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June 23, 2008

Not Easy

I knew things wouldn't be easy when I moved here, but some things I certainly didn't expect to be the issues they have become. Take my truck, for example. I knew I had to pay to export it from USA and import it into Canada. I knew I had to get it inspected and approved for use in Canada. But I didn't expect it would be such a hassle.

The Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) sent me an email that they couldn't determine if my vehicle had any recalls against it. Before they would release my inspection form, I have to go through Saturn to get a form that says either there are recalls and I've taken care of them or that there are no recalls. Once they receive that, they will release form and allow me to get it inspected.

Now, this letter/information is not something that you can just get from your local Saturn. You have to go through Saturn Corporation to get it. First I contacted a Saturn rep via the My Saturn website and spoke via their direct IM with an actual person. She told me they could no longer provide that information via that service, so she provided me with a phone number to call Vintage Vehicle Services.

I called the number and the nice woman there told me that she could not help me, but that Vintage Vehicle Services could help me, and provided a number. I called that number and the nice lady there also informed me that Vintage Vehicle Services could help me and she had not just one, but two numbers for me to call. One of those connected me to a nice lady who, in fact, works for Vintage Vehicle Services. I described my circumstances and she knew exactly what I needed. She also informed me that there would be a "small fee" for the service, as they no longer provide them for free. I gave her my wife's fax number at work and waited to hear from my wife.

M informed me she had received the form and that the charge was $260! Small fee my ass.

But, until I can get this cleared through RIV I cannot get my car inspected, and I only have 45 days in which to get that done, so I have to pay it. So, I have the form filled out. M will take it to work tomorrow and get that faxed off and yet another charge will be added to the overall cost of moving.

As my mother would say, "This too shall pass."

June 22, 2008

Easing On Down the Road

A big thank you to my mother, who drove all the way from California to New Brunswick to help her son out and get him moved to where he wanted to be. She put up with my wild mood swings, incredible stress levels, and a lot more during the drive. But we made it in one piece and I couldn't have done it without her.

The moving in process is taking time. I think M would like it to happen much faster, just because she hates all this change and randomness that is occurring with my move, but intellectually she also knows this will all take time to sort out.

I've started calling and making arrangements for various issues; I was sort of thinking that all the paperwork was involved in getting here and that I wouldn't have to do much more once I arrived. Not so. I have to get a SIN, my PR (green) card, my vehicle inspected and registered, I may have to get a new drivers license, we have to work on Medicare, and, I'm sure, a host of other items I'm not even remembering at this moment.

And the little things-- like a BPass for the bridge so I don't have to physically pay $.50 each time I cross it. And keys to her vehicle for me and keys to my vehicle for her. And finding locations for all of my stuff. Moving her stuff around or possibly even getting rid of some of it to make more room. It is remarkable how much my 5x8 trailer of stuff is changing the house and the immediate environment!

But, we are trying hard to take things one step and one day at a time. We aren't stressing over doing too much at a time. Instead, we are emptying a box here and there, deciding what we will do next, writing lists of projects and plans, and moving forward.

On tap for this next week: M will get my truck serviced (got all 3,000+ miles needed for next service in one 1-week trip!) including having them check/replace the transmission fluid and look at the axle and ball-joint and re-grease as needed, she'll stop on Tuesday and get me a BPass for the truck on her account. In the near future: a new local bank account for me, getting a few more boxes unpacked, and maybe buying some shelving for all of our books, DVDs, CDs, etc.

And so our married (and together!) life begins anew.

June 9, 2008

Going, Going...

The days have been a blur.

I have been working like a fiend to pack, plan, prepare, and prioritize my trip from here to Saint John, NB, Canada. All the time I am also dealing with literally a score of people wanting to know what is going on, exterior forces that have their own agendas (mostly business people who don't seem to realize that I need them NOW), and juggling my emotions.

As of today, the apartment is pretty far along the path toward being packed up. I still have a lot of work to do tomorrow, of course, but it is far along. The hitch is on the truck (even if the ball was installed upside down on the ball assembly), damn near every scrap of food is gone from the apartment, the closets are empty, and all of the furniture except the PC desk is gone. Some of these became adventures that made the steps trials in their own right.

I picked up a TomTom GPS for the trip, to help us get where we're going safely, and for my first few months (and maybe longer!) in Canada, as I won't know my way around very well. TomTom has maps of most of North America, so it will work in both places. And I can upgrade the maps if needed.

Tomorrow is going to be pressure-packed, as we are determined to leave on Tuesday, June 10th. I need to get my car serviced, finish packing, call a few places, mail an important document, and get that trailer held for Tuesday. Oh, and update the front office of my apartment of the new date I will be leaving.

The first step of the journey may be a little one; depending on how long everything takes tomorrow and Tuesday morning, we may only make it to Desert Hot Springs before stopping and resting. We may make it to Chris' house in Scottsdale, AZ. We may make it farther. But Tuesday is the day we're scheduled as long as I can get an appropriate-sized trailer and everything else is done.

I've spent days getting all of my personal items updated with appropriate addresses, tentative dates of leaving, etc. And then there was Caly; I won't go into that decision any further, but I am missing her.

So, I'm somewhere around 36 hours from possibly leaving the only area I've ever known for the great adventure that is married life, Canada, and the east coast of the continent. To weather and ice hockey. And, of course, living with my wife.

Some time tomorrow, my PC will go dark for around a week. During this time, I will not have any access to email, my blog, Facebook, or any other PC-related communication. We will keep M informed of our stages and she will keep you abreast of our status. Wish us luck that the trip will go smoothly and uneventfully.

June 4, 2008


I talk a good talk. I say, "I will only spend so much on my pet. I can always get another pet."

But I don't walk the walk.

Living in the desert, pet death is a fact of life. Our family has had more than one pet run over by a car, be poisoned by haters or insects/arachnids, run afoul of the wild dogs and coyotes that roam freely, or just go missing one day and you don't know what became of them.

I thought I had something lined up for Caly, tentatively, until she was diagnosed with diabetes. It was always a tough sell to any person or organization to take an obese cat with a history of UTIs and a little, tiny bit of "bad behavior" thrown in. But the diabetes was the end. No one wants a 10 year old cat, no matter how cute, that may pee on things, and has to be given injections twice a day, monitored, and given a special, more expensive diet. That was a killer. And I simply felt that moving Caly, at her age and with her conditions, to a brand new environment in Canada, with all the issues of getting her medically cleared to cross the border, was not a viable option. I considered it many times over the last few months and weeks in particular, but I kept coming back to that.

Over the last week I have been trying harder to find someplace with a no-kill rule to take her. But none would, because of her age and the preexisting conditions. So today I called back my vet. Jenny, at the front desk, did her best to be kind but basically said the vet wouldn't do it unless I checked some last minute other locations. I tried them-- same deal. Not with diabetes. None of the pounds would take her without the threat of euthanasia due to her age and the existing condition.

I have called almost 10 different places, places on top of the others I have tried over the last week and even earlier, trying to find someone I could give my cat to who would just take care of her until she was adopted or died on her own.

When all that failed, the vet reluctantly agreed to perform the euthanasia.

I talk a good talk. Saying, "It's just a pet. I can go down to nearly any shelter or, hell, drug store, and pick up a replacement today!"

But I don't walk the walk.

The very short drive to the vet was long. I was fine up until the woman at the reception desk to whom I had not yet spoken (the other two were on the phones when I arrived), asked, "So who is this and what can we do for you today?" She, of course, said it in a very cheery tone.

"Calypso and ...," I nearly lost it right there, "and ... euthanasia." I'm very happy her face turned dour and sad. I was stroking Caly through the opening to the cat carrier, paying special attention to her eyes and the spot by her ears she likes so much. Only cat I have known that loved being rubbed right on her closed eyes. By the time the receptionist very quietly gave me a copy of the euthanasia form and I paid the bill, I could barely speak. In a voice heavy with sadness and with a face that was on the verge of tears, and I'm sure was white as a sheet, I said -- I did not ask -- "It will be quick and painless."

"Yes," she replied quietly.

"Then I have to leave now," I said before I lost it altogether. I walked somberly to my car and sat there for a few minutes.

Oh, I talk a great talk, but I can't walk the walk.

I am sad beyond measure that, as of right now, this minute, the cat who has been my constant companion for the last 10 years is not here to curl up in my lap and purr. And I wish I had learned how to properly cry so I could get this OUT already and be "done with it." I'm sitting here with a red face, the urge to cry, tears in my eyes and more waiting, and a slightly runny nose, and I simply cannot let go enough to let it out. My chest hurts from the emotion and simply don't know how to make it release or come out or go anywhere.

And I'm not allowing comments on this post because I'm afraid someone will say all the right things ("It was the best decision," "It had to be done," etc.) or the wrong things ("Did you think to try X," "Well maybe you could have done Y," etc.) and I simply don't want to hear it, okay? Because, frankly, when all is said and done, this was my decision and, like all decisions I make, it was made with the best available information, for the best possible reasons, and included what I thought was best for all parties involved, including my beloved cat. I made what I thought was every reasonable attempt to find another answer to this situation and it came up empty every time.

And I'm simply going to have to live with that, accept it, and move on, no matter how hard that is.

Because I talk a really great talk, but I simply cannot walk the fucking walk.

June 3, 2008

The Eyes Have It

I just found my baby book. One thing I found very interesting is that, according to my mom's notes, I was born with bright blue eyes which then turned "pure brown!" (with an underline on brown).

This surprises me as my eyes are now very definitely hazel-- mostly greenish, with brown mostly around the very outside, and some gold flecking throughout. They can become more brown with certain emotions and more green with certain emotions, but there is not a trace of blue at all and the brown is definitely not something to be underlined and exclaimed over!

If the eyes truly are the window to our souls, what does it mean when the window changes so dramatically? What does it mean when the window continues to change?

June 2, 2008

The First Hitch in the Plan

I ordered a hitch for my SUV through UHaul, which at the time had a great price. However, it turns out that it was back ordered and wouldn't ship, I find out today (6/2) until next week... which is fine except my plans are revolving around leaving around the 9th or 10th.

I went back to another site that had them and they are having a $10 off sale for today only, they have lowered the list price for the exact same hitch to under what UHaul was selling it for, and they claim they are in stock. So I pulled the trigger on that purchase, and got the entire thing, plus the ball assembly, for about $30-40 less than the same order from UHaul. If it ships today or tomorrow, I should have it by the end of this week.

So this means I may not get out quite on the original schedule. However, mom has cleared her calendar of the issues she had so we both have no plans for the foreseeable future. If we don't get out right away, who cares?

I have canceled all of my utilities for the 19th, which is the day the apartment complex expects me to be out by. So even if I have to stay longer, I am fine. I am continuing to cancel services and provide new addresses or updates today so I can rest assured that everything will start showing up in Canada or at the PO box in Maine and I can continue to receive what is mine.

After yesterday, I am also taking it a bit easy. I'm very sore in all the wrong places today, even after a hot bath last night. This old body just isn't as good at moving, lifting, and carrying heavy objects as it once was. I'm getting old!

June 1, 2008

Pomegranate Lemonade

When I was visiting Costco a while back, one of the trial people had a refreshing new product from Minute Maid: pomegranate lemonade. I like pomegranates (one of the few people I know who does) and I enjoy both pink and yellow lemonade. I also like cherry and raspberry lemonade, on occasion. So I gave it a try.

I was surprised by just how refreshing and thirst-quenching it was.

My local Albertsons got it in recently and I purchased one. I drank the entire 1 quart jug over the rest of that day, I was enjoying it so much.

The flavor is at first sweet and then a little tart. It definitely tastes like you are drinking lemonade, yet you also have the sweet fruitiness of the pomegranate. Neither flavor is overwhelming, and both seem to be competing for your attention as the liquid flows across your tongue. And, most importantly, when I finish drinking it, I don't feel thirsty any more (something that has never happened drinking water and rarely happens with other beverages to a satisfying degree).

I had mentioned it to mom, so we went to Albertsons to get some. I noticed as we walked past the ice cream section that they were still completely out of the large-size of Haagen Daaz Chocolate (they haven't had it any of the last four times I've been there-- you'd think the delivery person would get smart and say, "no one is eating these other flavors, but the chocolate is always sold out. Maybe I'll bring more chocolate." But you'd be wrong.). When we got to the rear of the store and checked the cold drinks section, they had plenty of the same flavor Tea, but I hate tea.

We found something else for mom, and then we drove to the Ralphs nearby. They not only had it, but it was nearly $2 cheaper per bottle. So I got two, and mom sampled some of one (the sugar content is just a bit too high for her to drink a full glass with her diabetes). She was impressed with the flavor and seemed disappointed she couldn't have more. I proceeded to have two glasses right then, and am now having another glass some hours later.

I think this beverage may become my drink of choice for the long trip across the country upcoming. Certainly seems a lot better for me than sodas would be.

Packing Up

Although it was her birthday, a fact that my very preoccupied mind had all but forgotten until my wife reminded me a few days ago, my mother came down today prepared to work. She arrived around 8:30 am and we immediately went to breakfast at Denny's (I prefer IHOP, but the one across the street sucks donkey kidneys and the other closest one is down by work, so I don't go to that one too often from here). We were back and ready to start work by about 9:30.

We started in the garage, just because we were already downstairs. First we got the not-a La-Z-Boy recliner that has been in the garage for about 5 years and wheeled it over to the garbage bins and threw it out. Next I confirmed the vast majority of the boxes were empty and awaiting use. Three boxes were left with stuff that I need to go through. There are some other items that need to be gone through, but those should be faster/easier. We put the really old, solid metal air compressor into her truck (heavy sucker!) which I had completely forgotten dad had given to me a few years ago. I would have liked to take it with me, but what do I really need with a 30 year old compressor?

We next got the armoire cleaned out (I had the majority of clothes out of it already, but the top had effects on it and there were some remaining clothes items inside) and we hauled that down to beside the trash bins. Mom convinced me not to throw it away and she was right; not long after putting it down there it mysteriously disappeared into someone else's home.

Next we cleaned off the remaining couple of things and got the big bookcase downstairs and next to the trash bins. It took much longer, but that, too, has mysteriously disappeared from the area.

The next item was the white bookcase in the front room. I had cleared the bottom two shelves but had not worked on the top or first shelf. So we cleared that junk off and then I worked on getting the case unstuck from the carpeting. Around this was one of the areas that Caly had "chosen" and the urine had, I was unaware until today, glued it to the carpeting. Very disgusting, but we got that down and we threw it away immediately. While someone may be able to use it, I couldn't in good conscience leave it out knowing that someone may have allergies or a sensitive nose and would take it and have issues.

The last item was the small love seat/couch. We took it down and a gentleman happened to be walking by who offered to assist us. He and I got it thrown into a different bin. This couch is covered in cat hair, was 10-years old when I got it from a friend at work, and had a bunch of cat scratching on it; if the dump-scroungers want to salvage it, so be it, but I wasn't going to leave it out for someone here.

We then finished her time here by tidying up here and there, making room, and cleaning some of the more egregious spots on the floor.

With the room we gained, I now have an area one inch smaller than the internal dimensions of the trailer I want to use marked in my bedroom. Well, actually the one I want to use and the one I think I will have to use. I am moving my boxes and bins into that area trying to determine realistically what size trailer I need, knowing that I am also going to use the back of my SUV to haul my more important items (my important documents, electronics, PC, etc.).

The bedroom is now mostly disabled. I have a few more books and one more bookshelf unit to get rid of. The closet in there is mostly done, but still has some stuff I have to get packed or ready for Goodwill.

My front room is looking a lot better, now that the couch and bookcase is gone. I do not plan to take my PC desk with me, nor the entertainment center. I now feel fairly confident that if I put them down by the bins, someone may find them useful.

The only known casualty along the way seems to be my brand new role of masking tape. It was on the white bookcase, I moved it off and, I thought, onto the bar. However, it is nowhere to be found. I've gone through all the new boxes we created, looked over everything we did, retraced my steps for the day as it relates to the apartment, and that role of masking tape is gone. Weird.