Monday, September 4, 2017

The Greatest Thing... So Far

So far, the greatest thing about moving has been my new house. Now, you need to mentally walk with me as I explain to you that I spent my last few months in Edmonton prepping my house for sale, keeping it spotless for showings, selling it, keeping it tidy, and ultimately leaving. I'm a little shell shocked from the experience. Normally, my cleaning routine is this. I clean my house for one hour every day and if you come in off the street while I'm doing it, I'm not stopping for you. Chances are I'll hand you a wet sponge and inform you that my fridge doesn't wash itself (people call before they come over if you do this... just saying). Any other housework that falls outside of that hour is done by my army of maggots... I mean to say my kids. I just like to army yell at them. It makes them fierce, in a good way. It's make your momma proud time! But when I was doing all the house sale stuff, I couldn't get their help very often. They just don't clean anything well enough to give it that Pinterest farmhouse shine. So I did most of it myself. Actually, I'm still a little traumatized.

When I first got to my new house, I was very foggy-eyed like I was having a delayed reaction to being born. I didn't really know where I was and all I wanted was to cry and sleep. Now that I've been here for over a month, I understand the house I've got now a little better. First thing to note is that it's a little bigger than the old house. Second, is the thing that brings me unspeakable joy, is that it is actually easier to clean than the last house.

First, no one grooms themselves in the bathroom guests use. Since no one uses it, it's always clean. In my old house someone would ask to use the bathroom and I'd agree because anything else is pure insanity, but as the poor soul made their way to the bathroom, I'd yell desperate things at them like, “Don't open your eyes when you're in there!” Or, “Remember that I have a lot of sons and don't judge me too harshly!” Or, “It's okay with me if you clean up while you're in there!”

There's also only one common room in the new house. I like that too. Personally, I couldn't keep up with a family room and a rumpus room. Occasionally, I'd go down there, only to be greeted by Ritz crackers smooshed into the carpet and empty cups on their sides.


The other thing that easier to maintain is the new yard. Right now, it's yellow and dead. I hear that's the fashion. Summer on the island. Yellow, dead grass. Actually, I'm all for it. No mowing, but I have flowers. They look like red trumpets. The hummingbirds come drink from them.   

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Nasty in the Woodshed

Have any of you ever watched the movie Cold Comfort Farm? There's this crazy old bitty who lives in the top of the farm house who only ever says one thing about herself, that she saw something nasty in the woodshed. Later, Flora (our decluttering goddess) confronts her in the hallway. “Are you sure it was in the woodshed?” They then talk about whether the nasty thing happened in the tool shed or in the bicycle shed. I am sitting there going, who has so many bleeding sheds in their yard?

Now I have five.

And hilariously, the only one that has a clear cut purpose is the woodshed. There are four more that I don't know what they were used for or what I could use them for if I had a mind to do so. Not only that, but I am super confused about what anyone could have needed them for in the first place. I have a garage that has extra space in it. I also have a crawlspace that covers the entire square footage of my house. What do we need five sheds for?

The first shed is one of those little plastic houses that seems like it's two shakes off of being a kid's playhouse, but no... it's nowhere near fun enough and the ceiling is too high. Another one is sort of a tenty-canopy-like thing, but once again, it's not fun enough to dress up and have parties inside it. There's another one that has a loft and looks like it could have been, or could one day be, a tiny house (I'd sell this one, but it effectively blocks my only neighbours from seeing into my hot tub, and as an odd bonus it also stops us from seeing into theirs, so no). The last one, aside from the woodshed, is like a tiny gazebo, but once again, it's not large enough to be fun. My husband and I argue about what it could have been for. I think it was housing their garbage and recycling bins. He thinks they were using it to store surfboards or something fun. I think it's more than obvious that aside from the hot tub, no one is having any fun in my sheds. Regardless of our disagreement, he hung my hammock inside. It's the perfect size.

There's really only one logical explanation that makes sense to me. All five of them were used for storing wood!

My husband and I are on the tail end of an incredibly unwise acquisition of wood made by the previous owners. The sheds were all for wood. Wood here is super cheap compared to Alberta and the winters here are so mild that people can heat their homes with their wood fireplaces. And if all of them are for wood then don't you think that makes it all the more likely that something nasty really did happen in the woodshed?


I thought so too.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Garage Garbage

“Have you ever noticed how there's like a one letter difference between the words Garage Sale and Garbage Sale? That's like the only joke mom's have and they can keep it for all I care.”

Okay, that's a Strongbad quote. But it's how I'm beginning this blog post. Back when I lived in Edmonton and I was emptying my house because of the move, I would line up trash bags against my back fence to be picked up. One time, I counted ten black garbage bags and four recycling bags. I felt pretty empowered. Getting rid of stuff always makes one feel sparkly and free.

However, life is different on the mainland, matey, and there won't be any lining up garbage bags here. Here, they only come pick up your trash once every two weeks and they weigh it and charge you based on weight. I have never seen so many No Dumping signs in my life. I also have not seen thrift stores crowded to the ceiling the way they are here. Zero organization, because there is just too much stuff. There are cushions. No one in Alberta would ever dream of purchasing a pillow at a thrift store. I'm not sure anyone would donate an old pillow to a thrift store either. They're super gross. Yet, here, rather than contribute the creepy old pillow to your bi-weekly weigh-in, you'd rather drop it off at a thrift store. There are walls of them. It's like Heap House over here.

I, for one, always disapproved of the amount of waste that left my house back in Edmonton. I always felt that it was wrong. Things shouldn't be packaged the way they are, so that our society is straddled with so much waste. For your entertainment, I am going to list the kind of waste that comes into my house that is hard to dispose of.

1. Kid's art/journal pages from school/finished tests/awards

This is unfair. Our kid does one thing and we have to hang onto it forever. I seriously have to open my eyes big, go through the immense pile the school sends home and then I have to recycle 98% of it. There's no where for it to go, except the recycle bin. Maybe there's room in there. And I feel like I've sawed off one of my arms because kids are kids for about 15 minutes and this is a picture my son has drawn of a Pokemon, but I don't know which one!

2. Toys

Every time I go into my kids' rooms, I come out with a Safeway bag full of broken toys. I don't even know where these things come from. I hate hamburgers from fast food chains, but I still suck down a burger on occasion and the toy in my kids' meals always sucks. Last time it was a Smurf, and actually, I am too ashamed to say what I did with it.

3. Party Supplies

This used to be a thing in Edmonton. I'd throw a party. I'd have cute paper napkins, paper plates, cups, tablecloth, pinata, wrappings off the candy from the pinata, bags the kids put their goodies from the pinata, a broken plastic baseball bat (because I didn't want to risk letting the kids use my aluminium bat), and so on. That will not be a problem here. I don't know anyone. Even if I wanted to throw a party and make the rafters ring (with the horrific beating of a pinata), I can't. I don't know anyone to invite and my kids have probably had enough fun beating stuff to last them.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Island Envy

As many of you know, I underwent a huge move lately. I had been living in a city in the prairies and now I'm living on an island in the forest. When people asked me about where I was moving before I moved, I told them and I told them all the good parts. I left out all the parts where I was scared, nervous, on the verge of a panic attack, having a panic attack and all the heart-wrenching devastating uncertainty of moving to a place I had never been. Everyone I spoke to said they were so envious. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. It was like I was marrying the King of Mars and going to live in a palace in the stars.

Toward the end, I started trying to beat off their envy by saying things like, “I'm just telling you all the good parts. I left out all the bad stuff.” No one listened. They just accepted all the nice bits without accepting any of the tough stuff. Moving is tough, no matter where you are going. You could be moving to the house next door and it would still give you cramps for days.

So many people (sometimes four or five new people a day) told me how awesome and happy my life was going to be living on an island. The whole thing made me quite unhappy. I was saying all the good things about my situation to try to hide my fear. Well hidden. Everyone is cheering for me while I'm shaking in my boots. I wasn't bored or unhappy with my life in my prairie city. I had dozens of little projects, things to do, people to see, a family to love, and a strong purpose to live by.


And now I'm out here. I don't know anyone except those I brought with me. There are about a thousand adjustments that need to be made -and quickly- and flexibility has never been my forte. I feel panic bubbling up at the most unexpected times. I saw a deer walking past my back deck and I nearly dived under my dining room table. It was as big as a cow... with a slightly smaller butt. The day before I saw a deer in the front yard and it also, nearly made me dive behind the sofa. And then I realized it wasn't alive. It had never been alive and it was just about the freakiest looking statue I've ever seen. So, obviously the people we bought the house from left it for us. And I'm scared of deer. DEER! Think about it. When I first started this adventure I bought a little package of three books to write about my experience in. The first book had a deer on it, the second a fox, and the last one had a bear. And I'm scared of the one who is a jumpy herbivore.  Get a grip, woman!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Hair's Breadth

“If you keep curling my hair in such small sections, it's going to take a really long time to curl my whole head.” That was what I said to the hairdresser I hired to curl my hair before I had my anniversary pictures taken.

I know most people wouldn't get a hairdresser for their anniversary pictures, but I had a couple of reasons for getting one. Bearing in mind, she was a human being I had never seen before in my life, I thought (by virtue of her profession), she should be able to do it faster than me, but when I saw the segments she was individually curling with an iron, I thought I would live and die in that hairdresser chair without experiencing any more life had to offer.

I have a ton of hair.

I spent most of my twenties with a layer cut that made my ton of hair seem less. Actually, with a layer cut, my hair would grow until it hit one spot on my back and then stop. I thought that was as long as my hair grew. Then one day, I learned the secret. My hair is both coarse and fine. Fine around my hairline and coarse on the crown. This means that if I blunt my hair instead of layer it, it can get a whole lot longer. Some of my hair is over two feet long.

I advised the hairdresser to take bigger chunks.

She reminded me she was a professional and I could just relax and sit quietly.

She took down the next row of hair to be done and the next. She was moving very quickly. Not too quickly, but quickly enough to remind me of the next reason why I wanted to hire a hairdresser rather than do it myself. It was a clipless curling iron and she wasn't wearing a glove. “You're going to burn yourself if you don't take it easy.”

She again reminded me she was a professional.

After awhile, I realized I had been sitting in the chair for over 45 minutes. It still felt pretty normal for a hair appointment, though I could see she wasn't making much progress. So, I took the opportunity to explain to her why she should fall in love with opera and explained in detail the exquisite finale of Lucia di Lammermoor with the falling snow, the black umbrellas, and the ultimate stabbing. After all, neither she nor I were going anywhere.

After an hour and 15 minutes, I was doomed to be late for my photographer and it suddenly seemed to me that all divas deserve their tantrums, when their stylists won't listen to their instructions and the divas themselves are doomed to lateness or a half curled head.

Then, some man... some man who worked at the salon slammed right into my girl and something bad happened. The curling iron burned her arm in a straight line. She sprayed her hurt with the bottle she had nearby, but I knew she couldn't be okay. But it didn't matter what I said about how she needed help, she just kept spraying it and letting the residual water slip down her arm and onto the floor. She sprayed it again and again, but just kept on doing my hair as usual.

I went to the salon so I wouldn't get burned, so one of my dumb kids wandering into the bathroom wouldn't get burned, so no one would get burned.

I paid her and tipped her and felt sick.


The story ends on my living room wall. There hangs a 20x30 poster of me printed on mildly metallic paper. The picture isn't even of my face. It's my cascade of perfectly curled hair that falls almost to my waist. She did know what she was doing.