One year in Manotick

by DaniGirl on October 12, 2011 · 4 comments

in Postcards from Manotick

Can you believe it’s been a year this week since we moved out to Manotick? Seems like yesterday. Seems like we’ve been here forever. It has been the most tumultuous, crazy, busy year – no wonder it flew by in a flash!

I still remember the very powerful feeling I had the very first day we moved in, that we belonged in the house. It felt instantly comfortable and familiar, like we’d always lived here. I think that sense of comfort helped me keep my sanity for the first three months, when it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

I’ve taken to calling October through December of last year “the dark time” in my head. There were plenty of happy moments, but in addition to being seasonally, literally dark, I was full of doubts about what we’d gotten into. What I’d gotten us into. Within days of moving in, the dishwasher crapped out and the microwave started acting up. The furnace died, and then we found the mould in the basement. The boys were having some trouble settling in at the new school. We replaced the sump pump, had some rewiring done, tore up carpets and then it took forever to put all the bits of poor Tristan’s room back together again. So much went wrong with the house so quickly, I was sick with worry about what else could go wrong.

And through it all, right up until the spring thaw (that leaked into our basement and knocked over a tree in the yard) I rationalized the decision to move in my head. It was a great neighbourhood. It was a great school. The boys had a huge yard. There was great light, breathtaking light, that made me happy when it streamed through the huge windows. I think the reason I have been so vocal about how great life in Manotick is (and really, it is!) is because I was still trying to convince myself that it was all worth it. Having led the impulsive decision to buy the house and to move out here, I had to justify the decision to lead my family into such upheaval. It was well after Christmas before I could drive past the old house in Barrhaven without a sick feeling of “what have I done?” in the pit of my stomach.

And now, looking back on the first year as a whole instead of as a series of highs and lows, I can really say that it was the right choice — but oh man, that was a dark couple of months back there at the end of 2010!

When we first moved out here, I was on a mission (Beloved might even say it was a bit of a pathological obsession) to be a part of the community. I joined the school council, attended community meetings, went out of my way to meet the neighbours. We paid a ridiculous sum of money for a three-month membership to the community pool, largely because I was seduced by the concept of membership itself. We even started going (wait for it!) to church! I’m not sure why I got so fixated on being a part of the community, except maybe that there never really was a sense of neighbourhood and community when we lived in Barrhaven, and I’ve spent my whole life with a vague yearning for that sense of belonging.

This summer cemented my love for the community, and my faith that moving out here was the right thing to do. The house finally stopped (touch wood) finding ways to vex me, and we actually went a couple of months in a row without a contractor coming in to inspect, quote or fix something. We figured out that the odd, faint smell from the basement has to do with the smell of the water table and the island itself than the mould that I feared it was. The summer was long and glorious and beautiful, and the porch unexpectedly transformed itself into a portrait studio.

I really think, though, that the moment when I stopped rationalizing and justifying things in my head happened just this past weekend. We were at the Harvest Festival at Watson’s Mill, hopping off the horse-drawn wagon ride, and a queue of people were waiting to get on. I heard the boys’ names being called over and over. “Hi Tristan!” from one. “Hi Simon!” from another. And even Lucas’s mate from daycare was there. THe boys laughed, shouted, huddled with their friends. We could barely get down the block, so many friends and neighbours were there saying hello and sharing a quick chat.

There’s still a lot of little jobs, and even a few big jobs, that need to be done. The septic system is another year older, and won’t last forever. I’m not convinced we won’t get more water in the basement next spring thaw. And the damn tree that fell over in April is still waiting for Bell to come and rebury the cables underneath the uprooted stump, which has now started to sprout anew. But these are all things we can fix in time. Or continue to look blithely past.

We have a place where we belong. We are home.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paula October 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Happy Anniversary. Isn’t perspective wonderful? Glad you have settled in and feel truly at home now.

2 Jen October 13, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Time flies! Happy anniversary 🙂 What you describe is exactly what we found when we moved to our community 5 years ago (the longest we’ve ever lived in one place). It’s a wonderful feeling!

3 Anonymous October 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I can’t believe it has been a year already. Happy Anniversary!
It sounds like you have made yourselves a lovely home in a fantastic community!!

4 Finola October 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

oops, that was me!

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