Monday, April 18, 2016

The House My Grandma Bought

Once upon a time, just a few months ago, my grandmother went to an estate auction sale to buy a buggy. Come to think of it, I'm not altogether sure what an 80-year-old woman in 2016 needs a buggy for, but I didn't think to ask because that's not even the most interesting part of this story.

The most interesting part is that she accidentally bought a house, as well.

This is the kind of thing that happens on TV, to Seinfeld or someone like that - a misunderstanding with disastrous but funny consequences, the kind that makes you laugh even while you shake your head and say, "That would never happen in real life, though." But the thing about my grandma is that I have a whole bunch of stories about her that sound like they've been pulled from the pages of a sitcom writer's notebook. I like to think, sometimes, that I've inherited a little bit of her luck in that area.

Anyway: the house.

It was a beautiful wood-frame Foursquare farmhouse, with a footprint of about 1000 square feet, three storeys high, all full of old books and vintage chairs and peeling wallpaper in every imaginable pattern and colour. The auctioneer noted its beauty and started the bidding at $30,000.

And no one bid on it.

The auctioneer was puzzled at this; there had been a lot of interest expressed in the house prior to the auction. He lowered the starting price to $20,000 - and still, no one bid.

"Alright," he said, "Let's start the bidding at $500 and work our way up there."

And still, no one bid.

My grandma decided to get the ball rolling. She had no intention of buying a house, of course, but she thought, If I just start the bidding, this thing'll take off. 

So she bid $500. Instead of taking off, however, 'this thing' laid down and died right in front of her.


My mom says she received a text message that day from Grandma that read, simply, "Oh! I just bought a house!"

So, anyway, my grandma also bought a buggy that day, and my mom headed up to Gravelbourg, where all of this was taking place, to help her get the thing home. That's when she saw the house and, in the second great unplanned and unexpected incident of the day, fell completely in love with it.

To make a long story a little shorter: my grandma gave the house to my mom ("What's an 80-year-old woman going to do with a fixer-upper like that?"). My parents, in turn, sold the farm, and are currently in the process of restoring that old house into their dream retirement prairie mansion in the quaint little village of Frontier, Saskatchewan. If you know them at all, you know that this whole thing is pretty much a dream-come-true for them.

Here's a blurry picture of the house on the back of a truck, slowly making its way, uh, home.

I went and checked the place out this weekend, and left feeling so excited to see what they do with it, but also so excited that I don't have to help (I live 4.5 hours away, so phew). It's a needy little house. My mom's favourite kind.

Some of their friends have asked if they wouldn't mind keeping them updated on the reno process, and my mom, in turn, asked me if I wouldn't mind posting pictures here every once in a while so she can just direct that traffic this way. So, every once in a while, I'll post updates on the #fivehundreddollarfoursquare. You're more than welcome to follow along.