Tag Archives: efficiency

Step 94: Assemble Crack Team of Professionals

vosteamOkay, I’ve got a doctor, accountant, mechanic, realtor, eye specialist, lawyer, printer, chimney cleaner, piano tuner, and appliance repairmanĀ  – none of whom look anything like the people in the picture aboveĀ  – and today I finally signed us up with a dentist! Am I done now??!

Rainbow’s End


So on Friday, just as we were behind schedule dashing to yoga class (of course), and I was muttering about how we’re always running late, the sun broke through the rain and we beheld a spectacular rainbow over Ganges. As we drove into town it was still hanging on – it was like we drove right through it. It faded by the time we got to our destination. Soooo… if we’d been organized and on time we would have missed the whole thing!

Sometimes the universe has to resort to the most obvious symbolism and beat you over the head with it before you notice.

Photographic evidence that the rainbow ends at Mouat's Hardware.

Photographic evidence that the rainbow ends at Mouat’s Hardware.

Step 93: Tuning Out

English: January 15, 1938. Mt. Kilimanjaro: Th...

Mt. Kilimanjaro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

March is officially no-facebook and no-twitter month for me. I was in desperate need of a Brain Cleanse, and my days are much more serene without all that online blather.

Downside? Not seeing immediately what distant friends and family members are up to. (ie. sister who’s just climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro!)

Upside? More time, less distractions. More time for reading books. And actually playing the piano sometimes. Plus the sudden realization that if I miss a few posts (and even the latest hilarious “meme”) the world will not come to an end.

Is isolation from the outside world a good thing or a bad thing? When you’re young it’s nothing but bad bad and bad. Everything worthwhile is happening elsewhere, and (as Neil Young put it) everyone knows that this is nowhere.

But… as you grow older the cultural white noise starts to make your head hurt and the little house in the deep dark woods starts to look like a pretty good option.

Is this part of my country lifestyle slowdown? I suppose so. I still like the hum and buzz of activity, but this month the hum and buzz is coming from me instead of my newsfeed.

Become a fan on facebook

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Step 90: Readjust Your Entire Sense of Time

I find my time here is both expanding and contracting. On one hand, it is refreshing to have to allocate far less “travel time” to get around. I keep forgetting that we can drive to most places we need to go in five minutes or less, with the result that we’re early for everything, a most un-Saltspringian trait. In the city things were different. We walked everywhere and I had to allow extra time for the Boss’s extremely variable speed. The 3 blocks to school could take 20 minutes or it could take 45. To travel downtown, it was a 15+ minute walk to the subway station, then add ride time, rush hour delays, etc etc etc.

For me, city living fed into my obsessive nature beautifully. I spent an awful lot of time just calculating walking and transit times and planning my day so that every activity dovetailed perfectly. (That was the plan, anyway. My agendas were often enough foiled by my own idiocy.) I calculated every trip, scheduled every errand. I walked fast, and got into the habit of reading while I walked, when the Boss wasn’t with me, just to get more done.

Zipping about in a car here has turned all this upside down. In Toronto I would never have signed the Boss up for a dance class that starts a mere 15 minutes after school lets out, a couple of miles away, but here we can make it… and still have time to change!

The time I’ve gained however, is lost again extremely quickly, since everyone operates in slow motion around here.

(And yet Saltspringers can also drive idiotically fast on these tricky winding roads. I am surrounded by paradox!)

slug logo by the Rabson family, local entrepreneurs

We are living on “island time” now. Good news: nobody expects you to be on time. Bad news: They won’t be on time either.

But stop-and-smell-the-roses islanders still have their own time anxieties. Interaction with the outside world requires adherence to strict ferry schedules. Nobody is cursed more bitterly than BC Ferries, when a sluggish islander makes the effort to hurry and be on time, and then the dagnabbed ferry runs late!

BC Ferries loading ramp

Road to Nowhere

So where does that leave me, the transplanted city neurotic? The ease of driving everywhere is definitely softening my head as well as my muscle tone. I’ve got to have a book to read in my car for every time I’m too early for school pickup. I have to take a deep breath in restaurants and not let the tortoise-paced service drive me nutty. And I’ve got to take up knitting or something for those damn ferry wait times!

I don’t know. Can I slow down? Should I slow down? I’ve got a lot to do, y’know, what with scheduling in the rose-smelling along with all the wood-chopping, bird-watching, monkey-bars-playing and general horsing around that needs to be done around here.

Step 82-88: Fitting in… Get Your Membership Cards

Very soon after arriving I scurried about securing all the badges of community membership I could find…

82. Saltspring Library Card

83. Co-op Membership

84. Barb’s Buns Bakery card

85. Thrifty’s points card

86. Resident card

87. subscription to the Driftwood (local paper)

88. B.C. Ferries card

All part of my devious scheme to pose as a bona fide Islander…

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 73: No Time for Sentiment!

I paused on the front doorstep and asked the Boss…

Me: Do you want to walk through one last time and say goodbye to the house?

Her: Not really.

The wisdom of six-year-olds.


Step 71: Handle Last-Minute Disasters

I’m breezin’ my way through the last day’s chores, drop the key off at the lawyer’s, take a box of non-perishables to the food bank, return library books… we’re busy, but accomplishing things more or less on schedule.

Then we drop a load of stuff off at the Goodwill, and the car won’t restart. I sit there totally stunned. In a bizarre stroke of luck, I hear a familiar voice – behind me in the Goodwill lot is one of our neighbours. He recommends a garage that’s just across the street! Okay, so maybe my luck isn’t so bad.

The Volvo needs a new alternator. But I wanted to leave town in about two hours! The Boss and I leave the car behind and walk home. Oh wait, did I mention it is hot? Brutally, blazingly, scorchingly, brain-sizzlingly hot?

We stop along the way for lunch. The Boss is ecstatic at the prospect of food from the 7-11. (No sarcasm here. She is 6, eminently capable of excitement over such a thing.) As we sit on the curb with our hot dogs (oorg) I had to reflect that this whole episode might be considered more of an adventure than a disaster. Well, you have to think so on a day like that, really, just to stay sane.

And, after all, my car broke down in town, mere yards from an excellent garage, instead of somewhere in the barrens of northern Ontario. That ain’t so unlucky.

Anyway, in a mere two hours I’m back at Dublin Motors and Mack-with-the-real-Irish-accent hands me back my keys. The car is fixed.

“I hear you’re leavin’ town today,” says he.

“Yeah. We’re driving to B.C.” says I.

“Wha? In the Volvo?” he asks, incredulous.


“Ah geez. (sympathetic pause) Well, good luck to yeh then.”

(The automotive snafu, painless as it was, was just another reason for our last day going off the rails, time-wise.)

(And, by the by, our 20-year-old car operated flawlessly for, oh, the next two thousand miles or so!)

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 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…