the book of lynn priest – buying a home

Posted by bernicky - May 15th, 2012

After we married and before James was born we moved from the third floor apartment at forty-eight hundred Decarie to a lower duplex on 5th Avenue South, across the street from the Hormel intersection, in Roxboro, the address may have been the number 60.

It was a nice little place and in many ways it was our first grown up home though we had both lived on our own for quite some time. We bought a twenty-six cubic foot Whirlpool refrigerator from a wholesaler in the east end and the stove, washer and dryer we bought from Eaton. These were our first possessions as a couple as opposed to having just merged our meager fortunes in marriage.

We lived in this lower duplex for the first few years of our marriage. Lynn created a nursery for James in the room across the hall from our bedroom; another room was used for storage/computer space though in truth it was more storage than computer. It was in that storage room that James got his first taste of video gaming as he sat on my knee while I played the first version of Doom. The living room was small but roomy enough for a television couch and arm chair it also had a door out onto a balcony which overlooked the driveway which dipped down into a garage beneath the living room. There was a kitchen/dining room adjacent to the living room which was where I walked the floor with James when he had colic. The garage we rented separately as an additional storage space. It was a decision that we ultimately regretted as the garage flooded one spring.

A few years after James was born Lynn started making noises about getting a house. The plan was simple enough: Lynn had been contributing to RRSP’s for quite a few years and while we didn’t have any savings our debt to income ratio was still manageable. For my own part I did not want a house, I thought it was a bad idea, that it would cost too much and that ultimately we would be locked into the suburbs for the rest of our lives.

Being in the suburbs for the rest of our lives was exactly what Lynn wanted. She had grown up in what most would consider to be a semi-nomadic kind of life. Her family moved more often than most and never owned a house. For Lynn a house, a home, represented the stability that she always wanted and hoped to one day have. Once she was motivated to do something Lynn was a force of nature and we started shopping for houses. We looked exclusively in the West Island and mostly in the Pointe-Claire area near Sue’s house because Lynn wanted to be close to her best friend Sue.

It was an unfortunate coincidence that at the same time we were looking to buy a house Sue’s family was putting their parent’s house on the market. Both of Sue’s parents had died in a relatively short space of time. Sue and her siblings were already married with families and houses of their own so they decided to put their house in Dorval on the market. That is probably simplifying things a mite but that was our take on things.

The details are a little vague but I seem to recall that the house never actually hit the market. As soon as Lynn heard that it might be available our fate was sealed: Lynn wanted that house. At the time I thought that the urge to buy and to have that house was motivated by the great deal we got on the house. We bought it for a very good price, the oil tank and oil were included and there was no dickering back and forth on the price. They told us what they wanted for it and we countered (based on what we knew was the maximum we could afford as a mortgage payment) and the house was sold to us.

In no small part we have a house because the Heather family chose to sell the house to Lynn. It was only much later in our marriage that it became apparent that it wasn’t the price which so motivated Lynn to buy the house, it was the house itself and the memories it held for her. Some of the happiest moments of Lynn’s life were in the Heather house. She told stories of Sue and Karen  and Sue’s mom as if they were the family she grew up with and in many ways they were. There is no one who could make Lynn light with laughter the way Sue could and there was no one who was a finer and more loyal friend. When we bought the Heather house in more ways than one Lynn was finally at home.

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