Starting a series of posts about a house project with a complaint risks coming across as whiny, out-of-touch, and obnoxious. But, to steal a phrase from The Tudors's opening credits: to get to the heart of a story, you have to go back to the beginning. And the beginning of this journey started with a horrible year: 2017 & the start of 2018 brought us the death of two parents (within 8 months of each other) and the subsequent cleaning out of a house and executorship of an estate, all amidst ongoing, nebulous illnesses that we ultimately discovered were the result of black mold in our Vermont rental.
And so we found ourselves needing to pivot, to reconsider our careful planning for what came next - this previous planning largely rooted in a fearful, if disgusted, acceptance of the ridiculous housing costs and lack of jobs in our state and our lack of options to move elsewhere within the U.S. When faced with the need to vacate our rental immediately—even the health insurance we had required co-pays that could've bankrupted us had we stayed in sick-house, as we began to call it, and renter's insurance doesn't cover mold damage if it's the result of actions that occurred before the policy (longterm, unfixed leaks in the roof of the house we rented caused the mold)—we found ourselves without a viable temporary or year-round rental in Vermont. So we headed north.
In this way, I will always be grateful for circumstances forcing us to make our dream of moving to Canada a reality sooner than we anticipated. I applied and was accepted to the Master of Education in Leadership in Learning, Global Perspectives program at the University of Prince Edward Island, with an eye toward completing a PhD at the school. This made immigrating (even if technically temporarily, with plans to become permanent residents) to PEI far easier, granting Dominic an open work permit.
With what feels like unfathomable luck, we found ourselves a fixer-upper that we could afford...only 1/2-mile from a red sand beach called Panting Shore.
To say I feel "blessed" would be to cheapen this emotion. I am experiencing a depth of gratitude that comes from recognizing the absurd convergence of luck, benefitting from tragedy, working hard, having moved so many times in my life that I could imagine making an international move on little notice, and having a partner who is supportive and adventurous and equally willing to uproot and restart, that all contributed to making this shift possible.
We’ve now been on the island for exactly five weeks. During this time, we’ve gutted a kitchen, torn down sheetrock and sheathing and insulation, coordinated plumbing and heat-pump installation, discovered our go-to building supply stores, and revised our renovation plans to accommodate the underlying structural issues with the house that could only be learned by opening up the place. I’ve begun my M.Ed. program and Dominic’s had to start shouldering the bulk of the construction work. But we’re making progress. And enjoying the physical labor and the incredible, immediate visual-tangible results.
And getting in some beach days before the end of the season.