Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pulling A Thoreau (#241)

I’ve been preoccupied the past several months - to such an extent that I’ve hardly written a word.

“Frank,” I hear those of you who’ve been paying some attention say, “we know you’ve been darn busy playing with your spiffy new camera and lenses. We understand. Go forth and shoot.”

Godblessya’. But there’s been more occupying my mind than photography: I’m house-hunting. More specifically, I’m hunting for my Dream Retirement Forever Home, or in an abbreviated form, the Next Place. As you might imagine, not just any old house will do. I have specific requirements. Some of them are:

It has to be a 4-season, waterfront home with either a few acres of its own, or abutting Crown land on one or both sides. (Crown land is undeveloped wilderness tracts. Most Canadian cottages are built on lakes which contain large-ish chunks of Crown land. Our family cottage, with which most of you folks are somewhat familiar, abuts Crown land on one side. Its proximity makes it possible to truly live on the doorstep of the Great Outdoors.)

It has to have one or two small guest cabins, or “bunkies.” I’d prefer a couple. One could be used exclusively for visitors and I could use the other to hide from Hilary when something needs doing.

Haha! That was most likely a joke.

But I really wouldn’t mind my own little cabin/cubbyhole in which to write and think. Or at least think about writing. It would be the grown-up version of a tree house or fort. Heck, I might even store a box or two of my old comic books in there.

The Next Place has to be relatively maintenance-free because I’m no handyman. And to the surprise of none of you, the lake has to have some decent fish in it, preferably walleye.

Complicating matters somewhat is the fact that I’m no longer single, or 30 years old. If I was, I could have my pick of places that suited my requirements and get change back from $200,000. But I’d also be about two or three hours from anything resembling civilization.

So, at 60 and with a life partner who also has certain requirements, the search has become somewhat lengthy and complex. Compromises had to be made.

For instance, Hilary is concerned about the proximity of medical facilities. Apparently, she is not convinced that my Stupid Heart Attack was totally a once-in-a-lifetime fluke. She would like a hospital to be next door but will accept one within a half-hour drive. Whereas I’m content to be within a 2-hour helicopter ride of someone who’s taken St. John Ambulance training.

So, we’ve compromised. The Next Place has to be within a 30-minute drive of Highly Trained Medical Professionals, preferably in a hospital setting.

Yeah, I won that round.

We agree that it would be nice to be within a few minutes' drive of necessities, like a newspaper and gas. I’d like to be within a couple of hours of Bowmanville where I live now and that would put us three hours from Mississauga, where most of Hilary’s people are. It would also be nice to be within an hour or so of the family cottage. We would both like to be within a half-hour of most amenities, like grocery and department stores.

So, I’ve narrowed the search to roughly three geographic areas. Somewhere within them, lies the place where I want to set my bones down for as long as I have left. It will have water and trees and loons and herons and raccoons and deer and even a bear or two. There will be paths to walk and new ones to forge. There will be misty summer mornings and cold November rains, roasting marshmallows and chopping wood. There will be fresh air aplenty and long, lingering doses of what my soul drinks and town and city life simply can’t offer -- silence.

My Walden awaits. I’ll keep you posted.


Ruth Cooke said...




:D 'Nuff said.

Tabor said...

Well, at least the years have trained you to know what you want! Hope you get it. I compromised, but that is just me, because I myself keep changing what I want!

Charlie said...

I was just in Calgary the other day (Monday evening to see the incomparable Jeff Beck in concert -- my eardrums are still stunned by the miracles he pulled out of the same instrument I play) and while I was glad to see first-hand the amazing buildings and other structures springing up in the downtown core of that fast growing city, I had absolutely no problem putting it in my rear-view mirror as I headed home to the mountains after the concert was over.

I hear you loud and clear as well, Frankie-boi. One of the most beautiful things about the illustrious Mr. Beck's mastery of the guitar is the silence he utilizes in perfect counterpoint to the sonic mayhem he also wields with unparalleled skill.

Fireworks are great, but the old saying is ever true: silence is golden. May you have as much of each as you want, my friend.

Steve Gravano said...

I wish you well with your search, hunting for the perfect home (or close to it) is not easy.

Cay Sehnert said...

You're still searching, but through your description, I've already visited. Nice place. I'm jealous.

Sally said...

Go for it, Frank. Hope you and Hilary find the nearest thing to perfect that's out there. And we'll enjoy reading about the gentle adventures that your very own Waldenn brings.

messymimi said...

May your search be fruitful and fast.

Your grown up version of a fort sounds suspiciously like what some people call a "man cave." Whatever you call it, yes, you need one. All men do.

Leah J. Utas said...

Frank, you've made it abundantly clear to the Universe what you want. That's most of the battle right there. Keep it in your mind and it will find you.

Anvilcloud said...

Good luck. Finances prevented us from finding our perfect retirement place, but all in all, you bring happiness with you.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Your Next Place sounds very much like the one Doug and I would look for. With the poor housing market here, though, it's doubtful that we'll make a move until they wheel us out and put us in the home. Hope you can find something close to what you've described. It sounds wonderful.

ellen abbott said...

We looked for years and while it's small itself it butts up to a 13 acre field and instead of woods or water it's agricultural fields but it's not the city and it is a lot of good things.

Frank Baron said...

- Ruth, you pose a strong argument. ;) But my sights are set east and north. It'll be a nice drive for you to come visit sometime. :)

- Thanks, Tabor. I hope we do too.

- Charlie, you sure nailed a great mini-review of Jeff Beck. I'm listening to him more and more these days. Can he be better at 68 than 28 or 38? I think so. I still get chills at the opening note of Bolero and they don't subside 'til it's over. Thank you for your well-wishes, my friend. They matter.

- Thanks, Steve. And yep, I'm finding that out.

- Yes, Cay. It exists in my mind. Now I just need the 3D version.

- Thanks, Sally.

- Got that right, messymimi. We're pretty easy to please. :)

- Leah, that's my philosophy as well. It's out there and I'll know it when I see it.

- Thanks, AC. It was only in the last three years that I began to dream this might be possible. As my dear old Dad would often say, "You never know."

- Thank you, Linda. From your keyboard to the Real Estate God's ears.... ;)

- Ellen, it sounds like a nice place, indeed. It would be wonderful to have 13 acres as a buffer.

Thanks all, for taking the time out of your busy days to pay me a visit. I appreciate it.

Hilary said...

I can hardly wait. But all of that chopping wood is why I want to be near a health facility. I know how you are with an axe. ;)

Reena said...

Oh, so totally understand ... we've been doing the same thing the last few years up in Maine and just found our place right on the water! Went through the same topics .. health care had to be close, definitely book stores and coffee shops, and must always be close to a Home Depot/Lowes (LOL) ... all of it within 7 miles.

Hilary said...

Congrats on being where you are in your life, and having a Hilary to share it with.

Reb said...

Sounds like a great place frank. I am sure it's out there just waiting for you.

Frank Baron said...

- Hil, I was out of shape that day. Practice (if it doesn't kill me) will make perfect. :)

- Sounds like you hit a home run, missing moments. Congratulations. :)

- Thank you, Hilary. :)

- Me too Reb. And I'll keep looking until it finds me.

Thanks for the visits, folks. :)

Ruth Cooke said...

ROFL @ Hilary. I have a brother like that...

Frank, my parents live in the beautiful City of Kawartha Lakes. You know -- the one with the sign in the middle of a swampy forest?

So if East and North from where you are is where it's going to be, then I'll be up to visit. (Lindsay has a decent hospital, btw.)

Zia said...

Finding a little piece of paradise is a lovely dream ... wherever the location. We are visiting Cairn in Nth Queensland at the moment ... beautiful one day, perfect the next! But a wee shack beside the water with a jetty (in Victoria)would suit just fine for later on ... with internet access and a good choice of options for fresh produce :o)

Pauline said...

Sounds about as close to heaven as you can get and still be here. I once commented in a casual conversation that if I ever had to leave my big house I'd want just a one room cottage close to water so I could spend more time out of doors playing than indoors cleaning. And here I am! Your place is out there somewhere... take lots of photos to share when you find it!

Frank Baron said...

- Ruth, I like Lindsay and the Kawarthas in general, but would prefer a place in an area a little less farmland-ish and a little more rugged -- in the granite and pine trees kind of a way.

You may just have to drive a little further east and a smidge north when it's time to visit. ;)

- I hear you, Zia. (With a backdrop of surf and whispered breezes.) ;)

- Pauline, you can bet on it. And congrats on finding yours. :)

Thanks for taking the time, folks. Sorry for the delay in responding. I was out of town.

Ruth Cooke said...

Ah, so Algonquin it is. I`ll be moving in, then. Make sure it has a cabin just for me. :D

Frank Baron said...

Well, not as far as Algonquin. I'll keep you posted. :)

Anonymous said...

I remember "home" hunting. We started and stopped several times. Finally found this place, only 30 minutes from semi-decent health care and no one living within eye or earshot. A little too close to the road with semi-trucks, but I've gotten good at ignoring them. Several of my friends have suggested I move into town (uh, why?). You will find the place that works for both of you, of that I am sure. ~Nita

Frank Baron said...

I share your faith, Nita. Always nice to hear from you. Thanks for the visit. :)

Prairie Notions said...

Frank, I found the perfect place for you yesterday while I was out and about (you may be sorry I've returned to your blog). There are only three flaws with this place:

1. Location -You probably call it the lower 48. Might be a bit too far from families.

2. No lake, though there is a pond on the property.

3. This is the biggie, it's NOT for sale.

Other than those minor flaws (and a few others) it'd be the perfect place.

Sorry, couldn't resist after I drove by it yesterday. It's not in my normal travel path. :)

Anonymous said...

oops, sorry I didn't realize I was logged in as my friend. Prairie Notions = Nita

Dianne said...

if there's a barn could I live in it?

good luck on your worthy search

Skunkfeathers said...

May you always be the master of your destiny!

Frank Baron said...

Dang it, Nita/Prairie! I was reaching for my cheque book. ;)

Dianne, we'd be pleased to put you up in our guest cabin. :)

I'll drink to that, Skunky!

Thanks all, for your comments and shame on me for not checking my comment moderation thingy more often. Sorry for the delay!