Tag Archives: delusions

The Story of a Tree

This year I had the brainwave of digging up a Christmas tree from our new property, putting it in a pot, and keeping it to use every year. So green! So sustainable! So… virtuous!

And so, this weekend we set out in the rain and sleet – Grandpa with his shovel, me with my camera, and the Boss with her artistic eye. (And the other one as well.)

After much bushwhacking and trudging around getting muddy and wet, we picked out this gem…

It looked so full-bodied...

It looked so full-bodied in amongst the other trees…

... so we dug it up.

… so we dug it up.

Out Charlie Browning Charlie Brown's tree.

Out Charlie Browning Charlie Brown’s tree.

A little better, I guess...

A little better, I guess…

If You Can’t Keep Your Wits About You, At Least Have Some Idea of their Whereabouts

Our belongings arrived on Saltspring Island some time in mid July.

We drove into Mom and Dad’s driveway on July 27th.

And yet, on November 13th, I’m still awaiting the arrival of my brain.

I see it nowhere in my packing list app…


I’m finally making an effort though, I’m acting as if my brain was here in hopes that it will come out of hiding. I’ve finally set up my office and today was my first day of turning my back on my mess of a house, and walking out to the workshop where my office is, to sit at my desk at 9 a.m. sharp.

Business as usual!


I am struck most right now by the view out the window, which looks the same as the scenic photo on my calendar. I’m living inside a calendar photo!

Step 76: Always Appreciate Good Fortune

The day before our moving truck came I blithely drove over to my storage space to bring home the last item. All by myself. I got it this far on a hot Sunday afternoon with not a soul in sight to ask for a hand. I always appreciate an impossible situation so I paused for a moment just to laugh at myself and take photos. (I wanted photographic evidence of my amazing strength and fortitude.)

As I was putting the camera away and rolling up my sleeves I heard a voice behind me…

“Would you like a hand with that?”

I’d like to think that I would have manhandled that couch into the car if I’d had to, but when it came right down to it, on another scorching hot afternoon in the big city, I was glad to accept a little help.

Many thanks to a kind stranger!

Step 70: Final Detritus Expands to Fill Space and Time

Despite your best attempts, despite all well-laid plans, despite everything, the last few items in your house on moving day will suddenly expand into piles and mounds of inexplicable flotsam and jetsam, which you must dispose of before you can leave.

I was tired. I was exhausted. My brain was mush. I chose the least elegant solution possible – leave it on the curb!

To all my neighbours, I am deeply sorry. (I hope there was something in there you could use?) To my garbage collectors, likewise, sorry sorry. To my friends to whom I left the last trip to Goodwill and the last bags of excess garbage… I grovel before you in abject sorryness.

(In my admittedly lame defense the reason for the desperate ditching act will be elaborated in the next post…)

(re. photo above: fabulous, no? Art installation by Moreno di Trapani, photo by Gianpietro Malosio)

Step 65: Double-book and Over-extend

Wait a minute, back up a bit. I missed a few steps that occurred before the truck arrived…

As a way to keep your spirits up, always underestimate how much work lies ahead. If possible, invite people over for goodbye visits right when you’ve got the most packing to do…

We hosted an open house deck party for two afternoons a mere 2 days before the moving truck arrived. Either the smartest or the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.

On the downside… 2 days before the moving truck arrived. Aieeee!

On the upside… I really needed a break from the packing tape and bubble wrap.

On the downside… the Boss had fun but was definitely becoming irked with constant goodbyes and “smile for the photo”s.

On the upside… some sweet goodbye time with good friends. (And some lovely photos too.)

P.S. On the topic of over-extending myself… did I mention we made special Canada Day cookies too? (Am I insane?)

Step 64: Load the Truck

Inflict another annoyance on soon-to-be-ex-neighbours, as monster truck pulls up. Grovel about asking people to move their cars. Panic over last minute packing. And then panic some more. Marvel as movers manoeuvres the piano. Then get back to panicking. Hyperventilate and dash about. Repeat.

And I KNEW I didn’t need a truck that big! My stuff only took up about 1/4 of the space in that thing. Even so… I came by train to Toronto 24 years ago with all my belongings in a trunk. The accumulation of detritus is sobering. I am a tiny snowball rolling down a hill, transforming effortlessly into a colossal town-crusher of an ice bomb.

But, I hasten to emphasize, I didn’t FILL the truck. I didn’t. I hope my neighbours don’t think I filled the truck. How many of them saw the truck anyway? My belongings only took up the front part of it. I really don’t haveĀ that much stuff. I am not a candidate for that hoarders show! (Am I?)

(Hmm. Why am I so embarrassed by my possessions? I rather like my possessions – that’s why I possess them.)

Ah well, back to work. Bubble wrap the artwork, seal up the boxes, stay out of the way of the movers, make the keep-it-or-toss-it decision about a million times in rapid succession… The boss grew weary of the whole procedure pretty quickly, and defected to a friend’s place for the afternoon. I soldiered on, until…

… bye bye stuff! See ya on the other side!


Step 63: Accept Chaos as Inevitable

Moving Day. It came, it went, and here’s the nugget of wisdom I have gleaned from that experience:

Unless you are some kind of minimalist freak with no possessions, Moving Day will Always be a Train Wreck.

It doesn’t matter if you start packing and organizing six months in advance. It doesn’t matter if you are pathologically methodical about it. It doesn’t even matter if you have a killer packing list app. No matter what your state of preparedness, the last day will be a crazy mess. And you will be a crazy mess too, flinging things into boxes willy nilly and dashing about on the brink of total mental and physical collapse.

Despite all your hard work and cleverness, Moving Day will be a disaster. Accept this, take a deep breath and move on…

Step 47 to 57: A Flurry of Activity…

I’ve been an efficiency ninja for the last week and a half…

Step 47: eye appointment, order new glasses (bifocals! aieeee!)

Step 48: medical checkups for both of us

Step 49: booked movers

Step 50: fill prescriptions

Step 51: arrange for cancellation of utilities

Step 52: Hazardous Waste dropoff (leftover paint, etc. from garage)

Step 53: farewell visit to old daycare

Step 54: OS upgrade and resulting mayhem

Step 55: notify school of transfer

Step 56: new email address – notify everyone

Step 57: arrange mail forwarding with post office

Aaaand, in a classic case of over-extending myself, also finished up a work contract, had girlfriends over for cocktails, helped out as class chaperone for the dance recital, judged a student short story contest, and participated in a Career Day for the grade 7’s.

This frenzied behaviour led, naturally, to my downfall… (see next post)

Step 42: Regain your Space

It’s been exactly 3 weeks since the last day of House Beautiful, and I’m still reclaiming the useful spaces in my home. Having a spot to leave dirty dishes (that would be in the sink) just makes me breathe easier. And being able to leave keys, sunglasses, loose change, sun block, scraps of paper, hair elastics, safety pins, glitter glue, and subway tokens in a jumble on top of the buffet is absolutely delicious.

Another example… little cubbyholes tucked in behind the fridge. For holding bottles of water, or … ?? Which would you choose?

Step 40: Emanate a Vibe of Total Organization

The deal with staging your house is not simply to make it look a) nice, b) clean, c) spacious. I am slowly coming to the realization that the goal is to give the general impression that Organization and Efficiency are an intrinsic part of the property, that they are hardwired into the actual DNA of the house.

“Wha?” you say? It’s true – I want to make the potential buyer feel, on a subconscious level, even a molecular level, that living in this house will make them more organized. As if the way the walls are put together can make his/her crazy life simpler, more ordered, more logical.

It’s all an illusion of course, since the real source of organization magic lies in my newest secret weapon…


If I just collect enough bins my life will be Perfect!