Going Placidly Beyond The Noise And Haste

October 15, 2007

(Voila – now with picture!)

We – Wonderbaby, Her Bad Father and yours truly – live in a house that is one hundred and twenty-plus years old. It is small and creaky and dusty and in a condition of perpetual renovation. It sits on a quiet street in an old Portguese neighbourhood – one that is less and less Portuguese with every passing month – that is very near the city centre, on its west side.

The neighbourhood is a busy one, a mix of families and elders and disaffected renters who may or may not be involved in the underground economy. Our neighbours are lovely, although truth be told they sometimes hover too closely (the elderly couple on one side of us have strong feelings about the fact that I do not take full-time care of my daughter, that I have ‘outside interests,’ that I sometimes travel and not take her with me. I have been known to refrain from stepping out onto our front verandah, for fear that Mr. will interrogate me – kindly, of course, but nonetheless interrogatively – where is Baby? Why Baby not with you? Mother should be with Baby.) The street itself is constantly undergoing renovation, as its Victorian rowhouses are bought, one by one, and gutted and brought into the 21st century to be sold to families like us. And although the street is quiet, by city standards, it is still a city street, with many vehicles that sometimes go too fast and many, many sources of noise.

We have loved the noise and the bustle and the feeling of humanity pressing in on us from all sides. We have loved the places to go and the people to see, the non-stop parade of activity on our doorstep. We have loved not being bored, not being boring. But we have also not loved it. Sometimes, it has been too much – the noise, the haste, the crowds, the speed at which time flies when every step out of the door is the first step of a rush into a crowd. Sometimes, the city has pressed down upon our shoulders and made us to feel its prisoners, caught in a cage, pressing our faces against the grates to get a sniff of fresh air, to see a glimpse of sky.

We have felt all the more caught – I have felt all the more caught – by the restriction of space, by the noise and the haste, since WonderBaby was born. We have yearned to escape. We have wanted out. We have wanted to be bored, to be boring.

It’s a cliche, of course, this feeling: to feel a hankering for big yards and wide quiet streets and playgrounds devoid of condom wrappers, once one has a child. To wish for space in which one can put a tree fort, a sandbox, ride a tricycle. To yearn for quiet, for just a little bit more quiet.

Cliches, however, are cliches because they speak of a common experience. I am not at all embarassed to admit that I have been having an experience that is common, that is ordinary, that is run-of-the-mill. I have been falling out love with the city. We – This Bad Family – have been falling out of love with the city.

So we started looking for a little something on the side, and we found this:


In a village, just outside the city, on a quiet street just a few blocks from the shops and the espresso bar and the bakery and the bistro and the library. A short stroll from the Montessori school and one street over from the big Victorian house with the pool where they give lessons to all the neighbourhood kids. Around the corner from the town museum, and not too far from the zoo. Very near the commuter train line, a quick trip into the city that we can’t give up entirely, and where we’ll certainly keep a little flat. An old house, but a bigger house than the one in which we currently reside (four bedrooms, oh my heart), with all the quirk and character that we love and with a big yard and lots of trees and lots of ivy and a wrap-around verandah for sitting outside and sipping tea on cool evenings. Not the city, not the suburbs; somewhere in between.

Somewhere right for us.

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    { 77 comments }

    Shannon October 15, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    Oooooh – that’s gorgeous! I love it! How wonderful….

    Jen M. October 15, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    I would give you a kidney for that house. It looks perfect.

    mo-wo October 15, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Yes four bedrooms — tis bliss. Congratulations to you all. Good luck.

    jen October 16, 2007 at 12:20 am

    that is MONEY, bad. you rock it, girl. that house is perfect.

    Major Bedhead October 16, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Oh, it’s lovely! That porch…oh, that porch.

    MJ October 16, 2007 at 9:40 am

    I just discovered that you live in my general neighbourhood (between Dundas & Queen/between Ossington and Dufferin..no?) and now you’re moving. To a lovely house and a seemingly lovely village.

    We’re going to renovate our old Victorian and ignore that which we do not like. (I find if I don’t wear my glasses a lot of the garbage seems to disappear!) My children, however, are insanely jealous of our friends with bigger backyards. And old enough to vocalize that sentiment.

    kgirl October 16, 2007 at 10:03 am

    Gorgeous! Congratulations to her bad family. We talk about ‘the move’ every now and then, but I just can’t quit you, T-dot.

    radical mama October 16, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Beautiful! And I completely empathize with your longing to be bored and boring, in a less busy place. Me too.

    PunditMom October 16, 2007 at 10:17 am

    It’s lovely! I covet that porch!

    gingajoy October 16, 2007 at 10:18 am

    That is just PERFECT, HBM. With that extra person on the way, you are going to love the space. Awww. Now I can imagine you sitting on that verandah. blogging.

    Don Mills Diva October 16, 2007 at 10:20 am

    OOHH, now that I see the picture I get it completely. That is gorgeous!

    Karen MEG October 16, 2007 at 10:38 am

    What a beautiful house – I love the ivy. It reminds me of the house my husband spent his formative years in. Congrats!
    We also moved when I was pregnant with the boy. We had a few great years in the city, first around St. Lawrence Market (love); then Bloor West Village(double love). If we could have afforded what we were looking for at the time, we would have stayed in BWV.
    But there is something to be said for having more than a raccoon crawlspace between us and the next door neighbours, and a backyard that can actually house a soccer game or two. The city still beckons and we always head down at least twice month. I only hope that transit gets better especially when the kids get older, so there are more options for them to get around.

    Elizabeth October 16, 2007 at 11:07 am

    I would love, LOVE to be able to walk to, well, anywhere from my house. I am so happy to hear that you found the perfect home for the new Bad Family!

    karla October 16, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Beautiful home! Just beautiful. I have always wanted a home with a wrap-around verandah.

    Before we had kids, my husband and I were thisclose to buying a condo downtown. I love Toronto, but, I also love the quiet of my little nest in the suburbs.

    Jennifer aka Binky Bitch October 16, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    It soumds perfect!

    Lawyer Mama October 16, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    That is an absolutely ADORABLE house.

    Magpie October 16, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Charming!

    Fizz October 16, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    It’s beautiful! We’re firmly in the suburbs here, but I looked at many houses in villages-on-the-outskirts like that. Couldn’t convince Gruff to live in a house more than 30 years old, though. One day I’d love to move into a beautiful house like that.

    Pgoodness October 16, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Perfection.

    Kelly October 16, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    Is it really yours? Because it’s lovely. Just lovely, with loads of character.

    (And a side note. How come every time I come here, there are 69 comments on a post? 69! Every time. HBM knows what I’ve been up to!)

    Tracey October 16, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    Beautiful! Love it. Best wishes for the new home.

    Anonymous October 17, 2007 at 9:06 am

    It looks breathtaking. Where might such places exist? Near Toronto?

    Details?

    Much happiness to you all!

    Anonymous October 18, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    C,

    it’s so lovely! congratulations.

    sharon

    Damselfly October 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Sigh. That sounds lovely.

    Amanda October 19, 2007 at 10:07 am

    My, but I love a brick house. We live in a small town, under 4 hours to Boston, NYC,and Montreal, 45 minutes to Albany. We walk to the farmer’s market each Saturday, drive one car for a daily 3 mile RT commute and generally love the simplicity. Sure, there’s no sushi at 2am or 24 hour book stores and gyms, but really, once you have kids (or even before that) did you ever take advantage of that stuff, or just brag loftily about the option?

    I think it looks lovely!

    But one thing, I think the neighbors get nosier the farther you get from the city, or maybe I just drew an exceptionally short straw.

    chichimama October 19, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    How beautiful! Congrats…

    Veronica Mitchell October 22, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Hey! That looks like my house! Though we spent much time and effort killing our ivy. Nasty stuff for houses.

    Congratulations on your new home. I hope you fill it quickly with warm memories.

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