The move goes pretty well. It just takes longer than anticipated, as in all day, and the truck that the moving company sends is not big enough. We leave a pile of stuff in the garage and in the garden, for pick-up the next day and delivery in a couple of weeks. The second trip still does not get everything. Another trip by another truck to pick it all up is arranged. It’s a pain to deal with. By now the new owners have moved in. It’s a hassle for them.
We make our way from Vancouver to Vernon via 2 nights at the cottage. It takes two days for our truckload of belongings to arrive. No complaints about a day of rest. The fall colours are staggeringly beautiful. Yellow and red leaves waft to the ground and settle in huge piles. Vancouver friends send photos of the rain.
The drive from the cottage to Vernon takes just over an hour. Goodbye five hour slog up the Coquihalla. The first of many benefits arising from the move that we will notice over the next couple of weeks.
My sister Judy is pitching in and by the end of the first day we have most of the boxes emptied. It takes some time for the new space to feel like home, but we quickly realize that the house is much lovelier than we thought and several rooms are much larger.
In a weird deja-vu, parallel universe, time-travelling sort of way we are reminded of E 19th, a house we lived in during the 90s, at the corner of 19th & Inverness. The layout, the oak floors, the living room windows and fireplace are all reminiscent of that space and we feel like we have both moved forward and moved back at the same time.
The property itself is massive. A third of an acre. No neighbours breathing down our necks and peering into our garden. No crazy Susan harassing us about the parking. No Adam yelling at his kids. No kids shrieking.
Craig immediately starts talking about not renovating the house. It’s fine as is, he suggests. Until the temperature drops one night and we experience the poorly insulated walls and single paned windows. Slippers and flannel pyjamas are purchased. And a winter parka. Not just a coat, a parka.
We notice getting around the city is a breeze. Numerous trips to Home Depot for plumbing and electrical supplies (yes there are some problems in the new house), a trip to the Kelowna airport, several trips to Butcher Boys, the local grocery store, are all accomplished without fanfare.
Within walking distance is a fresh fish store that carries pickerel, flown in once a week from Gimli, Man, amongst other more local fish. The public library is a 10 block walk. Two blocks farther on is Lotus and Lettuce, not a green grocer, but a yoga studio. And beyond the yoga studio is 30th Ave, the main shopping street. What the locals call “downtown”. A huge Nature’s Fare, a butcher, the fish store, numerous coffee shops. Restaurants that run the gamut from Chinese Canadian, to Italian, Greek, and Thai to Indian and Korean.
The walk to and from downtown is through our new ‘hood, East Hill. Up an incline and east of downtown, it was once home to Vernon’s wealthy citizens. Grand old houses on large treed lots line the streets. The maples and aspens are golden yellow. Clear blue skies for days on end. No rain.
Craig is most excited about the recycling depot. It’s a 10 minute drive away. And the best news of all: THEY TAKE EVERYTHING! Craig’ll probably tell you about it next time you see him.
It is still a bit surreal. Kind of like being on vacation somewhere. Staying in an airb&b. At the same time, it is also very normal feeling. It’s weird that it’s not more weird. But it all seems very destined. As though this is where we are supposed to be.
It helps that so far we are happy with our decision to move here. Maybe that will change as the snow flies. The big corner lot with all of that sidewalk on two sides, that takes hours to shovel, may no longer seem like such as good idea. But for now we are as happy as pigs in sh*t. (Is it still ok to use that expression or is it too disrespectful of pigs?) (Probably not really ok to say in these hyper-vigilant PC days.) (But it’s how those of us of a certain age conceptualize happiness.) (Not really, but we say it anyway.)