Well, people, here we are: three years and counting. Three years of Manse ownership, that is; it was on this very day three years ago (Jan. 30, 2012) that Raymond and I became the owners of this great old house in beautiful little Queensborough, the house that happens to be the one that I grew up in. Today is also the third anniversary of Meanwhile at the Manse; our first day of ownership was also the day of my very first post. And you can read that post – which explains how we got here, and kicks off the 940 (yikes!) and counting other posts that were to follow it – right here.
On the first anniversary of our Manse acquisition, I used my post (which is here) to speculate about whether the subsequent 12 months would see the start of our much-discussed but not-yet-started renovations of the house. (They didn’t, by the way.)
On the second anniversary (the post is here), I was busy ruminating on my non-buyer’s remorse for failing to snap up a vintage telephone table at a bargain price. That’s kind of funny, actually, because non-buyer’s remorse is a recurring theme at Meanwhile, at the Manse, and I was going on about it again just the other night, in a post about vintage cheesy but endearing paintings of big-eyed urchins that you can read here. (Also, by the way, I did eventually get a great telephone table, which I told you about here.)
As I thought about what I would write tonight, to mark the end of Year 3 and the start of Year 4, I decided there would be nothing better than to reflect on what a cozy and happy place the Manse has become, unrenovated though it may be.
Yes, it’s still a little rustic. Our bathroom is, while very clean, alarming in many other ways; pieces of the flooring are torn up in various places; sections of the walls are missing wallpaper and showing crumbling plaster underneath; there is still horrendous early-1970s wood panelling in one of the guest bedrooms; and that orange-and-yellow broadloom on the front staircase just won’t quit.
And I didn’t even mention the tiny pantry kitchen with the Harvest Gold stove and the washing machine – the washing machine! – conveniently (not) located in its far-too-constricted space. Oh, well, I guess I have mentioned it.
But despite all of these imperfections and jobs waiting to be done, the Manse is a cozy and a happy place. At the end of every day, when I return home from work as a professor of journalism at Loyalist College, and Raymond sets aside his duties as editorial consultant for the National Newspaper Awards, and we’ve cooked a nice dinner in that tiny kitchen, we make ourselves comfortable in our living room. Often we watch a television program (there’s only ever time for one before my early bedtime), but sometimes we read or do more work on our laptops. (For one thing, there’s always a Meanwhile, at the Manse post that needs writing.)
And let me tell you, that room is just the nicest, happiest place you can imagine. Warmth radiates from the cranberry-red electric fireplace in the corner; there are books, including a lot of volumes of local history, in the bookcase and all over the room; there are framed photos of Raymond’s lovely grandson Henry; there is vintage furniture, and a vintage floor lamp, and there are vintage knick-knacks, every one of which has a story behind it; there are kerosene lamps in case the power goes out; there are artworks, one old and one new, featuring the Manse; and there are the very curtains that hung in that same room in the 1960s and ’70s when I was a kid growing up here. Yes, people, the curtains are still there.
And best of all, there is Sieste the cat, who loves to sit with us and watch whatever’s going on, making the occasional comment – whenever she’s not doing the hard work of catching up on her beauty sleep.
We love our cozy living room. We love our Manse. We love our cat. We love each other. And: we love those curtains.
So happy third anniversary to us!