Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Monday, June 27, 2011

when we last left our hero

O I MISS MY SWEETY

It's killing me. I'm grumpy, you see, because I'm in this big dumb empty house, I still wake up and have to put a toque on because it's cold, I feel like I have a mountain of stuff to deal with and I'm lonely.

Dan and I aren't managing to have Skype conversations as often as I was hoping we would, say once a week. We largely communicate by text message (more specifically, a free app for iPhone called WhatsApp that allows us to send photo and video as well as our location). And as easy as text messaging is on an iPhone, it's still not the same. We don't always have time to have a proper conversation so sometimes it's just snippets. And he is three hours ahead of me so when you consider both of our work schedules, it's proving difficult to connect. It sucks.

Now having said that, on Saturday Dan went window shopping. He went to an antique furniture store in search of potential items for our home. He had put a deposit on a lovely 1824 bed frame, but they forgot about his deposit and sold it to someone else. Curses! Later that day Dan found himself in a fabric store, looking for curtain fabric. He must have sent me about 20 photos (which for some reason I can't upload to my computer or I'd show you) of bolts of pretty fabric. We have together settled on blues and yellows for our house, and now we need to sort out what will represent "us" as we actually decorate our home together for the first time since we've been together.

See when we met, Dan had only recently returned from Japan and I was a student, so neither one of us had very much in the way of furnishings. When we moved in together, nothing matched, but it was comfortable and we were happy. We had big plans for our home in Ucluelet for decorating but the money to do that never came (for which I am thankful now!) and we still don't know what the "Dan & Stacey esthetic" really looks like.

Dan wants to hold off on any real decorating until I get there, but there are certainly some things he can do in the mean time until I get there, to make it more comfortable and homey for him. This coming weekend he'll take the 200 mile trip to Charlotte to the closest IKEA and buy us a queen sized bed! I cannot tell you how excited this makes me. We three (me, Dan, kitty) have been cramming ourselves into this double bed four more than four years now. It's time for a big bed!

Meanwhile, my last day of work is on Thursday. The girls from Tofino's Stitch Night have decided we need to move Stitch Night to a restaurant for our Sex and the City themed dress up party. As luck would have it, I still have my gold tango shoes! And a saucy little top I got in Japan. Photos to follow.

I go back and forth from complaining about how much crap I have to dispose of and then remembering how glad I am to be getting rid of it all. It will feel amazing to leave here with only what is in the truck, feeling a lightness and freedom of a ship under sail. I'm tired, to be sure. On top of my work at the hospital and the commute, I've been packing, cleaning, organizing, connecting with people, finding homes for things, missing Dan, responding to my family's frequent "what's happening NOW" inquiries, wondering when the postal workers are going back to work, and worrying about money. What I really want to be doing is knitting. And I do, in between everything else, but not as much as I'd like. Soon, soon I will have time.

I think Sam will be fine. She has adjusted to her new litter box, and I found cat food for her that she doesn't throw up. I tried using a harness on her and while she didn't really like it at first, she stopped struggling after a while. Kitty knows she is coming with me and she'll be okay.

Dan is doing fine. I get a bit worried when his Twitter messages express wonder whether the BBQ place he's been eating at puts crack in their food because it is apparently that good. I get a bit worried when he tweets about the violent storms. And I'm sure he worries about me. He'll worry about me every day that I'm driving towards him and probably won't settle until I'm there. Immigration said "75 days" which puts me crossing the border around the first week of September, give or take. If I get a job, it will be sooner.

Meanwhile, my sister is thrilled with the idea of having me there for the summer. She has big plans for me: pruning trees (is totally okay with my motto: "it will grow back"), harvesting fruit, painting walls, moving furniture. It will also give me a chance to reestablish myself as the Favourite Auntie. With four aunties and I'm the only one who doesn't live nearby, it is obvious that I need to be the cool/fun/best auntie. Will do my best to work my auntie mojo.

Had my garage sale yesterday. Thankfully Kirsten handled most of the sales while I was inside cleaning - that girl could sell salt water to a sailor! It was great! It relieved me of having to deal emotionally with putting prices on my crap. The deal was fill a box for $5. Twenty boxes left yesterday. If I ever have a garage sale again, that will be the way to go. I brought home lots of boxes from the hospital for the purpose. Today, everything that didn't sell, went to the dump. I know, I'm sorry, I just didn't have time to get it to the second hand store. I'm still in #purgemode and time is running out.

Time is running out. Three more days of work, a few more dinners with friends, and I sweep up behind me as I back myself out of my life in Ucluelet, step into that liminal space before my life in North Carolina begins.

As always with me & Dan, the adventure continues...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

home

 This is where I will receive all the mail you send me.

 This is Dan's truck parked outside our house.
 The neighbors/landlords, I think.

A view of the road in front of our house.

The clothesline where I will hang our laundry!

The corn field that I will get to plant food in when it is not being used for corn.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

yarnsalad has some codeine

I've been grumpy for much of the last week. I miss Dan, I'm ready to leave, there was a full moon and an eclipse. Grump, grump, grump. Then, yesterday, I realized that much of my grumpiness can be attributed to PMS.

WHUMP.

I woke up this morning with migraine, cramps, lower back pain. I was supposed to offload a boat but I called in sick. There is no way I could be around cigarette smoke or the sound of forklifts for five hours, much less do mathematical calculations.

With the cramps and back pain I had yesterday, I had used up almost all of the ibuprofen we had in the house. How can this be? We are usually quite well stocked. Well, I live in a town where nothing really opens until 10am, especially on a Sunday, so there was no help for it. I had to get out the T3.

I think quite some time ago I posted about the sandwich-sized ziploc bag our former landlords gave us that was full of extra-strength Tylenol & T3s. We have been using them over the years (four years now) and they sure do come in handy.

I'm not very fond of taking codeine, I don't like what it does to me. I feel fuzzy and numb, like when I turn my head, the room takes a half second to catch up. But it often does the trick where a migraine is concerned. (I don't have a prescription for migraine meds, see, and even though I have medical coverage through the hospital, I don't want to be spending money on these things).

So this is where I am right now - in a codeine fuzz...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Go Date

I've been doing math this morning. Math to see how much income I'll have in the coming weeks, what needs to be paid, and what side of zero I'll end up on after all those pluses and minuses are done. I have determined that it will make sense for me to leave the hospital sooner rather than later. As it stands right now, my last day is July 22 but I would really like to leave sooner.

Not a digression:
Last night, Kat & Kirsten showed up for Friday Stitch Night right at 7:00. I wasn't ready, guests don't usually show up until after 7:30, so I had my iPod on, rubber gloves, washing dishes. Oh! Said I, I'll put on some tea. Two minutes later when Ellie and Erin showed up, I knew that they had all conspired to celebrate before I left. As Kirsten put it "We're not going to let you sneak off like Dan did". (How did they know I was planning to sneak off?) Faye arrived shortly thereafter and we had a wonderful and lively chat.

Why this isn't a digression: this was a send-off, you see. And when I say I had been thinking of sneaking off, I mean that I have been thinking about finding a way to go sooner and then just sort of slipping out of town, loose ends tied up. I have a short list of people I would contact about this, so these knitting gals that were here last night were really in no danger of me running off without saying goodbye, but it was a very sweet gesture and I absolutely appreciate it. But it meant something more to me: it means I have permission to go now. The people that have been really important to me in my life here were all there last night (well, there are two others but they are not knitters and I will say goodbye to them in a different context). When I have a final date at the hospital there will be cake, there will be a card (I've seen this process a few times now, I know what to expect). But yes, it's time for me to go, and I am (mentally) ready to go.

According to my figuring, if you were to tell me right now that I can cross the border, I would need a month to finish my job, clear out & clean up the house, do my last round of visiting in Victoria, my last round of visiting in Alberta, and then time to get to North Carolina. I want to be able to be there as soon as possible. There are finances involved and honestly, my income from my job barely supports my life here. After my bills are paid, there is nothing left - so what am I working for? My original plan was to leave here and wait on the south end of the island (Cowichan Bay or Victoria), but I had an idea this morning that it might make more sense for me to wait for my departure date from the farm in Alberta. I haven't seen my nephew in two years (nor my father, for that matter), and it would be so nice to actually spend some time with my family rather than just a couple of days on my way though.  There, when my permission to cross the border comes, I can do it within a day or two. If I cross the border because of a job, I can be in North Carolina in less that ten days rather than three weeks. It just makes more sense to me.

Not cast in stone but this is what is on my mind today.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I answered a question about you

Has anyone else received this message? Two people I know on facebook have been sucked into this gimmick and I am really irritated about this. The people who created this program try to lure you into participating by piquing your curiosity; we all want to know what is being said about us.

Tell you what, though, I didn't fall for it. If you click the link, you then have to agree to share your personal information and that is not why I am on facebook. So I don't know what question these people answered about me and I may never know. I don't care. This is me refusing to participate.

(Sorry if I sound grumpy; with the full moon/eclipse just behind us and a whole swathe of irritations flying at me this week, is it any wonder?)

yarnsalad misses her Sweety

It's been so long since I've had a Skype conversation with Dan, I can't actually remember when it was. It was definitely before I cut my hair.

They have been keeping him busy, see, what with their new canning line installed and running. They are putting in 12-16 hour days pumping that beer into cans. I know this is important and good for the company, exactly the kind of dedication Dan offers at the company expects. But...


I miss My Sweety.

We have only exchanged a few text messages here and there over the last several days, and this isolation is making my Island of Loneliness all the more difficult. I miss hanging out with Dan, we have so much fun in each others' company.

Tonight he promises a Skype date. I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

yarnsalad gets a massage

Before Dan left, he said "I give you permission to get a massage".

And it wasn't like he is letting me do it, it was more like this is something I really should let myself do because I deserve it. I think he's right.

So last week I went to lay under the powerful magical hands of Tawnija in Tofino. I met Tawnija last year when she took one of my early knitting classes at Knits by the Sea. I had been meaning to go see her for the longest time but somehow never managed it.

View from massage hut

View of the massage hut
It was, in short, amazing. I've had many massages before, but they were all medically sanctioned (as in I got a referral from my doctor to see a Registered Massage Therapist) or by students at the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, or was aromatherapy massage in someone's home. With Tawnija, it was different. It was in a spa.

Not what most people think of when they think of a spa, perhaps, but this is Tofino. The hut overlooks the inlet that leads to the ocean.

Tawnija's hands are, in short, amazing. She is so strong and her hands can read every little creak. It had been some years since I have had a massage but I know the routine of it. I should mention here that I can't actually afford a spa massage, but T made me an offer I couldn't refuse. One day (soon I hope!) I will be able to return the favor in kind.

I had knots in places I didn't know about, was tight and had tension in surprising places. I guess I thought that since I didn't have chronic pain, there weren't many problems. I was wrong! What ended up happening is that T unlocked a whole bunch of stuff that had been solid for a while. She loosened me up with her adept hands, and sent me on my way.

The next day, I was in pain. I felt like I had been pelted. Those places that T had unlocked were protesting sitting up, standing. After three hours at work, I went home and headed back to bed, heat on my back.

Over the next few days, I noticed the activities that aggravated the places that T had found to be giving me trouble. I realized that that spot in my left shoulder had a knot in it because of the way I drive, holding the steering wheel with my left hand.

I have an arrangement with Tawnija now to go see her every Wednesday until I move. I went back today for session 2, and she tells me that she can tell the difference from week to week when people come in regularly. I sure can notice. I don't feel nearly as pummeled as I did last week. In fact, I feel relaxed. Like you're supposed to after a massage. Who knew?


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

yarnsalad goes to Victoria

Oh it was fun. So many friends, so much food, so little time! I was exhausted by the time I got home but had to plunge right into work today, and I'm still rather tired so I'll keep this short. I will say, however, that I actually cooked dinner for myself tonight, did two loads of laundry and started another knitted lace project. Dinner, in case you were wondering is the Saigon Salad from the ReBar cookbook (if you're from Victoria or elsewhere on Vancouver Island, you'll have this in your kitchen). It was yummy and I'll have it for lunch tomorrow!

And the knitted lace project, another from Victorian Lace Today, is the Victorian Ruby (p.92) and I'm using yarn that Candice sent me (@felyn), it's Andre's Alpacas 114g, 494 yards, 2ply. It's perfect for this pattern! I'm setting aside the Shoulder Shawl in Syrian Lace pattern (p.130) which is proving to be less interesting and more difficult with the fine yarn (Diamond luxury Alpaca lace). Photos to come when I have something to show!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

play-by-play

YES we will be moving into the house I posted photos of. Dan moves in next week. Dan also found out there is an IKEA 30 minutes away. Coincidence?

I will be going to Victoria this coming weekend. Tomorrow after work I will make sure the house is clean for my cat sitters and for when I get home on Monday evening. Chris will come and help me load stuff I'm taking to Victoria into the truck. Hopefully by then I'll have the grass cut, and he can show me how to use the weed whacker. It really needs to be done. Weeks ago. O well.

I think I'm going to go ahead with Stitch Night. It's nice to have that routine and for the friends that come, sometimes that's our only chance to catch up on the doings of the week. With so much happening in my life right now, it seems doubly important.

I've been waking up at 5am lately, so I think I will take advantage of that on Saturday and be on the road to Victoria by 6am. Depending on Toni's schedule, I will visit her on my way into Victoria or on my way out on Monday afternoon.Toni and I met while working at the library and we have been roommates.

I'm hoping to arrive in Victoria around 1pm. I'll connect with Stacey and we will go dress shopping. I need a new dress, see, and Stacey is just the person to take me to the best dress places. She has the whole young urban hip thing going on. We met in our first year in the BSc program for Health Information Science. She was thrilled at the idea of going dress shopping. Our conversation about it happened on Twitter. She said "what do you need a dress for?" and my response was "living/playing/driving", then told her about my hussy dress that is nearing the end of its life. It's this extremely comfortable jersey knit dress that has a bold pattern and is very flattering on me. I have worn it at least once a week for the past few years and several times a week in the summer. Dan coined it "hussy dress" early on because it is rather low-cut. While I don't need the New Dress to be so sexy, I will be driving in the summer and I will be driving to a very hot place, so I'll need to have something cool to wear. And I want to look stylish.

In the evening I'll meet up with Susie and we'll go have dinner with Barbara and James. We three (me, S & B) used to work together a long time ago and it will be nice to catch up and chat.

Probably I'll be staying at The Stately. Zola's (Dan's sister) mythical friend Baz is apparently staying there at the moment so I might actually meet him and discover that he's real. I will unload the truck there of things not coming to North Carolina with us.

On Sunday morning, I will join Ursa and her family for a long-time Sunday morning breakfast tradition of banana pancakes. Ursa was my first friend on Vancouver Island when I landed here in 1995! (Can you believe it's been more than 16 years, Urs?) While I was off in Asia teaching English, she went and got herself married and pregnant, when I returned her first son (who just turned SEVEN) had just been born. How the years are galloping past.

On Sunday afternoon, I'll visit with Jen and Kirk. When I met Jen, she was living in the Fernwood House. For 10 months in 2006/7, I got to live in this house too, in a late stage of her dad's overhaul renovation. When Jen & Kirk moved back from Montreal, they started renovating a house a few doors down and I have yet to see it. The last time we saw them was in December 2009 when they were visiting at Christmas time.

I'll have dinner with Peter & Burgle on Sunday evening. I worked with Peter at the BC Cancer Agency when I did my co-op in 2007.

On Monday morning, I will show up at the Starbucks by the Fort & Foul Bay Safeway to join in the decades long tradition of the physics & IT people from the Cancer Agency of Going For Coffee. Peter will no doubt be there too plus a lot of other people I haven't seen in a while!

Then I'll meet Jeff for lunch. He was my supervisor when doing my co-op, was my sponsor basically when I did my Master's research, has been a great friend, an excellent mentor, and is one of the best job references I have ever had.

Then I'll be heading back up-island. If I didn't get to see Toni on the way down, I will stop in on my way back (or perhaps I'll see her twice!). Hopefully the Skipper will be there too.

I'm aiming to be back in Ucluelet by 6 or 7pm on Monday evening. I know I have other friends in Victoria who read my blog and aren't on this list. Please don't be offended! Know that I will definitely visit with you before I go. Part of the reason I'm making this trip is to drop off stuff, but it's also to get a bunch of visiting in. If I get a job before the Immigration stuff comes through from Dan, then I'll need to leave in a hurry and probably won't have time for one grand sweep of visiting all my friends in Victoria. So I'll visit some friends now, and will be sure to include those I missed when I make my final departure! Truth be told, visits like this are exhausting, as I will be doing a lot of talking, so it's good that I won't be doing it in one fell swoop.

Okay! That's my life for the next 96 hours

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

we might live in this house

 Soybeans
















 There is a pecan tree here somewhere

Dan put in the application this evening. $475/month, one year lease. Small, two bedrooms. Not far from town. Sounds good, yeah?

Monday, June 6, 2011

insect bites

I don't know what got me, but when I went to the lake on Saturday with K2, I left with a number of bites. Through scratching, they are turning into nasty welts that are making me grumpy. I am sunburned and insect bitten, and as much as I know a good walk would do me some good, I am loathe to go outside where those nasty insects are.


I will go for a walk. I am going to drive to Amphitrite Point and walk the lighthouse loop. I've always wanted to do it.

Please tell me there are no biting insects in North Carolina.

BMW socks

I just blogged about these socks on the 12Socks Blog project. Please have a look!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

letting myself laze

Yes yes I have lots of things to do. But for some reason, I don't feel compelled to break my neck working away this weekend. It's like I really need the rest. Well, okay then. I will let myself get the sleep I need. Recover from the sunburn I only just admitted I had. Maybe later I'll make a concentrated effort to finish the BMW socks because they are *almost* done!

Friday, June 3, 2011

better day

Today was by far a better day than yesterday. Knowing Dan is safe and getting settled into a good and happy place, I can release the proverbial breath I didn't know I was holding. All I need is a go date and I will be content.

I have some vacation time accrued at the hospital, and my options were to take them or to have them paid out when I leave. I have decided to take the next three Mondays off, to keep up with the productivity my weekends have been enjoying. I'm getting lots done and plenty of rest. Lots of furniture will leave this weekend. I might have a garage sale. K2 declared I should go to the lake with them tomorrow - can it really be warm enough? It's warm enough to get out there and start working on our summer tans. I'm in. It will be the first chance for me to wear my bikini at my new weight.

Just now I ran into my fish boss at the grocery store. He asked if I was still working for him. It's a funny question, really, but I haven't given notice and he knows I'll be leaving soon, so it was a fair question. Then he followed up with "if you are available, I have a boat for you on Sunday at 9am, just a small one..." Well okay.

Dan built a rocket stove a few months ago, which involved making wood frames and then filling the frames with thermal mass. Brick, rocks, and dirt. I get the lovely task of dismantling this contraption, but luckily a couple of friends have offered to help. I'm glad, because I would need an entire weekend just to do that if I were to do it by myself. I'm hoping to get the yard in a tidy place this weekend, figure out the weed whacker (Jen? Help?), and perhaps get the truck loaded for another dump run on Monday. Things are happening...

My mother is in the process of getting her first passport ever. She will be making the whole trip with me and hasn't crossed the border in something like 35 years. She is *so* excited about this trip! Again, we just need a go date...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Floundertruck arrives safely

Here is what I know:

Dan arrived at Mother Earth Brewing sometime early this afternoon local time. North Carolina is three hours ahead of me. There were many introductions to lots of nice people, some beer was imbibed. Dan was overwhelmed with the size of the place (he got lost in it) and how COOL it is and how great the people are. His temporary accommodations are great and he said "Everything we're doing is worth it", he feels like he's won the Brewery Lottery.

Relief!

I wasn't too worried, actually, about this aspect. Sure we got burned when we moved to the Pacific Rim area, but we both had a good feeling about Mother Earth, the people, the place. Soon after Dan accepted the job, we all started following each other on Twitter, and Josh the Brewer has been reading my blog. (Hi Josh).

So it's good. I am so glad that Dan feels we have made the right decision. I have to say, today has been the hardest day since he left. Almost as soon as I got up this morning, I started missing Dan so much it hurt. I cried almost for two hours, including the drive to Tofino and for the first half hour of my shift. Alice, the lovely laundry lady at the hospital, brought me some peppermint tea and a box of 'good' tissues, gave me a hug. (Alice is the best!)

Missing Dan is hard. I think the hardest part is the uncertainty, of not knowing when we will be reunited. It's not like he's been deployed to Afghanistan, or has been sent off to some mission from which he might not return. We will see each other again soon. Dan tells me the folks at the brewery will help to find me a job that will get me there as soon as possible. Already I want to hug them.

I can rest a bit easier now, since starting tomorrow I will be able to communicate with Dan via Skype. I think at least being able to connect that way will be good for us both, emotionally. There is so much going on in our life right now, between driving and new job and moving and packing and cleaning and leaving a job and training up replacement and change of address and getting in a last round of visits. Every day I get asked "when is your last day?" and I don't know. I don't know! On the books it's something like the end of July, but it could well be sooner. I hope it's sooner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dan in Tennessee (still)

He is in Knoxville as I write this. He's hoping to reach Raleigh, NC tonight. Will arrive in Kinston tomorrow!

new brake calipers

O heavens.

I have been having some troubles with the Ford, in that from time to time, the right brake would seize. While driving, this results in an absolute shaking and a pulling to the right. The quick fix is to pour water on the caliper, the colder the better to cool it off, then whack it with a hammer. I knew I would have to book it in to get fixed at the local PetroCan.


On Monday when this happened, I decided I had better do it immediately so I did not endanger myself or anyone driving near me. Dan told me that the truck needed the right front caliper and the proportioning valve.


I booked the truck in for service. I was told that the proportioning valve seldom needs replacing, but I might need new rotors. Fine, do what you need to do.


Then today they said "you need new brake pads too". Who am I to argue?


I pick up the truck. Gulp. $471 for parts & labour. Good heavens. I felt a bit gouged, is it because I am a woman? I hate that.


I report back to Dan, via text message, what happened. He said "what about the proportioning valve?" I said they said it didn't need it. Dan said the Ford place in Nanaimo declared it did, so now if the brake caliper seizes again, we'll have to take the PetroCan in Ucluelet to task about it. Great.


I think it might need a brake adjustment, too. The time between the pressing of the brake and the catching are a hair longer than they used to be. I hate getting new brakes, there is always that period of getting used to how the brakes are now compared to what they used to be. I just wish we had gotten this done before Dan left, so he could have dealt with the PetroCan guys and not me.