Labour of Love.

I love my house. I don’t mean just our suite, although it is a prime example of a ‘70’s reno done by stoned labourers in a house with no foundations, so there are no right angles and everything’s a bit dark. I do love our not-as-purple-as-it-was bathroom. I love the laundry attached to the suite. I love the posts that support the house, right in my living room. I love the one, randomly plastered wall. I love the crappy built-in bookcases. But I don’t just love the suite.

I mean, I love the house. I love how it sits in a row of mostly shabby beauties, grande dames of a time when folks sat on shady porches and kept an eye on the street. I love how they lean together as though for support. I love how the land deeds are grandfathered so that some folks own the back part of the side paths and some folks own the front part.

I love how far down the garden seems from my landlady’s tiny front veranda. I love comparing gardening triumphs with Jean up the street, who is teaching me how to let our garden go ‘native’. (Don’t pull a lot of weeds out, just buttercups and dandelions and morning glories ) I love that my landlady lets me do whatever I want to the garden, and calls down, “Hey, those pink things are nice. Are they new?”

I love my landlady, who lets me go up and watch cable and play with her cat when she goes to Florida, as I stir the cat’s food around and make the gravy just right. I have become accustomed to her stentorian snoring. Also, I can always tell she’s in a cleaning frenzy, because Jurassic Park is on really loud up there. I love my landlady’s mother, who can’t give me a recipe for her chili, because ‘It’s just food, dear. I can never remember how much of what I put in there’. I love the guy upstairs, who now borrows my Terry Pratchett novels and raves over them. I love his cat, who is about 16 years old, but will still attack my ankles if he thinks I am being untoward in getting the mail from the mailbox.

I love the stained glass in the house beside us. I love knowing the dog owners and knowing the local dogs. I love when Jean’s daughter comes down to see what I’m doing, and I make her tell her mom she’s okay and with me, and we are making deadheaded-daffodil bouquets. I love the cadre of Vietnamese women who hide bottles in our viburnum bushes.

I love my house. So when my landlady told me her business partner, who owns part of the house, was thinking of selling, it broke my heart. It’s killing her. The guy has had a bout with colon cancer, and he’s trying to simplify his finances. She was crying when she told me. She’s been here twenty years.

I don’t want to leave.

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