Mucho Modern in Calgary

We did it folks, we bought a new house!!  I don't think I have ever spent so much money so quickly in my life.  Strike that - I am absolutely 100% certain that I have never spent so much money in my life in such a short amount of time.  If I think too much about it, it makes me a little bit ill... so we'll move on.

Here's the scoop:  Last weekend, my husband and I flew out to Calgary after work on Friday, and after dropping our kids off at our AMAZINGLY generous friends' house for 2 nights.  Saturday morning we were up bright and early to explore Calgary with our agent.  At this point our Toronto house was already on sale.

Now if you had asked me about Calgary a few months ago, I would not have been able to tell you anything, other than my opinion that it needed some more trees (lots more trees).  After finding out that we were moving there, I spent hours, and hours, and hours online.  I think I could identify just about any neighbourhood in the city in under 5 seconds at this point, and also tell you the name of the closest French Immersion school, how many minutes it would take you to ride a bike downtown, and how far the closest Starbucks is.  I had that whole every-street-is-a-number and streets-go-one-way-and-avenues-go-another-way-and-don't-forget-about-the-quadrants thing DOWN.  I have my mls/Google Maps/CalgarySchoolFinder black belt, and I know how to use it.

Up until last weekend though, I had never physically been in 99% of the places we were looking.  Luckily, Calgary is wonderfully small!  I mean that in the best way possible - we wanted to be "downtown" and were stressing about one area versus another, but really, they are all pretty close, and it is very easy to get around town.

Our agent and I had determined a short list of houses we wanted to see - I think 12?  (... not sure who I am asking...)  When we walked in this one, our jaws hit the floor.  HIT. THE. FLOOR.  We loved it! But... it was a bit further from downtown, and more than we were going to spend... yada yada yada.  We said we would think about it.  The next day we saw a few new ones that were great contenders, and then went back to look at this one again.  I got tingles.  That evening, we sat at the pub down the street and enjoyed local craft beer while signing our offer document.  It took our agent all of a minute to print them off - he had already filled in all the information for this house the night before.  He knew.  I guess I am an open book.

We put in a low offer hoping that we could bring the price down a bit (yes, you can do this in Calgary!).  When the sellers didn't budge much, we/I got cold feet and decided to drop it.  Yup, just like that.  It was just too nice for us.

Instead we focussed our attention on the "perfect-on-paper" runner up.  The neighbourhood for house #2 was amazing - Chris could walk to work.  We would be near friends of ours, and the school was great.  The house was overpriced, according to our guy, and we could get it for much less than the first place.  It was ugly - DAMN ugly - but heck, there would be lots to blog about!  The before and after pictures would be killer.  It was the responsible thing to do.  However... when they got our offer, I guess the sellers had decided they weren't so keen to sell after all.  They didn't budge on price, and they extended the possession date to the middle of the summer.  This would not work.

I don't think I had even processed this bit of information before Chris was back on the phone to our agent telling him we wanted the first house!  A day or so later, my finger nails were gone, and we were the new owners.  Apparently there are Real Estate Fairy Godmothers, and I have one. (Thank you thank you REFG!)

Before I show you all the pics, let me begin by saying that I am pretty sure we are not worthy of this house.  I can imagine walking in with our stuff, only to have the house twist itself up and spit me and my Value Village/Ikea As-Is finds back out onto the street.  It is so beautiful.  I don't know what the heck I am going to blog about, because I don't even think I will paint the damn walls.

It is a semi-detached, or duplex.  I never thought I would spend so much to live in half of a house, but this is 80% of what is available in Calgary - brand new enormous duplexes.  Our half is on the right.

Please note that this house has been staged for these photos impeccably.  It was empty when we looked at it, but now I can't imagine it with any furniture other than this stuff.

The kitchen makes me want to be a better person.  Or at least a better cook.  Notice how it is similar to ours with the wood on the bottom and white lacquer on top?  And there the similarities end...

There is so much storage in this freakin kitchen I think I am going to have to keep some of my clothes there.

So... yeah.  I know.  It's obscene.  It's ridiculous.  I don't even.... words fail me.  By some amazing twist in the fabric of reality, I will (soon!) be living in this house.  Surrounded by all those BIG TREES. (I'll take my words with a side of mayo, thank you...) Twenty minutes from downtown by bike, ten by car.  With a yoga studio down the street.  Basking like a cat in all that LIGHT.  I am beside myself!

Anyone wanna come visit?

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Hi guys, this is not really related to anything, except that perhaps it is helping with the moving stress.  I have watched this about 15 times and it cracks me up every time (my favourite line is when he knocks on the doorbell...and rang it).  I went through a few others and they are also amusing, but for some reason, this one just gets me!


I have not been on here for a while, and here is my excuse:  Somewhere towards the end of February, out of the blue, my husband got offered his dream job in Calgary... starting the beginning of April.  From that point on, life became a blur of packing, storage, moving companies, agents, listings, open houses, de-cluttering, and even a quick jaunt to Calgary to look at houses.  Any spare time was spent on the internet flicking between mls, google earth, and the calgary school board school finder page.  Entirely too much wine and coffee was consumed.

Last night we sold my beloved house, the subject of so much of this blog.

It actually felt kind of nice to "stage" my house for sale - I felt quite proud of the photos and virtual tour, and was happy to pack up a lot of the chaos to let the house shine.  Sure, maintaining clear surfaces was a pain, but it was lovely to sit in the evenings with my bottles of wine and think "I did this!"  I made this warm and cozy space.

The downside is that, despite my efforts polishing bathroom fixtures, filling in the nicks in my painted bathrooms floor with a Sharpie, hauling my toaster oven out to the trunk of the car every morning, and scrubbing every handprint from the walls, we received but one offer.  Happily, it was for our asking price, but somehow the hype of the Toronto real estate market had me secretly hoping for more.  With all the press around multiple offers and bidding wars, scarcity of product and rabid buyers, it was generally assumed that for a house like ours, in the neighbourhood we are in, people would be lining up at the door.  I know that sounds like hubris, but this message was reiterated and reinforced over and over from friends, agents, and armchair analysts.  Day in and day out, the real estate sections of the papers crowed about the seller's market, the unstoppable prices, the results that exceeded everyone's expectations.

So when we had one agent quietly submit the offer last night, I felt relief to have received our asking price, relief that this big component of our process was finished, and relief that we could bring the toaster oven back in permanently.  I even felt really happy for the nervous couple that were no doubt waiting outside in their car with their fingers crossed.  But I also felt a little... rejected.  So many views online, so many showings, such successful open houses, and one offer.  No one wanted my beautiful house.

Now, before you all start reassuring me that this wasn't the case, I have a beautiful house, I should feel proud (cause I know you guys are amazing and sweet and kind and will do that!), or chastising me for being so greedy, know that I consciously and rationally accept that it was not the house, it was the lack of parking.  Parking is a huge hairy deal around here, and that was the overwhelming feedback from the viewings.  Our neighbour, who has had his completely top-to-bottom renovated fancy house on the market since November, has been having the same frustration.  The other issue is that the school zone right next to ours is apparently the one everyone wants to get their kids into.  Plus there are a LOT of really beautiful houses around here.  So I am very very grateful to have had someone buy it at the price we were asking (which seemed huge).

All the same... it sort of stung.

HOWEVER, this morning I am feeling much more upbeat about the whole thing, and concentrating on the full-to-the-top glass and not the missing overflow!  Our house still sold in a week, for a very silly amount of money.  Three of these seven days we were all out of the house and didn't have to worry about wiping the fridge handle every time we closed it or camping out at the coffee shop while people toured the house.  I already have a large chunk of the packing done.  It was a quick and painless process, when it could have dragged on and on and on.  It is a huge financial relief, and we now know what our budget is for Calgary and that we can move forward on a house there without worrying about carrying two mortgages.  HOORAY!

Amazing what a good night's sleep can do for one's perspective. :)

Now everyone sing along with me:

Things I never thought I would say

You know, it's hard out there for a blogger.  Any time I see something funny and cool I want to pass on, I scroll down my Facebook feed and see that it has already been sent around 20 times.  But whatever, I am posting these posters anyway, cause they are damn funny.

I know everyone has had at least one moment with a child where you say (or, more likely, yell) something outrageous at your kid. It's only then, once the words have left your mouth and you have heard yourself say them, you stop, slightly surprised, and think "Wow. That's the weirdest thing I have ever said."  Then you post it on Facebook and file it away to trade with other parents at a later date.

Well, Nathan Ripperger is WAY more industrious than that.  He takes the crazy and insane things that come out of his mouth and turns them into really cool posters.  And then sells them in his Etsy store:  Wish I'd thought of that.

I have definitely said the toilet seat one.  Actually, let me think of some of the things I said this week:

- No penises on the table. (How many times do I have to say it??)
- Why is there toothpaste in both your eyebrows?
- Just because your brother is sitting on your head does NOT mean you get to stay home from school.
- Yes, you can bring Giraffy the Turtle to the dentist.
- Everybody has to wear their OWN underwear.
- No scissors in the bath!
- Yes you can take a bath with the farm animals.
- Stop wiping your nose on my arm.

Do you have any memorable "I never thought I would say that" quotes?