So I have this friend back in Niagara who goes to Florida in the winter months. And I have this husband who drives from Toronto to Niagara every day for work. I worry about his drive in bad weather. So, you guessed it. We married the two and I’m now house sitting in Niagara for the winter.
My friends house is beautiful. The quintessential English estate parked neatly into an older neighbourhood with mature trees, older character homes and all of the personalities of an extended family.
My husbands commute is now 10 minutes instead of an hour and ten. He can sleep until 7 in the morning instead of 5 (and me included! Yea!) It’s our first morning waking up. Our friends hit the road just hours before we woke up. They’re off, now it’s up to Jon and I take care of this beautiful home.
It’s not a problem, it will just need a bit of getting used to. For example, they don’t have any of the amenities my smaller Toronto condo does. They have no elevator or garbage shoot. They have no underground parking or automatic garbage pick up. They do have a laundry shoot and a neighbour who shovels the sidewalks – Buck I think. And thank goodness for Buck because on this first day of our Niagara adventure we woke up to snow – and lots of it.
Wow, is this what they mean when they say, ‘no rest for the wicked’? I go into the kitchen to make Jon a coffee and discover a thermos of coffee right there on the counter, the last kind deed from our friends before they left on their two month, sunny, boating adventure.
Jon goes outside, brushes the snow from the car. Of course he’s forgotten his boots in Toronto and he slips and slides on his slick office shoes. He drives off, slowly waving to me standing in the front window waving back. I’m suddenly overcome with a strong, warm feeling of déjà vu. For years he would leave from our home in Queenston and I would wait at the window, June Cleaver style and wave good-by to him. It all happened so unconsciously, so naturally that I felt for a moment that I’d never left. This adventure is going to have its benefits.
I make a cup of tea and settle into a large, billowy armchair by the window. I look out onto the winter wonderland that is the front yard and it’s so beautiful, so peaceful. Jake, the larger than life cat lumbers into the livingroom and we exchange pleasantries. I get up to get him some treats and I can see he’s feeling better about me already.
I go back to sitting in my comfy armchair in front of the window and he comes within reach and sits down to watch me. I rub the top of his head; don’t hear any purring yet. I know what to do. I pick up my computer, my tea and cell phone and set a nice place for myself on the sofa, carving a spot next to me for Jake. He’s watching me more aloof than with intent. I clear the coffee table and put a pillow on it to rest my feet. Ok, I’m in position and I start calling him. He’s standing just out of arms reach. I pat the sofa and he’s still paying attention. I reach out to him but he’s just a few inches too far. Then he does it. He gets up and walks out the room.
So I go back to the chair in front of the window. I think this will be my spot. It has a nice view and it’s comfortable. As for Jake? Well I’m sure I’ll hit on something he will like eventually. Until then, he’ll just have to keep up the training.