Author | Illustration Zoe Daniels

DISPATCHES FROM A SUBURBAN STAYCATIONER

I just got back from a week-long staycation in the countryside. And by “countryside,” I mean Guelph, which is the closest thing you can get to the actual countryside without losing the option of dozens of head shops and wing restaurants. If you recall, I’ve had dreams of moving out of downtown Toronto, mostly due to chicken-related escapism.

This trip was part dog-sitting, part house-sitting, part suburban fantasy camp. We drove everywhere; we shovelled snow; the puppies ran and played in an honest-to-God backyard. I didn’t see or smell human pee anywhere! So weird, right?

A few things happen when you stay in your friends’ house for a week. For one, you can’t find a damn thing. I spent half the time in a fog, frantically trying to find which room I left my pants in. For two, you are definitely going to end up drinking their wine and eating all their butter and using all their paper towels (sorry Sarah and Libby! I love you the most).

When you’re city slickers like us, you’re inevitably going to have a raging case of space envy against everyone you meet. Did you know some people have whole rooms just for laundry? And that not everyone has to store their vacuum cleaner in a custom condo-sized ottoman-cum-storage container? Oh, and did they mention their house cost under a million dollars? Like, WAY under a million dollars? It’s like planet Mars out there, I swear.

At home, if I’m not sleeping, cleaning, or doing dog-mom related activities, I am usually out – working, performing or (rarely) socializing. In Guelph, our social commitments were minimal. People dropped by to say hello and eat frozen appetizers from M&M’s.

How else did we spend our Suburban Retreat? We sat, each of us with a dog in our lap – minimum one, maximum four (which is hell on your reading arm, let me tell you). Yes, books were read, TV shows were watched (tweet me for Making a Murderer-related discussion), crafts were beglittered (SORRY GUYS). WE WALKED NOWHERE, except because we were drinking and needed walkway salt one snowy evening. Romantische!

Has our little rendezvous with Guelph brought us any closer to moving? Short answer: yes and no. We understand that a place always seems idyllic when it’s cute and snowy and dog-filled and you’re on vacation. Real day-to-day life might not be so delicious. But if I had to guess, yeah, it’s gonna happen eventually.

In the meantime, I’ll have sweet dreams of big box stores, snowy hikes and never, ever riding the TTC again.

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