December 30, 2015

I am moving. Moving into a new home, with three amazing friends. We’ve been planning this for some time and finally it happened. Finding the place was an adventure of its own, but I’m not going into that. The series of events I’m going to talk about starts this week. Sunday morning I got a call from our new landlord saying the house was clear and we should swing by to get the keys and then move in whenever we wanted. We gathered and decided that Wednesday was the best day, since Nati had the day off, and there was at least two entire days to finish packing. I had started on Saturday, bagged most of my clothes – except the ones I was still gonna wear! -, all my gear and some random bits and pieces.

Monday morning I went hunting for boxes. Tried the closest supermarket and only found a few small ones – tiny, I should say. Useless. On the way out I decided to check the bins around the back, maybe I got lucky. There were a few good ones in there. Miraculously dry. I spent some time digging into the bin and saw some large ones at the bottom of a second bin, the problem was that to reach those I would have to jump INSIDE the bin and then figure a way to climb out. Why not? Sounds like a bad idea! So, there I went, into the bin. Got the boxes, threw them out and burned a few good minutes climbing and puffing to get out. I never thought it would be so tricky to get out! Anyway, by the time I got to the top, there was a supermarket employee coming out the back door. The poor guy had a brief jump scare before making sense of it all. I didn’t bother explaining. On the way home my hands started to hurt due to the cold. Not ‘light pain’, but joints jammed and the tips of my fingers feeling like they were going to explode. My hands are the most susceptible part of my body to the cold temperatures. Plus carrying boxes is never cool, they’re always bulky and slightly larger than your arms can stretch. So I hurried home as fast as I could, swearing all the way from the cold and because of the cumbersome boxes.

Got home. My hands were like pincers, just two moving parts. Grabbing the keys and rotating them on the lock was a real challenge. Then dragging the boxes in and into the elevator then out and into the apartment. THEN I finally started the real packing and worried that I would need more boxes. Fuck that, this would be a problem for the future. I went on packing and realized the boxes by themselves wouldn’t be enough to hold the weight, so I thought of getting myself a ton of tape and cheap rope to reinforce the boxes that were already full. Cool, a good reason for a short bike ride. As soon as I got up and started pedaling I felt something was wrong. I stopped three or four times along a single block until I realized the back tire was completely flat.

Oh, great. First I have no boxes, then I have to jump in the bin to get boxes, then my hands freeze, then the boxes aren’t good enough, now I have a flat tire to fix, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH TODAY? I went back home, absolutely píssed. I’d have to either walk or take a bus to get to the bike shop, and none of these options filled me with joy. After two hours of suffering and complaining I decided it was enough and I would play the day by MY rules, whatever that meant. Somebody knocked on the door, it was a package. First time in 18 months that I’m home to receive a package. What are the odds? Then I notice I have ONE bus ticket left, maybe my luck is finally turning. By the time I get to the bus stop, the 44 magically shows up and halts so I can mount the bike and get in. I get to the bike shop quickly and the guy tells me it’s super fast to fix. Also, I should replace my brake pads – second time in two months. Since the bike is still new, labor is free. Cool. Since I have to wait I decide to look around for the things I needed. Tape, check. 200m of tape for $5. Then I realize I’m hungry and hunt for something tasty. When I’m done enjoying some cookies, the bike is finished. As soon as I get up and feel it on the lane my mood improves 200%. Man, I really enjoy riding this bike…

Time to go for an immense sidetrack and then get back to Monday.

During the messed up morning I started to think about some of the things I use on a daily basis. My phone’s screen cracked this last time I was home (Brazil), and then some more during VIFF. My notebook’s battery is completely dead (it prompts me a warning every time I turn the computer on), the bike had a flat tire. These are just the three easiest examples, but there are several others. Ok, stuff is broken, so what? You might remember when I started to write I was going through a hard part of life, some time ago. My philosophy during that time was “it doesn’t matter I’m broken, I just need to last a little longer to finish this or that, and then I’ll start to get better”, and I didn’t take care of myself when or how I should. I was doing the same thing to these “items” around me. Screen is cracked? It’s still usable! Battery is dead? Fine, just keep it attached to a power source. Flat tire? Ok, that’s too much. I’m not even going into the metaphors of “cracked glass”, “running out of battery” or “empty of that invisible thing that keeps you going”. Might be subject for another post. So while I was suffering and complaining about the flat tire, I went online and found a replacement battery for the notebook, then started to look for a new phone. Found one – the most recent version of the one I already have. Then I found out it’s not available in Canada. Craigslist. Dude selling for $500. I’m not paying $500 on a phone. Not now, not EVER. Kept that in mind, trying to figure out what to do. Now, back to biking.

I still had to buy rope. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go, but the main thing right now was to enjoy the ride. Somewhere along the way I spotted an ice cream place. Heh, why not? Jumped off the bike and enjoyed some decent ice cream. I mean, at this point I wasn’t in a rush for anything else. The goal was to enjoy every step in the process. Back on the bike, I got to Canadian Tire and finding rope was easy enough. The tape and a bit of rope should be more than enough to create some super safe boxes. Going down the street I pass by Best Buy and think “HEY! I SHOULD LOOK FOR MY PHONE HERE” – yes, in caps – so I head in and get lost among the dozens of people enjoying boxing week deals. I confirm the information that the version I want is unavailable in Canada. At some point I realize I didn’t check my favorite e-commerce. Ebay! There I was able to find some good options for an even better price. I keep an eye in a couple of auctions and leave the decision for later.

Back home I reinforce all the done boxes and pack some more. I don’t finish it all, and it’s late so I go to bed. I wake up less than two hours later, soaked in sweat. “HOW IS IT SO HOT IN HERE?”. Well, it’s not. I think there’s just too much going on with moving and getting things done. After slowing my mind down I go back to sleep. I’m up by 6am and on the bike by 7, for what would probably be the last of my so frequent Stanley Park rides. We’re getting a super sunny week, so I better enjoy it! The issue is when the Sun comes out the temperatures drop, so by the time I finished my second lap, my feet were blocks of ice. I had to meet our landlord to pick up our keys and check the house but there was no way I was gonna bike another 20+km feeling so cold. Back home I put on two extra pairs of socks and THEN I was ready. This morning I also put back the straps on my pedals, because I was unable to handle them when I bought the bike, but felt now it was time to try it again. Biking towards the new home took another half hour and the straps made a huge difference. Getting used to them is quite easy!

In the new house I checked every room and cabinet, windows and closets, everything, and then got our several copies of the keys. We’re officially moving! By the time I got home I had already biked 45km today so I thought relaxing a little could be a good idea. I ended up not doing that for very long and headed to the new house again, after picking up some stuff on the way. I rode 65km today, and some stupid uphills. When I got home for the second time I found a checklist of the stuff I need to clean in this apartment before handing back the keys. It’s absurd. Now imagine finding an absurd list after an intense day of exercising, with some packing still left to do and moving on the next day? With no time left, I started the cleaning tonight and got a good part of it done. The apartment is an absolute mess.

After all my physical strength was exhausted I sat here and started to write. In the middle of the process everything started shaking. I even tried to hold the table steady before I realized the entire apartment was shaking. And that’s how I’ve survived my first earthquake. It was pretty quick and not that strong, but I spent at least five minutes cursing and swearing because of the scare. Another “first time” for the book of first times.