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The property ladder...

My savings are now one thousand, one hundred, and some loose change lighter.

But on the other hand, I'm now a home owner.

You'd think this would be a reason to celebrate. But I'm not.


...and memories

The reason is that I always thought of this place as mom's home, and while inheritance means it is now mine, it's still a hard notion to lose. I still see my role as "guardian" rather than "owner". If that makes any sense.

I have done very little inside the house. Because the boxes and piles of books and stuff... that's mom's stuff. I still don't go in her room.

I have been working on cleaning up the kitchen. Utterly ridiculous problems like getting upset at throwing out a jar of olives two years past its use-by date.
You see, I could not - hand on heart - tell you what I ate for dinner the last five days. I could tell you what (as I mostly eat the same things) but I can't say which meal I had on which day. Nor which day I cheaped out and had a premade sandwich and two Mars bars (and yet I wonder why my midsection is slowly increasing!).
But that jar of olives? Her birthday in 2016. I know that because it was a Saturday, so we went "down South". She got that jar in Clisson. It was a type that they sell down there, but not in the supermarkets around here. Afterwards we went for a walk down a little footpath down to a river at Le Pallet. You can look at some photos. I didn't need to look at my blog, I remembered that.

One that I kept was a bottle of pure organic maple syrup. It expired in 2019, but like honey it doesn't really "go bad" so long as the container is properly sealed. It's in a sealed bottle. There's no signs of spoiling or contamination (no 'bits' in the syrup). It's thicker than the likes of Maple Joe and a lovely colour.

Maple syrup lurking amidst the Mac+Cheese
Maple syrup lurking amidst the Mac&Cheese.
This came from the "Salon du Chocolat" at Vallet. I thought it was in late 2017, October-ish, but it seems as if I never wrote anything about it on my blog. I remember that for two reasons, the first being that we decided to stop to see if there was any interesting chocolate (in a word, no, overpriced artisanal "creations") but there were all sorts of interesting non-chocolate things too.
The second reason is that mom, educated in America, was reasonably familiar with Canadian French (as that's what she'd have been taught) so the guy selling the maple syrup and his teenage daughter were actually pretty happy to talk in their native "French" with mom. Being used to mom's accent, I followed a little bit of it. A lot of the nearby locals suddenly got very quiet as they were trying to make sense of a fairly animated conversation on the finer points of maple syrup. They failed.
And the most Canadian thing ever - apparently there's a big vault of stored maple syrup and if there's a problem with production, a bad harvest year, or some other unwanted fluctuation of the prices, they can put more syrup out there. Because Canadians are like "screw finance, screw oil, our world stops if the jars of maple syrup dry up". Some Canadians even drink it, just as it comes. The daughter was more than willing to demonstrate, knocking back a small glass of it like it was a shot of rum. It... it's a heck of a lot sweeter than it seems, and it seems pretty sweet when it's on pancakes, but drinking it straight is like "holy hell!".

I've installed some new plastic shelving in the kitchen, free-standing for the moment. It was supposed to be four levels high, but the top level would have been at ceiling height, so I put the extra shelf sideways beside the main unit. It's a convenient place to drop the shopping bag as I unpack stuff. It's more organised than having stuff all around the place.
You might spot a definite liking for macaroni cheese. ☺ Actually, the dark blue box lurking back behind the rice (the one written in Japanese) is a box of farfalle (bow-tie pasta). I make one of the Mississippi Belle packs, with a handful of farfalle thrown in to make it more of a meal.

Actually, I think I'm going to go and make that now. I have some Scottish cheddar as well (so something is making it beyond the Brexit Block). I might crumble a little of that into the mix to make it more cheesy, as the powdered cheese that comes with the pack is some orange coloured American stuff that doesn't claim to be any specific sort of cheese. It's probably similar to what turns up over here called "Cheddard" (note the third 'd') which is a solid cheese "in the style of cheddar". The thing is, it's rubbery like Edam. My cheddar is crumbly. Aged and strong. The label saying "Seriously Strong" is not an understatement. It's an advice that this product is "acceptable" for people who know what cheddar is supposed to be like. ☺

Essentially, I run on tea, Mars, and mac&cheese. And I feel a need for, maybe, some of each right about now. So, uh, bye!


PS: Don't think I'm not grateful that I'm a homeowner. That's no easy thing these days... even if this particular home is a dank damp place with next to zero heating, no mains water, and a toilet that sulks.
I have electricity, slow broadband, and a tonne of tranquility. Those are the essentials, right?

Plus, I can't imagine how frustrating it would be to be locked down in a flat someplace. Me? I took the cats and myself for a walk. Even staying on the property, I could get a decent walk in just going from the north boundary to the south, and back again. Remember, mowing the grass means trundling Marte nearly five kilometres and that's with the neighbour cultivating the entire back field (a little under a hectare). If I had to mow that too... phew!

So, for all the faults of this place, it's home. I don't plan on leaving. And I'm grateful that mom left me a home and not a mortgage. It's just going to take a while to think things like "I can paint that wall Hello Kitty pink if I want".

Now, where's that box of farfalle? Baby steps...



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J.G.Harston, 9th January 2022, 05:04
I'm helping my mum prepare to move house, from the rambling 3 x double bedroom thing we grew up in to a small two-bed flat she's fallen in love with. She's accumlated 70 years of her stuff, plus her mum's stuff, plus her late husband's stuff. The hardest part is trying to get her to make a pragmatic decision as to what to take with her. I'm concentrating on just sorting and boxing everything up and labelled "personal" vs "history books", "fiction books", "history books", "heavy tools", "history books", "light tools", "history books", etc.
Rick, 9th January 2022, 21:15
Yup. Books and wool. 
If I was a knitter, I could make a tea cosy to put around the house, there's that much wool... 
And books in three languages (English, Spanish, French) ranging from fiction "cosy mysteries" to obscure topics like homesteading in the 18th century, or Amish cookery. 

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