vagabonds

We've been gone for five weeks now. We've spent three weeks at Tim's parents', one week with four of Tim's coworkers at the Transcend house, and one week at a seventh floor concrete sanctuary of a condo downtown. We're back there for a few nights. We are living on the back of a community, eating very large crumbs. Remember: We cannot become hermits. I cannot burn bridges. We need other people. They've fed us, taken vegetables off our hands, given us beds, lent us phones, driven us around. They've invited us over for supper and to stay for weeks.We're seeing a lot of our friends. We're seeing much more of the city. It's all practice for Germany, I suppose.

I need surprisingly little. Some of the things I've been hauling around with me: Annalena (my yellow road bike), a cloth tape measure, headphones, brown sugar, steel cut oats, laptop, paper clip stitch markers, four books of poetry (Bertolt Brecht, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Stanley Kunitz), two scarves, two dresses, two hats, two hoodies, two mittens, a foil packet of black tea, a huge ball of wool yarn, a flat of mason jars, a pumice stone.

I've been borrowing books from friends and the library. I've read more than I did over the entire summer. Last night at the condo I canned green tomato salsa after Tim and I biked home and pillaged the tomato plants one last time. It has been suspiciously warm all autumn, but the contractor ferreted my parka away in a storage pod, and I am knitting a cardigan just in case. Simpkin mostly stays with us. He is a courteous, comforting, admirable cat.

In brutal contrast to Simpkin: contractors and insurance adjusters. Can I properly express how much I have grown to despise bureaucracy over this past month? The Circumlocution Office (Little Dorrit) could hardly seem more intent on doing absolutely nothing useful or reasonable.

I should sign off--it's 6:47 am and I need to leave for work. I've been working so much. It's hard. But I think the move is really going to happen. We jumped the gun and bought suitcases, and we apply for visas next week. I'm using some gorgeous free software to study German. Work on the house is supposed to start this week. We have three invitations for Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe we'll be home (for a while) by the end of the month.

one more thing

Our house--the one we haven't been living in for a month, the one the contractors still haven't started working on--got broken into last night. Who knows when we'll go back. Life keeps telling us to leave. This time we actually plan to. For the moment, I keep having to ask for help, and the people around us are wonderful, and help. 

Remember that this was also a good day

Tim and I finally took off to explore the North Saskatchewan river. We didn't make it past the city limits (I wanted to), but we are planning to go again before it snows. We feel mostly aimless these days, which can be awful and lethal, but also allows for spontaneous adventures, late nights, supper with friends, coffee with friends, frivolous reading.

Our Germany plans are coming together. I feel finished with this place. I'm satisfied to soak up what's left and then leave the rest. 



better stars


This picture is making me a bit sad. What a summer.

Last Thursday night, late, it rained harder than I have ever seen it rain. We got a month's worth of rain in half an hour. It sounded like hail; it was only water. Tim and I were having a terrible fight. I sat in our doorway watching it for twenty minutes, then I came inside and went to bed. An unhomely aggressive gurgling got us up in time to see the city sewer begin backing up out of the floor drain in our bathroom. For the first time, I heard Tim swear. "Fuck." Our kitchen floor was swimming almost immediately. We called 311, we called Tim's parents, and I tried to make a dam of bath towels. Tim said, "Do you want to move far away?"

Once the thing that Tim is now calling 'the poo geyser' subsided, and the water started flowing back down the drain, the only thing to do was leave. We left. We spent last week with Tim's parents, who swooped in and rescued us. We've only been back to collect clothes and food, move all of our possessions into the bedroom, slop bleach water around, and rip things up. It feels brutal.

It also feels relieving. We are going to start new. Our plans are only half-formed, but we are planning to go to Germany shortly after Christmas. We will find renters for our hobbit hole. We will pack our things into a huge steel box. We will study the language. We will get Simpkin a cat-passport. We will have an adventure. For now, I've withdrawn from university classes and am working full-time.

Wish us luck.