• The light ocean breeze that freshens the air and keeps warm temperatures bearable
• The ease with which most of the critters have adjusted to their new surroundings now that the furniture is in place and familiar smells surround them
• The peacefulness of a sleepy community, where the sounds of songbirds are more evident than the sounds of traffic
• The pleasure of watching Charley play – yes, PLAY – with Else’s three dogs and Sadie on a walk through the beautiful Swallowfield delta area
• The antics of Allie who stands up to open each kitchen and bathroom cupboard, paws on the top, walking backwards, then pops in to see what is inside and pops out the next cupboard door - over and over and over again!
• The incredible friendship of Ellen, who took care of ensuring the housecleaners and carpet cleaners did their job at the rental house in Mission and in doing so, had to deal with foul-mouthed disrespect from the next tenant who had chosen to break into the house (damaging a window) in order to start moving in two days early. Above and beyond, Ellen, thanks so much.
• The wonderful friendship of Ann and Ken, who loaded their pickup to the gills with the items which movers don’t take or which were needed immediately, followed me over here, and stayed for three days feeding me, helping me unpack and organize and set up, breaking down all the boxes and rolling all the newsprint, and all they got in return was one fast-food meal out! Friends like that are more precious than gold.
• The amazing welcome from my new dog-loving friends and neighbours, who presented me with a huge hamper of an unending selection of local products from blackberry wine to chocolate bars, goat cheeses and free range eggs and apple butter and honey, a book on local history and a plant and some treats for the critters, a cloth embroidered with a pot bellied piggy, and even a beautifully framed painting that looks like Crofton Lake, and a bottle of Scotch (which wasn’t locally produced but which a certain someone knows is “my drink”!), and even more items too numerous to mention. Oh my doG, what a welcome!
• The never-ending support of Else and Bjorn who helped get the house ready, took care of furniture deliveries, arranged for some of the renos, introduced me to people and places, and continue to help orient me to the community
• The relief at looking around me and seeing I have only SIX more boxes to unpack and a little bit of re-organizing to do, just three days after the moving truck arrived! (WHEW!!!!)
• The joy of sitting in my own backyard, watching the family of birds in the birdhouse someone has hung under the roof of the shed, looking at the dozens of apples growing on my tree, seeing the blue of the water over the fence, hearing the barking of seals down by the dock.
• The laminate flooring, recently installed by the seller, that causes Belle and especially Oliver no end of grief as they become spread-eagled on it and unable to move. Even area rugs and runners are not sufficient to stop poor Oli from becoming stranded and panicky. Looks like the new carpet I put in the bedroom will have to be extended to the hallway, living and dining rooms. $$$$$ - Le Sigh.
• The difficulty Oliver is having, possibly with his vision and/or with Canine Cognitive Disorder (doggy alzheimers), as he runs blindly into fences and walls, gets stuck in closets and bathrooms, and wanders about like a little lost soul. On the day we moved, when the dogs were released from the room where they’d been waiting while the movers filled the truck, Oliver had a full-out panic attack tearing around in distress for 45 minutes, unable to be restrained or consoled until all the critters were in the car and we were on our way. If he doesn’t show improvement in a few days, we shall have our first introductions to the local vets. Meanwhile, he is happy to sleep in the crate by my bed and I keep him by my side as much as possible. And, trooper that he is, he has learned EXACTLY where the treats are kept!
• The heat. Even though it is pleasant outside, the house is like an oven! This may be the year I buy my very first air conditioner – to keep the critters comfortable, of course.
• Having missed the ferry by ONE car length, despite arriving at the terminal a good hour in advance on a Thursday afternoon, and having to wait three hours with four dogs and a cat in the car! It took us eight and a half hours to get from Mission to Crofton – not a pleasant trip!
• Having Shaw forget to transfer my email service when they transferred my account, and then spending over an hour and a half being transferred, put on hold, transferred again, put on hold again, trying to get the problem corrected.
• Having the furniture company neglect to let me know the couch I ordered was discontinued, and having them send a completely different couch (but covered with the fabric I ordered) in its place. And then having to wait five days for the unsatisfactory couch to be picked up, go to their store to get the refund, and start couch shopping all over again. (And meanwhile, trying to keep Allie from clawing the one they did deliver).
• Having the appliance company deliver the washer and dryer that replaces the wrong one they sent three weeks ago, only to discover the side of the washer is all bashed in and has to be returned......so I wait another couple of weeks to be able to wash my clothes at home.
Conclusions: The good far outweigh the bad and frustrating. Soon I shall pull out the camera and begin to capture some of Charley’s, Sadie’s, Belle’s, Oliver’s, and Allie’s marvelous adventures.
We are home.