This has been the most epic of moves. We knew that we’d be in for some adventures when we bought a pre-construction condo two years ago, but it’s easy to ignore what that actually means when you’re focusing on quartz and hardwood and glass showers.
It’s not so easy to ignore when you’ve sold your previous home and have been living in temporary housing for a month. With no end in sight. Which is, of course, where we currently sit. And stand. And sleep.
Now, this wasn’t unexpected. We were ready for it. We secured a dog friendly vacation rental, we packed some of our favourite movies, brought a couple of video game systems, and even hauled our rice maker along with us to our temporary home. We had it all planned and organized and, to cut ourselves some slack, it’s been going pretty well.
But there are some things that I didn’t think about when we were packing – when we were trying to decide what we needed to live comfortably for an indeterminate amount of time, and what could go into storage for even longer. And now that I’ve been without these things for a month, I miss them terribly.
I long for the things I didn’t think were important – the things that were just so much a part of my life that I didn’t give them any consideration at all.
Now, I don’t need any of these things. They aren’t the difference between life and death. But they’re the difference between home and away.
So as nice as this furnished vacation rental is, and as much as I like our temporary neighbourhood, I’m not at home here. Because there are some pretty big things missing.
1. An address
Okay, so this clearly isn’t something that I could have wrapped up and packed into a box, but man, I didn’t think about what a pain it would be to not have an address. I thought I’d planned for it well enough. I had our mail forwarded to my mom’s place and thought that was that.
But then I had my Nexus interview. And I had to walk the customs official through the fact the I no longer lived at the address I’d been at when I applied for the card, that my current address was temporary, that my new address didn’t yet have a confirmed postal code, and that the card would need to be mailed to my mom’s house, where I hadn’t lived in a decade – if they approved me.
I even had all the documentation to back it up.
His response? “I believe you. Nobody would come up with a lie that strange.”
I agree, customs guy. I agree.
2. My passport
I always keep my passport in the same place so I don’t lose it.
And it’s still in that super safe place.
In a storage container. With all my furniture. Inaccessible to me.
So it’s a damn good thing that the Nexus people were nice to me – because I need to cross the border in two weeks, and I don’t have my passport.
This one is partly the result of stupidity and partly the result of optimism, but I didn’t think I’d have any need for my passport during this temporary hiatus from a home. I was sure that we’d be in our new place in the six weeks between moving out and going on our spring break getaway.
But it’s not looking that way.
And even without that, I’ve been feeling incomplete since I realized I hadn’t brought it with me. It’s not like I plan to take off for Europe tomorrow, but I could if I had my passport. It would at least be a possibility. Knowing that I’m stuck in Canada – or places I can reach through a land border crossing, thanks to Nexus – is stifling.
My passport means possibilities. And I miss it.
3. A PVR
What I hadn’t missed was saying, “Tell me what I missed when I get back!”
I don’t think I’d said that in the better part of a decade. But I’ve said it a lot over the last month.
Because I’d never owned a dog without having a PVR. I’m used to being able to pause shows when she wants to go for a walk. Hell, I’m used to pausing the TV when I have to pee; the concept of waiting for a commercial break was almost erased from my memory.
But there’s no PVR at our temporary house.
There’s no way to record TV, and we don’t get the eastern feeds. It turns out that some of the shows I normally watch are actually on at 10PM. 10! At night! I can’t stay up that late.
And that’s when I actually find the shows I normally watch. I realized that I don’t even know what day and time things are usually on. I usually just scroll through the guide when I get home from work and hit record on anything we typically watch. Then we watch whatever we have recorded when we have time.
I don’t know exactly when I became reliant on a PVR, but I can admit it. My home includes a PVR.
And I don’t have one.
4. A place to write
The basement suite we’re staying in is fantastic. It’s an Airbnb rental, and it’s one of the most comfortable vacation rentals we’ve ever had – with one major exception: there’s no comfortable place to write.
The dining room table is fully functional for a meal, but not for hours of pouring my brain out through my fingers. The chairs are plastic. They make my butt fall asleep. And if I try to curl up – as I typically do – the back of the chair cuts into my kidneys. These are fast food types of chairs – the kind meant to encourage customers to leave quickly.
So, I move to the couch, where there’s a lovely coffee table. A coffee table that’s level with the seat cushions and makes me hunch over to reach my keyboard. My back does not approve.
The only solution we’ve found is balancing the lid from a Xerox paper box onto the fold-up laundry hamper. I literally wrote an eleven-page term paper on a box lid balanced on a hamper full of dirty socks.
And I’d rather not do that again.
But I won’t have to. Because soon, I’ll have my own dining room table back. I’ll have my own cushioned dining room chairs – the ones that allow me to curl into a pretzel and write for hours.
Soon, I’ll have all the things I don’t need, but that I want. The things that make me comfortable. The things that make me feel at home.
Because soon, I’ll have my home.
I just wish I knew when “Soon” was.