Friday, April 29, 2016

New home odds & ends

  • It's one week ago today that we left our house for the last time and took possession of our new condo.
  • It's been a looooonnnnngggggg week, lol.  
  • Both dh & I agree that we feel like we're staying in a really nice hotel (albeit one we have to clean and organize, lol).  It's hasn't quite sunk in yet that this is really our home and our life now.  
  • What we are loving: 
    • Being close to BIL & family. He and dh are both ecstatic at the proximity.
    • Hearing from people I haven't heard from in quite a while, after announcing our new location via Facebook & email earlier this week. It didn't take long for the congratulatory messages to start rolling in. 
    • Having some good news that we can celebrate (finally!!) with our families and friends. I feel like a lot of people have been waiting a long time for SOMETHING they could celebrate with us. After all, many of dh's relatives never came to our wedding (almost 32 years ago) because of the distance, our daughter was stillborn before my baby shower was held (almost 18 years ago), and there never was a "next time."  And it's been 26 years since we bought our first home. 
    • My gorgeous kitchen with the quartz countertop, coordinating backsplash, tall cupboards & stainless steel appliances (which I am gradually figuring out how to use -- no thanks to the previous owners who didn't leave any appliance manuals. :p  I've found all but the dishwasher online).
    • Having convenient access to two bathrooms. :)  (We had two bathrooms at the house, but one was in the basement & it was pretty cold down there.)  It wasn't a "must have" on our condo shopping list -- really, how many bathrooms do two people REALLY need? -- but we are glad it worked out this way. ;)  
    • Everyone in the building seems to be very friendly -- lots of hellos in the elevator. Mostly they seem to be young & single or older and retired. Dh met our next-door neighbour, and we met the couple who bought the corner unit kitty-corner from ours (which we also saw). They haven't moved in yet, though.
    • The building has been relatively quiet, perhaps even quieter than our house was. We hear the odd dog yapping as its owner takes it to the elevator, but it's brief, and it's rarely past 11 p.m. (unlike our old neighbourhood, where the daily chorus would begin at around 5:30 a.m., peak in the late afternoon, and finish with a flourish just as our heads were hitting the pillows at night :p ).  The odd plane overhead, or emergency vehicle sirens, but that's been about it. We don't really hear anything from the main road on the other side of the building. Knocking wood that this continues!
    • Sleeping!  Both of us have been sleeping better than we have in a long time.    
    • The convenience of the garbage chute down the hall (at the other end from us, fortunately, lol). No waiting for garbage day (& worrying about the squirrels & raccoons getting into the garbage before it's picked up) -- it's there whenever we need it.
    • The abundance of natural light. We face north, with floor to ceiling windows in every room (& window coverings in the master bedroom only, so far), so we still get a lot of light, without being directly in the sun. And...
    • We've been seeing some lovely sunsets from our balcony. :)
    • Shopping for new stuff. :)  (Even if it's expensive and tiring.)  It's nice to have some shiny new things. :)  Among this week's purchases: a new vacuum cleaner (we had a central vac at the house), humidifier, two folding chairs & a small table for the balcony, two bar stools for the counter (on order), and some extra towel racks for the bathroom (the racks in both bathrooms only fit one bath towel each??!). We were even able to find racks that match the ones already there. :)  And we are going to be looking for new dining room furniture and a new TV stand/entertainment unit.  
  • What we're not loving:
    • The cleaning. :p We would be cleaning regardless, of course, but the previous owners didn't exactly leave the place spotless. :p
    • Trying to find space for everything (&/or deciding what's going to have to go). :p  We have a lot of closet space here (probably the most we saw in all the condos we viewed), plus a storage locker, but everything is already pretty much full :p and we still have some boxes piled up in the spare bedroom/office.  
    • Having to figure out all the new TV channels with our new service provider, and learning which channels we do and don't get with the new package. (On the other hand, the picture quality is superb!!) 
    • Dealing with too many changes all at once. Perhaps it wasn't the wisest idea to tackle early retirement, buying a condo and selling our house, moving to a new community, new mattress set, new smartphones, new TV service -- all within a three-month time frame??! 
    • Starting off life here by getting sick. Sore throat, stuffy head, probably a bit of allergies (all that dust left by the previous owners, plus the dust we created by opening boxes, etc.). I think I was just plain exhausted after all the activity and all the STRESS of the past few days/weeks/months. Plus Aunt Flo decided to drop by on moving day, just to keep things even more interesting than they already were. :p I am feeling a bit more human today, though. Warm saltwater gargles and a good nap can work wonders, it seems. ;)
    • The lack of humidity. It's been as low as 23% and never higher than 39% (after we boiled a pot of water on top of the stove for a few hours), according to our hygrometer. My skin is crawling, and my hands were raw after opening so many cardboard boxes. :p  (Hence, the new humidifier...!!) (And while it was supposed to be "quiet" technology, I am finding it very loud. :p )
    • Being a fish out of water in our new community, in more ways than one. :p  I am sure we will be asked about our children sooner or later. :p  Awhile back, I remember posting about an article I'd read in which the federal riding we lived in was one with the highest percentages of families (parents with kids) in Canada, according to the most recent census?  Guess which riding ranked #1?  Yep!
    • The TRAFFIC. :p I read an article recently that described the community we moved to as "the worst of suburbia personified" (i.e., traffic congestion, lack of transit, lack of walkability, etc.). It's crowded, there are meridians everywhere that make it really difficult to get where you want to go -- and people generally drive like maniacs. :p And of course, neither of us has any idea where things are or where exactly we're going, which exacerbates the problem. I know we'll figure it all out eventually, but in the meantime, getting almost anywhere is an exercise in frustration. :p
    • Between the time we bought the condo & when we moved in, all the lovely trees we looked out on have been chopped down. :(  We knew there would be some high-end townhouses constructed there eventually, we just didn't know when that construction would start. On the other hand, it's going to be kind of cool to watch them being built over the next few months. I've started a photo diary/album on Facebook to document the progress. There's still a good-sized green space separating our building and the townhouses. And (so far, anyway) the construction noise hasn't been too irritating.
    • Being too busy to blog until now, or to read or comment on other blogs. My apologies. :(

Monday, April 25, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: A bit about the move

Well, take a deep breath" turned out to be good advice.  Here are a few things that happened to us before, during & after the move this past weekend.

* I didn't realize until the day was almost upon us, but it was a full moon that night. Need I say more??
* Some people can be complete & utter jerks even when you've bent over backward to accommodate them and be nice to them. :p  Hopefully, karma will eventually rule. ;)
* There was a last-minute monkey wrench tossed our way that threated to derail or at least delay the closing (see above). (And unfortunately, this was not the first monkey wrench tossed our way by these people over the past few weeks.)  I was already completely stressed out & emotional about leaving our home of 26 years, and this did NOT help matters. :p
* On top of this, because of a miscommunication between us and then a safety issue with the truck (not their fault), the movers we hired were two & a half hours late in arriving to load the truck with our belongings.
*  That said, the movers really were awesome and worked extra hard to make it up to us. We would be happy to recommend them to anyone local. (Ditto our lawyers!) 
* By the time we wrapped things up at the house, it was almost 9:30, and we didn't get to our new condo until 10. (Needless to say, we were exhausted.)
* Meanwhile, our agent picked up the condo key on our behalf and delivered it to BIL. When we arrived at the condo after 10, hungry & exhausted, they were all there -- nephews & fiancées included -- with coffee & hugs, and took us home for a very late dinner (after which we slept on their couches). They had been there for hours, cleaning on our behalf.  (Who knew there were so many dust bunnies lurking under all that lovely furniture the sellers had??) What a sight they were for sore, tired eyes!!  I still tear up thinking about it.
* We are slowly -- slowly!! -- unpacking and organizing and learning how the new appliances work and where all the light switches are, etc. ;) 
* I still can't believe this is my home and my life now. Dh said he feels like we're staying at a really nice hotel -- I had to agree, lol. 

I could keep writing -- but there are more boxes to unpack, lol.  ;)  Much more to come in the future, I am sure!

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.    

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

There comes a time...

I think many of us who are living childless/free not by choice
have felt this way.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Read all about it

(Not exactly a "Microblog" -- but something I wanted to get off my chest today.) 

For as long as I can remember, I've had a newspaper delivered to my doorstep, and read it (or at least browsed through it), cover to cover.

I guess it all started with my mother.  She grew up with a daily paper at home, which my grandfather would usually bring home at lunchtime, and when were there to visit, I would help him complete the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble, scan the news, read Ann Landers, pore over the listings for all the movie theatres in far-off Minneapolis, and wonder how long it would take for the same movies to come to whatever small Canadian Prairie town we were living in at the time.

And so the daily newspaper was delivered to our house when I was growing up, too. Even when I was living in a university dorm for my four years of undergrad, I had the local city newspaper delivered to my door -- lots of us did. You have to remember this was a good 15 years before the Internet became a household thing. Our dorms weren't wired for cable, so if you were lucky enough to have a TV in your room -- probably, like mine, a 12-inch black & white set -- you had to settle for a handful (like, about four) local channels for news & entertainment, pulled in with a set of rabbit ears (antenna). When John Lennon was murdered in December 1980, I watched a bit of coverage on TV, but there was no CNN or other 24-hour news channel -- I listened round the clock to the music and news and talk on the radio. And then read about it all in the paper the following day.

I think the only time in my life when I didn't get a daily paper delivered was when I was at journalism school -- and I didn't need to then, because when we arrived at school every morning, there were two large stacks of newspapers waiting for us:  the local city paper and The Globe & Mail, "Canada's national newspaper."  I read them both. :)  Our profs wanted us to get into the habit -- after all, this was the business we all wanted to get into, right? -- and would give us regular quizzes on current events to make sure we were paying attention. 

When dh & I got married, I continued my two-paper-a-day habit, subscribing to both the G&M and Toronto Star.  The papers would be on our doorstep when we came downstairs for breakfast, and I would sort the sections into my preferred reading order, scan the headlines while I ate my breakfast, then tuck them into my briefcase and read them on our daily commute to & from the office, discarding the sections I'd read into the nearest recycling bin as we exited the train. We also got the Sunday New York Times delivered, as well as a three-times-weekly free/voluntary payment local paper, stuffed fat with flyers.

Which is why the phone calls I had to make this past week were so difficult.

Dh & I went to visit our new condo building last week to meet briefly with the property manager and discuss the details of our upcoming move. While we were there, I asked him whether the building residents were able to get newspaper delivery. The guy looked at me like I had two heads, & then shook his. So unless I want to buzz in a delivery guy every morning at an ungodly predawn hour, that means no more daily paper at my doorstep. My last Globe & Mail was delivered on Saturday, and the final Toronto Star & Sunday New York Times yesterday.

No more scanning the headlines while I eat my breakfast.

No more lingering over a particularly interesting story.

No more ripping out or clipping especially interesting stories to save (although I've been trying to get out of this habit for awhile -- if I find a story of particular interest these days, I'll look it up online & bookmark it).

No more stumbling onto a familiar name in the obituaries.

No more unexpected bargains found in the ads.

No more notices for interesting exhibits and events at local venues. 

No more flyers to plan my shopping around.

Yes, yes, I know, all of this information is available online. And we do watch the suppertime newscasts most evenings, so we will get the main news of the day that way.  But scrolling through headlines on your laptop is not the same as scanning full stories in a physical paper. You have to deliberately seek things out on the Internet. It's the difference between searching for a book on Amazon vs strolling through the aisles of a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, having an interesting title or cover catch your eye, picking up the book, reading the flyleaf and scanning the first chapter -- perhaps a book you never might have heard of or thought to pick up until you spotted it.

Yes, I know newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur (or so people say). I know only "old people" like me still read the paper in its physical form.

Yes, I will save trees (and money -- even if I get a digital paper subscription, it costs a lot less than subscribing to the physical paper). Eventually, I will get used to looking for information online instead of on paper. (I guess this means I won't be reducing my time online anytime soon...!) And dh is happy he won't have to haul stacks of newspapers out to the curb (well, to the building's garbage room now) for recycling every week.

Regardless of the benefits of giving up the paper, and of this move generally -- and I know this will sound silly to some people -- I felt a very real sense of grief and loss when I made the phone calls to cancel my long-time subscriptions, and when there was no paper on my doorstep or at the breakfast table for me to read this morning as I ate my oatmeal and sipped my orange juice and tea. There's been a lot of positives and benefits to this move, of course --  but there have also been losses and things I've had to give up, and this is one of them. The newspaper has been a big part of my daily routine, my life and my identity, for almost all of my life. It's a very strange feeling to have to give that up and let it go.

Are you a news junkie like me?? Do you read the daily newspaper? Do you have it delivered to your home?

(Postscript: I had this post pre-written & ready to go... and of course, when we opened our door this morning, there was the G&M. Make a liar out of me, won't you?? lol   So things didn't unfold exactly the way I described. But they will, soon.) 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Right now

Right now... (an occasional meme): 

Reading:  "All the Single Ladies" by Rebecca Traister, a fascinating look at the history and impact of single women in America -- a growing and significant segment of the population which, of course, includes large numbers of women without children. Review to come, eventually.  ;)

Trying (desperately, lol): To resist the temptation to buy any more new books until after we move. :p  ;) 

Watching:  The nightly suppertime local newscast on TV.

Listening:  To the neighbourhood dogs, barking up a storm at each other. :p  The neighbour on one side of us has two (a hound and a lab), and there are three dogs in four of the backyards that back directly onto ours (including a huge, vicious Rottweiler) and more in the surrounding yards. They bark at each other, at the squirrels and heaven knows what else -- it doesn't seem to take much to set them off. They start at about 5:30-6:30 a.m., often waking us up; peak around suppertime, when their owners arrive home and let them outside;  and are often still barking at 11 p.m., when we're trying to go to sleep. :p  Something I will definitely NOT miss when we move!!!

Following:  News from my former company's annual meeting earlier today.

Drinking:  Water.

Eating:  Just finished dinner -- dh's favourite pasta & beans.

Wearing:  A new logo T-shirt from Old Navy. I bought one for dh at the same time that reads "Out of Office,"  lol.  ;) 

Anticipating:  Our upcoming move to our new condo.

Worrying: About all the little details & things that could go wrong over the next 10 days. :p

Wishing:  The move was over with & we were in the condo already (even with boxes to unpack!!). :p

Loving:  The new mattress set, sheets & comforter set I bought. Very comfortable & cozy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Updates

A quick update on my last post: I called Dr. Ob-gyn's office this morning to see if they had any results from last week's ultrasound. Dr. reviewed the results & saw nothing that warranted moving up my mid-May appointment. So I will see him then, as scheduled, for my regular Pap & checkup. That's a relief!! 

*** *** ***

Also related to my last post: I was in a fancy dress shop at the mall on the weekend, just browsing with a June wedding in mind. (I have an old dress I will probably wear, but it's always fun to look, isn't it?)

Overheard:  Salesperson to woman with teenaged girl: "And what's the occasion?"

Mom: "It's for graduation."

(Exit the bereaved childless mother whose daughter will not be attending graduation, this or any other year.) :( 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.