Sometimes an extremely dumb act can lead to profound breakthroughs in perception and awareness. Sometimes, you just chuck the goulash in the toilet and end up with a four-hundred dollar bill to Drain Rescue.

And a long hard think about the value of home-owning. The dark floating bits in the bathtub when the drain backed up had me contemplating the benefits of my beautiful home in the country in contrast with the freedom of renting a nice place in the country. Or being someone’s room mate. Or living in a nice camper and traveling around giving massage treatments wherever I land. Or selling everything and moving back to India… The dark floating bits in the foot high water came after the expense of a new dock, some landscaping, and the surveying of the sad-looking roof.

Wouldn’t it be nice if homes just needed a fresh coat of paint every ten years or so, and that once your mortgage was paid off, you could sit back and bask in the fruits of your labour, having only to pay… how much??? in taxes.

I started doing the math. If I had rented a nice apartment for $1000, a month for the last twenty years, that would amount to how much the actual house cost me. That wouldn’t cover the $100,000 in renovations, the $12,000 septic system, nor any of the other thousands spent in maintenance and repair. Oh, but you have equity! I hear you say.

However, the local school board has rescinded an agreement to transfer students to schools nearby, and insists on sending them an hour and a half away, rather than half an hour, making anyone with children shy away from the area. And now we are fighting a proposed granite quarry less than two kilometres away. Great real estate value now!  I’m here to stay, apparently, in my little oasis, for better or worse.

Back to the goulash, the toilet and enlightenment. As I pulled out my credit card to pay for one moment’s gap in judgement/ logic/ awareness, I considered the choices I have made. Until fifteen years ago, I was free. I could pull up stakes and fly if the situation or the person wasn’t working out. Then I got married. Even that had it’s escape hatch. It was the birth of the baby that changed everything. Not only did I have a child that required a major move and inspired an actual purchase of a home, I gave birth to a child, who when he was two years old, declared, I love my home. I’m never leaving.  I found this statement shocking. Never in my own life had such a concept even bristled. I was in lockdown for a least eighteen years. My wings were clipped.

Now, as that baby approaches the age of fifteen, I find I have grown some roots. I love this place. It’s mine. But that push/pull of freedom/security is hard at work within. Truthfully, that freedom was an illusion; half the time I was just on the lam – an escapee from some toxic relationship or dashing off to some new promise of joy and pleasure. But I also am aware that security is also an illusion. The quarry may come, the house is likely to fall apart, the market may crash and my lovely massage business may tank, and of course, I could get hit by the proverbial bus.

So, the question remains, to run or stay and fight? When my ex and I first moved to the country, we hosted weekend retreats of Aboriginal ceremony and teachings. When we split up, I was free again. Free to make my house my home. I had space and I could leave my underwear on the floor.

But now I’m thinking about revisiting the retreat notion. This time, a retreat for writers. A quiet place in the country to write by the river, have your meals presented, and optionally have readings in the evening.  This may be what the floating bits had to tell me. If this place is a money pit, at least have some flowing in at the same time it’s flowing out.

I am considering starting by offering a couple of weekends and possibly one week next summer.

Oh, the other lesson I learned from the back-up in the pipes? Don’t put goulash down the toilet, even if it does look like…