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!