Tag Archives: moving

To go or not to go…It’s a question

reunionPlease don’t get me wrong. I’m not insinuating that any of you are shallow just because you read this blog. I know that many of you (and by all accounts there are “many” now) just want to know how the other percentage (small as it may be) lives. You’re curious and that’s ok. I mean, from the very beginning it’s what this blog has been about. At least I’ve always thought of it as a little window into the life of a shallow person. Sometimes you can see your reflection in a window, sometimes not. I suppose it all  depends on how the light falls. Having said that, something has recently happened to me that I would bet my bottom dollar has also happened to you. Because, like me, I’m guessing that each and every one of you attended elementary school. And this comes as a result of that.

As usual, before I get to the crux there’s a little something I have to say. For the most part, I have spent the time since elementary school, and there has been a lot of it, pretty much minding my own business. It’s not that I don’t think about my preparatory alma mater once in awhile.  I’ve even been known to take a drive by when visiting the old neighborhood, just to see if, like me, it’s still standing. It’s just that in the intervening years I have moved from my hometown, not once but thrice, each time substantially further to the west. As a matter of fact, at this point I’m just about as west as one can get in this coast to coast to coast country of ours and with each of these moves the chances of casually bumping into someone from the “good ol’ days” has substantially diminished, along quite frankly, with my memory.

It’s not that I have completely divorced myself from my long ago past. Of course I’m on Facebook and, as one or two of you know, there have been a couple of “blast from the past” moments where me and my former clarinet band mates have had a chance to get together to share some notes. But those connections have been few and far between leaving me, for the most part, with little recollection of my first grade teacher or the popcorn man or even whether I was chastised by Mrs. Elder for not having my sneakers as white as they should have been for gym class. Ok, clearly that one I remember. So with this in mind, you will understand how surprised I was to find out that this year is the 75th anniversary of my elementary school. (No, not my 75th, just the school itself.) And to discover that yes, there is going to be a reunion.

I don’t know about you but as a shallow person my head starts to spin just a little as I consider the implications of this event. It might not surprise you that one of the first things that crossed my mind was my closet. I mean just what might I have in that closet of mine that I would want someone who hasn’t seen me for the better part of 50 years to see? Keep in mind that I was raised in a rather tony part of the big city where parents regaled at the thought of having their six to twelve year old children wear a uniform lest it inhibit their fashion sense.  Oh boy, it’s all coming back to me!  Apparently I didn’t have as much at stake as others may have as now, with most of my days spent working from my home office on this laid back little island of ours, it’s a bit of a stretch to find much beyond jeans and a tee on those hangers of mine. Hence the conundrum. Does one  “come as I am” and not betray thy inner self, or would a trip to the local boutique to drop a bundle on some designer duds which, might I add, are likely put together in the same precarious third world building as that tee of mine, be in order? Honestly, as a shallow person I can go either way with this one. But that’s just one of the many questions that have popped into my head upon learning of this impending get together.

Like who’s going to recognize me anyway? Not that I’ve done anything in particular to look different. There’s been no cuts and tucks, no needles and pins in this face of mine. Heck, I’m lucky to take the time to draw on a couple of eyebrows every morning. Astonishingly, my hair is the same colour as it was way back when, but even so, I’m pretty sure time, in and of itself has taken it’s toll and there will be those who must  inconspicuously glance down to my “Hi, My name is ________”  tag that no doubt we will be asked to don upon entry.  As will I to theirs. Bottom line, if neither one of us truly knows who we are talking to is there really a point to all of this? I mean if I really want to talk to strangers I might just as well amble on over to my fav Starbucks, sit down beside someone who appears to be around the same age as I am and start up a conversation about times past. I won’t even have to worry about making that trip to the boutique.

As you can see this whole thing has caused me much consternation. So now, if you don’t mind, could you put yourself in my Toms for a minute or two and help me as I struggle with making the decision that underlies everything else. To go or not to go? Because, it seems to me, this really is the most important question of all.

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It’s My Move!

I know, I know! I’ve been gone quite a long time. Long enough I suppose to warrant an explanation. So here it comes. For the past “longer than I care to think about”, I’ve been trying to write a blog post about my move. You know of course, that I have moved. With every good intention, I have sat with my laptop on my knee, albeit while watching one of the many summer reality shows that are currently taking the place of the many fall reality shows soon to come, formulating sentences and even paragraphs so that I could share with you the experience of moving from the perspective of a shallow person. Alas, it has all been to no avail. Now I’m not going to tell you that my other posts have always come easy. That the words flow from my thoughts onto the screen like waves upon the sand. Sometimes they do and other times there’s a bit of a struggle, but nothing like this time. This time has been different. Because even when I thought I had it right, I didn’t. Why, I thought, was it so difficult for me to write a little piece about my move? And then it hit me. Having just gone through the whole thing I realized that there is nothing, and I mean nothing shallow, or funny for that matter, about moving. Absolutely nothing. It’s just one long, excruciating and painful experience. So I’m left with little to say but this.

Moving sucks! Trust me. I don’t use that kind of descriptive language very often. But it’s just as simple as that. The packing, the loading, the throwing out junk, the unloading, the unpacking, the realization that you didn’t throw out enough junk. There’s just not much about it that I can honestly, in all good faith, recommend. And now is not the time to remind me that I have just moved from one of the coldest parts of the country to arguably one of the most beautiful and temperate Islands this side of Hawaii. Let’s put that aside for a moment and focus on the act of moving because that’s really what we are here to talk about.

If you have been reading this blog for some time you will recall my tale about the sale of the house and how we suffered through the cleaning and purging related to that little episode, and then the cleaning and purging that followed as we attempted to rid ourselves of all our extraneous possessions. If you were to reread those posts (as I just did but you won’t) it may even have seemed that our commitment and diligence to the task would have resulted in our being left with only those things that were really important to us and, as such, worth loading onto the moving van. Of course, if that were the case, I certainly wouldn’t be trying to figure out what to do with the stuffed Pooh Bear that is staring up at me right now with it’s big, brown, glassy eyes. Or attempting to balance my evening cup of tea on what used to be a packing box but has now taken on the role of a coffee table since, apparently, while Pooh moved, the coffee tables did not. Explain to me how that happened! Given that I am just this side of a rant, I won’t even go into how, in all of the confusion on the day the van arrived, I mistakenly thought I had left my laptop at the local Starbucks never to be seen again (even in this laid back town there is only so much one can expect of strangers), only to discover that at some earlier point in the day I had decided to put it at the very back of my closet for safekeeping. Or how after spending copious amounts of time and money in preparing to take our cat on her first two day jaunt in the car (did we really need that extra can of “At Ease” pet spray?) she promptly disappeared only to be found several panicked  hours later sleeping quite contently inside the box spring of our bed. No, those are events that are simply best forgotten at this point.

Ok, so things have started to settle down and, if we can make up our minds soon, it should only be another ten weeks or so until I will be able to once again place that tea of mine on an actual table. In the meantime, all of this has got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be much simpler if houses were sold “as is”? I mean if all you had to do was move some clothes and maybe a picture or two, life would be so much easier. So what if the couch wasn’t the exact shade of blue you were hoping for? Trust me, you’d get used to it. Or the coffee table was glass instead of walnut? It’s still going to do what a table is supposed to do. Or the dishes were a little chipped? You’re going to chip them eventually anyway. Think of it! No more boxes, or loading and unloading or packing and unpacking or sussing out that elusive piece of furniture that apparently exists only in your own mind’s eye. It just makes sense to me.  But then, I might be just a tad more shallow than most of you.

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Dreams Just Might Come True

empty boxI had a dream. Not that kind of dream. The kind you have when you’re asleep. Actually I’ve had lots of dreams. Not sure why, but it just seems to be one of the things that I do. I suppose lots of people dream but, and this is just something I’ve been told, not everyone remembers their dreams. As a matter of fact, apparently some people never remember their dreams. But I do. And for those of you who do too, I’m guessing that like me, every once in a while you sit through a rerun. I believe they (and by “they” I mean those who spend their time studying this particular phenomenon) call this a “recurring dream”.  And the funny thing is, these recurring dreams seem to recur not only in one mind but in many minds. Perhaps it’s that “collective consciousness” thing Dr. Jung goes on about, but for whatever the reason, whenever the topic of recurring dreams comes up in conversation, (and come up it does) dimes to dollars more than one person in the crowd has had the same one.

Like the exam dream. The one where you show up to the final exam and realize, at this most inopportune time, that not only have you not prepared yourself adequately for the challenge but you failed to attend any of the classes on which you are being tested. Not even a one. To make matters worse, you didn’t even bring a pen. Or the travel dream. The one where you fly, drive, take the train or bus to some place far from home only to discover that you forgot to pack your bags and there you are in the middle of some strange city or town with nothing but the clothes on your back. If you’re lucky you find out that you brought your credit card, which helps to mitigate the predicament you’re in but, nonetheless there is that initial feeling of, what shall I call it, helplessness that overcomes you. Kind of like when you forgot to study for the exam.  Now I don’t profess to have an explanation for these dreams but I’m sure they have some sort of purpose, some lesson to be learned. Fortunately, and for the most part, these are not the kind of dreams that come true although I suppose in some cases they could.

Then there’s what I like to call, the box dream. You’re smack dab in the middle of a big move. As a matter of fact, the moving van is parked right outside your house, the burly guys (or gals) making their way up the front step. The house is full of boxes but, and this occurs simultaneously with the first knock on the door, much to your chagrin you notice they are all empty. None of your stuff is actually in the boxes and they’re here, right now, to take them away. There’s nothing left to do but panic. Suffice to say, that’s the dream I had last night. Now despite the reference above, I’m no Jungian scholar but I’m not sure it takes one to interpret this dream for me. Because, you see, right now I should be packing. The whole house. All 30 years of it. Putting each and every little thing that I want to keep into one of the many boxes that have been strategically scattered throughout the house. And what am I doing? Obviously, I’m writing the blog.

It’s not like I have a made a commitment to post to this blog on a regular basis. Au contraire. Of late my posts have been rather sporadic and that’s ok with me because I always said I would write when I had something to say. And let’s face it. There’s only so much you can write about being shallow and I’ve been doing this now for three years and then some, so a slow down of sorts is to be expected. But today of all days, with the big move looming and the house in the kind of disarray that belies the fact that nothing constructive is actually happening, I decided this, of all times, was the best time to sit down, yes in my chair, to write the blog. Mostly because right now, it appears to be the best justification I can come up with for my procrastination.

I’m sure you realize this by now but, just in case, as a shallow person I don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about shallow people as a “collective” or about the possibility that we have a shared set of characteristics. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t know any other shallow people. It’s just that, even though I now have 83 followers, or as I prefer to put it “just under a hundred”, not one of them has actually approached me to say, “Hi. I’m a shallow person just like you”. And I hate to be presumptuous. But I’m thinking that if they did, one of the things we would discover during our likely brief encounter is that, just like those shared dreams, we too would have some things in common. And more than likely, one of the things we would have in common would be our propensity to procrastinate. No psychological theories here to fall back on. It’s just a feeling I have and now I’ve said it out loud. Shallow people, on the whole and based primarily on my own experience, have a tendency to procrastinate. Which right now, in my case, is rather problematic because you see, while many people live their lives hoping and striving for their dreams to come true, I am a tad worried that the one I had last night just might. And at this stage of the game (as my Mother likes to say), that would not be a very good thing.

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Big Deal or No Big Deal

100 birthdayThings happen. Some good, some not so good. But just like the inevitability of death and taxes, every morning when you wake up you gotta know that sometime, somehow during that day, something is going to happen. It may not be something spectacular, or important, remarkable or even memorable. Truth be told, it might be something rather mundane. But come hell or high water, you can bet your bottom dollar that something, anything really, is going to happen during your day.  As a shallow person I do my best not to dwell on most things that happen, particularly the “not so good” things. As a matter of fact, this past week I had one of “those” things happen and while I have been known to rant, on occasion complain and more than every once in a while worry, the one thing I tend not to do is whine. Which is why I will refrain from going into the details of that “thing  that happened” here. What I will tell you is that it got me thinking. Mostly about the nature of “things” that happen. And here’s what I’ve come up with.

The way I see it, things that happen mostly fall into one of two categories. There are things that are a “big deal” and other things that are “no big deal”.  It’s not complicated. If it’s a big deal, you deal with it. If it’s no big deal, best just to get over it. Both you and I hope that the “big deal” stuff is all good but, while I hate to be the one to break this to you, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sorry about that. Of course there are some things that float from one category to another.  If you’re anything like me, there will be things that you thought were a “big deal” until you wake up the next morning and realize that, in the scheme of things, they weren’t. And if you actually were me, you may not even remember the “big deal” thing the next morning. Which is a good thing, especially if it was one of those “not so good” big deal things. Which brings me right back around to what I’ve been thinking about.

Most of you know that the past few months have been pretty busy for me and when life gets busy there’s a tendency for more things to happen each and every day. So last week when, in the middle of everything, I found myself 40,000 feet in the air for about an hour and a half there was little else to do but think about all of the things that had happened over the past few months. And since I was thinking about things that had happened I figured, why not spend this otherwise vacuous time in the air determining into which category each of the things fit? After all,  if my theory holds true and there really are two options into which everything can fall, it should be a breeze. Besides, the lack of horizontal hold on my rather minuscule TV was proving to be more than annoying and I needed a distraction.  So with no further ado, and much reverence to the very recently retired Mr. Letterman who right now is very likely riding a horse somewhere in the middle of Montana, I bring to you a segment I’ve decided to call “Big Deal or No Big Deal”. You can probably figure this out without my help but, just in case you haven’t been reading as carefully as you should, it goes like this. I think about things that have happened, or are about to happen, and decide whether they are/were a “big deal” or “no big deal”.  It’s just that simple. Here we go.

#1 Selling my house: Big deal before it was sold, no big deal after.
#2 Buying a new house: Big deal. My Realtor thinks so too.
#3 Packing up my house: No big deal. Unless we continue to procrastinate at which point it could turn out to be one of those floaters.
#4 Buying all new furniture: Wasn’t a big deal until I discovered modern Italian furniture. Now it is.
#5 Moving to a new city: No big deal. I’ve moved cities before. So what if that was 37 years ago? Ok, maybe a bigger deal than I think.
#6 Moving the cat to a new city: I’ve driven her the 5 blocks to the Vet. Gotta go with big deal on this one.
#7 Mr. Letterman’s retirement: Probably a bigger deal for him than for me.
#8 My retirement: Only lasted two days. Really no big deal.
#9 The NDP Government in Alberta: Would have been a big deal if it weren’t for #5 above. On second thought, still a big deal.
#10 My Mother’s 100th birthday coming up this September: Might as well stop here ‘cause that, my friends, is just about as big a deal as you’re ever going to get!

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Rules are Made to be Broken

red nail polishI strongly dislike nail polish. It’s not the colours, or the smell or even the fact that using a toothpick to painstakingly paint little pictures of stars, flowers or hearts on 10 teeny, tiny canvases seems like a rather frivolous waste of time. Nope, it’s not any of those things. The reason I strongly dislike nail polish is because, strange as this may sound, I’m a little claustrophobic and when I put polish on my nails my fingers can’t breathe. That’s right. For some reason, which I suspect will forever remain unknown, nail polish does that to me. So I do what any reasonable and clear thinking human would do. I don’t wear any, ever. Which is why you will probably be surprised when I tell you that I am, right now, attempting to remove some glossy, red paint off of my thumb nail. All this because, if I can put it this way, curiosity appears to have killed the cat. But here’s why.

I’m cleaning. This is not your run of the mill “a little dust, a little vacuum” kind of clean. Right now the entire family is in the midst of a knockdown, drag-out fight against clutter. And we’re about 30 years too late. Do you have any idea how much junk four people can accumulate over 30 years? Well I do. And to put an end to this guessing game, let me just tell you, it’s a lot. But what has to be has to be so without further ado the time has come for us to rid ourselves of the treasures we have somehow managed to accumulate over these many years. Because, as you may have heard, we are moving. Soon. And we simply can’t take all of this stuff with us which I believe is a reasonable, and rather easy conclusion to have arrived at based on the fact that we have less space in the new place than we have now. Not a whole lot less. But less all the same and, to add some insult to the injury, that “less space” comes in the form of no basement. And we all know that the basement is such a handy place to put all the stuff that you don’t really need but hate to part with. Which I am afraid has caused some, but not all of the problem we now face.

The most difficult part of this whole exercise is figuring out what to take and what to leave behind. That’s figuratively not literally since the person who is replacing us in our home probably, and I say this with some confidence, would frown upon us doing so. Now if I was the kind of person who played by the rules I most likely wouldn’t be in this pickle. I mean I’m a big fan of reality TV and, at least for a while, there were any number of shows dealing with the organization of “stuff”. So I am no stranger to advice on how to manage this whole thing. I know about the “keep”, “donate” and “discard” bins. And I can’t count the number of times I have heard that, perhaps now overused and almost impossible to abide by rule, “one in, one out”.  Let’s face it. I don’t always buy something to replace something else. Sometimes I just buy something because I like it. And maybe, just maybe, I like all the other ones I have that are like “it” too. Sometimes I need an “extra” one of something. Like a spatula. Who doesn’t sometimes need an extra spatula? Or something in another colour. Maybe I bought a green T-shirt. That doesn’t mean I can throw out a blue one. Does it? I rest my case. One in, one out simply does not work.

I suppose that’s why I now find myself wading through a plethora of stuff, which wouldn’t be so bad if I could at least follow that “touch things only once” rule. But when you come upon things that you haven’t seen for a very long time, sometimes you get distracted. Which seems to be the case, even for a shallow person like me. Call it nostalgia or call it whatever you want, but sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses. Like finding pictures of your kids when they were really, really small and spending a little time remembering the days before they could walk and talk and stay out all night at the bar. Or coming across a rock you brought back from a camping trip you took years ago because you liked its colour or shape, and thinking back to how much fun it was to sleep in a tent and cook hot dogs over an open fire which you had almost forgotten you ever did because they very rarely allow you to do that at the Hyatt. Or finding a little bottle of nail polish that you never even knew you had and deciding to try it on because you are curious to know if it still makes you feel claustrophobic. These are the times you discover that rules really were made to be broken. Unfortunately, what t has also made me discover is this cleaning thing is going to take me a lot longer than I thought.

Photo credit: Disco-Dan / Foter / CC BY
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