The much sunnier and happier side of the street or, rather,…….. channel.

We returned home yesterday. Rose at 6:00 am. Cleaned, carried, discarded and transferred the last of everything from the sale of the family house. Left Victoria at noon. Drove five hours (plus a ferry). Sal did legal work on the phone as we went. Scott picked us up at the community dock. We landed on the beach with the tide around 6:00 pm. Scrambled up the barnacle and seaweed strewn beach with groceries, supplies and luggage (tide too low for lower funicular). The last 75 feet of hillside was at 30 degrees and was covered in moss and mud. The old stairs had been removed, the new stairs delayed by incessant bad weather (and my absence).

But the batteries were fully up and the upper funicular worked just fine. So we sent up the bulk of the weight on it and clawed on all fours to get ourselves up the slippery slope. By 7:30 we were in the house, the supplies put away, the fire was on and we were drinking wine anticipating a feast of beans on toast when we had enough energy to eat.

Sally and I were grinning from the glass of wine on. Even the dogs were smiling in their doggo-kinda-way (two raw chicken pieces each helped).

Family home of 50 years sold. Contents dispersed. One family member deceased and another recovering from major surgery and, of course, all the labour, inconvenience, madness, bureaucracy and paperwork that comes with all of that can be seen as a bit of challenge and having it all transpire in 15 days raises the stress-bar even higher. Well, it did for me and Sally, anyway.

We were so constantly engaged and immersed in the situation (or stuck in traffic) that we could not even shop for some of the things we usually get when in town. No time! Didn’t have time to wash the dogs. Didn’t have time to even get air in the tires of the car and trailer (til the last minute). It was literally go-go, go-go, go-go all the time.

I used more tanks of gasoline in that 15 days than I used all of last year.

I confess that we are not used to any of that stuff anymore and, when you add on a huge loss with great sadness, it became a bit more stressful than we expected. So, to some extent, the great happiness is as much about relieving the great sadness, the great burden and the great expectations and obligations of this latest visit to the city.

Sal said, “Well, that settles it. I am never, ever going to leave our island again. Never. No discussion. No argument. I am staying home forever!”

“Grandchildren?”

“OK. One exception. That’s it. One.”

“Quilting?”

“OK!! TWO!!! Do not say another word!”

Our grandchildren are three and five. Absolutely fabulous little guys. I spoke with the eldest…“Ever been on a bus? Think you can handle four or more hours on the bus if I am at the other end to pick you up…with the dogs and Sally?”

“Yes, grandpa. I am sure I can do it. Do I have to bring my brother? Can I bring my dog?”

“That’s good to hear. Yes to both questions. Now I just have to talk your mom into sending you off on a bus full of strangers. That might not go over well, ya know….?”

“Yeah. I know. She keeps saying I have to be older for everything!”

7 thoughts on “The much sunnier and happier side of the street or, rather,…….. channel.

  1. Glad to see you got home safe! Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the island.
    Grandchildren are so great!
    We have 3 (1 boy and 2 girls) and we really love it when they are around (although pretty tired after taking care of them a whole day)
    If your grandson comes to visit you, he might never want to go back!
    The go-go-go-go-go is the every day reality of on-grid I’m afraid

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    • If I were the grandson, I would never want to leave!

      When I was a kid, from about age 4 or 5 on, I spent summers with my grandma at her cottage on a lake some distance from Toronto, where I grew up. I did that until I was 16 and started working summers in Toronto. Even then, I would find my way back to the lake for visits. Granny spent 4-5 months there every year until age 96.

      But, it was a time of much hardship and deprivation. We had no tablets, no cellphones, no Skype, Facebook Messenger or social media to which we could resort. Heck, there were no landlines for miles. If my mother wanted to have a word with us, she had to get in her car and bloody well drive up to the lake from Toronto. She could send snail mail and it could be picked up some fair distance away. We might see it 10 days or so after posting.

      All we had to entertain ourselves was swimming, fishing, and paddling canoes and rowing rowboats. There was playing in the woods and the fields, doing cottage maintenance and other chores, pumping ice cold water up from the well. To this day, I can recall how icy cold and good that water was in the hottest days of summer. Difficult to believe we were so stifled; so downtrodden and oppressed.

      I think any parent forcing a child to endure such straitened circumstances today could expect a visit from the Director of Child, Family and Community Service and to see the child apprehended by social workers and placed in a proper foster home. Of course, the child would be in need of extensive counselling to recover from the trauma. It is likely the scars would be lifelong. The scars from my time with my granny have not faded.

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  2. Your idyllic surroundings and sense of place ought to help you in the grieving process. Thank you for sharing your journey. It helps those of us running on a parallel track!

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