Monday December 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the house sitter.

Because, well...


We started packing our things last night and finished this morning. Once (almost) everything was squeezed into the car we hit the road, headed for Kaleden.

We'll be house sitting here until early or mid-March (depending on whether or not we make a trip to Vancouver and Vancouver Island during Kat's spring break from teaching). It's only about a 40 minute drive from Osoyoos, so we'll be going back regularly to visit friends and to make sure Kat's parents still get some quality Max time in.

And to collect the things we couldn't fit in the car this morning.

So why did we agree to do it? A variety of reasons, but I'll mention the top three here.

Number one: this puts us a five minute drive away from OK Falls, home of Kat's teaching position. That cuts over half an hour off her commute this winter, a time when the roads are not always the greatest. So that's pretty important.

Number two: it also puts us about five minutes away from Penticton, with all it has to offer. Osoyoos tends to get pretty quiet during the winter months and with fewer outdoor options due to colder weather, it can be a pretty difficult place to live. Penticton also gets quieter, but its larger population means there are more things still on offer. And it'll be nice to be closer to friends in the area, as well as the larger stores that call the city home.

Number three: space. This is an inside time of year. That means no using the deck to double our living space. That means stuffing ourselves and our rather active toddler into our home. The house in Kaleden is normally home to two parents and two young children and has much, much more space. I'd say more than double but I suck at estimating that sort of thing. Regardless, it will make spending time indoors a lot more pleasant this winter.

On the down side it means Max's grandparents are not a five minute walk away. So he'll see a lot less of them the next two and a half months, and we won't be able to take advantage of all that free babysitting. We'll definitely be making an effort to see them, hopefully at least once a week.

The next time isn't particularly distant, as we're heading back on Wednesday for a New Year's Eve party at our bakery friends home, spending the night at our house, and then sticking around for New Year's Day dinner with Kat's parents and her brother.

Until then, we're going to try to get everyone used to living in a new home. Kat and I have been in our place for almost four years now, so it's an adjustment. Max has only ever known our place, so I imagine his will be a bit bigger.


Greg said...

I'm trying to remember if you mentioned the house-sitting thing before; I think you did, but if so it was definitely a while back when you were talking about Kat's new job for the first time. The list of reasons you've given make perfect sense, and particularly the proximity to the school is an excellent reason, in Winter, in Canada, to be there. And I'm sure you'll enjoy the extra space, and you'll end up back in your place in March looking at how you can expand it a little. But given Winter, in Canada, I'm going to say you should expand downwards and build a second, underground floor that benefits from the insulation of the earth :)
That, and you might discovered buried treasure. Or dragons. Or Ilmatu, with their featureless heads and long, long limbs....
[Btw, you have a typo: "it's" for "its" in your paragraph about your second reason.]

The house-sitter
The silence continued as Del took the bacon fat out for the squirrel and draped it on a low branch. She checked the spirit nets as well, but they were empty; at this time of year the spirits tended to stick to dark places and didn't move around so much. Maybe they were affected by the cold as well, but she never had enough space in the freezer to test that theory out. Finally she went back inside, her face reddened from the cold and goosebumps risen on her arms. The man in the white suit was stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. He looked uncomfortable.
"Where'll be this tired man then?" asked Del. She didn't want to hear the answer; she didn't want to ask the question if the truth were told, but it was obvious that she was going to be the one to deal with this. The man in the white suit gestured behind him to a low door set beneath the wooden stairs that led upwards.
"The cupboard under the stairs?"
"He all reckons he's a-house-sittin' for y'all," said the man. Del eyed him, her gaze intent and hard, and he quailed. "I'm jes sayin'."

The door resisted opening until Del put her full weight behind it and heaved. There was a splintering sound, but when she checked the edges of the door-frame there was no damage visible, and the top and edges of the door seemed fine too. She ran a finger along them, and then stopped, knowing she was just delaying things.
Inside the cupboard were the things that had come here to die slowly in silence. Old tins of paint, probably dried up and useless now; cracked plant-pots, a torn shower-curtain that made her smile when she saw it, two broken chairs that she still hadn't got round to turning into one complete one, a bicycle with only one wheel and probably terminal rust, a small bag of old, yellowed bones, and... and a thin man with a grey, drawn-looking face that seemed to be mostly skin over bone. He was sitting on the tins of paint, perched like a bird on a wire, and staring at the wall.
Del cleared her throat.
"There was a window here once," said the man. "Afore you'us born. Let the cold in somethin' rotten in Winter. All'n'all year round if'n I 'member right."
"House-sitter?" said Del. Her voice was cold, unfriendly.
"Happen as all y'all be needin' one," said the man. He turned away from the wall and looked at Del, though she could faintly see the wall still through him, as though he weren't solid enough for this world. "For'n a little whilom."
"Dad," said Del, trying to keep the distaste from her words. "What'll y'all be talkin' about?"

Marc said...

Greg - I honestly don't remember if I did or not.

I'm down for discovering dragons! Or treasure! Not that other one, though.

Thanks for the typo catch. Apparently I need to reread my posts three times before hitting publish, not just twice...

Oh man, I hadn't read this one before commenting on yesterday's post, so you can imagine how pleased I am to see this continuation.

It's nice to hear a few more words from Del, and this house sitter is a surprising and interesting addition to the scene!