Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Normal

I'm sitting in my new living room, feet up, watching the morning news and sipping coffee.  Sunlight is pouring through the blinds  and freshly baked buns sit on the counter.

We're home.

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Nope, we haven't hung anything on the walls yet, but the furniture is in place! Yay!

This is a new home that has taken some getting used to, but from the moment we stepped into the kitchen back in July and felt the hardwood beneath our feet, the three of us agreed that this place could be THE home. While it's bigger than our last house, in a lot of ways it feels smaller-there are two flights of stairs, and the yard is much smaller, although bigger than most of the other places in the area.     There's much less storage, and many times in the last week we've looked at our things and wondered where on Earth we're going to put stuff.  That is, of course, if we can FIND stuff.  I couldn't find my memory card or even batteries for my camera for weeks so there's no photos to even show you.

Sometimes, it feels like just our being here is a miracle.  Working out the logistics of moving from the Sunshine Coast were ridiculous-right down to figuring out how to get a moving truck.  You see, Uhaul often sends you elsewhere to pick up a truck because they can't really predict what trucks will be where. This meant that we could have to go to Vancouver to get our truck.

If you don't know the geography of the area it's hard to know how annoying this can be.  We couldn't go get the truck until after 4 pm, when John would be finished work.  This would mean running to catch a 6 pm ferry, then driving through Vancouver rush hour traffic to get a truck, and then turning around and catching a 9:20 ferry back home and arriving there at around 10:30 pm.  Add on the cost of food, gas, and getting the truck plus car back home, and you can spend around $350. There was a possibility that Uhaul could get us a truck in Sechelt, but they couldn't guarantee it.

First our truck showed up in Coquitlam, which required some frantic calls to Uhaul, and a woman who works in the regional office literally saved the day by grabbing us a truck in Sechelt.  I could have kissed her!  Then there was the fact that my guys have some sort of packing aversion, and coupled with the fact that they throw little away, there we were right to the last minute, literally throwing stuff on the moving truck and then my guys taking off to catch the last ferry while I stayed behind to clean the house.  I don't think we could have pulled it all off  without the support of our neighbors who helped haul furniture, fed me, took things to run to the recycling depot, and more. It's funny how you take people for granted, or even complain about them occasionally, and then when you really need help they show up and pitch in without asking.  We are very, very grateful that we had such wonderful people in our neighbourhood to help us.   Even the staff at Starbucks, upon finding out that we were moving, slipped extra muffins in my bag for breakfast the next day.

Once we arrived and waded through a maze of traffic, then the builder's trucks and equipment blocking various areas of our complex, the real work began-unloading the truck and hauling heavy, large oak furniture up one, sometimes two, flights of stairs.  By the end we were all exhausted, covered in bruises and scrapes, and unwilling to even look at another box again.  Having lost Anne, I was too tired and sad to talk. To write. To do anything except cook, really; and in the midst of chaos there I was, whipping up soups from scratch and home made yogurt.  Someone said on Twitter that they cook when they're sad, and that's what I have been doing, on and off.  In the midst of everything changing - my home, my job, even my car, there was immense excitement and while I know I should be grateful (I am!) and wildly happy, there are moments when I'd give it all back.  ALL of it.  I just want Anne here.  I want to see her tweets, go share a cup of tea with her, and share what's happening in my life.  Instead, I flounder a bit, trying to find moments of happiness and most of the time, finding it, but late at night when I'm alone, it's harder.  I wonder why when she was here I couldn't make the words come for her to read, but now they come and trip over themselves in my brain.  Grief is strange.  Sometimes, I miss her so much I literally ache.

"I HATE MOVING!" was repeated by all of us, more than once, as we sweated and struggled to haul things up the stairs.  Kevin surprised me-our teenager rose to the occasion and hauled more furniture and boxes, working harder than I've ever seen him, for about four days straight.  There is no way we could've done it without him.  Throwing my Food Revolution tendencies to the wind, I bought him a 12 pack of Coke and stored it in the new fridge, an icy cold treat to be enjoyed after long days of furniture hauling.

It's been almost two weeks now, and while John is still commuting home on weekends from Sechelt, we are settling in.  The sounds of traffic wake us up each morning, and we're no longer serenaded by crickets each evening.

Chilliwack Park
Downtown Chilliwack, in a park by the public library. "It's so beautiful!" I said to the attendant. "Now it is, " she replied.  "There used to be lots of gangs here." THEN I noticed the burly, tattooed guard at the front door.

 I can't see the ocean from my kitchen anymore or smell it's salty breeze.  Instead, sometimes the smell of manure permeates the air, and we pass fields of corn or other vegetables, even cows as we drive around town.  The weather is warmer and less humid.  Instead of the small local stores that were chock full of specialty ingredients, I'm finding I have to really search out ingredients among massive stores that I admit I feel a little lost in.  On the other hand, I had no difficulty picking up a bathing suit, which on the coast I would have had to order from the Sears catalogue instead.  We have a Purdy's Chocolate Shop and David's Tea in the mall, both of which made Kevin and I practically dance for joy. The mountains tower over us, snowcapped and majestic, and we can run down trails by the river.  I have slept in almost daily, recovering from what was the hardest move we have ever accomplished, and now am figuring out the mundane such as when the garbage truck comes, arranging for mail keys,  and signing up for a library card.  This area is different from any place we've ever lived and almost has the best of a few different communities-the urban flavour of Richmond where our family started, mixed with the rural farms of the Comox Valley where Kevin grew from a baby to 7 year old,  all rolled into one.  The best part is we no long have to take a ferry. There are no schedules, no line ups, no sailing waits.

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The Vedder River Trail. It was too hot out for us to go far, but we have plans to visit more.
We've discovered a nature preserve and then a farm that sells cheese just down the road.  There's a pool a short stroll away, and a little further still, we can wander to Starbucks.   There are many wide open spaces, from lakes to rivers and forest, rolling hills of farms and mountains,  all waiting to be explored.  Kevin and I have settled into our own routine so far; work in the mornings, but in the late afternoon, we take off to wander around town and check things out.  Each day brings it's own small adventure and we realize where things are and what we can do.

Today, we're going to visit  Hofstede's Country Barn.  I wonder what we'll find?

I'm up for an adventure, and only too happy to bring you along!

PS.  Would you believe, after all this, next week I'm going to Jamaica?  Yep. You read that right.  I was invited to go on a press trip with Travel Jamaica and am ready to go dip my toes in the ocean, drink rum, and eat jerk chicken.  After all the changes that were this summer, Jamaica seems like a fitting vacation, don't you think?


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