I was having a party with a couple of friends at the time and because I'd had a glass of wine or two I immediately turned from the computer and said excitedly "He just asked me to move to Vancouver with him!!"
A part of my brain observed this more soberly and thought "Wow, jump to conclusions much?" but the rest of my brain drowned it out with cries of "oh my gosh we are going to fall in luuuuuuuve" and gleefully leaped around in romantic twirly skirts in the middle of a field of wildflowers.
It was about a week after we'd actually met that we were sitting at a stoplight and I turned to him and said "So - I'm not really into long-distance relationships" (smooth, huh?). And he looked at me and said "me neither" and grinned.*
So from that point forward it was basically understood that when April rolled around and the boyfriend packed his car, I'd be packing my stuff too and I'd be right next to him on the way back to Vancouver.
*Re-reading this paragraph a year later, I realize this sounds completely the opposite of how I meant it, like we were both chatting about breaking up in the most unconcerned way possible. Even though this post makes it self-evident that that's not what was meant, let me clarify: We were both saying we would continue the relationship but not from a distance, ergo I would have to stay with him when he moved!!
Packing ... sucked. There is no more eloquent way to put that while still encapsulating the sheer suckiness of it. Boyfriend is (as mentioned) a little OCD and when he's under pressure he tends to act like the team lead of an important project - worse, when he's under stress, his whole demeanour radiates barely contained impatience and frustration. This means I feel less like a beloved girlfriend and more like a moronic junior employee on the verge of being fired.
On top of that we were moving in a 1996 Subaru Outback which just doesn't have all that much storage. For almost the whole 8 months before we moved I assumed that boyfriend had a secret stash of crap in the back of his car (he had to have something somewhere!) and that was why the whole back section of the car looked half-full. Turned out it was just a blanket and some random cleaning supplies (of course) - and when I realized that what I saw was what I'd get, I just burst into tears and said "fine, throw out everything I own - NOTHING will ever fit". (I have a tiny tendency to be a bit dramatic, sometimes.) I'd already thrown out almost every piece of furniture I own and now it looked like everything else had to go too. I mean, my beloved "stuff" was mostly freebies, gifts, and garage sale finds, but just because stuff is free/inexpensive doesn't mean it's worthless. As I tried to explain to boyfriend - just cause I bought the teak dresser for $40 doesn't mean it mightn't take $200 to replace.
On top of that my dog has serious separation anxiety and maybe some kind of dog-autism that means any disruption in his environment* = panic. The rescue that I adopted him from said he'd been found wandering on the highway and they suspected he'd been dumped by his owners. How anyone could have abandoned a puppy this cute (this is the picture on the ad I responded to, taken by the rescue people):
The only thing that calmed him down was the phrase "Nobody's leaving you" which left me wracked with guilt considering that we WERE leaving him with my parents for a month or so, while we drove cross-country in a car he couldn't possibly fit in, then found a good apartment.
He took to sitting in front of or on top of things I wanted to pack:
"You ain't goin' anywhere without me, lady...."
Since it made him happy I didn't bother moving him. The idea that he was the boss of the suitcase & dresser seemed to calm him. (Yes, this is the state to which my packing degenerated. In my fantasies everything was neat and labelled. That lasted about five minutes. Boyfriend has PROMISED that we get to hire movers next time we do this).
BUT .... I did it! There was much stress and tears and a few explosions wherein this underappreciated employee shouted "I QUIT" to the irritable "team leader".
It helped that my wonderful brother came through with the loan of a giant roof rack which we also packed to the teeth. Boyfriend was practically snatched bald at this point, wild with the idea that we were literally packing six hours before we were supposed to be on the road, but my family is pretty good at making things work, no matter how unlikely or impossible they may seem to the innocent observer.
So, much to boyfriend's shock and awe (well, I may be editorializing, he might describe it as "surprise and relief" - either that or he hid the "awe" really well) the next morning .... we were on the road:
Just want y'all to observe for a second the beautiful, tidy, shiny neatness of this vehicle.
Two hours into the trip we were already going crazy with the noise of the tarp flapping against the cargo on the roof. The night before we'd joked about keeping duct tape on hand to secure the tarp, little realizing how quickly it would become reality. Boyfriend decided that this was a great idea, and as we wrapped tape around the corners and patched the minor tears, we laughed about being 'typical Canadians' doing our own problem-solving via duct tape. Initially it looked great ....
... but we were still worried, as the torn sections spread across the top of the tarp. Boyfriend added a rope and a "bit more" duct tape, but by the end of day one, the ceaseless flapping and incessant wind had taken their toll:
[excuse me while i die laughing. this picture could cheer me up at a funeral
everytime i see it i laugh so hard i'm crying ....]
Morning of day 2 dawned cold and bright, brilliantly illuminating the fact that this tarp was not quite doing the job. By this time I'd completely washed my hands of the tarp: boyfriend was still being team leader (aka drill sergeant) and I decided it would just be easier if the whole tarp business was his
By the end of day 2 even boyfriend was laughing. I also began to suspect that boyfriend might need professional help for his duct tape addiction. He scoffed at this notion, stating that he only had a problem if what he was doing wasn't working: obviously his success proved his usage was judicious rather than excessive.
By the last day the rope and tape were being knotted together in a truly creative attempt to hold everything together, and we'd had to stop to buy more duct tape because the two rolls we'd started out with were gone.
What I find the most shocking about this is that when we arrived virtually everything had made it through the trip dry and intact.....
Not to mention the fact that boyfriend's brother managed to help him unload this monstrosity without becoming paralyzed with hysterical laughter. Clearly they share that "calm, reasonable" gene that I suspect I might rather lack :) It was dark when they took it off, so I didn't get pictures, but it looked pretty much like that.
... had to show you my favourite part just one last time :)
* I once got a noise complaint from neighbours in my apartment complex about a sudden increase in his barking - the thing was, it was when I took 4 whole sick days in a row and I was HOME the entire time. He was just completely confused and infuriated because I was home, but not spending every waking minute with him. He just couldn't handle the fact that I wasn't at work the way I usually was on weekdays. Every once in a while he'd bring me a ball or toy and if I didn't throw it, he'd bark at me. Sometimes he'd just wander over and bark, then wander away, as if to remind me that he KNEW this whole situation was pretty weird and so he was keeping a close eye on me just in case I decided to do something else crazy, like not change out of my pyjamas by 8 am sharp.