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Sleights of moment, waving the family wand

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Crazy times in Hiatusville

Posted by PlayGroundology on September 11, 2008

I hit the snooze button on 180 Days of Magic 3 weeks ago. It wasn’t planned that way. It just had to happen. Some serious time was required to conclude business on the house selling and home moving fronts. A word of caution if you’re contemplating a move with small children in the under 3 set – be prepared for nights with very little sleep. We were on the borderline of sleeplessness in Halifax (old house) and in Eastern Passage (new home) over the 3 days of the actual move and old house clean up. Two weeks and a couple of days after the last boxes were brought in, we’re still arranging the space but thankfully we’re no longer beating the clock against a sale closing. The absence of that very real and inflexible deadline is a huge relief.

Moving was a marathon. We crossed the finish line intact and essentially in good health but I’m not convinced that we had the best training plan in place. I don’t think either one of us fully grasped the snowballing magnitude of the perfect house move storm. A shower of bouquets for ma belle and tireless Mélanie. She worked for weeks in advance of the event packing boxes, shifting through our belongings and identifying garbage, and, perhaps most satisfying, finding and buying the new stuff we’d need. Without this fine preparation we would have been disappearing faster than an elephant in quicksand.

All unpacked boxes have been lugged, shoved, pushed, cajoled into the half-basement storage space which turns out to be just the perfect size. The majority of these boxes contain books that I’ve acquired over the last 30 years. We had an expansive built in bookcase at the old place that was able to hold 80% or more of those millions and millions of bound words – stories of dreams and defeats, betrayals and triumphs. It was another great Bob Sr. special built and designed by my Dad. Alexa and I were his assistants when we put it together it 7 or 8 years ago. We started early one morning and by 21h00 we had a 9 feet wide floor to ceiling bookcase with 32 shelves.

The new home has a much better layout and more liveable space. We have a large family room, bedrooms for each of the 2 young ones, a playroom, a sitting room sans television, a kitchen/dining room, a couple of washrooms and a good sized backyard for growing kids.

Back to the move itself – we rented a cube van to haul our earthly possessions the 25 or so kilometres across and around the harbour – my cheap, cheap, cheap Scottish skinflint percolating to the surface. We were fortunate to have hired a couple of very conscientious helpers as day labourers who gave us everything they had and then some. Will, a Mi’kmaq from the Afton Reserve, and Boris the travelling statistician by the way of B.C. and Russia moved the big, bad and the ugly from one locale to the next.

Day 1 was 2 full loads that included most of the nasty heavy items – fortunately we were leaving the appliances behind for the new owners. In a wet week that seemed to be a warm up for a tropical rainy season we were lucky to get a dry day followed by an almost dry one. On day 2, Boris and I managed the remnants which amounted to another full load that included the meanest, most awkward item we had to move – a bureau from Alexa’s bedroom that lunged at my leg as I lost my footing on the skirt of the truck. That encounter left me with my only visible souvenir moving scar. That day we brought in some house cleaners to give the place the once over. They were life savers and graciously worked around us and the ever dwindling chaos. The owner’s 6-year-old daughter was with her and provided some great comic relief and good conversation. She also came across a few treasures that she was able to take away.

Exhaustion and disbelief set the tone for the 3 nights and 2 1/2 days endurance event. Under cover of darkness I liberated, well disposed of, over 40 bags of garbage and sundry loose items in local dumpsters. I had a lights off stealth approach as I rolled up to the industrial size canisters. After coasting to a halt I unloaded my cargo as quickly and silently as possible always a little paranoid that I’d feel a tap on my shoulder and get challenged about my unsolicited donations. It’s all now long gone to the landfill. This is in addition to the fully loaded 1/2 ton truck that cleared out the basement in mid-June. And here’s where the disbelief comes in – the sheer volume of stuff accumulated over the years, the quantity of last minute dumpster material and the amount of time it took to finally make it a wrap, walk away and leave the old place behind.

In the process I nearly became a candidate for rehab. I developed a real dependence over a 4 to 5 day period for the Tim Horton ice capp made with chocolate milk. Thankfully we’re in Nova Scotia and there is a Tim’s on nearly every block so it was easy to feed my ever expanding appetite for a sugary sweet chococaffeine treat morning, noon and night. At the end I was a shaking mess and resolved to let it go cold turkey. In the 2 weeks since then I’ve only fallen off the wagon a couple of times.

The moving beard is long gone, the last boxes were unpacked yesterday and last night we welcomed Mélanie’s parents as our first sleepover guests. The MacKay Bridge incident with a waving custodian running out into the traffic lane yelling that I couldn’t cross with the truck now seems like a funny footnote to a groggy, sleepless and surreal do-it-yourself move.

The Eastern Passage adventure has set sail. The next milestone is Noah-David’s third birthday which we’ll celebrate with family tomorrow night.

I’ve missed jotting about our daily comings and goings and look forward to getting back at it on a more regular basis. We’ve got a new place to explore and new people to meet. The 180 Days of Magic are drawing to a close but there are some good times ahead before we say good-bye.


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