Buffy’s back from the dead this week on my weekly rewatch, which means I have two to go. Two seasons, that is. I’m headed into the grimmer stuff now, but remember these latter seasons as still having had some hysterically funny lines and character moments; I’m looking forward to rediscovering those.
The process of moving has turned out to be rather endless in terms of fiddly paperwork details. Connecting up people we pay–like our insurer, for example, and our RRSP guys–to the new bank accounts has been a mind-numbingly dull and rather tedious process. Yesterday I realized our old condo manager had taken our strata fees out of the Vancouver bank account, as usual, so I’m also chasing a refund, with the very kind assistance of our realtor.
I also have a pile of receipts waiting to be data entered so I can figure out how much we actually spent moving. This is important and exciting because when you relocate more than 40 km for work reasons, you get to write a whole whacking chunk of things off your taxes.
So, if you ever heave yourself halfway across the country, give yourself a generous dicking-around allowance, timewise. And consider the tax return, if it comes together, your pay for this fun temporary job.
Enough with the boring details! Here is a dog photo, sort of, that I found very cute.
Going to Montreal to see Camille Alexa and Claude Lalumiere made for a nice break from the paperstorm. (The Megabus we took there was twelve hours of horrible, though: next time, we train.) And this weekend we have an embarassment of riches to choose from: there’s a tall ship festival, a literary event, Luminato, in the park ’round the corner, and with luck we’ll find time to see Joss Ado About Nothing. (Much Ado about Joss Things?”
What are you up to?
My short story “The Sweet Spot,” which appeared in Lightspeed Magazine last year, Imaginarium 2013: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing
Though I have only just started to recover from the blast out to Edmonton, I am headed with Kelly to Montreal this weekend. The last trip wasn’t a pleasure cruise, obviously, but this is–we’re going to see friends. I haven’t been to Montreal since, I think, the 2001 World Fantasy Con. I am looking forward to being there again, with savvy local guides no less!
And, in the spirit of three things make a post – a lot of pictures of Grandma Joan are coming my way and then getting uploaded to the Pham album on my Flickr account. Here’s one by Paul McNie that I think is especially nice.
I am sitting in a cafe called La Merceria, which is half a kilometer from my place. They have excellent coffee and good strong Wifi, and nice places to sit and work. The tables are too high, though–suboptimal for typing. The hunt for a perfect remote workspace, therefore, goes on.
Everything stops for two days, though, because tomorrow at the crack of dawn I leave for Edmonton, for my grandmother’s funeral. The quest for things like routine and workable coffee houses and reasonably priced produce will have to resume on the weekend. In the meantime, grieving is hard work and I’m slogging through that instead of working on my novels.
Speaking of heavy, this week’s Buffy Rewatch covers “Weight of the World.”
Things that are nailed down and delightful: the yoga studio, Downward Dog, is marvelous. We did meditative/restorative yoga on Sunday–what Muppet calls ‘blankie yoga’ and it was a lovely experience. The brekkie place, Cora’s, not only gives you tons of fruit with breakfast but lets you order it without melons. We have much of our stuff unpacked, including the television and comfortable seating, and are finally up to date on Game of Thrones, even as the Internets explode with ewww and squee over it.
Our couch arrived when it was supposed to and the Frogboxes were taken away when they were supposed to go, and the only things standing between me and getting all the extra crap out of my office are a storage bed that’s due to arrive on June 8th or so and a shelf to be acquired later.
Toronto is full of photo ops. I have a Flickr Set with about fifty pictures in it already.
I think I told you all that because our building is under construction, we’re getting some of our mail whenever I take it into my head to make the 1 hour commute out to the Letter Carrier’s Depot that time forgot on 400 Commissioner’s Street.
(I say some because last week they showed me a letter for K that they would not give me without a release form, and today it was not among the things I was given).
Today I had a dual mission: there’s a Home Depot up there, and among other things we have been living in near total darkness because the assumption was we’d move into the joint with lamps in hand, whereas we thought there’d be light fixtures in places other than the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom closet. Silly us.
The postal outlet is on the edge of the Leslie Spit, where I plan to do much birding, and nature leaks out. So I got this for my troubles.
Anyway, I took the streetcar out there, waited among a line of angry condo dwellers to give my name and beg for a portion of my mail. Then I walked to Home Depot, bought stuff, and cabbed home with a shocking amount of darkness fighting technology. Which makes it sound like I’m building a superhero base.
Then I did a mighty amount of unpacking. And time-lapsed it. This was meant to impress the hell out of you all, but I set the frame rate too far apart, so you can barely tell that anything has changed. I tried to edit it to a slower pace using iMovie, and I may have succeeded. I definitely added twangy music, but that was unintentional.
The Spartan Life: Now that we’ve been doing without all our worldly possessions since the 14th, I have begun to miss a few things:
–Roger the milk frother. Though I can nuke milk to the desired warmth for my tea-drinking, I prefer the touch of Roger. Also my veggie steamer and the strainer.
–Small tables and plant stands to put things on. Having everything sitting on the floor does get old.
–Oddly, more of all the things we actually have: I look forward to again having more than 2-3 forks, plates, dresses, and pairs of undies.
Yoga with Live Music: Yesterday Kelly and I headed off to Downward Dog to try their 1/2 class. We had the idea that this class was pronounced “One Half” and was the halfway point between the (wonderful, awesome!) Beginner/prep classes we’ve been taking and Level One. Rumor has it that L1 is super-hard!
It turns out that 1/2 means “One Two”–it’s the halfway point between Level One and Two! From this I reached three epiphanies in rapid succession: OMG, OMG, I’m gonna die, followed by Holy Shit I survived that, man I am a Yoga Stud and, finally–after I looked up the class definitions and realized we were in something that might have been termed 1.5, Odds are good I could probably do actual Level One once a week.
Grief Makes You Dumb: A lot of my mental bandwidth is taken up with Grandma-related thoughts. Much of what’s left is getting antsy over the fact that I haven’t written any fiction since the 15th. The latter situation will get addressed tomorrow. So if you ask me for something in the near and get a less than useful response, like “Noodles!” just dumb down the question and try again.
F. Scott Fitzgerald makes you dumb too: The Great Gatsby was a very pretty disappointment. Everyone seemed emotionally flat except Tom Buchanan, and there’s no way to get behind him. Also, Toby Maguire may win the Me Award for simperiest narrator ever.
In the midst of chaos: Life goes on, except when it doesn’t. Auntie Emm wrote last night to say that my grandmother has had it with petering out slowly and painfully, and has stopped taking food and medicine. I think this is an amazing and right decision on Joan’s part–not that it’s for me to say. But, for myself and for K, ouch.
Long and short of it: I feel much grief already, of course, and expect to be winging it to Saint Albert in a state of woe in the not too distant.
Edited to add the thing I told Ana: One of the dumb move things that is making it harder is that our stuff was, originally, supposed to have arrived last week. If Great Canadian Van Lines had delivered as promised, I would at least have a black dress and the freedom to jet off to Alberta any time I wished. As it is, the stuff hasn’t arrived and Kelly is having a ferociously hellish time getting the mover and the building move-in coordinator on the same page.
She must, at this point, have made twenty phone calls or more trying to get the driver to commit to a time when the elevator’s free. We need to know when the stuff will come so we can know when I might hypothetically go.
Casualties of move: Rumble is very pleased to announce he has finally managed to bust one of our possessions. And as a bonus, it’s a mouse! He knocked it off the desk this morning and now it does not right click.
Speaking of cats, here’s one of the neighbors:
A bit of random in this post: The new yoga studio looks like it’s going to work out. We’ve only gone twice, and we miss the little bits of meditate-y spiritual guidance we used to get at Open Door (we miss many things about Open Door) but the two classes at Downward Dog were the right mix of do-able and challenging. It’s not hot yoga, but the small studio there has some ventilation challenges. This is nice for me, as I like a warm room. It’s maybe less nice for K.
Speaking of nice, here are some baby robins I shot yesterday. It was a crummy day, in a way, with bad sandwiches and lots of jerking around from hither to yon, but I wandered into a community garden and scored bigtime.
Toronto has wind! I am realizing that what passed in B.C. for wind was, you know, not.
Finally, we now have something to sleep on. The Sleep Country guys delivered our bed (the second one, the one we didn’t have to demand a refund on) yesterday, after Kelly paid them a $100 bribe to not drive off when they saw they’d have to wait their turn for the building loading dock.
In addition to lying OMG on a real mattress last night, we slept with artificial rain noise. Our bedroom is right near the stairwell, and what with both elevators being down it means every single person in the building has to tramp past us to get to their home. The building is largely unoccupied, but we needed some white noise. Snuffy recommended a program called Sleepmaker and we set it to play a heavy rainstorm with frequent swells of thunder all the night through.
My Novel II class is going well–I have about nine students now, and they’ve all got pretty intriguing books on the go. They’re disciplined, hardworking, and ask a lot of questions–a dream come true while I bounce through this transition.
Awesome: One of the friends who has been taking such excellent care of us is the brilliant and thoroughly wonderful Linda Carson (whose Ignite Waterloo talk Art… WTF? is five minutes you’ll never regret.)
Here’s a shot of Linda and Kelly at the Art Gallery of Ontario on our first (failed) attempt to go there and partake of the wonder. Failed, because AGO is closed on Mondays.
Problematic: There’s an elevator repairhuman strike ongoing in Ontario. In order to keep our building’s elevators in service, the management company has been running them like old timey elevators, with security guys parked inside to keep the rogue tenants from abusing the hardware. For a week we’ve had to get them summoned, via radio, to come to the ground floor and convey us up to two. But now both elevators are out of service anyway, so I expect they’ll open up a stairwell and allow us to rampage up and down.
Makes you wonder how often elevators do in fact break down, doesn’t it?
The happy bit for us is that we are on the second floor right next to the stairwell. The climbing is negligible and it shouldn’t even be that sucky for our bed delivery guys, Saint Someone Please Let them Come Today, to haul our mattress and boxspring up to the new, cavernous, furniture-free Chez Dua.
The less happy bit is that everyone else will be tramping by too, pretty much along the wall to our bedroom. Said tramping woke Kelly at three last night. We will be looking into a white noise app, I think, to replace the comforting drone of traffic that lulled us to sleep on First Avenue.
The Ugly: It’s not actually all that ugly, but our moving truck hasn’t actually left B.C. yet. Delivery will be a week later than projected by Great Canadian Van Lines, and we shall be camping amid the emptiness for at least another week. I am beginning to question whether we needed to bring anything at all. Surely if I’ve done without all that stuff for this long, it’s not necessary to my health and well-being. What was in all those frogboxes anyway?
The Awesome: West King Street is so terrific. It’s like having all the awesome of Commercial Drive stretching endlessly in just about every direction, and then you slam into downtown.
The Problematic: So our building is under construction. Okay, noise and dust, who cares. But, actually, our suite’s not quite finished either! We had guys in today replastering the ceiling. During the one stretch of time when I actually had to be home to make important phone calls and send important e-mails, I did it closed up in the bathroom, with le Throne as my office chair and somebody’s sandbox as my desk.
The rest of the period of plaster-guy exile I spent, with K, at the Art Gallery of Ontario. About which, OMG. It deserves its own entry in the category of Awesome.
The Ugly: The bed that was supposed to be delivered on the 16th? Well, it just wasn’t. It looks as though the situation’s gonna be resolved as of tomorrow–so I won’t say much about it–and we have a temporary workaround to sleep on in the meantime. But we have suffered an epic, faith-in-humanity-shattering customer service fail.
We are 32% moved! Or thereabouts. We are in the new apartment as much as is possible for two women whose bed, purchased courtesy Condobeds, did not arrive when promised. We are staying in an AirB&B down the road as a result–they’re saying they’ll pay, and the bed is due after the long weekend.
The place still pretty much looks like this.
The kids are adjusting. Rumble got brave comparatively early, but Minnow has only just emerged from behind the dryer. Interestingly, she wedged herself on the kitchen counter between the stove and the fridge, which was where she hunkered down in the old apartment after we took away all the stuff. It’s architecturally familiar!
I gave Rum the equivalent of a bath just now and petted Minnow’s fur with wet hands as much as I could. Double duty–they get more hydration licking the water off, and they get clean.
When we first arrived and I looked at WiFi networks in the building–to access ours using its temporary name and password–I got a brief vanishing glimpse of one named ISIS Mainframe. So now our network is named ODIN Mainframe. We are extremely amused by this.
Umm…. what else? The water wasn’t turned on for the washer and dryer, so some hilarious but undamaging washing machine hijinx ensued before we got the thing working. And today has mostly been an exercise in walking out to places to get things we need and then walking the frack back. Peter Watts helped us out a ton and he is a god. We will be feeding him delicious food as soon as our kitchen arrives.