Friday, 31 July 2015

Chasing Dawn

We are just outside of Rivière-du-Loup right now. There was a big storm in New Brunswick so we were just crawling for a while and lost some time. Still on track to hit Hamilton by supper, though. 

At the moment, we're very slightly stuck. My husband pulled into a lot that isn't big enough for the truck to complete a circle. We can't reverse because of the tow dolly so he has to take my car off the dolly and the dolly off the truck, turn around and then reattach them. This is one of those moments where it is best for me to just stay out of the way and let him swear at the truck. 

The animals are doing well. The birds are happier than the cats. 

The truck has three seats across so she's belted in beside me. My cockatiel is on the floor and the songbirds are under my seat (there's a large, open compartment.) The zebra finches have been singing and I've heard some curious cheeps from the canaries so everyone is happy. 

We have a long way to go yet but we'll get there. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

On My Island



Tomorrow we load up and leave. The truck is going to be ready at 7:30am and the loaders will be here at 9. 

I'm listening to Great Big Sea today. They are from Newfoundland, but my province more or less considers them adopted sons and their music is as reminiscent of our Island as theirs. I think everyone from Atlantic Canada can see a bit of us in their music. 

We've not had any beach weather for days, but the day we fly back to get the kids is supposed to be lovely so we're packing bathing suits to ensure we can head to the beach at least once more. I can't leave without being in the ocean once more. 

Tomorrow, as we cross the bridge to the mainland, I know I'm going to have a hard time. We'll be back in a couple of days for a few hours to get the kids, but tomorrow really is THE moving day. 

This is my home. I spent my childhood wanting to come home and stay for good. We moved so much that the Island was my only constant. My husband fell in love with the Island when I brought him home on our honeymoon, and he knew he belonged here too. We moved home just over a year later and now I have lived here most of my adult life. 

We will be back. We can't leave the Island forever no more than we could stop breathing. We belong here; the red dirt and salt air are in my blood. The peace I've found here is hard to describe, but it is a balm to soothe wounded souls and I am going to miss it like I would a limb. 

When we cross the bridge tomorrow, there will be tears. We will drive over the fourteen kilometres that separate our beautiful, peaceful little world from the rest of the country; fourteen kilometres that will feel much longer than they are. 

We have a grand adventure behind us, but it comes at the cost of feeling adrift for at least three years. 

So for this final day, I'm going to listen to Atlantic Canadian folk music and breathe deep of the fresh, clean air blowing through our windows. I'll drink our sweet well water and commit as much as I can to memory to keep the Island vibrant and alive in my mind during the long years away. 




Monday, 27 July 2015

Admittedly Moping Over Unrelated Things

Today's MiM (Mothers in Medicine) has me thinking. It's from a mom who is entering her fourth year of med school deciding when to have her second child. The way the post read, it sounded like she was just sort of assuming she'd be able to get pregnant on a schedule. 

While I've mentioned it in passing a couple of times, I don't think I've explicitly stated that we're intending to grow our family while I'm in med school. We're going on a year of hoping now. 

The first day of O week - August 24th - was my due date with the one I lost in January, so I know I'm getting particularly emotional about it as the day approaches. Milestones are hard. This is why I'm moping, when I have so much else to celebrate. 

So when I read a post that seemed to almost take it for granted that she could get pregnant on roughly a schedule, I couldn't help but be irrationally jealous of this stranger (who I'm sure is a lovely person!)

We can't schedule having a baby at some slightly more convenient time, like other people might do, because biology and I don't get along. I don't care if other people think having a baby during med school is a bad idea. That it will be hard. I've done hard. Life is hard. But the hardest things to do are often the most worthwhile, and this is one thing we already know is going to be worth every scrap of effort. 

We aren't going to delay another three or five years, until some arbitrary point in our lives where someone else thinks we are at the 'right point' to add to our family, until my husband is nearly forty, and then find ourselves needing to spend even more years trying (again.) This is the right time for us. We will make any time the right time. We know what we can handle and we don't let other people dictate what is important to us. 

So I'm allowing myself a mopy evening, to contemplate my rather significant ongoing failure in this area of my life and simultaneously toast (with actual wine) that I at least have some successes to celebrate to distract me. 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Cardboard Forest

Packing is 80% done. We've gotten everything set up and confirmed. Everything in need of booking is booked.

Right now, we just need to finish the packing, clean the house and drive. Just. Like it's that easy. Still, it'll get done. We're efficient when we want to be.

Yesterday, at Calgary's O week, MD Financial revealed the backpacks we'll be getting. This year's backpacks are purple and I'm a bit - more than a bit - excited about getting my own backpack. It's a rite of passage, a symbol of entry into the somewhat elite world of med school. 

In the last couple of days, it has really sunk in that yes, I am actually starting medical school in four weeks (and one day.) We actually are moving to Hamilton in just a few days.

Our life is changing completely. It feels so weird. I feel like the dog that finally caught the car. Now what do I do with it?!




Thursday, 23 July 2015

Not a Good day

Today was our first really big packing day. I got a lot done, but I managed to hurt myself badly and I'm currently curled up in bed feeling pathetic. 

Over the years, we've kept most of the kids' outgrown clothes (aside from the dirty/stained/ruined ones) folded and packed up neatly since we weren't sure that we were done having kids, and now we're sure we're not. We have a ton of baby crap in the basement. Given that we have been in infertility hell for a year and a half now with only more loss for our efforts, having all the baby stuff just hanging around waiting has been... hard.

So I allowed myself one (opaque) Rubbermaid bin of special baby clothes and one (small, opaque) bin of baby stuff. All the other baby and outgrown stuff is going to either my friend - who is due at the start of September - or is being donated. 

We also got rid of a large portion of our clothes and excess linens. The stuff that you just kind of hang onto because it isn't cruddy enough to throw out but you don't really wear/use it much if ever. We just got rid of all of that and decided to only keep the stuff we really wear. 

We probably, all told, reduced our clothing and linens by about 60-75%. 

Over the years, we've accumulated a lot of crap and because we have spent so long in this house we've not needed to do a big purge, but we really don't want to move anything we don't need, so we're putting in the work now because we have the time. Everything we get rid of we don't need to unpack later, so it's sort of time saving. 

Tomorrow is the kids' last day at daycare, where they've been for almost three years. We got permission to bring in a special treat for their groups, so we are bringing in cupcakes. Dozens and dozens of cupcakes. 

The goodbyes are starting to roll in and our kids' lives will never be the same.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Ten Steps Ahead

While the move is close and thus consuming much of my thinking power these days, I still find myself having moments where I can't help but think about the future. My career. The end goal. 

Since day one, family medicine has been my intended pathway, though I accept that it's entirely possible that I'll fall in love with a particular specialty and decide to pursue that instead. So I've been thinking about what specialties are likely to catch my eye. 

Obstetrics quite possibly, but my interest in that field seems to wax and wane. IM or paeds? Probably not. Psychiatry? Definitely not. 

I can definitely see myself going for emerg (or FM+emerg) because I like everything and I enjoy figuring out puzzles quickly. But there's little follow-up, which would likely bug me. It'd be different here, I suppose, since many of the emerg doctors also work in clinics and/or have practices with their own rosters. 

Thing is, I like EVERYTHING and I think I'd be sad if there were entire swaths of medicine that I just didn't deal with. I've had an interest in rare diseases and disorders since I was a kid and I like using whatever info I can get and drilling down through the possibilities to figure things out and I think I'd enjoy any part of medicine where I get opportunities to do that. 

I think I would enjoy having a practice where orphan patients with complex needs would find a doctor eager to take them on. Might be difficult to manage from a financial point of view though.

I've gotten provisional clinical clearance while I finish my vaccine series. That means I can start electives with my class. 

The plan is to start out doing a wide variety of electives. Because I'll be applying to CARMS in just over two years so I only have so much time to narrow my choices down. I definitely don't have any desire for a future in surgery. It seems like many of the people I've spoken to have at least some idea whether they are going to end up in surgical or medical specialties. Maybe it's a personality thing? Be interesting to see if that's how things end up. 

I'm distracting myself from packing by thinking about the future. The move is approaching its most overwhelming point right now and I'm lacking for activation energy. So thinking about where this move will take us - literally and figuratively - helps. 


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Progress!

After four years in this house, and spending the entirety of my adulthood unable to enjoy having friends over because of my anxiety, I just hosted a fun, successful barbecue with friends. 

There was laughter and loudness. Kids running around like mad and having fun. My son was a perfect little host - ensuring the kids were happy and keeping tabs on people. He got to play a lot of video games with his friend, which made it extra special. 

It's really odd, perhaps, but I feel a bit more 'grown up' now that I've been able to entertain in my home. I do want to make a habit of it; I'd love to just be able to have a colleague over for supper with my family without much prior planning. Invite my tutorial group back to my place to study. I suppose that will come with time. 

I am proud of myself for overcoming what has been a very, very difficult aspect of my anxiety to cope with. Over the next few years, I won't have the time I need to dedicate to dealing with this sort of stuff so I'm glad to have been able to do it now. 

Seeing my home, just eleven days before we leave this house for good, alive with the laughter of friends and the joyful shrieks and giggles of children was just perfect. It was exactly the farewell I needed. 

Now, it's time to do the dishes and put the last of the food away, pour myself a glass of wine and toast what is, to me, a massive success. 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Feeding People

Oh you wish you were in my kitchen right now. 

The cake is in the oven, I've already made the rainbow pasta salad, the souvlaki is marinating in the fridge. Once the cake is ready I'm going to make a pan of biscuit for strawberry shortcake. 

I love to cook, just not every single day. Even things we enjoy can become tedious when they are required of us. My kids certainly enjoy helping in the kitchen but I have to be insanely vigilant with them to ensure they are respecting food safety rules. I don't care if my kids are utterly filthy at the end of the day, but if they are helping me cook they must be absolutely clean and I watch them like hawks.  I don't mess around with food safety.

We'll be at least ten here tomorrow (including us) and I think I probably have enough food for sixteen, considering how little the kids eat. 

Once we get to Hamilton, I'm planning to have a barbecue at our new place with some of my classmates. I promised I would the day before acceptances came out, so I'm actually going to. May as well bribe my way into my colleagues' good graces. :-D


Friday, 17 July 2015

Exercises in CBT (ish)

I have had an anxiety thing about having people in my space since I was a child. I know exactly why but that doesn't make it any easier to cope with. 

My husband and kids are one thing, but having friends over has, for the longest time, just been something I can't do. I *want* to entertain and be able to have friends over to study, but the thought of it would make my heart race and basically set off an anxiety attack. Even having a repairperson in our home has been a source of considerable difficulty.

Over the last few years, I've really been trying to work on this. Gradually, my anxiety has been improving and I've been doing better. I've had friends over spontaneously a few times and did okay. 

Last summer, I'd planned to have a barbecue but I never did work myself up to it. This summer, though, it's happening for sure. I know it's for sure because it's on Sunday. We bought the last of the groceries today. I have at least five people who are coming over, probably one of my son's friends too, and so far I'm doing just fine anxiety-wise. I will be scrubbing the house to within an inch of it's life tomorrow, though. 

Menu is prepared. Simple stuff; steaks, chicken, souvlaki, pasta salad, roast potatoes, cold veggie platter, Caesar salad, asparagus with hollandaise, Italian love cake and fruit platter for dessert, etc. I am preparing more food than is necessary because whatever is left over after we send guests home with some is going to be turned into meals over the next little while so we don't have to cook much.

Steaks become phillies, chicken becomes stir-fry, souvlaki is just fantastic reheated. And yes, everything is made from scratch. I'm a Maritimer - we feed people. Good, simple, home-cooked food. 

The move is now officially less than two weeks away. Rental truck is booked, flights back after Leg 1 of the trip are booked. Care for the kids arranged. Loaders and unloaders are booked. All we have to do is pack and clean now. 

I'm looking forward to saying a proper goodbye to my friends, to celebrating a transition in our lives with food and friends in our own home. As sad as we are to leave our wonderful friends behind, it's a time of celebration and we can think of no other people we'd more like to share it with. 


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Flaked

I am unimpressed with the moving company. A week ago, I emailed to confirm our booking and was given a pickup date window. 

Today I emailed to ask if I could get a more precise pickup date now that we are closer to the move and it turns out they never booked us and now they are fully booked for July and won't be in this area again until mid-August. 

Really unimpressed. 

So since our next best option was over $1000 more ($0.132/lb more and higher fuel surcharge adds up fast!) we decided to go the rental truck route. 

So the new move plan is this:
- pick up truck + tow dolly (for my car) on the 30th
- loaders (I swore I'd never load another moving truck and I meant it!) load that morning
- we leave evening of the 30th. Drive straight through with Husband. Leave Rav in Moncton. 
- kids + dog stay with relatives here
- arrive in Hamilton late day on the 31st
- meet with landlord, get keys and do walk through on the 1st
- unloaders arrive afternoon of the 1st
- we start unpacking that night and most of the 2ed
- return truck on the 2ed, fly in to Moncton (cheaper!) that evening. 
- pick up kids morning of the 3rd, leave for Hamilton again in the Rav. 

Yes, this means we'll be doing the drive twice in a few days but my husband loves long-distance driving and I enjoy road trips. It'll be fun for us. 

Now it's time to go really start the packing. 

I love my work gloves. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

On Lungs and Breathing

I don't often feel self-pitying, occasional whining aside, but right now I am angry at things over which I have no control. I am trying to channel it into thinking patterns that will allow me to connect with my patients some day. 

My husband and I went out on a lovely bike ride today. Halfway through, my asthma started acting up. Badly. By the time we got home after a pathetic 4km ride, I needed a mask.  My legs aren't even sore - the ride wasn't physically hard, but it was difficult from a respiratory point of view. 

I realize a lot of people think of asthma as more of a kid thing, little more than a minor annoyance to adults who still suffer it. But unfortunately that's not always true. My life has been ruled by it since infancy in ebbs and flows. I don't know what it's like to be normal, to be able to do any activity I want and go until my muscles are tired, not just until my chest starts quitting on me. It took me many years to build what little stamina I did have, which was really good for a severe asthmatic, but it's gone now. 

I'm entering a field where the vast majority of my peers are young, vibrant, shining examples of health and vitality, which is lovely for them. While they will learn about life with chronic illness, most will not fully understand what it is like to have your life controlled in its entirety by uncooperative body systems. Unless they get sick. Which I hope they don't, because so far my classmates seem like pretty amazing people. 

I could only bike 4km, not even a shadow of what I once could do, though probably better than I've been able to do at some points. And it's not for lack of trying, it's not because I'm a failure or lazy. I try hard, and I will always try harder. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to get up and my husband and I are going to go to the pool and I am going to swim all morning. I am going to exhaust myself completely doing the one thing my lungs will let me get away with, even if what I really want to do is hop on my bike and ride until my legs are jello and my heart is thrumming. It's hard to accept that I do have limitations that other people don't. 

But I'll live, frustrated and cranky as I am right now. I'll be mostly okay, and at least I live in a time where medicine lets me live somewhat normally, and I'm lucky that way. Medicine; my past, present, and future in so many ways. 


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Purple People Eaters


I've mentioned before that I am a larger person, but if you've read for a while you should realize that I'm not exactly the lazy sort. I enjoy swimming whenever I have the chance and I spend a lot of time walking in the woods, climbing trees, walking the dog. I'm fat, but I hardly sit on my arse all day eating chips. I am as active as my asthma allows me to be. 

One thing I have missed terribly over the last few years is cycling. I stopped biking regularly when I was pregnant with my son because biking whilst pregnant is really, really awkward. Using bike seats for littles isn't recommended, and the trailers just freak me out, so for years I haven't really been able to bike regularly. The kids were too little and I didn't really have time without them, so it wasn't feasible. 

Over the last couple years, my husband and I have discussed when we probably could start biking as a family. Last summer was a bit too early for our youngest, so we waited until this summer and finally got bikes (cheap ones, but still.) Today was our first attempt at a family bike ride. 


My son still has issues with balance (gross motor issues are not uncommon in kids with autism) so he got frustrated. My daughter caught on pretty quick - she hadn't been out biking much this year - but eventually did fall off the trail in the woods. Because we live on a country highway, my kids only get the opportunity to ride out back in the field so the trail is different for them. 

We probably only biked a kilometre before the kids got fed up, but I could've kept going for hours. I desperately missed cycling; there really is nothing like the feel of wind on your face. My husband and I are going to go out tomorrow while the kids are at daycare. 

We spent the rest of the day at the beach, because we are trying to squeeze every moment of enjoyment out of our summer here before we go. 

The jellyfish didn't help with that goal, though. 

The whole beach was like this. My dog didn't care; she'd just lay in them. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Tiny Pumps

My friend whose baby has been diagnosed prenatally with a form of situs inversus (actual diagnosis ended up being heterotaxy - left atrial isomerism) had an appointment at the major children's hospital in the region today. Due to a large influx of cruise passengers, there were no vehicles available for rental so I drove her. 

It was fun to spend the day on a road trip and my friend very kindly invited me into the appointments with her. Just to be clear (since obviously patient privacy in social media like this is crucial!) I've been given permission to post about this and I'm posting as a friend, not a med student. 

A fetal echocardiogram is really, really thorough. The resolution on the machines is amazing and it was just really cool to see Small Person in such detail. It was fun to try to landmark and identify structures in someone so small. 

I don't think I had any detailed scans this far along with my kids so it was really interesting to see how the baby appears on ultrasound at this point. 

I was really impressed with the hospital. I'd never been there before (spent plenty of time at CHEO but otherwise haven't been in any major regional kids hospitals further than emerg) and I think it'd be interesting to do an elective there at some point. They have an entire fetal assessment department! 

The "where should I do electives to get to know my region's health system best?" mental indexing has started. I will have precious little elective time during clerkship - I can't do electives at Dal programs until clerkship, apparently - before CaRMS to get to know the programs and the hospitals as a professional so I'm already starting to scout things out. 

My clerkship starts in sixteen and a half months - November 21, 2016.  I'm using every opportunity to start developing my strategy for how to best use my time to ensure I get all the exposure I need to decide on which programs I'd like to apply to. I know it's early, but sixteen months isn't very long!

Still, it was super fun to go with my friend today and get to see another major referral hospital in the region.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Passing the Torch

OMSAS is about to open for this next cycle. Most med schools application services are open now or about to open. 

The students to whom I will be senior - the ones my class will welcome, inform, and guide - are about to start their applications. My friend is probably applying to Mac and Dal this year. She's IP for Dal (NB) so is guaranteed an interview and she's a non-trad with a solid VR score so I expect Mac will like her.

I'm already planning to make my house available to next year's interviewees. We'll have a guest room at the new place so I'll be paying forward the favour I received and putting people up during interview season. We may have a classmate staying with us during orientation week since their place isn't available until September first. 

I'm quite looking forward to having a guest room since I'd like to have guests. It'll be nice to have people come visit. Our friends from Ottawa, even our friends from down home when they're passing through Ontario. 

The wheel is turning and the cycle is moving on. Next year's med students are starting the awfully stressful process, but about a quarter of them will come out triumphant and I can't wait to find out who they will be and see how I can help ease their way. 

Time marches on, and now I'm down to days before we move. We've booked with a mover and now just have to finish packing and cleaning. 

After all of this, the waiting, the frustration, the occasional tears, I start medical school next month. We just received our orientation week schedules and I know when I'm getting my backpack. 

And the people who start next year get to begin their countdowns to Decision Day just like I did last year. 

To those applying this year - good luck! 


Sunday, 5 July 2015

JUST a family doctor

This has been annoying me. 

Most times I tell someone I'm going to med school, they ask if I'm going to specialize or if I'm going to be "just a family doctor" or "just a GP."

"Just?"

Now, I admit to some bias as I'm really heavily leaning towards family and I have pretty much always wanted to be a family doctor, but a family doctor isn't "just" anything! Particularly here, where they are so essential. 

Family doctors are the ones who tie everything together. They're the ones who build the long term relationships with their patients, who have to be able to spot the signs that indicate problems in any area of the body (or multiple areas at once) and need to be able to know what investigations to order and how to interpret. They need to keep up on a vast body of research and be prepared to advocate heavily for their patients. 

Family doctors do geriatrics, obstetrics, paediatrics, in some places they even do some surgery. They are the gatekeepers of medicine, the jacks of all trade, the people who make the whole system work. 

I'd be freaking thrilled to be a family doctor. To have to have a decent understanding of everything instead of an expert level understanding of one system or organ. I'd love to be able to answer questions about HIV in one appointment and then go do a prenatal checkup in the next. 

While I do also have interest in some other areas, they've largely been transient and only my interest in family has been constant. 

It's a bit depressing, though, to realize that so much of the public seems to look at family doctors as people who did that only because they couldn't do something more impressive. 

Frankly, I think family medicine itself is pretty damn impressive. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

Its a Small World After All

I'm continually amazed by how small a world it is. Medicine in Canada, the Maritimes in particular, is a rather small world and I've had many opportunities to be reminded of it of late. 

My landlord's son just graduated from med school at the end of May and he's off to a particular hospital I know very well for his residency in paediatrics. He (my landlord) is a rather prominent businessman here, so it's nice to be parting ways on good terms in general and in particular with someone I may have cause to do business with again. He's offered to get me in contact with his son if I decide to do an elective in that hospital - something I quite likely will take him up on as I have an interest in returning to that city for residency (not a top choice, but a city I wouldn't mind living in again, for sure.)

The daughter of the postmistress at my little community's post office is off to MUN this fall as one of the four students from my province. I'm thrilled for her as I've known of her aims since I wrote my MCAT two years ago and she was unsuccessful until this year. 

I've been finding these random connections to various doctors or doctors-to-be just while talking with people. It's rather incredible how many ways my life - in general, not as a patient - crosses paths with my colleagues in ways I didn't know before. It's really rather fascinating and I'm enjoying the opportunity to start laying the groundwork for the professional network I'll need here. 

My (now former) family doctor and I had a fantastic chat when I saw her last. She had lots of words of wisdom for me and was very direct about what it's like dealing with this province's health system, which was really good to know, and we'd had dealings with the same person over recruitment stuff. 

It's just very interesting how I'm already "one of them" as far as most people seem concerned. So people are telling me about the doctors they know and I'm learning about all these connections I didn't know before and I'm cataloging them in my mind. 

Who knows when it might come in handy to know that Dr. ___ is the go-to-guy for heart stuff here, or that Mr. Bob's kid is a doctor in that out of the way clinic I'd like to visit, or that Dr. So-and-so in Halifax does a less invasive form of a certain surgery? 

Useful little tidbits of information to keep with me in this small world of my new profession. 




Thursday, 2 July 2015

Ticking Things Off

I've accomplished the following:
- napping (yes, this was on my to-do list)
- Scheduled moving company to do an estimate on-site (I can just call other companies with the estimated weight to get their quotes)
- Set up car insurance for when we move (OMA rates are awesome)
- Pre-pre-pack (a.k.a. The Purge) has started
- TB testing (both steps)
- Starting the series to my necessary vaccines up to date
- Cancellation date given to daycare
- Order placed for internet service for Hamilton
- Order placed for cell phone number through the OMA plan
- Cancelled everything here for end of July
- Change of address/mail forwarding done at Canada Post
- Bought boxes, started packing some small stuff. 
I've been busy.

What I still have left to do is finalize setting up our tenant's insurance for the new place, cancel our current insurance for Aug 1 (I'll have a one-day overlap), plan our barbecue, pack, and clean. Those last two things are a lot of work but I have a fair amount of time to do it. 

I have a meeting with a life/disability insurance rep in a week and a half to get that side of things dealt with. 

I'm getting a lot accomplished, at least. Right now, I need to go take over in the kitchen and make my husband go sit down because he's had a long day working in the heat. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Happy Canada Day!

I'm helping a friend move at some point today so I'm just waiting to hear from her before we head to the beach. It's absolutely gorgeous today.

We've started planning the itinerary for the actual move. Now that we're actually in "moving month" it's crunch time.

We were seriously considering using a rental truck, towing my car, and having me drive the Rav but realistically it is just too much of a pain for us to do that. While there are very few times in our lives we have paid more to do something the convenient way, this is one of those times. 

Logistically it's just plain easier to hire a company to move us. We aren't planning to bring most of our furniture (a lot of it is old, flimsy, and won't survive the move) so it's mostly just personal effects and I'm spending the rest of this week paring those down. We have way, way too much crap anyway so I'm taking a minimalist theme and running with it. 

We're going to leave here around midday on the 28th (ish) unless our stuff leaves later. We'll drive through to Rivière-du-Loup, spend a night there. On to Ottawa the morning of the 29th and be there by 1-ish. Drive around a bit, then go crash in a hotel. I think we'll be driving back to Ottawa a bit later in the summer for a proper trip to see our friends properly. We're going to have all of our pets with us and we'll all be tired, road-weary, and cranky so it's not a great time to go visiting people.

On the 30th, we'll drive through to Hamilton. We may need to spend a couple nights in hotels unless we can move in a day or two early. Sort of depends when our stuff arrives. It can take several days longer than the drive because they usually take multiple households per truck. 

Since we'll be doing the drive over three days - we really don't need to, we could just drive straight through to Hamilton in one day (which I don't feel safe with) or spend one night in Montreal and do it over two days - it gives us time to relax a bit and enjoy the drive. We'll be driving both cars and I don't really feel safe doing more than maybe 6 hours of driving a day on my own. My husband is a great long-distance driver. I am not. 

We're also planning things so that we miss Montreal at the worst times. I haaaaaate driving through Montreal. 

It's all coming together, finally. Details will morph and change over the next few weeks, but we'll make it there one way or another. We'll be in Hamilton for sure a month from today.