Monday, July 28, 2008

Seven Lists for Moving Day

1. Things we'll do tomorrow

First, I'll catch the cat and put him in his kitty jail.

The movers come at 10. They'll load all the boxes in the hallway first, and then whatever else they can fit in the truck for the first load. While they're loading, I'll pack whatever I can from the master bedroom and empty the last of the big bookcases, just pulling bins and stacking them in empty spaces if I must.

Once they have a truckload of stuff, they'll head for the new house. I'll stay here and keep packing, and the Renaissance Woman and Mermaid Girl will drive over to the new house in the van, taking a cell phone with them. They'll put the cat and the litter box and some food in the new bathroom and close the door. RW will supervise the unloading, but first she'll ask the movers to move the single bed--that the old owners left--out of the small bedroom and into the living room, on the far wall. MG will sit there and watch a DVD on the computer while the movers unload. Then they'll come back to the old apartment and get more stuff. And so on until everything that can be moved has been moved.

If there's stuff we can't move because we're out of boxes or out of time, we'll leave it here at the old place for now and come back for it when we have more time and/or when we've unpacked a bit and can re-use the empty boxes. First priority tomorrow will be, in order of importance (though not necessarily chronology):

beds, especially MG's super-heavy complicated bed
Big bookcases and shelving units
Other heavy boxes
Fragile dishware
Portable dishwasher
Tables and chairs, especially the dining table
Small shelving units
Light boxes of miscellaneous

We've already moved the art, the musical instruments, and a couple of beanbag chairs.

2. Things we'll still have to do after tomorrow:

Get whatever's left from the house
Repaint MG's room from its current purple-pink-orange striped color scheme to some color more desirable to the general non-7-year-old-girl population
Patch up all the holes in the walls
Clean the old apartment
Re-hang the curtains in the old apartment, which we moved around and in some cases replaced with our own curtains
Reinstate the locking doorknob in the door to MG's old room, from whence we removed it last year so she couldn't lock us out whenever she had a tantrum
Tell the Post office and Revenue Canada and probably the Immigration folks that we've moved
Unpack the new apartment
Re-assemble MG's bed
Assemble the porch swing I bought last month, which was a floor model and came without instructions
Find tenants for the downstairs place

3. Nice things that the old owners left us:

That single bed (though I'm not sure where we'll put it in the long term if the downstairs tenants don't want it)
Another dining table (ditto)
A kitchen clock
A box of Borax
Curtains to all the rooms
Mirror with big ornate gilded frame, to be hung in MG's room
A couple of sweet painted rocks on the kitchen windowsill

5. Things I'm afraid of:

The house will be too hot
The soundproofing--between upstairs & downstairs, and between our room and MG's--will be too feeble
The tenants will be difficult in some unforeseen way
The yard will be too overwhelming
The neighbors will be too rowdy
Something nice will break in the move
The porch swing will fall apart, or will be impossible to put together in the first place
The cat will escape and never be seen again
We will never unpack and will live among stacks of boxes for the rest of our lives, falling deeper and deeper into chaos

6. Things I wish I had more of:

Small/medium-sized boxes

7. Things I wish I had less of:

Everything else

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Joys of Reframing

Background: the Mermaid Girl has had a complete raving tantrum every time I mention the possibility of organized Hebrew School at our synagogue, declaring that she HATES Hebrew school, HATES IT HATES IT HATES IT, and absolutely won't go, despite my desperate assurances that it will be fun, with songs and dancing and making stuff and etc. I have been despairing.

Me [after a very pleasant and informative phone conversation with the new organizer/teacher of our synagogue's incipient religious education program]: Hey, Mermaid Girl, guess what?

MG: What?

Me: There isn't going to be a Hebrew school at our shul.

MG [relief and jubilation dawning on her face]: Yay! No Hebrew School!

Me: There's going to be a Kids' Club instead! It'll meet on Saturday mornings, during services. And there'll be songs, and dancing, and playing, and making things, and cooking and stuff.

MG [leaping into my arms and hugging me]: A Kids' Club! Oh boy! Kids' Club! I wanna go to Kids' Club! *begins shimmying around and chanting "Kids' Club, Kids' Club, Kids' Club!"*

Me: So, uh, you like that idea?

MG: I don't LIKE it, I LOVE it! Kids' Club, Kids' Club, Kids' Club!

So apparently I'm going to figure out how to get her to religious school Kids' Club on at least a semi-regular basis, even though I'm working Saturdays and we live about 45 minutes away from shul.

Because obviously this new religious school Kids' Club director/teacher is a friggin GENIUS.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My First Day of Packing

[with apologies to Harper's Bazaar]

Boxes I packed today: 10
Boxes yet to pack: approximately 190
Days until the moving van comes: 14
Minutes I drove to get to a meeting about a possible religious school at our synagogue next year: 35
Messages I had received to say that the meeting place had changed and was now another hour's drive away: 0
Meetings I actually attended tonight: 0
Interest MG has in attending any kind of organized religious school: Negative infinity
Interest I have in endless arguments and rousting her out of bed on weekend mornings: also negative infinity
Chances that a religious school will be organized and she'll go to it next year: anyone's guess
Cost of gas per liter when I filled up on my way home: $1.41&1/2
Boxes the Mermaid Girl packed today, of her own free will: 2
Times I nagged her to finish cleaning her room and go to bed: 6? 7?
Hairsbreadths I was from banging my head against the wall in frustration at her dawdling: 1
Percentage of my To-Do list accomplished today: approximately 50, not sure, can't find the list
Percentage I anticipate completing tomorrow: er, 20?

Times today that I have wondered how anyone ever moves anywhere or indeed gets anything done: countless

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thank You, ZOOM and Jewish Summer Camp

I am tricky. I didn't tell you we were going away, and now we are back.

First we went on an overnight trip to the Aquarium, wherein we looked at a lot of moss in Stanley Park and got ravaged by hundreds of mosquitoes, before retreating to the Aquarium itself where we had a snack and then were shown a lot of fish and the Mermaid Girl made fast friends with a 6-year-old from Alberta. Then...more assorted slimy/prickly sea creatures in boxes. And somewhere in there we got a quick tour through the hidden back workings of the building (my favorite insider tidbit, written on a whiteboard: "Remember to feed the octopus in tank #45 while I'm gone"). And we had a special quiet visit to the new and as-yet-unnamed baby beluga viewing nursery. By then it was midnight and we'd had five hours of nonstop marine education; we all staggered to the dolphin viewing room, where RW and , along with the other 20 or so overnighters, unrolled our sleeping bags on top of the pathetically small and thin foam pads we'd brought (MG got to share a luxurious double air mattress with her new Albertan friend) and sacked out.

I woke up at 5:30, needing to pee. Then I thought I'd look at the dolphins for a while, though I didn't want to get in their space too much. Hah! to that. Turns out all that stuff you hear about how friendly and curious dolphins are is TOTALLY TRUE: one of them got right up in MY face as soon as I perched in one of the viewing tank bays. She (I found out later it was a she) nosed right up against the glass, and she spouted air bubbles out of her spout, and she swam around and did flips and and came back to say hi again, and eventually brought one of her pals over and they did some swimming exactly in tandem, I swear just to show off.

After a while I started to feel like this conversation was kind of one-sided, so I tried to reciporicate by doing my one and only trick, the Bernadette arm-flip thing that I learned from ZOOM! when I was like eight. Wow. My new friend the dolphin was impressed! Or at least she did a very polite imitation of being impressed, bobbing her head up and down enthusiastically and flapping her flippers and even making sounds that were probably Dolphin for "hey, guys, get a load of this one! She is obviously not afraid to make an utter fool of herself! Humans are so cute and charming, even if they are sort of dopey!"

Soon two or three of them were nosing each other out of the way to watch, all being very polite and charmed by the arm-flip thing, which I was by now alternating--for variety--with the David Melech Yisroel hand-jive that I learned at summer camp. Even Spinnaker, the star dolphin who gets trotted out for all the shows and who'd been basically ignoring all the excitement, came by to see what the fuss was about. I told him I knew he was a star and that I was very honored he'd come to say hi.

By now I could mostly tell them apart. My pal, Hannah, had some scoring on her nose, and there was another one who had very short flippers, and Spinnaker was much bigger and also sort of noble and standoffish and didn't hang with the others so much.

After an hour or so a little boy woke up and was also wowed that the dolphins would come over and hang with him, and soon after that the lights came on to wake us all up and get us out of the viewing room so they could clean it before the aquarium opened, but by then I was...well, maybe it is an exaggeration to say I was changed for life, but maybe not. I am still not so much a nature person or even an animal person but I do think I finally understand why people get so excited about dolphins.

And I suppose I might be finally motivated to buy tuna that is certified dolphin-free. All, or at least most, of the dolphins at the aquarium were there because they were rescued from fishing nets where they were trapped. Most of them have some scarring from the nets. And while I was happy to get to know them for that hour, I'm sorry that happened to them. I know that's one reason the Aquarium has special tours and overnights like this, so that people like me can have a personal experience with marine life and start to get it and maybe be responsible in our consumer choices. And I guess it worked.

Also, it just goes to show that you never know what bits of trivia will come in handy in life. I might try to track down Bernadette if she's online, so I can thank her for the arm thing.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

More Random Bullets Cause it's All I can Handle

  • My kid! She is so amazing. I keep wanting to write a whole post about her.
  • We went through all her school stuff the other day and she WILLINGLY tossed about half of it: math problems, spelling tests, mind maps a/k/a elementary-level literary analysis-- toss, toss, toss. This all in itself is evidence of such stunning maturity that I was, well, stunned.
  • Plus, I had no idea about most of the stuff she was learning.
  • She learned to tell time, for example. But she kept this fact secret from us.
  • Also, she reads all the time now. On her own.
  • Thank God, she seems to be over the Rainbow Magic obsession.
  • Now it's all American Girl books, all the time.
  • Which would be great if we weren't in CANADA where they are relatively hard to find.
  • She is psyched about the new house.
  • A couple days after we signed the contract, I took her past the New House on the way to school so she could see the "SOLD" sign.
  • We were late to school because she had to run over and hug the sign.
  • Speaking of which, we're moving at the end of July.
  • I don't want to talk about it.
  • But I will say that we seem to spend several hours a week in banks and insurance offices meeting and signing things.
  • Every time we leave one of these appointments I feel like taking a long nap.
  • But usually I can't because I have to run off to work at that point.
  • Have I mentioned the hours at my new job?
  • Not to complain, but...yes, well, to complain:
  • They are sucky.
  • I work every Friday 1-9 and then Saturday 9-5, plus a couple of other shifts.
  • RW and MG are doing Shabbat on their own most weeks.
  • Technically, MG is leading because RW isn't Jewish.
  • I put a treat in a Shabbat Box and she gets to open it when she's done with the blessings.
  • She seems to be okay with it. But I miss it.
  • It's nice to see the candles burning when I get home at 9:30 or so.
  • But then I have to go to bed.
  • And now I have to go to work.