Spring is just around the corner, which is great because I am getting rather tired of staring at the walls of my house and of the cold that I and the rest of my family have had since Halloween. My winter clothes are all worn out because I change several times a day - instead of using tissues, my children wipe their noses on me. (I just shrug my shoulders and say, "I have kids," instead of explaining exactly what that white, crusty stuff is to my drycleaner.) Children's guileless lack of manners is truly shocking. Despite my pleading, threats and reasoning, they inevitably forget themselves and lean over to smear snot on my shirtfront or my hair on an hourly basis. Since they do it to each other and themselves as well, I can only assume that they find snot to be completely acceptable.
Staring at the mud pit that occupies the space where my lovely garden once bloomed makes spring being just around the corner seem kind of depressing.
When we moved into our house, the backyard was filled with bulbs of all sorts; roses that wouldn't quit blooming, shrubs, thick green grass and, best of all, an ancient lilac that was as big as the garage. The garden had been neglected but with a little fertilizer and some pruning could have been perfect save one thing - just outside the backdoor the old cistern lurked, ready to cave in, taking one of my babies or the dog with it. I would lie in my bed just before I fell asleep at night visualizing Baby Jessica scenes where the firefighters and coal miners worked for days trying to get to the baby that I had been so irresponsible to let fall into the creepy, scary cistern. Clearly we had to fill it in but I had no idea that our backyard would be laid more bare than the surface of the moon in the process.
The first blow came as I paced around the kitchen while chatting on the telephone. I glanced out the back window to notice that the lilac was gone. Days before we had one of those moments that you think only takes place in photo shoots under the branches of that very shrub. We sat under its prolific and heavily fragrant blooms reading books to the children and drinking wine. When I saw that the lilac was gone I actually cried. There is no way to replace a 30 year-old plant, which makes its loss all the more devastating.
I was still crying when I called my husband at work to ask him what in the hell he was thinking (only I am certain I used harsher language.) "I had to cut it down to get the backhoe in."
Now, my husband likes plants, he has a degree in horticulture, but he loves machines more. I should have known that that if it came down to choosing between that lilac and bringing a giant Tonka toy into the yard to play, that the lilac never stood a chance. Ignoring my suggestion that we use shovels and picks to cave in then fill the cistern, my husband rented a Bobcat and hired a man. Eventually we lost a privet hedge, the roses and most of the lush green grass to that Bobcat and hired man.
What my daughter used to call "The Back Garden" she now refers to as the "Yard." I know I should look at the big, wet boggy mess as a blank canvas, but I am having a glass-half-empty moment so that all I can see is the ghosts of the lilac and roses.
Which is why 233 Kingsway is so charming to me. The Franco-inspired brick facade looks as though it should sit in the corner of a verdant parc outside Paris. The well-maintained interior contains light-filled living space on three floors. French doors open from the kitchen and living room to a lushly landscaped "Back Garden" that is just about to come into bloom.
3 and one half baths
2679 square feet including 700 in the finished basement
Contact Donna Sullivan 293-9635
If you have a unique or interesting house for sale contact Lissa Sims at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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