Dangerous things happen when the Carpenter and I go on vacation together. We dream. We dream big.

Beyond our means, big. Living-the-dream big, only to be reminded that the reason we almost never go on vacation is the very same reason we can only dare to dream: we can’t afford it.

It’s a cruel notion really. You put yourself into some form of debt to escape the reality of your life, which is a never-ending cycle of debt. Then you run around the cottage trying to get your Wifi to work so you can online transfer funds in your bank account that confirms that you are, in fact, in debt. And repeat.

A week’s cottage rental was just enough time for us to refresh that youthful naiveté that anything is possible with love. Snort. We looked out over the lake together and decided that, at some point in our life together, this needed to be our daily view. And because we like to torture ourselves with delusions of grandeur, we did what all fools do on vacation: we picked up real estate guides. Idiots.

I blame realtors. And banks. Oh, and the government, (because that’s what Canadians do). Pages upon pages of temptation with clever tag lines like “Your dream cottage awaits,” (only the cottage has a three-car garage, five bedrooms, two with ensuites, and a tennis court). This too can be yours, if you mortgage your soul. And for a split second, I seriously consider the market-value of my soul. I mean, really, what’s it worth on the black market?

The Carpenter, the realist in this relationship, insists we look at fixer-upper properties so when he retires he can have projects that will allow him to do two things: keep busy and avoid me. I am okay with it, except I know how his projects can delay, so I have to find a cottage/home that I can live in knowing that he’ll ignore me and the bathroom reno, because some things never change. Best to live in reality, even in my fits of fantasy.

We plot a future where deadlines and concrete pours are no longer in our frame of reference. But this is where the air comes out of my dream bubble, because while the Carpenter has a pension from a union, I have a lovely bag of sea shells I keep in a special shoe box under the bed that I hope to some day trade for magic beans. That is my retirement plan (you can totally see this man married me for my dowry).

This is the point where our conversation turns to the harsh reality that we will be working forever. With that, our real estate porn turns to inns and cottage rental properties that we can run together as a business (because yeah, in our golden years we should try and work together. Snort.).

But hey, we can dream, right? Because, all this work and debt is leading us somewhere. I think we both know where that is: to the real estate box of shattered illusions. Dream big.

Anything is possible.


Kelly Waterhouse