Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.
So, as you all likely know, we sold the house overlooking St. Margaret’s Bay, the house in which we had lived after coming from Montreal for thirty-six years. And we found an apartment.
Or, to be more precise, our great friend, Karen, latched onto it and with the vacancy rate of zero she acted and three hours later a deposit had been made. By her!
This is where gratitude comes to the forefront. Without Karen and her other half, Peter, My Beloved and I would not have known how, nor would we have been able, to get our house downsized.
We had ‘STUFF’.
How were we going to get rid of all this ‘stuff’, we wondered. Hey, a large SUV and a pick-up truck was the answer (or should that be ‘were the answer’). Karen, together with hubby, Peter, became our saviours: from January on, every Monday became a get-rid-of-‘stuff’ day. They loaded ‘stuff’ (not once did they allow either of the 89-year olds to help load or even carry any ‘stuff’) into their SUV or the pick-up truck to take ‘stuff’ to various charities, to a friend of theirs, Tom, who runs a business selling odds and ends, or, failing to donate or sell, to the municipal dump. Without them, we would have ended up calling 1-800-got-junk and, at the way they load their trucks, so much waste space is in them, designed, I’m sure, so they have to do more loads. And they would have bankrupted us before we moved.
So, do you know how much ‘stuff’ you can accumulate over a period of fifty or more years? I say fifty or more, because it turned out that we had brought ‘stuff’ from a move from Winnipeg in 1974 to Montreal and carried on some of that ‘stuff’ in our move from Montreal to Boutiliers Point, Nova Scotia, in 1986. All unopened. As this is likely our last move, it wouldn’t be fair to leave the old Winnipeg ‘stuff’ to our kids to deal with. Or could that be pay-back of some sort? More importantly, with limited storage space in the new apartment, we were not going to carry ‘stuff’ into our new apartment.
Every so often, probably more often than every so, I’d call on Peter to help with something that needed strength, such as lifting a carboy or two of wine from the floor to the table, or to put together the mass of wires incorporated in my ancient stereo agglomeration which a grandson had taken apart and transported to the apartment and now needed to be put together. We throw, without abandon, gratitude to Peter and Karen.
Now more and a HUGE gift of gratitude goes out to……
…….the stars of the move…..
……daughters Tanis and Jenny.
Tanis came up with hubby Robb for over a month during April and May. She is one of those people who cannot stop working: just watching her for a day tires me out so much, I sleep through the night. Which is unusual. She did a little gardening, but as we were not going to be in the house for more than a few months, she helped Karen and Peter clear out ‘stuff’. Meanwhile, Robb completely stripped and re-stained a solid oak bookcase and replaced a glass window in it. As such a beautiful job, it now takes centre stage on one wall in the apartment living room. He also repaired and painted a kitchen stool, which over the years, was showing its age. Now it looks rejuvenated. Just like me!
They all went and we had a break from the hurly-burly. As we watched Tanis and Robb drive off down the driveway in their self-converted van, you might have heard a great sigh sounding like “Aaaah!” Except I missed Skye, Jenny’s wonderful dog.
Then we met up again at Tanis & Robb’s son’s wedding – Tanner and Kelly – near Washington, DC, on 13 June 2022, in a lovely old barn called The Sweeney Barn, Manassa, Virginia. Even a contingent from Europe came. But this is not about how lovely and wonderful was the wedding of a grandson, but about other ‘stuff’. More important ‘stuff’. Well, that depends on your point of view.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that Jenny and Tanis set out from Atlanta in Jenny’s Jeep and arrived here for almost the two months of July and August. I’m sure we thought that Tanis and Robb might have a divorce over the time she was spending here – but it seemed that Robb was enjoying the new responsibility he had been given by Jenny, that of minding her 18-year old son, Jack, and ensuring that he was fed and was attending his summer job. Did I say Robb was enjoying this? Hm!
Tanis has had a number of house moves over her last forty years, so she is totally an expert in packing individual items, such as cups and saucers and delicate crystal or clocks. In fact, anything. And after moving day, her professionalism at packing was evident: each item had arrived and was unpacked safely. Not one piece was damaged.
From time to time, an old school pal of Tanis, a Wannabee Child No. 6/Daughter No. 5, by name of Sharon, came and showed us that Tanis isn’t the only person who can not sit still – unless she’s crocheting towels and other items or quilting. She, too, is very deserving of our gratitude for all the amazing help she gave. She had to come from Oxford, some 160 klicks distance, about an hour forty in her SUV – or truck, depending on circumstances. Now, although she is a Wannabee daughter, we love her as if she were a real one.
We had agreed with the purchaser of our house that we could have another summer in it, a summer during which we had four of our kids and their families and assorted girl- or boy-friends, come and have a last look and stay at a house they all knew well. And they helped move ‘stuff’.
So, who were they and when? At the end of July, Shar and Mike with their son, Kyle, daughter, Sabrina, and her boyfriend, Daniel, arrived and stayed a week during which time, we had a celebration of grandson Darren’s life. But not only was there much ridding of ‘stuff’, but Shar and Mike bought and Shar created a stunningly beautiful trellis on the apartment, the foundation of which is an ivy. It will last through the winter, but most of the other flowers and herbs have already been brought indoors, awaiting their return to the balcony next Spring, but are now beautifying the apartment inside.
Darryl and Stef brought along Dylan, his girlfriend, Maddie, and daughter, Taylor, at the beginning of August for ten days. They did a lot of shuffling of ‘stuff’ and bought (although to this date half of the gift hasn’t arrived – a table and) a set of four great adjustable chairs for the balcony, which have been used frequently.
Unfortunately, Tara and Mike and their daughters, Falin and Catlyn, were unable to come and spend time moving ‘stuff’. As a nurse in charge of the Wound Ward in a hospital near Los Angeles, and having been to the wedding, she could not take more time off.
Every so often and, again, more often than every so, Tanis, Jenny or I would call on Chris and Donna. Oh, we owe them so much gratitude for all of the times we called on one or the other to put together an Ikea table or install cupboards or build shelves or any other odd man job. And the fact is that he did each of these jobs in no time whatsoever. He’s a whiz!
There were other friends , Ron, Ken and Gloria, especially, who helped in different ways.
All of this help was done out of loving care for My Beloved and me. We can never show them enough gratitude for the huge stress of which they relieved us, the panic attacks amounted to very little for a word or two from one or the other of them sufficed to settle us. And the fact that the move went so smoothly was due to the organisational powers of some of them and the efficient way in which others carried out those organised plans.
And the result of all these months of planning, getting rid of ‘stuff’ and moving in is that we are now able to relax in our new apartment, which we love, and which we now call home. I often wondered if I would ever be able to call another residence ‘home’, but a week or two ago, I came in from an evening meeting and, as I walked into the apartment I could see the lights across the other side of the Bedford Basin, which includes a swath of Dartmouth, and I said to My Beloved,
“That view is so resplendent, this is home!”
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Dear relatives and friends, you have earned and certainly deserved our everlasting gratitude.