We’ve been in the new house full-time for just over two weeks by this point I guess
give or take a day or two
time has no meaning these days it seems.
Technically “the house across the street” has been ours since the first of August but since our lease wasn’t up we spent the month
occasionally replacing lights
switching doors around
junking leftover furniture
but mostly painting
until the whole house from top to bottom didn’t look like
A House We’d Bought
but instead looked like
A Home We’d Made Together.
Once we had our bed moved over we swaddled up the cats and ran them across the street (which they hated) and spent a sleepless night with them huddled up in the bedroom as they cried and got stressed and made those weird yowling, almost-human sounds that cats make sometimes.
It took them a while but they're getting used to the place
even though I don't know if I have?
Every morning I wake up in my bright, third-storey bedroom and walk downstairs, then downstairs again and after spending most of the last decade of my life in one or two-bedroom apartments our house with its five bedrooms and sunrooms and den and library and dining room and everything else
What do you mean, my office isn't in a basement?
I have a whole room to make art in?
I have a kitchen that's big enough for two people to cook without bumping into each other?
Some days it still feels like I'm a kid living in my parent's house, or staying in a house that belongs to some other grownup
except now I'm the grownup
(when the hell did that happen?)
Last week there was a crazy thunderstorm so John and I sat out on the porch watching the lightning as the clouds rolled by. We talked about dumb stuff and serious stuff and laughed and got tipsy on wine and listened to the sound of the rain patter-patter-pattering out in the darkness of the street.
I've dreamed about having a porch, a house, a life exactly like this one and it's so good it almost doesn't feel real.
As we watched the rain fall we saw the lights go on in the house across the street
our old house
where we lived for years through roommates
surprises, and small rituals that make everyday life so special
and slip by so fast.
Now that house belongs to other people
(good friends of ours, in fact)
and in a few weeks, months, years, it'll start to feel like that's where they've always been.
I know that's how it'll start to feel here, too
so I'm tryna hold onto this feeling of "newness" as long as I can.
The end of my time at 120 Lenore Street is looming, staring me in the face
One day closer.
Marching steadily towards the end of one of the best chapters in my life.
This house was where I realized that I needed to
take a leap
to leave a life where I was
comfortable, but unfulfilled
where I changed everything
turned it upside-down
to try something new
to take a chance on love
Where I did what I needed to do in order to live the richest, fullest life I could.
(And what a rich, full life it's been.)
This house is where I was afraid of growth
but did it anyway
even though it was hard.
It's where is where I faced my fears
came home to myself
put in the work
and where I've learned to say
Here is where I made memories, like
the blanket fort v 2.0
post-Folk Fest BBQs
and so many beer-fuelled late-night dance parties.
This house is where I started my business
at a little desk in the living room
with Toulouse in my lap and BJ on the desk
hammering away at my keyboard, tryna make it work
feeling hopeful and scared every morning for years.
I became friends with Alex here
put Adam to bed here
cackled with Amber here
and made more memories with the people I love than I can count.
I've been here for six and a half years and part of me still isn't ready to let go.
This house has been so good to me
and I hope I've been good to it in return
cause I'm going to miss it like hell.
and I just had a lil cry about it
(in a good way.)
Every time my COVID anxiety creeps up I think
"you're fully vaccinated
the people you love are
it's gonna be ok."
Aaaaaand now I'm tearing up again.
What a feeling after all this time.
as soon as you know you're leaving everything becomes
5000 times more annoying
(like an awkward cabinet
or a weird kitchen layout)
or 5000 times more important
(like BBQing on the deck or
standing in the spot where John asked me to be his wife)
I had a bath just now. One of the last I'll have here.
We have this huge soaker tub in the basement
with fancy jets
and though I love baths I feel like I haven't used it enough
so between now and when we take possession on our new place I'm committing myself to
at least a bath a week
which works out to five baths, minimum.
Usually I have a bath with a glass of wine
some candles, maybe incense
(because I deserve to treat myself, damn it)
and whatever book I'm reading.
It's my time.
I can turn off my brain and sink into the
familiar shapes of the words
and connect with a book in a way that's
in my always-connected-iphone-business-owner world
where I'm pulled in a million directions.
Usually my baths are my getaways
but not tonight.
I tried, believe me.
I soaked with my wine
and my candles
and my copy of
The Essential Neruda
but instead of losing myself in love poems
I kept looking around
at the bric-a-brac of my life
my extendable mirror
John's trimmer, always charging
our towels hanging off the door
the little details of our days
that always started and ended
in a bathroom where I've
puked up my guts
showered off the grime from
and hosting costume parties
never realizing that the end was
just around the corner.
That's the weird thing about moving, it seems
even when you plan for it, it still takes yr heart by surprise.
I needed to renew my license so I biked to an insurance agency over on Academy that does walk-in appointments to renew yr MPI license
(that's Manitoba Public Insurance for my non-Manitobans)
I wish I could say that I did this in a timely manner but actually
my license lapsed and I didn't go in to renew
because the idea of going somewhere and taking off my mask in a business
considering how Manitoba has handled this crisis
(which hasn't been great, for my non-Manitobans)
freaked me out
and since I can order in
and I don't need to drive
I avoided it
until it was required of me like it was today.
So I rode my bike a bunch
there and back
there and back again
since I had to go there twice
because of course MPI's website had to go down as I was there
which meant they couldn't print my temporary ID
(why does this always happen with time-sensitive stuff?)
so they sent me home and called me when the printer was working again.
Bike 1, 2, 3, and then 4.
But as I biked back and forth, and back and forth
this might be the most time I've spent
on my bike
altering my plans
talking to people face-to-face
in close to a year.
And as I cruised up and down Wolseley
which was 99% cyclists and runners
and families out for walks
on my way
to and from and to and from
doing something that would make me
a permanent member of this community
it made me realize
how much I've missed my neighbourhood
and how excited I am to be a permanent part of it.
(Also, we're buying a house hooray!)
Watering my garden every morning.
Standing in the sun
listening to a podcast
or to the birds chirping
watching our lil dirt babies grow.
The guy who walks by and ALWAYS makes a beer pun because we grow hops:
"Y'know, beer cures what ALES ya!"
"Better HOP to it you guys!"
"Those hops are gonna be LAGER than life soon!"
I love that our garden makes other people happy, too.
Toulouse's little paw on my face to wake me up in the AM.
(Okay this doesn't always make me happy
but it's cute as heck.)
Gettin' vaxxed a few weeks ago.
Then watching all my
colleagues and loved ones
getting their jabs, too
rockin' a vaccinated attitude.
My little daily workouts.
Stretching in the AM
40 dips with weights
40 squat presses with weights
60 walking lunges with weights
plus 20 pushups because I have baby arms.
Sunday night "movie dates" with Jasmin.
Spending a few hours watching a cheesy movie
making art and drinking tea
(okay sometimes wine)
chatting with a dear friend about
anything and everything, really
has become one of the highlights of my week.
Planning distanced lunch dates with Tineke.
(Even if my orders don't always arrive on time, d'oh!)
Looking at my bank account.
savings are tight
no debt in sight
(okay that last point isn't true but I can't talk about it yet.)
Talking to my parents again.
Today in "things that surprised everybody"
Mom and Dad and I are talking again
and I see the effort they're putting in
how hard they want this to work
(just like me)
and it's a wonderful new addition to my life.
The Wolseley tree canopy.
One of the things I love about living in a
is watching nature blossom back to life
transforming my neighbourhood
into a beautiful canopy of green leaves and blue sky.
The way Starling is growing.
We're hitting our stride as an agency
we have great name recognition
people value the work we do and see
what sets us apart from every other agency in town
and I'm so fucking proud of that.
Making art in my journal and being crafty.
After what feels like
decades, away from the creative part of myself
I'm rediscovering my creative side
experimenting, making weird art
not judging myself when things don't turn out "perfect"
and enjoying having a private place to explore my feels.
There have been times in my life which have felt
chaotic, stressful, and unmanageable
but right now isn't one of those times
everything feels like it's falling into place
or exactly where it should be
and I'm gonna enjoy it while it lasts.
and I'm relieved as heck. Today Manitoba opened up AZ vaccine eligibility to people 40 and up so "Good Luck Luxford" hopped on the horn at 11:30 AM and by 5 PM today he was vaxxed up with the first of two jabs.
I gotta say, with how badly Manitoba has handled the pandemic so far this was an unexpected and happy surprise. Most days I get up and gird my loins and wait for the news about more cases, more variants, and more bad news, but not today.
No, today I got GOOD NEWS, and I got to witness a rare Nice Day on Twitter, which is where people wish each other well and cheer each other on and
for a few short hours
it feels like the old Internet I fell in love with
back when it was mostly just nerds and weirdos hanging out on forums and making art.
These days the internet is a different and angrier place, so it was nice seeing those tweets saying "just scheduled my appointment!" or "going in today!" and everyone piling on with gifs and well-wishes and congrats.
It was like the opposite of doomscrolling because every time I came back to my feed I saw all these messages of hope and relief
like we'd been holding our breath and we all let it out at the same time.
Everyone was either eligible or knew someone who was and being a part of our collective exhale is a feeling I know I'll come back to when this is finally behind us.
And though I know the pandemic isn't over, and though I know we're still in the middle of the third wave, and though I know that we've still got a long way to go before we get back to "normal"
god damn it
today I witnessed a Twitter miracle and the man I love got his first jab so I'm gonna call this a win.
I inked a new deal, two new hot leads fell into my lap and I'm 99% sure they're gonna close, and I finally finished the giant "how to write good SEO copy" blog post I've been working on all week.
I don't talk about my business much on here because a) this is my personal blog and b) I assume you guys don't wanna know about it, but I feel like my agency is on a real upswing lately and that feels really fucking good and I wanna talk about that.
I've been hearing from a lot of people that the stuff we say about
focusing on good content
and being strategy and process-driven
really resonates with them
and that feels great because those are my values being expressed through my agency.
Also I learned we have a reputation for being positive and helpful.
Last Friday one of the owners of the big, old agencies in town called me up and (after venting for several minutes)
asked me for help with Facebook.
I LOVE THIS.
I love that the owner of a place I sent a resume to out of university called me for help
I love that I'm considered enough of a subject matter expert to be the one to call
I love that he felt comfortable enough with me to talk about how he felt
and I LOVE that I have a reputation as someone people can call up out of the blue and ask for help.
What a life I lead.
What's weird about being in this position is that I never thought I'd be here.
I didn't want to be a business owner
I never wanted this kind of responsibility and pressure
I never thought I would be comfortable with the spotlight, or with monetizing my craft the way that I have
but a few years ago I was listening to a podcast and one of the hosts said a famous Andy Warhol quote that changed things for me. Here's how it goes:
"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."
When I heard it I felt like a light switched on in my head because — eureka! — I had a framework for understanding what I was trying to do.
Because what is art, anyway?
Art is creative output
Art is helping people and doing good
Art is creating something out of nothing
Art is being true to yourself and leading with your values
Art is about adding meaning and leaving your mark on this world before your memory is lost to the void of time.
I want my business to be all of those things. It is all of those things.
And the fact that I can articulate that in our marketing and speaking and consulting I do
and it resonates with people and makes them want to work with us
is the best damn feeling I could ask for.
I'm reading the Count of Monte Cristo and I'm almost done, or at least as close to "done" as I can feel when I'm 1245 pages into a book that's 1468 pages long.
(Yes I've been reading it for a while, why do you ask?)
I've struggled with this book. In case you haven't noticed, it's really fucking long, and I've wanted to quit reading it more than once. But I've heard it's worth it from several people so I've slogged through chapters that often felt irrelevant or meandering anyway.
The thing I've struggled with most though is the main character. The Count of Monte Cristo.
In theory, he's the main character, but the novel focuses on the other characters instead. What they're up to, who they see, what they talk about. It gets boring sometimes because conversations get too detailed and can seem irrelevant to the plot, and it's normal to read several chapters without the Count even showing up to pay anyone a visit.
Dumas talks about him so little that sometimes you forget he's in the book.
Now I'm at the point where things are wrapping up, and I still don't know who The Count of Monte Cristo is. What he thinks about. Who he is as a person. He's this enigmatic figure everyone seems to revere and admire, but he seems like a facade, like he's hollow inside.
Compared to the other characters, whose feelings, motivations, and private thoughts are described at great length, The Count of Monte Cristo is still a one-dimensional character. I've spent nearly 1400 pages with this person and I barely know him.
This character who apparently knows so much, has been to so many places, has impeccable taste, etc etc etc
feels like a paper cut-out. It's disappointing.
John's read it before, and when I was talking to him about it he turned to me with one of those looks that makes my heart drop to my feet and said
"well, maybe that's the point?"
and it hit me like a ton of bricks: The Count of Monte Cristo is one-dimensional on purpose.
I started reading the book expecting to root for The Count. For the first few hundred pages you're right alongside him, and he starts off feeling like someone who will change and grow as the novel progresses. But that doesn't happen.
Along the way, you lose sight of the character. The book starts to focus on pretty much everyone else, doing what feels like pretty much everything else, and the Count starts to feel like a spectre haunting the other main characters, and less like one himself.
The others have their own motivations, many of which change over time throughout the story. But The Count of Monte Cristo's never changes. He remains focused on his goal.
This person who has everything anyone would ever want — money, luxury, the admiration and respect of his peers — seems oblivious to it.
He goes to the opera, to parties where everyone fawns on him, and lives in luxurious spaces where he only eats and drinks the very best. He has more money than he could ever spend in his lifetime, and could live anywhere in the world doing anything he wanted.
But he stays above it all.
His obsession with revenge, of completely destroying his enemies and making them suffer
robs him of living his own life, too.
I'm not finished — like I said, I still have about 200 pages to go — but I'm curious to see who the Count is at the end of the book. Wikipedia says The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel, but right now it feels like a tragedy.