awe, humility, hope and a few other things I might notice

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I have not been able to focus much these days. I could blame it on the move, but that would be too generous. So instead here are some snippets, flurries if you will.

My husband and I rarely eat out. Even having coffee out is atypical, especially for me, minor coffee snob that I am. So we had this additional challenge of reticence and unwillingness to add to our lack of variety and choice when we found ourselves without heat, stove or refrigerator during our recent move. In our moving and heatless environment, we used a propane camp stove and made vegie burgers and pita bread for a satisfying hot home cooked meal for 2 days. But before we found the camp stove, we established that Tim Hortons minestrone soup can get you through a lot too, though it felt odd becoming a regular. I am from the States after all. I think I had finally been able to swallow the heart burn inducing yet curiously still weak Tim’s when, just my luck they introduced their dark roast. It felt like it was my birthday.

If necessity is the mother of invention, I am still glad that we have engineers because my necessary inventions have a very short shelf life. While the camp stove use demonstrates our pluck, it was not the most creative act of our adventure. In the move our coffee grinder also decided to die on us, as if the move was just too much change. I found my husbands old Betty Crocker mixer, a fragile looking thing, and inserted the infusion blender attachment as a coffee grinder. I won’t reveal my as yet unpatented secret for controlling the flying beans, but I will say that I have mastered the technique and for a few moments actually thought I was brilliant.

Are you wondering what happened to the ghee? Sigh. The ghee was the only other casualty of the move. We did not break any glass or even chip the furniture, but one of the boxes of ghee somehow heated itself to a more liquid state. This despite the fact that the mercury, er Celsius/Farenheit… the temperature did not budge above refrigerator cold #2. So I am theorizing that then the liquefied ghee was receiving some G’s and moved towards one side of its containers which then led to some escapage and then some greasing of the box and the box underneath it and the truck floor beneath that. We only lost a pound or so (er milliliters…kg???) and had a small mess to clean up. It was like the blob, but luckily we controlled it in time.

The local library is loud. I mean there is no whispering, at all. At full voice the librarian explained the differences between the Kobo and the Ipad. Although both the patron and said librarian were well into their 60’s they had a far greater understanding of the situation than I do. I also found out that a neighbor was ordering their snow tires online from the U.S. and driving out to the border to pick them up. Now that’s a bargain hunter. So I felt fine joining in and asking about local cross country trails and recycling regulations and was dutifully and with a librarian’s exactitude educated about all. The hardware store is also a highlight of local experience, although my questions were notably answered with a less precise, but predictably mechanics mindset of, “well, if that’s what you want.”

The library is loud and familiar and the hardware store is near but the bureaucracy of government and large agencies of the province are beyond recognition and more reminiscent of the border control meets the Vogon’s. I could hear the evil smile rising on the car insurer’s face (over the phone even) when she heard some unfortunately slipped excess of information. She nearly asked for my social security number. I think she wanted to track me down. But they will never find me or my U.S. license plate. Never.

Day 5- it’s 4 degrees or something. I feel cold.
Day 15 or something- it’s 1 degree and it is not so cold when you walk around.
Day 27- whatever the temperature is, it is Peak time for Hydro, so big blanket and two pairs of pants. I hope the cats appreciate the fact that I gave them a blanket too.
Day 35- it’s 11 degrees or something. I feel cold. I think it’s colder inside than outside.
Day 35 and ½- I think all nice Canadian women sound alike, and not just their vowels which I cannot imitate no matter how hard I try, its their inflection, their well moisturized smile…

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150 Cardboard Boxes and a Side of Chagrin

It is not for lack of material that I have not written, as this month has had adventures and comic tragedies uncommon to my everyday life. One of the greatest of changes finally happened, we moved. I suppose death, birth and marriage are greater, but moving holds it own heft in boxes and back pain so I think it measures up near those more emotionally significant life amendments. I have written previously that we were looking for the Goldilocks Zone on earth and while that treasure hunt is perhaps too celestial in nature for our humble existence, we have found a middle ground; the comfortable bed, the right sized chair. In our case it meant finding the small town near a medium sized one and still close enough to a city to avail ourselves easily to its services without being under the foot of its noise and traffic. It meant finding the right price and the right size and the best neighbors. We found a snug, square and adaptable little apartment in a one stop light town and it suits us just right.

We have moved to a friendlier province, though how friendly will be determined over the long-term relationships rather than simply on the niceties of a warm welcome. Amidst the appreciation for the subtle joys of living in a small town we also had the shock to find that a few deals were too good to be true, including the initial offer of a job for my other half. It turned out that the work would not be available for another few months and the in-the-meantime work was too little and too far from home. This was the hesitancy mode, the moments we looked at the boxes and imagined returning the moving truck. We had come too far in our minds to turn back though, so we plunged forward. Then another surprise came as we were stepping out the door of one place and into a new apartment with no heat or electricity, as if they were not expecting us so soon. We waited 4 cold nights, one extended night in our old place, one toughing it out in a freezing apartment on a Canadian November night under many blankets, and 2 in a motel. The cats hardly complained while I worried they would run out of oxygen in the windowless but warmer bathroom. Shifting around and unpacking the boxes and washing everything down in cold water ripped our hands into numb shreds but kept our bodies warm with the work of it. I can be calm about it now in my temperate repose, but for the weeks before and after the move it also meant the grating of our nerves and tensions heated us as much as the calisthenics.

We have since then been playing tug-of-war with various government agencies to update licenses, car insurance and to connect our phone and internet. The phone is not yet working, but the internet was connected yesterday. Yippy! We had our first moderate snow of about 6 inches and I shoveled the driveway mostly pleasurably. Flurries are frequent these days, but of little accumulation. The cold has certainly set in and although a great round tree across the street hung on valiantly to its leaves when we first arrived, a fierce frozen wind storm blew most of those down in one night and winter is here for sure.

Hubby has since found work and it looks to be a better situation than any other that was available here. The walls are decked with our various collected art works and books are lining the shelves. Slippers are not hung, but instead worn as necessity while sipping tea or coffee. We are content, at least in the living atmosphere and the rest will follow.

We are grateful for all that we have been given, even the chagrin following our missteps along the way, they are lessons and inspirations to be more patient or more prepared at least, to be called into action at the worst.

Cheers to falling snow and a cozy home,
cheers to good food and family, however distant,
and wishes of love, peace and light to all on this (U.S.)Thanksgiving Day.