Monday, October 17, 2011

Visiting childhood

I had a wonderful weekend. I got to satisfy some more of my fall-nostalgia by visiting the house I lived in until I was 6 years old. It’s literally around the corner from the house my family lives in now. People think this is strange, but really, it was the idea house for size & cost, plus it had a pool, plus my parents had two kids in elementary school that would not have to change schools. We really lucked out.

24 Ottawa Rd from the exterior has changed a bit since we lived there. The two bushes with the poppable lavender blossoms still grow at the end of the front walk, but the garden that we used to jump in from the porch is no longer next to the stairs. The house has been painted, from gray to purple (not accurately shown in this image), with a nice light yellow trim. The exterior looks well cared for. You can almost tell from this picture how small it truly is.

The house is so much smaller than I remembered it, from the passageway into the kitchen where my dad used to lie while talking on the phone, to the narrow stairs to the second floor, and the tiny bedrooms. Since I was 6 yrs old the last time I was there, it’s not surprising that it seems so much smaller now, and I can definitely see why my parents were wise in looking for a larger space for their family. It’s hard for me to imagine, with those tiny bedrooms, what kind of family could comfortably live here.

The attic has been finished since we moved out and is now a beautiful master suite with four sky-lights and a bathroom. Unfortunately, they used an old tub & fixtures so it looks outdated, despite having been renovated within the last 10 years. There are numerous cabinets & cavities up there for storage, which makes up for the decrepit basement.

Two things that haven’t changed at all: the 2nd floor bathroom (it looks cleaner than I remember, but otherwise is exactly the same, including the terrible sliding plastic “curtain” on the shower), and the basement (which was dingy back when we lived there). One thing that has almost not changed is the tiny, tiny kitchen. The floor is the same, and they just painted the cabinets white to make it seem bigger/brighter (because it is VERY dark in there). My dad gave us the grand tour and I learned about a lot of the renovations he had done when we lived there (the ceilings, the floors, the pantry/back door which came from my grandparents house in Maine and is still on the back of the house). It was really nice to see the place as I remembered it, with minor changes. I can still remember climbing up the stairs and seeing my dad asleep in the room across the hall, or the alligator-shaped stain on the ceiling in their bedroom, and swinging from the bar in my closet, which used to feature a half-sized door that allowed access to the attic and has since been opened up to a full stair-case.

They want $539,000 for this place. With the selling points being the attic suite and the first floor (because the hardwood floors are in good shape, and the dining room & living room are fine), they might get $450,000, but if the basement floods, I don’t think that’s entirely a fair price. I hope we get a nicer family living there.

(Very strange how my perspective has changed about the quality of homes since doing so much apartment searching and finally having my own apartment to care for. The Worcester apartment was never really worth up-keeping since it was in such shoddy shape to begin with, so it’s nice to have a place that I really want to invest the effort into.)

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