Month One: A General Update

This post has been a long time in coming.

While it has been much longer than a month at this point, I’m not really counting the time we were here in December.

One, because it was Christmas.

Two, because I was sick as a dog.

Three, because it didn’t really start to feel real until January.

So why haven’t either of us written anything?

I think we were both unprepared for how overwhelming the move would be. It is one thing to look at a series of events on paper – buying a house, moving, starting a new life – and quite another to live them. We thought we would be blogging, Instagramming, and tweeting every step of our adventure, and most days we were too exhausted or depressed to want to share our story.

We knew that it wouldn’t be easy. We knew the basement had flood damage. We knew the job market isn’t great anywhere, let alone here. We knew the house was a fair distance from everything. We knew these things. But it was still overwhelming to start living them.

I have been sick twice since moving here, when normally my immune system is pretty tough. The stress of the move made me vulnerable to a cold, and it held on for almost four weeks. I had a short respite and then got another cold that was going around at my new workplace. Luckily, that round did not last too long. I am finally feeling better.

Aside from the sickness, the first month (January) was very much an emotional rollercoaster. It was a thrill to walk into our house for the first time. But then we got to look at things closer and saw all the work that lay ahead of us. A lot of what has been revealed (some things dealt with already, thanks to my awesome father-in-law) was also worse than anticipated, or was not anticipated at all.

The flood damage was worse than we expected, and the only course of action was to rip out the basement. Currently, the floor is about 80% ripped out, and most of the drywall and insulation in the bottom two feet of the walls is gone. My FIL knew just the right people, though, and the flood problem seems to be solved! The basement has remained dry through some intense rain and melting the last couple of weeks.

Besides the basement, we’ve had a host of other smaller problems crop up that, individually, would not be difficult to deal with. It is the constant onslaught of issues that is exhausting; the fact that there is always something. The hot water heater needed a new element, the washing machine died, the bathroom drains backed up… Sigh!

Something we also did not anticipate was how difficult it would be to buy second-hand furniture here. In Edmonton, there are multiple Value Villages, Goodwills, and Salvation Armies to browse for used goods. Not to mention Kijiji. We knew there were no second-hand chain stores like Value Village nearby. We thought Kijiji and local one-off shops would be enough.

They weren’t. By a long shot.

There is very little in the way of Kijiji out here. There is a bit of used goods commerce in local Facebook buy-and-sell groups. Nowhere near what we assumed, though. The local one-off shops we were counting on were also not what they appeared to be. Add in the fact that our car is the size of a matchbox, and it creates a perfect storm of Not Enough Furniture.

It took us until the last week or so to outfit our house with enough furniture to live comfortably. We got three pieces we were definitely missing, from Mo’s awesome cousin: a desk, a second dresser, and a proper coffee table. The desk has allowed me to set up our desktop computer, which will let me get my photography work going again. The coffee table has essentially extended the dimensions of our seats in the living room. The second dresser (FIL picked us up our first one) let us each have more than half a drawer for our clothes. We also got the dead washing machine out of our kitchen (thanks again, FIL!) and were able to set up our little dishwasher. It’s made a huge difference.

Not only do we have more usable “stations” in the house, but we’re also more organized. I hadn’t realized the stress that chaos caused until we rearranged things. It was like a weight lifted off my chest!

I secured a temporary full-time job that started January 9, and is slated to complete at the end of May. There were probably twenty people hired (being replaced as folks quit), with the understanding that three or four would be chosen to be kept on after the project finished. I was asked last week to start training in receiving, and have been working in that department three days a week until about 1:30. It’s been nice to receive recognition for my experience and skills so quickly, and I’m grateful that I got this opportunity.

TL;DR – January was a lot to deal with, but we’re on the upswing. More posts soon!

**Please Note: Featured photo is by Francis MacDonald. I was way too lazy to find something recent I’ve taken.






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