Saturday, March 29, 2014

I think Canada is trying to kill us.

I've been writing long posts lately.  Here's a brief synopsis for those who don't have the time or the inclination to read the whole thing:
Saturday - read last post
Sunday - Church.  Spaghetti.
Monday - First day for Bert. Homeschool.  Shopping.
Tuesday - Andrew sick.  Relief Society bash.
Wednesday - Homeschool. Recovery.
Thursday - SIN, bank, bedbugs
Friday - I'm sick. Bert's sick. We're all sick and tired.

The whole enchilada:
We've been here a week now.  Well.  Ok.  In about seven hours we'll have been here a week.  In about seven hours it will have been 7 days since the infamous "Immigration Episode" *shudder*.  (Lightning flashes thunder crashes wolves howl banshees screech and there's a high pierced scream in the background.)  Here's how the week has gone.

You read about that in the last post.  Let's move on and pretend it didn't happen...

Church.  We're in the Etobicoke ward. (Pronounce that "Ee toe bih coh")  It is made up largely of immigrants.  Loooots of immigrants from all over everywhere.  South Africa, Jamaica, Mexico, France, Finland, England, China, Japan, etc etc.  Or maybe the French are from Quebec which wouldn't really make them immigrants now, would it?  Anyway, it's very international.  The impression I get is that these lovely people have been through a ridiculous amount of stuff, and they have got through it with sheer determination and strength in the Lord.  Their faith is simple and extremely deep.  I am inspired every time one of them gets up to talk.  They are very caring and welcoming.

Ben came with us to Sacrament meeting and Sunday School, then went to the Sacrament meeting of the singles ward which meets in our same building at Noon.  Then we all went home together.  I think next week he's going to go to the whole of the singles ward which means we'll go to sacrament meeting, then during Sunday school will drive back to the house and pick him up, then after our church is over we'll drive home, and later we'll drive back to pick him up from church.  As it's at least 20 mins each way that's quite some driving.  However, I hope he makes some friends and feels welcomed.  If not....well, let's not think about that.

Sunday afternoon we had the ubiquitous SPAGHETTI!  It was so good to sit as a family and have the traditional Sunday dinner. =)

Bert went in to work.  Andrew and I did homeschool then we did a bit of food shopping. We actually had a weekday meal together AS A FAMILY!  First time in nearly seven years.  No doubt the last time too.

In the middle of the night Bert heard Andrew coughing.  And then he threw up.  Ohhh my gosh.  One thing I have to say is, fake wood floors RAWK!!!  I'm never having carpet in a bedroom again.  It was so quick and easy to clean up.

Poor Andrew threw up every half an hour until about 12.30pm or so.  He got intensely dehydrated and the poor kid just lay on the couch crying for water.  He was like a dying man in the desert.  I tried to give him a tiny chip of ice, but it made him sick.  So we just waited.  Finally, later in the afternoon he was able to keep down tiny sips, and he improved from there.

There was a Relief Society birthday bash at the church in the evening.  My natural desire is to stay at home and talk to no-one so I really didn't want to go.  However, I felt I should so off I went.  I turned up about 35 minutes late (Bert had a late night meeting at work and I didn't want to leave Andrew alone for hours) which was more than a little awkward.  I was able to find a seat, and was warmly welcomed by the ladies at the table.  It was a pot luck dinner and the sisters had brought dishes from their home countries.  OH my GOSH it was *amazing*.  Sooooo delicious.  There was this cheesy carrot casserole which was to die for.  There was this corny enchilada thing that was sooo good.  There were bean salads.  There were Japanese rice things.  So delicious.  And it was nice to talk to the ladies too.  By 9pm I was pretty dang tired, but glad I went.

We did some homeschool in the morning and a bit of shopping in the afternoon.  I think. I can't remember.  The days are blending together.  We finally put together a comprehensive list of everything that was wrong with the house and sent it off to the rental office CCing Varun.

At 8am we met up with Bruce who took us to a government office to get our Social Identification Numbers.  Yes.  Our SINs.  We are now SINful.  Then we went to open a bank account.  The bank fees here are absolutely astronomical and my jaw about hit the floor when she told us what they were.  Bert, however, had been doing some research in the previous days so was prepared for it.

We were contacted by the company who owns this property and they said they'd come out a bit later to fix some things.  Someone turned up in the afternoon and tightened some screws on chairs.  He said he'd be back tomorrow to put handles on drawers etc and a handyman would be back to fix things tomorrow.  He tried to fix the cooker but really didn't have much idea of what he was doing.  He was talking to someone on the phone who was trying to give him instructions but it didn't work.

Finally, around 8pm, someone came to fix the cooker.  At that time a company representative came to tour the property.  Bert took her round and said she was pretty horrified by what she saw.  Just after she left Ben said he thought his bed had bedbugs.  I checked the bites on him and...yep...absolutely bedbugs.  It had the typical "Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner" pattern.  I was utterly and completely freaked out to say the least.  It was the last straw.  Oh yeah, that and the huge ants who have decided they like it here...

Luckily there was another bed we weren't using so Ben moved into that one.  No bites in that bed, oh thank goodness.  Now I'm terrified the bugs have got into his clothes and suitcase (scattered all over the room) and that we'll take them with us when we leave.  Oh gosh please no no no no no...

I didn't have a good night's sleep and woke up feeling pretty dang nauseous, and violent intestinal once again we stayed in.  A very Scottish man came to fix things.  They were fixed..mostly...sort of.  For example the towel rack was fixed but there's a rod missing so it just has the one rod and an empty space for the other one.  The big thing (hot water that lasts about 2-3 minutes) is not fixed.  There has been no feedback on that being fixed. I have no idea what's happening with it.  The impression I get of this company is they're all talk but just do the minimum to shut us up.  Maybe I'm being harsh because I'm tired, overwhelmed, and freaked out.  I so want to be out of here...but that means moving again and I'm so tired of packing and moving.

These all seem pretty minor things, but this house was advertised as an "executive long term stay" and the company is paying accordingly.  It is not executive in the slightest.  It's a house that someone has left their cast off things in and it's been rented.  The pots don't match, the lids don't match, the cutting board is old and has had the living daylights beaten out of it, doors are missing or broken, drawer handles are broken off, there's one stair that's a little narrower than the others so your foot barely fit on it and there's been a couple of dodgy moments going down, the stovetop didn't work, there were no instructions on the trash, the internet didn't work when we got here and was only fixed because Bert figured it out, bedbugs, ants, no hot water....little things like that. And things like...the TV wires are hanging out everywhere.  It's plugged in, but the plug is hanging suspended against the wall.  I'm pretty sure that's not how it's meant to be... It's fine, it's functional, but it's nowhere near "executive".

In the evening Bert came home.  He'd caught Andrew's bug.  He was violently ill all night long.  Oh my gosh.  It just went on and on all night.  It was awful for the poor guy.  I'm telling you, Canada is trying to kill us.

Andrew got a bit overwhelmed with everything and cried his little heart out while I cuddled him and told him everything was going to be ok.  We're all feeling that way a bit.

And here we are, back to Saturday.  Bert is still deathly ill in bed.  Ben is still in bed.  Andrew and I went out shopping for a bit of food.  We're going to try to go out again later in the day as Andrew really really wants a library card.  We were all so looking forward to getting out and doing things together as a family...but Canada is trying to kill us and Bert's in bed dying.  I don't know if we can get a library card as we don't have any confirmation we live in Mississauga yet.  Dang.  Andrew's going to be disappointed.

Ok, so we survived the first week.  Surely things are going to get better, right?  It can only get better from here.  Right?  There'll be no ants or bed bugs in our new home, right?  The weather will eventually warm up and be sunny, right?  There will be an end to the seemingly endless dull dreary grey, right?

Because, dang it, focus on the good stuff and the icky stuff's not so icky
- They have yorkshire pudding here.  Yorkshire pudding, people!
- They have ginger beer here.  GINGER BEER!  I'm dying to try it.  I bought a bottle this morning and will have it with lunch. (For the uninitiated, it's non alcoholic)
- We have money with which to buy food.  And I like food.
- We are not living in tenement houses in the East End of London.
- I have a kindle, and while we've been sick I bought, downloaded, and read all three "Call the Midwife" books.  We are so so so so so so blessed. So blessed.  My children aren't starving and my husband doesn't beat us.
- It's warm enough here now that it rained the other night - not snowed - and I can see patches of green.
- There are grey squirrels everywhere.  One of them was black.  Or at least an exceedingly dark grey.  Fabulous. =)
- I have a car to get around in if I wish when we're well enough.
- Interwebs
- The washing machine works.  This is a big deal.  It also doesn't smell moldy.
- Adventure.  Hey!  We're in Canada!  I've never lived in Canada before.  What a stinkin' adventure!  Think of all the stories we will have to tell our posterity!
- Excessively tempted to start reading "The Game of Thrones".  I've been avoiding it because the book series isn't finished yet.  I've been avoiding the TV show...haven't watched any of it...because I haven't read the books yet....and I haven't read the books because they're not finished and I haaaaaaaaaate waiting to read the end.  However, I downloaded a free excerpt and oh my is it good.  Not sure I can resist...

Hang in there, y'all!  Things ain't as bad as you think and will surely get better.  If they don't, eat chocolate.


Miranda Hughes said...

As a Canadian, I have a few thoughts. First ... look into using a credit union rather than a bank. They're member owned, and any exorbitant fees (they're usually lower, but still high by US standards) tend to circle back to you in the form of dividends, or to the community in the form of grants. We haven't used a bank in more than 20 years and couldn't be happier. Second, a question: yorkshire pudding is something you can buy ready-made? I've never heard of that, having lived in Canada since the age of 2 (born in England) and eaten yorkshire pudding regularly. Third, yeah, you'll probably have to wait on the library card until you have ID or a utility bill that shows your residence. When you do, you might consider buying a Kobo to supplement your Kindle. The Kobo is the Canadian/Chapters equivalent to the Kindle, and almost all Canadian libraries lend only in Kobo format. You can usually find Kobo minis at places like Walmart or Staples for around $50. Squirrels: if you like birds, you'll come to hate their furry competitors. Enjoy them while they're a novelty! Finally: hope you're all feeling better, and bedbugs ... ick! Take precautions, even with beds that don't seem problematic!

jugglingpaynes said...

Bedbugs. Yikes! I hope that is under control.

Probably too late now, but do they have Coca Cola syrup up there in Canada land? It's usually found at the pharmacy. It's our family's number one cure for stomach bugs. You just take a teaspoon and it usually settles you after one or two doses. If they don't have that, a bottle of Coke flattened will work too.

May things start looking up from here on in! I'm glad you noted the positives, otherwise the move didn't sound worth it for all the trouble! We love our grey squirrels here! :o)

Peace and Laughter and Wellness!

Keeley said...

Thank you so much for your helpful comments! I very much appreciate it. =) Yes indeed, you can buy yorkshire pudding ready made. I've seen it at Loblaws and Battaglia's. We were able to get a library card with a passport and rental agreement WHOOT! =) Thank you for the info on the kobo!

Thank you on the well wishes. I didn't think it would ever happen, but we are definitely happier now. Hooray! =)