In less than one week we’ve moved residences from the Greater Toronto Area (population nearly 6 million) and happily are settling into Smalltown, Ontario (population 16,000). Smalltown is a very familiar place to us; we’ve spent a number of years here already visiting friends and family. The local YMCA and Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) have been a part of our lives for nearly six years now – so the day we walked into the OEYC and told the staff we’ve finally moved up here they were excited for us. Because we’ve been talking about it for some time now, a number of years in fact.
And that leaves us with the question: why didn’t we do this sooner?
I could go through the list of reasons that seemed important at the time, but I can’t really remember them anymore.
I have a vague memory of rushing around to different appointments, stuck in the ‘stop and go’ traffic the city is famous for. The kids were stressed, we were stressed, and all of us were one appointment away from burn-out. Here, Granny and Grandpa drop in regularly, friends and family show up for coffee or to help out. The kids are ecstatic, Hubby and I are thrilled, even the dogs and cats are happy.
Mornings find us waking up to birdsong and crickets chirping, with a distant rumble of an early morning truck a few blocks away. This is a far cry from the incessant traffic that chokes our urban neighbourhood, the roar of which obliterates bird song by 5 am.
Days find us in a state of unpacking, which is actually harder than packing. Some of the things we need (my toaster?) are MIA. Some of the things we don’t need (boxes of old photos) are tripping hazards as we dive through a sea of cardboard in a quest to find my kitchen knives. And this is all despite my carefully labelled boxes.
It seems that some things, like the box labelled ‘Important: Kitchen Essentials’ was left behind while the box labelled ‘Old junk: to deal with, someday’ is in the middle of the living room, waiting for someday.
I tell myself that it took months to pack; it will take months to unpack. My current strategy is to get Hubby to carry everything into the basement, and wait for ‘someday.’
In the meantime, kids’ essentials like Lego, trucks and baby dolls have been unpacked, and are strewn across the living room.
And poor Mr. Sensitive finally got the part of his bedframe he needed, so he no longer needs to sleep on the floor. For a couple days he was sleeping on a camping pad with a sleeping bag at the foot of my bed. One morning, after waking up under my bed, he sadly asked if he could sleep in his own bed. Yes, once Daddy brings that part of the bedframe here.
So Hubby drove 90 minutes back to our old place to pick up the bedframe and the many other things we were missing (like my toaster) and found all the elevators in our 17 story building were out of service. (You can see more on this here.) He ran up and down 16 flights of stairs several times, carrying boxes of forgotten essentials. Hours later, he returned with the bedframe and assorted boxes of stuff I’d forgotten we’d had.
We still can’t find the toaster.
I’ve given up and have adjusted to making toast in a frying pan while I fry eggs. It works. And I focus on other things instead.
For a super-powered, special needs family, connecting with healthcare services was number one on my priority list. I was pleased to check that off of my to-do list the other day, after a two-hour long telephone interview (thank goodness I didn’t need to drag the kids into this appointment) we’ll be receiving Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, and a few other things, and the nice person on the phone will fax referral forms to my pediatrician, ‘to save me the trip.’ I love this place already! Two appointments that I don’t have to go to, and stuff gets done.
So what can I do with this extra time? Unpack. Little Miss Adorable has been, um, helping unpack as much as she helped us pack. Now instead of repackaging stuff into little sandwich bags she’s rearranging my carefully organized cupboards. I walked into the kitchen the other day to find my orderly rows of canned goods stacked in a Jenga-like tower on the floor beside the bag of spaghetti she’d dumped beside it.
Now where’s my broom and dustpan?