Hello City. Goodbye Life.

18 06 2008

Rumour has it that the Barenaked Ladies song Hello City is about the very place we now call home. It’s a song about how much this city sucks. About being stuck here. Feeling out of place. Wishing to be somewhere else. And it’s on a steady loop in my head these days. Hello city. You’ve found an enemy in me. Now don’t get me wrong, there are things I really love about our new life. I love our spacious house, complete with windows, a basement and a gigantic washing machine. I love our quiet, tree lined street, and I love seeing Neener and Roo able to run and play in our grassy backyard. I love the looks of the school they will be attending in the fall. I love that my sweet Mr. now has his dad and my brother and some old high school friends to golf, play basketball and hang out with. I love that my little family is happy and at home here. What I don’t love is that I’m not happy or at home here so far. I feel guilty as hell about saying this, but the truth is I’m still swamped with regrets about coming here, even though I know it’s better for my husband and my kids. So far, it does not feel like it’s any better for me. In fact it feels like it’s getting worse. Pardon me while I throw myself a little pity post party here.

Although I am very much jobless, it turns out that my Mr. has had an easy time picking up some house painting work, which is great because god knows we can use the money. Unfortunately, that leaves me alone in the house with three kids for fair chunks of time. ‘So what?’ you might be thinking. Wasn’t I alone with three kids for much longer chunks of time in a much smaller place before we moved? Yep, I sure was. But this is radically different. Before, I was not alone in a partially set-up disaster zone. It was a fully set-up disaster zone, thank you very much. I knew where all our stuff was, and it was not in boxes on one of three levels of a house. It was all right there on the floor in front of us. Right where we left it. Before, Neener and Roo were out of the house for two and a half hours every morning, giving me a much needed break from their less than endearing five-year-old-ness. Only now do I realize how much I and they needed school to keep us all sane. Before, when I needed adult social contact, I could plop Squiggles in her carrier, walk out the door, stop in to say hi to my Mr. at work, and have a big cup of coffee and the company of people I’d grown to know and love at the local parent-child centre, within 15 minutes. Now, I would need 1) a car and 2) a driver’s license to get to anything that even remotely resembles a parent-child centre. The best I can do without wheels and a license is what I discovered today: a completely unstructured chasm of chaos they call a playgroup. And it’s in a church. Run by women whom I suspect are ‘mommies.’ (Me, I’m more of a mama, possibly even a mutha type of chick. But the semantics of mother nomenclature is a post for another day.) Oh, and this playgroup closes for the summer as of next week. And it took me and my 20 pound passenger half an hour – in the cold coastal wind and rain – to walk there this morning. And I don’t even think they had coffee. If they did, they did not want me to know about it. Before, I may have been a stay-at-home mother, but I had the comfort of a social life and a familiar neighbourhood where everything I wanted or needed was just a short stroll away. Now, I’m a stuck-at-home mother with too many kids and not enough friends, in a strange place that requires reliance on either a car or shitty public transit if I’m ever going to find my groove. It never occurred to me that saying hello to this city meant saying good by to my happy little life. Until now.

I know, I know. It’s only been two weeks. It’ll get better, just give it time. I can yank myself out of this pit of pity when I choose to. But right now, in this moment, I’m staying put. I need to wallow. It’s been a tough couple of weeks, and that entitles me to mope, at least a little. And when I’m done sulking, I’ll get back to doing what I do best: turning life’s sour fruits into garnishes for my cocktails. In the words of some guy named Noel M. Tichy, “Solve the problem yourself or accept a fate you may not like…from this perspective, the ethic of personal responsibility gains appeal.” Yes, eventually I’ll take matters into my own hands and make this obstinate little city yield to my will. But I still have Hello City on loop in my head for the time being. It makes me feel better that the Barenaked Ladies have backed up my assertion that this city sucks in song. And hey, it’s a catchy, peppy little tune with a happy ending. Which also makes me feel better.

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8 responses

18 06 2008
nanny

life’s like that! The best layed plans of mice and men etc. yadayadayada.
maybe today it’s a full moon or everybody else seems to be enjoying the oyster that was supposed to be yours. been there ,done that .It will get better, hopefully.
kinda blue myself today

19 06 2008
metro mama

That’s tough. Maybe you can find someone for one-on-one playdates? Maybe through Craig’s list or something?

19 06 2008
Nana

Hang in there I moved 11 times with 2 little boys.

20 06 2008
Anika

What area of the city do you live in?
Playgrounds may be a place to find other human beings, perhaps even a diamond in the rough or two hiding in the sand pit seeking refuge from all the less sane parental energy that abounds.

20 06 2008
domesticblister

We’re in the west end, and there is indeed an awesome playground nearby…but it’s been almost entirely deserted every time I’ve been there! And what with the whole twin thing, and Autism thing, and freelance writer thing, I’m thinking the answer to my social needs may be of the support group variety. Or maybe just a drinking buddy!

28 06 2008
trish

you have it in you to start your own group, post something to find those funky parents who dress in black, have a few tats, occasionally write something brilliant and have taken refuge ‘back home’ if that fails, just start drinkin, just enough to find a mandated playgroup……. we miss you too at the drop in, and Neener and roos shreiks and squiggles words, say the word and we will move the entire drop in To Halifax, maybe they could use us.

2 07 2008
lisa

Just reading more of your stuff. You know, I went to university in Halifax and, to be honest, I didn’t find the peeps there very friendly. Odd because we figured that “back east” was full of super friendly folks just dying to help you with your luggage, point you in the right direction and give us a big ol’ hug. Not so.

Ah, well, you will make friends when you least expect it and your kids sound like dynamos; full of personality. (:

3 07 2008
domesticblister

I know what you mean Lisa! My husband and I are both from the East Coast (but where I’m from actually is super friendly. Not like these surly mainlanders!) and we were expecting a big dose of super friendly. We’re finding pockets of it for sure, but we found that in Toronto too (I miss you South Riverdale!) But, it took me three years to make friends in T.O, so I’m willing to give it at least that long here.
When I stop and think about it, I already have all the friends I need, even though they’re spread far and wide across this country. Hey, that’s what Messenger and Facebook are for!

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