Late last week, our exile in the shed ended and we took possession of our new house. Heat, insulation, indoor plumbing … the luxuries we’re now enjoying are amazing.
In fact, looking back over our 28-year marriage, I can confidently say we’ve never had it so good.
Our first joint living adventures were in staff housing at nature centres in Ohio and Michigan. Cold and drafty, those conditions were decidedly rustic (though they came with some excellent wildlife spotting, including sandhill cranes out the bathroom window).
During our Peace Corps service, our one room mud home in Panama had a leaky roof and harboured rats, snakes, lizards, and the most astonishing array of arthropods I’ve ever co-habitated with. It wasn’t so much a house as it was a full ecosystem.
Married student housing at Penn State University had less diverse wildlife—German cockroaches filled all the ecological niches there—and involved periodic flooding from the upstairs neighbour’s bathtub.
The 1960s duplex we moved to next had a bad mould problem, but at least we had fewer six-legged housemates.
In Minnesota, our 150-year-old house needed a new roof, piles and insulation. It was never particularly warm in winter, even after the extra insulation we added.
The 125-year-old cottage we recently moved out of was shocking when we moved in, with a leaking roof and rotting weatherboards. The only insulation was a century of accumulated bird nests in the attic. We fixed it up, but it was always drafty.
In hindsight, the shed we were living in for the past three months wasn’t so different from our previous homes.
I’m thankful, and a bit overwhelmed, to be living in a modern, warm, dry house for the first time in my adult life. Even if I live here for the rest of my life, it will never be as old as many other houses I’ve lived in. I intend to enjoy it.