Monday, August 31, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
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
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
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
(seriously mom, I know we had some lean years ... but just how darn expensive were bobblers back then?)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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
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
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:
Thursday, August 13, 2009
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
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
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.
Now, you know that I endeavour to adopt a live and let live attitude with creatures lower down on the food chain than myself. I’ll try to capture and release spiders or flies rather than kill them just because they are in my home. They don’t want to be there anymore than I want to see them there. But I have limits. If they try to take me on, I will defend myself. Something jumps at me – I squish it. Something runs at me – I squish it. Looks at me sideways with questionable intent in one of its multiple eyes – squished.
I was forced once to remove a spider web from the outside of my kitchen window. The resident spider was larger than most of the protein portions of my evening meals, and try as I might I could not identify it – is it dangerous? poisonous? carnivorous? – from the internet. Rather than risk it being a danger to my health, I chose to evict it from my window sill. Problem was, its web was juuuust outside the reach of my longest broom handle. As I stretched off my balcony to reach it, the damn spider itself made a break for it. On my tiptoes, I warned it out loud “I don’t want to kill you but I will if I have to.” Then I looked down and saw the pedestrians within earshot of me looking up in terror.
So I wished not to duplicate such a scene with my pigeon problem. Oh, the pigeons are welcome to live, absolutely. But I never said anything is welcome to defecate on my property. So I took once more to the internet for guidance. Turns out, the consensus is that pigeons are afraid of cds. No, they aren't still reeling from our recent economic downturn – compact disks. And it doesn’t even have to be country and western music! Just kaleidoscopy (if that is not yet a word, I claim it to be so right now). And jingly stuff, if the faceless masses on the internet can be believed.
Dude, I had jingly stuff! My bellydancing days were over – I could hang tin coins on my balcony rather than a yet-to-be-made hip scarf. And I had cds that need never see the inside of a ghettoblaster again! I even had a few of those aluminum pie plate dealies that you put under your stove’s elements to catch crap and reflect heat. Up those went!
It’s been about a week, I think. And sure, my balcony looks a little like a bargain basement attempt at Barbie’s Dream Discotheque. But, while I have observed the random new modest poo pile (the rainstorms Toronto has been having almost daily helps to eradicate those), by and large my balcony is nobody’s toilet once more. Victory is mine!
This is such a triumph I just had to kick back in my chaise lounge, haul my laptop onto my balcony, and type all this up in the cool summer evening. Ahhh. Poo-less.