Thursday, August 14, 2003

Still Moving

Following ten days of frantic packing, the movers arrived, took one look at our house, and phoned into the boss that they were quiting. He responded by sending a fourth man out to help with the move, but even so, it took them nine hours and two truckloads to move us, and that was after I had designated a bunch of stuff to be left for me to take myself. Consequently, I have spent the last 7 days moving all the things the movers missed. I finally brought over the last load last night. Of course, we still left 4 desks, 2 office chairs, a couch, a hide a bed, a kitchen table, a work table, an amoire, 3 paintings, garden furniture and a stack of dishes for the new owner. (I sold the house to a colleague who only had enough furniture to furnish one room of his two room appartment, so he was glad to get some left over furniture, and we were glad not to have to move or dump it.) And we threw out even more garbage than my earlier estimates. In the end, we produced 85 67-litre bags of garbage; 24 92-litre bags of donations to Diabetes Association's charity drive. It has all been kind of mind-numbing how much stuff we had crammed into our house.

Of course, we now have the challenge of unpacking. Currently, two thirds of our three door garage is filled floor to ceiling with boxes waiting to be sorted and correctly placed in the new house. I estimate another 20 days labour....

We have officially voted never to move again; or at least until we retire to Victoria in 23 years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Ultrasound confirms...

...that we are expecting a girl.

Of course, I was confident from the beginning in my feeling that this one was a girl, but it is nice to have this actually confirmed. Mary has had a couple of previous ultrasounds, but our daughter was apparently shy about showing the relevant region, so the technicians couldn't tell us what she was until yesterday's ultrasound.

I'm glad our daughter is a girl, because (a) I justed moved 47 cartons of girl baby and toddler clothes from our old house to our new house, and would have been royally ticked off if we then had to dump it (contengency plan called for this ad in local classifieds: "It's a Boy! Infant girl clothes available cheap!); and (b) we were having a terrible time coming up with suitable boy names. We wanted something as original as Tigana, but all the boy names we thought of were either too common or too effeminate. We couldn't find one we liked at all. Mary proposed "Kerrison", my mother's maiden name, but it abbreviates as "Kerry", which Mary did not like at all. I suggested "General" or "Sir" to give the child a leg up in their future career, but Mary vetoed that. Mary suggested "Grayson", but I figured out that was a shot at my age, so I vetoed that one! And everything else just seemed, well unsuitable for one reason or another.

But then, we were not really trying because we both knew boy names were a mere intellectual exercise. We knew it was a girl, and we know what her name is. Well, more accurately, we know two out of three of her names -- we've told Tigana she may choose one (middle) name for her baby sister, so that has been subject to change -- we've had "Grace" and "Rose" (neither of which Mary and I like much, but which do oddly fit with the names we've chosen, so we would have been okay) but which this week is Pocahontas. We may have to exercise a parental veto....

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


I have spent the last ten days, 10 to 14 hours a day, packing for our move to a larger house. Mary's expecting, and so can no longer bend or lift, so all the packing comes down to me. The movers come tomorrow to move the heavy stuff and as many boxes (about 200 at this point) as they can do in one day; I'll move the remainder myself for the week or so we still have the house afterwards. But the packing has been interesting.

We were living in a three story house, but had essentially abandoned the basement to storage. I had a house full of furniture when Mary moved in with her house full of furniture six years ago, so we moved all of the junkier stuff (which, as it turned out, meant all my stuff apparently) into the basement. Then Mary inherited most of a house of furniture from her Aunt. So we had three houses of furniture in one small house, and we kept buying new stuff. (Mary is one of those people who has to go out at least once a day and there is often no where to go in the Winter in Lethbridge except the Mall, so we end up buying a lot of stuff. Which meant, more stuff shuffled into basement storage.)

Sorting through the basement took a long time. Much of what I discovered down there we hadn't seen for years. There were boxes of stuff the movers had brought from Mary's former home which had never been unpacked and examined. (Mary had been away at grad school when she sold her house and had the furniture sent to my place, so she never got to do the usual pre-move purge.) There was an entire backroom devoted to Gestetner printing equipment (four machines so I could run four different colors to produce the equivalent of a four color press) and supplies, which I had lovingly purchased second hand just after the process had become completely obsolete with color photocopying/computer printers. I had a complete photography darkroom set up which I was sure to get around to using again any day now, except I have tossed all my film cameras and gone completely digital. There were the bookshelves of Social Studies reference materials in case I ever wanted to teach social studies again (yeah, that could happen!) and the ten years supply of food, purchased at significant savings in bulk from Costco etc., which had stale dated sometime in the late 1990s. There were the two Osborne computers, both broken, which I intended to fix by cannibalizing the one to fix the other so that I could read the 700 diskes of obsolete research data piled next to them. And so on. Given the impending move, I had no difficulty throwing all this stuff out, and had to wonder why much of it had ever seemed worth saving. But without the deadline imposed by movers, there is always something more pressing then cleaning out the basement, and always some good reason why this or that might come in handy at some indefinite time in the future.

Physically getting rid of all this trash was a different matter. Half of it went during Lethbridge's annual spring cleaning day, when the garbage collectors carry away anything, including stoves, fridges and printing presses, that people want to get rid of. I don't know of any other city that does this, but it is a great service. The other half I had to put in green garbage bags and throw out with the weekly trash. As the deadline for the move came closer, I had to up my output from a couple of extra bags a week, to a mountain of trash. Which was a problem, because normally the crew only collects two or three bags per house. So, faced with a stack of 26 bags of garbage last week, I was at a bit of a loss what to do. I piled the garbage into two different stacks, one on the far right of my property line, the other on the far left. Since we lived on a cresent and our pie shaped lots met at the street, it wasn't always clear which pile of garbage belonged to which house, and with my two piles, I hoped to make it looked like they were collecting from two houses rather than one. Then, still faced with a gigantic surplus I moved up and down the block adding a bag or two to each of my neighbours piles filling up their quotas.

Garbage collectors were not that easily fooled, though. One has to acknowledge that they are professionals in their own right. They took about 10 of my bags, and left everything else, including all the bags smuggled into neighbour's piles. (Mine were a slightly different shade of green, and had tie tops, which apparently are less popular with my neighbours, so the garbage staff just ignored my bags.) I had to quickly collect back my bags into my pile before my neighbours got wise. So I just left the pile lying out front for the next round of collection, but the next week, the garbage guys only took one bag, and started to drive off. A neighbour who was out there started to argue with them, and by the time I had run out to join him, the garbage guys had called into their foreman to complain about how much there was. But my neighbour kept at them and eventually they took everything, including a number of new bags I hadn't had the nerve to put out on the street. I told my neighourbour he should have been a lawyer, he was talking so fast.

Of course now I still have another twenty bags or so to go, but dare not put out more than three or four a week. I still have the house for another two weeks, so that accounts for say 12 bags....but being too cheap to rent a bin or pay the dump fees, I'm going to have to take my garbage with me and put it out at the new house at three bags a week until it is all gone.

Well, back to packing. One day to go to movers. They are going to freak when they see how much stuff is still to be moved.