The impending move to Wyoming is finally at hand.
We first found out about the posting for Doug’s new job back in early July, but it’s taken two months to get all the paperwork squared away and to convince them that we’d actually prefer to move sooner rather than later. Bouncing from family home to family home is not a long-term solution as far as we’re concerned…
Doug’s Work Visa application arrived last Friday after we’d gone away on a sanity-seeking mission in Merrickville, ON. We stopped watching the pot for one day and it finally boiled! Now we’ve launched into overdrive: the U-haul truck is booked (we’ll be towing our Mini Cooper behind it on a flat-bed trailer); the hotels en-route and at our destination are reserved; and we’ve set up new US dollar bank accounts. We knew that it would be a game of wait…..wait… now HURRY!
Now, I am a little worried that we’ll get down to the border at Sarnia, ON next Thursday and be turned away. Apparently how it works is we bring Doug’s Visa application and all our supporting paperwork there and then we’re interviewed by an immigration officer. Technically, he or she can reject us, but Doug assures me this is not likely.
Actually, Doug has had to reassure me a lot the past couple of days. Yesterday when I was trying to book us a hotel in Rock Springs, WY (where we’ll be living for the next 19 months or so) for a week, I discovered that many of the hotels were booked up for long-term stay. One of the reservation agents I spoke with who lives in RS says he’s had one fellow living in the hotel for SIX MONTHS! The agent told me that he was looking to rent an apartment and the cheapest he could find was $1000 for a “crappy loft” amd that housing prices were basically double what properties were worth. Sounds like another Fort McMoney (otherwise known as Fort McMurray in northern Alberta)!
As Doug reminds me, though, we are getting a a housing stipend (unknown amount at this point) from the company, and that should put us in a competitive position to rent a decent place for our time there. In fact, the company is going to reimburse us for our moving expenses, a 7-day stay in Rock Springs while we house-hunt, and will give us money for meals and household goods while we’re there. Mothers: tell your children to become mechanical engineers!!!
Doug and I are still living day-to-day and week-to-week regarding the move to Wyoming. Everyone I’ve spoken with thinks it’s very strange we don’t know when we’re actually moving or where we’ll be living when we get down there. Me too!
I knew there would be a lot of hoops to jump through and headaches to contend with, but I think even I’m surprised by the piecemeal nature of the information, the amount of paperwork, and the number of different people handling Doug’s case. Just to name a few of our ‘handlers’: there’s Camille in Calgary; Holly in Texas; Trina in Wyoming; and half a dozen other people scattered across North America.
We do have some information: we know that Doug’s training begins in early October. He’ll spend one week in Houston and then go to Kellyville, Oklahoma for five days of driving training. I guess that’s where they’ll teach him how to drive the big truck Then he’ll be in Rock Springs, WY for a few months of on-site training. Then back to Houston most likely for more in-class stuff. At least through all his back and forthing, I’ll be in one place!
We are really hoping to move down to Rock Springs in early September so we can get settled in before Doug goes off to his training (and so I can focus properly on the book again!). While we wait for more information, though, we’re doing everything possible to prepare. We’ve gathered most of our possessions at Doug’s parents’ place in Ottawa and we’re sorting through things ruthlessly.
To try and stay as sane as possible through all this, I am indulging in more than my fair share of escapism. On the literary front, I’m reading Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series from start to finish. Hard to think about moving when you’re engrossed in a murder-mystery or grossed out by descriptions of forensics.
I’m also watching a British television series on DVD based on Elizabeth George’s novels. It’s called The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and the acting is superb, as are the shots of the British countryside. Makes me want to go back for a visit!
Of course, in-between books and episodes I am trying to get a bit of work done. My brain feels like cotton these days, though – far too much uncertainty and niggling details to concentrate. I have, however, sent off a story idea to The Beaver, Canada’s history magazine. Hopefully they’ll like the idea and I’ll have something to keep me busy once the manuscript of the book is done!
A few hours ago I received a disturbing message from one of my friends in Vancouver. Just after 10:30pm at Majestic, a popular gay nightspot on Davie St., a man came in brandishing a hammer. He injured several unsuspecting staff members and patrons. As my friend said, “there was blood everywhere.” Luckily, my friend was out of harm’s way. As I told him, this was one instance I was glad he smoked: he was outside having a cig while this was going on. From online media reports, it sounds like everyone went to the hospital to get checked out, and most required stitches. They should all – physically at least – recover quite quickly.
When I first learned of this attack, I was sure it was going to be an instance of targeted gay bashing as Vancouver Pride wound down. Now that the police reports have been issued, however, it appears as if it is ‘simply’ another random act of violence. According to Vancouver Police, after the man ran out of Majestic, he continued his rampage, hitting two women on the head with the hammer on a patio. He was eventually subdued by the women’s male companion, who tackled him, sustaining some injuries in the process. Other passerby helped to hold the man while police cuffed him, and now it looks as though the assailant has suffered from mental illness for some time.
On the one hand, I am deeply relieved this violence was not directed specifically at Vancouver’s gay population. On the other, we have all been gripped by the grizzly Greyhound bus incident the past few days, and this is just one more bizarre act of random violence to reckon with.
Now I am worried about a different sort of bashing. It has come to light that the Greyhound attacker immigrated to Canada from China four years ago. Vancouver Police identifited this recent “hammer man” as “Middle Eastern” and I worry that the ignorant among us Canadians will use these incidents as fodder for their prejudiced views.
Let us remember, then, the random act of violence that a group of white Canadians in Owen Sound, Ontario recently committed against an innocent black man. What local police believe began as a case of mistaken identity escalated into a heinous, life-threatening beating that they are saying was likely fueled by racism.
“If I had a hammer, I’d hammer out a warning. I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land.”