Another spin around the sun…

oldI was brushing my teeth last night then could feel a wave of doom hovering over me. I snuggled Smudge, who purred and drooled all over my hand, read a good book, ate vegan ice cream, chatted with my Mom and Colin on the phone, and listened to quiet music. The wave stayed, crested and silent, and once in bed, I slowly slipped into an exhausted slumber only to wake again at midnight. The wave crashed as I got up, drowning me in terror barely before my feet hit the floor. This time breathing and quiet music were not going to cut it, not on their own. So I took some Ativan, listened to some tunes, and finally crashed. It wasn’t until morning that I realized today’s the first anniversary of me moving into this apartment.

Back in 2012 I picked out an apartment for Colin and I to live in. I fully figured that he’d need to stay living with me so I picked an apartment that seemed perfect for us. Two bedrooms, two balconies, lots of closets, two storage lockers (one en suite), gym, indoor and outdoor pool, nearby library, and lots of shopping. We had three grocery stores plus a Giant Tiger (with a good size grocery area) all within a 10 minute walk plus a Dollarama, Value Village, and three drug stores. It was convenient and, between the two of us, affordable. I just hadn’t factored in one thing. I couldn’t handle living with Colin.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Colin dearly. He’s an amazing person with great insights into a lot of topics but we often disagree (especially over politics). And I’m not interested in Reddit. I’m really not interested in hearing about the Men’s Rights Forums on Reddit. And I completely, absolutely, do not want to hear about their topic of the day at 3:30am. Colin knows he’s only supposed to wake me in case of emergency. Unfortunately he seems to thinks that big feelings are an emergency and will do anything, up to and including flicking on and off my lights and yelling at me, to keep me up to hear why he has big feelings. I have explained the difference between emotions and the apartment burning down more than once, he simply doesn’t see the difference. To him they’re both BIG. We also have completely different standards on clutter, where I prefer none and he prefers decidedly more. Which is why, when I was offered this apartment back in the beginning of 2019, I hesitated for a moment and then took it. The town was farther away from my family and I’d never set foot in it but the unit was subsidized and it would just be the cats and I. Saying “yes” felt awfully like jumping off a cliff but I still did it. And, with that, I changed our lives.

Moving here was such a huge change for me. Not only had I left Colin behind in a half empty apartment, I’d also left behind close friends and supportive groups. Our closest grocery store and Dollarama were a five minute walk away before; I could see Metro from our windows. Now they were between 20 minutes to a half hour away. We were supposed to have groups and activities start in my new building then covid hit a month later and everything got canceled. We had exactly one card night. Thankfully I became friends with my neighbour because the options for making friends were very small. And just as thankfully, groups reopened on Zoom so I could still see my old friends and discuss new topics. I even joined a zoom exercise group with my parents and began singing karaoke with friends via Facebook chat.

Getting used to the size of my apartment was another issue. I joke that it’s my tiny apartment but it really is just that. More than one person has described it as “a one bedroom but it’s kind of like a bachelor”. It’s open concept but has a separate bathroom and bedroom. I’m used to it now, and moving the kitchen table from in front of the hutch to right in the centre of the kitchen helped, but there have been several times the smallness of the apartment has triggered a panic attack. I’ve spent quite a bit of time this year buying relaxing decor. It wasn’t just out of some need to shop. Thankfully time and feeling soothed have made a difference. Every corner I look at holds something I love and the apartment has slowly become home.

Covid curtailed a lot of exploration too. My new town has quite an expansive old downtown with lots of small shops and little cafes. In pre-covid times my Mom and I planned on doing quite a bit of window shopping and ambling until we found a place to eat. Hard to do when everything’s closed. There’s a Thai restaurant I’ve been planning on ordering from for over a year now but they don’t do delivery and have fairly odd hours. Maybe this summer?

newAs for now, I’ve got an online grocery store to shop through, I’ve sorted out the bus system, I’ve found several nearby walking paths, I’ve got a dentist, doctor, and optometrist, and I’ve got three local Dollaramas and a Winners for happy shopping. Life is starting to settle and, thankfully, it’s settling well.

I have no idea what’s going to have happened by the time February 5, 2022 arrives but I hope I have some amazing things to write about and a whole lot less covid outside my door!

Saying goodbye to what was…

I handed them in today… gave my apartment keys to Colin to pass along to the superintendent when he vacates the apartment next week. Sometime next week. This has been, hands down, the worst move ever. Not only does Colin not know when he’s moving, he doesn’t even know where he’s moving, whether he’ll be moving into a temporary unit or his own apartment. I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that it’ll be his own unit.

20200523_180802We walked over to the nearby strip plaza and got lots of time to chat between the lines outside and walking down aisles. JYSK (Danish household store) was finally opened. Colin looked at computer desks and I found a unicorn popsicle mould. It only makes two popsicles but there’s only one of me so that’s fine.

Then we went to Dollarama and the biggest miracle of all happened. I didn’t buy a single thing. Not one single item. It’s one of those things that just doesn’t happen. I feel quite good about it to be honest.

We went back to the apartment and I chatted with a friend for a while and then Colin and I chatted for a bit before I left.

I dreamed of moving to that apartment, it was my dream home, my apartment with two balconies and a pantry and my building with an indoor pool and gym. We lived there for eight years. And I stood there in the living room and felt nothing. It was a stranger’s place. This is home, my tiny apartment.

I’ll never be in the north Oshawa apartment again. Chances are I’ll never be in that building. But I’m okay with that. It ceased to become home a long time ago. And now it’s Colin’s turn. I hope his space turns into his home as much as my space has turned into mine!

A covid conundrum…

Colin and Chinese foodI got a call from Colin’s case worker yesterday. The good news is he really, truly should be moving on April 30th. The bad news is they need his banking information. He can’t give them the banking information. He can read a bit but he can’t write and he doesn’t have any internet right now. His banking information is all online. That means he needs to come here.

I know the strict guidelines for covid-19. Stay home… stay safe. And allow no one inside your home except immediate family members, the ones you’re already living with. Having a special needs child makes that difficult, if not impossible.

Colin’s not supposed to be living on his own right now. I moved at the beginning of February and he was supposed to move within a couple of weeks after me. We gave notice to the building and booked the moving elevator. Then came covid and both were cancelled… then and again at the end of March. Colin’s supposed to be living in a group home with six hours of support a day. Not sitting by himself in an almost empty apartment. Everyone has been telling him to stay home. To only shop when necessary. He still goes to Dollarama and Metro every single day to window shop. He still asks me almost every day when we’re going to visit. Can he come over soon? We’d been living together before, he doesn’t understand why we can’t see each other now.

So he came over once for Chinese food and to download some videos to watch when he’s all alone. And I went over to make sure he was keeping up the apartment to the best of his abilities. Then we went grocery shopping together, with me stressing we had to stay 6ft apart. And now he’s coming tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to seeing him and sharing pizza tomorrow but I can’t help but worry that I’m putting him in danger (or he’s putting me in danger). It’s not like covid-19 has a neon sign. I’ve got soap and Lysol wipes so we’ll muddle through as best we can. Having a special needs child is hard and covid’s made it so much harder.

I don’t know when I’m going to see him again after this. He’ll be moving (fingers crossed) in a couple of weeks and will be at least one hour’s drive away. But he’ll have his own apartment and loads of support. It’s just getting him to that point.

Everything’s coming up roses…

First we had my apartment. It was being built so I couldn’t see it, I had to move in sight unseen. Then they gave me a Walmart gift card with a surprising amount of money on it and a brand new double bed and bedding set. The only hard part was that Colin didn’t have a place yet… and now he does.

I was talking to his case manager today and Colin can’t see the apartment because they have a construction crew in there fixing it up. He’s going to have a full apartment; living room, dining room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It will definitely be bigger than mine. Plus he gets six hours of assistance a day. Help with dishes, cleaning up, laundry etc. They’ll be taking him out for excursions too. He can only bring a certain amount of belongings with him but that’s mainly because they are buying him all the furniture he needs… his choice. The paint in his room and his bedding are also his choice.

Colin can be extremely hard to live with (and conversely can be a delight). Just because I didn’t want to live with him anymore doesn’t mean I want him on the street or some scuzzy room. So I am absolutely amazed and delighted by this turn of events. I am so very happy for him.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with family and friends to repaint the bedroom walls that I painted four or five years ago. And I’m going to collect everything I forgot. Brain fog and short term memory problems are a blast. Colin has laundry and cleaning up to do. Then I’ll be back there on Thursday to meet with his case manager and discuss the upcoming move.

Thanks to my anxiety, I won’t feel 100% settled until he’s in his own place. But for now I want to sing from the rooftops that Colin has an apartment!

new-apartment

I don’t have a picture of Colin’s apartment so here’s the scrapbooking layout I made for mine.

Home tiny home…

Everyone kept telling me I should take my time unpacking but anxiety just wouldn’t let me do that. So many boxes… so many bags of wrappings. But it’s pretty much done now. Just two more boxes to go into my hutch.

I could natter all day long but I know what people have been waiting for (mainly because you keep telling me). Pictures. Enjoy!

kitchen

My kitchen’s a little on the small side but it works for me. I made hot and sour soup in here yesterday and it was so good!

family photos

My family photo wall. I still have a few more to add but need nails first

kitchen table

My kitchen table and a bonus cat. I think it’s Lara

top of hutch

My dining room hutch. The sign says “Just Breathe” and I love my little sloth on a rainbow!

living room2

My living room. I was going to get a futon but decided the room is much too small

living room1

This shows the room size a bit better

fairy garden

My fairy garden. Someone told me they had dry moss come back alive so I’ve been misting it regularly

bathroom decor

I’m sure everyone’s seen bathrooms before so I’ll just share the wall art and a bit of the shower curtain

Nana's vase and roses

My Nana’s vase and roses. She loved those roses because they have clear droplets on the petal and she thought it looked like rain.

bedroom

And last but not least, my bedroom. My Mom made the needlepoint picture on the far left

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and I’ll be posting again soon!

Colin’s good news…

Colin called me yesterday to say he’d been offered a room in an assisted living facility, which is great but doesn’t leave much space for his stuff. Then he called me back to tell me it actually was a one bedroom basement apartment, still in assisted living.

Today he called and sent me a Facebook message to say where he’s moving. I won’t say the location, just that it’s north-ish of Toronto, but he’s happy. Apparently he’s getting the whole basement so his apartment is going to be huge.

I hope this is a positive step for him, a place to sort himself out, and a place he can learn without me. He tends not to listen to me anymore, he already has all the answers and knows everything. Having other people around who don’t know me or our family should give him a new perspective.

I wish I had more to say, more information to share, but that’s all I’ve got. I’m sure we’ll all have new information soon… we just need to wait (and I’m not good at waiting). In the meantime I’m so glad Colin’s found a place!!!

Eight years later…

Colin posing

Colin posing on one of our walks after the move

It will be eight years in May that Colin and I moved to Oshawa to live in my dream apartment. Two bedrooms, two balconies, and a tonne of storage space… including our own walk in pantry and a storage locker downstairs.

The library and community centre were just a short distance away plus we were surrounded by shopping. Three grocery stores, several drug stores, and enough fast food restaurants to make our livers cry. And then there was the gym and pool downstairs. Talk about bliss to be able to just head downstairs and swim.

I’d picked the apartment for one important reason, there was enough room for both Colin and I. I honestly didn’t think Colin would be able to live on his own. I made sure he was learning life skills like grocery shopping and, later on, paying bills and rent, but I figured this was it. Our final stop. Colin would remain safe with me.

What I didn’t count on is Colin. We just aren’t compatible for living together. I like quiet and order. I find and display a wide assortment of pretty things that I like. My cutlery is from Pier One and is made to look like bronze branches. None of my dishes match, I simply pick out my favourites. Colin, on the other hand, finds my style boring. He loves clutter and computer parts everywhere. He decorates with the computers he’s repaired. They all work and he uses them for various tasks. Clutter makes me uncomfortable and anxious. Plus Colin’s pretty thoughtless. He’ll wake me up at 1am (like last night) to tell me about something, usually men’s rights, and keep waking me each time I fall asleep. After 10 or more minutes I’m awake and he’s done talking. No apology, just an “oh well” before he goes back to his computer game.

I just can’t do it. I love him dearly but I can’t live with him. I’m hoping the move will do him some good, that he’ll find a place and respect it. Meanwhile I’ve got a place of my very own… for the first time. Which is exciting, terrifying, and nerve wracking all rolled into one. I’ve never lived on my own before. I’ve always had parents, a spouse, or kids.

Just one more week and my move should nearly be over. It’s twelve thirty now and I’ve got the 20200129_105252_hdr-01moving elevators booked at 9am in our current place and 11am in my new place.

One thing I’m panicking about is packing. I keep thinking I’m doing well but my eyes skip over stuff because that’s where they go. Except they can’t stay there… and there are so many little things to sort. It’s only a week but will we need medical supplies before then. Is it safe to pack the bandaids? I don’t want to pack too quickly but I also don’t want to be frantically packing at 7am next week.

My new apartment (and building) look good. They aren’t what I planned but they’re still nice. It will be wonderful to have a place of my own that’s clean and safe.

But as I watch Colin’s belongings either get packed or turfed, the bare bones of our apartment show themselves again and I remember my blind optimism that this was going to be my very last home. And then I get back to packing again.

Eeekkkk….

20200125_185107-02There’s ten more days until I move. Ten measly days. I’ve got a wall of boxes in my bedroom and so much more to do.

Colin got told he had to clean up all his belongings before the agency who’s helping him will help him pack and we’re still waiting to hear about a place for him. He has a packing appointment on Tuesday and I’m crossing everything I own that he has a place. He doesn’t have to be out of here until the 29th but I’d much rather him out as soon as possible.

The cats see this as an amazing adventure. They rip the tape off boxes and dive inside and, mostly Smudge, climb to the top like they’re scaling Mount Everest. It’s going to be a huge shock for them when the boxes are all flattened and taken away.

My psychiatrist is worried about my anxiety, visibly worried. Worried enough that he’s stopped tapering me off Effexor and cut it out entirely so he can put me on Zoloft right away. I wake up multiple times a night and can’t sleep because I’m so anxious then I’m anxious all day. Hopefully the move will help. That phrase has become a mantra. Hopefully the move…

And here I sit, rocking every time I stop writing. I think I’ll put that pent up energy to good use and do some more packing. And tomorrow I’m into the single digits.

Twelve days of moving…

On the 12th day of packing, anxiety gave to me:
Twelve “Are you sure you have enough boxes?”
Eleven “Where’s the marker?
Ten “The tape was just here a minute ago”
Nine “You want what? Sorry it was packed ages ago”
Eight “Get out of that box Smudge! It was taped for a reason!”
Seven “Please don’t let there be four hours between the two elevator times”
Six “Yes I handed in the written notice”
Five “Five gold-ish keys!!!”
Four “The liquor store has boxes”
Three “This would be cute in the new place”
Two “It’s going to be wonderful… once the move is done”
One “I got accepted? Yipee!!!!”

a packing meme

The good… the bad… and, well, there really isn’t an ugly…

I had a meeting today with the agency that’s helping me move and they had my move in date!!! I’m going to be moving on February 5th, nineteen more days! Which is great but I have so much left to do. I didn’t think I’d be moving so soon. I’m sure panic will get me through the next few weeks.

My main concern, once I found out my moving date, was Colin. He’d been assured that he’d have a place by the end of January but nothing more was said and his next appointment with the agency is the end of January. So I called the cheerful, optimistic lady who’s been assuring us everything’s fine and got told that they had until the end of February to move him and, if they didn’t find a place, they’d “try” to get him a storage unit and would place him in a homeless shelter. So a good chunk of this afternoon was spent looking at rooms for rent. He’s already messaged one place and is waiting for a reply.

I got to see pictures of an apartment identical to mine. I’m still worried about my dresser but the kitchen looks great and the bathroom looks amazing. The only downside is the side of the tub is lower so it’s easier to get in, which means no baths. This would be a huge disappointment for Colin because he loves baths but I’m not fond of them and have maybe one or two a year. I’d much rather have a shower.

Well I’m off to work on my holiday bins. I know that I don’t use as many decorations as there are in my bins so there’s plenty to donate or pitch. The storage room looks like something out of a horror movie so wish me luck!