Moving-Related Thoughts: So How Are We Anyway?

Holy crap I’m discovering I have a lot to say. Twice I set out to write *1* post about moving. Twice I’ve had to stooooop…so it didn’t overflow into miles and miles and miles and miles of writing. Hmmm. How far will I get in this post?

So while all this is going on, Rogers and movers and Bell, oh my! we’re finding out that despite paying for the post office to forward our mail, they aren’t always doing it. Bleh. Thankfully our old apartment manager is good about letting us know these things. So we opened a ticket with the post office to look into it. Hopefully they don’t behave like Bell does with tickets.

Our new building manager people are really nice…but they don’t quite get the blind people thing yet. Ah the joys of training folk. I guess when they’re fixing stuff, they stick notes about it on the elevator doors and inside the elevators and other places. A fine thing to know. Until you do, you find yourself randomly without water or power and have no idea why.

Let’s rewind a bit. In our old building, the elevators and walls near there were treated as a bulletin board. People would put up signs about things for sale, services offered, I put up one requesting drives to Kitchener. So when I saw a paper stuck to the wall, my first thought was not “I must call management! Something is afoot!” I have since learned that in this building, these people are the only people who stick papers to walls. But we had to learn this the hard way…after our water went off seemingly without warning.

I asked them to call us whenever they put up a note. They said they would try to remember to do that. But now that I know the paper rule, I’ll just bug them whenever I see a paper up. Maybe eventually, after some buggings, they’ll just go “Oh god I’d better call the blind ones before they call here.” when sticking up a paper. No promises, but at least we have a system now.

But this building is starting to feel like home, although the lobby is biiiiig. It’s a friggin maze! I think maybe it has like 4 exits from it…and I have gone out the wrong one in an attempt to meet someone! We have been here nearly 3 weeks, and I still look like a minor numbnut trying to find the mail room. Bleh. I’m trying to show folks that I’m competent. It’s hard to do that when I’m futzing around the lobby like a dope.

One thing that rocks about this building, aside from its closeness to the mall, access to an exercise room and some other good stuff, is the elevators speak the floors you’re getting off at, and the buttons have Braille! Yea! No need to count beeps or clicks or hope that everybody stays quiet so you can focus. And when you get off, on the floor number plate, there’s braille there too. Awesome. When your brain’s exploding due to move fun, those little things go a long way in preserving sanity.

One cute thing the building did when we moved in was give us a little welcome basket with dish soap, toilet paper, cleaning supplies and a couple of things…just a little something to help while you’re unpacking all your crap. Believe me, that came in handy.

We have a nosey neighbour…it’s a dog. Every time someone new comes here, it barks. It used to bark at us every time, but it has come to accept us most of the time. If we’re bringing a cart, or have been gone a while, it seems to think we’re new enough to be either barked at or snorted at through the door. But I have never actually been in the hall with it.

…or in the hall with many other people. Yesterday, it was a record. We each ran into a person in the hall, and this seemed totally novel. I guess the halls are so big and bendy that it’s easy not to see anyone. But the other people in the building I have met have been super nice and helpful.

One thing I’m not a fan of in this building is the random smell of what seems like dog or cat urine that fills the hallway on a regular basis. We think someone has a cat or dog that needs more house training or something. Whatever it is, yuck! I don’t want to complain to management yet since we’re super new and don’t want to be chronic complainers. But…yuck! I would like to not walk down the hall and smell…that.

But our apartment is starting to feel more like ours. For a while, it was hard to find our stuff because we were trying to remember where we put it. Just finding regular items was a bit of a treasure hunt. It was good for the most part, thank god, but there were things that proved tricky to find. Never have I been happier to see a set of coasters!

I’ve been blown away by the number of really friendly people I have met in this area and this town. I was pretty scared when we first got here, because I’d had a grand total of one lesson on finding stuff. Now, I was supposed to get to work, get home, and get out to the mall to get stuff we needed. If there’s a god, he’s certainly smiling on me and sending me lots of help, which is much appreciated. When I’ve had to ask for help, which is a lot, people have gone above and beyond to help me. I’ve had store employees from the mall walk me out of their store and over to another one. Hell, one of them helped me get across the street! I was really scared that I had been spoiled by Guelph, and people wouldn’t be as friendly in this huge city, but so far, I have been really amazed by the number of way cool people I have met. It has made the other move-related hell much easier to bear.

So…KW people. Help me out. What is with this crazy thing where people are really anal about whether something is in Kitchener or Waterloo? Your cities have essentially morphed into one. The bus services both cities. You can drive from one to the other by driving down the same street! Why, when I say something’s in Kitchener, if it’s in Waterloo, even if it’s just over the line, do I get “Waterloo! Waterloo!”? Even the directory assistance does it. “We have found no listing for x business in Kitchener, but we have found x business in Waterloo. Would you like this number?” Geesh! It’s one big region. It has a regional council. Some houses are half in Kitchener and half in Waterloo. But eeeek, the lines must be drawn between Kitchener and Waterloo. I admit that I’m new to town and may have missed something. So…enlighten me, please? It may save me from getting my head chomped if I say something’s in the wrong city.

And what’s with random parts of Fairway Road that have lots of businesses on them having no friggin sidewalk? *Crabby Joe’s, I’m lookin’ at you.* Newsflash, not everyone drives everywhere. I don’t want to get on a bus to travel 2 blocks. It doesn’t take long before I can see you! Why would I loop around on a bus? Really?

It’s a strange experience going from a city where I knew where lots of stuff is to going to a city where I know nothing. I forgot what that felt like, even though I went through this 11 years ago when we moved to our first apartment in Guelph. I am used to just jumping on a bus, popping downtown, picking up stuff at the local store I like so much, tooling around to stuff nearby, and coming home. Now, whenever I find out about a new place, I have to punch it into Google Maps to see how far it is from me, call it, ask a bunch of questions, call Grand River Transit, ask them more questions, just so I can go there. I have no idea what is around it. I have no reference points. Even going across the street to the mall is an adventure which, if completed successfully, feels as though it deserves a celebration! When learning a new route, I feel like I need a treat at the end! Aaaa. I’m not used to needing so much friggin help!

Speaking of getting help, I have discovered something. People have very different definitions of the word “straight” than I do. Straight, to me, means continue in the direction which I am facing. Do not alter course. If I were an RC car, and you were steering me, you would be pushing the little joystick straight forward. But lots of people, however, mean go straight, after making a gigantic 90-degree turn! Um, I can’t see. I need that little nugget of info.

I discovered this after almost walking out into bus traffic. Thankfully I was rescued, but I just went straight as directed. There was nothing to indicate to me that I was stepping down from the platform…until I was grabbed and saved. Aaa. Then I hear it. “Go left first!”

So next time you tell a blind person to go straight, picture it as if you’re driving a remote controled car or maybe a little guy in a video game. Would you continue pushing forward on the joystick, or would you get him to go left first and then push forward. I don’t know what’s ahead of me, I can’t make inferences as to what your definition of straight is.

I know I have to be patient with myself. I didn’t learn all of Guelph all at once. As long as I learn what I need, I’m fine. But I’m so scared because I feel like I need a few routes for the new dog when s/he gets here in April. I can hear the laughter. “April? Come on, you’ll know lots by then.” But you forget two things. a. snow is coming, which makes learning and travelling a royal pain in the hoop. And B. I’m moving up to working full time. Just when will I be able to coordinate with others to learn new routes?

I have been back to Guelph once, came back to go to a meeting. It was a strange feeling walking through downtown, knowing where I was going…but also knowing that my home is not in this town.

Much as I love Guelph, I am already starting to see benefits from this move. It’s liberating to come to work on my own, and not have to schedule rides and bug the everlovin’ bejeebers out of generous coworkers. It’s so nice if, say, I’m late or have an appointment, I can just stay later and go home when I want. Ah the simple things.

But my coworkers continue to be amazing beyond words. The things they have done for me bring me to tears. Here come the tears again. Some have shown me routes to places. Some have driven me to the grocery store. Some have walked me to the bus terminal. Some have described routes for me. Some have taken time in the evening to walk my neighbourhood with me. Some have looked up bus info for me. Some have helped me whoop some mover butt and have given me TV’s they didn’t need. And they have done all of this without making me feel like it’s an immense bother. I don’t often talk about blessings, but when I think about how amazing my coworkers are, the only word that comes to mind is that I have been blessed, and some day, maybe, I hope I can repay all of this. I’m…just…blown away all over again.

Oh boy. I see all that I have written about Grand River Transit below, and I’m realizing that it needs its own post. Maybe I should just stop here and give everybody a rest. Yup, that sounds good.

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