The Great Canadian Adventure – from here on, it’s just everyday (originally posted May 12/09)

I can tell by the fact it’s been a month since my last update that things have settled back down. This is still Canada, it’s still a thrill to see Hummingbirds outside the window (and the occasional racoon strolling through the yard) but it’s a Canada where we’ve got to be up every morning and have the kids’ lunches ready, where we’ve got to make the accounts balance at the end of each month, buy the shopping, have haircuts….

Mrs Dim is still jobhunting, but tomorrow (which happens to be her birthday) she’s being called back for a third interview at the same place. This could be excellent news, but as all Canucks fans know right now, sometimes it’s better to be out of the Playoffs early, rather than be the team that came second in the important match. My own plans for world domination aren’t faring that well either, but slow progress is being made. I’ve finished a sketch and started two short plays, and I’ve finally begun the rewrite on one of my bigger projects. I’ve contacted the local Arts Council and asked to become a member so I can exploit all the other members (who only joined to see if they could sell things to everyone else – I’ve been in an Arts Network Group before, you know…)

 

But the big questions: Am I homesick? No, because I’m living at home. Home isn’t where your heart is, it’s where you keep all your stuff, and all my stuff is right here in Burnaby. We went camping last weekend and though my family was all around me and my heart was there, my home wasn’t a tent in a bug-infested wood, it was this rather smart three-storey house with en-suite and partially converted basement.

 

Are the weasels homesick? No, not really. Biggest weasel has an accent so thick you could use it to club seals (and to get the right inflection, she apparently has to speak through her nose) but she’s adjusting and fitting in, so that’s cool. Middle weasel complains that no one can pronounce her name correctly, and she’s not changing her accent for anybody. She has the odd misery about friends from the UK, but that’s almost always a cover for when she’s been caught doing something bad and she wants to play for sympathy. Tiny weasel complains pretty much endlessly about missing one friend in particular from the UK, but it’s one we’d never met in all the time we were there, so I don’t think it’s really serious.

It’s my driving test tomorrow. I took the first part of it the other day and did quite well, but tomorrow is the practical road test and I’m very nervous. I’m not a great driver, and I don’t react well under pressure. The best thing about driving in Canadas is that, proportionally, the roads are practically deserted. For rush hour traffic in my neck of the woods now, think of Basingstoke town centre at three am on a Monday. But, I’ve been her nearly three months in total, driving all over the place (sometimes quite literally) and you adapt to your surroundings….Now I get quite panicky when there are other cars nearby and I’m not sure which exit I want….Sigh. Still, better to get it over with. Once that’s done (and Mrs Dim has done her tests) the next big hurdle will be the stupendously long Summer Holidays with three weasels to entertain. I can’t see me acheiving my long term business goals during the summer, but that’s also the time when I need to be hounding the colleges and Universities to get them to employ me for the following term as guest speaker and all round published playwright.

We’ve had our first requests from friends wanting to come and stay, but at the moment we still don’t have any guest accommodation,. The basement is still the Playroom in name, but it has no carpet, only three walls (it’s complicated!) and the only heat comes from the furnace in the corner. We need to build another wall, put on a door, maybe subdivide it and put in more power sockets, but all of that takes money we haven’t budgeted for and that brings us back to Mrs Dim getting a job.

Of course I want her to find a job. I’d like the security of a regular income again, and she’s not happy not working. But it has been brilliant having her at home for so long. When she just takes a week or so off, she’s still into work, at least in her head. She treats home like part of the office and she can be very difficult to live with. These months off have given her the chance to have a holiday and then shake down into a new “Living at home” mode which is very pleasant. She can take time to look after Tiny Weasel, or do some job applications, or we can go for walks together. We’ve been on trips into town, trips into the country, we’ve spent days together at home fixing things, putting things up or moving things around. She’s helped me with my business plan, discussed plots, re-read old stories and made suggestions. We’ve watched tv and fallen asleep on the sofa. It’s time that we haven’t had for so long I’d forgotten we’d ever had it before. I don’t want that to end, but I’m not so naive I think we can go on like this for ever. Either I need to earn five times as much as I am doing now, or she needs to get a job at something like her old scale of pay. With that, we could just about meet the payments that we need to sustain our current way of life. If I pull my finger out and acheive what’s on my business plan, we can have the way of life we’d really like.

 

Whichever way you slice it, what we’ve got from here on in is not The Great Canadian Adventure anymore – it’s just life, the Great Adventure we all share.

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