I like old sayings. I like clichés. I like them because these things I’ve learned through experience are mostly true.
For example, there is that old saying that only two things in life are certain—death and taxes—neither of which I can do anything about.
These days, I prefer the sayings I can do something about, like the one I am in the throes of right now—If you don’t change a thing, then not a thing will change.
I so needed change—big change—not a tweak or a repositioning, but stark, bold, absolute change. I got it. Goodbye five-bedroom four-bathroom house in Waterloo. Hello two-bedroom basement flat in Halifax.
Oh yah… lemme back up a bit…
I won’t spend a lot of time talking about the road trip that got me to my new flat in Halifax, but highlights include:
- an unintended tour of Old Quebec City at midnight, July 18th, courtesy of GPS;
- dinner that same night consisting of chocolate, chips, an avocado peeled and cut with fingers, wine, and scotch, compliments of Leslie;
- the unwanted scenic detour, at 11pm on July 19th after a full day of driving, culminating on the wrong side of the “Closed Nightly” MacDonald Bridge, between Dartmouth and Halifax, courtesy of the GPS;
- and the ending, finally, via grumpy directions by phone to the MacKay bridge from my son, Warren, leading to arrival at my new flat, after a number of circles around the downtown core, courtesy of the GPS.
Good news is… driving-mate-Leslie and I took the detours and mishaps in stride and soothed our frustrations with wine and scotch and chocolate.
Anyway… once we finally got to and in the flat, the tour of my until-then-unseen new digs (rented via FaceTime and a video) took all of 45 seconds. In fact, if I stood in one spot in the hallway, I could see almost every bit of it without moving my feet or turning my head.
Hmmm…. I gave the flat the old up and down look that says “You fit THOSE jeans over THAT butt… and then you can walk????” because somehow, my truckload of stuff had to fit into a space which, after we had blown up our temporary beds for the night (two air mattresses), left not a whole lotta space.
You couldn’t swing a cat in my new digs.
We also noticed that:
- Our feet stuck to the floor when we walked, which by the way was concrete.
- The kitchen and bathroom countertops were in dire condition.
- I couldn’t see any heating or cooling mechanisms. (And we arrived hot!)
- There were ants. (I’ll get back to this.)
Hmmm (again)… because all I could think… “Landlady, you got some ‘splaining to do…”
So I emailed her.
Note to future self: Do NOT email your landlady after you arrive at your new place tired, tired and more tired. And NEVER click “send” in said state.
In the morning, as we awaited arrival of the truck bearing my earthly possessions (which I realized after I saw the size of the place in the morning light… yah… would NOT fit) additional discoveries included:
- the washer dryer combination machine was stuck on “doesn’t work,”
- the source of heat for the flat was… well… the concrete floor,
- the second bedroom had no heat source,
- it was a sort of basement flat…
- and oh yah… my stuff was NOT gonna fit.
Instead of tears and tantrum, I gave myself a smack upside one side of my head to remind myself… First world problems lady!!! Get over it! You wanted a new experience… here it is.
Then I ran to Canadian Tire to get a pile of cleaning products to take care of the floor before the truck arrived at 7am. Thank goddess, the driver, Richard, was late with the truck… a few hours late in fact. (And yes, I did find out why… he thought Monday night was Saturday night and behaved accordingly… fill in the blanks.)
Between a flurry of carting boxes out of the truck, and dodging the crew that my son had voluntold to assist (Warren definitely absorbed my Tom Sawyer “Let’s paint the fence. It will be fun!” approach to soliciting help—with food added—meaning his friends were gazing around trying to figure out how this was fun and where the food was), I forgot the concept of not being able to swing a cat in the place, because I couldn’t find a cat to swing anyway because all I could see was boxes. And just when I thought it could get no worse, my landlady arrived, and we exchanged… I will say… some words.
By then, the moving crew was assembled in the kitchen, taking a breather, as my landlady and I were exchanging said words in the hall, which was about five feet from the kitchen and in full sight.
Pretty much silence… except for my landlady and me.
Our conversation heated up, me doing my best to tower over her 5’ ninety-pound presence to power up and emphasize my points… her staring at me, laser eyes locked on mine and set to “Fire!”
I dunno who won…
Unpacking resumed once landlady and I reached a detente, and was subsequently jet-fueled by Leslie’s goal to set up my kitchen and have me mostly taken care of and moved in before she left on Friday.
So… stuff got there on Tuesday, and by Friday, she had set up my kitchen, built cabinetry for the hallway to create more storage space (some swearing involved but scotch reward later), flattened the emptied boxes, figured out most of the Halifax garbage day rules and regulations (Ontario… I miss the ease of garbage day there), and got me straightened about and ready to go for upcoming adventure.
While here, she also pointed out the obvious “sign” that it was fated that I am here in Halifax, right now, and in this flat. My street address…
5415 is my number. I am 54. It is 2015.
And this is why she is my BFF… she helped me run away from home, came along for a bit of the ride and found the physical evidence that I will do well here… 5415. Anyway… Warren and I ferried her to the airport on Friday, mission accomplished to her getting on the plane and back home.
And here I am, a month into being smack dab in the middle of change on steroids. So far, it kinda feels like an extended vacation, except I have all my clothes with me. But it also feels pretty amazing.
Oh… I promised the ant story. Nah… saving that one for a post on its own.