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Lemon red and cherry yellow
On all of our possible happy endings
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All I ever talk about is floors. Ask me how I’m doing, I will tell you about floors. Ask me when the store is going to open, I will tell you about floors. I’m in such jumbled autopilot about what colours we are getting (which has not changed in months) and what date they will be installed (which has changed every week) that I recently described the tiles as “lemon red and cherry yellow” rather than the (accurate) inverse.
Anyway, the tiles that were absolutely supposed to be installed last week are now being installed this week. There seems to be nothing I can do to impact this process or timeline, so I’m just kind of trying to go with it.
One of the ways I am “going with it” apparently means I decided this weekend was the perfect time to look at pictures of other tiles and other colour schemes that we considered but ultimately decided against.
Like this one1:
When I found this picture on my phone today I had two feelings crash into each other. The first was the certainty and regret that this option was actually a perfect aesthetic and one we should have absolutely gone with. The second was an overwhelming determination to find fault with some aspect of this look — to confirm for me that it would have absolutely been the wrong choice.
What is harder for me to process was that this would have been a perfectly lovely design approach, but we just made a different one — that will also be perfectly lovely. Because it is very hard for me to internalize that there is not one specific correct happy ending I should be working towards.
This was made glaringly evident last spring, when Haritha and I were in a complete mental spiral about what future we should be fighting hardest for.
We asked ourselves:
Should we buy a small home in the Annapolis Valley?
Should we rent an apartment in Halifax for a while?
Should we keep fighting to try to buy this building?
At the time of this Olympic-level handwringing, we were staying with a friend who had generously offered us a place to land while we tried to figure out our lives. After talking through these various options with them, they said “It sounds like you’ve got a lot of good choices open to you!”
We had somehow completely failed to see things that way. In our head there was one right choice, and anything else would have led to an existence of ruin and regret. It was so liberating to slightly reframe things as “Which of these positive futures should we choose for ourselves?” It really helped me a lot, and I was determined to approach things this way moving forward.
I can’t pretend I get this right all of the time. Or even most of the time. But I’m working on it.
I had the chance to practice recently, when I took the first week of July off from my day job. We thought our floors were going to be installed (surprise! they weren’t!) and there were a few things we wanted to pick up first to help us get the space ready.
To facilitate these errands — and as a belated birthday celebration for Haritha — we decided to stay in Halifax for a night. I grabbed us a cute spot in the South End, and we did some of the things that we can’t do where we live now:
We met Izzie and Max on the patio at Dharma Sushi.
We had Dee Dee’s Ice Cream and took a walk on the Commons.
We spent hours with my bff Ally (who I had not seen for a year!).
We picked up so many things from FB marketplace.
We went to the Ardmore Tea Room for brunch.
We looked at everything (and ate many meatballs!) at Ikea.
We crammed a lot into those 36 hours. And if we actually lived in Halifax I know we’d probably have a lot more chill days where we just kind of puttered around and took naps (like we did today in Port Medway).
But it still gave us a glimpse of what our lives would be like if we lived in the city. We saw the ways it would be better (more robust access to food and friends) and the ways it would be worse (we still wouldn’t have anywhere to manufacture Temperance Tonics, and and it’s very unlikely we’d have been able to buy a place of our own).
Around the same time we were getting overstimulated in the self-serve section of Ikea, our friend Bailey (who was checking in on our mulberry trees while we were away2) sent us this picture — with the message “you live here.”
It’s pretty astonishing that this is our backyard. And it was such a perfect reminder of the fact that even though we could be living a more bustling life in Halifax, we were also living one of our possible happy endings in Port Medway. And when we pulled into our driveway after our short 90 minute drive away from another possible life, we felt so happy and peaceful to be this version of home.
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Admiration points if you recognize this kitchen!
A completely delightful sentence to get to say!