stardust, glowing

The Best Thing is Home

If home is where the heart is
Then my home is where you are


I am safe and sound in Saskatoon after my roadtrip, and enjoying myself in the company of my Paul.

Several weeks ago, I took the time to talk with Paul about the things we wanted in a rental house, and subsequently wrote a wanted ad in hopes that something good would find its way to us. This is the ad I posted, with a nice smiley photo of us.

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My husband and I are:

  • moving back home after his masters degree program at the U of A in Edmonton
  • non-smoking, very responsible
  • both working work-from-home jobs: we spend a lot of time at home
  • Hoping to start a family in the next year sometime
  • Landlords ourselves - and also great tenants

We are looking to rent a full house or the ground floor of a house (not considering any basement suites) with 3 bedrooms or 2+Den and some storage space in Saskatoon for NOVEMBER 1. We have a budget in mind and we're looking for a great fit.

Please read our needs before replying!

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Pet friendly - well-behaved, housetrained Whippet puppy (medium sized, shorthair dog) coming in late November/Early December if all goes well! 
  • Baby-friendly - we want to start a family soon
  • Plenty of Natural Light/Big Windows - we are daylight people
  • 3 bedrooms or two + large den
  • Fenced Yard, large size a bonus, ability to plant a small garden also a bonus, we will care for the yard well.
  • Ensuite Laundry
  • Some Storage Space (developed or undeveloped basement)

PREFERENCES

  • Full House (not shared)
  • Side note: We don't want to share internet with anyone given the work-at-home thing.
  • Landlords who are friendly
  • Move-in date on October 30/31
  • We'd like to stay fairly long-term

List of Preferred Neighborhoods in East and North Saskatoon:

Varsity View, Nutana, Nutana Park, Bona Vista, Queen Elizabeth, Grovesnor Park, Brevoort Park, Eastview, Adelaide, Avalon, Churchill, Wildwood, Lakeview, College Park, Sutherland, Silverwood Heights, Lawson Heights

We will NOT consider anything below:

  • No pets allowed
  • No children allowed
  • Previous smokers
  • Basement Suite
  • Low natural lighting conditions
  • Shared accommodations

One of us will be available to view places starting in mid-September. Please feel free to contact us by phone or email. Thank you!

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This is the best thing
The best thing that could be happening
And I think you would agree
The best thing is that it's happening to you and me

So to sum things up, on the day we said we'd start to view homes, we said we'd take one. Great provision, since there's so many things we have to deal with otherwise, not having to house hunt means everything. A lovely lady contacted us by email and said she had a home that seemed like a great fit for us, and we seemed like a good fit for them. I was interested, but it took me awhile to actually get ahold of her because she'd misspelled her email address and I didn't notice for a few days that that was why I kept getting the Message Not Sent messages. Finally I got ahold of her and asked her a few questions, and what followed was an exchange of emails and a lovely phone call. The situation is that the lady bought her own house one house down from her parents, and in the house next to her on the other side is one of her best friends, and the house in the middle used to belong to a wonderful old couple who was friends with them, and subsequently to a friend of her Dad's. When they found out it was coming up for sale, they couldn't bear to see it just go to strangers. So our landlord/neighbour got together with her neighbour friend and another friend they know who has experience in rentals and they were buying it from the current owner in hopes it could be a family home. They saw our ad and realized that it seemed like a really good fit - we wanted good neighbours and we wanted to start a family. So despite the fact that the price they were asking was a bit above our budget, the photos convinced us to take a good look. Before we even went to see the place we'd decided that this sounded like the perfect spot. We asked to see it today, Friday evening, because it was a great time for Paul and I, and we also brought Paul's Mom to temper our enthusiasm and ensure we'd found a good fit. We arrived and parked out front at the East facing windows, right across from the great park that makes up the view from our front window. Said park has a little basketball court, a playground, and walking trails, though we haven't explored it fully to see what else it may offer. Also, there are two tall, old trees in front that are glorious. Paul pointed out that one was a climbing tree. I said we could perhaps live that vicariously through our children. He protested he could climb it himself. Men. =D

Our landlord and her friend and house-buying-partner came out to greet us, and I instantly liked them both, though I'd already liked her over the phone. They are dog people with very nice friendly dogs of medium size, they have families, and they love this place and this house. As we spoke it became clear that they had definite high standards for the maintenance of the house, and they were willing to put on some elbow grease to get it up to those standards. Couldn't really ask for better in a landlord than a friendly soul who cares about things. She told us it's an area full of families and dogs and she'd grown up there and felt very safe. She said most of the street traffic is of people using the dog park down the street. Yes, there's an off-leash dog park a block down the road from the park across the street. Too ideal.

They began with the backyard. I know, I know, pics or it didn't happen, but I'll just describe what I remember from the idyllic haze of viewing the place. 

There is a nice little fenced-in garden space (yay we can keep the dog out of it!) which needs some TLC but is otherwise the perfect size. There's some medium sized tall bushes planted on the border between the garden and the backyard, which makes it nice and cosy. There's a couple of flowerbed spaces bordering the yard as well where I plan to plant some nice low-maintenance flowers. There's a special garden watering hose right next to the back garden, and one attached to the house alongside the lawn. There's a concrete space for a fire pit and outdoor dining table, and a lovely sky view in most directions. Since the long term previous owner was a farmer, there's weathervanes on the house and the garage. I don't need a clairvoyant sense to see garden parties and barbecues in our future. There's a long driveway leading to the garage (that we aren't taking for the extra fee per month, at least not right now) and plenty of street parking.

While we were back there, our landlord lady's Dad peeked over the fence to say hello and later we met her Mom, they seemed like they would be fabulous neighbours as well, very kindhearted folks. The fact that we'd know the neighbours and be friends with them was really an amazing add on to this place, something that will make it instantly feel like a community. They know many of the other neighbours as well, so I am sure they will introduce us over time.

We entered the house to find the kitchen bigger than it had looked in photos (big enough for two people to work in for sure) with a nice sized closet on the wall for keeping pantry items in. The kitchen had a big window over the sink and like-new appliances. Adjoining the kitchen was the living room and dining nook, all visible from the kitchen, which is great for having company over. As well, something else amazing for tea with company is the reasonably sized long narrow table built into the wall between the kitchen and living room to be sat at with barstools which also allows the GIANT front window to shed light on the whole kitchen space. The kitchen layout is nice, and there's a little key hook board and note board by the door leading to the basement. The front porch is one with the living room and there's a huge closet with lots of space for shoes and coats so people can spill in all at the same time. The whole upstairs is gorgeous hardwood. The three bedrooms are reasonably sized, one of them is going to make a great office for Paul (it's currently being used as an office), the master bedroom has a HUGE closet (one whole wall almost two feet deep with shoe storage racks and above-rod storage too) and a full-wall length window on the opposite wall. The bathroom has a nice little window as well. The bedroom I haven't mentioned - to be our nursery sometime in the next few years - is also very nice and, no news, has a nice big window and a big, deep closet.

The downstairs is a bit dated, which is really the worst thing I can say about it. There's a large room that's currently in use as a bedroom that is right at the bottom of the stairs from the back door, which makes it perfect for me to adopt for use as the Admire Studios headquarters, a place to meet with clients, keep out of the noise and bustle of the home, and set apart my work life from my home life, something which is terribly lacking in my current space, since our living room and basically our entire living space other than the bedroom is now my office.

There's a huge wall of storage and three large closets that aren't attached to rooms downstairs, perfect for storing clothing, board games, and more. The rumpus room is finished in a 1970s style with wood paneling and fake stonework, which is a little strange looking but not a problem. We may inherit an air hockey table as well, which is great because Paul and I enjoy a good competitive air hockey game and arcades are pricey. I am excited about using part of the space as a small personal gym, too. The stairs feel safe and have a landing and a turn half way, but not in a way that will make it impossible to get things down there, it's partially open. We have an under-stairs room, which Paul jokes we can put Harry Potter in. (For those who haven't read the books, being a downtrodden orphan, Harry lives in a tiny room like that as a child.) I also saw the coolest thing on Pinterest a few weeks ago, someone transforming a space like that into a playhouse for a child with a little frame outside the door. Might have to consider that!! We also found out the place as air conditioning - too good.

I should also discuss the area. It's called Avalon, and it's got a lot of nostalgia for me because it represents one of the happiest times of my later childhood - while I was attending Avalon Alliance Church and was a big part of the youth group there, and felt like I belonged. 

It's minutes from a Walmart Supercentre, which has really nice produce and good prices on normal groceries too, and that's in a complex with a Wok Box and Tony Romas for eating out, Homesense, a Dollarama for all our dollar store requirements, a Home Depot and more… I think there's a pizza place too. I checked it out on Google maps and there's also a little artisan bakery in there we'll have to try, since bread is one of our greatest weaknesses when it comes to food love. There's lots of places there that don't have online listings, so I'll need to explore.

We are far enough South to be fairly near the Exhibition grounds, which is nice for trade shows and the actual Ex and the Festival of Trees. They said you could watch the fireworks from the back alley, too. We are a lovely biking distance all the way down Broadway to the main drag, nice for summer enjoyment.

Out of 40 things on our checklist for a house, this house is missing THREE of them - one being that it was just slightly above our budget, another that it doesn't have an indoor fireplace, and finally there's no ensuite bathroom for the master bedroom. That's all. And it has so many other things about it that weren't even on our list that we're really excited about.

Our original list:

Must Haves

  • Fenced Yard  
  • 3 rooms - 2 bedrooms and a den, or 3 bedrooms
  • 1100 square feet minimum 
  • Pet and Baby Friendly
  • Whole House or Main Floor, no basement suites
  • Ensuite Laundry
  • Dishwasher
  • Lots of Natural Light
  • Storage Space (undeveloped basement is fine)
  • Long Term - anticipate 2 or more years
  • Good landlords
  • Non-smoking
  • In Saskatoon or very near

Would Be Nice:

  • Garage
  • A/C
  • Pantry near kitchen
  • Space for the freezer near kitchen
  • Minimal stairs (but split levels are okay) 
  • Prefer main floor bedroom
  • Large closet in main bedroom 
  • Ensuite bathroom
  • Garden space/permission to garden
  • Deck/Patio
  • Back Shed
  • Developed Basement
  • Not a shared house 
  • Fireplace and/or Fire Pit
  • Nearby park (where dogs are allowed) 
  • Library nearby
  • Convenient grocery or convenience store
  • Convenient access to major roads, central location preferred
  • Not a garage house
  • Large Front Porch, area for shoes
  • Hardwood floor preferred, tile is okay
  • Fits our budget
  • In one of the neighbourhoods we like

Wow. So excited to realize the dreams that this list entails for us. What an incredible blessing to find it a whole month and a half early, with all the security that provides.

One of the things I am SUPER excited about is that for the first Halloween in years, I'll get to dress up and man my own front door! Best thing ever!! Can't wait to put my little iPod stereo in the kitchen nook and enjoy tunes as we make supper together. I see myself in that house, and I see myself thrilled to be there.

I am so happy I could probably float, or explode, or… both I guess. It's just so many good things after such a long time of suffering loneliness and stress and money troubles and strain. It almost felt like things would never get better. But they just did. Also, today Paul's boss told him they were going to pay him a training wage, and his training supervisor approved his first ever report submission, so sometime next week he will start to make proper wages. I can't wait until the day we have surplus coming in. It's going to feel so freeing. And then I will probably not go out and buy everything I've wanted for years. Nope. Not going to happen. Much. Just things I really, desperately need.

Okay, it's stupid-o-clock at night, I'm going to do what I came on the computer to do and then go to bed! Tomorrow is a day of spending time with the Paul I love.

  • Current Music: Relient K
Oh guys, I am so happy for yooou and your house party. Congrats forever.

Good luck with sticking with that goal when the surplus does roll in. Ask me how i know this. Eye roll. ;)