birdy wants a perch: a search for real estate in Vancouver

Fantasizing about a piece of real estate for a month before seeing it is like chatting on line with a guy too long before meeting up with him for coffee. What you end up with is likely smaller, smellier and way more work than you can afford.images

As Fellow and I drove away from my fantasy hobby orchard B&B off an incredibly BUSY LOUD UGLY road in Langley, I pouted for half an hour in silence in the HOV lane all the way home, then said in a small voice, “I just wanted to give my daughter a farm.” We are used to living off Commercial Drive, but doubling up on size to become a foursome is suddenly a millionaires’ game.

So, that’s the thing. I was hoping to tell you I would be growing pumpkins and Christmas trees and fields of lavender and running a gorgeous B&B overlooking a duck pond. UnknownWhat I ended up seeing today was a dwarf hovel with three nosy dogs in the house who wanted to sniff my crotch and a fourth bedroom that was more like a fat hallway. Every tap was leaking. All of this was fixable to a degree but the traffic was ridiculous. I’m going to drive forty minutes to Langley just to feel like I’m living off of 12th avenue?

Yeah. There it is. We’re looking at property. It’s getting discouraging. Double income, you’d think this would not be such a problem. We are willing to deal with a fixer upper. We are resigned to being mortgaged to the teeth. And still: nothing.

“I can’t do this commute, Lucia. That’s what I’ve discovered coming out here. And the children will feel abandoned. We’d live so far away.”

“Good point. But we can’t afford to live in Vancouver and rent is as much as a mortgage.”

“We could try Lion’s Bay.”

“That’s as far as Langley.”

“Yeah, but…somehow…”

“Somehow it seems cooler?”Unknown-1

“Yeah. Or Bowen island.”

“But we’d have to also rent here because the children will still go to school off Commercial Drive…so we’re paying a mortgage and a rental and the kids have not just two homes but three.”

“Burnaby? North Van? God help us, Richmond?”

“I looked today. There was nothing in our price range.”

“New Westminster?”

“I’ll try again. Why not a duplex, remind me again?”

“I’m not paying $800,000.00 for an f’ing duplex on top of not having a rental suite to help with the mortgage.”


“And there are very few condos with three bedrooms and then we have no guest suite, no rental suite and have to pay strata.”


We stop for panini at Cafe Calabria and eat in relative silence, staring at a statue of Venus that has a sign around her feet: do NOT touch and do NOT toss coins in the fountain for good luck.

“You need to write that novel, Lucia, and make a million dollars. You write beautifully.”

I take his hand and kiss it with my oily little pickled eggplant lips.Unknown-2

“Thank you, honey.”

“No. It’s true. And then we’ll just buy a place cash and never move.”

“Wouldn’t that be nice? I have lived in…twenty seven homes…I just can’t move anymore.”

“Yeah, I’m at least at twenty five. I’ll start up my practice and work hard and just – save save save.”

“But then we will miss our children’s childhood.”

He sighs.

“The kids are going to be okay, Cia.”

“Fellow decides to escort me to my doctor’s. We wait half an hour for him to drain a cup of blister fluid off my abdomen before he flies to Hawaii for a little holiday. When I am finally ushered into a room he’s in such a rush, he bursts in on me while I’m still changing and doesn’t even give me privacy when I am halfway through taking off my bra. He just barges in and assures me he’s looking away. Fellow bristles like a bear but I give him a look that says, “Doesn’t matter…let’s just get this over with.” He sticks a syringe into my belly button and sucks out thick raspberry lemonade while he chit chats with Fellow about the hotel and the heat and his kids and wife getting to know Maui.

I feel my belly refill with a bit of envy for people who have a little more money. But then I remember I do not know. What kind of life does he live? How happy is he? He spends long hours sucking fluid out of ladies. He probably needs and deserves a holiday and I bet it’s short. And I bet he spends the majority of the time in meetings or sleeping. Who knows? Or maybe he’s just really blessed and happy and why not?! I allow those thoughts to go into the syringe and out of me. I smile at my doctor compassionately and notice how tired his eyes look.

“I hope you have a wonderful restful time.”

He smiles, a little surprised, and says, “Thank you. It’s mostly a business conference.”

As Fellow drives me home he reminds me we’re coming on six months together. Can that be? I thank him for being so amazing.

“When I first got married, I was a punk. I learned a lot over the years.”

“Oh me too!” I say. “Before I got married I had no idea that I sulk.”

“You sulk?”

“Oh yeah, big time. Big birdy perch when I don’t get my way. Haven’t you noticed all day? I’ve been sulking about the farm.”

Fellow chuckles and takes my hand.

We’re going to find our perch. Don’t you worry, little birdie.




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