Sunday, November 20, 2016

Move? I'd rather die. Or get a divorce

No, I've never heard anyone say that about moving even though death, divorce and moving are considered pretty much equal in all the lists of stress-producing life events.

And without doubt, moving can be very stressful. Which is why I'm going to give you two pieces of advice which you will almost certainly ignore. I'm going to give it anyway:

Starting today, don't buy anything you don't need. No kitchen gadgets, no pretty little picture frames just because they're on sale, no plastic toys for the kids/grandkids, no trendy tools that "might come in handy someday." I mean it. Don't buy stuff.

Furthermore, even if you have no intention of moving, get rid of stuff. Even if you plan to stay in the abode where you're living until the end of time, someone will, at some point, have to deal with the stuff. How much easier is it to deal with it now, little by little, a designated amount every week? And you'll feel so good about yourself.

We moved early in October. I told you a little bit about it right here. It's a little over a month-and-a-half and we're happily settled and enjoying our new place although we're still arranging everything, just the way we think things should be. I made a point of not duplicating arrangements as they were in our other place. There are still boxes to be unpacked.

Because the move is such a big topic and could cover so much, I've narrowed it down to three things (and please, click on the photos):

1. The View:

When you think of Halifax, maybe you think of the Public Gardens and the Citadel. There they are: the Gardens in the left foreground, Citadel Hill in the background. You can even catch a glimpse of the Macdonald Bridge — the "old" bridge — in the upper left hand corner.

In this one, you can see much more of the bridge. You can also see Citadel High School, the hospitals and a closer view of the Gardens where things are becoming more visible every day as the leaves come down.

This one looks straight down to the harbour and across to Dartmouth. You can see the magnificent Waterfront Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College and I often see a container ship or a tugboat or the Woodside ferry making a crossing. I even occasionally see a Naval vessel on its way out of the harbour.

I make a point of spending time every day, honouring a vow I made to myself that I would never take the view for granted. I enjoy it so much.

2. The Sky

The street we moved away from is lined on both sides with 100-year-old trees. They're beautiful and the street is the very definition of a "leafy, shady, residential street."

This is how it looked from our verandah.

It couldn't be pleasanter but I'm enjoying all the drama that goes on in the sky when you can see so much of it. I like watching the weather roll in, not to mention the fog. I'm never up in time to watch the sunrise but I know it's there.

I enjoy seeing the moon, super or otherwise, and I'm looking forward to the next time I see a note in the media announcing meteor showers. The celestial spectacles are just a bit of a change.

3. The Sounds

Yes, I enjoy the sounds of the city. For some people, I suppose it's just noise but it gives me the feeling of being engaged, of being in the centre of something. I like the background hum — air conditioning, heating, refrigeration, whatever it is that happens on the tops of buildings. I like the sound of the traffic — the buses, the street cleaning truck, the garbage and recycling.

Halifax is a military town so we hear helicopters and the occasional drone of a heavy military plane as it comes in low for a landing at Shearwater across the harbour.

And we're next door to a school so we can hear the charming sound of children playing at recess and the always recognizable sound of a bouncing basketball.

Until recently, I could hear the Harbour Hopper as it made its regular rounds. The Harbour Hopper is an amphibious vehicle that schleps tourists around the streets of Halifax and then plunges into the water and takes a little spin around the harbour. It provides a running commentary. I've never taken the tour but I've heard some of the commentary from the sidewalk as it passed by and I managed to keep myself from leaping aboard and correcting the inaccuracies. Fortunately, from my apartment, I could hear the voices but couldn't really discern the words.

The sights and sounds of trade and commerce often remind me of one of the favourite children's books that we read when William was little. It was called Night Cars.

It is late at night in the city. From his father's shoulder, a sleepless baby watches the snow drift down from the sky onto the busy street below. What are all those noises? What are all those lights? His tired but patient father explains everything, from the bustle of taxis swishing through the slush to the grinding and slamming of the early-morning garbage trucks.

The book had a very moody quality and was lovely to read. It was written by Teddy Jam, the pen name of author Matt Cohen. I may have to get it out and read it again.

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