On Good Terms

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Why Alberta?

At the time, it seemed like the perfect solution. We found a home that was constructed of cinder block. You could huff, and you could puff, but a tornado was not going to knock this down. We weren’t in a tsunami zone either.

Balboa Park in San Diego, CA

Balboa Park in San Diego, CA

The house had once been a town building with office space, and it looked like it also had an overhead door for a garage that possibly held fire trucks. The County of Minburn took over the building for the Hamlet of Minburn (Confusing, right? The County includes several hamlets in a large rural area) and new owners bought the commercial property, renovated it, and now were selling it as a residence. We thought it was “quirky.” The rooms had an odd flow, but there was a huge kitchen and dining space, and the half with the garage door was now a long and wide living room with 6” cinder block walls. Situated on the corner of the main street in Minburn, it had street parking and a long and narrow yard. No problem. To me, this was merely a creative challenge. A few trees and the right privacy fencing, and we’d have the perfect outdoor room.

The house had a beautiful bathroom decorated like a spa, and there was ten feet of built-in cupboards being touted as pantry storage. The only problem with this house was the second bedroom. You had to go through the master bedroom to get to it, and through the master bedroom to go to the bathroom. This could have been a challenge, but we decided to make the space into an office and create an area in the large living room for guests so they had easy access to the bathroom. “Quirky” was fun to dream about.

With the help of the real estate agent who sold our house in Edmonton, we had a more in-depth look into the property before we decided to pass on it. It’s a depressed market in that area of the province, and we weren’t entirely sold on Central Alberta. This meant if we had a change of heart and wanted to move again, our money would be tied into the property for much longer than both Jamie and I were comfortable with.

Balboa Park in San Diego, CA

Balboa Park in San Diego, CA

The houses online were a great distraction. We had many helpful agents assisting us across the country. We still had a few more weeks before we left San Diego. We made plans near the end of January to revisit Balboa Park. We’d been there a decade before with our daughter, and I always wanted to go back and spend more time there. There’s lots of free parking. The grounds are peaceful. We weren’t interested in walking through any of the museums again so we captured the Californian architecture.

Next house on our list was “Kitschy.” Not to be confused with “Quirky,” this home was also in Alberta, but farther south. With iconic pink tile in the bathroom, this was the icing on a traditional pastel house that had never come out of the 1950s.

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  • I don’t feel compelled to fill a house with stuff, I feel compelled to fill my life with experiences. We’ve had the freedom over the past nine months to travel, to write, to take photos, and to choose a new home base.

  • Whether we’re in 100 square feet or 1600 square feet of home, we like to have simple exercise equipment. We bought skipping ropes for cardio, and just like you never forget how to ride a bike, jumping rope is another procedural memory exercise that’s easy to pick up. We competed against each other, and Jamie, who boxed as a teen, was a tough guy to beat. He made the rope go faster, and he jumped higher. I hate to admit this.

  • If you could take off right now, which destination would you choose? I think we will always go back to San Diego because we’ve spent a lot of time there with our daughter, and together as a couple. But San Diego is on the west coast, and we’re moving to the east coast. Will we fall in love with Florida?

Janet KittoComment