Our family of eight lived mostly in harmony. Four growing girls, Dave, myself and Dave’s parents shared our home happily. Separate lives but intermingled daily.
The girls were growing up, their friends were always at our home because I preferred to know where my girls were. When there are four kids living under one roof, noise is always a factor so a few more kids didn’t seem to make much difference. I worked in the mornings so, when the kids came home from school I was there, usually with some home made cookies so the neighbourhood kids were happy to hang around. My girls, on the other hand, used to tell me that other moms had real “store bought” cookies and why couldn’t we have the good stuff?
The constant stream of extra kids tramping through the house and the requests for sleepovers, made us think that a larger home was required. Being from England, meant that we got visitors coming out for four to six weeks at a time, so we were really bursting at the seam. We loved the area and certainly wanted the kids to stay in their present schools so we were lucky enough to find a bigger house with the same mountain views just a few minutes away from our existing home.
Thriftiness was always on our minds but the thought of moving six beds, five sets of bedroom furniture and two entire living rooms seemed daunting but, Dave was adamant, so we did it ourselves. He rented the old Budget truck and once we got the kids off to school, it was all hands on deck. It took us all day till almost midnight and we still hadn’t finished. The truck had to go back by 8.00am the following day so we were up and at it again before five. Once in place we took a day off before worrying about getting too organized.
We really enjoyed our deck with beautiful views of Pitt and Fraser Rivers and the mountain backdrop that went on forever. On cloud bound days we saw nothing but the top of the clouds, the whole world looked completely flat.
The girls were now all getting to be social butterflies and when the phone rang we didn’t bother answering it in the evenings as it was always for one of them. There were constant arguments over use of the phone. I tried to put a twenty minute limit on calls so they could all get a turn but this turned out to always have someone hanging around saying the twenty minutes was up.
Another annoying thing was hearing the caller being told, I can’t talk now because “she” is listening. Several times I had to call the phone company as the phone was out of service. The first time I called them the guy asked if I had teenagers. I was a bit surprised and asked how he knew. He replied that teenagers, especially girls, tried to take the phone as far away from listening ears as possible and pulled the cord so hard that it lost it’s contacts within the wall. We gave in and ordered a second phone which they had to share and leave the old line for the old fogies who, once in a while, actually got a call for them!
This didn’t stop the fighting but they did it in another room, where the new phone was installed, so the whining was less unbearable. If one of their friends rang our line I would tell them to call the other number. I would then answer another call to find that it was the friend again, asking me to tell so and so to call them as they couldn’t get through on the kids line because it was permanently tied up. It took several weeks of harsh refusals to carry messages before the friends got the idea that Susan or Carol’s mom was really mean.
Dave’s father had always had an interest in drawing and painting, now he was semi retired he spent more time on this pastime. Ray and Gena would drive to a beauty spot, with their picnic, dad would draw while mum sat and read. On returning home he would work on getting his sketch onto canvas, mainly water colours. Dave decided to build an addition to the house that would give his dad a glass studio, perfect for his growing artwork.
The studio turned out beautifully, however, Gena decided that it would also make a lovely sun room so half of it got furnished with loungers and the studio took up the other half. Life was wonderful, maybe too good to last.
Our eldest daughter married and moved into the new marital home, it took quite an adjustment to get used to her missing. Her siblings however didn’t seem to miss their sister and very quickly decided which one of them would move into her old bedroom, heartless brutes!
A year later and the next eldest girl moved in with her married sister and rented her attic apartment. Daughter number two had freedom without having to live alone and the young marrieds enjoyed the extra money to help pay the mortgage.
The girls were all growing up and gaining independence. Life was good.