Friday, 20 November 2020

25 Years in Canada - My Immigration Journey Part 16


At the Market, acrylic 16" x 20"

Blog 26


2004 was the year of the move to our dream house, requiring a lot of decluttering, packing and cleaning of the old house to get it ready for selling. Cleaning out and painting a house with two active kids and a dog was a challenge in itself.

Even though the actual start of construction was the beginning of April, we had a lot of running around to decide on materials. We had meetings with the architects, the contractors, and the bank.

Despite all the chaos around me, I still kept the promise to myself to deliver one painting to every bi-monthly Arteast library exhibition. I had started the acrylic painting “At the Market” (see above) for the show with the theme shopping. I finally managed to finish the painting around midnight the day before the hanging. It was still a close call.

Construction, acrylic, 16" x 20"

At the end of March, I started the painting for the May exhibition with the theme of metal. I decided to paint a construction site - very fitting. This painting found its forever home in my parents’ house. As my father is an architect, he fell in love with the image right away.

We had decided to sell the house without an agent. Once the house was on the market in early April, the stress was immense. Keeping the house tidy and clean was impossible. I had a big job of cleaning the house before each showing, including washing the windows which always had marks of sticky fingers. At the end of May, we had refused one purchase offer because we were not flexible with our moving date. With the representation of the agent who had helped us to buy our house in 1995, we finally sold the old house at the end of July.

At the same time, we stressed because of the problems with the construction of the new house. First, we found out that loads of gravel were necessary to lift the house to prevent flooding in the spring. Then, one delay followed the next. Sometimes, I encountered workers sitting at the construction site because they did not have the necessary materials. Once, the architect called to tell me that the ordered tiles would not arrive in time for the four tilers who would come the following day. He expected me to go to a speciality store and order some that would be in stock, never considering that I always had to bring two small children along.

Tulip drawing by myself, Dominic (7), Christine (3)

I always loved being creative with my children. With my painting supplies already packed, my children and I discovered a shop where we could paint pottery. One time, both kids coloured a piggy bank. Dominic picked a soccer ball and was careful to put the white and back colour of his design in the right areas. Christine, on the other hand, used lots of colours without planning and hesitation. I took my time to paint a plate with grapes. After we finished, she declared that her plane was perfect. Once the pottery was glazed and fired, I had to agree. Sometimes, it would be best for all of us to plan less and create with the enthusiasm of a child.

When we finally moved at the end of August, we only had cold water, were waiting for the kitchen appliances, and the installation of washer and dryer. We did not have any shelves in the walk-in closet until the beginning of November.

Over the next three months, instead of enjoying our dream home, we continued to live in a construction site. I continuously waited for workers who often did not show up. In the end, I did not even care anymore whether they installed the right materials. I just wanted them to leave.

By the end of November, we hired a lawyer because the construction did not move ahead. The inspector had failed our house again during what was supposed to be the final inspection. The costs exceeded the budget as building materials went missing or got damaged while the construction company was not cooperative. The nightmare affected my health. It was not a happy way to end the year.

In my next blog, I will write about the year 2005 that brought my biggest heartbreak.

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