Keep it Lighthearted

Keep it Lighthearted

As many are aware, my husband and I spent two months moving from England to British Columbia. We got word of his new job just one month before he was due to start, so there were a lot of things to do in a hurry. We started with some last minute site-seeing in England before we flew back, then rented a furnished apartment for a month while we waited for the sale of our house to finalize. It was a time full of stress and uncertainty, which is probably why the moments of hilarity stand out. There are times, after all, where you’ll cry if you can’t laugh. So rather than talk about the headache (because we all know what a nightmare moving can be), I’d like to share the funniest moments from our two month move.

Coffee or Tea?
When we found out we were leaving England, we made a list of all the things we hadn’t had a chance to see. Flights to England are expensive and, though we had seen a lot during our time there, we really wanted to make the most of it. We arranged two short trips of 3-4 days each. The first was to York to see the medieval city. From there we travelled to Edinburgh to check out the parts of the city we missed the first time.

York is a fabulous city and you’d be surprised how much you can see in a day. Medieval cities were small because you had to be able to get around on foot (but more about that another day). After a long day of seeing the sites, my husband decided to relax in the guest house with a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, after sifting through the packets tucked on our table, he could only locate tea. He’s not a huge fan of hot tea but he decided it was better than nothing and brewed a cup. Merrily he opened a pack of sugar to round it off.

A moment later he looked at me with a sheepish grin. “I think I’ve just poured coffee into my tea,” he said.

After a moment of stunned silence I replied, “You said you couldn’t find any.” Turns out the package looked very similar to the brown sugar packets he’s used to using. After a good, long laugh, he gave the brew a try and decided it was best if he started over.

RIP Toothbrush
A few days after our return from Edinburgh, we set out on our second trip to Cardiff. We had originally intended to stop in Bath on the way back, but were somewhat disheartened when we learned they charge a large fee to see the Roman baths. But no matter, Cardiff had a lot to offer and it’s a beautiful city (more on that another day). As before, we unwound in our hotel room at the end of a long day of walking, though this time my husband had no difficulty locating his coffee.

But this trip, too, provided us with a humorous memory. As my husband opened his travel case to brush his teeth, his tooth brush bounced out of the protective carrier and landed in the toilet. Now, I’ll openly admit this isn’t the first time we’ve lost something to a hotel toilet. I lost a hairbrush to one a couple years back. With a forlorn look, my husband plucked his toothbrush from the toilet and threw it in the garbage to the accompaniment of my laughter.

A Good-Looking Road
Leaving England wasn’t easy. We said a lot of hard goodbyes and the parting wasn’t without tears. But the actual moving out, as well as the flight, went smoothly. We didn’t encounter problems in any of the places we anticipated. We had already decided to buy a house when we returned to Canada, and we’d already arranged to start looking the weekend after we arrived. There were a lot of options, but we were initially disheartened when some of the viewings didn’t meet our expectations (it’s easy to stage photos so that a place looks nicer than it really is).

Every night we retired to the hotel to look at new listings and make arrangements with our Realtor for viewings. My husband’s parents accompanied us on the house hunt because they’ve bought way more houses than we have and they know what to look for. Early in the trip, my mother-in-law spotted a townhouse she really wanted to look at. Since we actually ended up buying that town house, let’s say it was on Bliffle Road. She asked the Realtor about it a couple of times but it never appeared on our list of houses to see for the day.

As we narrowed down our final viewing list, we knew we wanted to see the Bliffle Road townhouses. In a hurry, and on my tablet with only a touch pad for typing, I asked my mother-in-law to type the final list of properties so that I could copy and paste them into an email for our agent. It was only after I hit send that I realized she had typed all the properties on Bliffle Road. I blinked and burst into laughter.

Our baffled Realtor emailed us back to explain that there were seven houses for sale on Bliffle Road and that several didn’t match our expressed requirements. Through tears (because I laughed so hard I cried), I replied that we meant the townhouse development on Bliffle Road and, in our haste, we had mistaken the road name for the name of the development.

While we waited for the house to close, we rented a small one-bedroom furnished apartment in our new city. We learned from our move across the pond it would probably take that long to get settled, so we made sure temporary housing arrangements were on our list of things to arrange before we got on the plane. There was just one problem; the people renting the apartment were going to be a week late leaving. But we’d already made arrangements with the landlords and, since they are absolutely fabulous people (I really seriously can’t stress how amazingly nice these people are), they let us rent their guest room for a week while we waited for the apartment to become available.

We weren’t sure what to expect; we thought we’d spend a lot of time huddling in the guest room to keep out of the way. Instead we met two amazing people who invited us to share dinner, play games and converse over tea. At a time of amazingly stressful transition, these people shared their home with us and we could not have felt more welcome.

Which is why I was so horrified when my husband woke me up at the end of the week to inform me that he had broken one of their toilet seat covers. I made him say it three times before it really penetrated. Apparently he sat on it accidentally, not realizing the top was down. This particular seat had no give, so it shattered (as much as plastic can shatter). Revenge for the lost toothbrush, I suppose.

Luckily, our hosts weren’t angry. We ran to home depot and found the toilet seat which most closely matched the previous one and my husband installed it. It turned out our hostess liked the new one even better than the old one, so everything worked out in the end.

Nine Hours in the Dark
When we hired the moving company that was to bring our personal belongings from Ontario to British Columbia, they gave us a nine day delivery window. So the day we received the keys to the house, we decided not to sleep in the house overnight (the jury’s still out on whether or not that was a mistake). In one of those slow-motion train-wreck days, nothing went as anticipated. I spent the day cleaning the house and taking a few deliveries before my husband came to pick me up. The plan was to spend the end of the week in the furnished apartment, then camp in the new house while we waited for our belongings to arrive.

We drove back to the apartment, which is on the other side of town, and met with an insurance specialist to sign the final paperwork for our insurance policies. The plan was to cook dinner after she left, do my words for the evening and relax. But before we finished signing, the power went off. And it stayed off. By the time the papers were signed, it was already 6:30. We waited half an hour with our hosts, wondering what had happened, but when the power failed to return we realized we’d have to venture out in search of food.

It wasn’t until we started driving we realized how extensive the blackout was. Not only did none of the houses on the block have power, none of the street lights did either. It wasn’t until we hit the bridge to the other side of town that we found light. When we reached a restaurant that wasn’t bursting at the seams, we used the wifi to check on the status of the blackout. To our dismay, they were estimating the power wouldn’t be restored until 11PM. Worse, when we left to return home, we got caught in a huge traffic block. Since there was construction planned for off-peak hours, and since everyone on the far side of the lake had to drive into town for dinner, we ended up sitting in traffic for most of an hour trying to get home.

All the while reminded that our house on the other side of town had power. But no bed.

It was one of those situations where you have to laugh. You have to. Despite the universe’s best efforts, I managed to get my words in after we got out of traffic (thank goodness for laptops). Unfortunately the power didn’t return at 11 PM. It didn’t return until 3:30 AM, at which point the sound of everything turning back on roused us long enough to turn on the fan, roll over and go back to sleep. I suppose after two months of moving, the universe had to get in one last jab at the end.

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