The Waiting is the Hardest Part

OK, after the packing.

Tomorrow the movers come to pack our home into boxes. Wednesday they return to load it all onto a truck and haul it away to storage. Once we have found our dream home in France they’ll load it into a container, onto a ship, and eventually it will arrive at our door via either Le Havre or Marseilles. (Depending on where we decide to live.)

For the next few days we’ll be living at the Pinnacle Hotel on North Vancouver’s waterfront (southern view of course) then on Friday we leave Canada forever.

The last week has been a flurry of intense activity, but has also moved incredibly slowly. Part of that is due to our great fatigue at this point, but it’s also a reflection of just how much has needed to be done in a very short time frame.

For instance, tomorrow while our home is being packed I’ll be driving to West Vancouver to have the vet check out Beatrice the Cat, and fill out the EU required forms. Wednesday, while everything is being loaded, I’ll be in Burnaby getting a big rubber stamp on the forms from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. And yes, we’re very conscious that Beatrice is being handled as if she were food instead of a cuddly companion.

(As an aside, this is actually something that animal rights activists have been battling for years. Because farm animals are a) property of the farmer and b) food, the way that their welfare is policed reflects those priorities instead of things like, oh, what makes for a happy animal.)

Last week also included a flying trip to Kelowna to meet my sister and spend a day digging though my Mom’s house. No great treasures were found, but she did save every hydro and gas bill for the last twenty years. And thousands of things that most of us would have tossed into the trash decades ago.

And of course we found dozens of photo albums that reminded us of our lives as little kids, and the toys that we owned, and homes we lived in. I’m not given to nostalgia, but it was interesting to spend a little time in the past.

We also found something amazing: a 100+ page book written and printed by my cousin Crystal, telling the life story of our Grandma Hazel Anger. For that story, and how it impacted both of us, watch the Globe and Mail later this year.

The overwhelming feeling over the last month has been one thing: process. I had a list of things that needed to be done, and lists of the order in which those things need to happen. Lists of addresses to change (thank heaven almost nothing arrives in the mail any longer), lists of things to cancel - and dear god why is it so hard to cancel things these days? - and lists of things to buy before we leave.

And we sold two cars on one day last weekend. The mighty Ford Ranger and the delightful Fiat 500 Turbo have moved to new owners, and I’m sure they’ll be very happy. In the same week I’ve rented an Audi Quattro (which was amazing) and Chevrolet Equinox (which wasn’t).

And last night in the midst of chaos we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner that was one of the nicest in years. The love of family and friends gave us the push that will get us through our last few days.

As of tonight we have run out of things to pack, to sell, to buy, or to give away. We just wait for the movers, and for our final exit. And to sleeping for ten hours straight as soon as the Air France jumbo jet leaves the ground.