Monday, January 25, 2010

Adieu Ottawa!

Good day, eh? Wow, where has winter gone? It's a few hours short of March and spring is definitely in the air! Seems like the last few months have flown by - perhaps that is why we missed winter: we were just too busy to notice it! But January and February are now memories and we are looking forward to a new beginning in Montreal! After some decision early in the year Marie accepted a position there and begins her new job on March 15. Upon hearing the news our landlady put this condo here in Ottawa up for sale and we began looking for a new home in Montreal, as close as possible to downtown where Marie will be working. After much time and effort, with much assistance from Lara as our realtor, we settled on a duplex in Notre Dame de Grace, an old but well maintained building on a quiet, dead end street in a residential neighbourhood located in the city's west-end. (The neighbourhood's name is French for "Our Lady of Grace.") Many of the houses are historical and have much character, the area full of tree-lined streets, brick houses, and other old duplexes. This past weekend we drove down to sign papers with the notary and take possession, and as you can see from the pictures I took with my camera phone the day was lovely.

Phil and Fer became co-owners with us and are eagerly looking forward to moving in and preparing for the birth of Patrick in a few weeks! The "Coming Out Party" still scheduled for the 18th! Phil has all sorts of renovation plans he is eager to get started on and now that he is a new homeowner he will no doubt always be found just coming out of a hardware store! Fer's parents are flying up for the big event from Mexico soon and will now have a place to stay. As for us we have a found temporary accomodations in a furnished apartment elsewhere in the city until the upstairs tenants can vacate and the place cleaned. Naturally we are all very excited about being closer to the kids at this very special time in their lives and much nearer to our retirement property in the eastern Townships, now less than 2 1/2 hours away instead of five! Ottawa has been our home now for over 10 years but both Marie and I are happy to be leaving. We never really had a close rapport with the city and I only thought of it as a stepping stone to the next phase of our lives. Christina will still be here until she can eventually reestablish herself as well in Montreal, but for her remaining here for a while longer, there will be no reason to return. Ottawa is a great little place for young families to raise their kids - there is skating on the canal in the winter and cycling on it's many bike paths in the summer, and everything is within walking or easy commute by bus. And they even have a couple of fairly decent hockey teams! Marie though will certainly miss the close rapport she has established with her government colleagues these past ten years and will always be thankful for the opportunity to become a respected and successful executive in the nation's capital.

But now it is time to think about becoming grandparents for the first time! Marie and I are looking so much to this and how it will change our lives for the better! And it's just another reminder of how we are getting older! But thinking about it so much these past few months I have come to the conclusion that it's not the arrival of my little grandson who will make me feel old - it's the knowledge that I'm now married to a grandmother! Phil and Fer had a lovely baby shower last month in Montreal and as you can see from the pictures they were aglow in the moment!

But now it is March and the little snow we've had the past five months has mostly gone. We did get an opportunity to drive out to our cabin a month ago and snowshoe up our driveway - at least 4 feet of snow on the ground then and it's been snowing quite a bit since! Everything was as we had left it in November, quiet and, except for the deer and fox tracks on our road, untouched. We drove across the border into Maine to pick up some packages we had delivered there, then spent the night at a beautiful B&B a mile away. Hopefully we'll get a chance to go back in April to finish work on the cabin. At least we'll be closer now and I'll be able to get away every weekend or so. Time is flying and spring will be here before we know it. I just knew winter was over last week when I walked to Confederation Park where the ice sculptures had been and found they were all gone, destroyed by the city for safety reasons as well as warm weather, following the conclusion of Winterlude. Marie did manage to get a photo of me by an ice replica of HMCS Sackville, a corvette that served in the Royal Canadian Navy and now a museum ship in Halifax. This was particularily interesting to see as Canada’s Navy will mark its 100th anniversary of service to our country in 2010.

So now we prepare to leave Ontario for good, readying ourselves for another move as we await the packers and lock up for the last time here on George Street on the 12th March. What will it mean for us? Parking on the street, quieter nights, different views of a different city from our window, rides on the Metro, babysitting (!) and an amazing selection of world class restaurants, art museums, festivals and shopping, and new places for Muffy to explore! (This year she will be 14 and as lively as ever. As you can see from the photo she is ready for warmer weather after I gave her a haircut last week - that is not another dog there by her side but surely enough fur to sew another one!) Hopefully everyone got a chance to cheer Canada on in Vancouver - I think it was one of the best Olympics ever, no matter how many glitches there were and the weather not cooperating! The highlight for me was the fantastically brave performance of Joannie Rochette who won bronze in women’s figure skating, just days after losing her mother.

In two years Marie and I will be ready to pack up and move again as we head east to our hideaway in the mountains. But now we prepare for life in the big city - everyone is invited to visit us as our door is always open!.... My next post will be in a few weeks or if Patrick arrives sooner! In the meantime....Bonjour Montreal!

Have a wonderful March everyone and remember to keep whistling even with a shoe full of slush ! gws