Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another Productive Day:

Hey, look at what they have at Walmart:

Neato basket carts. Perfect for the shopper who isn't buying enough to bother pushing a full cart, but is lazy enough to not want to carry what they are going to buy.

You can see I found my popcorn popper!

And got snuggly slippers too:

Best of all, on my way back to the subway I popped into an optical store on a lark cuz my prescription has changed and I'm tired of having to squint even when I'm wearing my glasses. Not only did I find two pairs that I liked, when I asked if either of them were on sale for Boxing Week (thinking maybe that would help me decide), the owner gave me one hell of a deal if I took both of them! (since I'm into declaring percentages ... 60% off!) Yay. One pair is kind of a everyday sort of style and the other is a little snazzier and I've never had two pairs of glasses with the right prescription at one time so that I can decide which pair I'm "in the mood" to wear. I'm quite excited.

The store doesn't do the lenses themselves, so it will be about a week or so before I can pick them up ... but you know I shall share when I can.

And THEN, I got back home in time to watch Judge Judy. Life is good.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I think I'm hitting Walmart tomorrow --

-- for some last minute Boxing Week sales.

Pray for me.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Debbie's Day Out

Oddly, I decided to get up early and partake of Boxing Day sales today. There were enough usually expensive items I needed that I decided to do a sweep of Eaton Centre and get it over with.

So my alarm rang at 7 a.m. About an hour later I got up, after an indepth debate with myself regarding how much do I really need material goods.

This was my Christmas season weather this year:

I trudged out into the rain, and chose the streetcar downtown rather than subway. I actually prefer the streetcar. There's no labrynth of underground tunnels to get to the train, and no transfer of lines required. One seat, and I'm done. It wasn't that crowded...

Everyone else was taking the subway, no doubt.

I wasn't sure what to expect crowd-wise at the mall...

I'd say it was on par with any December day at WEM. I've never been to Boxing Day WEM. December day WEM is annoying enough.

About three hours later I was done. I walked to specific stores to compare prices, then returned to the stores that survived the economical scrutiny. I stared at the large boxes of crock pots in a few stores before deciding that I do not want or need one so very much that I wanted or needed to haul one of *those* home on the bus with me.

Leaving the mall, I noted the cops were out on patrol:

I thought I still had enough energy to go see a movie. After walking about 15 minutes to a theatre, the movie I wanted wasn't even playing there. My energy rapidly merged with the falling rain to slip down into the sewers. Home it was to be.

(At the bus station, an obviously nicotine-crazed squirrel ignored my proximity to boldly snatch a nearby cigarette butt away)

So, you ask, what did I get?:

A phone/built-in answering machine for 50% off:

(technically it is two phones, but I don't foresee setting up the second one in this apartment ... it was still a good deal)

Castle, Season One, a tv series I love but wasn't going to get on DVD, until I saw one copy sitting on a shelf, out of order with its brethren, taunting me with its availability. Merry Christmas, Me:

(this wasn't discounted at all -- jerky Future Shop)

An exhausted gift card from Bro and Sis-In-Law, which netted me three books ...
Diamant's book, like Castle, was sitting out of order on the shelf, which I took as a sign because I love her work and was not aware she had a new book out (30% off). Grisham I got because, again, was not aware a new book existed (20% off). Crichton had to be bought because the guy still releases new books despite having been dead for over a year (talk about prolific), a choice which was made further miraculous when the cashier informed me that their scanning system was malfunctioning today -- it would ring up this book 60% off instead of 30%, so the store was just going to let their scanning system have its way. Happy unexpected extra discount, Me.

And, most excitedly of all (sarcasm is so hard to depict in a blog), I needed a new non-stick skillet:
Well, I guess it was mildly exciting -- 70% off.

So, now onto the foot-soaking portion of my day:

(this post made possible by the good folks at Nikon, courtesy of the parental units this Christmas season)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Puff, Skipper and Rose say:


Merry Christmas!

SnowDeb adds:


Ditto.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bah Humbug

I do not want to be one of “those customers”. I truly don't. But when I sent my Xmas presents out on the 10th to be sure they'd get to Medicine Hat in time, I admit it, I did not accommodate for the 11 days they are going to stay sitting in Mississauga according to the electronic tracking. And why would my packages just pit stop there? Afraid of the weather. I see no fine print on my receipt saying "if packages don't feel like getting chilly, we won't force them to travel". In fact, I kind of pay a federal service to force them out into the cold to make them travel. They’re packages! They’re easy to pick up and move around. They, by definition of inanimate existence, can’t fight such manual manipulation as grabbing them, tossing them on a truck, and driving them where you want them to go.

Canada Post Customer Service Lady actually said I "shouldn't expect mail delivery if the weather is bad". Hello?! Excuse me?! Don’t expect mail service if Alberta gets bad weather?! Isn’t that like saying don’t expect mail service in Alberta? Hello?! How long has Canada Post been in existence? They don’t have a plan for bad Alberta weather yet? It caught them off guard? Left them scratching their heads about what to do when they’re face to face with a snow drift? Black ice? A snowflake on their windshield? Has the world gone mad?! If Alberta hasn’t dropped off the continent, I haven’t heard anything that would derail operations being pretty much business as usual at Canada Post.

Trying very hard to not be “one of those customers”, I did not say any of the above. Right up to the point where the Canada Post Customer Service Lady said I didn’t pay for “Guaranteed Service”, so it isn’t like Canada Post is obligated to get my package anywhere (given, you understand, how they never “guaranteed” they would), right up to then I tried to avoid being one of those customers who take it out on the messenger. Stupid, thoughtless, makes no sense messenger. Then I became one of those customers. Sigh. Asked the woman if she truly believes what she said to me would appease her in my position. If she had sent out packages two weeks ahead of time just to be sure they get there, would being told she hadn’t paid for “guaranteed” service make her feel better about not getting service period, even though the very act of handing over money with my package involved an implicit expectation of service, and acceptance of said money came with it an implied acceptance of that expectation. For, indeed what did I pay for, if not the taking of my package from one location to a location of my choice (Medicine Hat), not theirs (Mississauga)?

She said she wasn’t going to answer personal questions.

I believe a sigh escaped my lips, perhaps followed by the syllable “Fine”. She replied “Thank you for calling.” I counter “No. Thank you.”

Then I tracked her down, stuffed her in a box, wrapped her in plain brown paper and FedEx’d her to Mississauga.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I am O-K

The Carnivore Cupcakes were delicious, and in no way E-coli-y.

Friday, December 18, 2009

We're Cookin' Now!

I saw this recipe in a magazine a few weeks back, and haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.



They’re like Meatloaf Cupcakes. Well, when I put it that way, it’s downright unappetizing. But put it in your own appetizing way, and you too won’t be able to get them out of your minds.

So, as with most things in my life, I had to wait for the overwhelming urge before I’ll stop thinking about what I want to do, and just go do it. (Hmm. Explains my relatively sudden exit from Alberta. Go figure.) Tonight was the night. I hauled my flat butt (flat from sitting on a couch for days on end) to the grocery store armed with my shopping list and picked up what I would need for Carnivore Cupcakes. Hey – that’s what I’m going to call them!

So here is the Before:



Lest you be unable to believe your own eyes, here is the evidence that I put the Before together with my own two hands.



Literally. Mmmm, mushing meatloaf ingredients between my fingers to combine. Followed later by a scalding hot hand wash because I have a thing about touching raw meat. (I have a rather vivid sensory memory of a Shake N’ Bake misunderstanding while I was in university. Seriously, man. When your directions say “Toss chicken in Shake N’Bake. Put unused Shake N’Bake in fridge to use later” I am going to dump all the Sn’B in a bag, toss my chicken in, shake off the chicken to cook it, then put the bag o’ Sn’B in the fridge. To continue using over the course of the next week. Ask Public Health. They have a file on me and the visitors I had in the lower regions of my digestive system that memorable April. Wait ... what was I saying? Oh, yeah. Scalding hot hand wash) Which is why these dishes are waiting in the sink patiently for the water I was boiling at that moment to drench them before washing them with scalding hot water.

This, is After:


And here is dinner:



Yay me.

(... if you don’t hear from me in a few days, call Public Health ... )

Early Morning Sap

Yesterday morning I woke up after only 4 hours of sleep for no reason. Asleep, then poof, wide awake. I was so choked. I turned on the tv to watch the morning news because a few days earlier it cheered me up to see all the traffic snarls that I was not a part of, but all it did was make me really hungry because the segment was on some breakfast diner that was having an anniversary of some kind. So I went to the MacDonalds that is two blocks away. Waste of my time, frankly, cuz after sucking back an egg mcmuffin and hash brown (which I had to wrap in a few napkins to sop up excess oil first), I was still hungry. But by then I was sleepy again, so I lay down on the couch and snoozed.

BUT the MacDonalds was giving out flyers that the Olympic Torch was passing by it today at about 7:30 in the morning. I wasn't going to get up that early again ... but what else do I have to do?

Got a little teary as it passed. I was pretty tired.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Picture Puzzler

A friend sent me another picture from the wrap party.

As I looked at it, and recalled the good times, I was struck by something really unusual. See if you can spot it:



I'll give you all some time to guess...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmassy State of Mind

I had been staring at my apartment for a few weeks now, wanting to dress it up for the Christmas season. But as with cleaning my apartment, I usually spend a lot of time staring and planning the event until my subconscious is sick and tired of going through the motions theoretically, and creates a compulsion on my part to rise from my lazy butt and just do it.

So my subconscious finally threw its hissy fit tonight.

It's a little busy, sure. But I got rid of most of my furniture when I moved, so I have few spare locations to set up a tree, and my beloved Puff. So I had to use a random box -- but how un-Christmassy is a random box? Solution? Gift wrap it. =)

(of all the things I sold or donated or threw out when I moved, I kept this silver tinsel boa at the box's base. I'm an odd little girl.)

My bookcase always needs something to dress it up. Tacky? Perhaps. Care? Not me.


Heh. Speaking of tacky...


This below actually turned out better than I had suspected it would when I had the thought "Hey, I wonder if I have anything in my apartment with which to make a wreath for my balcony door?" :



Enter wooden embroidery ring -- you know, the type that is supposed to keep your embroidery project taut. (do I have an embroidery project? yes, yes I do. I think Gramma gave it to me when I was in junior high. have I started it? yes. yes I have. a few times now) Wrap a smaller green tinsel boa that also survived the great Alberta purge around it and secure with red and gold bows and little plastic snowflakes that are supposed to be on the tree but wouldn't fit once I put on the second string of lights (I actually have a third string of lights that pained me to put away, but ultimately I had to admit to myself that a three foot tree just can not WITHSTAND three strings of lights ... I have every suspicion my subconscious will come up with some other place to put them, though. It's tricky like that.) I had expected this to be the King of Tacky Christmas decorations ... but I think it actually falls on the side of Fun Christmas decorations.

I said the wreath is NOT tacky.

You don't get to judge me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

So, I don't have rabies after all.

About two weeks ago, I was strolling past a grocery store, content at having found a sweet doll to send to my best friend's new daughter -- when I was bitten by a dog. An English bull terrier. You know, a Spuds Mackenzie dog from the 80s beer commercials? I was walking towards it, thinking what an odd looking head these dogs have, and how people think they are so violent, but this one looks sweet. (ha ha, right?) It was tied to a post outside the store and as I walked past, it jumped up like it was greeting me. No growl, no bark. Just up on its hind legs, pawing in the air with its front legs like it wants a head scratch or other affection. So I stepped closer to pet it -- and CHOMP! It dropped down and went straight for my shin! Bit right through my jeans into my flesh.

Thing is, when I backed away, it again just sat there calmly. It wasn't being aggressive. It wasn't straining at its leash. It obviously was just stressed and scared about being tied up with all these people about and felt the need to protect itself from anyone too close, and I obviously had been too close when I walked by.

The crowd informed me that it had bitten two people before me, and another woman whom it bit was waiting for the owner to come out. When the owner came out, she said "Oh. He's never done that before. I'm so sorry." I told her this isn't an I'm Sorry situtuation. A dog that bites everyone who walks by obviously has issues being tied up in a strange location in public, and there is next to no chance it has "never done that before".

At this point the woman walked over to the dog to untie it - and hit it three times in the side! As if the dog has any idea why it is being hit! Which is probably exactly why it is stressed about being tied up in public. Because it probably bit someone the first time, and got hit when the owner returned, and then bit and was hit every subsequent time it was tied up in public. It probably equates being tied up in public with being hit, which explains its stress.

I took the owner's phone number, and the number of the other woman the dog bit, and I had to call Animal Services. I knew it would fall on the dog, but I hoped someone would step in and smack the owner three times on her side! Because the bite broke the skin, I had to call Public Health and they had to quarrantine the dog for 10 days to ensure it didn't have rabies. I wasn't really all that concerned about rabies as I've been vaccinated from working at the shelter. I just wish the owner was the one who had to be quarrantined. I feel so bad that if the owner continues to be irresponsible and stresses out the dog by still tying it up in public, and the dog bites again, now it has "a record". Because of me. And it may have to be destroyed if it bites again, because it has a record, because of me.

It's so unfair. Animal Services still hasn't come by to take my statement. They say they're dispatched to my place each day, but then higher priority calls arrive. I don't have a problem with that, I just hope they do get around to me some day. I want it on file that they need to be keeping a record of this owner more so than the dog, and that if the dog bites again they need to look closely into whether or not the owner drove it to do so with her flagrant disregard for its physical and mental well-being.

Regardless, Public Health called me today to tell me the dog is out of quarrantine and just fine, so there is no chance it had rabies at the time it bit me, so I'm good to go. Yeah. Real good. I painted a bullseye on a dog. I'm terrific.

Photographic Proof

Me and the lovely Ms. Underhill. No, I don't have her permission to post this. I have chosen to interpret the Producers' request to only post pictures for which I've received permission to pertain solely to the photos and videos which may be compromising to the celebrity...

...which is why this picture is so narrow:
Celebrities in compromising positions have been cropped out.

(I think I'm singing. I think.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So that's the way it goes, eh?

"I learned the truth at seventeen, that love was meant for beauty queens. And high school girls with clear-skinned smiles, who married young and then retired..."

So Stephane and Marie-France were not to be. Although perhaps we did have them one week longer than we would otherwise have had them. That's something.

I really enjoyed watching the finale. I haven't ever been one to watch shows like this, actually. Not a fan of any of the [Insert Nationality] Idol[s], So You Think You Can Dance [What Makes You Think I Care One Way or The Other] or Dancing with the Stars [I've Usually Never Heard Of]. I don't think I would have watched this show had I not been involved with it. But that's the way it goes. It's been picked up for a second season, and let me tell you, even if I'm not working on it again (although I'd like to be), I will be watching it now. If only to see if Stephane and Marie-France will return for a guest episode.

Now the fun part -- the Wrap Party! Hee hee. Where cast and crew come together with drink and hors d'oeuvres ... usually much more of the former than the latter.

So let's just get down to what you already know: NHL players, even the retired ones in their fifties, are par-ti-ers! Wow. Was a little stunned there. And I am confident one of the figure skaters showed up to the party already pissed to the gills. She entered from one end of the room and wanted to be on the other end of room, and no body nor toes were going to be getting in her way by god. But of course the stripper poles on either edge of the dance floor were pivotal to the evening's entertainment, as they were used to great effect by a few players ... and the offspring of one of the players (who must be very proud of his minor children's grinding prowess) ... and said gills-pissed figure skater who climbed on the shoulders of the player using the stripper pole in order to strut her own grinding stuff. Many batteries were run down by powering the plethora of video/camera phones that got a work out. Is it any wonder that, within hours of the party's conclusion, the producers sent out a mass email reminding all that it was a private party so photos and videos should not find their way onto the internet without the exhibitionists' -- I mean celebrities' -- permission.

I can report, however, that yes, I did meet Ron Maclean. [smooth man. obviously well used to persons gushing. I really did try not to get any gush directly on him -- may or may not have succeeded.] And Marie-France Dubreuil. [sweet, sweet woman. I told her I was very much hoping for her and Stephane to win, and she said "Ooh!" and hugged me. Then let me go, cried out "Ooh!" again and hugged me again. sweet, sweet woman] And Barb Underhill. [her performance in the finale made me cry and I told her so. My friend with a camera asked if I wanted a picture with Barb -- what am I supposed to say in front of Barb? No? -- so I asked if Barb minds and she said it was fine. My one and only photo with a celebrity]. Craig Simpson walked past me at one point, and our eyes happened to meet. He looked at me like he was curious what I would say to him. I thought it would be rude to just look away without acknowledging him, so I said Congratulations and shook his hand. He seemed pleased with that and moved on.

I spent a lot of the night walking around with the aforementioned friend to take pictures for her of her with celebrities of her choice. She and I both wanted to meet Stephane, but he left the party before we had our nerve up. Well, before I had my nerve up, and my friend started drinking in earnest. =) Many of the celebrities looked a little confused when I would take her picture with them, but not ask them to take a picture with me. But I'm not really into that. I don't know why. And apparently, neither did they.

She asked if she should take a picture with Domi just to bug her boyfriend because of how much he dislikes him. I said "Of course!!" (What difference does it make to me? I'm sober. She's drunk. Dance puppet dance! Ha ha. I'm such a stinker) Afterwards I told her she should have asked to take the picture with Domi, I should have set up the shot, and then we both should have said "Just kidding!" and walked away without taking his picture. (said I was a stinker!)

I'm really glad I did this show, even if it was only as a volunteer. The show went over like gangbusters for CBC. Never a bad thing to have that popular of a show on your resume.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yay.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Okay, so now Richer/Dubreuil

Sure, for some Simpson/Sale may seem like the safe choice. Too safe. It's too easy. They're pretty. They're smooth. They're flexible. Yawn.

I find I'm kind of liking how Richer and Lemieux are doing. They still look like hockey players, except now they're hockey players who are figure skating. So I'm going to throw my hat behind Richer/Dubreuil. (and my hat in front of Domi as he skates by)

And it's starting to get physical in the stands.

We've been asked to clear out the arena after the show each night so that the Gardens can be shut down as soon as possible. This is complicated by the skaters who want to be accessible to their fans, and sometimes will linger at ice's edge gathering crowds like a rolling snowball. So we just have to wait it out, try to keep the fanball from growing, and disperse them as soon as we are able.

Two weeks ago, one guy was bound and determined to roam the arena to pick it clean of any famous personnel he could flush out. So I headed him off after he had Kurt sign a literal stack of glossies. The man wasn't about to allow me, a commoner, to get in the way of his eBay business, and kept walking around me like I was invisible and hadn't spoken to him at all. When that didn't work out for him, he started to argue with me to let him pass. When that didn't work out for him, he started to push through me. Luckily a very large and polite security guard arrived at that moment, put his hand on the guy's shoulder and said "It's time to go sir. This way."

Last week, though, this guy would have been pleased. My section is in the corner of the arena, and I don't know if the production crew ran out of boards or just didn't care about securing my section after doing the rest of the arena, but my section has a gap between the seats and the walkway in front of the seats. I've worked how many days without incident?

Then, last week, I pivoted and stepped towards the seats to show a group of people where they can sit -- and WHOOSH! I was hip deep in the gap between the seats and the walkway. The group I was helping converged on me, as did the other volunteers in sight of my disappearing act. I just lay my head down on the steps I was now conveniently eye-level to, and swore a blue streak in my mind from the pain. Millions of hands helped haul me out of the hole, and I was inundated with questions as to my health.

What did I do?

Pivoted around again, much more carefully this time, and tried again to show the group where they can sit.

I knew I could stand and I knew I could walk, so I knew I would just be dealing with a very large and ugly bruise. And, well, I was right:


I have another one the size of my hand on my shin, but it isn't quite so camera visible (and I haven't shaved my legs in quite a few weeks so why subject you all to that).

The next day, the production crew found time to fix the gap. Go figure.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm hoping for Duguay/Underhill

So Sunday was my first night volunteering. Basically I stand at the bottom of my section of seats holding a sign to direct people to the right place. And during the show, I jump on people who try to film or take pictures. Most people put down their cameras when you tell them to. Of course, some argue "People over there are taking pictures!" Well, if I were their section volunteer, I'd be all over them too. But you drew the short stick, I'm your section's volunteer, sucks to be you, put the camera away.

I'm very proud of myself, actually. No sarcasm. No sniping. I've been handling disgruntled audience members with tact and apologies. "I'm sorry for the miscommunication, but the person who told you that you could show up two minutes before we go to air and still have a seat ice-side was mistaken. We can fit you in back here." "I'm sorry for the misunderstanding, but this is a television show, not a sporting event, so there are in fact no refreshment booths open at the Garden this evening." "I'm sorry for the confusion, but try as I might I just can't champion your inflated sense of entitlement". (<-- just kidding on that last one.)

And you thought I couldn't do tact! (don't deny it)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Food Basics = A - OK by Me

Watching the cashier at my corner Food Basics grocery store ring through my purchases today, I piped up when cereal bars I thought were on sale for $1.99 rang through on the till at the regular price of $3.19. The cashier called for a price check twice, but no one came to her till. A little line of customers waiting to continue on their day was forming behind me, and gosh how I hate when people hold up the line when I'm in it, so I told the cashier I'd just pop back into the aisle myself to see if I had misread the sale price (in which case no price check would be needed and we woudn't have to wait any longer).

When I came back, I told the cashier that I had in fact misread the sale and that the rang-through price was correct. When I thought they were on sale, I had picked up two -- but since they aren't on sale, I told the cashier I only wanted one now.

She asked if the wrong information was in the aisle. I explained no, the information was technically right, but the brand lined up over the sale listing wasn't actually the brand that was on sale. I had just grabbed what was sitting on top of the sale listing without checking brand names.

The cashier told me that the manager wanted to give me the sale price anyway. "For both?" I was intrigued. The cashier nodded. Well throw them back in the pile, I gushed.

What a pleasant customer experience. I just had to share.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Drumroll please...

.... I got it!

I am now a (volunteer) audience assistant for CBC's Battle of the Blades. (www.cbc.ca/battle/index.php)

Hockey players and figure skaters. It's like I'm living my brother's and sister's dreams. Wait a minute -- I'm part of a tv production, so it's my dream too! A trifecta!

There is no pay. But they will give me subway tokens, so at least I'm not out any money. And the company hires from within -- and they consider volunteers "within" -- so if I play extra nice and helpful and don't push any jerk audience members down Maple Leaf Gardens' stairs for giving me guff, I may be able to parlay this into more than subway tokens.

I think it will be fun. And I know it will get me out of my apartment two nights a week until the end of November. Maybe I can meet Ron Maclean. That would be cool.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Have You Done For Me Late-ly?

I know what you’re thinking. You were there for me for the bathtub. You were waiting with me for the sink. But what about the important stuff? What about the reason why you visit my blog in the first place? My parents will be home from China any day now, and I have every confidence that the first thing my mom will do – other than try to earn back the love and respect of the yappy, hairy four-legged children whom she boarded while gallivanting in the Far East – is check in here to find out: Am I working?

No. No I am not.

But I’m close. Well, as close as I ever was once I moved to T.O. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that my options have not yet been exhausted. So, I guess I’m not “close” as much as I am “not farther away”.

You’ve got to acc-cen-tuate the positive, e-lim-inate the negative...”

There’s been a general lack of interest on the part of employers in the resumes I’ve sent out for a variety of office jobs as well as production jobs. About a week and a half ago I did have what I guess would pass for an interview-ish meeting for a production job. Of the two people I was supposed to meet, only one was there for most of it. And he mainly wanted to know how I knew the person who passed on my resume to them. When he found out she was a friend of a friend and we hadn’t actually ever met, that largely ended the questions – they apparently mainly wanted to know how much it would pick her off to not hire me, given she was above them in the pecking order. So I was not surprised when I got an email a few days later saying they already had someone else in mind, “sorry for the trouble.” However, that’s the way it goes.

I had another interview today, just for a volunteer job, but it would be for a show running over the next two months, which would serve as a good entry to the production company ... but I shall not jinx it by discussing it here.

(but you could cross your fingers for me even though you don’t know exactly what you’re hoping for)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Magic Number is 21...

Twenty-one days later -- my bathroom is done.

I had forgotten that bathrooms come with sinks. I actually walked past it this afternoon to wash my hands in the bathtub like I had been doing for the last week (after living two weeks without a bathtub -- no, I haven't forgotten that!).

I didn't even share with you what had happened yesterday, because I was a bit too ticked and tired.

I asked the manager (or, who I had always thought was the manager -- but wait for it) on Monday when the plumber was planning to come back. Nothing. Called her again yesterday -- she told me to speak to the manager because she had been speaking to her everyday and the manager obviously needs a different push. Uh, I thought she was the manager. No. Turns out she's just some onsite ... I don't even know what.

Fine. So I called the woman who is actually the manager. I honestly and truly really hadn't intended to be confrontational or angry, but then the woman said "Okay, do me a favour and a write a note to --"

Well I just lost it. I cut her off and said "No! No, I'm not going to do anyone a favour here when no one is doing any work here. And if I write a note, it is going to be the landlord and tenant board of Ontario" (I don't even know if there is such a thing!) I said I was calling her to find out what is the problem with getting my bathroom finally finished and what is she going to do to ensure it happens, because I reached my limit of patience last week after two and a half weeks of being at the bottom of the to-do list. I said people are quick to remove fixtures from my apartment, then content to leave me with nothing in their place.

And then she passed the buck.

This whole time, the maintenance man says it's the plumber's fault. The plumber says it's the onsite whatever she does' fault. The onsite whatever she does says it's the manager's, and now the manager is saying it is the owner of the building that is holding up the work.

I told the manager I don't care anymore who has to do what -- it's been three weeks and I now expect it to be over. That I wasn't going to talk to anyone else about it ever again and if something still needs to be said in 24 hours, it will being said to the landlord and tenant board. (again, as far as I know, an empty threat.)

But voila: Sink.

Now, I was disappointed when I saw the sink they brought in to put in. It wasn't as nice or large as the perfectly fine one they took out for no damn reason:


But I saw the light of resolution. I let them put the smaller sink in, and locked the door after them as they left.

Nobody knock on my door for at least a month. I am not answering it.

On a plus: I discovered a little doughnut shop at the end of the block that sells iced cappaccinos. Not as good as Tim Hortons' ... but then the nearest Tim Hortons is a 20 minute walk. So, I intend to chalk this little corner doughnut shop up as a welcome discovery.

There's also a pizza place that sells pizza by the slice next to the doughnut shop.

And finally, I kind of accidentally stumbled upon how to tune in five more channels on my television (now I have eight -- nine depending on the time of day). AND -- most importantly -- I've rigged it so that I can even tape shows. I've spent the past few months having to choose what show I wanted to watch most if two or more were on at the same time ... and it was killing me.

So, final judgement: A good day.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Seventeeen Days Later ...


Yup. Seventeen days later, and the bathroom is still not done. A perfectly good sink was removed in order to access the tiles that need to come out in order to replace the tub. Then ... never returned. I called the manager on Wednesday to find out where the sink went and why -- a week after the tub was complete -- was it never put back. Nothing. So I called again on Friday, at which point she swore she thought everything was finished. She got the plumber back by that afternoon -- with a second hand, small, filthy sink that he was going to install in place of the large perfectly fine sink he had removed seventeen days ago.

No. NO! I have waited this long. It will not have been for a second hand, small, filthy sink! When the manager was there, I questioned the plumber about where the old sink is, why it was removed in the first place, and what happened to the new sink that I saw in my front room when the tub was being replaced. He admitted that they had bought a new sink (saying the old one was cracked -- it was not), but then they had to use it someplace else. Well, I knew that another tenant had trashed her sink (because I heard the maintenance man talking about how can someone "accidentally" smash their sink like this person had), so I asked the plumber in front of the manager "So you're saying if you had done the job when you were supposed to have, I would have had a new sink. But because you left it for two weeks and I am making a stink, you now just grabbed some sink from storage that wasn't good enough for whatever suite it had been in the first place?" The plumber tried to tell me that the sink he was trying to install in my apartment "wouldn't fit" in the other woman's apartment. But it's smaller than the new sink he put into her apartment (because I checked it out while it was in the box in my front room), so the guy was blatantly lying to me.

If I understand the manager correctly, she is going to now buy a new sink for me out of her own pocket. (I don't see why she should do it out of her own pocket, but that's her injustice to fight for herself). And the plumber is such a dick, when the manager asked him for what size and type of sink she should buy -- because she too heard him say this sink wouldn't "fit" in the other apartment -- he just snapped at her "A sink. It's a bathroom sink." Dick. And he said that he doesn't have the time to take the current sink back to the storage room in the building if he isn't installing it because he "has to go". So how was he intending to install it in the first place?

He made a huge deal of leaving and saying to the manager "She was so anxious to have the sink replaced, but if I don't put this one in, she'll have to wait longer." Of course, the "she" was me, and he was saying this while crouching in MY bathroom, in MY apartment, while I was standing right there. I said "I waited this long. I can wait for it to be done right."

Dick.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hey, Ta Da ... ish

Turns out, they did get it almost done on Tuesday. I wasn't going to take a picture until it was all done ... but of course, once it was "almost done", I fell to the bottom of their to-do list and haven't seen them since.

Still ...



So there is a tiny patch in the corner, and of course the gaping chasm between the tub and the rest of the floor. And no sink. Tuesday they said they'd come back the next day to fix these little oversights, and to give me a sink. Colour me surprised that no one showed up yesterday (*see "fell to bottom of to-do list").

I was trying to hold off on cleaning the place until everything was done, because I knew if I didn't then I'd just have to do it twice. But oh good gravies how I could not take one more milli-second living amidst the omnipresent layer of fine dust and random debris. So yesterday when it became clear no one was going to come finish the job, I hauled out the Pine Sol and a bucket to wash down the whole bathroom, as well as the floors in my apartment. It still needs a good dusting, but I think I will wait for that until all is said and done.

I have had my bathroom accoutrements in boxes in my bedroom since last Tuesday. I can't wait to be able to move back into the bathroom rather than live out of a toiletries bag.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Let's play Spot the Difference:


Uh ... yes, okay, I see the right side of the wall is patched. And ... uh ... there's more crap sitting in the tub. But it is still not me sitting in the tub.

11:30 a.m. on Monday. No maintenance guy. Because he popped his head in half an hour ago to say that he won't be working on my bathroom today because he has to finish the other suite -- people are moving in to it tomorrow. Meaning I have no backup bathroom as of right now.

I said to the guy "So now I'm screwed."
"No," he says "I'll finish tomorrow."
(side note: look at what is left. do YOU think he'll finish tomorrow?!)
So I say "Okay. So tomorrow I'll have a sink and I'll have a tub I can bathe in."
"Yes" He says.
"Okay." What am I going to say? "Thank you."
"So I'll try to do it tomorrow." He just had to keep talking.
"Wait. You'll TRY?"
"No, I'll do it."


It's like he spoke out loud when he meant to just think the words "I'll try", and then when caught, decided to pretend I just had an auditory hallucination.

I mean, what am I going to do? It's not like I can finish it myself. And, isn't this exactly the tale every person in the history of home renovations has to tell? Nothing comes in on time, or on budget. At least I don't have to pay for this

-- although, maybe if I was paying I would have some recourse. "Thanks for your work", I'd love to say " but since you're unable to provide the agreed upon services, and have now admittedly moved onto another project prior to finishing this one, that does void the contract. I'll be bringing in another contractor. Have a nice day." Maybe that would get his butt back in my tub and working.

And before you mention I mention this to the manager ... she was standing right next to him when he said he'd "try" to finish tomorrow.

It could be worse. I could be working and have to try to figure out how to show up each day without stinking up the place.

Friday, August 28, 2009

... still waiting for the tub ...

Basically, the tiles were destroyed and the old tub was taken out and the new tub was put in by 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

It is 11:30 a.m. on Friday, and this is as much of a new tub as I have.


The maintenance guy worked until maybe 5 p.m. on Wednesday (for about two hours after the plumber had removed the old tub and put in the new one). Showed at 11 a.m. yesterday, worked for, I'd say, two hours. Left. Returned between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. (because he wasn't here when I went grocery shopping, he was when I came back) and worked until 6 p.m. So that's, what? Three hours on Thursday? Four if he showed up the second I left for grocery shopping.

He just dropped off some stuff a second ago, and left again.

He and the superintendant both say how much they want to get the tub and sink installed so I can "get back [my] apartment". But I have severe doubts that the above can be turned into a working tub and sink by the end of today ... so I guess I spend the weekend walking down the floor's hallway with a bag of toiletries and towels draped over my arm, to battle the imaginary psycho killer at the other end of the hall. I am transported to twenty years ago when I lived in university residence. Except the psychos there were corporeal.

Oh, and my entire apartment has a thin layer of tile dust on it. The whole apartment. *sigh*

I know I said it'll be worth it to be able to bathe. And I know it will be. But it would be easier to get through if my humpty dumpty bathroom didn't spend so many hours in the work day just sitting there, broken into pieces and alone, waiting for someone to put it back together again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting a new tub!

First, they have to destroy the tiles around the old one, to get at it:



Then they pull the old tub out through my bedroom closet, apparently:


So this is what a bathroom without a tub looks like, for anyone who is curious. AND note, it would appear that upon seeing my bathroom sink, the plumber decided it best to replace that sucker too. Which may or may not be a good thing. I can't see from the packaging what the new sink is going to look like. I kind of liked the old sink. It was wide and shallow, which perhaps is an odd thing to like in a bathroom sink, but I did.


Now, you can't really tell because of all the crap that is in it, but this is my new bathtub:


One would think that the first thing one would do with a new tub is NOT use it as a garbage receptacle for broken tiles. Could easily explain how the old tub got damaged to the point that it had to be replaced in the first place.

As you can see, my bathroom is still non-user-friendly. When I first arrived, my toilet was non-operational, so we were given a key to an unoccupied suite down the hall that was being renovated so we could use the toilet. Now I have the keys to a different unoccupied under-renovation suite so I can use the shower. Except it doesn't have so much as a shower rod for a curtain. I am happy to report, though, that it is possible to angle the shower head in such a fashion, and use one's body in such a way, that most of the water can be bounced back onto the shower stall's back wall rather than out towards the rest of the bathroom where an absent curtain would be most detrimental. This does require you face the bathroom door squarely, though. And if you have watched too many horror movies in your life, when you're in an unoccupied furniture-less suite -- even though you have locked all three locks on the front door and the lock on the bathroom door -- then staring at a bathroom door while exhibiting full frontal conjures up images of that door bursting open and a masked psycho with a swiss army knife contraption full of sharp instruments can't help come to mind.

It was a very quick shower.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I know!

One of the six television channels I get without cable shows documentaries on various wildlife on Saturdays (thus the musings on elephants last week). Today's was on whales stranding themselves on shore, and trying to figure out why they would embark on this suicidal mission.

The theory in some situations was that, best as they can tell, sonar testing by the navies of the world drive whales to flee the water, possibly to avoid whatever the sonar is doing to their insides. The documentary had footage of a pod of dolphins and a pod of whales frantically avoiding an ship that was known to be testing sonar, heading like a tidal wave towards the shore. The heads of two of the whales who actually did beach themselves were given a CT scan, and the brains were shown to be damaged. They note that this did not prove the direction of the causation (did the sonar damage the brain thus preventing the whale from recognizing it was heading to the beach, or did the fury of the retreat and subsequent trauma of the beaching cause the brain damage?), but the navy did agree that their test negatively affected the whales and began to consult reports on pod locations prior to sonar tests.

That is a good start -- but I have the answer. Whales and other ocean creatures use sonar to find food, right? And this sonar doesn't drive everyone else in the ocean mad, so obviously the danger lies in man-made sonar. And these creatures know what sonar is their's and what is some other pods' or species', right? So navies need to approximate whale sonar for their own use. Figure out how to create it, and figure out how to read it (This second part should be easy. Sonar is just sending out a sound and tracking its rate and angle of return. The type of sound that is sent out and returned shouldn't matter). And this won't even confuse or bother other ocean creatures because they'll just come to learn that this particular sonar is that of the pod/species known as human.

Why has no one else thought of this? I guess because no one else is as brilliant as me.

(I also made a decision while watching this documentary, seeing volunteers hold stranded whales in the water to regain their strength. When my niece, who wants to be a marine biologist, is 16 years old, I'm going to find a volunteer-work project on marine life somewhere, and I'm going to convince my brother and sister-in-law to allow me to kidnap her for a week or two so we can go make a difference for some lucky creature together ... which gives me a few years to find a job and save up the money for this)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I've Still Got It :

Just as gosh darn adorable as the days when my mom would cut my bangs before sending me off for school pictures and use christmas ribbon to tie back my hair.

(seriously mom, I know we had some lean years ... but just how darn expensive were bobblers back then?)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One day ...

Just a few hours short of ten years ago, I was sitting in my newly purchased KITT, on the upper level of WEM. I had just come out of a movie and was pondering how the next morning I was going to be 30 years old. I sat and I sat and I thought and I thought, and I just could not summon the angst one sees in all the television shows and movies about my impending age. I had no great ephiphany while sitting there, until boom! It hit me! If I was sitting there, almost 30, that would mean ... one day I'd be almost 40. I drove away, satisfied that I had had some kind of emotional reaction to being 30.

And poof. Like some psychic vision come true, here I am. About a day away from being 40.

And still ... no angst.

I don't even feel any great attachment to the knowledge that this means I will one day be 50. Well, okay, just typing that out right there, there was a twinge. But I don't anticipate it is going to mean a whole lot to me. I've come to terms with the fact that I've been friends for 35 years with the girl who drove out to Toronto with me. And that I am now old enough to be one of my previous coworkers' mothers. That I was caught up in Michael hysteria the first time, but had grown out of such silly adolescent attachment by time New Kids On The Block moved in. I know that I didn't make up the word Kajagoogoo. I know that your friends don't dance and if they don't dance then they're no friends of mine. Heck, I know what happens if you're sleeping and right in the middle of a good dream you wake up from something that keeps knocking at your brain. Like all at once. I learned how to spell Saturday Night before I was really old enough to stay up later than Saturday Early Evening. Tall hair and big cheap earrings were commonplace. As were skinny neon ties and mounds and mounds of lace on your shirt, around your wrists and on your socks. About eight years ago I told someone I never wore a bow in my hair -- and then I saw my eleventh grade picture, and damn if a white bow wasn't mocking me from atop my head! I wore pink eyeshadow with blue eyeshadow. I wore leg warmers. I did draw the line at fingerless gloves, but not because I had taste ... because I didn't have fingerless gloves. My introduction to computers in grade 8 was so not WYSIWYG! If I wanted a picture on my computer screen, I damn well had to know what code would force the computer to draw it for me. Millions of man hours were spent typing in variations of:

10 Print "Help Me I'm stuck in a loop!"
20 Goto 10

(including the memorable time I inserted "F--- You" on line 10 ... but with the requisite letters rather than dashes. When I admitted to Mr. Davidson that I was the one who inputted that program, he reacted like he had just seen the first sign of the apocalypse)

One of the first video games I played was a 2-D rendition of a helicopter flying over a straight line horizon. You land on a 2-D house, and that "releases" 25 hostages. You are supposed to then land on the horizon and let the hostages get into the copter, then fly away from enemy tanks shooting asterisks at you -- but my brother and I soon learned that you can release the hostages from the house, then fly at them just grazing the horizon with the copter's running boards. Each hostage would die with a tiny "ping", and the counter at the top right hand corner of the screen would count down from 25 to 0. The game would end with some snotty type on the screen that read the point of the game was to "save" the hostages ... well, they can play it the way they want to, I'll have my fun my way.

Laser video disks. Eight track tapes. Gouchos. Smurfs. SuperFriends. Wonder Woman. The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman. Peter Puck. Lemon Twist. The Green Machine. HR Puffinstuf (which I actually had thought was a hallucination of mine, until a British friend pointed out she remembered the show too). Quark (with a character I swear was a plant. Not as in someone who didn't belong there -- someone for whom photosynthesis was a way of life. Literally.) Graham's Candy Store across the street from the Fox Theatre in Pincher Creek, where we would buy bags of penny, nickel and dime candy, then go catch a matinee, back in a time when parents opened the front door and pushed you out with a cheery "have fun" and never thought twice about you again unless it was dinnertime and your muddy face wasn't at the kitchen table. The water hole, which was THE place to be on a summer day.

Hey, a girl can be nostalgic without feeling angst!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Four Days ...

I've been pretty lazy and lethargic this weekend. The heat has come, and brought with it my overpowering desire to nap every few hours. Mercifully my bedroom stays the coolest room in my apartment, but that means that my bed beckons me almost all day. That being said, it's not too bad. A few cool showers, sitting with a bottle of frozen water behind my neck, sticking my feet in a basin of ice water ... it's not too bad.

I have started talking back to my tv, though. Well I guess it isn't technically talking "back", because it isn't like the tv is talking "to" me in the first place. Yesterday I was watching a fascinating and tear jerking documentary exploring the possible causes of elephant rage. It started by showing footage of an elephant herd tearing apart a village apparently for no reason because they weren’t looking for food. Turns out the villagers had “accidentally” killed one of the baby elephants earlier in the day, and had dragged the carcass through the village to dispose of it. The herd was just following the scent into the village looking frantically for their lost baby. So, not really a mystery. Another gang of rogue adolescent males were indiscriminately killing rhinos in a wildlife preserve. At first, rangers took to assassinating the males one by one – until someone thought to put two bigger, older males in the preserve. See, when they looked into it, they discovered that these rogues males were orphaned due to culling practices that killed their mothers in an attempt thin out the herds. These males then grew up without any elder direction. As soon as the older males were put into the preserve, the rogue males backed right down and the rhinocerocide stopped. There definitely were stories of quite random brutal killings, where the elephants were “musty” (I think that was the term) – basically in heat and horrifically aggressive, or tales of clashes between villages trying to protect their crops from herds trying to find something to eat. But that is what is going to happen when two species vie for the same resources. What made me talk back to my tv were the stories of elephants turning on their “handlers”. And, as far as I was concerned, that right there should tell you the problem. The elephant had a handler. Had a trainer. Had a jailor. That creators would occasionally turn to their tormentor and cry “Enough!” shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. And the fact that the feet being put down are attached to behemoths, someone getting crushed shouldn’t be all that much of a shock either. The fact that this documentary was claiming that this elephant behaviour was unpredictable and inexplicable and, as such, we should fear and eradicate the randomly psychotic creature that is elephant, got me talking to my tv.

I have no problems, however, with eradicating the wildlife in my own apartment. No, not the pigeons. The Barbie Dream Discotheque seems to be doing the job admirably. I haven't had to chase a pigeon from my balcony in a couple of weeks. No, I'm talking about the foreseeable result of the increased number of fruits in my apartment due to the proximity of fruit and vegetable stands near my apartment, coupled with the humid heat of the past week. Yes, fruit flies. Everywhere. I've tried everything -- clipping closed my garbage bag so nothing can get in, washing my fruit immediately so that anything that has been lain is removed, throwing out one-third or half full garbage bags out so nothing gets permanent residence. No joy. So, my last idea is to keep a covered container in my fridge for peels, pits, rinds, etc. Hopefully the combination of sealed location with low temperatures will neither attract nor sustain the little jerks. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Six Days ...

Today was a rather casual Friday for me. I spent almost all yesterday online checking out websites of Toronto production companies to try to determine where to send one of the three scripts I have completed. It's not as easy as it sounds. I need to choose companies that have made movies similar to the ones I've written, so that I know they are in the market for my kind of stories and tone. Basically I took note of any company that says they will read anything. =)

Most of today was spent in frustration over the fact that my freezer will not keep my ice cream frozen. That has to be one of the most awful kitchen occurences. Well, it's a close second to the fact that, in an attempt to reduce the temperature in the freezer, I turned down the only dial there exists in my appliance - namely the temperature dial in my fridge. So now I have squishy ice cream and frozen solid skim milk.

But I did get fantastic news! Check out my icky gag-inducing tub:


From that perspective, it just looks like some elbow grease will solve my problem. Look closer:

That smudge on the right is a rust spot that has eroded the tub. The horror on the left is the drain. I do not know what is in and around the drain. Comet has not made a dent. Just to be safe, I burned the sponge I used to try to clean it.

I'll use my tub for showering -- steering far clear of the drain -- but work hard to ensure no water pools in the tub lest whatever festers in the drain collects on any of my flesh.

I had been told that all maintenance will do is clean the tub for me. At best, they may "patch" the rust spot. Frankly, I like the apartment enough overall that a toxic bathtub was going to be an acceptable albatross around my shoulders.

BUT today I was told that my tub is leaking water all over the bathroom in the apartment below mine! Yes! They are now going to replace the tub, because "any patch job will only delay the inevitable need for replacement" so they're just going to get it done now.

YAY! Of course, they said that they'll have to rip up the tiles and possibly come at the tub through my bedroom (which shares a wall with the bathroom) -- which means lots of maintenance guys taking over my apartment to make noise and a bloody awful mess that no doubt will require I sandblast the place upon their exit ... but after ALL THAT, I'll have a tub I can fill with cool water on hot summer nights, and hot water on cold winter nights, and it will all have been worth it!

Finally, I got the cutest birthday card from Janette. It's a pop up fish in a pop up bowl!

It looks even cuter in person. Thanks Janette!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Seven Days ...

With seven days to go in my 30s, my thoughts go to 25 years ago, the last time I spent an extended period of time in Toronto. I was 15 years old, on an academic exchange with a junior high in Scarborough, and obsessed with Michael Jackson.

And obsessed with my hair, actually. I wore my hair curled in a specific way, always carried a comb and mirror, and constantly checked that the curl was "just so". So much, in fact, that my first night at my billet's house was spent sneaking into the bathroom, quietly curling my hair "just so", then laying stiffly in bed so as to not mess my hair -- all because I wasn't sure I'd have enough time in the morning to do my hair properly... but that's not the point of this post.

Within days of when I was supposed to move here, Michael Jackson died and became the hottest gossip item, just as he had been in 1984. (I didn't know if that was a good or a bad sign for my move.)

Much has changed since 1984. My hair can still make or break my mood for the day, but I would no longer lose sleep over it. And Michael Jackson gossip has taken a turn for the macabre. As, apparently, did MJ.

I do think MJ was involved with something untoward with minors a few years back. But I don't believe he understands it was untoward. And I don't mean how pedophiles think they actually love their victims and haven't done anything wrong. I think it's like how if you or I shake an Indonesian's hand with our left hand (or is it the right one?), we'd be shunned. I had no idea there would be anything wrong until my friend Denise explained it to me. See, in places without toilet paper, you wipe up after yourself with your left (or right?) hand. So if you then shook someone's hand with your left hand, you are some dirty nasty disgust-pot indeed. But I wouldn't have known that. I would have been a dirty nasty disgust-pot because I would have had no understanding of the issues at play in that country. I think MJ was messed up as a young child, and I don't think the issues at play have ever accurately been relayed to him. I don't think anything sexual was going on ... but I think lines - as defined by you or me - were crossed. Lines that don't mean the same thing to him.

All that being said ... let the man be dead already. Discover the cause, certainly. Bring to justice anyone who facilitated it, absolutely. But do you or I really need proof whether the kids are actually his? He's the only father they've ever known. They lost him so very young, don't take their connection to him away too. If they have doubts, and later want answers, they can find them out themselves. You have no standing to do it on their behalf -- and for what? Your entertainment? Ratings? Let him lay. Let them grieve. I used to think the fact he pasted masks on his kids' faces when they went out in public proved that he was not in possession of all his marbles. Now I think he was onto something. The media has proved itself to be opportunistic and cannibalistic when it comes to him. The man had problems, but maybe the lengths he would go to in order to protect his children was not one of them.

(And yes, that's if we ignore the baby dangling thing. I said the man had problems.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Deceptively Simple

Today was Service Ontario day. Monday was supposed to be Service Ontario day, but it would appear a passport is required and my passport did not accompany me on my travails on Monday. So, today was Service Ontario Day.

And by that, I mean I applied for my Ontario driver's license today.

I still walk past signs with the Ontario logo on it and think "oh god I'm in Ontario". Never once was that a goal of mine. Never. I often now flash back to when I was in Toronto 25 years ago (ouch) as a naive small town grade nine girl and the comments the kids from Toronto would make. Like when we were back in Pincher Creek and walking someplace. As soon as the kids from Pincher would hit a curb, we would automatically step off to cross the street. The kids from Toronto would be confused - left behind on the curb because they would never think of just stepping off to cross a street in Toronto. As they rushed up to catch up with us, they exclaimed "Hey! No one runs you over here!"

Well, now I live where people try to run me over. And they do. They really really do. Like I'm not in the middle of the street when they're trying to make a turn. They honk at non-existent beings and they run over the existent ones. I feel like Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy -- "Hey! I'm walking here!" (that reference is correct, isn't it?)

So now I'm going to have an official license to become one of them. And the lady who took my application was only partially stupid. My current Alberta license was issued in 2004, and expires next week on my birthday. For those of us with basic math skills, that means my current license has been valid for five years. Well the lady at Service Ontario who took my license asked if I've been a driver for longer than two years.

Why, as a matter of fact, I have. Since I was 16 actually.

"Well I need proof you've been a driver for at least two years."

Uh, you have it. My license? In your hand.

"I have to go online and see what Alberta's records show. If they don't show you've been licensed longer than two years, you have a problem."

Again, if you wish not to take me at my word that I've been licensed for 24 years, allow me to direct you to the case of Alberta License v. Your Hand. Issued 2004. Expires 2009. Valid five -- which is a sum greater than two -- years. In your hand. Right now. Seriously. You don't have to take my word for it. Look down in your hand.

Whatever. Of course Alberta's records were going to confirm I was licensed longer than two years, so why continue this conversation.

She ended the application surprisingly helpfully, though. When she was done with me, she asked if I had to go the Health counter. I said no, why, do I look sick? (no, she did not laugh). But she suggested that while I was at Service Ontario, I may wish to apply for a health care card. So I did. (I had thought I couldn't apply for three months -- turns out I could apply anytime, I just won't get it before being here three months)

An hour waiting to get an Ontario license, and half an hour to get an Ontario health card. Not too bad. It was deceptively simple to drape myself in official Ontarian (Ontarioan? Ontariotonian?) garb. Just like that. Fill out some forms. Surrender past documents. Go home and wait a few weeks for new documents. Soon I'll be hard to distinguish from long-time residents. I even gave a woman directions on the subway today. (I always was a quick study).

(And, yes, Mom, I applied for EI last week. The second time in my life ever applying for EI, despite the many months of being unemployed in the last, oh, ten years. Heck, the last five years have been so dotted with unemployment I think I am now almost forgetting how to work. Don't worry Dad. Only almost. Being in J. Layton's riding hasn't rubbed off on me that much. Yet. ha ha haa.)

And on the way home, I was drawn into a very cool looking accessory shop, where the most awesome of phenomenal necklaces was reeling me in:

Before you say anything, it is not real. But good golly it looks like it is, and I just positively wholly and irrevocably fell in love. $27.13 later, and it was mine. At that price, I expect it will disintegrate in the first good breeze that wafts over it. But until then, I'll enjoy it. (man, I love even just looking at it here on my page!)

That's my I Can Soon Prove I'm A Resident of Ontario, So All Look At Me Now necklace.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moonlight Memories

I have never had such a view from my balcony before. I think ever since I moved out of university residence, I've had a balcony in my apartment. But never a balcony like this:



At night, I just have sky and city skyline in front of my balcony. (well, I have them in day too, but they're more sparkly and twinkelish at night) I've taken so many pictures over the last few weeks, few of which came out very nicely. One day perhaps I shall become a skilled enough photographer to adjust my own exposure times and aperature ratings -- but until that day, I must take what my camera gives me.

The last few nights in particular, the moon has been quite spectacular -- and last night, the full moon travelled through quite the obstacle course of cloud cover:



Simply had to share.