We are nestled in our SEED Home about to spend our first night. This has been a long time coming – about 150 days since we left our former Okotoks home in late July. Without Internet, our evening routine is quite different. Instead of watching a show, we are sitting in the east living room. Heather is reading to my left, Shay is lounging between the two of us, and Coco is having his evening meal over on the west side of the house. Shaw Cable will reconnect us to the world in a couple of days.
For our first dinner as residents of High River, we wandered over to Sally’s Bar and Grill, a half block to the west – steak sandwiches and beer for the both of us. It felt like a night to celebrate.
It will be several days of firsts before the SEED Homes team returns after the New Year long weekend to finish off a few small details. Our first load in the washing machine, the first run of the dishwasher and the first meal in the oven will be momentous, in small slices-of-life kind of ways. We both enjoyed our first bath tonight. I found it both comfortable and calming.
We are becoming familiar with the sounds of the house. The gentle hum of the electric hot water tank, the birdlike chirping of something in the heating system, and the creak of the floor in the causeway between the west and east sides of the house. The floor still needs to be leveled in one spot, one of several small deficiencies that will be addressed in January.
The house is halfway set up. Each room provides a glimpse of what it will be when all the finishing details are done. Closets and shelves are empty, as we don’t want to weigh them down with our stuff. It’ll be easier for the workers to move things around if we haven’t fully unpacked. That process will happen soon enough, probably a week from now, when the baseboards have been installed and painted.
I’ve been a little uncertain where I would paint when the dust settles on our move in. However, after being in the home for the day, I know exactly what I’m going to do for a mini temporary studio. I’m going to use the guest bedroom until Birdsong Studio 3.0 get completed. The bed, currently made up for Heather’s parents who are coming for the New Year celebration, will get propped up vertically after their visit. Tarps will get spread out to ensure that no adventurous globs of paint find their way onto the new bamboo floor. Then I will get to work.
Our overall impressions of our SEED Home in High River include a love of the light. The layout is way smaller than we are used to but more than livable. This feels like the downsized life that we were aiming for. The Trusscore walls are lovely and feel somewhat futuristic. The bamboo floors are warm and bright. The kitchen is modern and seems to be functional. We’ll get a better feel for it in the next few days as we entertain a few guests.
I remember the first few days of moving into The Redpoll Centre in Fort McMurray being acutely aware of temperature differences. The same is true here in our SEED Home. Each room, each floor section has a different feel. The difference here is that there is a temperature control panel for multiple zones. They all generally make sense with one exception. The floor thermostat for the main living area is set for 23.5 degrees but reads 26. We’ll ask about that anomaly next week.
I am sitting in the east living room with only a t-shirt on. I can feel a slight chill but not uncomfortably so. That means it is 18 or 19 degrees. Perfect.
We currently have no privacy in the east or west living rooms. There are no window coverings. While the temptation might be great to get some, we need to remind ourselves that privacy will be provided by a 6-foot fence that will be built in the spring. In the meantime, we just need to be mindful of our level of dress when walking through the living rooms. We don’t want to give any passersby an unexpected shock.
The light in our master bedroom at night is subdued and soft. There are three wall sconces that don’t fully turn off – a deficiency that will be addressed. During the day, you barely notice them. But at night, they cast a subtle warm glow which makes navigating to the bathroom super easy.
Coco and Shay seem to be adapting well. Coco, as usual, found his spot between Heather and I at some point in the evening. Shay asked for permission to come up at about 4 pm. I’m grateful for the thermostat on the wall opposite to where I sleep. One glance across the room and I get to see the time. A nocturnal and immediate time reference is important to me. I’ve missed it through much of this time between homes.
We will spend the day settling in and getting ready for guests. Heather’s parents will join us on New Year’s Eve and spend a couple of evenings with us. We will go pick up Dylan and his partner Riki for a New Year’s Day brunch. On January 2nd, the workers return to do various tasks including the install of the countertop on our kitchen island – though it is more of a peninsula. The installation of the baseboards will also happen on the 2nd along with the start of window trim painting.