Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Wind is fun!
We're more than halfway through our road trip from Toronto to Winnipeg. We could've been home yesterday, but we decided to stay at Thunder Bay for a whole day to kill time because the workers haven't finished working on our home yet. We only gave them a two months notice, you see, which they obviously took as "don't bother to do anything until the very last minute because it'll be a long time before they return".

But I'm getting a bit a head of myself. Last time I wrote we were just going out to get ready to pick up the dogs, so I guess I should start there.

On Friday we drove out in our new lovely Tahoe to buy basic things for the dogs (food, bowls, toys, shampoo, Martha Stewart orthopaedic dog beds). We also popped into Canadian Tire for a bunch of other things then rushed to the condo to pack up and have lunch with our lovely friend Adelit before heading to the airport. Adelit followed us as she was kind enough to help look after Blake when we took care of any doggie business. At the airport we were also supposed to meet Mike, the kind chap who vacated his condo for us to stay in. He was to pick up the over-sized dog cages in a van and deliver them as a donation to a vet friend. We got stuck in traffic and arrived a bit late and felt guilty about keeping the dogs in the cages longer than necessary.

It turned out that we were feeling guilty for no good reason. I expected to run into the building and hug my dogs right away. It turned out that we needed to wait for custom people to check the dogs and give us a document which we needed to get signed at the other side of the airport and come back with it. We waited for almost forty minutes and then drove around the entire airport, getting a tiny bit lost, but then finding the correct office. Then headed back and released the dogs. The whole system was so mind-numbingly clumsy, inefficient and stupid that it's not even worth me writing about it any more on this blog.

Then the big moment arrived. A forklift brought the first cage and put it down. Inside was Sir Leo who was cautiously happy to hear our voices. He didn't want to get excited over nothing and first make sure he wasn't hallucinating. When he was convinced he tried jumping and clawing his way out of the cage. I let him out and calmed him down.

Then the next caged arrived with Dexter who looked a bit confused and subdued, but happy. Even Leo stuck his face to see if his little brother was OK as they spent the entire trip in separate cages. Leo's top hobby is to puncture holes into Dexter's flesh, but he does actually love him. Miron let him out and I hooked both dogs on their leads. 

The sense of relief was huge. Not only were our dogs healthy and uninjured, they were also fairly relaxed and happy all things considered. As a bonus they weren't even really dirty. I expected them to be covered in filth after staying over ten hours in those cages, but that wasn't the case. We still gave them both a good wipe with the doggy wet wipes we brought. 

We took the dogs around on the lead to do their business and gave them water. Blake was considerate to sleep through the entire thing and only wake up once the dogs were loaded into the car. Mike and his friend loaded up the cages in their van and we said goodbye to everyone before departing on our epic journey.

Toronto to Sudbury - day 1
Blake was pleased to finally be driving fast once we got on faster roads. When I told him we were going home he was alarmed as he wanted to continue driving around so we explained to him that we won't be getting home any time soon and there'll be plenty of driving... Blake certainly had his fill and it's good we had an iPod handy.

Our first stop was at Sudbury. We started our trip later than expected, but we still managed about four hours. We found a nice motel with ground floor rooms opening to the outside so I snuck the dogs in. I couldn't see anything anywhere about no dogs allowed and they were perfectly behaved. Once Blake saw the bed he went straight to it and crashed.

On the next day we drove for ten hours plus stops and that was exhausting. Well, to be more precise, Miron did all the driving, but it was still quite tiring even on the passenger side. We had a few stops and Blake loved it when I opened the window to have wind blow in his face. The views were spectacular offering multi-coloured trees ranging from green to bright red and pink. Lots of lakes and mountains. Could've been worse.

We stopped for lunch and let the dogs out a couple of times, including an off-the-lead run on a quiet side road. The dogs really appreciated the chance to really stretch their legs for the first time since the flight.

We should've called it a night at nightfall, but got a bit greedy and kept driving. It was dark and misty with twists and turns and big trucks popping out of nowhere, but at least it wasn't raining. We eventually called it a night in Thunder Bay, our intended stop for the second night.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, we stopped here to kill a day to give the workers time to finish the very basic work (like, you know, electricity). Miron rested after the crazy long drive and I stretched my legs by taking Blake to buy some stuff at the nearest shopping area (including yet another card reader because the first one got ruined after one use). 

Sudbury to Thunder Bay

We walked along a big road for forty minutes and the sun was out without really being too hot. It was lovely. Blake slumped over my head to cover his face from direct sun-light, but it looked as if he simply collapsed on top of me after we walked here all the way from Toronto. So just before I reached the centre a nice middle aged woman stopped and asked if we needed a ride. I refused politely since we were practically there, but could've really used the ride twenty minutes ago!

So after a quick lunch at the small McDonalds inside Walmarts (classy!) and some shopping we walked back. I had to put my feet up after all the walking, but it made up for being cooped up in the car for so long.

I caught up with many of the TV shows that started over the last couple of weeks and we took the dogs out a couple of times (which didn't stop them from urinating a bit in the room anyway out of nerves). After taking Blake to the hotel pool for a bit we ended the evening with a nice dinner and watching X-Factor US and a double bill of Modern Family.

Thunder Bay to Winnipeg - Today's journey

Now, the last leg of the trip. Tonight we should sleep at our home, the whole family for the first time. I think both Blake and the dogs could really benefit from settling in at our new home and develop a routine.

You know what? I think so do I. I'm ready to be bored for a while.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dog Day

Leo and Dexter this morning in England
We've been in Toronto since Monday and today we begin our drive to Winnipeg. We collected our lovely new Tahoe yesterday (I swear to God that we bought it before we found it it was a sponsor of the new American X-Factor TV show) and we're almost good to go. Just one thing left... Picking up the dogs. They are flying right now and I can't wait to cuddle with them again, safe and sound.

We got to stay in a fantastic condo in the heart of Toronto thanks to a good friend who vacated it for us for the duration. I don't know what we have done to deserve such good friends, but we seem to have plenty of them all over the world. We have many friends in Toronto and we got to see a fair chunk of them, you'd almost think we're on holiday. But we're not. For the first time in my life we are not visitors to Canada.

Today we need to rush around and get stuff for the dogs: carpet and dog beds for the back of the car, food and water bowls, food, snacks, toys. Then we'll clear out of the apartment, have lunch with friends and then pick up Leo and Dexter. I know they'll be fine, but I just won't be really relaxed until I see that with my own eyes. Then we start our drive west for 22 hours... If there's free Wi-Fi on the way, I'll try blogging updates.

Meanwhile you can check out this blog post about my doggies by Animal Couriers.

The dogs' trip begins!


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Just like explosive diarrhoea  after a long bout of constipation, here comes an explosion of pictures now that I finally got a memory card reader to unload pictures from our cameras (some photos are still lost in my accidentally packed iPhone which I hope to get back in a couple of weeks).

Well, maybe I could've gone for a less disgusting metaphor. Like a rainstorm after a long dry spell or... Whatever, who cares. Pictures time.

These are actually left over from our trip to Israel in April-May, but it's cute, so it goes in anyway.

Blake loves suitcases!
It's always a pleasure to discover Blake has been playing with the camera.
I mentioned in an earlier post that Blake has decided to repaint parts of my study while the packers were stealing our life and sticking it into boxes. Here is the damning proof.

It's beautiful art, but it kinda had to go, don't you think?

Boxes, boxes, boxes. I can't wait to unpack and go through all of them in Winnipeg... Ugh.

Our truck, which Blake adored staring at. By the end of the day it was fully packed. You couldn't even squeeze in a box of tictacs.

Poor Leo and Dexter were exiled to the back yard for most of the day as the door to the house had to remain open most of the time.

Blake couldn't be exiled into the back yard so I was doomed to keep running out after him instead of making sure that, oh I don't know, my iPhone doesn't get into a box and sent away. Stuff like that. Yeah, I'm still bitter about it.

Our wonderful skip. We filled it up twice, which is a lot of crap that we didn't send off in boxes over to Winnipeg. Could've probably filled it up a third time if we planned things better....

My brainy Janey helping us pack and fold. ♥ A bunch of friends dropped in during the day and made it a bit more fun to rip out every remaining trace of ourselves from what was our home for the last nine years and stick it either in a suitcase or the trash.

Our lovely friend Mariana (holding Blake in the above picture) dropped in to cook us a goodbye lunch. By then we had barely any plates left so we improvised with what we had and it turned out to be one of the most fun dinner parties we ever had - simply because it was so unexpected and a great way to say goodbye one more time. We even got to use some paper cups left over from Blake's first birthday!

Pavel the Marvel (Marianna's brother) took apart out bed and the last day was spent on the mattress alone. Well, not for me anyway. I napped for a couple of hours on the carpet in my room as I found it - for some reason - very difficult to go to sleep.

Floor cuddles with Yoe are the best!
CSI Finchley
In the evening, when packing should've gone into overdrive more friends came over. Instead of hugging and sending them away we had yet another dinner party, moments before the dinning room table was taken away. We had pizza and it was delicious.

As morning got closer more and more stuff was removed from the house by Pavel who did a great job. He even saved us by removing lots of trash we didn't put in the skip in time before it was removed (lots and lots of trash). It was a race against time to empty the entire house before we left it in the morning. The house was mostly emptied, but mostly does not equal completely.

We ended up knowingly over-packing our suitcases with the knowledge that we will have to pay extra. We were immigrating across the ocean, not going on some holiday in Spain. I had to leave my lovely Nando's sauce bottles behind only to find out you can get them in Canada too. Joy! At the last hour before the taxi arrived I started just grabbing things and throwing them away without giving it too much thought. Any single socks or items of clothes we would never wear again and probably even some we might've : it all had to go.

And then that was it. The house was suddenly completely empty once all of our suitcases were in the taxi and Blake was strapped into his car seat which was also coming with us. This was no longer our home. Our dogs weren't there any more or any of our stuff. But it still felt like home, carrying with it nine years of memories both good and bad. Sheer joy side by side with unbearable stress. Sweet moments of happiness side by side with painful loss. We left Kato behind, our first Great Dane, his ashes scattered in the park only a few steps away from our doorway.

We left a bit late and were worried we were going to miss our plane, but fortunately we didn't. We needed a porter to help us with all the suitcases and we got a moron who dropped them repeatedly (I hope my X-Box survived the torture). When we got on-board Blake fell asleep and even when he woke up he behaved perfectly. Let me put it this way: I managed to watch three full movies and a TV show without interruption (Thor - OK action movie, Meet Dave - barely watch-able Eddie Murphy comedy and The Adjustment Bureau which had an original concept - mind numbingly stupid, but original).

We arrived in Toronto and I got my work visa.

And that was the end of our time in London, UK. Even now I have to keep reminding myself of that fact. While it has sank in that we were leaving the UK for good, it still hasn't sank in that we have actually done it already.

More about our time in Toronto later. Now we wait for our new car to be shipped from Winnipeg and our dogs to arrive from England and then embark on our adventure driving to Winnipeg from Toronto. So it's not over yet...


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last Few Hours

This morning I rushed to the supermarket to buy some dog food to give to the people who were taking the dogs. Leo eats very badly when away from home and I wanted to tempt him with some yummy tripe. When I got home the guy with the van was already here so I had to rush and get all the dogs stuff and then the dogs. Poor puppies got so excited, thinking we were all going for a car trip together, but then they were put in small-ish cages and were taken away without us. We were so worried! I almost cried. 

Well, I cried, OK? I  thought to myself: what if something goes wrong and this was the last time I saw Leo?

Later we got a phone call to say they were OK and then an e-mail with many photos. They weren't super happy, but they weren't miserable either, sniffing around and checking their new temporary hangout. I won't be really relaxed until we are reunited with them, healthy and happy, on Saturday in Toronto before we drive on to Winnipeg.

Here are the pictures. They were taken shortly after the dogs arrived at the kennels.

We were silly and we had the skip removed yesterday only to realize we still had so much junk to get rid off. Thankfully our pal Pavel the Marvel and his magical van came to the rescue. The last couple of days were spent getting rid of stuff and by now the house is practically empty. Even our bed is gone and we're spending the last night on a mattress - that is assuming we'll get any time left to sleep. It's ten twenty and we still have a lot to do. 

Around lunch time my pals Kenric and Janey dropped in, even though I've just seen them for dinner on Friday and also a surprise visit from my friend Louise. Pavel's sister Mariana came to cook for us a delicious goodbye meal and it was great fun: we had almost no plates left so we used a mixture of random plates, mostly ones belonging to Blake and we managed.

In the evening Sally, Paul and Yoe dropped, more dear friends. Even though the wise thing was to give them a big hug and send them on their way, we instead ordered pizza and ate it like pigs because by then we had even less plates and cutlery. It was great fun, especially with Blake who got to give lots of kisses and cuddles and play many games with many cute girls. Now they're gone, all of them. I'd be sad, but I'm still waaay too busy. I'll be sad tomorrow.

Lots of great new photos, but that'll have to wait until I get a card reader for our Sony Cameras.

Tomorrow is the last morning in London...

Back to work now!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

4-2 Days... The End is Near!

* Not sure what happened to the pictures in some of the earlier posts below this one. Thank you Blogspot!

Anyway, we're getting nearer to the big date. It's now Saturday evening. Tomorrow the dogs will be taken away at midday and will join us in Toronto next Saturday. We'll start packing like crazy as soon as the dogs are gone, say goodbye to some friends who will pop over, throw away the rest of the rubbish and have our friend take the last remaining bits of furniture and... That's it. Early Monday morning we're gone for good. Goodbye London! Goodbye Queen lady! Goodbye William and Kate! Goodbye Big Ben! Goodbye something or other.

Tonight I'll be taking the dogs out in London for the last time. We were very lucky to have a fantastic big park less than a minute walk from our front door. I take the dogs there every day after midnight and let them run free as there's no one else there that late. It's a shame I won't be able to do it in Winnipeg. We'll adjust. The dogs have no idea what's waiting for them, but that's for the best I suppose. They are hardier than I give them credit for and they've both survived worse. Regardless, being reunited with them next week, healthy and happy, will be such a relief.

The house is so empty and depressing now and I can't wait to get out of here. The hard part of saying goodbye to our home is behind us because this is certainly not our home any longer. Having a home waiting for us in Winnipeg, a home we already know and love, makes it all a tiny bit easier.

Last night we went to my favourite Japanese restaurant in London, Daruma San, with a few friends. I don't have too many friends in London, but those I do have are great friends and I realized how much I am going to miss them. In this day and age it's easier to stay in touch, but commenting on each other's Facebook status isn't quite the same as hanging out together. I will also miss Daruma San, the only restaurant I know that makes consistently perfect Ika Nigiri sushi that is slimy and melts in your mouth rather than the usual rubbery stuff you get anywhere else. Oh, and they make a great udon noodle salad. Oh God, I think I'm going to cry this is just so terrible. I'm going to cry into a pillow now. Bye!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Days 7-5: Pack Up Your Life

I didn't write the last couple of days because I didn't have time to breath. Well, I had time to breath, but just about it. After taking everything from the attic and getting the skip emptied we needed to throw away lots of crap. The more crap we throw away the less crap we send over across the ocean to Winnipeg to sort out there. Well travelled crap is still crap.

We worked until late yesterday to get as much as possible ready. We needed to throw away everything we don't want to go to Winnipeg and make sure the stuff we need on our trip doesn't accidentaly get boxed and sent off in a boat. You know, like our passports. 

In the morning the packers came and started boxing everything. They went in and our and the door was left open a lot of the time so I had to lock the poor doggies in the back yard (with breakfast and water). They stood by the glass door and looked in, begging to come in. I eventually took their beds outside and they lay down to rest.

One of the packers asked me if we're waiting for my wife to come down. My reflex reply was "I don't have a wife, I have a husband, but yes." Years ago I would've avoided it, even by lying. But I decided a long time ago to stop cutting corners and this was it. I'm not going to pretend Miron is anything but my husband now that I have a son because what lesson will that teach him? We felt that they were a bit rude and cold throughout the day and if it's because we're a gay couple, so be it. I think they were just a bit lazy and rude for no reason other than being a bit lazy and rude, but who cares. 

Blake was very excited by the removal truck and kept running outside through the open door and insisting on being outside all the time, which meant I had to supervise him instead of giving the removers instructions. He got very agitated every time I chased him down the street and took him home and it was "one of those days" with lots of screams and tantrums. On top of it I walked into my former study to find Blake with a thick red marker after using the carpet, the walls,the shelves, the windowsill, the door and himself as canvas. As if we weren't stressed enough we (mostly Miron) now had to furiously clean the stains as best as we could. We're lucky as this doesn't happen often, but the thought "why on earth did I decide to have a kid" did cross my mind. Blake answered it for me with a kiss... Little devil.

Halfway through packing I realized I can't find my iPhone. I looked all over for it and then I realized that it must have been packed by mistake. Oh joy! I was gutted about it, but at least I was glad to see that Blake's iPod was accounted for on my desk. For a while anyway, it also disappeared as it was also accidentally packed. At least Blake himself wasn't accidentally packed and shipped to Winnipeg ahead of us. We bought Blake a new iPod on Amazon which will be here by Friday. There is no way I'm flying to Toronto for hours and driving to Winnipeg for days without an iPod to distract him. His current one was getting a bit old anyway with increasingly short battery life.

Another thing that bothered us was the realization that we sent over probably too many things. Many books and things we could've thrown out if we started sorting things out earlier. But we also know we had tons of stuff on our minds (and still do). Regardless, once the movers left for good we felt a bit crap. It turns out that packing up your entire life in one day is as much fun as trying to remove your eyeball out of your eye socket using nothing but toothpicks.

And then it dawned on me. It wasn't the fact that we sent too much stuff over or the fact that I won't see my iPhone for almost a month. It was the fact that this morning we woke up in our home and now it's an empty ghost house with lots of empty walls and floors. It's no longer our home. I was going on and on recently about how the fact that we were moving hasn't sunk in yet. Well, it sunk. Like the goddamn Titanic. 

After the movers left I went with Blake to pick up some dinner and I felt like crying. I'm not regretting the decision to move. I left several homes in the past both as a child and as an adult and moved into new homes. With time the old home becomes just that, your old home. You get settled in the new place and make it your own. As long as I'll be there with my family it's home. But it's still a bit of a shock.

No pictures since I have no iPhone, but I do have my Sony cameras and I will get a USB card reader tomorrow. For now, I need to get used to this empty somebody-else's house.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

8 Days

12D vision! (3DX4)
Today I finished taking everything out of the attic with the exception of pictures and suitcases which will come down on Tuesday, so that was very satisfying. On the other hand I plugged the entire hallway with boxes and bags, so there is still lots of work to be done. Then again, what else is new?

What I did learn this weekend is that when you go up and down a ladder many many times carrying heavy things you better wear shoes. My legs aren't as exhausted as I feared they'll be, no jelly wobbly limbs, but my right foot on the other hand feels a bit weird and sore. Well, I emptied the attic and got a free life lesson in the process. Great bargain!

We met friends for lunch who then came to our home to pick a few useful things we won't be taking with us. Then I threw away some things into the skip. We need to order a new skip tomorrow as we're pretty much out of space. We also have to pop out and take care of lots of little things in preparation for the big move. We'll also be getting the small boxes tomorrow so proper packing can finally start. Lots of alsos.

I was pleasantly surprised to find lots of my of stuffed toys from years ago in one of the suitcases and I let Blake play with them. At the beginning of our relationship Miron and I (well, mostly me) collected soft toys from everywhere we went. At some point there were too many of them and they were just collecting dust, so they went into the suitcase in the attic. Now there's a kid hanging around who can appreciate them the way they deserve to be! So they're all coming with us to Winnipeg.

This is it. Tomorrow the countdown of the last week begins. The milk I bought a couple of days ago will outlive our time in the UK. The big move is really just around the corner.

And tonight it finally sank in, I think. I realized that this is it. It's happening and it's happening soon. We already have a home waiting for us on the other side, but I am still nervous about the trip via Toronto, especially where the dogs are concerned. Doesn't matter. It's going to happen and I just have to be ready!

Holy crackers, it's really happening.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

9 Days, This Time for Real!

Today I removed more things from the attic and then when I could barely walk anymore I decided I was done for the day. Then I realized we don't have much more time left so I was actually not done for the day at all and I carried on taking more and more stuff. I should have kept count of the times I went up and down the ladder.

I said before that I looked forward to this because thinking about doing it was worse then actually doing it. Well, I was wrong. very wrong. 

Some of the bags I took down contained old blankets that belonged to Kato. Leo was very excited to rediscover the smell of his older brother who's been gone for over two years now. He sniffed the blankets and wagged his tail as he was shoving bags around with his nose to find more Kato smells.

It made him very happy.

I distracted Blake with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse marathons, but since I was taking things down for hours eventually he got bored and decided to join me. Since I was too busy to take him to the park today instead I let him go up and down the ladder as many times as he wanted. With me waiting upstairs and Miron waiting downstairs Blake rocked the ladder back and forth. He was quite good at not getting hurt, but he nearly caused me a minor heart attack when he decided to clap his hands in the middle of climbing the ladder to congratulate himself on his awesomeness.

I took almost everything entirely by myself. A few items I handed down to Miron and a few items Blake decided to throw down the hatch on his own accord, one of which was a bin basket which bounced unharmed off my noggin.

A lot of energy that could have been used on taking more stuff down was spent on entertaining Blake, but he loved the attic and had a great time and at the end of the day that is all that matters. I can just go to hell - which I would if I could walk!

I kept pushing myself more and more, knowing that what I won't take down today will still wait for me tomorrow when I have to finish with the attic and start packing. So I went on and on with short little breaks for lunch, Facebook and breathing. I would also occasionally wash my dark dusty hands even though I knew they'd get all smudgy and dusty again in seconds. I just found it all to be a bit too yucky (that's a scientific term).

Regardless, when I finally called it a day and looked at what I achieved I was quite pleased with myself and I was like "way to go, dude!". You can see the before and after pics. I estimate about two hours of work left at the attic which isn't too bad. I look forward to climbing down from the attic and shutting it for the very last time. That day would become a national holiday because I really did come to hate that attic over the last few days. Since we're moving from the UK to Canada I'm not yet sure national holiday of which country.

Here you can see the partial stack of boxes that made its way from the attic, to my study and into the living room where the carpet has been rolled away. I left the TV exposed so Blake could watch cartoons and play games with me (which means force me to play a racing game for his viewing pleasure).

Don't let the boxes deceive you: all of this needs to be repacked since these are not proper shipping boxes and not everything there is going. Some things needs to be thrown away or donated.

There are boxes and things everywhere and the dogs are quite confused. When we pack suitcases they realize we're about to leave and they get upset, but this was something they never encountered before. The attic contained stuff from the last nine years, long before either one of the doggies were even born, offering a huge variety of smells for them to explore. Exciting!

The skip outside of our house was half-empty up until today. Now it was so full I had to flatten all the big cardboard boxes and then jump on them. I was wearing only swimming trunks and shoes, I was a filthy mess and I was jumping up and down like a rabid monkey on heat. My neighbours are going to miss me.

And this is what used to be my study. It's full of boxes and my laptop is set up in the dinning room. So I guess I'm already done with that room. It's now officially a sorting room.

I think I actually lost some weight doing all that work. I also got utterly and totally covered in dust and God knows what else, I really don't want to know. Every time I washed my hands I marvelled at the "tan lines" at my wrists. 

My legs (and Blake's) obviously got the worst of it.  Even after a bath and aggressive scrubbing they are still a bit grey. I think the dust has been tattooed into my feet...

Blake also got some dust on him and wore it much better than me.

I had a nice big bath with Blake with lots of scrubbing and then we ordered in some Chinese food. Then to treat myself for all of my hard work I then sat down in front of the computer to work on my game design document assignment. After carrying down boxes, furniture and electronics all day long, typing away at the computer felt like a vacation!

More fun fun fun tomorrow!