Monthly Archives: August 2010

What I Read In August 2010

Not much this month; not a lot of time for reading, or the energy/focus for it.

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson (reread)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (reread)
Star Wars: Survivor’s Quest by Timothy Zahn
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (reread)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Gwenhwyfar by Mercedes Lackey
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The boy and I have read over half of The Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture, too. We’re really enjoying it. This is his very first chapter book without any illustrations at all, and he’s paying good attention.

Point-Form Randomness

1. We have a washer and dryer being delivered on Monday. HRH will hook them up that night, and then Tuesday? Tuesday I will revel in washing towels made filthy by the move and the post-move week. Probably just in time to find the box of extra towels and sheets somewhere.

2. HRH is assembling the BBQ. His dad went all out: there’s a propane tank, lava rocks, and charcoal, plus an extra grill to put in above the main grill. I should probably root about in the freezer and find something for supper, shouldn’t I.

3. I finally got to sort all the boxes of baby clothes. I dragged them all out of storage and sat outside on the grass while the boy played, separating things into piles to donate to the Compassion people, and a pile of Keep Because It’s Awesome (I cannot give away any of the things with foxes or trains on them that my mum got from Gymboree, I just can’t). So tiny! I handed the boy his first pair of Robeez slipper shoes and they were smaller than his hand. I cut things down to a third of what we’d had. The boy sorted through the box of baby toys, too, quality-testing everything for Ada when she visits. (He also voluntarily sorted my pincushion for me that morning. Very helpful indeed.)

4. HRH painted the kitchen last night. All of it. Both coats. And he freehanded the trim. The man’s a miracle, I tell you. Apparently tonight’s the hallway.

5. The boy’s last day of preschool was fine. I think it was harder on us and his educator than on him. They did their best to make it a regular day, and they sent him home with a box that proved to have his three favourite toys in it (including the black and white stuffed cat he called Maggie that the educator had to actually separate him from early on because he was getting too attached to it); a photo of him, his best friend, and their educator; and the name tag from his Superman naptime mat. We were very touched. HRH said he was going to miss them, and no wonder; he saw them twice a day for two years, spent a lot of time talking with them morning and afternoon, and we shared the raising of our child with them, after all.

6. Our first visit to the local ice cream parlour last night (recommended to us by the preschool!) was incredible. HRH had maple ice cream that had real tire and maple sugar nuggets in it. I had espresso ice cream that had shards of good chocolate and crushed coffee beans in it. The boy revelled in sickly-sweet Rolo ice cream. Apparently they close for the fall and winter, and that date’s coming up in mid-September. Sounds like we’re going to have to get a lot of ice cream visits in over the next two weeks.

7. Gryffindor has finally gotten over his fear of the stairs and now runs up and down with us. He’s not entirely comfortable in the house yet, though; he’ll often sit in the storey we’re not in and yowl until we call him to us. The girls are fine and have been since day two.

8. My stamina is shrinking by the day. Now I can only go for brief bursts of unpacking and rearranging before I fall over. It’s very frustrating.

Okay, enough. Now beer, and watching HRH assemble the BBQ.

Moving Aftermath

This week has been a steady stream of unpacking boxes and not having room for anything. That’s not entirely true; it just feels like it. I know all these books fit on bookcases at the other end, so having piles all over the floor that didn’t go anywhere was leading me to tear my hair out and fight off panic attacks. HRH finally reminded me that we’ve given two bookcases up to the boy’s toys in the family room, and I remembered that my office closet was essentially all shelves that contained many, many binders and books and files, and so I’m not quite as strung out as I was before. I still have to figure out where it will all go, though. Missing two closets upstairs is really forcing me to get creative about how we store things. And on top of figuring out what books will go where, I’ve had to constantly rejig the moveable shelves in the cases to maximize the number of books going on and use the space as efficiently as possible, which has caused me to spend a lot of time looking at the stacks on the floor and back at the bookcases, doing a lot of work in my mind before I try to execute it in the physical world. HRH said last night that if we needed to buy more bookcases he was okay with that (we certainly have the room in the downstairs hallway), so I checked the online classifieds today and sent a couple of queries about used Ikea bookcases like the ones we’ve got. We also need one or two more CD racks, since about a quarter of our collection used to live in the DVD cabinet that is now downstairs.

The family room (or gaming room, as the moving team insisted on calling it) is shaping up very nicely. We found the buried box of VHS films that got Put Somewhere in the last move, so I can watch my VHS-only costume dramas any time I want again and the boy has a slew of new-to-him Disney films to discover. The kitchen was operative very quickly, except for the pot rack. Tonight HRH is painting the kitchen, and we’ll be able to hang the rack and put up the shelves. The living room has been emptied of the mountain of boxes right in the middle, as it was mostly books (okay, sure, I’ve got three lines of spine-up books across the front of the room instead, but at least it isn’t a mountain); the only boxes left have the CD player and audio receiver in them plus the satellite speakers.

My father in law brought over his small outdoor table and chairs for us to use in the gazebo thing we have out back, and HRH tightened all the bolts on the play structure so that it isn’t shaped like a rickety parallelogram any more and doesn’t sway when the boy uses it as a pirate ship.

The other thing that has been stressing me is the laundry system saga. I have been sharing my stress with Twitter but not here, so it’s only fair that you should hear about it, too.

Last week I told you about the whole preferred-pricing-certificate failure thing when HRH and his parents showed up at their appointment with the shop to buy the washer and dryer we’d researched and chosen. Not only did our certificate not apply to the laundry units because they were already priced as low as they’d go, they were out of stock for at least a month, despite the website claiming they’d ship the next day. This was an extra-huge kick in the pants because we’d passed up a fabulous weekend sale at Home Depot on Maytag Centennials in favour of the certificate, which ended up being worthless. So I’ve been spending a lot of time this week researching sales and models online (just as frustrating as trying to figure out how to get X books on [X – a bunch] shelves, but in a different way). Thursday morning I stopped at Corbeil because I’d seen an ad saying they would discount a value up to two times the equivalent sales taxes on a purchase till the end of August. They treated me exactly the way I wanted to be treated: they left me to stare at the machines in my price range and compare settings and cycles on my own, then let me approach them to ask for availability, extended warranties, and delivery. Four home runs: There was a basic set that was on sale for about three hundred dollars off its usual price; the protection plan was affordable; the set was in stock; and they’d deliver next day, free of charge. I looked wistfully at the Maytag set we’d passed up at Home Depot, but there’s no way we can afford a thousand dollar laundry set right now, not with a protection plan on top of it. The set we’ll get is by Inglis, a Canadian company (yay!) who made our fridge and is now manufactured by Whirlpool. We’ll go buy them tomorrow, because we’re really running into the must-wash-linens stage of after the move. I will be thankful to have the opportunity to wash things again.

My allergies acted up really badly the first two nights we were here. There is deep pile carpet on the stairs, and the previous owners had a cat. I think that perhaps they did not own a vacuum, too. HRH went to town on the stairs with the Shop-Vac, and we’ve been running the forced air on the fan setting for a couple of hours each night to clean the air in the house, which has helped immensely. The weather has been gorgeous, sunny and bright and breezy during the day and nice and cool at night. So cool, as a matter of fact, that HRH is making noises about pulling out the not-yet-unpacked boxes of heavy linens and using the feather duvet on our bed now instead of later this fall. Apparently we’re supposed to have another heatwave this coming week, though, so perhaps the feather duvet will remain in storage for now.

We’ve been enjoying the later start time in the morning. The boy’s preschool (and school, too) is a whole five minutes away, and since HRH didn’t have room to bring the bikes over last weekend we’ve been dropping the boy off then taking HRH to work, then running errands or whatnot before coming home and unpacking or working, then picking them up again at the end of the day. It’s been such an incredible relief to have the car again. I didn’t realise how restricted I felt, not having it to run errands when I needed to run them instead of waiting for the weekend when we tried to shoehorn as much in as possible. Now if only the boy’s internal clock would get the later-start-time memo. He’s been waking up between five and five-thirty.

I think that’s about it for now. I have a mostly-operational office as of early this afternoon. Now I just need to hang art and take the extra boxes of art and sewing supplies downstairs, but I’ll leave that for HRH. The books have just been shoved on shelves for now, but I can finesse them later.

Last Day

It’s the boy’s last day of preschool today.

I’ve known this was coming all week. I was preparing for it, doing the last of the kindergarten shopping, scheduling the gift-buying for his educator, and so forth. But it wasn’t until last night when we picked him up and they told us that it was going to be an end-of-summer fiesta/birthday for one of the kids/our boy’s farewell party that it really hit me. One last drop-off; one last pick-up.

I’m going to miss them. They’re fabulous people, and they’ve done wonderful work with the boy. Numbers, letters, songs, attention span and focus, helping out, French, socialization, skills and techniques; they know their stuff. Even though he’s not officially attending after today, now that we’re in the neighbourhood I know that we’ll see them often enough. Heck, they’re coming to our housewarming party; I think we’re booked to help stain their fence next spring. The boy has an open invitation to hang out on any Friday night at the new TGIF for kids thing they’re doing outside of the regular daycare hours to give parents a night off for themselves or to run errands without handling a squirmy child (and upon being told that there would be Friday night babysitting available, all the kids planned for a pyjama night there with pizza at some point amongst themselves and informed the educator). And they’ve stressed that we have an open invitation to drop by after school any time, which just happens to be across the street.

The boy is excited. He’s been looking forward to the party today (there is a pinata and he is determined to be the one to whack it open), and he’s excited about kindergarten next week. He did a lovely picture for his educator at the kitchen table this morning, with great printing (look at that spacing!) and a picture of a robot, his car and trailer, and a robot bug ( “But not a bad robot bug,” he said to me. “It doesn’t sting or bite.” “I know it’s a good robot bug,” I said, “because you’ve put a smile on it.”).

He’s grown so much over the past two years there. About a year ago his main educator told HRH that if she got him through to kindergarten without having to take him to the hospital with a broken bone she wanted a medal. Well, we haven’t gotten her a medal; we think we’ve done something better. We’re going to present her with a gift certificate for the nearby Spa Strom so she can treat herself to a day of relaxation and pampering. We figure she totally deserves it after corralling him for twenty-four months, along with ten other kids.

Tonight we’re having a special dinner to celebrate the end of preschool: steak, roast potatoes, steamed broccoli with cheese sauce, and we’ll walk to the nearby ice cream parlour (recommended by his educator!) for a dessert treat. Next week we have two days off together, and then an hour-long private meeting with his new teacher on Wednesday, a morning half-day on Thursday where he’ll take the bus in and I’ll pick him up at lunch, and an afternoon half-day on Friday where I’ll drop him off after lunch and the bus will bring him home. On one of those days we’ll go get new library cards from the local branch, and stop to play at the big playground we pass that’s halfway between school and home.

First days are hard. But so are last days. Sometimes, though, you don’t realise it for a little while.

Post-Move Point Form Update

Moved. Not dead. At times we wish we were, though; so tired. But if we were dead then we wouldn’t be able to enjoy this lovely little house. It is very cottagey, what with its wooden walls here and there and that sort of colour palette and so forth.

The place is in that half-unpacked state where you know you saw something somewhere but it’s gone, you’re missing a box marked for one room that is not in that room, and boxes boxes boxes everywhere. Apart from that, unpacking is vastly preferable to packing because you’re expanding to fill space, as opposed to trying to cram things into cubes.

Our moving teams was composed of aces, as usual. They got us moved safely, quickly, and in good humour, bless them.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for not raining on us till we were done. The few refreshing drops that did fall here and there were welcome.

Holy crow, the basement is cool. We need to put the feather duvet back on the bed.

The cats are all fine.

The bathtub gets a double thumbs up from me. It’s deeper and longer and wider than our last one. Awesome hot bath last night.

That whole “I won’t go grocery shopping till after we moved so we move less stuff” is a good idea on paper. Not so great in actual application, because hey, you have no food.

Tylenol is our friend.

That’s all I’ve got now. I’d just be belabouring the “boxes everywhere” thing. But we’re here, and all in relatively good moods, and now it’s just hacking away at the boxes bit by bit.


We go offline tomorrow, as our phone line is being transferred to the new place. I may be able to set up the computer tomorrow afternoon, I may not; either way, you may not hear from us till Sunday at the latest. Don’t e-mail us with anything urgent. Also, please don’t break the internet before I get back to announce our triumphant relocation. We thank you for your consideration.

The boy was home today with a fever. He was tired yesterday at preschool, then went right to bed by choice and refused dinner when he got home. These coupled with his progressive incoherence led me to take his temperature, and he’d developed a high fever. It was a bit lower this morning, and gone by this afternoon. He had a two and a half hour nap, a sure indicator he was ill, and he only woke up because I went in to shake him gently. But he’s fine now and will be going to school tomorrow as usual, leaving HRH and I free to do a final packing blitz and take all the fragile stuff over to the house.

I’m so tired. So is HRH, as he’s been spending every day and night over at the house, painting. His dad has been with him every day as well, doing reno work (some of which was unplanned by us, but we’re grateful for his time and energy in taking them on; they’re definite improvements). The only dark spot on the whole experience so far is the fiasco at the store tonight when HRH and his parents arrived to buy our new laundry set. Our real estate agent’s company had issued us a certificate for this store giving us preferred pricing on our purchases in all departments when made through a commercial sales associate by appointment. Well, after all my careful research and choosing of a set, at the appointment HRH attended tonight he was told that the set we want isn’t available for this preferred pricing scheme, the preferred pricing varies depending on what you buy, and quite apart from all of that the set we chose is out of stock until at least halfway through September, despite the website claiming a delivery date of August 22. I’m livid. Especially so because my in-laws called me from another store two days ago saying they’d buy us another set on sale that had free delivery, and I declined, saying that the set we wanted from the store to which we had the certificate was pretty much the same price and we’d get a discount of some kind thanks to the certificate, so we’d wait for our appointment. What a mistake. It’s a good thing I wasn’t there at the appointment tonight, because I’d have told the salesman exactly what I thought of this whole vague and ill-defined preferred pricing scheme (promising ‘preferred pricing in all departments’ when you really mean ‘preferred pricing on only some of what we sell and we won’t tell you what until you get to your appointment’ is shady enough to qualify as false advertising in my book), as well as my opinion of the website that tells me things would be available to my postal code zone in three days when they’re actually out of stock across the entire island of Montreal for a month.

Anywhats; we’ll figure something out. We need a laundry set by the middle of next week at the very latest, but I’ll research what I can (all the more reason to hook up the internet ASAP at the new place tomorrow) and we can go out on Sunday to shop for a set in our price range that’s in stock now. And I certainly won’t be buying them from that branch, if that store at all.

Tomorrow morning the boys head out and I pack the pantry, the last of the dishes, the pots and pans, and disconnect the computer. And then that’s that; the last phase of the move begins. I’m truly awed by how much HRH has been able to move over to the house by doing two or three carloads a day while painting as much as he has, I really am. He’s been heroic.

See you on the flip side, world. Have a lovely Friday and Saturday. Think good moving thoughts for us tomorrow, but especially Saturday morning and early afternoon!

An Open Letter To Her Cello

Dear cello:

I know, I know. You’re sitting there in your case, trying to not look disapproving and to be supportive and understanding at the same time. The house is in chaos; we move in a day and a half. I’m exhausted from packing and running around doing all the new-house imminent-move stuff that has to get done.

But think: in a week, we’ll be mostly unpacked. The new house is a house, which means I will be able to sit down and play you whenever the fancy strikes me without worrying about disturbing neighbours above, below, or beside me. I have a room for my office that’s bigger then this one, and I’ll bet the acoustics are great. And when we finish the attic and my office moves up there, think of how resonant things will be in a big room like that.

Lessons stopped for the summer; I miss them, too. But we’ll start again in September, and orchestra will begin again, too, and we’ll get back into the swing of things. We’ll muddle through the first few weeks of regaining ground we’ve lost through not playing regularly through the two summer months, and then by early October we’ll be fine again. I may even earmark some money from my project delivery cheque at the end of November for a new bow upgrade. Wouldn’t that be nice? Let’s do that.

I love you. I miss you, but I just can’t do it right now. A week. Ten days. How does that sound? You, me, the metronome once I unearth it from whatever box I put it in my accident (it was an accident, I swear), maybe a café au lait, and some nice, mellow long tones in the new house?

Love, me.