The other shoe? No I’m not talking about the shoe stash that Francois found during our move-in. I’m referring to the moment when everything is so perfect…the planets align…those ducks line up…all the flawless buying/selling/moving transactions…and you somehow can’t believe in that perfection so you conjure up a ‘what if’ just to balance all the goodness so you can feed some sort of inner paranoia. It’s what I do sometimes
Being a moderately private person I don’t like talking about really personal things in a public forum. I also didn’t think I could handle the usual responses people who hear certain news would offer, and oh those sympathetic looks even from those I’m close to when confronted with potentially not so great news. But them I got to thinking that maybe sharing may be a good thing. After all, we aren’t the only ones with issues and putting it to word may be cathartic.
So here is the story…
Two weeks before our move to Nova Scotia I went for my annual breast exam. Annual, for the past eight years, because I have a close family member that had breast cancer several years ago, which puts me, in the eyes of the Montreal Cedar Breast Clinic as ‘high risk’. The ultrasound showed an anomaly so a small sample was taken. Two days before we were to move from Montreal….TWO DAYS… the oncologist called to say there were ‘suspicious cells’ noted in the pathology report and he wanted to schedule a ‘minor day surgery’ to remove ‘the thing’. Two days before we would become ultimately homeless….moving out of province 1200 km away.
The preferred course would be to have everything taken care of in Montreal but it was logistically complex. Two pre-op visits needed to be scheduled, then the OR time booked…and where would I/we stay in the meantime? I could be worked in to the doctor’s rotation as early as October 26th…our Nova Scotia closing date. I asked if we could maybe wait until a Christmas family visit or maybe later. It was not advisable was the response
I decided to take a little leep of faith for a moment and put the whole thing on hold for a few hours while Francois and I discussed our options and set some priorities. Firstly, I called the doctor’s office that we had secured during the summer in our little Nova Scotia village, explained the situation and asked how quickly this could be processed from their end. The response was surprising….
I was booked in with the doctor two business days following our arrival in Nova Scotia. The following week I saw the specialist for a consult. Within one week my surgery was booked.
Facing anesthesia brings on a lot of stress for me…a whole room of people have command of my being …and what if I don’t wake up…ever. Silly I know and not rational but those were my thoughts at the time. Awake I am a strong ‘fake it till I make it’ gal. I can take on anything as long as is needed, so the possibility of negative news, however slim, doesn’t scare me because I have my eyes open and am somewhat in control.
And through all of this, all I could think about was what if we made this fairly extreme move to this little piece of paradise and somehow we would have to face some life-changing challenges. You know, that ‘other shoe’ thing.
Well, as of the writing of this post, my little ‘gremlin’ has been removed. Everything from start to finish was so incredibly smooth. Surgeon, staff, procedure..everything! I still had to wait for a second pathology report but I…we…felt a surge of positive. Today I received the awesome news that my invader was benign. Tears of joy. Extreme relief.
I guess there was no ‘other shoe’ after all.
I decided to post this update because sometimes I think we are missing connection with a few of you who aren’t subscribers to social media. Not everyone is a Facebooker or Instagrammer you know, so here is a slice of our day today directly from us to you.
We’re falling into a sort of routine much different from our lives in Montreal. We actually wake up early in the morning now. We actually get out of bed before the crack of noon and because of this new schedule we’re actually finding that three meals a day is a necessity. Before it was coffee, coffee, coffee, brunch and supper.
Another addition to our routine is Friday Pizza. This weekend with my son Luke visiting, I let him choose what type. Hawaiian with fresh pineapple, maple ham and slathered with tequilla habanero sauce. It was really good in spite of what the ‘no-fruit-on-pizza’ folks might think.
An addition to our routine is a daily walk. Today we walked to our community mail box then back to the beach to throw rocks..
…and seagull gaze because the seals, usually in the bay gazing at us,were off somewhere hunting for fish.
This habit of Luke’s that I don’t quite understand, the water splashing ritual. Next time I’ll have to remember to bring a towel.
Back home, since it was another spectacular day, Francois spent it outdoors chopping, cutting, and pruning his little empire.
Luke and I (mostly Luke) assembled another three shelves to help organize our wee home.
Then in his super helper mode he switched hats to help Francois clear some of the vegetation. Please don’t think we put all our guests to work. This was completely voluntary.
In spite the fact that RED by the SEA is sitting on just under an acre of land there are an amazing number of enchanting little niches we’re only now discovering. What we thought was just a brook running along the side of the property actually includes a pond complete with cat tails and lily pads. The over growth hid it so well until Francois noticed four ducks in it the other day.
What a great place for pollywog hunting and maybe we could add some fish next year and a little bridge. Oh the possibilities!
There’s a natural stone path leading down to a tiny waterfall just past the pond where the brook continues on down through the trees to the ocean. It’s all so very magical like the makings of childhood fantacies of places where wood elves live under mossy rocks and gnomes wander the forest creating mischief.
We also discovered in plain sight what seems to be either a magnolia or dogwood tree. I’ll have to work on my plant identifying skills.
…at least one cherry tree, several apple trees and a flowering quince.
…and there also appears to be a four-legged critter who visits from time to time.
So there you have it. Our day today. It was quite a day, a day full of fresh air, fun, movement…so much movement…and discovery. We’ll all sleep well tonight.
To say we are a little overwhelmed these days would be an understatement but it’s an electric energizing kind of feeling. Trying to strike a balance of the ‘want to do’s’ with the ‘have to do’s’ with all of the ‘would rather do’s’ has kept us hopping since moving in.
Fall weather temperatures although still very mild, have been dropping so tending to R.E.D. especially running antifreeze through her veins is essential before the deep cold sets in. And oh the stuff in the galley! At the beginning of the season, if you remember, we were supposed to have been preparing for a three-month cruise of Lake Huron so I, in my usual Galley Kat over kill mode, provisioned for a three month trip. Now I’ve been faced with moving all that stuff back to the house. How many bottles of sauces and mustards can one fit in a tiny kitchen? I’m finding out. It will all get used up eventually but for an instant or three I was longing for all that storage in the Montreal kitchen.
Our Land Galley
So now the main tasks are complete on the boat. Igloo frame and winter coat secured. Lines flushed and food things removed. Poor R.E.D. will need a good cleaning in the spring but at least she’s winter-ready.
Now we are caught with wanting to do some yard work but needing to unpack boxes. The weather has been so great that if we wait for a crappy day nothing will get done inside.
The Fire Pit
So each day there is a little inside…a little outside. The previous owner was a real gardener and we want to make sure that we take care of pruning and cutting and thinning out properly. Identifying what plant is what is a big mystery for now but we’ll learn as we go. I’ve discovered little treasures of lemon thyme and lots of lavender some of which I’ve brought in to dry for the winter months. Can’t wait to see what other edibles emerge in a few months.
Another challenge for us is learning to properly recycle here. There are very specific rules not seen before in Montreal. And then there is caring for the septic system. My city condo garburator has been replaced with a compost bin. No bits of food or coffee grounds or grease down the drain and no chemicals. There are bags for paper waste and bags for plastic and special garbage bags for non-recyclable items and rules about disposing of yard debris and how many bags of each can be left for collection and when collection is scheduled for our area. It makes me sad to think of all the trees that sacrificed themselves for this one move. It’s embarassing all the paper and cardboard needed just for us but at least there is a good system in place to give it all a new life.
In the midst of all of this is what Francois refers to administrative things like changing our car and driver’s registration to make us Nova Scotia legal. We have a grace period of 90 days so there isn’t a great rush but it does have to be taken care of. And with winter approaching those snow tires have to be installed and at the same time why not have the mandatory safety inspection done which we’ll need when registration is changed over?
See what I mean? There’s a lot to do.
I’ve never had a move that’s taken this long to unpack either. Yes, I know, it’s only been a few days but usually I can have the boxes gone within a couple of days. Downing-sizing takes a lot more care. If you remember the previous posts about the car loads of things we got rid of before leaving Montreal, well it wasn’t nearly enough. 24’ x 26’ gives me exactly 624 square feet of fitting in on the main floor. Same for the upstairs rooms.
The Wooden Hill
The basement is another issue because when we can’t find space in the main living areas it all goes down to ‘the cave’ and at the moment it’s a navigational mine field.
Francois had tackled that job really well so at least there is room to manoeuvre and good news, he’s found space for his tools.
We’ve struck a reasonable balance I think. Just enough to make the Kat feel calm in her new home. There have been moments though when I felt like hiding under the bed or curling up fetal-like in my window seat.
Moments when a few boxes were unpacked and contents put away all neat and tidy then we’d turn around and open another few boxes and it was like a moving box explosion… paper and cardboard all over the place again…as if it would never end.
Our guest room is painted and invitation ready. Being such a tiny room we opted for multi-functional. A single bed that transforms to a very generous double and also acts as a sitting area for TV watching. But who has time for TV-watching anyway?
We may have to live out of wardrobe boxes for a while in our bedroom though. Old houses and small closets go hand in hand and gables with all those slanted ceilings are going to make furnishing a challenge but our bed is a lovely solid cozy santuary when our busy days are done.
Living Room with a View
All the boxes are out of the main living area and our art has been hung so we can have moments of pretending we’re finished. Those shelves will be arranged and rearranged over and over until the Kat is satisfied and then rearranged once again for good measure. There is still so much editing to do though. We’re sticking with the concept that if we need more storage for your stuff then we have too much stuff.
Shelves Rearranged a Dozen Times
This may seem like a whole litany of complaining and grumbling but when we think of what could have been we are so very thankful to be here is this wonderful charming little cottage by the sea. We could have found a fixer upper…and we looked at a few. Imagine having to do all this in the midst of renovating when the very worst thing that’s needed here is maybe a fresh coat of paint….maybe.
Because we sold our dining room furniture (didn’t have room for it anyway) we kept our small cocktail table and a couple of bar stools. Not terribly practical but for now it works for the two of us. At the end of each day we sit here and watch the sunset over the ocean and think how very lucky we are to be here.
I asked Francois if he thinks he’ll ever get tired of this.
His answer: Never!
Never is a very very long time.