Well, post number one...we actually made it!!! But... this is not actually the beginning of the story so I'm gonna go back a bit bc the story actually started 4 insane, insane, insane months ago and this moment has been a looooong time coming.
The beginning of this story, sadly was the end of our Edmonton story where we've been living for the last 5 some years. I think the long term plan was always to make it back to Calgary but ultimately the extent of the "leaving Edmonton depression" was shockingly and unexpectedly more brutal than either of us ever imagined...but that's a whole other story (so far this email has had many stories about nothing!)
In order to do this trip, our life has looked like this: complete move out of old Edmonton place, partial move into new Edmonton place, complete move out of new Edmonton place, Ashley moves to Edmonton friends house for a week and Bridger goes to Newfoundland for 2weeks, Ashley moves to Calgary for 3 weeks and Bridger moves to Calgary for a week, then we both fly out of Calgary to South Korea. So ultimately a bizarre one way, multi-city situation where we not only had to organize and prep everything for travelling but also wrap up Edmonton life completely and do a huge move at the same time. Glad it's over.
The beginning of the muck around was when the place we had been living for the past 5 years decided they would only sign a one year lease which we couldn't do bc we were leaving December. Like a bunch of desperate freaks of nature, we made a valiant attempt to sway the rules to let us stay until December through Bridger sweet-talking the manager of our building, to posting handwritten notes on our apartment door begging and promising free seafood to whoever lets us stay to sending the manager a bouquet of flowers but still only managed to wrangle a 3 month extension until the end of September. So we went on a quest to find a short term furnished rental that we hoped to not get gouged too badly on (a pipedream as we found out)...
Enter short term furnished rental apartment search... Most places were like minimum $1800 monthly to like $3500 monthly so we were SO pumped when we found one in the perfect neighbourhood (Bridger and I were sharing a car so we had to carpool/drop off eachother and pick up eachother at work every day so location was key!) and only $1650...so naturally we set up a viewing even though, in my head, I was ready to wrap up a deal before even seeing the place...I've lived and stayed in some pretty gross places so I figured for the price and location, I could make anything work for less than 3 months. Date and time confirmed 7 ways to Sunday with the the third party property management company but turns out, nobody knew we were coming anyways I guess bc we buzzed the property manager, walked in the building and waited at the front door and nobody came to meet us. Then a a very shrill woman's voice coming from somewhere in the building..."hello? Hello? Hello?". We followed the voice to a very haggard and indifferent older woman who said she'd get her unexpecting husband, the property manager upon us explaining what we were doing there. So then, I kid you not folks, out comes a very unwelcoming, unfriendly, indifferent, and haggard one-eyed man...for real!!! Regardless, on its own, not an issue, just an unexpected detour! He starts walking us to the suite... "what suite?" He asks...wait, what? You're the property manager, don't you KNOW what suite?!?! How would I know what suite?!? Regardless, we figure it out, mystery solved. Start walking with Bridger and I following...and keep walking and walking and walking...with steps I also kid you not, about 2 cm long each step. Shuffle...shuffle...shuffle...silence, no conversational attempts...awkward moments where Bridger and I are trying to follow but literally experience that feeling where, when you're riding a bike and you reach that critical period where it's either go faster or fall over...all the while looking at each other trying not to erupt into fits of laughing...what's going on, what do we do?!? Not sure how but we all make it upstairs. Property manager doesn't knock, unlocks and opens the door...BOOM, a clearly very flustered and embarrassed man-tenant and his 2 kids standing in the doorway, jaw dropped open "oh uh, uh, uh, I didn't know anyone was coming", wants us to come back in 15 minutes so he can clean up before having us come in. Door closes, now standing in the hallway with unfriendly, non-conversational one eyed man for the foreseeable future...panic...are we going to stare at each other for 15 minutes? I try to kill the silence by asking whether there is a washer and dryer in the suite...man mumbles my question back to me several times but does not answer nor seem to comprehend the question so I drop it. Luckily, door opens, we take the tour and walk back out into the hallway. Man turns and walks the opposite way we came without saying anything to us at all! Bridger and I look at each other and ask each other with our eyes "are we supposed to follow him?!". We do...he silently opens another door...ooooh it's the laundry room, he was processing!!!! The end of the tour. Seriously, you can't write this stuff! We politely thank him, walk away and Bridger adamantly insists there is no way in hell he is living there soooooo back to square one! Eventually I think we were something close to like 3 days before Windsor Park move out day before we found a place! More on that later...
Packing up our regular apartment was tricky bc we needed to pack up as much as possible but also,still live and eat. For the most part we did ok except down the last few days. We thought we were being soooooo smart keeping around simple and frozen things. Haha for one meal we were feeling pretty good bc we had butter and cutlery still so Bridger decided to use some bread to make toast and I was going to eat leftover frozen pancakes but we then realized the toaster and the microwave was packed up...so we improvised and cooked toast and pancakes in the oven. It didn't work well at all. Also, Through the whole process we learned something valuable (which should be common knowledge, we know!)--for the love of god just clean a little bit every day! By the time we left, I'm sure the fridge and oven had been cleaned maybe once or twice ever in like 5 years and there was a whole dehydrated vegetable garden down the side of my oven so definitely took longer than expected to get that place back into workable order! Haha actually being the natural scrub-a-dubbers that we are, the universe threw us a bonus bc as we were down in the parkade throwing away garbage we noticed that Windsor Park had obviously done renovations on some suites and several ovens JUST like ours, BUT CLEAN were in the garbage pile! So there we were, two 30 year old professionals down in the dumpster ripping apart the garbage ovens for parts so we could just replace our dirty ones with them in our own oven instead of cleaning haha!
On moving weekend we had to get all our stuff down to Calgary,dump it and clean all day Sunday for our walkthrough Monday. So again, we also thought we were being soooooo smart bc we booked a moving truck for Friday thinking we'd get a head start by moving the stuff to Calgary Friday, coming back to Edmonton sat and then having lots of time to clean. Turns put this was a very bad miscalculation bc guess what the rest of the world is doing on Friday...ya, working!! We moved everything down from the 23rd floor, across the parkade and into the truck just the two of us...every f'ing thing we own. You can imagine how well all the heavy lifting of couches and dressers and junk went with old jello biceps over here--not only lifting it down to the ground floor but up 3 feet into the truck! I'll tell you, at 5ft tall, there is not lot of upward leverage to work with! We also realized halfway through that our truck was too small which meant that we left perfectly good stuff like a desk and microwave and the rest was like household Tetris from the ground up filling every last space of that truck! But somehow Bridger directed that op and got it done. What we thought would take like 4 hours, took way more and we ended up leaving Edmonton at 10 pm which already put us in Calgary at 1 am and then the freaking truck was due back at 9 am, ugh. By this point after hours more than anticipated of packing, taping, organizing, loading, heavy lifting with that being just the beginning, Bridger was still just doing what he needed to do "getting it done" while my mental state was pretty well shattering by the second and the tears and what can only be described as whimpering just started coming on heavy..."I just can't! what are we gonna do! I just need to sleep! I just need to eat! There's still so much more to do! I'm not gonna make it! I hate you!!!" For example :) Well 10:30 Friday night rolls around,we got some Wendy's, were driving on the highway aaaaand STOP...traffic jam on the QE2 at 10:30 pm on a Friday night. We wait in it for awhile and then, for real, the police start turning every southbound moving vehicle around heading back north. So now it's 11 pm and we're going right BACK into Edmonton!!! "Oh my god I caaaaaant do this anymore!!!". So now we were faced with, do we find a new route back to Calgary and get there and start unloading at 2+ am OR do we just turn back and park the truck for the night and try again for Calgary again Saturday?! Ultimately we didn't have a choice bc all we had to lock the truck was a little junior high locker combination lock and on whyte ave, the land where people obviously carry around metal saws because u-locked bikes disappear over night, we were quite certain our entire life of stuff would never make it til morning in that truck parked on some whyte ave street! So on we went to Calgary. I started to feel a little more sane when we decided that fuck it, let's just pay for the extra day charge, park the truck when we get there, sleep in til whatever time we want and then casually unload. A plan I could live with! But as plans, do, it changed when we got home bc god bless him, Bridger realized that regardless of when the truck gets back, he still needs to unload as soon as we get to Calgary bc his pounds of NL seafood was in the truck in an unpowered freezer and he was afraid it would all melt and go bad. And, well, where do you think a beautifully rectangular item goes in a very full moving truck? Ya the very back corner so everything can stack on and around it FML. So at 2:30 am we are once again back to needing to unpack. Given that all our helpers on the other end (my family God bless them!) have now gone to bed the new plan is wake up at 7 am and unload then. I'm certain I cried myself to sleep that night! Nevertheless, it got done and the truck made it back for an assholeish 9 am and we took the bus back to Edmonton 6 hours later...to clean all the rest of the weekend.
We lived in the new short term place for 2.5 months and the place itself was absolutely fantastic. What wasn't so great was the location on the downtown east side, known as one of the hardest places in Edmonton. Great apartment but, for the love, I wouldn't be walking around that neighbourhood at night by myself! Our neighbourhood businesses were mostly GREAT ethnic food places, subsidized apartments, fast cash stores and hire street people for the day jobs. On a regular basis at night there were disputes on our street with a lot of f-bombing, the occasional homeless person in the alley at 7 am when I went to work and a crazy, drunk? And erratic walking man who I swear was going to try to get in the backseat of my car. Haha as much as it was an insane place to be, Bridger and I were both unexplainably charmed by it all.
When Bridger went to NL, I moved in to our friend Janis and Tyler's house who were actually in Nova Scotia the whole time I was there. Probably ok anyways as I probably would have been insanely lousy company as I was working til like 1 am every day to finish wrapping everything up for work. Regardless, just needed to make it one more week before I could get home to Calgary wo any more incidents but sure enough, that is too much to ask of the universe! Sitting in the living room writing all sorts of reports, contact notes, summary documents blah blah blah, my hands were getting pretty chilly. No big deal, it was -20 something outside, I'm usually pretty cold by nature and Janis warned me that it could get cold in front of the window. I reset the furnace And went to bed expecting warmth in the morning. Nope...Mostly I slept all night in the fetal position freezing my ass off in a half asleep delirious state. It was only when I woke up and the memory foam mattress was crusty and hard, the water on top of my pesto in the container on the counter was mostly frozen and my computer and everything else was blatantly ice cold to the touch that I realized that I think there is a problem more than just me and my wimpiness! Sure enough, furnace quit and the house was definitely below 10 degrees (the lowest the scale shows) but I anticipate, much colder than that. By that point I had been so cold for so long inside a house that I just had a little cry again! Anyways it got fixed quickly and warmth returned. For that week most of the rest of my stuff just lived in my trunk and I lived and worked out of a single suitcase. It went so well that that week I went to one of my grade 1 class rooms to teach a large group activity and soon as I walked in one of the kids excitedly said "you look like you just got out of bed!!" and then another followed it up with "hey you're wearing the same clothes as last time!!!"...awesome.
In the end, what Bridger and I never expected was to feel so disgusting and depressed about leaving Edmonton! It's been our lives for the past 5+ years and well continue to be some of the only "Calgarians" to think that Edmonton and its people are actually really freaking awesome!
On top of the "leaving Edmonton depression", there's a strange feeling of that this is the end of the life plan. Not only are we leaving everything comfortable and familiar in Edmonton but we literally are just suspended with no real vision of what the other side of this trip, whenever and wherever it may be, actually looks like!! That's a weird feeling at 30+! I expect I'll have a few meltdowns at that point too but we'll cross that bridge when we get there!