceilings and the 105-year-old woodwork.  I love all the old-house mysteries.  I am more amused than annoyed at the slant of the kitchen floor.  I love the front porch!  And the back porch!  And the flowerbeds!  I love the cellar with ceilings high enough for my men to stand up straight!  I love the four bedrooms!  I love the little yellow bathroom!  I love the pocket doors downstairs!  I love the super creepy attic with the prohibitively steep narrow stairwell!  I love the front room with the landing and dark stained bannister on the stairwell!  I love the side entrance with the cute 70s panelling with little foxes and deer on it, where I keep my barn clothes.

I just realized that my house has three staircases.  Geez.

It turns out this 1910 house and the much older farmhouse have a few things in common.

The farmhouse has this quirky stairwell and landing combo, where you can walk up a few steps to the landing, then either turn left to go upstairs, or go down the steps on the other side, and you're in the bathroom.  This house has a quirky stairwell and landing combo, where you can walk up a few steps to the landing, then either turn left to go upstairs, or go down the steps on the other side, and you're in the kitchen.

Another commonality would be old plaster walls held together by wallpaper.  The farmhouse has some uniquely bumpy walls.  My house has some obvious lath board under the plaster but I like it.  Half my house has been drywalled.  Which is fine.  There might even be insulation in those rooms.  That would be different.

Here's one more: Neither of these houses were built with heating ducts going to the second floor.  The farmhouse, which is probably older by several decades, gets abused by the north wind all winter and to keep from seeing our breath at night, my parents had baseboard heaters installed in the 70s.  Our new house only has one, in the bathroom.  Luckily, I had 20 years of growing up cold and the kids have survived six years so I think we'll be okay.

Oh, one more thing that the two houses share, which I love: ripply glass windows.  I will not replace them.  I'll get new storm windows on the outside but nobody is going to take away my old windows.

So as you can see, we moved to a different house but it's like it was just waiting for us.  It has so many things that I am familiar and comfortable with.  It has very quickly felt like home!!!

Obviously, moving to a place with streetlights instead of a solitary yard light has been a difficult adjustment.  Not gonna lie.  I used to have a bedroom that faced 20 acres of field.  I loved living at the farm.  I love the farm.  I mean, you've seen the pictures.  It's fantastic.

This was my view from the bedroom window at the farm.  I could see my garden and the field and the road and the other neighbour's field and the other road and then the other field and then the forest and some more field.  That was AWESOME.  

Want to see the view from my windows now?  I'm so lucky.  So, extremely lucky.  

Here I am going down my beautiful staircase to the window...

Oh look.  TREES!!!

Looking out the bathroom window, over the little shed (which will eventually become a legit studio to work in) and what do we see?  MORE TREES!!!

I walk out my back porch, and here's what I see: LOTS OF TREES!  And my extremely run down old Honeybadger of a pickup truck.  

(that is a whole other story by the way.  We'll talk later.  I looooove my truck irrationally and unreasonably, but I'm facing some harsh realities and I think you can guess where this is going.)

So basically, I can forget that I'm in town.  This road is way quieter than the highway in front of the farm.  I only see houses if I look out the front windows.

The biggest difficulty is the fact that my new home is on a town lot and I can't keep my horses in my backyard.  That really sucks.  I'm okay with it because I've decided to be okay with it.  I love my husband more than I love my horses (Don't laugh! It's true!) So I live with him in "town" and go out to the farm every day.  I've had a few days when I haven't been up to it, but I have everything set up so my ol man can zip out to the barn and take care of things.  I love going out to the farm.  And the drive to get there from my house is GORGEOUS.

Here I am, too dizzy and weak to ride, so I'm playing silly little games with my horses.  Copper is so bored, eh?  

Here's a picture of my pony parade.  It's so convenient; I can exercise all three of them at the same time!

Moe is always up for some quality time.  

I seem to need a lot of breaks, sitting on the barn wall, relaxing with my furry friends.  

Dice is always waiting for me.  Every morning.  

I drive to the farm twice a day.  It's a six minute drive.  Seven, if I get the red light at the highway.  There have been a few days when I'm not up to it… I'm feeling much better but I still wear out way too quickly and my balance is wonky.  The thing is, I like being there enough to get in a vehicle and go.  I don't really get that much horse time and I haven't had the energy to saddle up since the move.  It doesn't matter though; I get to see them and talk to them and give them some good pets and hugs and forehead scratches.  They always seem happy to see me.  They are kind of overweight, and Phoenix looks kind of bored, but Copper is way more relaxed and Parker is just his regular adorable cuddly self.  They are my equine therapists.  They do my heart and soul good.

As do the barn cats.  They are always waiting for me to show up -- at the grass beside the lane now, instead of the door of the house -- and I can't get anywhere without carrying a cat.  I have to.  I walk with a purring cat under one arm.

And, believe it or not, my parents are happy to see me!  I often go in after cleaning up the barnyard to chat with my mom.  My ol man acts like I never left - I'll be in the garden and he'll stroll up and start a conversation where we left off the day before.

So what about my dog?  Dobby is happy!  Within a day he'd figured out the difference between "home" and "the farm" and Grandma is really happy to see her "grand-dog".  Yep.  My bigger problem with taking this little country dog into a home in town is that he barks at everything.  Every leaf, every bug, every pedestrian.  I'm not sure if he's hyper vigilant and serious about guarding us, or if this is part of the adjustment process, or maybe he just has some extra barks in him that need to come out???

He got the hang of the smaller property well enough, but after the first week sort of tested his boundaries.  After I chased across two back yards and yelled at him to GIT HOME he has not tested his boundaries.  Poor guy.  He used to have pretty much free run of close the three acres.  Now he's got 50' x 115'.  No wonder he has to check and see how far he can go.  There isn't any fence budget so for the time being he'll have to just behave himself.

We sort of have a recording studio in our house instead of a living room/ dining room.  It's temporary.  Please stop snickering, yes I do know that temporary usually means years but I like having the work right inside the house.  He was gone so much for so long.  Ask me in eight months how I like it and I probably will be very ready to move the studio into a nice little tin shack in the backyard, but right now, this is good.  He's got a 10-step commute from where he makes his coffee to where he works.  It's nice.

So, generally, life is good.  Not perfect, but if life was perfect I'd be very nervously waiting for something terrible to happen and balance it out.  For the last month, I've been puttering around my house, unpacking things, moving things, cleaning things.  Reading and resting. Going out to the farm and taking a minute to soak up the view.  I haven't been writing much, but it'll come around.  It's in me and it'll come out.

Next… Well, I'm truck shopping.  I'm accepting it but I'm not happy about it yet.    This will be like parting with an old friend and we'll discuss it when getting excited about the project.

Know what else is coming up?  MY TENTH BLOGIVERSARY.  Should we have a party?

Monday, August 24, 2015

This is the day that my life changes!

Today, I am going to go over to OUR NEW HOUSE and have a little look around.  I'm going to look in closets and cupboards and corners.  I'm going to say, "Hello, beautiful house.  We are your new people!"

I imagined this ever since we moved into the farmhouse six years ago.  Back then, I imagined a whole other farm.  Well, that didn't happen.  It's okay.  The grandparents won't make my horses homeless.  A week ago today I had a small mental meltdown between the barn and the house.  How am I going to manage my horses from town?  How am I going to survive in town?  What if I don't feel well enough to drive out here? What if I don't have wheels to get out here?  What if I can't get to the farm and dad isn't home and nobody can do chores?

Okay, by the time I got to the door of the house, I had quickly processed most of that and talked myself back into solidity.  These are problems that mostly have solutions, and either way, not likely to actual disasters.  Not ideal, of course not.  But it's okay.  It's not so bad.

Most important of all?  My husband and I will be together more.  We need that.  This has been brutal.  He still has to go into the city to record in a big room - in fact, he's got 14 days booked in Toronto in September.  But the rest of the time, home.

I'm surrounded by boxes and chaos and my dog is not happy about this.  The next week is going to be insane.  This is a big move.  We have to disentangle our belongings from my mom's stuff, and move all the gear we're keeping from the studio to the new property.  Fortunately I've been feeling steadily better but I'm not up for heaving furniture.  I am going to be the traffic director.

I am totally overwhelmed.

I am extremely excited.

I'm not as scared as I was a couple months ago.

This is really happening.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Today my dog is TEN YEARS OLD!!!

Can you believe this adorable little feller is ten years old?  Dobby True Soul of Abbs, oh yes he actually has a full name,  has reached the double digits.  He's a little old man dog now!

(photo by Selina Bailey)

Dobby has claimed many firsts:

First house dog
First paid for dog
First small dog
First dog of a specific breed
First dog to actually get trained for a specific purpose (which was therapy dog, and then I decided maybe he could just be MY therapy dog, and he's been excellent at it.)

Right now, he is curled up on my left foot, snoring gently, but ready to leap up and bark like crazy until whatever got his attention gets scared away.  He's been pretty rustled up by all the boxes and suitcases around the house lately.  I keep telling him we are taking him with us!!!  

He's been a town dog, and then a country dog, and he's about to become both.  I plan to bring him with me to the farm regularly.  I mean, somebody has to bark at all the things, right?  And Grandma needs to have her pug time.  

I think I'm always going to have a dog in the house.  Preferably a pug.  I type this despite the fact that he just stretched and tooted.  Man, even his farts are cute.  Usually.  

He's been such a blessing to our family.  

I wonder if in October we'll have to have a big anniversary party, marking the ten years he's been in our lives.  But, he doesn't know.  We're making a big deal out of him today but he just turns his head sideways and wags his little curly tail.  It's like throwing a first birthday party for a baby -- the child does not know why there's been a cake placed in front of him.  It's not for the baby.  It's for the parents. Dog birthday parties?  Nah.  Just give him extra belly rubs.  

Maybe an extra chewy bone. 

update - he got a RIDE IN THE TRUCK!  We went down the town line, then down the next concession road, and back on the highway home.  He doesn't care if we ended up where we started, he got a ride in the truck and had a big doggy grin on his flat face the whole time.  

Friday, August 07, 2015

That rare moment when Heidi The Hick gets political…and there are cowboy hats involved.

Here in Canada, elections are like national entertainment.  Between federal and provincial and municipal, I feel like we head off to vote once a year. Keep in mind, in Canada, we don't really vote for a person, we vote against another person.  Can you guess that I don't really know or care much about politics?  I care enough to go vote.  I was lucky to be born in a place where I can choose who will be working for me. And of course, being me, I just can't take any of it all that seriously.

The kids and I watched the last bit of the televised debate last night.

Bucky - wearing his tin foil hat
Selina - skeptical, bewildered
me - giggling, confused

I'm not proud, but I'm not ashamed.  

Here's our cast of characters:

Justin Trudeau, Liberal.  Elizabeth May, Green Party.  Tom Mulcair, New Democrat Party. Stephen Harper, Conservative.

Of course, being me, I can't just keep it to the debate when there is photographic evidence from the Calgary Stampede.  Because this blog is primarily concerned with the countrified stylishness, let's take a look at how our leaders wear a cowboy hat.  I do believe this is a reasonable indicator of who deserves my vote.  

First of all, Stephen Harper, current holder of the position, who has clearly been taking Smiling Lessons.  Next, Tom Mulcair, who has a great beard.  And Justin Trudeau, who, in case you don't know, was raised by a Prime Minister and in case you haven't noticed, is pretty.

I have just reduced all three of these fine gentleman to their looks.  It's like being a girl in grade 8 all over again.  Geez.  

Unapologetic examination of their looks:  I think they all look pretty decent in the above pictures.  Harper appears to be in a good mood.  Although it's hard to tell with him.  His mouth is going up at the corners so that's definitely a positive mood indicator.  Mulcair looks all business but with the possibility of a sly joke, so he's all ready for his Dodge Ram truck commercial.  Trudeau is giving us a chance to admire his thoughtful eyebrows.  Most importantly, they are all exhibiting good hat skills.  They paid attention when they were shown how to set the hatband on their foreheads first, then place it on the head properly, so it actually stays on.  Good job, fellas.  

And yes, many people have remarked on Harper being the only black hat.  Hmmmm.  Is he really evil, or is he just going for a vibe here?  You decide, Canada.  It's a democracy.  

But then things go slightly wrong for Mulcair

Notice that Harper and Trudeau are demonstrating good hat technique, but Tommy there seems to have lost control of his hat band.  That's pushed back a little too far on his head.  Any further and I'd have to give him a stern talking-to like I plan to have with Madonna one of these days.  I'll give him points for the fancy wild rag around his neck though.  I'm assuming that's a real silk wild rag.  Y'know, the kind I've never seen in Ontario.  

And they're all smiling.  

One major problem, obviously, is that nobody even bothered to find out if Elizabeth May knows how to wear a cowboy hat.  I'm not even sure if she was there.  To be honest, I'm not positive that all these pictures came from 2015.  I'm too lazy to do my research. 

 I do have one picture of Liz in a hat.  She appears to be wearing a Canadian Broadcasting Corp apron while making pancake batter.  I'm sure there's a joke in there but I can't find it.  Hat skills: is that pink?  Or is it white with the red apron reflected on it?  I hope it's pink.  I would love it if the Green Party leader wore a pink hat.  I don't know why exactly, but I'd love that.  I'd also like to just push it down towards her eyebrows a little more.  I could help her.  Last night I dreamed that I was giving somebody free horse handling advice at a party and told them, "I usually charge $40 an hour for this shit so pay attention" and I feel like I could really help politicians and pop stars with my hat advice.  

That could be my side business while I'm not teaching this year.  Hat skills for Politicians, with Heidi the Hick.   

In general though, other than the above slight hat skew, Tom looks pretty good.  

 I mean, I'm biased, because in my world, facial hair = integrity and trustworthiness.  Throw on a plaid shirt and that's what a man is supposed to look like.  Examples: My dad, my husband, Johnny Depp.  Mind you, out of those three, only my ol' man has a real legit beard.  Jethro and Johnny can barely grow a mustache and goatee, but I'll count scruff.  

Mulcair has majestic Prime Ministerial beard factor.  

And a reassuring GRIN. 

As opposed to Prime Minister Steve, who kind of looks like he's been practicing in front of a mirror.  I'm sure his People have told him to lighten up and appear friendlier. 

 I don't know why they bothered.  I mean, he's been PM for like, ten years, or 13, or foreeeeeever, so why worry about looking all chummy and pally now?  Did I ever mention that somehow in my household he's earned the nickname "Shark Eyes?"  I am not even sure why.  It just sort of happened.  Ol' Shark Eyes.  Prime Minister Shark Eyes.  He's probably a really nice fella and I'm positive he keeps his lawn mower blades perfectly clean.  Just because he doesn't appear to have deep emotions does not mean he's a bad fella.  Just because he doesn't seem to care for arts funding doesn't mean he's a bad guy.  Sorry, I got kinda biased there.  But I'm not a real journalist so whatevs, man.  

Then you've got Justin Trudeau, who needs neither a beard nor a grin. 

Well howdy to you too.  

Is that a day's worth of stubble on your chin?  You know how I feel about scruffy and pretty!  Like, I can see his eyelashes from back here.  I am so shallow.  

Can I just take a moment to admire Mulcair's wife?  Catherine Pinhas:

She is awesome.  Look at this side-eye.  Nobody is going to hoodwink this woman.  No sir.  You think Tommy gets away with anything dumb in their house?  I doubt it.  She probably never raises her voice. She doesn't have to.  She just does THAT and the whole family sits up straight and says Yes Mam.  Heck, let's just get Catherine in the leadership race.  

Seriously.  I'll even let her get away with the Bon Jovi hat because she wears her hair in braids, and she's got kind of a cool hippy lady thing going on. 

He looks pretty happy when he's with her.  Not quite like how Jay Z looks miserable except in pictures with Beyonce but you get the idea.  

And on that note of looking happy, let's check out Harper and his Advanced Smiling Skills.  

Good job, Steve.  Do you think Laureen calls him Steve or Stephen?  

This is good.  Smiling while holding a microphone.  

There is no possible way this picture would not delight me.  

And of course, what appears to be an actual smile of genuine goodness happens in the presence of Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, who just always looks happy.  City underwater?  Let's clean it up, he grins.  Ride a horse in the Stampede parade?  Smile and wave!  This guy always looks happy!!!!  If PM Harper failed to crack a smile around Nenshi, I'd be checking his pulse.  

I can't tell if Harper is staring in practiced amazement at something slightly beside the amazing thing Laureen is pointing at, or if he's yawning.  He might need to work on Advanced Facial Skills Lessons.  

This picture delights me as much as the one with the Stampede princesses.  What could possibly be the topic of discussion here?  Keystone pipeline?  Taxes?  Equine nutrition?  And what is that horse is thinking????

And what is this horse thinking?  Maybe he's already had two photo ops today and he's done.  Maybe he's alarmed that Mulcair has lost his hat.  

So that's your warmup before the debate.  Now you know what they all look like when they're having a Mandatory Good Time.  Let's check them out in their Serious Leadership Outfits.  Keep in mind, I haven't read any morning recaps from the actual writers who know what they're talking about, and this is just my own BS, so y'know, hahaha and all that.  Nobody wore cowboy hats, and all three men wore really boring ties.  What a disappointment.  

Elizabeth May probably won't win, and had nothing to lose, so she just went for it. 

She slammed down the fear-mongering and was decently pleasant about it.  And look at the Decisive Pointing techniques.  Once we work on the Hat Wearing Skills, she'll be a force to be reckoned with!

 I thought she held her own.  She wasn't as entertaining as that one time she played music on her gadget phone into the mic.  Also she did not wear anything green.  Not even green lipstick.  Now that would have won the debate for me.  

Trudeau… I'm not really sure what he said.  It all sounded very mellow and reasonable.  But the next day, I'm looking at the pictures and all I can think about is Opera Man.  He appears to be carrying a deep resonant note there.  

And here is his high C.  

Mulcair and Harper worked up some Synchronized Decisive Gesturing.  

Mulcair had some top notch FACIAL EXPRESSIONS!!!!!

My absolute favourite part of the debate though, was Stephen Harper's new Smiling Skills.  Oh my gosh, he put so much work into that.  All those lessons.  I would like to believe that there was a Smile Coach behind the camera man.  She wears black framed glasses, has her hair in a tight ponytail, and carries a clipboard.  For notes.  She's looking at Harper and sticking her fingers into the corners of her mouth to remind him that the corners of the mouth go up to make a smile.  Sometimes she bares her teeth if he needs to amp up the charm a little.  The best part of the whole debate happened at the end of his final remarks, when he blasted us with a full on creepy shark smile, and the three of us almost fell off the couch with a whoop of laugh-cringing!

Mulcair was pretty solid throughout the debate but then stumbled over his words once in his final remarks.  Man, no pressure, but that's the thing that people remember.  It's like putting ketchup on somebody's dessert.  But I just hope he never dyes his hair or uses botox.  Keep it real, Tom!

May's final remarks were perfectly pleasant, suggesting we get to know the Green Party and that they're a legit party and I'm all for a legit party, in any case.  

Then after being all blandly political throughout the debate, or at least what I saw of it, Trudeau got the last word and basically won the final remarks.  Like just won it.  He looked straight into the camera with his best Sincere Face, did not look at any notes, and smoothly addressed the argument that, as in the Conservative ads currently running, he is "not ready" for the job.  He told us that he learned how to be a leader from his dad (as in, the guy who ran the country for like all of the 70s and again in the 80s) and that he is a 43 year old father of three and wants Canada to be the something something nation for them to grow up in.  It was just a perfectly memorized and delivered speech and it was all full of words.  Really nicely said words.  

Then they all shook hands.  This is great.  

I like to think of them just verbally attacking each other on TV and then half an hour later, they're in the green room with their feet up on the coffee tables, Mulcair has a nice Quebec La Fin Du Monde (scariest beer in the world, folks, it's amazing) and Trudeau has some obscure hipster beer, May has a kale shake and Harper has a glass of flat ginger ale with no ice in it, and they're all unbuttoning their jackets.  
"Dude, that crack about the military?  Wow, you got me!  Good job.  Next time, in the French language debate, go for the war-mongering angle, just be ruthless.  The audience will love that."
"Sure.  And I think it will play really well if you criticize my weak French skills.  I'll come back with a jab at your tax policies to even it out.  Cool?"

Smoochie smoochie.  

So that's my political commentary for the year.  I probably won't bother writing about it when they hand out the Prime Ministerial Tiara and Sash.  I mean, you can only watch somebody shake hands with a prize winning goat so many times in your life before it gets kinda boring.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Here is the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT I've been waiting SIX YEARS to make!!!

I've been mentally composing this post for weeks, no, years, and I'm just gonna go for it okay?


That's right -- we'll be in our own home again!!  I can finally stop having dreams and nightmares about the cute bungalow we sold.  I can stop dreaming and obsessing, both waking and sleeping, about whatever home would be ours in the future.  It's really happening.  It's for real.  The deal is firm.  The sorting and purging and packing up of our belongings has been started, and about a month from now, we'll be moving into OUR NEW HOME!  And Jethro will drastically cut his commuting time!

I can say, for real, that this house, our new house, our home, is gorgeous and perfect and wonderful… the kind of house I'd ooh and ahh over and wish, faintly, that someday I could live in a house that pretty.  Dream come true?  Pretty much, yeah!


There is only one flaw with this place.  One problem, one serious flaw.  

It does not have a barn and pasture.

Yep… we're moving… are you ready for this?  Deep breath… to town.



It's okay!

Whaaaaat?  Heidi the Hick is moving to town and it's okay?  Yes it's okay.  But what about my need for wide open spaces and surrounded by fields and horses in sight and a clear view of the horizon?

We found the perfect town lot.  I mean, if you have to live in town, this is the place.   It's on a side street that gets very little traffic, because the road heads out of town to a dirt road, and there's a nasty old wooden plank single lane train bridge that has to be crossed before you reach the side road, so most people just avoid taking that road into town unless they have to.

Our house is between bridges; the "Thunder Bridge" on the way out of town, and a bigger bridge over the river on the town side.  There's one house between us and the river.  Then the river curves around so that across the road, we've got two small houses and then acres of flood plain before a lovely view of the riverbank.  This means that even though I'll be technically living in town… I'm still looking out my window at a hay field!!

That flood plain means there won't be any construction across from us.  And there won't be anything built behind us either, because there's a train track back there.

It's a landlocked obscure little street. We've got municipal water service, but all the houses are on septic systems.  (This is really why we ended up with the place; it was sold to someone else for a couple weeks, but after the septic inspection they decided against it.  So we were like, heck, septic system needs replacing in ten years?  Hell that's better than s***ting in a bucket!  Let's put in another offer!!!!)

I am obviously not going to be thrilled about leaving the farm.  I love the farm.  I love being in the country and I love this specific property.  But, it's still here.  The horses will stay here, and I am only a 7 minute drive away from them.  It's not ideal, but it's something I can do.  They won't suffer.  They might not even figure out that I don't live in the house across the lane from the barn anymore.  The farm is still going to be part of my life, just as it has been for my entire life.

Here's the thing… my husband, for over five years, has been working in Toronto.  That's almost two hours away from here.  And I can't be inconvenienced to do a 7 minute drive, there and back, twice a day?  I can do that for him.  It's worth it.  I actually do love my man more than my horses, believe it or not.

As for the work situation, it's looking like we can figure that out.  This has been terrifying.  Honestly.  Is there a thriving music industry in Smallburg Ontario?  Ha.  No.  Well, is there a thriving music industry in Toronto?  There is, but it's pretty hard to make a living. When you're paying Toronto prices for everything, it's just not worth it.  Not for us.

He'd be in the control room, looking out at his beautiful live room, with the three massive windows, and he'd be thinking about how much it costs to pay for it.  He's not tracking every day.  But he's got to pay for that big studio.

Very soon, we'll start building our new studio in our backyard.  We'll be going from 3500 square feet to 750 sq ft.  There will be absolutely no wasted space in our new studio.  Jethro will still have to drive to the city to record in big tracking rooms which are owned by other people.  It's okay.  If he has to stay overnight, getting a hotel room is way cheaper than the mortgage, condo fees, waste removal fees, commercial taxes and utilities that he's been paying.  He can record in the city and bring it home to mix it in his backyard.  I can sit beside him and write stories if he gets lonely.

Until our new studio is built, all of our gear will be set up in what would normally be the living room and dining room in our house.  We'll be hanging around upstairs, which is fine because that's been our arrangement in the farmhouse.  Our house has 4 bedrooms, so the biggest one will be our office/TV room.  Setting up the studio in our house isn't ideal either.  Well guess what?  Nothing is ever going to be perfect!  I'll take excellent over perfect any day.  We have had all the discussions about who will be the biggest problem -- him playing the same three words over and over for several hours, or me tiptoeing up the squeaky steps from the kitchen.  We'll be okay.  Gotta have some challenges in life, right?

Letting go of the studio has been difficult.  We love that place.  It's been good for his career, it's been a wonderful place to work, and it's been something we could be proud of.  But it's time.  Letting it go means getting our family back together.  Bucky heads off to college in September, but he has a home to come home to.  Selina can stay with us until she's ready to go out on her own.  I have thanked our magnificent studio and set it free.

It won't be a studio anymore.  A church has bought it.  We're okay with that.  I like to think that the drum booth, with soundproofing and three windows, will make an excellent room for parents to take their screaming infants during sermons!  We did have a hope that someone else would continue using it as a studio, because it's such a unique and beautiful and well functioning studio.  But in almost five years, this was the only offer we got.  Ever.  So it's time.

Our next home isn't what I had expected or planned.  I should just get used to that.  That is life.  This is not a farm.  A couple years ago we did some math and realized that we would not get a farm.  That was hard to accept.  I had imagined touring a small farm with my husband and kids, and what it would be like to picture our life in that house.  Instead, the two of us went looking at what we decided would not really be suitable for us, but by the end of the weekend couldn't stop thinking about it, and put in an offer with our guts in a knot.  And got overbid.  And then got a second chance at it.  It's in town, it's beautiful, and it's about to be ours.

I'll have to put up thick curtains to block out the street lamps, and the train whistle that we now hear as a mournful echo from the other side of the highway will be basically in my backyard… hey, it didn't hurt Jimi Hendrix to have a train practically on top of his studio… we'll be fine.  As fine as we are here, just different.

Seriously, it's beautiful.  Look at this.  Can you believe it?  The current occupants are friends of ours and they have taken loving care of it for the last two years.  They are happy for us.  The whole thing feels pretty good.  

So you saw our front porch, and this is the back porch.  BACK PORCH.  TWO PORCHES.  I am going to consume so many cold beverages in the summers while sitting here.  Or there.  That will be my hardest decision - front porch or back porch?  Am I extroverted or introverted today?    

And this is the patio Jethro will cross on his way to our future studio in the backyard.  Our backyard which is quite private and as you can see, doesn't have uncomfortably close neighbours.  It's about as country as you can get while still having good internet.  

Know what else this house has?  Old woodwork, new wiring.  A shower.  Like an actual shower.  And a dishwasher.  For real.  A dishwasher.  Also a stone foundation cellar that a 6 ft tall person can stand up straight in.  And an unfinished attic.  Which our daughter thinks will be hers.  It also has room for a Digidesign console, a gear rack, a 7 ft grand piano, and old upright piano, three boxes worth of kitchen stuff I haven't seen in six years, three beds, some dressers, a few truckloads of books and records and CDs, and four people and a small dog.  

Home, is really just inside a person and inside a group of people.  We've always had Home, and now we will have a House to put it in.

Friday, June 19, 2015


First of all, I missed Johnny's birthday this year.  I mean, I didn't blog about it.  Selina and I had a pathetically fangirly moment where one said Hey it's Johnny Depp's birthday  and the other said, Hey it's Matt Bellamy's birthday  and then we both squeal-giggled.

Johnny don't look so dubious.  He is brilliant, and a perfectly good choice for a celebrity crush.  And listen, pal, nice try with the not-trying.  Takes more than that to scare me off. 

So it's not like I totally forgot about my non-biological half-twin.

In a neat coincidence, we're both poking around in the world of real estate.  It really is a coincidence, seriously, I'm not putting any kind of symbolism on this.  Do you have any idea how many properties are for sale, always?  I do this thing every day, and lately it's been several times a day, which I call "The S***s and Giggles Real Estate Tour".  I get out my iGadget, dial up realtor.ca and I check out what's up.  I've been doing this for years.  I know what the insides of several houses in the nearby town look like.  It's borderline unhealthy.  But I'm going at it with a new intensity.  Please don't ask. I don't consider myself a superstitious person, but I just don't want to blab about anything that might not end up being a thing.

But today, as I take my regular afternoon chill-out therapy time with the dog on my feet, I find out on the internets that our man Johnny is selling his magnificent French estate.

It's not totally awful, right?  We could graze a few critters on that lawn. 

(Still not going to talk about why real estate is such a preoccupation.  I will.  Later.)

Did you know that after a property is "sold" it is still on the websites as being for sale?  That kind of freaks me out.  I also didn't know that after a place is sold, agents can still take clients to view it.  Whaaaaat.  Weird.

can we get a pool boy too?

I wonder, every time I look at an ad, what happened.  Are the sellers sad to leave their home?  Are they freakin' totally ready to get the heck out of there?  Did they outgrow it?  Why are they selling and moving out?

This was the Paradis-Depp family home.  He's selling it with much of his personal belongings included.  Wow.  Seriously.  If we all got together and scraped up 24 Million, we could hang around in the Pirate Themed Wine Cellar OF COURSE DUH and dine in the restaurant and sleep in the old church.  It's like, a tiny hamlet.  It's a rock star pirate amusement park.  There's a freakin' art studio.  I mean.  Really.


I'm pretty sure I could shoehorn a grand piano and a digital console in one of those buildings.  And there'd have to be room for two medium sized Appaloosas and a small pony, right?

I know this sounds creepy… Okay, it IS creepy… I just want to go there and look at all his books.  Not only because I would love to know what he reads.  I just love books.

Like, I really really love books.  And guitars.  And candles.  I love all the stuff.  

Of course, my writer's brain takes over.  I admit, I'm probably more heartbroken over the Johnny and Vanessa split than they are.  In my mind, Amber (about whom I have still not made up my mind although I'm leaning towards she's cool) put her foot down, tossed her magnificent blonde mane to one side, and said, "I can't even remember how many homes you have.  We have.  We should sell something.  And then buy a pet velociraptor."  Or whatever she would say and however she would say it.

And he's like, "Why is the rum always gone?"  Oh wait.  That's not him, that's a character.  (Or maybe I really do wonder why the rum is always gone.)

So in Heidi's brain, Johnny rolls his eyes, sets his beat up fedora on the arm of the romantically threadbare wing chair he's sunken into, and says, "Fine darling.  You're right.  We never go there anymore."  He looks around the room, at the stuffed bookshelves and candle holders and crystal skulls and taxidermy crows and old macaroni art from the kids, and a bunch of scarves and belts hanging over the door, and the KISS pinball machine, and RDJ's sunglasses (must return them at the next gathering of Heidi's Celebrity Crush Club***) and the gramophone.  "Amber?" he says.  "Honey?  Darling?  Sweetness? I really do not want to go over there and pack everything up."

"Sell it," she says, "Put a price on it and make it go away."

He calls up Vanessa.

She takes a break from being a quietly ass-kicking fabulous 40 something year old woman who is not afraid to have a few smile lines on her face, and has a civil conversation with her ex.  "I don't want any of it. I took all my stuff two years ago."

"Really?  You mean all of what's left is mine?"

greaaaaat.  I aaaam soooo tiiired.  

"Yes dear.  I couldn't fit all three pianos in my gorgeous 18th century apartment in the most beautiful area of Paris.  Do with it what you will.  I need to go now, I'm very busy being cherished by all of Europe.  I'll see you at the kids' music recital, oui?"

"Of course, yes, I'll see you there."  And they exchange polite air kisses over the phone.  And Johnny looks up at Amber and says, "Darling, do you want anything from France?"

And Amber replies, "Baby, I got my rifle and the license plate off my first muscle car.  I'm set."

So he puts the place up for sale, lock stock and barrel.  Lock church and swimming pool?

I don't need a 37 acre French village.  If all goes according to plan, I'll need a place to put a huge amount of recording gear. (Said too much.  Please don't ask.)  I have nothing against France -- looks lovely -- but I have no need to be there.

As much as I always wonder why a place goes up for sale, I find myself hoping it's all in a good state of mind, that someone is ready to move on and it's okay.  I'm ready.  I'm ready to let something go and move on.

Just not to France.

*** The Celebrity Crush Club has a new member.  You'll meet him later.  Right now I need to concentrate on not being superstitious about real estate.  Seeya.