A Perfect Storm ~ Our Weekend Move

I'm not heavy on complaining. Sometimes I rant and sometimes I whine but out and out complain about how miserable I am is not something I regularly do (I'm not usually all that miserable to be honest).

And even when life isn't going my way, someone, somewhere always has it worse than me, so who am I to complain? Who wants to hear that stuff anyway?

So this will not be a complaining post. Oh no it will not. I am merely going to present the pertinent facts of the preceding four days. My miso soup and frosty morning posts were scheduled ahead of time (because I knew I wouldn't be writing during our move) which is why none of the actual living in the moment was expressed in those posts. Even so, you wouldn't have wanted to hear the moment. Trust me. It's bad enough in retrospect.

So here's the facts of the last few days (and a few lessons):

We moved this weekend to the chalet. Moving, no matter how you slice it is a stressful event.

The day we pulled out of Nova Scotia was a record breaking storm. That morning, during torrential downpour, the power went out at my parents and many other places. It was the eeriest experience ever to pull into a gas station to go pee, buy water and snacks, and be in the dark with only emergency generator power.

The storm produced heavy rain and high velocity winds making it a challenge for my dad to pull our moving trailer.

The past four days I have been down for the count with the worst cold I can recall in recent and not-so-recent memory. I simply cannot remember the last time I have suffered like this.

Not only was I sick, all three kids were sick. Celine and Laurent with sore throats and achy ears and Brienne is still fighting her cold, which I thought was brought on by a Halloween sugar fest. My cold cannot be blamed on that, must just be a nasty virus that our immunity wasn't up for it. That's just the way life rolls.

I am the kind of person who tries to right wrongs through intentional actions and is vigilant about preventing "bad stuff" with good decision making. I'm a bit of rule follower (only if they make sense). My faulty thinking sometimes goes that if I follow all the rules everything will turn out all right. Of course, I cannot prevent all bad things (like a nasty virus on moving weekend) from happening to me and my loved ones. This I know and I learned this lesson (again) the hard way.

When you move you pack up all your comforts - your favorite teas, your box of herbal remedies, tissues. If I had known we were all going to be so sick I would have kept stuff handy. I didn't see this coming. So we were left with Vicks VapoDrops from the gas station on the way out of town. I am not making this stuff up.

During the worst of this sickness there wasn't any familiar place "to cave" or seek rest. A strange bed, in a new room - shared for the night with my sick kids as my parents were in our room. Not even familiar linens on the bed. In many situations these things don't matter to me. But when I'm feeling the lowest I've been for ages these small things speak "comfort". The lack of them was not the end of the world, just the icing on the cake.

The chalet is small. Blessedly small. Excitingly small. We are so psyched about downsizing ourselves to this space. Arriving to this challenge (for it is one) when feeling ill with seven people in tow instead of the usual five is well, extra challenging - in an "ignore the tornado like mess" kind of way.

Here's the blessings:

Like I said earlier, someone, somewhere always has it worse than me. On that most difficult night, when I lay in the strange bed, barely swallowing for the pain it caused, surrounded by coughing, whimpering children - who's needs I honestly couldn't attend to myself (Mom & Damien picked up the slack here) I thought to count my blessings as well I could.

That night I got as far as "thank God I'm not a homeless refugee" (ie: I actually have a safe bed to rest, even if it is strange to me) before I nodded off into a fitful sleep. But there were many more real, tangible blessings.

In spite of the heavy rain there were clear breaks to finish loading the trailer. The only thing wet in the end was the clothes we were wearing.

We found places with power to buy gas.

My dad drove the big truck with the trailer through the storm without incident (and a lot of prayer). Traveling mercies of the truest kind.

a moment of relative tidy before bringing boxes in

My parents helped us move our stuff, yet again. And Damien's cousin lent us their truck, again. Supportive family means so much to us.

While we were setting up the bare minimum of housekeeping and getting Damien's work space prepared for Monday morning my parents my parents picked up groceries, paper towel and herbal lozenges.

The click of my mom's knitting needles, taking rest on the couch together, in the late afternoon sun. She finished the hat she was working on for Laurent, to replace his other favorite lost toque, also knit by Nana.

Damien and my parents are (so far) healthy. I pray they remain that way after a weekend surrounded by sickies.

We weren't throwing up. And no emergency room trips were necessary.

We still feel that good vibe we initially felt when visiting Gaspesie. From the moment we crossed over the bridge at Campbellton, NB we thought, "ah, this feels right".

We may not have TV but we have the Internet and computer DVD capabilities. During times like this, these modern amenities and the entertainment/distraction they provide are a godsend.

The simple comfort of honey lemon tea, many times a day.

There are, no doubt, more blessings but my writing time is running out and there is so much unpacking around me to do (and so much rest my body needs).

I'm a little bit overwhelmed right now, to say the least. I'm living by three of my mantras - this too shall pass, it could be worse, and one day at a time.  

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  • Bethany

    Bethany on Nov. 16, 2011, 1:33 a.m.

    Oh what great mantras for what a horribly interlude!! So sorry. I live by This Too Shall Pass also, which I've forgotten in the last weeks as I've also had the worst cold/ache/sinus infection I've ever had. I always feel broadsided by such things, thinking too that if I live 'right' it won't happen. Riiiight :). Rest up as much as you can, and give yourself a break in the settling in process though I've little doubt it's eating at you a bit? May your heart settle, your head clear, and your kleenex-consumption plummet in the very near future. Thanks for sharing your journey.


  • Elizabeth

    Elizabeth on Nov. 16, 2011, 2:01 a.m.

    Praying for a speedy recovery for all of you. That sounds like quite a journey. Hopefully you will be able to look back on it when you feel better and see it as just that, a day in the journey. It would have been nice to be happy and excited instead of in pain and stressed. So many exciting joyful moments await you this winter in your little home :)


  • Catherine Forest

    Catherine Forest on Nov. 16, 2011, 3:41 a.m.

    We share the exact same mantras, Renee... Oh, how I feel for you. Moving in itself is so draining. I can't imagine how it must feel when you are so sick... You are indeed blessed with a wonderful family. Take it slow, one box at at time, don't rush it, spend time together, go explore your new surrounding, and don't forget to laugh... even when it is not funny! Bon déménagement!


    • renee

      renee on Nov. 16, 2011, 11:15 a.m.

      Laughing.. if only I could (weak smile). I lost my voice a couple days ago and can barely speak audibly. I've got google translate bookmarked for easy access. Fire away your French phrases, just not too many sentences at a time. Everybody I've dealt with here so far, at the grocery store and such, can speak English but I truly want to learn French. 


  • Karen

    Karen on Nov. 16, 2011, 11:58 a.m.

    Sounds like you're getting better, and getting settled - makes my heart sing. After our morning run from your new place, Dad and I are reaffirmed that all of you are just going to love it there. Good thing about us driving a truck - we brought back a few large pieces of driftwood from the nearby Baie de Chaleur. Miss you all - beds are changed and ready for your next visit. xo, Mom. P.S. thank God so far we've escaped that nasty virus you had. I did buy some Oil of Oregano just in case.


  • Jenn

    Jenn on Nov. 16, 2011, 4:19 p.m.

    I'm so sorry so many of you are under the weather (pun intended!), but I love this post. I love a good storm first of all. I love how real you kept the pix. I love how real you are. I love the mess and the elderly hands working. I love the "baby" in the robe with the messy hair. It's all perfect! Thank you for being you.


    • renee

      renee on Nov. 16, 2011, 4:38 p.m.

      Jenn, Thank you. I just need to clarify... my mom isn't elderly (I'm protecting her ego here). She's not even 60 yrs. old (smile). My mom and I have the same hands. Working hands. Gardening hands. Cleaning hands. Veiny, wrinkled (yes, even mine) and sunspotted. No worries, no offense taken (smile). I just needed to clarify because when I read that comment I thought "ack! I can't have someone thinking my mom is elderly!" (ha, ha!) Want to add this. I LOVE my mom's hands. They are so much like my grandma's and like mine. I'm fascinated by hands and feet in general. Kinda' weird that way.


  • San

    San on Nov. 16, 2011, 6:23 p.m.

    Horrid colds are very, very waring. Good news to read that, you made it safely to your new home. Small house = minimum cleaning when you're feeling better, but you already new that, right?

    Love your mantra, need to ponder that one for sure - we battle with MS, diabetes and other related chronic health issues at this end on a daily basis, but there is always someone worse of than me, totally get that one.

    Sending you a prayer for healing and wholeness - Psalm 91 was prayed at our Monday night prayers, maybe it too will speak to you during this temporary blip in your circumstances?



  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on Nov. 16, 2011, 6:36 p.m.

    Oh, Renee, I am sorry things didn't go as smoothly as planned. I hope you are all feeling better now. I had an "it could have been much worse" event last week when my kids and I were in a car crash. Yes, the car was damaged, but we were OK. It could have been worse. :-)

    Good luck getting settled in and we look forward to seeing more of the beauty surrounding your new home.


    • Emily

      Emily on Nov. 16, 2011, 11:19 p.m.

      Oh, this news makes me sick, Jennifer! I'm so glad you and the children made it out okay. I'm sure that was very traumatizing, to say the least. Sending my love and a hug to you, as well, my friend.


  • Dad

    Dad on Nov. 16, 2011, 9:42 p.m.

    Hey, I am actually reading your blog, things are looking up. Yes your take on the weekend reflects my own feelings except I was not sick! I don't do well in these kind of surprises and function much better with planned events. I think we will all look back and say remember the weekend... Miss you guys!!


  • Emily

    Emily on Nov. 16, 2011, 11:16 p.m.

    You all have been on my mind. Hoping a bit of settling in and getting back on your feet is well underway as you begin your new life. Sending a warm hug your way.


  • Spring

    Spring on Nov. 17, 2011, 3:19 a.m.

    Oh Renee, praying with the others for the coming days! I share your mantras, but I have one I add to it: "This is all for the formation of my character"... only, I say it rather sarcastically, (although truthfully!) and it sometimes help me laugh in spite of things!


  • kyndale

    kyndale on Nov. 17, 2011, 3:48 a.m.

    It's true that you can always, always find those blessings in tough situations. I'm glad you made it there safe and I know you'll be better soon. Love, Kyndale


  • Naomi

    Naomi on Nov. 18, 2011, 12:09 a.m.

    Oh, man! I do hope you are all on the mend by now! This too shall pass is a mantra I have used many times myself, but no matter how helpful a reminder it is, when you are in the moment it is certainly hard not to complain! May you have a peaceful transition to your new home!


  • Marina

    Marina on Nov. 18, 2011, 4:03 p.m.

    I came to you via beauty that moves.
    I am so glad I did. Thank you for sharing your life. I love every bit of what I've read. Oh and miso soup is begging to be eaten here today!!! I am excited to continue to learn of your journey!


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