Tuesday, September 30, 2014


The movers have come and moved all the things in need of moving. I think everything was directed correctly. I can't get over the nagging feeling that I've forgotten to pack something - I keep wandering around the house checking drawers and cabinets and closets.

I've spent this evening visiting neighbours to say goodbye for the present on behalf of the family (Dad and Beth ‘simply couldn't find the time’ before they left). It was rather awkward since I haven't seen many of these people in a while, but everyone was very nice and pretended that the reason for renting out our place had nothing to do with financial duress.

Glad to have that done.  So tired.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Buried in Boxes

Packing always seems to take forever, doesn't it? Maybe it has been particularly exhausting for me because I just did all of this with my condo so recently. It’s harder here though - this is a family home that hasn't been moved ever. There is decades of accumulated stuff to sort through and clear out. Also, it's a big house.

I come across occasional bits of Mom in this process, mostly paperwork, like an invitation to a charity fundraiser, but it tends to slow down the packing as I sit with it for a bit, trying to make it more significant, more meaningful than it is. I want to find a journal, a letter she wrote to me as a baby, some words from her directed to me, but all I find are faint traces of her - an old address book in her handwriting, notes from a charity meeting. I thought the pain of missing her had faded into a rather constant dull background noise, but this process has stirred it up and made it stronger. I wish she was here to talk to. I feel cheated of getting a chance to know her as an adult. I think we would have been good friends.

I think being here alone, being alone with my thoughts, tends to make me spiral down a bit. I’m looking forward to having the move over with.

I'm just about done, fortunately! A few more late nights of last minute organizing, then the moving crew will come to pick up the stuff going to Bath* and put a pile of boxes in the attic and I'll be off to stay with Mary for a while. I’ll be happy to not see another box again for a long time.

I feel the following xkcd comic applies to packing as well as home organization:

* Not actually Bath

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New Home

Elizabeth emailed and said they found the perfect rental!

I've only seen the online listing but on that I saw two things that made me happy - one was the rent, which is within budget, and the other is that the place is actually furnished and Elizabeth loves the interior design (mostly)! The odds of that happening were - well, it didn't even occur to me they might find something furnished! 

I have to go back through the house here and un-tag all the furniture we had planned to move over to Bath*. We had planned to leave much of the furniture, but now we can leave almost all of it. The Crofts said they are bringing no furniture so we can leave as much as we like.

This will save on moving costs! Yay!

I'm so relieved that this is settled. I even had a bad dream a few nights ago that Dad and Elizabeth had rented a castle and were trying to explain to me why they couldn't possibly make do with anything less than a castle with 4 turrets and a moat and still show their face in public. We were all standing on the ramparts and I was pointing at a thatched roof shack in the distance trying to persuade them to rent it instead. I was vaguely worried that I was going to get tossed in the dungeon if I kept protesting.

This moving to Bath* thing just became very real.  I'm starting to panic about all the packing I have left to do and how little time there is left to do it! 

*Not actually Bath

Friday, September 26, 2014

Is Time Passing Normally Where You Are?

My life is so weird right now. So quiet. I feel like everything has slowed down, like time is stretched out.  I guess it's the strangeness of transitioning from a full time job to no job. Being in this house alone I can almost pretend the rest of the world doesn't exist, if I want. I have days where I stay home and get lost in my own thoughts and forget that the world continues on at its hectic pace for everyone else. It is timeless in here.

Yesterday I spent a few hours packing, then had a long practice session at the piano (I filmed some clips - I'll try to upload one tomorrow if I can work out how). When I sat down at the computer to do some work after supper (grilled cheese sandwich), I had an email from Elizabeth requesting I send her several outfits from her wardrobe in advance of the rest of the items - she 'needs them urgently'. I also had an email from Mary telling me how very unwell she is - another of her 'terrible colds'. She requested that I send her some particular herbal tea from a fancy shop here that she is certain will help alleviate her symptoms, although she is sure to clarify that nothing is powerful enough to actually make her better because her cold is 'worse than all other colds".

This post is more rambling and random than usual, I know. It's reflective of my life at the moment, I suppose. Let's continue the random with a link to another piano piece I've been listening to while packing. [Video below.]  It's an original composition by Kyle Landry who is crazy talented. Click here if the video isn't showing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Power Source

Sometimes - I'm going to be totally honest here and potentially ruin that nice vision you have of me up on a pedestal* - I'm on the internet for a very valid reason and I, uh, get distracted. It's just me that happens to, right?

Sometimes I find great new things this way.

This time I learned that all the typing I'm doing related to this blog and my non-profit project, which seems like a lot, is actually not a viable source of power as I had been thinking. In case that was something you were wondering. xkcd did the math for us.

*"she is the BEST unemployed, living at home twenty-something I've found who blogs about her coffee!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No More Dates

My friend from the other night just texted me....

On the one hand, I guess I’m flattered. On the other hand, how could he have enjoyed that evening full of awkward conversation? It was so bad.

People really are a mystery to me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Friend or Foe?

I went over to a friend’s house for dinner last night. This is a friend I've had since university, someone I know and trust.

Or did trust.

I showed up on time, with cakes I picked up from my favorite bakery. Everything seemed normal at first; she and her husband were warm and welcoming, cracking jokes. I joined them in the kitchen as they cooked. My friend seemed a bit weird. She complimented me on my outfit, a bit over-pleased about the dress I had chosen to wear.

About ten minutes after I arrived the doorbell rang. I put down my glass of wine and looked at my friend. She avoided me and went to answer the door, returning with ‘Roger’.

Roger is her husband’s co-worker. Single, of course. I smiled when introduced and we all made small talk for a bit. Then we all sat down for dinner and made awkward conversation. I kept trying to catch my friend’s eye but she was studiously avoiding looking at me. When I was able to get her alone in the kitchen for a minute, while prepping dessert, she cringed.

Her: You don’t like him? He’s a great guy!

Me: !!! You can’t spring a guy on me like that!

Her: You wouldn't have come if I told you. And you need to try dating more.

Me: I date plenty.

Her: I believe the last date you went on was New Year’s Eve.

Me: Yes, and you remember what a disaster that was? At midnight I was escorting his very drunk self into a cab to deliver home, only to discover that the home held a wife and kids.

Her, trying not to laugh: Yes, okay, we learned that guys lie on dating profiles. That’s why this is better. Jason knows Roger from work and his single status has been verified. No kids either!

Me: Awesome.

Her: Give him a chance. You’re here anyway, might as well enjoy it.

Me: Okay, okay. But I need extra cake.

I did make the best of it - tried to get to know Roger. The conversation was work - it was…. painful. Like this:

Me: Roger, what do you like to do in your free time? Are you a runner like Jason?

Roger: No. I play golf.

Me, knowing nothing about golf: Oh, have you been playing long?

Roger: Five years.

Me: Ah. I have only played golf once. It was a company outing and we were in teams - we played scramble style so we all hit the ball and then took the best of each shot. It was fun, especially since my terrible shots didn’t cause us to lose. Actually, we won! The president of the company, who took golf very seriously, wasn’t impressed that his team lost. Strangely we never did a company golf outing again.

Roger: [silence]

It was like that. Roger just wasn't able to have an easy conversation, or he wasn't interested in making the effort with me. We apparently share no interests (not that he asked me about mine). There is no reason for us to spend any time together ever again. He seemed like a decent guy - I see why my friend thought it was worth a try. She didn’t know he would turn out to be boring and socially awkward. She said later that when she had met him at company parties he always seemed more talkative. Apparently he is chatty about work-stuff and nothing else.

This is the joy of being single.

Most of my friends are in relationships, many are married, several are en-route to children. They all want to help me catch up. I don’t have any interest in the dating scene, though. Sure I want to meet someone I connect with, but I’m too jaded by the grind of the dating process to do it anymore. Too many bad dates. I just want to live my life without feeling like I have to hunt down a partner.

Given all the upheaval in my life right now, I’m going to leave my love life alone and worry about other things. Assuming I can get my friends to stop springing blind dates on me.

At least the cake was tasty.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A House Full of Memories

Is it terrible of me to admit how much I love being here, in this house, alone?

I mean, it’s too much house for one person, far too much, but it holds happy memories and it’s easier for those memories to expand and be enjoyed without Dad and Elizabeth here. I remember games of hide and seek with Mom - I always hid in one particular cupboard and she always pretended she didn't know I was there. I thought I was so good at hide and seek! 

Those kinds of memories - they’re richer here. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it weighs heavily on me. So much has been lost.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Packing. Again

Dad and Elizabeth left several days ago for Bath* to house-hunt and I have been busy prepping things here for the Crofts to take possession. I’m clearing out closets, packing up the items that are to be moved to storage, inventorying the stuff that is staying, and trying to prepare myself for the pain of handing over my family home to strangers.

It’s good that I have a hard deadline for getting this done, otherwise I might get moody and overly sentimental. Up until a few weeks ago, I didn't even live here - funny that it could bother me so much to rent the house out. I guess it’s always been the base for the family, a constant presence, and a safety net, one that holds some very happy memories.

Dad and Elizabeth have happily been quite restrained in what they are planning to move over to the new place in Bath, although Elizabeth’s wardrobe alone is bigger than you can imagine. I’m tempted to take 1/3 of her wardrobe boxes and put them in storage and see if she even notices.

Unexpectedly, Beth took Clara with her to Bath. Clara is a new friend of Beth’s, she is Mr. Shepard’s daughter. Despite being Beth’s age, she is a widow - her husband died in a car crash about a year ago and she moved back here to her father’s. I suppose it’s very good of Elizabeth to offer her company and distraction, but I have a weird feeling that that is not Elizabeth’s motive here. Clara gets along very well with Dad and Elizabeth - she is able to flatter them each in the way that is most pleasing to them. She is much better at pleasing and humouring them than I am, actually. Anyway, Clara will be staying with my family until… well, I don’t know when, actually. Until I get there, I suppose?

Anyone want to come over and help me sort though 20 years of accumulated random office drawer contents? I've included a photo of some of the exciting relics you may find!

*Not actually Bath

Friday, September 19, 2014


Did I mention I started reading a book for fun? I haven’t done that in a long time, since reading manuscripts was part of my old job and didn't leave much time or energy for fun reading. Reading was about staying current on the market, not about fun and relaxation. It has been very nice to regain fiction as an escape.

I’m reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - a friend and I picked it to read so we could have an excuse to meet up and get nerdy over some fiction.  I'm flying through it (I don't think she's started  yet) and really enjoying it.  I love stories that explore the alternate paths life can take. Sliding Doors is a movie example of that - I'm a sucker for it.  Whenever I travel I can't help but wonder - if I had caught that train/ferry/taxi that I just missed, would my life be materially different? Then there are all the paths not taken - what if I had gone to business school instead of getting an English degree?  

Am I the only one who spends a large chunk of time thinking about these things? The alternate universe versions of me who are all living different lives?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Q&A 1

I've received a few questions via comments and email - so here’s a lazy blog post where I just answer your questions rather than try to think of something to write.

Q1: Am I single?

Creepy that you’re asking, Unknown Internet Person. Does it matter? Yes, I am. I don’t date a lot. Possibly I have ridiculously high standards and will be single for the rest of my life. I feel like this is not an area of my life I need to examine in great detail right now, I've got far too much introspection and upheaval on the go already.

Q2: Are we all excited about the move to Bath?

Dad and Elizabeth, once they decided to do it, embraced the relocation idea with gusto. They are both keen to go now. I am not as big a fan of Bath - it’s kind of a party/socialite town, which isn't my thing. I had imagined spending my unemployed time here in the family home, in our neighbourhood, and it’s taking me time to adjust that mental picture. But homeless children mooching off their parents can’t get all demanding, so I’m making the best of it, doing some research to see what interesting opportunities there might be in Bath to advance my charity project.

Q3: What in the world do I do all day?

Well, first I rented out my condo and packed my life into boxes - that took u p July. Since then I've been catching up on life. I worked crazy long hours at my job, especially at the end as I tried to wrap up all the loose ends before we closed. So, I've done crazy things like: read a book for fun, sleep for more than 6 hours, cook proper meals, see friends.

Now I am also keeping busy packing up this house, prepping it for the Crofts to move in. This is no small task since our family has lived here forever so mementos and records and stuff has piled up for generations. I've just started the process of planning out what needs to be done and by my initial estimate it will take 1 year to finish the task. I've got 1 month.

But I think you mean: how are you being a productive member of society? Did I read that subtext right?

Most of my time goes towards research on putting together a business plan for the charity I want to start. I’m compiling lists of potential funders to approach, grants to apply for. I’m trying not to be daunted by the terrible situation most charities and non-profits seem to be in these days (donations and funding support are way down; need is way up).

My idea is to create a fun place for kids to improve their reading and writing ability - not remedial tutoring that they get stigmatized for being assigned to, but something kids will want to be part of, that other kids will be jealous of. The idea isn't ground-breaking or new, but it doesn't exist here and the stats show a definite need for it. There are a lot of children of immigrants in our city and they lack the advantages one gets from being read aloud to (in English, at least). These programs can increase the reading confidence of the kids which improves their performance in all aspects of school.

Reading to children more than once a day has a substantial positive impact on their future academic skills. In addition, research indicates children with early exposure to books and reading are better at performing mathematical tasks (National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, Statistics Canada, 1996-1997). More research here if you want to get nerdy about this with me. More here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Photo Post - Street Library

No proper post today - I'm spending the day with Lacy helping her through the terrifying ordeal of a visit to the dentist (she has a bit of a phobia).

Instead you get a photo of the most adorable thing - a neighbourhood book lending library. So perfect I want to hug it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Differing Perspectives + A Cat

I've been making a point of having breakfast the same time as Dad every day even though he gets up later than I do. I guess it's second-breakfast for me, technically. Anyway, I thought it would be nice to have the regular time together, maybe we could get to know each other better, move beyond the surface level conversations we have.

This morning he made a lengthy monologue at me about the 'sorry state of Canadian society'. His beef seems to stem from the fact that one of his companies hired a new CEO that has some amazing story of growing up in tough circumstances, going through the foster care system, etc. but managing to get through university and then business school and then blazing a trail through industry being wildly successful. Hard to believe this would be a story that anyone would tell disparagingly, but that’s what my dad did. I think he appreciates the guy’s talents and abilities, maybe even appreciates his tenacity in overcoming barriers to get what he wants. The apparently unforgivable sin was to be self-made rather than from a family of note.

This is backwards to me. I think we should be more impressed by the accomplishments of those who started out with fewer advantages and opportunities. For example: me. Given all the opportunities and resources I've had in life so far, it would be reasonable to expect me to be doing well. Which, uh, maybe I’m not a great example at the moment. Strike that. What I mean is – new CEO guy would hardly be remarkable if his dad and mom had been CEOs and he had been trained from youth to be a cunning businessman with a spot picked out for him at a posh business school.

No matter how many times Dad and I have these conversations, I can’t understand it. It is just a belief, I think, a different world view on what has value and what does not. You’d think it would have been left behind in Victorian England, but I assure you – class nonsense and discrimination against self-made people or new money is alive and well in modern Canada. At least it is in my house.

I'm including a photo of a neighbour's cat to lighten the mood on this post, fyi.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Real Estate Shopping

The reality of us moving out of this house is hitting us all as the 1 month mark looms over us.

Elizabeth is spending a lot of time looking at real estate rental listings. She’s having fun. She showed me a few that were on her list to maybe see in person. They are very shiny but, I have to give credit, there are some that are relatively reasonable (I would go for something much, much more modest to clear the debt faster, but I have to have appropriate expectations for Dad and Elizabeth).  

One of Elizabeth's maybes did have a rather sizeable walk-in closet that she was very excited about, but apparently the dining room in that place was "an embarrassment" so I think it is off the list. 

Despite the blips of extravagance, I think Elizabeth gets the need to be restrained, so I’m feeling optimistic about this plan.

Including some of the photos here for your amusement.... Elizabeth had some choice words about the artwork in the one on the bottom left, but I kind of like it.

Mysterious Meeting

That meeting I mentioned yesterday... I didn't mean to be so mysterious about it, I just needed some time to digest what happened before writing about it.

I was in a coffee shop downtown, standing in line to order when someone tapped me on the shoulder and said my name. I turned around and saw my professor from one of my university courses standing there smiling at me! She had been my prof in a course I wasn't particularly excited about initially, but it turned into my favourite class quickly - she was so good. It was on the history of the book - and covered the relationships between particular books, the texts within them, the cultures that produced them, and the readers who encountered them. It was fascinating. That class was directly responsible for me going into publishing.

Anyway, there she was!  We were only able to chat for a few minutes as she was on her way to meet someone, but she asked the dreaded question of what I was doing for a living. I told her who I had been working for and then feigned total confidence as I went on to tell her my new plan to start a charity that provides cool, non-stigmatizing reading programs for youth. 

We only spoke for ten minutes but she was very supportive of my idea and told me to email her because she has a colleague who is doing collaborative research in early development. Basically she offered up her friend to give her feedback on my program structure!

This is the external motivator I've needed to get on with things - the threat of someone really knowledgeable reviewing it!

In conclusion, when wondering if you should stop for coffee and macaroons, the answer is always yes.

Friday, September 12, 2014


No time for a proper post about this - you'll have to check back tomorrow.... but I just ran into someone from my past in a coffee shop downtown and it's got my head going in circles!

Amazing how one encounter can throw you off kilter so powerfully.

Full story tomorrow.


Lacy sent me a bunch of links to various grad school programs she thinks might be good for me given the non-profit idea I have. I looked at them and they do seem very interesting - but they are 2-3 year programs and that seems sooooo long, and the academic rigor of a masters seems like overkill for what I want to do. Also, exhausting. But Lacy could be right - if I don't have some credentials behind me, how will I convince people to support my program, how will I make sure my program is designed based on sound, tested principles? 

Am I just being lazy? Trying to avoid school, like a kid? I don't want to take a shortcut and ultimately fail because of it. I do love the idea of going and studying the subject deeply, I love the idea of really knowing a subject. Although... based on my educational experiences to date, it may just serve to teach me how much there is to know and show me that I have but scratched the surface of a subject.

Sometimes school is the answer, and sometimes real world experience is the answer. How do you know?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


The anonymity of this blog - it is the only reason I feel I can write at all, and also why I feel like there is so much I can’t tell you about.

I can tell you that Elizabeth is doing an interior design ‘refresh’ for a friend/client. She and I were having coffee in the kitchen earlier today and I got to listen to her on the phone with a contractor ordering window coverings - $15,000 worth of window coverings. Blinds that auto-retract and auto-tilt and so forth. For fifteen grand they should collect solar power and babysit! How could anyone spend that kind of money on glorified curtains? I just don’t understand.

Embracing Change

I wish I could tell you details about where I live.

I go for walks regularly around my neighbourhood and it's full of beautiful tree-lined streets and old houses that are beautifully maintained. It's lush with gardens in summer.

There is a sense of quiet history here, of families that have settled here and grown up here and moved on to make way for new families. When you walk down the street you can't help but feel an irrational reassurance that this place will always be here, will always be like this. Except it hasn't always been like this - things are changing constantly. We may not be able to detect the change in a moment, but it is there. Saplings that someone planted long ago that turned into the giant street trees I enjoy today.

Change is inevitable.

We're renting out our family home, so life is giving me ample opportunity to learn how to embrace change, face it front on with a smile. There is a lot of work to do to make the house ready for strangers. I spoke with Dad's lawyer who made the arrangements with our tenants, The Crofts, and as we discussed what needs to be done, I started to realize what a daunting task is before us. And by us, I suspect I mean me.

Well, I needed a task with a deadline, now I've got one!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Joy of Free Time

Today was marginally better. I made myself sit at the piano for 45 minutes - I set a timer and everything; treated myself like a five year old. Wasn’t a great practice, but better than nothing. I used to have a colleague who called it ‘butt in chair time’ - where she knew she just had to sit down already and stop futzing about with distractions. I’m forcing myself to do butt-in-chair time.

You know when you’re busy - working lots - and you think of all the things you would do if you had free time? You’d do yoga every morning and stay on top of your email, read a book a week, finish that novel you've been meaning to write, learn how to tango, redecorate your living room, knit sweaters for your friend’s babies, etc.. So, it’s a bit of a disappointment to find that although I have this project I’m passionate about, I still find it hard to just sit down and make progress. My procrastination levels have never been this high. I now have a hard time doing anything. It’s frustrating, and of my own doing. How do I snap myself out of it? Snap myself into being productive again?

I had a thought today to ask Dad for advice so I went down to the kitchen this morning when I know he usually makes his breakfast smoothies. Here is what advice looks like in my family:

Me: Morning Dad

Dad: Good morning. You look like you need some antioxidants; those crows feet won’t go away if you don’t take some action, Dear. I’ll make you a smoothie.

Me: A smoothie would be great, Dad.

Dad: Have you been using that anti-wrinkle cream I got you for your birthday? It should be helping. Have you seen how smooth Elizabeth’s face is? She uses it twice a day.

Me: Dad, can I ask for some advice?

Dad [dropping fruit into a juicer and replying when the noise dies down]: Sure.

Me: What do you do on those days where you get up but just can’t get going, can’t have a productive day?

Dad [pouring juice into a blender and thinking deeply while he blends]: I think I know what you mean. I've had days like that, they’re tough.

Me: Yeah?

Dad [pouring us both smoothies]: Yes. If I get less than eight hours of sleep, I look terrible. And how is one supposed to face the world, go into the office, like that? With circles under the eyes, sagging skin. It’s a dilemma. I find that cucumber slices on the eyes for thirty minutes does wonders. It’s not perfect, but it gets the puffiness down enough that you can be almost presentable. Easier for you really - with the right concealer, women can get away with so much more.

So that was…. That.

On the one hand, having all kinds of free time seems like a good thing - a lengthy vacation or sabbatical, but in reality it’s kind of hard in its own way. I know - you’re miming the world’s smallest violin playing the world’s smallest sad song for me. But it is hard to go from working crazy hours to having countless hours stretched out in front of you that you have to fill up on your own. Days can seem long and empty and motivation can be elusive. Does anything need to be done today? No, there’s always tomorrow. It’s also hard to enjoy this time without guilt. I should be grabbing any paying job I can, not pursuing some far-fetched dream, right?

I feel like I’m doing the right thing, even if it seems crazy to everyone else. But some days it’s hard to stick to it. I look at the job postings online and wonder if I should be trying to get my career back on track. Or applying to grad school as a proper first step to realizing the non-profit dream. Lacy pointed out the other day that if I attempt to start the non-profit now and fail, I won’t get a second chance.

No pressure.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Useless Lump

I've been so useless lately - I have nothing even worth blogging about.

I've been procrastinating on doing anything - my research, piano practice, replying to emails; I've turned into a useless lump. 

I usually pride myself on how much I can get done in a day, but apparently if I’m not busy with work and deadlines, I turn into a totally different person. I hate it. Every day I’m useless and then I’m disappointed in myself for wasting this gift of free time and then I do it all again exactly the same the next day. 

I need to make tomorrow better somehow.  Any suggestions for how to become a functional person again are most welcome.

xkcd.com captures my current state perfectly:

Also, twitter

So, in addition to posting all the riveting details about my life here, I do it on twitter too, at @AliasAnneElliot.  Maybe if you're lucky I'll start posting photos of food!  In the meantime, probably links to music and stuff.

twitter screen capture

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Important Stuff

I am now questioning the brilliance of starting a blog when I have nothing interesting going on in my life.

Sure I've got time to sit here every day and write a blog entry for you, but my most riveting subject matter seems to be “what I had for breakfast” and it is the same every day: eggs and toast. Or I could thrill you with my research on regulations around operating a non-profit and the discovery that what I actually want to do is a charity. Yes? [link http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/pplyng/rgstrtn/rght-eng.html]

I’m not one of those people who go out a lot and have adventures. I live a quiet life, deliberately. 

I mean, I do go out - I have friends, but we usually meet up for a dinner or a quiet evening of good conversation and laughs over our nerdy interests - it’s wonderful but not great blog fodder. That’s not really it though - I’m not hung up on what makes good blog content, I mean, it’s my blog, if I wanted to do reviews of books or board games or detail my walks around the neighbourhood, I’d do it. I guess the point is that I want this blog to be about something important in my life, not the trivial, fluffy stuff. And I’m weirdly struggling to find ways to tell you about what’s important.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Done Deal

It is all arranged. The Crofts will take the house starting early October. I can’t believe how quickly it all fell into place. It’s good, it’s just… sudden! Dad and Beth will leave soon to find a place to rent in Bath* while I pack up the house.

As for me…. In October I will go to stay with my sister Mary for two months and then I will head to Bath where I will join Dad and Beth.

Needless to say, all this means that the fall party Elizabeth had started to plan has been canceled. What a relief that is.

I would like to ensure Dad rents a suitably modest place in Bath, but I know my efforts to convince him to do so will be wasted. Lacy agreed I should save myself the headache and hope Beth and Dad show some restraint. With this arrangement I get to stay in the general area longer, which makes me happy. At this time of year Mary will be living in a cottage near a big lodge that her in-laws use in winter - up near the ski resort. I think it will be a lovely way to spend two months; frankly anything to put off going to Bath is welcome.

I must admit a small weirdness on my part about renting our home to the Crofts. I didn’t really explain my discomfort over the Wentworth name in my previous post. Mrs. Croft has two brothers. I only knew the brother who lived here slightly - but there is another brother who visited for a summer that I knew better. Dated him, actually, if we’re being honest.

It rekindles a bit of pain to think that perhaps he will visit her here and walk in these halls. How strange life is, that these old connections we thought were done forever can bubble up again in such unexpected ways. After yesterday’s meeting, where Dad's lawyer innocently brought it up and caused me to say his surname out loud for the first time in a long time - well, it stirred up emotions I thought I had gotten over.

Fortunately for me, no one else seems to remember the connection, or they affect such perfect indifference that I am awed. Only Dad and Beth and Lacy know of my involvement with this guy, and on his side, I doubt Mrs. Croft ever heard. So there should be no cause for embarrassment or awkwardness. And yet, I find myself thinking about it a lot.

I was out in the back yard, sitting in Mom's garden and I noticed the lavender plants had put out more flowers, which I harvested to dry. Reminders of a summer long ago when I found sprigs of lavender left in my books and in my car.

I'm not normally this nostalgic, really.

* Not actually Bath - that's a place-name pseudonym.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Old Names

It could not have gone better! Apparently the Crofts are quite pleased with the house and yard and furnishings and are happy to agree to all the proposed terms. All reports and reference checks on them come back glowing. Dad met them, and though he usually dislikes to associate with ‘self-made men’, Mr. and Mrs. Croft were able to charm him (with some assistance from Mr. Shepard, the lawyer).

Dad, Beth, Lacy and I all sat down this morning with Dad's lawyer to discuss renting to the Crofts. Here’s a bit of how that went, to give you an idea….

Mr. Shepard: “You know, in addition to their other positive attributes, they have some family connection to this neighbourhood, I believe, Mr. Elliot.”

Dad: “Oh really?”

Dad looked mildly interested for the first time all day. I wanted Mr. Shepard to find something, anything, else to talk about.

Mr. Shepard: “Yes, I believe Mrs. Croft has a brother who lives here, or did.”

Dad: “What was the family name?”

Mr. Shepard frowned: “You know, I can’t remember. And she told me just the other day. Lacy, do you remember - the gentleman who owned the produce market on the corner, what was his name?”

Lacy: “Yes, I think I know who you mean; what was his name?”

At this point I really wanted the conversation to move along, so I thought it best to supply the answer: “Wentworth*, I think.”

Mr. Shepard: “Yes, that’s it!”

Dad: “I see. The market owner. I thought you meant a family of the neighbourhood.”

Mr. Shepard could read Dad’s unimpressed face as plainly as the rest of us, so he quickly dropped that approach and tried another: “They were so impressed with the house and grounds. Mrs. Croft told me it was the most lovely property they had seen, without comparison.”

And on the discussion went for some time, with Mr. Shepard embellishing (I assume) whatever little compliments the Crofts had made. But it seems to be working, Dad appears inclined to agree to have them as tenants!

* A friendly reminder that none of the names I use here are the correct names.  See here for why.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

After Dinner Conversation

Elizabeth and Dad were talking last night after dinner. They were speculating which of our acquaintance/neighbours have had plastic surgery recently and debating who has had the best result.

I kid you not - this was a subject of conversation for a good hour. 

I excused myself to go practice piano in the other side of the house.

Here's a  piece of music that's been in my ear a lot lately...  Time by Hans Zimmer.