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Holy frijoles, three months since my last post? Oo eck, better get typing.

This is a bittersweet post because I have lots of things to be cheerful about and one big thing that is making me miserable. Let’s dwell on the positive for now!

Here is the positive:

sold-sign1

We bought a house!

I even mentioned it as a remote possibility in my last post – the permanent residency approval meant we were finally eligible for a mortgage. We had actually seen the house up for sale at Christmas when The Parents were here (for they are the sort who casually look up house prices “just to check”) but at the time we assumed it was all in the realm of fantasy. By the end of March, with residency approved, we discovered that not only was the house still on the market, it had also been reduced by $20,000. After consultations about help with the deposit with my wonderful and very generous parents, we put in an offer for another $10k less, and incredibly it was accepted the same day! The house was empty anyway and of course we had no property of our own to sell, so the sale went through very quickly and we actually completed and took possession within 3 weeks of putting the offer in! Naturally though, (and seemingly just because this involved me) there were quite a few last-minute bureaucratic tangles to deal with, and physically moving our stuff with two kids was an absolute nightmare. Theia has learned to crawl, and is close to walking now too. She got in Every Single Box as we packed. Ugh. Exhausting. But, we are in!

The house is blue and seemingly bigger on this inside, therefore, it is a Tardis house. There is more than enough room for The Parents to visit and stay long term, and we could even lock them comfortably in the attic if needs be. There are plenty of odd and unusual features like a full bathroom with claw-footed bath inexplicably plumbed into the unfinished basement to keep me amused. But best of all, it is only 3 blocks away from where we used to be, and so we are still in Cathedral (the bestest neighbourhood in town!)

It is my favourite time of year again, Cathedral Village Arts Festival time! This year Miranda did not go to bed before 9.30pm on any night of the week. We fitted in parading and picnicking and painting a cardboard version of our house on the Monday (the library took a very literal interpretation of this year’s theme, “paint the town”!), then saw some children’s theatre. Tuesday was a drunken poetry slam where I rhymed and ranted about daughters of feminists, we won sci-fi books at Wednesday’s Towel Day costume contest (I dressed as Slarty Bartfast, complete with beard), Thursday was a clown show and Miranda is now in love with all things Clown which is a little scary, and Friday was the 25th arts festival anniversary special show, featuring Taiko drumming and lifesized rapping Grandma puppets (and plenty more that we missed because of Bedtime). I dared to actually take a day off from the cafe on Saturday because I assumed all my regular customers would be at the Cathedral street fair. I think I was right. It was PACKED as usual, but actually more pleasant because it wasn’t so uncomfortably hot as last year. I had volunteered with Miri’s daycare helping out on their facepainting stall, and we had half-hour waits and line ups all day. Then it rained and I got utterly drenched. We saw some bands in the evening, had beers, much silliness ensued. Good times.

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We ran into my friend Barbara, this year’s chair of the festival several times during the week and she kept saying that it was nice to see us at so many events. Another friend commented that I seemed to know so many people there and always knew what was going on when. I don’t think of these things as unusual. I love having such a huge festival on my doorstep and it would be a shame not to make the most of it. And I know a lot of people here because they are a very friendly, welcoming lot and I do my best to get to know the neighbours – (not something I felt I’d ever want or be able to do in Darlington!). We have legitimized it by buying a piece of it, but this city and particularly this neighbourhood rapidly became our home and we are very, very happy to be here!

All Together Again!

Daddy’s back!!!!

Miri’s gleeful reaction at the airport

So good to see him again!! Unfortunately for Carl, there were numerous last minute dramas involving the ferret-shipping company utterly screwing up with the import papers, meaning that the Furry Children are still in the UK and our little family is not quite complete yet. Poor Carl had to do an epic re-routing session and ended up driving a ridiculously long way all over the country the day before his flight, then due to the social skillz (ahem) of our dear friends in the south, only got a few hours sleep before the flight anyway. And then his connecting flight from Toronto was delayed by two hours. And then Miri and I tried to walk to the airport, and were late meeting him because we spent 20 minutes going round in circles trying to figure out how to get across Lewvan Drive.

– Rant alert:

Seriously, Regina, WTF?? How exactly are you supposed to get to the airport if you don’t have a car?? I cannot afford to pay $20 for a return cab fare when I can walk the distance in under half an hour. Yet there’s no bus, no pavement – sorry, “sidewalk” and there isn’t a pedestrian crossing within half a mile of the airport in either direction!? I had to run for my life across a major highway with the pushchair/stroller just to get to the terminal driveway! Even Darlington has a shuttlebus to the local airport that is actually smaller than your Walmart!!! Sort it out!!

– Rant over.

But Anyway. Carl is here. WOOOHOOOOO!

Today has been pretty stressful as on top of everything else, we are trying to move in to our lovely new house this weekend before Carl starts his new job. No time to relax for Carl! But even despite that, I still feel almost relieved. I’ve kinda had it etched into my brain that Everything Will Be Easier When Carl Gets Here. As anti-feminist as this may sound, I just feel more confident with my husband with me! He’s SUPPOSED to be here, and it’s not right for us to be apart. I also feel like We Have Officially Emigrated now. The last few months on my own didn’t really count since I still had so many ties to and loose ends in the UK. But now we are both free of all that finally!  Certainly his arrival will help with Miranda too, (though she is SO EXCITED to see Daddy again that she got herself all wound up, refused to sleep and has been an over-tired, grouchy madam all day and resorted to the kicking-howling-throwing-things-laying-on-the-floor type tantrums when we refused to put Shaun the Sheep on for the fourth time! But other than that she’s a darling sweet thing, of course!). Having a spare pair of hands with her gets me my evenings back so I can actually do things I want and need to do. I may even be able to Go Out Past 9pm!!

The new house is indeed lovely too; I feel like I can actually make it mine, which is something I’ve never felt in this apartment. It makes me that much more independent from work too. Carl seems impressed with it too, as he hadn’t actually seen it yet! Good thing too really. He also seems to be quite excited about work, even volunteering to buy new shoes for it! GASP. For the first time in at least a decade we should actually have some disposable income soon, and that on its own is a huge relief  as well. Saying money has been tight since I got here is like saying Canada is a fairly big country – massive understatement. No more just eating my tips. Woohoo!

I was going to do a sort of introspective post about the last three months, but Carl is already snoring so I’d better turn off.

Have to share a bed again.

Doh.

 

but YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!! My Carly Warly is back where he belongs!!!!

 

We’re on the move again!!

Only a street away, this time though!

This is going to be a short post because I need to go to bed, and also because Miranda has pulled the space bar off my keyboard and typing this coherantly is very difficult indeed.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, when the parents werehere, Mum got ever so overambitious and started looking up houses for us in Cathedral Village.  After going through the paper several times and finding every house she could under $300,000, she eventually found something more useful – a three bed place in the next street to ours, up for rent! Cathedral Village is definitely not the cheapest part of town, but on Carl’s new income, we can afford it, hopefully. Better still, it’s available from August 1st, which is coincidentally the same day Carl is supposed to start  his new job.

I am very fond of this apartment and I have definitely made it mine in the two months we’ve been here, living above work has been handy, and the location is brilliant, but it won’t do three of us. Having been woken up by Miri at 5.15am this morning and with her not going to sleep until gone 10pm, sharing a bedroom with her is not ideal. Mummy doesn’t get two hours nap time in the middle of the afternoon!! I don’t like being on the second floor with no garden either, and living above the cafe means I occasionally  go a whole week without actually leaving this building! Carl and I are going to need more space when he gets here, so I think it will be time to say byebye to this place!

I signed the tenancy agreement on thenew place this evening and handed over a very large cheque from the Bank of Mum and Dad for the damage deposit (THANK YOU!! AGAIN!!). New Landlord seems a great bloke, not put off by Purple/Blue hair or the prospect of Incoming Ferrets. (woohoo!) So, all is exciting!!!!!

Poor Carl has a hell of a lot to sort out over the next few weeks – redundancy money hopefully, selling the house in Darlington (still!) then worrying about international removals, getting our stuff on a ship, getting the ferrets on a flight and all before starting a brand new job. I’ve been googling shipping companies, but otherwise there is not really much I can do to help him!

It is all coming together, slowly, but there is going to be a lot more stress and expense yet!

the new house!

Firsts

WE MADE IT!!!!

We are finally actually here, all legitimate with work permits stapled in to our passports, an apartment to call our own and even a Canadian ‘cell phone’ number. Tis Official!!

THE WORK PERMIT!!! AWESOMENESS!!!!

This post may be a little incoherant because I am still so tired. This is Day 3 and it is still MANIC. Carl is lying on the floor SNORING which is slowly driving me nuts but at least he’s not doing it actually in the bed!

This time, the 7hr time difference really did take it out of us. Our second (internal) flight was delayed for a while at Calgary, so we actually arrived at the Regina youth hostel at 1am rather than the 11pm we were hoping for. 1am of course felt like 8am UK time, and we hadn’t really slept all that ‘night’. Miri was very good on the plane though, and despite waking up enough to help us eat nachos and a steak sandwich at around 2am UK time, she slept the whole way. So when we got to the hostel, she woke us up at 4am thinking it was lunchtime! This meant we had to endure the First Day Madness with little more than 3 hours sleep!!

We were very fortunate that the apartment we were hoping for was actually available for our second night here. It is above the coffee house, so perfect for Miri and I as there is no commute to work!! The flat – sorry, ‘apartment’ is lovely – only one bedroom, but it is far bigger than I was imagining. All open plan with solid wood flooring, a massive bathroom with a bath with feet on it, a good sized newish kitchen and plenty of built in shelves. It also has steps up the back and a balcony, so we don’t have to traipse through the cafe to get ‘home’. The only thing it really lacks is furniture!! We couldn’t bring anything with us, so Emma and Dalton had to lend us an airbed and since then, we’ve had to frantically go buy furniture!

Buying furniture has been the general occupation so far though. Despite Carl’s total lack of sleep the first day, Emma insisted that he drive her home in her car – this huge 4 x4 automatic hybrid thing, with a computerised dashboard and keyless ignition, built in sat nav and even a camera out the back that automatically appears on the screen when you put it in reverse!! It took a good ten minutes to figure out even how to start the engine!! Carl survived the experience, even driving this thing on the wrong side of the road, in a city he didn’t know, in the dark, whilst jet lagged. As a reward almost, Emma has handed over her keys to him so we have her car for the week! This has already proved very useful because the idea of lugging a new sofa to the apartment on a bus was not very appealing… We are definitely being Looked After, and (if you are reading this, Emma!) we are eternally grateful! Despite having a car big enough to buy Big Things though, the incentive is not enough to outweigh the desire to spoil Miranda senseless. We went out looking for a sofa and/or a bed. We came back with a ride-on zebra for Miri and a food mixer for The Ugly Cake Company (it was $8!).

On Thrsday it was 18 degrees and we were sweating in the car. On Friday it rained all day. And today we woke up to snow and “lows of -13C”. Even despite this unnatural flux, Regina is still a pretty place to be, especially this neighbourhood. Within 3 blocks in either direction of the coffee shop are Groovy Mamas baby shop (full of slings and knitted booties and other funky Earth Mother type devices), a live music venue, a handmade shoe shop, a decent pub, ‘Retrovise’ vintage clothing, a secondhand book shop, a designer stationery shop, ‘Dessart Sweets’ Icecream parlour and a bakery that smells gorgeous. Even better, within spitting distance almost, is Cathedral Day Care where Miri could go to nursery, – brightly coloured signs outside, big playground and sandpit out the back, and evidence of Finger Painting indoors. C$540 a month! (£300?). Gotta go back on Tuesday when they reopen and see if there is a place for her.

All in all, it really is a world away from Darlington!! I spent all last week doing Sentimental Lasts – last swimming session, last lemon-top in Redcar, last trip to the park in Darlington etc. This week is all Exciting Firsts – first drive on the right, first Walmart trip (not sommat to be proud of!) first locally brewed beer, first latte made in the coffee shop, first meal cooked at (new) home with Dollarama kitchen utensils, and first bath for Miri in the new, huge tub.

It is all completely exhausting; things like getting my Social Insurance number sorted, trying to get my Canadian driving licence, opening a bank account here are all daunting, and I am nervous as hell about doing my first shift at the coffee house!!! But at the same time it is all mind bogglingly exciting. I am really happy for the first time in ages, and despite the obvious stresses and tiredness, just being here is an incredible relief. I am naively forming the opinion that the hard bit is over now. We’re here. It’s all good!!

Packing packing and more packing

Oh wow…. it is all finally beginning to hit home… WE’RE ACTUALLY LEAVING FOR GOOD!! I am trying to pack and failing miserably, mainly because Miri is at the stage of enjoying Putting Things In Boxes – and then taking them out again.
Lots of my friends are coming over this week for final saunas and final goodbyes, and Miri has her last Rhymetime and Cookie Tots sessions this week and EVERYTHING IS COMPLETELY INSANE!

In the last three months, I’ve sold 64 things on Ebay, recycled 35kg of clothes, given away 3 bags & 1 box of stuff on Freecycle, handed down three bags of Miri’s clothes to Luke and Nyx, regailed my friends with shoes and books from “Second-Hand Santa”, made small profits at one car boot sale and one baby fair & STILL THERE’S CLUTTER!!!
WHERE DOES IT ALL COME FROM??

HOW DID IT EVER FIT IN THE HOUSE IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I will never understand the physics of moving house.

And how do I even begin to decide what books I can’t live without?????

It’s not even that simple. It’s not just deciding what stuff I can possibly bring out now, it’s also packing up the stuff I want Carl to ship over for me later when he comes out finally as well, and then deciding what stuff can be donated to charity/sold/recycled/thrown out so Carl doesn’t have to go through all my stuff by himself. It is quite liberating in a way, but also immensely hard. I have resorted to leaving little stickers on everything with instructions for Carl!

 

On another note, I can bring 46kg of STUFF with me to Canada… This means after packing clothes and other essentials, I am reduced to ONE cake tin, 4 cupcake moulds, 2 cookbooks, my manual egg whisk and my favourite spatula.

This is either devastating or brilliant – how Ugly are my cakes going to be now?

Mug shot

I wish I could say it’s all finally happening! Flights are going to get booked this weekend (we hope), and after various dramas, we sat up til 1.45am talking to Canadians on Skype the other night. As always, it isn’t quite working out in the way we’d planned or expected, but then, nothing ever does. But the wait is soooo nearly over, and it was an enormous relief to actually talk to Emma properly. It helped me to appreciate this is actually happening: via email seems so remote!

However, there is still a ridiculous amount of stuff to sort out at both ends, not least Miranda and our house. So, with the exception of the “light relief” in form of ghastly pictures below, this will be my last blog post for a while – just waaaay too much to worry about at the moment!!

Here’s the light relief: I’ve got to send ID photos off, “endorsed” by someone who ‘works in one of the listed occupations’ and has known me for two years. Right now, I cannot think of a single person who fits that description – in Darlington at least. We are all unemployed or perma-students. This is part of the reason why I want to leave!!

Mind you, who would actually want to endorse this?!

Bloody awful isn’t it?

Another Emo moment

Yes, it’s Florence and the Machine. No, I can’t think of anything original tonight. I like the lyrics and the sentiment is very apt at the moment.

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but its left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me…

p.s. Dear Florence, re: Track 10 (Say my name) “FLORENCE WELCH” Now give it a rest, will you?