A New Path

We moved to our new home in Ottawa ten days before Christmas.  The movers left around 1 p.m. and by evening we had our Christmas tree up, our wreath on the door, and the mantle decorated.

We have started down a new path and we are exploring our new city.  There are free buses for seniors three days a week and we have taken advantage of every one of them.  We have walked around our neighbourhood and pointed out interesting sights to each other.

A few days ago, we found a new path, literally.  Just down the street, there is a school and on the other side of the school, there it was – a bike and walking path.  We were pleasantly surprised to find it had been plowed and it is approximately twice the size of a sidewalk. 

Our New Path

It was almost dusk, and the lights came on.  The entire path is well-lit and winds its way through our neighbourhood with little “spurs” connecting clusters of houses to the path.  After about twenty minutes of walking and noticing all the little parks along the path, we found that another “spur” took us to our local library.  We went in and spent half an hour or so browsing the shelves.  I found a couple of interesting books on art techniques and borrowed them.

Christmas Lights along the Path

As we came out of the library, a few flakes started drifting down from the now dark sky.  We got back on the path and started home.  Hubby pointed out that there was another spur which would take us to Tim Horton’s, my favourite coffee/tea/ muffin shop.  We’ll have to take that one some time soon.

The snow was now thickening and we couldn’t believe how beautiful it all was.  The path actually goes on in both directions for a walk of probably about an hour and a half to two hours.

Me in the snow, on the path.

I was so thrilled to find this “new path” a few days after our setting out on a New Path in our lives. 

Snowing in Ottawa.

Yesterday when I woke up in the morning, it was – 20º C , feeling like – 30º C with the wind.  I did not step outside the door.  The new path will have to wait until it warms up just a bit!

Christmas Memories

When I was a child, Christmas was a blessed time, a time for rejoicing over the Saviour’s birth, a time for Midnight Mass, Christmas carols, and preparing our hearts for the coming of the Christ child.

My earliest memories of Christmas are of Advent.  It was a time of reflection, a time to examine our inner selves.  In school, we learned about the Jesse Tree.  It was a branch of a larger tree and was decorated with symbols from the Bible of important times or people in the Jewish faith.  Moses and his little basket, Noah and the Ark, David and his slingshot were among the symbols.

It reminded us that our Christian faith had its roots in the Jewish faith.  Jesse was the father of King David who was an ancestor of Jesus.

I remember going to church and especially the beauty of the Christmas carols and the wonder of the life-size nativity scene, set up with everyone there awaiting the coming of Christmas when Jesus would be placed in the manger.  I would kneel there just staring at all the beautiful figures.

I remember as I got a little older, walking in the crisp December air to Midnight Mass and the moon shining on the towers of our church.  The quiet, the darkness, the feeling of anticipation.

Christmas Day was always spent with family, and we older siblings loved watching the happiness on the faces of our younger brothers and sisters as they opened their gifts.  I don’t remember our parents ever receiving a Christmas gift from each other or from anyone else.  The older ones in our family got only one small gift but I don’t remember anyone ever being upset about it.  We all knew what Christmas was about.

Over the years, many things have changed.  But many things have also remained the same.  Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, a time of wonder, that God sent his only son to become like us.  I experience a sense of peace amid the hustle and bustle of this season. 

Earlier this week, 5 year-old Brynn asked her mother about Jesus.  Was he real?  Yes, she was told, and we celebrate his birth at Christmas time.  Brynn’s answer to that was, “Oh, so his birthday is coming up soon, then!”

Yes, Brynn.  Only two more days! 

 

And Then I Cried

We moved in to our Ottawa home on Thursday.  There were a few minor hiccups and one moment of near panic, butother than that, the move went very well.

The moment of panic occurred the night we arrived in Ottawa, at around 8:30 p.m.  Our daughter had picked up the keys to our new house and we were going to spend the night with her.  I wanted to show the place to my husband who hadn’t seen it yet.  We couldn’t believe it when none of the keys worked!!!

Then the moving company phoned that they were leaving Toronto at 3 a.m. and would be at our new house by 9.  The realtor’s office didn’t open until 8:30 a.m. and although we drove through Ottawa’s rush hour traffic, we received a call from the movers that they were in front of the house, just as we walked into the realtor’s office. 

They found us another key and the day began.  Two minor details – our sofa wouldn’t fit through any of the doors, and they couldn’t get our box spring up the stairs!  So we are sleeping on our mattress on the floor and plan to buy a new bed with a split box spring.

At supper time, our two daughters and their husbands and children came to visit and the unpacking and setting up went into overdrive.  The men measured the windows for blinds and curtains.  They taped up temporary “blinds” and put together tables and chairs.  Our daughters set up the kitchen and we all sat down to supper together.

After supper, the kids were playing together on the floor in the living room.  Owen had brought a hand-made dreidel  and they were taking turns with it.  I looked at them there in our new home, and I started crying.  Half of my grandchildren were there and three more should be visiting within a couple of weeks.  The eighth is still in Hawaii with his Mom and Dad.

We are very happy.  My husband loves the house as much as I do and the dream I have had for more than five years, of living in the same city as several of our grandchildren, really has come true. 

I can still hardly believe it!

 

It’s My Move – Part 4 – The Final Day

Today is the last day in my old house.  We have lived here for twenty years and we are moving to Ottawa to be closer to family.

About a year ago we started downsizing.  We organized closets and found things to donate to charity.  But it was different!

A month ago we found a house we liked in Ottawa and the race was on.  We have gone through the entire three-bedroom house and have probably got rid of two-thirds of the contents.  We have been busy from early morning until late at night.  We didn’t take a day off, but we did take several mini-breaks a day.

Not even once did we become angry with each other and we worked like a well-trained team.  It was exciting! 

Our daughters (4 of them) are all thrilled for us.  Their children are looking forward to having Grandma and Grandpa living closer to them.

Yesterday I said good-bye to my dear friend, Roz.  She was my teaching partner (we both taught grade 4) and was always there for me.  She gave me good advice and several times was able to talk me through a tense situation.  I hope I was able to do the same for her. 

We went through the marriages of all of our daughters and the births of our grandchildren.  She is kind, funny, and down to earth.  I’ll miss her but I know she plans on visiting me soon.  Still, there were a few tears as we parted.

Today I said good-bye to my wonderful friend, Eleanor.  I taught with her husband and she taught at a school nearby.  We were art partners, taking watercolour classes together, and critiquing each other’s work.  We both managed to produce a few items that we framed and put on our walls. 

Every fall, we spent our Saturdays going to Church Bazaars.  We would enter raffles and buy used books and hand-sewn items.  She once found me the perfect little Christmas tree for just $3.00, including decorations and lights!  I once sold her sewing machine for $3.00 at a garage sale!  You don’t quickly forget moments like those.

We were tea drinking buddies.  We discussed everything from what was in the news, grandchildren, school happenings, husbands,  fashion, art, and especially books we’d read. 

Eleanor was born on a farm in Saskatchewan and her children are way out in Alberta.  Her husband is a computer nerd geek person like mine and we used to have Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners together. To say I’ll miss her would be an understatement.  I hope she comes to visit soon.  A few more tears were shed today when she left.

We are winding down.  The books are packed, the food in the freezer has been eaten, the shelves are bare, the bathrooms have been cleaned, the floors polished, the carpets vacuumed, the walls and ceilings dusted (really!), and we are finding we have already packed things we still need.  LOL.

So it is down to a few hours.  The movers are coming in the morning and we will drive to Ottawa tomorrow afternoon.  Our new adventure is just beginning as an old one comes to a close.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Last night two of my dear friends hosted a going-away party for Hubby and me at a local pub.  I was expecting six people to be there and there were almost 40!  I was overwhelmed! 

(I brought my camera but the battery died just after I arrived.  Others took photos and promised to send them to me.  I’ll post them as soon as I get them.)

Anyway, I thought I looked pretty good (for an old girl).  I had my hair cut and styled in the morning and after a busy day of packing up the house, I put on a touch of make-up and I was ready to party.

Most of the people there I hadn’t seen for years. Many are retired like me, and many are teaching at other schools.  We laughed so much at the old memories, like the time we played “Buzzword Bingo” during a staff meeting. 

Here’s how you play.  You make up a bingo card of common words or phrases that you think will be said at the meeting.  A couple of examples would be “curriculum” and “report cards”.  As the principal (Tim) says the words you check them off your card and the first person who fills their card wins.  Tim didn’t know anything about it so we had to think of a way for the winner to let the rest of us know.  We decided that he or she should stand up and pretend to sneeze.

When Donna stood up to sneeze we were in stitches. I think it was my most enjoyable staff meeting.  Everyone paid close attention to Tim.  We told him a couple of weeks later and he got a good laugh out of it.

Then there was the time a class had a substitute teacher.  One of the boys in the class had a computer to help him with his writing and the computer would verbalize the words he typed.  He kept writing “HOOTERS” and the computer would say “HOOTERS”. The teacher went to the principal, Tim, and told him about it.  Tim, who had NEVER heard the term before, said he’d handle it and he went to Louise, the vice-principal.  She hadn’t heard it either!  Louise came to me and asked me what it meant and I told her.  We teased Tim mercilessly about that one.  I told him we should come up with a new school motto, “I don’t give a hoot”!

We talked about our grade 4 unit on Medieval Times where the principal and VP dressed up like the King and Queen and knighted the students.  One year the principal wore his bathrobe and the VP spent hours the night before making her costume out of purple velvet drapes she found at Goodwill.  You could still see the pinch-pleats all around the neck!  It was the most amazing costume ever.

One teacher had a student bite him and he had to have a tetanus shot!!! Another asked parents to make “play-dough” for her kindergarten class to use. She gave them a recipe which called for cream of tartar.  The young mother didn’t know what cream of tartar was so she called a friend who told her it was tartar sauce!  The child brought it in to class and one of the kids picked it up and said, “Mrs. C. the play-dough is sticky and it stinks!”

Friends hugged me and said nice things to me.  There were gifts and cards, each one filled with beautiful thoughts and the promise of many prayers.

So many people said they were going to come to Ottawa to visit us, that I told Hubby, “If half the people who said they would visit actually do visit, we are going to be very busy.”

 

It’s My Move – Part 3

Every morning for the past month, I’ve woken up with a feeling that something good is happening.  Then I remember – we’re moving to Ottawa, to be closer to 3 of our 4 daughters.  One lives in Vancouver, but I figure with all the money I’ll save NOT visiting these three, I’ll be able to fly out to Vancouver more often.

We also have eight grandchildren and we’ll be living near seven of them.  It will be very different for us, and we are looking forward to the adventure.

Here’s what we’ve been doing for the last week.  We have made numerous visits to the Dump, where the guys who work there now greet us and we exchange pleasantries.  Did I tell you my husband owns/owned a gazillion books?  He has told the moving company he will be taking only 1,000 books with him and we have been donating the excess to the library and to local charities.

Today we drove by Value Village and he wanted to stop in for a quick look around.  I think he feels like he has visitation rights to those books and he wants to check up on them.  I let him go in by himself.  I think he’d like to be alone with them.

We went to The Moving Store and bought cardboard boxes and packing tape.  They have a showroom with displays set up of all the different boxes and what they are used for.  Book boxes, dishes, lamps, mirrors, paintings, clothing, and wardrobe boxes to name a few. 

Took them home, put them together, and started filling them.  Needless to say, tomorrow we have to go back to get some more boxes.  We have more magazines, etc. for recycling tomorrow and we are preparing for next week’s Large Garbage Pickup #2. 

Daughter #4 is coming next weekend to give us a hand and I’d like to have most of the house packed and ready to go.  Moving Day is only 10 days away and there’s still a lot to be done.

I’ve made a list of all the items still in the freezer and posted it on the fridge door.  As I use them, I check them off the list. I’m also cleaning as I go, so there’s not as much to do on the last day.

Hydro, water, gas have been notified of our moving date, and we’ve set up the same to be started at the other end.  On|December 16, Daughter #2 is driving up from Montreal to Ottawa to give us a hand with the unpacking.  She’ll arrive the day after we do.  It’s only a two-hour drive and we are looking forward to seeing her.  Her help will be welcome.

On Wednesday evening a couple of friends are hosting a dinner party for Hubby and me to say good-bye to all the friends we’ve made in our twenty years in Oshawa.  I know I’ll be crying but a few of us are already planning visits.

The weather is still holding out.  No snow yet and we are praying for good weather for the whole move.  After December 15, it would be nice to have a little snow!

Another busy week ahead, with so much to do.  I am so excited!!!