It wasn’t as hard as you might think, leaving home. Not the driving away part, which was easy, requiring only a turning of the head for a last glimpse, a “good-bye house,” a few tears and “feck you, I’ve never been so glad to drive away from anything in my life.”
It wasn’t the house’s fault. Well it was, in a way. The recently discovered asbestos in the attic, discovered like the hellish opposite of finding gold at the end of a rainbow, didn’t endear me to the little log cabin on the Muskoka River.
Neither did the flood. (Picture potential homebuyers talking to me on the front porch. They’re Chinese and English isn’t their strong suit. “Does ever flood here?” they asked, teeth like Chiclets in ridiculously huge smiles. “No,” I replied, earnestly, because earnest is my way of bridging the language gap. Also it was the Truth. Until the potential homebuyers decided to buy the house, that is, then it rained like Heaven had flushed the big porcelain bus in the sky and the next thing we knew Canada geese were swimming in the foot of water covering our front lawn, and my earnest “no” was suddenly a big, fat lie and the Chiclets left the faces of our Chinese buyers as they fled from their offer like the receding waters of my frustrated tears.
|Cats: corralled, caged, crabby and ready to roll.|
It didn’t help that the last few days of packing were done on the hottest days of the year. You couldn’t even breathe without sweating and it was bloody awful trying to pack up the moving van and clean the house. I felt sorry for the nice folks who helped us with that nasty chore. Family and friends, obligated by blood, loading our earthly belongings, enough sweat pouring off them to start another flood. (Thank you, thank you, thank you.)
Miserable isn’t a strong enough word for how rotten the last day was. We were supposed to hit the road as soon as we woke up but there was still work to be done and after several hours of sweating by us oldies, I lost it, and started bawling. The heat was unbearable.
“Get in the shower,” Dave said, trying to help.
“No, I can’t, there’s still work to done, we’re never going to finish, it’s soooooooo hot,” I wailed.
“It’ll make you feel better,” he said, patient as Job (the bible guy, not the dead computer guy).
I cried and whined for a while longer until Dave lost it and physically put me in the shower. I was still crying for a while until I realized you can’t cry with your mouth open under a shower, not unless you want to drown, and I wasn’t that far gone ... yet. So the crying became blubbering and the blubbering became choking and eventually I just stood under the cool water until my sanity returned.
|This was my rig: the Dakota loaded with, amongst other things, |
boats, generators, a snowblower and a snowmobile.
I didn’t get the house as clean as I wanted, because it was just too hot. I don’t feel overly bad, though. I mean, it would have been nice if the floor had of been washed, and the cat hair plucked from the ribs of the electric baseboard heater. Still and all, I left the house in infinitely better condition than when we found it. I’ll never forget the disgusting mess left by the previous owners, the urine-soaked mattress, the adult diapers, the beer tabs flung in every corner, the stench of piss and wet dog, cigarette smoke and spilled beer. We made 14 runs to the dump, getting rid of their junk. We painted or bleached every surface. It took us weeks to make the place liveable.
|It was bloody hot while we packed up and plenty of iced tea was guzzled.|
Sadly, we never got around to the renovations we knew the house needed. We bought it, and loved it, for its potential.
The people who did wind up buying our house on the Muskoka River, love it for the same reasons we loved it: the charm of a 133-year-old log cabin and the wild beauty of the river. They were planning a party for the first weekend at their new home – at my old home – and to greet their guests they were going to post a sign that read, “Welcome to Potential.”
They know about the asbestos, and the flooding. They don’t care. Love has blinded them, as it once blinded me and Dave.
We loved that house. We loved each other in that house. We had our wedding photos taken on the front lawn. In every important way, we will never forget life on the Muskoka River.
Sure, I cried as I took one last look. But just a little. The air conditioning blew cool air over my sweaty face, drying my tears as I put the truck into drive.