Sunday, October 31, 2010

CBCN Body, Mind, Spirit conference 2010

The Body, Mind, Spirit conference this past weekend was fantastic and I'm so happy that I decided to go. Unfortunately I didn't see any of the people that I knew were going because we hadn't made any specific plans to meet and because I didn't know what they looked like I couldn't pick them out of the crowd. This actually worked out ok because I was able to meet a ton of new people.

Instead of sitting in the same spot all the time (my usual M.O.), I sat with different people every chance I got and so was able to meet as many different people as possible. I also made sure to sit with people who were on their own at a table. I've been that person who sits on her own because she's too shy to sit with strangers but who's ashamed to be alone, sure that everyone is looking at her, and who is desperately hoping that someone will sit with her. I wanted people who felt (or appeared to feel) that way to feel more comfortable and at ease and not so much alone.

As an aside... I never thought I'd see the day when I wasn't shy or nervous around people. I have no idea what brought about the change but I'll take it. Of course it means that I'm now the person who'll chat with anyone, anywhere -  in line at the store, on the bus, at the mirror in the washroom, or wherever - which some might think is a bit weird, but I'm fine with that.

The conference was composed of a selection of workshops at available during six different times plus other big sessions. I went to four workshops: Creative Art for Self-Expression, Grieving Loss and Celebrating Life, Spirituality and Spiritual Health, and Living with Metastatic Cancer: Support that Works. I thoroughly enjoyed each one.

In the self-expression workshop, we were first asked to draw an image of the cancer on a transparent sheet. Then we were each given a large plain white bag that was supposed to represent ourself and were to decorate it to describe how cancer has affected our lives.

I like this type of creative art class where there's no right or wrong and where you create something person with meaning for you. Exercises like this often help me see things about myself that I hadn't previously seen. In this case, I discovered that the amount of grief I felt for the losses associated with cancer was pretty well balanced by the emotional growth I've seen since I found out I had mets. I had no idea that the two were balanced in this way.

We got to work together in groups of four or so in the grief workshop to create a kite. We covered the kites with a collage of images and words cut out of magazine describing our vision for the future in each of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual lives. Here I realized that if one of those four areas is overwhelmed by loss or grief, I can focus more on the other areas to balance my life and to help move forward. If I'm struggling physically, for example, I can do more with my emotional or mental self; I don't have to only focus on my physical limitations.

Going to the spirituality workshop was a bit of a last-minute decision for me. I wasn't sure I was going to attend anything in that time slot but the leader of the grief workshop had worked with the leader of the spirituality workshop to make the two groups sort of work together. Here we discussed the different ways of expressing or viewing our spirituality. She separated the ways into four types: Head, or meditating on a word or phrase; Work, or helping others in day-to-day life; Heart, or developing stillness through meditation; and Imagination, which is similar to Heart but involves guided imagery.

Clearly these ways overlap to some extent, but most people find it easiest to approach spirituality in one of the four ways. She said that it is best to try and develop all four methods within oneself, which made sense to me. It isn't enough to always make myself an open vessel via a breathing meditation, for example; I have to use other techniques and, most importantly, be spiritual in my actions.

In the metastatic support workshop, the leader (a psychiatric oncologist) asked for a summary about ourselves and then guided an open chat about what we need support for and how we get that support. There were some non-mets people there asking how they could help their friends or loved ones with mets. What should they say? What should they not say?

In answer to those questions, many of us agreed that we don't like hearing about how strong we are, or how much of an inspiration we are, or how you know we're going to beat this, or you know we're going to live a long time, or any of that kind of cheerleading talk because it denies what we're saying. We most want the people around us to listen to us and to give us space to talk about the things that are really important to us, whatever those things may be. We don't want people to just do things for us but to ask if we need anything. People can always say that they're thinking of us, or that they hope today is good for us, or anything dealing with right now in response to what we've said.

In addition to all the workshops, there was a movie on Friday night - Jonna's Body, Please Hold - about a woman who'd had three different cancers. In the movie, a WWII telephone operator keeps the body running optimally until the foreigners move in and set up their home, inviting all their friends over for a party. That's a pretty good metaphor for a tumour, isn't it? :) This movie is really funny and light-hearted but is also profound at the same time. It's definitely worth watching.

Saturday night, Bif Naked spoke about her cancer experience. I'd heard of Bif Naked but I didn't really know anything about her except that she was a punk-rock type singer. It turns out that she's very personable and funny as anything. Her story is compelling not because it's all that different from a "typical" young woman's breast cancer experience but because of the way she told it. She was honest and forthright and put this light spin on this dark experience. I'm honoured to have been able to hear her tell her story.

Of course there's more to a conference than just the conference itself, right? Yep! There's the location and amenities, for example. The conference was held in downtown Toronto at the Hilton and there was a room rate for participants so almost all of us stayed there. It's a nice hotel (I don't know how many stars - three or four, I guess) decorated in an updated mid-century modern-type style. I especially liked that the blackout curtains were closest to the window and glued to the wall so no light got into the room.

The hotel wasn't without issues, however. Friday night I got to hear the kids in the room next to me (or one over) yelling and screaming as loudly as if they were sitting in my room. Saturday night I was woken from a deep sleep at 3am - while wearing earplugs - by the Halloween revelers on the street 12 floors below. Now, I know that the hotel can't help the noise outside and they can't help the way sound bounces up to the higher floors.... but being woken up by noise on the street (while wearing earplugs!!) means the hotel isn't properly soundproofed.

I also wasn`t all that impressed with housekeeping. We'd received a razor in our swag so I shaved my legs Friday night during my bath. Sorry if this is TMI, but I hadn't shaved my legs in quite a while so I left a bunch of hairs in the tub. Saturday afternoon after housekeeping had done my room, the hairs were still there. I had to rinse out my own tub before having a bath which is fine at home but not when I'm paying to stay somewhere...... and the Hilton isn't exactly a cheap hotel.

At least the food was ok during the conference, except for Friday's dinner. That night we had overcooked beef sliders, mini hot dogs, and a few vegetables. The only desserts were packaged ones in our swag. I think (hope) that Friday's dinner was not provided by the hotel but by some other organization and if I knew who they were, I'd recommend that none of us eat there.

Overall, I had a fantastic weekend at the conference! I'd love to go again if it were held in another hotel. Of course now I'm so exhausted from doing all that stuff and being woken so much that I can barely see to type this. It'll take a couple of days to recover from the weekend but it was worth it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Places to go, things to do

I'm spending the weekend at the Body, Mind, Spirit conference in Toronto. When I signed up for the conference and booked my hotel room, I thought we'd be further along in setting up the house. We haven't got as much done as we'd planned but I'm going anyways because I think it'll be good for me. There are lots of workshops on different topics and I'm sure severak will be useful.

Friday afternoon's workshop is called Creative Art for Self-Expression, whatever that will mean. I've been asked to bring copies of pictures or people, places, or things that are significant to me for whatever reason for use in the project. I managed to scan some photos and find others on the old laptop and I printed them all on photo paper. I have nine pictures altogether and I hope that's enough.

Finding clothes for the conference hasn't been as easy as I'd like because most of mine are still packed. I have lots of slouch-around-the-house clothes out but not so many that are right to wear while doing things outside the house. I used to use the china cabinet as a dresser but now it's back to being a china cabinet. Fortunately we bought some new dressers today at Ikea.

Oh, how I love Ikea! There's so much practical stuff there that it's really hard to not spend tons of money when I shop there. Sure, the stuff isn't the absolute best quality, and it's not always our style, but it's fairly inexpensive for what you get. 

We spent the afternoon there wandering through the entire store. We hadn't been in so long that we had no idea what they have. We came away with dressers, a kitchen island, and some other odds and ends. All in all, a good - if exhausting - day's shopping.

I'm hoping to take it easy tonight (although tonight is rapidly ending) so that I'm ready for tomorrow and the weekend. I'll let you know how everything goes when I get back on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new

We're finally finished with the old place except for giving the keys back. We spent yesterday afternoon doing the bulk of the cleaning and Ian went there again today to finish bringing things back and to do the last bit of cleaning.

I'm a little sad at the thought of leaving that place behind, for all its flaws, because it was home for five years. We moved there right after I started working at the last company and I remember being excited at how much better things would be away from the students. It felt like the start of a new chapter in our lives... which it was, even if it was shorter than I thought it would be.

As sad as I am to say goodbye to the old place, I'm excited to be in our house. It feels sort of strange to be happy and sad at the same time - happy to make a fresh start and sad to leave the comfort of the known place behind - because I like my happy times and my sad times to be disjoint. It's easier to feel all of one after another than both at once.

I guess part of the trick to moving on is instead of looking back and only mourning what's gone, look ahead and find the advantages to the new situation. I know that can be easier said than done, because change is hard and it's sometimes hard to figure out exactly what you're feeling when you think about something you're leaving behind. Personally, I've found that when I'm trying to control things and trying to hold onto the past (and getting angry and grumpy in the process), if I can recognize and identify what I'm really feeling - whether it be sadness, powerlessness, or fear - I'm able to let those feelings go, accept what's happening, and turn to embrace what's ahead. 

I did that recently with the whole Bell situation. I was thinking about it, because I'd got so angry with Bell, and I wondered why that was. Eventually I realized it was because I felt helpless and powerless when dealing with Bell. That's why I got as angry as I did: had I felt like I was being heard by them, I wouldn't have felt the way I did. 

Now, accepting my role in the situation doesn't change the fact that Bell didn't handle the situation correctly, and it doesn't change the fact that I'm going to file a complaint. I just like to understand why I behave the way I do so that I can learn from it. Plus I figure that if I can learn to identify the feelings behind my actions before I get angry, I could learn to be a kinder, gentler, more compassionate person. I've been a very angry, harsh, unfeeling, cruel person for much of my life and I've been working on changing that. It's a very slow process.

ps - the wind just picked up our barbeque outside and threw it over! We've moved it against the house now instead of it standing by itself on the patio, but how crazy is it that the wind could do that?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Connecting to the outside world, part 2

It seems that the universe didn't want us to have a phone until today. If you remember, Bell had no record of the move request I submitted on October 5 and I spent an hour on the phone with them on Friday after waiting an hour for the technician who never showed up. the best Bell could do was give me a new number today (Tuesday) and if I wanted to keep the old number, it would take a week.

The Rogers guy showed up as I was talking to Bell and said that he could give us a phone that day, so we of course jumped at that opportunity. At first, he said that we could keep our old number... but then it turned out that we can't - but we don't exactly know why. It has something to do with the way phone numbers are administered, but Rogers doesn't have access to override the location the way Bell does.

Then it turned out that there was a problem with our account; when Ian had added me to the account (during the call he made to move our services), we could no longer access it online and new services like a phone couldn't be added. Then there was a problem because the original "keep the same phone number" request was still in the system and the "issue a new number" request couldn't be completed.

Then the connection to the number allocation system went down, and then the ticket-issuing system for the Rogers guy went down, and it wound up that we couldn't have a phone until Tuesday - the same day that Bell could have given us a new phone number.

But we're sticking with Rogers because we didn't deal with any of those problems: we dealt only with our Rogers guy, who took care of all the calls, of escalating things to a manager so that they would get done, and of dealing with other departments. He kept us apprised of the current situation the whole time and stayed on top of it for us. He even gave us his cell number so that we could call him with questions. Now that's service - something that was sorely lacking in our dealings with Bell.

Now that we have a phone, I called Bell to cancel our current service and spoke with someone who was miles more helpful than either of the two people I talked to on Friday. He really wanted to keep our business and was patient with me. He also tried to find out what had happened with the original work order, and couldn't understand why things went the way they did on Friday. Apparently he's in the move service support and I talked to someone outside of that area. I suspect that if I'd talked to him on Friday, we could have had phone service over the weekend.

If that was the case, why on earth didn't either of the people I talked to suggest that I talk to someone in this department? WTF? I know that not everyone in support is that good, but I do expect them to be as helpful as possible, and to volunteer to transfer me to someone who can help me if they can't help.

I'll still be filing a complaint because of the way things were handled and the discrepancies in what I was told by the different people I talked to. I will mention that this guy was very helpful - much more so than the other two.

At least we have a phone now. I'm curious to know why things conspired to prevent us from having one until today: if and when I find out, I'll let you know. I've sent out an email with our new address and phone number - if you haven't received one or want to know where we'll be, please let me know. I've also paid to have the new number given out for six months if people call the old number (the guy I talked to today actually suggested it, even though I'm canceling service). It isn't that expensive and I figure that it's the best way to make sure that people can find us as it's going to take time to change our phone number with everyone.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Furnishing our house

We love love love our house. Even though we're not quite finished moving and the house is a complete mess, with boxes everywhere, it's comfortable and feels like home. I'm so happy we bought it.

I especially love the backyard. It gets almost no light from the neighbouring streets and the waterfall drowns out any traffic noises. The other night was a full moon which I've never really seen in the country or outside of streetlights. I know it sounds naive but the moonlight was really bright in the backyard! It looked a lot like early-morning light and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Loving our house isn't enough: we have to furnish it, too. Right now, there's no comfortable place to sit in the great room and we're using a card table for a dinette table. This weekend, we went out and bought - well, put a deposit on - some furniture.

The first piece we bought was that swivel chair we fell in love with ages ago. We should have bought it last month, when they had them in stock, because it was cheaper and available immediately. We ended up paying a bit more than we would have otherwise and it won't arrive for four to six months.

We did save some of that money on a La-Z-Boy reclining wing chair, which was on sale. I don't remember exactly which reclining wing chair we bought because it's really Ian's chair, not mine :) We chose a fantastic chenille fabric in earth tones to cover it. Fortunately, this chair will arrive in six to eight weeks, I think.

We also finally purchased our dinette set. We'd pretty much decided on the table style we wanted but we wanted to wait to buy it until we were sure we knew what colours would be around it. I'm happy we did that because the colour we thought we wanted would not have worked in the space :) We put a deposit on a solid maple 42" single pedestal round table with two 12" leaves and a bullnose-edge, 1 1/4" top plus four matching solid maple arrowback chairs, all stained in a lovely hazelnut. We won't see these pieces for about six months, I think. They're handmade by local Mennonite farmers and use little, if any, power to make the product.

Because the dinette set and one of the chairs won't be here until about my birthday, we might need to buy some less-expensive furniture for the time being. We'll see.

At this rate, it's going to take forever to furnish our house, because we don't want to go out and accessories like desks or ottomans or whatever until our furniture has arrived.

Our neighbourhood

Way back in the day, when this house first went up for sale, we weren't able to see it right away because the sellers had to get rid of graffiti on the side of the house. At that time we wondered if the graffiti indicated a general problem in the neighbourhood or if it was directed at the sellers.

Yesterday we discovered that the graffiti was almost certainly targeted at the sellers. We met with one of the next-door neighbours - he's a contractor, which is probably great for us - and it seems that there was a big hate-on between them and the sellers, to the point of police involvement and possible court action.

We have no idea how it started, but it ended with a short chain-link fence built by the sellers on the property line whose sole purpose was to prevent the neighbour from easily backing his truck and trailer onto that side of the house. The seller also parked his car at the very end of the driveway right beside the fence to try and make it even harder to get the neighbour's truck back. the neighbour retaliated (in part, at least) by having his sub-contractors flip their cigarette butts onto the seller's property.

The chain-link fence was pretty ugly and served no real purpose so when the neighbour asked if we would allow the fence to be taken down - and that he'd do it himself - we said yes. They had that fence down within twenty minutes and the property does look better without it. His sub-contractor came around and picked up all of the cigarette butts too, which we appreciated.

This dispute had clearly had an effect on the entire court; in fact, the neighbour said that the sellers had only one friend on the court. After the neighbour took down the fence, another neighbour called him on his cell and asked what was going on. Ian spoke to that person :)

I'm sure that the neighbour minimized his actions in the dispute and that it had been going on a very long time. I hope that we never get to that point with anyone because the whole thing would have taken up so much energy and time. I'm hoping that we get along with all of our neighbours; we want to be the "friendly but keep-to-ourselves" kind of people on the block.

We also found discovered a new neighbour in the area: a wild turkey! There's so much wild, natural parkland around that we expect to see deer and lots of bunnies, but we never expected to see a wild turkey! It was pecking at a table spindle, for some reason. Here it is:
There's something about that spindle...

We didn't get any pics of it actually pecking
at the spindle, but it's about to do that here.

Connecting to the outside world

We'd planned to have Bell Canada come and set up our phone on Friday morning and for Rogers to come and set up our internet and television Friday afternoon. We waited and waited and waited all morning for Bell to come and when they hadn't shown up by noon, which was the end of the appointment window I was given, I called to find out what was going on.

It turned out that Bell had no record of my call two weeks ago to move the service and they had no record of our new address or that we were moving. There was nothing in their system about a technician coming to our house. I didn't have a physical copy of the confirmation number the person had given me - I was calling on Ian's cell phone and couldn't access it while talking, and if I'd printed it I don't know where it was - but I do know that I was given a confirmation number because I put it into the big email with all the confirmation numbers.

Anyways. The previous owners hadn't had Bell since August, 2007, which is why a technician had to come to the house (which I hadn't been told in the initial phone call). And they couldn't get one to us until Tuesday.

At that point I spoke to a supervisor. I twice explained to him why I didn't have my confirmation number. He said that there was nothing they could do and they could send a technician out on Tuesday.

Oh and by the way, our new phone number will be....

New phone number?!?!!! I flipped. I was mad that they'd lost any record of my call and that I was previously told that I could keep my phone number. He said that they couldn't do that because we'd moved to another city (nevermind that the cities are part of the same region and that you can cross a street to go from one to the other). They apparently could let me keep our old phone number but it would take at least a week. If they put a rush on it. And there's no way to get our service going earlier because everything is booked.

I asked for his phone number so that I could get the confirmation number for him and I'd call him back with the confirmation number and he said, "what do I need that for?" Ummm, because Bell f*cked up our order which clearly indicates that something went wrong with their process and maybe Bell could look into that and fix it????? I got even angrier.

I guess I should have taken this up to the next supervisory level but I didn't think to do that and the guy didn't offer to do that. I was so angry at Bell for screwing things up, not apologizing, and not even trying to do anything to really make it right. They didn't offer me anything to compensate for this problem which was caused entirely by them.

Fortunately, the guy from Rogers showed up just as this guy was giving me his phone number. The Rogers guy said that he could hook up a home phone for us - although it won't actually happen until Monday - and we talked to Rogers right then and there and got it set up. We will have a new phone number, which is very inconvenient, but at least Rogers is doing what they can. I'll cancel our phone service with Bell when we get the new phone hooked up.

I felt so frustrated and powerless while talking to the brick walls that were the Bell people. They just didn't seem to want to try and fix things or help make things right. And then when the supervisor said that there wasn't a point to getting the confirmation number I'd received, I felt like Bell really wasn't out there to help me, the customer. I felt like it didn't matter that something had gone so wrong. And the fact that I wasn't told certain things in my initial call, like that I couldn't easily keep my existing number, bothers me very much.

There is a third-party ombudsman/complaint service to which Bell subscribes, and since I can't find a complaint ombudsman on Bell, I'm thinking of filing a complaint there. I was also thinking of writing a letter to Bell about this experience but I'm not sure to whom I should send that letter.

At least everything is going smoothly with Rogers so far. The internet works, the cable works, and I have faith that the phone will work. We don't yet know what our new phone number will be but at least we'll have a phone. And we'll be done with Bell.

Moving our stuff

I know it's been a while since I last posted, and a lot has happened since then. So I'm going to break up the different topics into different posts, although they'll all appear on the same day. First up: the move.

The movers arrived at the old place early on Thursday and were able to back up the truck almost to the front stairs so that they could put the ramp directly between the door and the back of the truck. They were able to do that at the new house, too - without wrecking our lawn or the lawn in the middle of the court, like the sellers had done. Not having to go up and down the stairs into and out of the truck meant that the guys were able to move our stuff really quickly.

The guys were really friendly and professional enough for our tastes. Our furniture isn't in the best of shape and a couple of pieces were slightly damaged but we would have caused at least the same amount of damage if we'd moved the stuff ourselves. Overall, we were extremely happy with the company and the movers themselves, and we highly recommend them. We went with Wilke Movers (part of the United Van Lines family). To show our appreciation to the movers, we bought them (and us) a pizza lunch and gave them a moderate tip at the end of the day.

We hadn't packed up the kitchen before the movers arrived and we didn't have them move our clothes or anything. We figured that since the two houses were only a fifteen minute drive apart we would be ok moving some of the stuff ourselves. And we didn't really have time to pack up those areas anyways because we spent so much painting.

Unfortunately, that choice meant that we still haven't completely finished moving everything from the one house to the other. I think there are only a couple of car loads left. I hope.

We might have got everything over to the house sooner but I couldn't really help until today. I was exhausted after painting and the last-minute packing and the move itself and I needed sleep. All day Friday, I walked around like a zombie because I was so tired. I've been sleeping in (until the time I'm normally up) and I'm finally starting to feel like a normal person.

Except for my knee. Sometime on Wednesday or Thursday last week, I hurt my right knee somehow. I might have hurt it while standing around directing the movers on Thursday, but I'm not sure. It felt kind of swollen and I couldn't move it well over the weekend. It's a bit better now, although it's still sore on the inner knee, it's popping a lot, and I have trouble kneeling on it. If any of you know what could be going on with my knee, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The big move

Tomorrow the movers will be here between 8 and 8:30am. We're pretty well ready for them; everything is packed up except the kitchen (which we'll move ourselves) and labeled with a duct tape colour indicating into which room the box is to be placed. We'd hoped to have the kitchen completely moved by now but we spent time painting the new kitchen instead.

I've had a few minor meltdowns over the last couple of days because I knew that not everything would be moved and I was freaking out. At least all the furniture and big boxes will go.

We won't have internet in our new place until Friday the 22nd so I most likely won't post anything here until then.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Almost ready to move

For some reason, I thought that when the appliances were delivered they would also be installed, with the exception of the stove which will be hooked up and installed by the gas guy tomorrow. I must have misunderstood because neither the fridge nor the washer were installed or leveled or anything like that. The guys just brought them in and left them in front of the place reserved for each one. They also left a bunch of styrofoam and packing materials all over our driveway and the road which I didn't like.

We were able to clean up the mess the delivery guys left and Ian installed the fridge and washer. We're very happy with both of them! I can hardly wait to be completely move into the house (for more than one reason).

I had a couple of tiny meltdowns this morning because I was worried that we wouldn't finish packing in time. We've come a long way in our packing and I think we'll get almost all of it done tomorrow. As long as the movers take all of the big stuff and we've packed as much possible for them to take, I'll be happy. We can move a few boxes ourselves if we need to and we still have tomorrow to get more packing done. I will be so happy when this move is over.

Ian's parents have helped us identify a couple of the more unusual plants in the backyard. The previous owner sure liked her plants, and she definitely liked plants that are unusual for the area. She had told us that they planted over 60 trees back there and I believe her. I know that a few of you like plants and gardening and I thought you might be interesting in finding out more about our plants. Click on the pictures for a link to information about the plant.
Tulip Tree
Ginkgo Biloba
Corkscrew rush 
(or maybe Unicorn rush)
We also have pear, apple, grape, and raspberry plants, as well as a bunch of birch and evergreen trees, perennial sweet peas, roses, and more. There are a few natural grasses there as well. It looks like most of the plants won't need any attention until the spring so we can do some research on them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Now we're getting somewhere

The paint ended up looking really good, and I love the colour. There are a few drips here and there but I don't know how much we'll care about that. Ian took all the tape off and cleaned up the baseboards. Apparently we made quite a mess in the inner corners. We can also see the original paint colour in some spots up near the ceiling. We'll need to fix those up.

I'll post some photos after the appliances are delivered tomorrow so that you can see how awesome our kitchen looks.

We also spent some time today checking out why water is seeping into that room downstairs. At some point several years ago they'd had a crack repaired at the corner of the house. The crack is worse: it almost looks like the brick is pushing down on that corner of the concrete because it looks like that whole corner is falling out.

Now, that crack isn't on the same wall as in that room but we think that the water may be seeping in via the bathroom to that room because there appears to be water damage in the bathroomAnd we also know that they had a leak in the same room before. Since there was only one crack repaired and it appears that only one room had a leak before, we're pretty sure the two were connected before and are probably connected now.

Fortunately, there's a lifetime warranty on the crack repair and the warranty stays with the house. We'll have to read the terms and conditions of the warranty, of course, but we'll bring them in to take a look at it. If we have to fix the crack from the inside (tearing out the drywall in the basement) we'll do that. That crack needs to be fixed before the freeze/thaw cycle makes it worse.

Oh, and we also saw a small black rodent with a bushy tail going down a hole on the side of the house near that corner.

I'm sure the details of our crack aren't that interesting to you. Pun definitely intended: it turns out that Ian and I have the minds of teenagers. We can barely even talk about caulk without cracking up. :)

I also got to see my oncologist today. My tumour markers are at 35, which is great. My last bone scan came up negative, as expected. It's like I hardly even have mets. How can all these people be dying and I'm barely even sick? I'll take it, but it doesn't seem fair.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Let's talk about paint

I'm still reeling from the death of my friend. It was so unexpected, making it different than normal. Most times, I have an idea that things are going downhill fast and I can sort of prepare myself. This time I knew she hadn't been doing great because her abdomen was swelling with ascites, but I didn't know that she was about to die. I wish I'd known.

This weekend has definitely been an emotional roller-coaster. Maybe that's sort of good: "this too shall pass" doesn't just mean that bad things will end but that everything, both good and bad, is temporary and will end. And the sadness defines the happiness that much better.

So, moving on to happier things... we did decide to paint part of the house. After the carpet cleaning guy asked if the seller had been in the military because the paint looked army green in that light. I discovered that Once you see army green you can't unsee it. So we picked up fabric samples for the couch, went to the paint store, and got help choosing paint colours. We took the chips back to the house and checked them in the house itself and went back and bought paint (on sale) for the great room, bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen.

The laundry room is painted the same colour as the rest of the house but they painted the ceiling as well, making it very dark. It's a small space leading right to the garage and it just doesn't feel nice.

We spent the rest of yesterday and this morning prepping the kitchen for painting. It would have gone more quickly but the counter and wall were joined by silicon caulk. It comes off the counter with no problem but it seems to bond to the paint and drywall and is really difficult to remove. We're going to tile a backsplash so that we don't have to deal with the silicon again.

Prepping took much longer than painting the kitchen. I love the new colour! It's kind of a creamy beige colour: Benjamin Moore CC-330 (Hillsborough Beige), which will also be used as the ceiling colour in the main bath, which is currently a hideous dark yellow. The great room and main bath will be Benjamin Moore 2164-30 (Red Clay Brown). Finally, the laundry room will be Benjamin Moore CC-310 (Dusty Road) with a white ceiling, because we wanted it to be bright. Plus that colour goes really well with the tile in that room. These colours all go with the current paint colour and with the fabric we're using for the couch and cushions.

The CC-310 (Dusty Road) colour is similar to the colour I've been thinking of using for the sewing room. We'll see how it looks in the laundry room and go from there.

Ian's parents stopped by for a visit this afternoon as well, which was awesome. They hadn't seen the house in person before and we were excited to show them around. They took some tomatoes and helped identify some of the plants in the backyard. It looks like we're going to have to do quite a bit of pruning and tree maintenance in the spring. Some of the plants seem to be quite fussy so they may not last that long. We haven't tried to grow that many plants before, let alone fussy ones.

As I was showing Ian's parents around, I discovered that the room in the basement with the crazy floor had a very musty smell. When I looked underneath the floor there were wet spots and the underpad was noticeably damp. Sigh. We think that the sellers had washed the patio and that it's no longer graded properly so that the water heads to the house rather than away from it. We also noticed some sawdust at the bottom of the wooden window well. Termites? Carpenter ants? Sigh.

We weren't able to get a second coat done in the kitchen but we'll do that tomorrow morning. I see my oncologist in the afternoon and aside from those two activities, I think we're going to take it easy. This weekend has been very busy and quite physically (not to mention emotionally) exhausting.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The best laid plans...

All day I'd planned to talk about how the carpets got cleaned really well this morning and then about we decided to paint the kitchen, great room, and main bathroom; and how we chose and bought paint; and how we started prepping to paint the kitchen. I also planned to say something about how we wandered around our backyard looking at the trees and trying to figure out what they were and how to care for them. I might have also mentioned something about how we need to re-grade the lawn on that one side of the house.

But then during a break I logged into my young women's mets support group to discover that Amy Fisher died on the 12th of this month and I'm reeling from the shock She had been posting only three days prior to that about how she had her abdomen drained and she went for a yummy steak.

I didn't even know that she had died until today, and I feel guilty about that, like I should have known. I knew things were going bad - people getting their abdomens drained are usually not doing well - but I didn't know that she was about to die. I don't know if I'd have changed anything if I had talked to her before she died, except to tell her how much I loved and admired her.

I met Amy at one of our get-togethers and we hit it off well. She even brought yummy pie that I brought back... it was so thoughtful of her to have brought food and I loved her for it. She was so caring and loving and such a sweet, funny woman. She was honest about how she felt and wasn't afraid to speak up when needed. People respected what she had to say.

She was my partner, not just my friend, because she actually set up the support board that she, myself, and another person run. We'd been working together on this board for quite a while and she was always so level-headed and thoughtful.

I miss her already... there's a hole where she was. My heart goes out to her two daughters and her husband and to everyone else who knew and loved her. She was very strongly Christian and so I hope that she is heaven waiting for the rest of us.

Another woman on the board died yesterday. I didn't know her as well but she hasn't been doing well for a couple of weeks... still, it isn't fair that she died.

I'm so sad. I'm affected by the death of any member on the board but- the deaths of some friends leave me feeling absolutely bereft. Amy's death has struck me very hard and I expect to mourn her death while remembering her life for quite some time.

Fuck you, cancer. Stop killing my friends.

Friday, October 15, 2010

We have our house!

We finally have our house! I've been dancing around with excitement all afternoon. We even had our first dinner in the house: takeout pizza while sitting on folding chairs at a card table.

We got the call from the lawyer at about 3pm that our keys were ready. We picked them up and drove to the house right away and looked it over. It was in about the same shape as it was the other day when we did the inspection.

Unfortunately, the sellers didn't leave us the keys to the door from the garage - which is sort of funny because they weren't willing to give us the PIN to the garage keypad, either. As well, the front door lock was really hard to lock from the outside. It was one of those Weisner locks that they advertise as being able to re-key really easily. We talked to the guy at Home Depot when we bought new deadbolts and he said that those locks end up being really fussy and hard to work. That was definitely our experience. We've changed both locks to a different brand (and they use the same key) so we won't have the fussy lock problem anymore.

Aside from changing the locks we didn't really do anything with the house today. Tomorrow morning the carpets will be cleaned and we'll start cleaning the cupboards. Once the carpets are dry (Sunday, we hope) we'll be able to start moving things in. Or painting.

We did go for a walk this afternoon along some of the paths nearby. It was a beautiful time of day to be out there. Because I know you're all interested in knowing what the area looks like, here are some pics:

I love that last one best. We haven't taken pictures of the house because it looks like it did before, except with no furniture. As we make changes we'll post pics for you. One thing I hadn't noticed before about the house: the exterior is light-coloured brick with dusty rose mortar and the front door is purple. The seller, who designed the house, had an interesting design sense.

I hope we're both tired enough to sleep... we've been so excited about the house that we haven't been sleeping all that well lately.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Waiting and waiting and waiting

Has today been infinitely long, or is that just me? Yesterday we signed all the papers and tomorrow we take possession of the house, so there's nothing to do today but wait. And wait.

We went out for dinner at The Keg tonight to celebrate buying the house. Even though we don't get the house until tomorrow, everything is set up and in place for tomorrow to go smoothly. So we ate out and talked about what we're going to do when we get the house... how we'll furnish it, whether we'll paint it, what colour to use, and all that. We both ate way too much, of course, but it was a wonderful dinner.

Neither of us are sleeping well because we're so excited about the house. It feels like Christmas Eve and who sleeps well the night before Christmas? Not us :)

Tomorrow can't come fast enough!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All we have to do is wait

Today turned out to be a big day. We started off with the pre-closing house inspection, which is basically just ensuring that the property is in the condition we expect it to be. The house is in the same condition as before. We did find out the actual paint colour (Benjamin Moore HC-104) on the walls if we want to do touch-ups, repaint in that colour, or find a co-ordinating colour.

The only item of dispute was that the seller didn't know how to change the key pad for the garage remote and didn't want to give us the PIN they use there. I understand why they wouldn't want to give us their PIN but we want to be able to use that keypad. Fortunately, we were able to find instructions online on how to change the PIN without knowing the current PIN. I think the sellers are going to reset the keypad to its factory defaults which will be fine.

Later in the afternoon we met with the lawyer to sign the plethora of documents associated with the transaction. It only took about fifteen minutes to sign all of the documents and chat with the lawyer. We didn't read the documents all that carefully - there were a lot of them and it's expensive to pay the lawyer to sit there while you read them - but I was able to skim them and everything looked ok.

So everything is in place now for us to pick up the keys on Friday. Eeep! I'm excited but also feeling a bit unsettled. I never thought I'd own a house and the idea of home ownership is a little scary. Aside from the money involved - which is huge, and is definitely the biggest purchase of our lives so far - the house ties us down. Well, it does in my head, anyways. Even though I think of myself as this free-wheeling gypsy type, I'm really not like that. I'm more of a homebody these days.

I also feel a bit weird at the idea of taking out a 25 year mortgage. I've been so lucky to have four stable years with the sternal mets and I'd love for that luck to last. But in the back of my mind I wonder whether it's smart to make such a long-term commitment, given my life expectancy. Of course no one really knows if they'll be around tomorrow or next year or however many years from now, do they?

Someone told me that it's important to live my life in whatever way makes me happy and not to live "as if" the cancer will progress. After all, life isn't going to be fun or enjoyable if I'm constantly scared of serious progression. Still, I do feel better about this purchase knowing that I'm not doing it alone and that Ian's by my side, come what may.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Big day tomorrow

This is all really happening! We finally heard from the lawyer with the closing amount (includes the down payment, taxes, and other charges) we need to take to him. We also made an appointment to see him tomorrow afternoon to sign the papers and take him the closing amount. Tomorrow morning we're also doing the final inspection before closing.

After tomorrow, we'll just need to get the key on Friday and double-check that the current owner didn't wreck anything when she moved out. We actually asked the realtor about that; we're doing the inspection tomorrow to make sure that everything is as it was when we signed the deal. But the people are moving out after we do the inspection, and what if they damage the property during the move?

According to the realtor, we're supposed to check the property when we get the keys and if something like that happens, we call the lawyer right away. Our realtor also said to mention this whole thing to the lawyer tomorrow.

I'm so excited and nervous and scared ...  and so is Ian. I expect us to both have trouble sleeping this week. This is a huge purchase and it's all real and happening. Eep!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, my Canadian friends and family! And a Happy Columbus Day to you Americans. We spent the day inside because it was raining and cold.

Since it's a holiday, nothing was open and we couldn't really go anywhere so we did some packing-related activities done today. We spent the afternoon sorting through our files while watching a Hoarders marathon. We don't really need to move my phone bills from 2003, after all. I think the packing is going all right - the mess is decreasing, anyways, and that makes me feel much better.

While we sorted and packed we watched the brugmansia flowers on the taller plant bloom. I love the smell of the brugmansia flowers and I especially love that the smell is wafting through the living room. The smaller plant tried to develop flowers but the weather hasn't cooperated so it's just dropping the flower buds. Even the taller plant wasn't able to keep all of its flowers; it's dropping flower buds, too. We got three good flowers on the taller plant, at least.

This week is going to be so exciting - we get our house on Friday! There's so much that has to happen this week with the money and the lawyer and the inspection... it's exciting and scary all at the same time. I can hardly wait!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thanksgiving supper

I'm so full of yummy Thanksgiving food! We had dinner at Ian's parent's house and it was so yummy, full of vegetables, juicy free range turkey, and delicious pumpkin pie. We even got to bring an entire pie home with us :) We're trying to eat up the food in our house so that we don't have to move it... I'm sure we can manage to finish the pie, though.

We've been so lucky with the weather this weekend. It's warm, the air is clear, the sun is bright, and the trees are close to the peak of their colours. We went for a walk down by the river yesterday and around Ian's parent's neighbourhood today. It was wonderful. Just being outside in the sun makes me feel so much better and more even emotionally.

Last year at this time I was in Edmonton with my mom. I haven't seen her or the rest of my family since then and I miss everyone so much. I don't know when I'm going next because I haven't really thought past the end of this month, but I expect that I'll be going soonish - by the beginning of January, most likely. I'm keeping an eye on flight deals that come through but right now they all have a long blackout period over the holiday.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Words, part II

At the risk of more anonymous people telling me I'm ignorant, I have to say that I don't like the word "survivor" when applied to people who have had cancer. I know that so many people love the word and define themselves as survivors and all that, but I don't like it. I have a hard time articulating why I feel this way but I found an article that explains my feelings quite well: Who's a Survivor on

This phrase from the article succinctly describes my thoughts:
At a deeper level, what's wrong is that the expression connotes strength or heroism. Today, survivor feeds into the concept of cancer as some sort of contest of harsh ordeals. Best sellers like Dr. David Servan-Schreiber's Anticancer: A New Way of Life push the impression that survival implies you've done something right. The fault's in the converse: If you don't lick your tumor, you've failed.

Personally, I think our culture is to blame for the rise in the idea of survivorship as it relates to illness. In our reality-tv, celebrity-obsessed, 15-minutes-of-fame, success-oriented culture, people want to succeed, to be noticed, to be set apart; to be seen as doing something extra-ordinary in their lives and to succeed in doing it. Who doesn't want fame and fortune, after all?

Even if we weren't living in this culture, being a cancer survivor would still be empowering for many people because the words imply that they've beaten their cancer or fought it down. Taking the credit for defeating the cancer means that the person is at fault if the cancer comes back. That's not reasonable or fair.

Is there a better word than survivor? One that is empowering but that doesn't carry the same responsibility for keeping the person alive?

Friday, October 08, 2010


I'm feeling better. My eyes are no longer puffy and hot and everything I hear no longer sounds muffled and hollow: those sensory changes are clear signs to me that I'm very stressed. I feel relaxed and happy and I no longer feel like I'm operating under a huge weight that is pushing me down. It's hard to describe... all I know is that I feel more like happy, cheery myself than I have in days. It's sort of like a weight has been lifted, or a curtain has been opened; I see things differently and I feel lighter, if that makes any sense.

A friend of mine suggested that I might have felt the way I did because I was over-tired and exhausted. My mom also suggested that I was feeling stressed because of all the memories I was encountering while packing. I think both theories are right: I was having trouble dealing with the emotional element of packing and I was exhausted. Yesterday and last night I slept a long time - better than I have in weeks - and this afternoon I had another long nap. I've also done no packing for a couple of days and I think that's helped me relax and take some pressure off of myself, too.

I hope that I don't get that stressed again because it was a little scary and a lot unpleasant. Crumpling to the ground while sobbing while also feeling undefined anger and fear isn't something I like to experience because it's so out of control.

Even though I slept so much today, we went over to our friend's house to see Get Him to the Greek, a movie about a music industry guy who has to get a wild musician to a concert. The music in this movie is hilarious, if completely inappropriate for most audiences. There's a lot of drinking, drug use, and sex, but somehow the movie is funny anyways. If you like this kind of juvenile movie, you'll like this movie, too.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

This has got to get better

I went for a long walk after getting hooked up to Pamidronate. It was so beautiful outside, with the sky a clear blue and the leaves all different colours. The air smelled so fresh It's been too long since I've been out in the sun and I've missed it. Staying inside is one of the reasons that I've been feeling so down, I think.

Unfortunately, I'm not doing that much better. As long as everything is going smoothly and nothing goes wrong, I'm fine. The instant anything goes wrong or looks like it will go wrong I start to freak out and become quite frustrated and upset. If I'm in the "right" frame of mind at that point, I start crying. Not just tears rolling down my face, but whole-body sobbing that crumples me to the ground. That's what happened last night and it happened again today when I got home from my walk.

I don't like to be in that frame of mind so I'm taking Ativan at the smallest sign of trouble. When I take it I'm still easily frustrated and upset but at least I'm not incapacitated by tears. Ativan makes me sleepy, though, so I've been sleeping a lot. Thinking back, I haven't been getting enough sleep over the last few months - one reason for my weepiness is that I'm so exhausted - so getting some forced sleep isn't such a bad thing. Except that time is limited and me sleeping all afternoon means that I did no packing today.

I wish I knew how to not let myself get so overwhelmed and fragile. It's hard enough to do this move while also being an emotional mess. It can't be fun for Ian, either.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I has a sad

I was looking through my facebook wall and saw that my mom had put a comment on one of my posts about how emotionally exhausting packing is. She's right; this past weekend, I was going through things that carried a lot of memories from people who've died, like my dad and some friends of mine. Every time I came across something that held special meaning to me, I'd remember an event that had happened with that person. There wasn't really time for me to re-experience all those events so I just kind of pushed it down and continued packing.

Today I had a meltdown while cooking dinner. I started crying and sobbing and couldn't stop, even when Ian came home. He suggested I take Ativan, which I did, but even now I'm feeling like I could burst into tears any second. Poor Ian was worried there for a second that something terrible had happened but it was just me crying uncontrollably.

It would be so much easier for me if I could figure out exactly what I'm feeling and identify those feelings. At least then I'd know what the problem is and I could deal with it. Part of the problem is coming across all those memories, but that's not the whole problem.

I don't like the way  I've been feeling lately and to be honest, some of the thoughts that are taking up space in my head are not what I want there. I just want those thoughts to go away and for me feel less like this, whatever this is.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

If things are going well, why am I sad?

I was able to do get a bunch of the address changeovers done today. Some of them could be done online which simplified the process, but most require at least a phone call. One of them needs a faxed or in-person application so I'll go there on Thursday and get that done.

Everyone was easy to talk to except for Bell. The part where I changed the address for the phone went well, but the part where I was dropping the internet from them was not so fun. It turns out that Bell requires a 30-day notice to disconnect their internet serive. So if you move out the province, say, you still have to pay the bill for 30 days which I think is ridiculous. When they disconnect your internet, they send you a letter and postage so that you can return the modem. They won't send those until the 30 day period is over. I offered to pay the 30 days anyways if they could just send me the stuff, but they wouldn't do that, either.

By the end of this part of the conversation, it was clear to the person that there's no way that I wanted their internet so at least they skipped the questions asking if there was anything they could do to keep my business.

Ian had to call the cable company because I didn't have access to make changes. At least we're set up for the cable and internet in the new place now. The best thing is that we will have a really high internet cap - 60Gb/month - so we'll be able to enjoy our Netflix subscription.

I didn't do anything approaching packing today. These phone calls kind of took a lot out of me and emotionally I'm not feeling that great. I'm not sure what's wrong but I seem to be sad. Twice today I started crying for no real reason and I'm still feeling kind of fragile and on edge, and I still feel like I could start crying again at any moment. I thought that I just needed a good cry because I was overwhelmed but I don't think that's it because crying didn't make me feel all that much better. I feel like I'm folding in on myself, if that makes sense, and that I'm trying to protect myself, but I don't know why that would be. Some of this is probably related to packing and the move, and some is probably seasonal, but I don't know about the other part. I hope it doesn't last.

ETA: After I wrote this, I watched Glee... and I don't want to spoil anything for you, but there was a scene in there that reminded me of my dad. This time when I cried, I felt a little better afterward. Maybe I do need to cry. I wish he were here to see the house and everything. I miss him so much.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The move is on!

The mover guy came by today and spent a total of 15mins walking through the house, counting boxes, and noting how much furniture we have. The estimate he gave us was based on four guys with a truck moving us for eight and a half hours. The estimate was about what we figured it would be, and the company has a good reputation amongst Ian's co-workers, so we booked the move.

The bulk of our stuff will be moved into our new house on October 21, starting around 8 or 8:30am. This is so exciting!!!!

Now that we have a definite move date booked, I can get the phone and cable transferred over for that date. That part will be easy. What's turning out to be harder will be the utilities. Because we're moving to another city (Kitchener) even though it's got the same regional government as our current city (Waterloo), the utilities are administered by different companies.

I thought we'd be able to use our current gas supplier because all of southwestern Ontario is included in their service region, but I was wrong. It seems that all of southwestern Ontario except Kitchener north of the river (where we'll be living) is part of their service region. The electricity, or hydro, will also come from a different company but I was expecting that.

Here in Waterloo, water used to be billed by the company that supplies our hydro. Apparently that all changed last October; the city was supposed to bill each residence separately for water usage. We haven't seen a water bill.... ever. So all those times that Ian thought I was wasting water by having more than one or two baths in a day, well, it turns out that we're not paying for it. We haven't seen an increase in our rent to cover the water bill (which must be going to the property owner), so I guess we're getting a deal on our rent. :)

So tomorrow I'll spend quite a bit of time on the phone getting utilities and stuff set up, as well as calling to do address changes for some other things. After that, it'll be all about the packing.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The packing continues

Progress has been made! Boxes have been packed, garbage has been taken out, and items have been moved. We finished the sewing room and are now storing boxes in there, and we also got through the major parts of the computer room. We still need to sort through our files and music and stuff but if we run out of time we can put all that stuff in boxes and sort it when we get to the new place.

I'm feeling much better about getting things ready for the move. I freak out about the state of the house and the amount to do every once in a while but then we get more done and I feel better. Hopefully the guy from the movers has seen messier houses than ours. We're not hoarders but some people might think we have excessive amounts of dust and hair in our house. Our philosophy has been "if you don't bother the dust, the dust won't bother you," so we just let it lie undisturbed for the most part.

After spending the afternoon packing, we went for a walk around the neighbourhood. Packing is very physical work and the walk helps to stretch and loosen our muscles. Because I've had to pack I haven't been able to go for any walks, epic or otherwise, and I haven't really noticed how cold it's getting or how many leaves are falling. Autumn is definitely here and I'm a little sad about that. This past summer was so nice - a little hot, but not too humid - that I was able to spend my days outside in the fresh air. Even if we weren't packing, it's not really nice enough to be walking out there. I'd have to wear a hat, scarf, and mittens and the sun isn't the same strength.... it's just not the same.

I guess fall and winter aren't all bad. Snow is beautiful in it's way, as are falling and fallen leaves. And cold, crisp air is nicer to walk in than hot, humid weather. I hope that it's not too cold when we get the house so that I can explore my new neighbourhood. That way, I'll be ready to really enjoy the neighbourhood next summer.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Packing fun

We finished sorting and packing as much of the bedroom as we could today, and we consider that room done. I also went through the bathroom and took out all of the expired meds (to be returned to the pharmacist) and got rid of the garbage. It's now ready to be packed up right before we move. Yay!

Tomorrow we'll finish the sewing room - the sewing stuff is packed but some of the craft items and garbage needs to be taken care of - and the computer room. Next weekend when we're not eating yummy turkey we'll focus on sorting and packing the main floor.

Now that we've made a dent in the house, I'm feeling better about packing for the move. We will need to do some last-minute packing of clothes and whatnot but we won't have to sort or clean those items. We can just throw them in a box or the car and go.

Even though we're spending a lot of time packing we aren't pushing ourselves to the limit. I can't afford to overdo it and neither can Ian - he has to work, after all. It's better for both of us to pack over a few weeks than to try to do it all in short period of time.

It's kind of strange that our landlord still hasn't acknowledged that we're leaving. We've been here for over five years and I expected the landlord to actually say something to us because we've been such good tenants for so long. Silly me. Of course neither the landlord and maintenance guy are known for keeping their promises, getting stuff done, or communicating with us, so I guess the total lack of acknowledgement should come as no surprise. But it did. Thankfully, in a few weeks we won't have to deal with them ever again.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Feeling better

I was still very tired and feeling icky yesterday which is why there was no entry. I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon and early evening both yesterday and today in addition to a good long sleep last night. I'm finally feeling a little better; I'm certainly feeling less exhausted. That's a good thing.

We went over to a friend's house to watch Iron Man 2. We wanted to see it but didn't get a chance to while it was actually playing. Overall, it was ok. it wasn't a particularly deep movie with lots of character development or anything like that. It was definitely more light-hearted.

This movie wasn't as good as the first one. I understand that this movie isn't just a sequel but part of a setup to an Avengers film. Therefore, this film had to introduce several of the characters in that universe and incorporate them into the story. In this way it was playing more to the Avenger fanboys than to "normal" people. If you like comic book movies or the Avengers then you'll like this one. It would be worth seeing on tv for free, too, maybe.

We also received our Kindles!!!! We'd ordered one in graphite for each of us (one has wireless internet capability; the other only has wifi) and we both love them. I read so much and I re-read so many things that having them available at my fingertips really appeals to me. Plus the Kindle is comfortable to hold, especially in comparison to really big books. Ian reads more slowly and has changed his settings so that each page shows less. He finds this easier to read.

Oh, and I can read the kindle in the bath by putting it in to a ziploc bag. This is definitely preferable to getting my books all wet like I usually do.

We're going to be spending the weekend packing. The moving company person is coming on Monday to give us an estimate to move our stuff. I'll be so happy when this move is over.