The Daily EO: July 13th, 2013

You know, I try to remember there are all kinds and it takes all kinds.  But I have packed and moved a lot.  A Lot.  So, when I am involved in a move, I get a little smug about it.  I’ve learned some things:

1.  Get proper packing materials – boxes, packing paper, sharpies, wardrobe boxes, packing tape, etc
2.  Accept that moving day is going to suck – work from dawn to dusk and get it all done in one day.  Trust me – it sucks, get it over with, do not spread it over several days.
3.  Moving Day is called Moving Day not Packing Day.  You don’t pack on Moving Day or Move on Packing Days.
4.  Lifting heavy furniture and other items is for suckers and students.  Hire people who have the proper equipment and experience
5.  Label your boxes – you will not remember where you packed the egg beater

So, given that I know all of this, I am not the best person to invite to a move – unless I was involved in the packing.  And you have listened to the above rules.  No packing in garbage bags, no wrapping up things in newspaper, no asking me to lift your fridge down the stairs.

Fortunately when we moved my grandma today, I had been involved in the packing.  As had my mother – who is even more smug and fastidious (if that is possible) – about packing than I am.

That didn’t make the day at good one, but it certainly made it easier.  The movers were fantastic, the boxes were in and out quickly and she had a working suite by 6 pm that night.

July 13th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  From time of call of the suite availability until completely moved in = 37 days.  (including the gnashing of the teeth about deciding to move)

The Daily EO: April 19th, 2013

I’ve touring retirement residences with my grandma and aunt of late.  My grandma is going through a 3 year journey where she is recognizing the increasing problems walking are not likely to change.  She has lived with the hope that her problems in her legs were strictly due to a lupus flare-up and would improve with time.  Nobody – including me – was to keen on telling her that although the lupus causes some problems but it was more likely due to a combination of age and lupus and was not going to get better.

She’s leaned on my aunt’s arm and life for almost 3 years now, struggling to accept that grocery shopping, taking care of everything herself and walks on her beloved quay boardwalk are no longer easy or always pleasant tasks.

So, when she had a bit of a melt down with me one day during the simple discussion of a birthday present, I knew something else was really the root cause of her upset.  When she told me “that we don’t do things like that in our side of the family” – excluding me from my her and my dad’s side – I knew she was fighting anger and frustration and sadness and despair in the realization that things were not going to get much better.

Fortunately, I recognized that instead of her meaning that I was out of the family – she really needed direction on how to start considering other living arrangements.  And being the direct type that I am – I told her that it is time for fact-finding – not decisions – just facts.  Then she could start crystallizing things in her head.  As I always say – “Have a plan – you’ll feel better.”

So, we toured two places – Thornebridge and Mullberry – both within 15 minutes of where she is living now to see their offerings.  The first day was quite emotional for her and “simply overwhelming”.  But she was “impressed”.   The second tour was less emotional, and different and “closer to her doctor” of whom she doesn’t like much (Um?  Okay Grandma).

When I called her today to see how she was doing, she was fixated on whether the first place has window coverings included in part of the rent – as they can be “quite dear”.  And also working on cleaning out her filing cabinet because its “much too big to take”.  This is a step forward from pondering how it could be possible to get her bed out of her condo as it was so big “it was terrible to get in”.

And each time I call her, she is deep into lists and and thinking things through, trying to figure out the best way to make her decision.  She asked me “What do you think of the second place?  But don’t you tell me what do to!”  Really, all things being equal for the most part (price, location, service comparison, etc), I thought the food and the servers at the second one was, well, wretched.  Well, the food was wretched, the server was okay.  My grandma said she didn’t like the server or food too much either, she thought the server at first place was much friendlier and better.  And just in case I didn’t know, she told me it doesn’t matter to her about “ethics”.  Which I took to mean that she believes all people – including those of different ETHNIC backgrounds – are created equal (both servers were of asian descent).

April 19th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Grandma is finding her facts, and is doing much better thanks to having a plan.  And I’m back in the family.

 

The Daily EO: January 6th, 2013

We opened boxes today that I packed in Midland, Ontario in August 2011.  Things that were wrapped up with the expectation of being enjoyed again in a couple of months (or weeks?).  Instead, they spent time in a storage warehouse in Gravenhurst, then into first floor of our rental house in Huntsville, then into a storage locker in Huntsville, then across the country to Vancouver where they have sat until we could find time and place for them.

I’ve moved many times, and one thing I’ve learned is leave the pictures on the wall as long as possible.  Take the pictures down when you need to feel a sense of accomplishment on how much you have packed.  White walls with nail holes tell you the end is near – it’s soon time to go.

We’ve still got much in our storage locker to go through, but Sunday we opened the pictures.   Because you can’t have blank white walls and be able to call it home.

Back in 2004, we moved to Huntsville – and moved into our first home together.  It was the first home I had ever owned and the first house my husband (then boyfriend) had even owned.  It was perfect for us then.   We had moved from Toronto and separate apartment living to our own house with many blank walls and empty rooms to fill.

It was while embracing our new home town that we attended our first Huntsville Fall Fair.  The fall fair is what you’d expect from a small rural town.  There is a carnival, local entertainment, farm animals and many ribbons in several categories to compete for.

I was utterly charmed by the fair and by my new town.  When I viewed my husband’s pictures (taken on his then brand new Nikon D70), I enchanted to find what remains to this day one of my all-time favorites images.  We took two from that day (and another one of stacked Ranier cherries at Granville Island) to create a series of 3 perfect large prints for our kitchen.

They were our first pictures together in our first home.  And we hung them again in our Midland home.

January 6th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Today they were hung in our Vancouver home.  I’m glad to see them again.

The Marmalade Glows in the Sun.
Marmalade Glows in the Sun.

The Daily EO: November 14th, 2012

When we visited Vancouver in February of this year, we did not know we’d have moved here.   Emile – as always – took a day to explore the city and took this shot from North Vancouver.  If you look at the skyline in the distance, you’ll see our building (the tallest one) near the “giraffes” on the port.

As I drove home tonight, I was considering that it almost half way done November and time flowing by.  It feels like I’ve lived here forever but yet, I think I might be on vacation.  So much has changed and I don’t feel home-d yet.

November 14th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  If this is vacation, I’ve got to get a new travel agent.

Little did we know. . .

 

The Daily EO: Thanksgiving Weekend 2012

I have many things to be thankful for this weekend and among the foremost are my generous and kind friends Colin and Alison who let us stay at their house for a month until we could get ourselves settled in our own place.  They and their delightful children welcomed us with open arms sharing their rooms, food and attention with us.

After a full day shopping, visiting, buying, cooking and eating on Saturday, our truck arrived on Sunday and we then spent a whole day moving and unpacking.  Today was also spent moving and unpacking, but fortunately with a lovely afternoon with margaritas in the backyard also.

Over this weekend we:

  • shopped
  • purchased mattresses
  • searched for beds and other furniture
  • Had a house-warming party with Colin and Alison and kids enjoying fire roasted pizza at Incendio in Gastown
  • helped to cook a turkey dinner (and ate said turkey dinner)
  •  moved all of our stuff into a storage unit or condo
  • unpacked the kitchen
  • unpacked the living room
  • transported all of our things from Colin and Alison’s
  • made up our bed (I write while sitting on a foamy leaning against the wall)
  • unpacked all of our clothes (a difficult feat considering we have no dressers or bookcases)
  • took my grandpa for Thanksgiving pizza lunch at Me & Ed’s
  • Didn’t write the Daily EO daily (they would have gone something like this.  Moved and unpac. . . . zzzzzz.)

Here are some other things I am thankful for:

  • My husband Emile is the brave and supportive and he made this move happen.
  • Our truck with our possessions arrived on time and under budget and tax-deductible and so far unbroken.
  • I discovered that Benalyn is more effective than Safeway knock-off Nyquil.
  • Thanksgiving Dinner was a delight of new and different sides than I usually do.  Yum.
  • Sushi restaurants serve non raw fish options so we can go as much as Emile wants
  • Whoever the guy was that decided to have the lit sails of Canada Place change colour during the night.
  • My in-laws are so close by telephone and supported this move whole heartedly (despite a few tears on both sides)
  • That I never reduced my credit limit from $15,000 despite certainty that I would never ever break a 5 figure balance.
  • I am climbing in the call rotation from my grandpa – I can now help when he needs something.
  • That my weird habit of sticking kleenex up my nose when I am sick is tolerated by my husband as long as we are in the house alone.
  • My family is close by – comparatively so.
  • That pottery can go in the dishwasher.
  • I have a job.  In my field.
  • I no longer live in the house with a huge bag of Jelly Bellys so I can now lose the bean weight added.

I could go on and on and on as I realize what I have.  I only have to travel a few blocks east to see the crushing poverty and addiction that some struggle with.  I miss the rural life in Huntsville of course – but neither of us regret the decision to come to here and make a different kind of life.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  I live in Vancouver.  Family lives here.  Friends live here.  We are going to make a home here.

The Daily EO: September 25th, 2012

I was truly terrified to make my way back down to Gastown to see our new place.  Emile and I agreed to meet there after work, but it was not because I wanted to.  I had already put off meeting their on Monday with some airy excuse of being too tired.  But the real reason was because I was afraid.

Seriously.  Yes, I was afraid to go and see my new condo that I had committed to paying a large amount of money for each money for the next 15 months.

  1. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find the parking and I’d accidentally pull into the wrong underground parking.  Then I wouldn’t be able to back out because there would be all these cars behind me honking.
  2. I was scared that perhaps the real estate agent who arranged this deal was shady and this was going to result in me actually not have rented an apartment and that he just took our money. (despite me visiting his Re/Max office myself)
  3. I was anxious that the concierge would be mean and not helpful.  (??!)
  4. My gut clenched at the thought of 41 stories in the air and that I would be frightened every time I was at home.
  5. The apartment shrunk in my mind and I thought all of our stuff wouldn’t fit.

All of these ridiculous fears made me feel ridiculous, and so I knew I had to go down and deal with it.   And turns out I am just a little crazy.  None of these things actually happened.  Can you believe it?  The concierge helped me find the parking location – he was friendly, our key was not a fake one,  unless I was standing on the balcony I felt fine and the apartment was the 950 square feet.

September 25th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  My god, I’m ridiculous.

The Daily EO: September 20th, 2012

It was a pretty crappy ad as ads go.  No pictures, no great use of punctuation, poor description.  Normally, sending up red flags about reliability and credibility, I wouldn’t have responded to it.  I was high from my urban experience at Salt, and feeling risky, and that I needed to look deeper to find a place.

So as we sat and chatted around the kitchen table, I send a quick e-mail.  I didn’t even tell Emile.  I got a response quickly – in about half an hour I got a no salutation, no capital, no paragraph, ramble of an email.  I almost wrote it off as someone I wouldn’t trust to rent from.

But I googled the cell phone and email address and found that it was a real estate agent.  Okay.  Hmm.  I answered, and I got another quick reply.  With 3 or 4 exchanges we made an appointment to view the apartment the next day.

We walked the area and noted all the shops within the building – pub, grocery store, drug store, bank.  And the area – great restaurants, shops, boutiques.  Walking distance to Emile’s work.

The sky was pink from the evening sun and people bustled around returning from work.

The agent arrived and we made our way up to the 41st floor to one of the penthouse suites.  We opened the door and found ourselves in what could only be described as our new apartment.  The view stretching across the living area and two bedrooms.

September 20th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Finding our spot in Gastown.

41st Floor, North View across the water, 2 bedroom, 2 full bath, ~930 square feet, immediate occupency.

The Daily EO: September 4th, 2012

For days, I have wanted to get going already.  Let’s get in the car and head west, what are we doing hanging around here?  And this morning I realized why – I was avoiding the tearful goodbyes.  It’s not that I don’t want to be here, it’s that I need to be somewhere else too.  But the end date makes things so much more poignant.  Over the last four days we are having to say goodbye to everyone we love in Ontario – knowing that visits and calls will not be as immediate as before.

At my wedding after the ceremony Toni (my mother-in-law) grabbed me by the hips and said to me “You two are right for each other.  Be good to each other.  Take care of each other.”   It was the first time she had ever grabbed me by the hips – and I knew she was telling me something that meant a lot to her.  This morning, when she did it again, I had to blink several times to hold back the tears  – and I wasn’t entirely successful.  “You’re doing this together.  And that makes it right.” She said.  My father-in-law hugged us both a little longer than usual.

We left them standing in the drive-way waving goodbye, looking a bit sadder than usual.  They gave us a card to read on the way.  Emile was driving so he asked me to read it aloud.  And he knew I couldn’t do it for some time. Instead we sat quietly with our thoughts as we left St. Catharines behind us – both regretful of the moments we know we will miss but still certain of our decision to move to Vancouver together.

And then that evening a dinner with our friends in Huntsville to say our last goodbye to good friends there.  And the night before with friends in St. Catharines.  Friday night – Toronto friends.  My heart tears a little with each hug, card and well wish.  I want to stay, I want to go.

Tomorrow we start out, tomorrow we begin a long trip to a new start, but we still look backward.  Muskoka is where we married, each found our career path and became part of a community as a couple.

September 4th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The selfless well wishes from family and friends who sadly know this is the right thing.

The Daily EO: September 3rd, 2012

Things I am afraid of:

  1. Getting all the non-work things – both tasks and pleasure – done while working full time.
  2. That I am not as good as I was before when working as a materials manager
  3. That I wasn’t as good as I thought I when working as a materials manager
  4. Making new friends
  5. Spiders
  6. Emile resenting me for separating him from his family and his home for 40 years
  7. That Vancouver vacation spot will not be as good as Vancouver living spot
  8. That rain will make me sad
  9. I’ll drift apart from my friends
  10. Enclosed spaces that I could accidentally be trapped in
  11. The increased risk of earthquakes on the west coast
  12. Saying goodbye to everyone and not being able to say what I want to say
  13. A Fresh Start

 

Things I look forward to:

  1. Both of us working in our chosen careers at the same time
  2. Buying material goods – while recognizing I don’t need material goods for happiness
  3. Spending more time with my grandparents and family.
  4. Travelling to Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands, Whistler, Okanogan, Kootenays, Sunshine Coast, Washington and other close by destinations
  5. Not shoveling snow
  6. Tax Season
  7. Getting a pedicure and my eyebrows threaded
  8. Buying trendy rain gear
  9. Ability to visit my mom and brother for a weekend
  10. The varied options in a large urban centre
  11. A Fresh Start

 

Things I hope for:

  1. Emile flourishing in his new home town despite the separation from his family
  2. Emile’s law firm recognizing the talent he has
  3. Building a future at my new company
  4. Continuing Fit April through
  5. Positive resolution to the economic crisis in Europe
  6. A visit from Emile’s family next summer
  7. A Fresh Start

 

September 3rd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Worries that haunt you in the night don’t seem as bad in a list in the light of day.