My Week 21 – New Worst Case Scenarios, I Bond With A Chair

Wednesday: I think of new worst case scenarios

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I always plan for worst case scenarios. In fact, if you’ll remember, in an earlier blog I talked about buying T a book called The Little Book of Worst Case Scenarios so that even he, as a young child, could start to plan for disasters. After years of careful consideration and planning, I felt ready for almost anything, even escaping from a burning bus. For example, I have a hammer in the cupboard in my bathroom, which prompted Ken to ask, “Why do you have a hammer in the bathroom?” Answer: in case there’s a fire and I have to smash the bathroom window, crawl out onto the porch roof and smash T’s window from the outside to help him escape (don’t worry about Ken—in this scenario, he’s helping rescue the dog and cat, and will make it out safely with them. And maybe even the fish, if he has time). Here’s another example–there’s a wheelbarrow over the pond so that Titus doesn’t fall through the snow into the frigid water. This happened to our previous dog, prompting a very heated argument which had followed this earlier argument:

Ken: I’m going to dig a 3-foot deep pond.
Me: Don’t be ridiculous. Someone will fall in and drown.
Ken: No one is going to fall in. You’re worrying for no reason. It needs to be deep so the fish can survive the winter.
Me: I’m serious. Please, I’m begging you, don’t make it so deep.
Ken: I’m totally disregarding your emotions and I’m going to do what I want. Screw you. (OK, he didn’t actually say any of THAT, but by continuing to dig a 3 foot deep pond despite my objections, it seemed like that was what he was telling me).

6 months later, we let the dogs out into the back yard. The pond was covered by a healthy layer of snow, and about ten minutes later, we realized that we couldn’t see one of the dogs, the really old one with bad arthritis. Yes, she had fallen into the pond, and it was too deep for her to climb out. Ken rushed outside and rescued her, prompting this heated argument, which I will sum up in one sentence:

Me: OMFG!! I TOLD you this would happen!! And the fish are all DEAD!!

Hence the wheel barrow which straddles the pond all winter. I also have a baseball bat under my side of the bed. This is the scenario for the baseball bat: we wake up in the middle of the night to strange noises coming from downstairs. Ken offers to investigate. He puts on his housecoat and goes down with the dog, who is clearly agitated. I wait, wracked with fear. There are shouts, commotion, then nothing. The intruder has tied both Ken and the dog up, and is taunting them as he steals our stuff. I quietly get the baseball bat out from under the bed and sneak downstairs. The intruder has his back to me. Ken sees me, but luckily, he’s gagged so he can’t do what he would normally do and say something like, “Why do you have a baseball bat?!” At this point, I swing, connect with the intruder’s head, and down he goes. I free Ken, and Titus, we tie up and gag the intruder, and then we call the police. Ta dah! T, of course, has slept through the whole thing, which is why he doesn’t appear in this scenario.

So you see, I have everything carefully planned. Until now. Just when I thought I finally had it all figured out, I started living in a high rise building on the 27th floor during the week, which has led to a whole new set of worst case scenarios. For example, I now have a balcony. Everyone was like, Awesome, you have a balcony—I’ll bet you can’t wait until it’s nice enough to sit out there. Are you f-ing kidding me? Do you think there’s ANY way I will EVER sit out on a precipice that is over 300 feet from the ground? And here’s why. It occurred to me that the balcony figures prominently in several worst case scenarios, which I am slowly working my way through. Here’s the one I solved on Wednesday night, as I lay awake listening to the baby next door screaming like it was being throttled (it wasn’t, of course; when I politely enquired after its health in the morning, the mother told me they were “sleep training” him, and he was very unhappy about it. Oh yeah? I’ll bet he wasn’t as unhappy as me.) Anyway, I suddenly had this horrible thought that, say, I did take someone’s advice and try to grow pots of basil on the balcony. I go out there to water my plants, and somehow the door closes and locks behind me. I don’t know how that would actually happen, but say that it did. What now? I’m stuck on a 27th floor balcony, wearing only pajamas (because that’s what I was wearing when I started trying to solve this problem). Option A: Scream for help. No, because I’m 27 floors up. No one on the ground can hear me, and the neighbours’ eardrums have been damaged by their ‘unhappy’ child. Option B: Take off an article of clothing to wave around and attract attention. Well, I’m only wearing pajama bottoms and a T-shirt—which one do I use? I guess I have to decide HOW MUCH attention I actually want. But who will see me that high up anyway? Option C: Start tossing the basil pots down to the ground until someone looks up and sees me (either topless or pantless) and calls the cops. This solution is unlikely because my experience with Torontonians so far is that most of them are completely self-absorbed and oblivious to the world around them (we’ll get to that later). No, the only sure thing is Option D: Keep an extra hammer out on the balcony. Then I can smash the glass in the patio door and get back into my condo. The hammer people must love me. Not only do I have several scattered around my house, now I’ll have to buy some for Toronto as well. I should probably put one in my desk drawer at work too, just in case. Next up, how do I survive having a giant crane smash into my building? I saw this on an episode of ‘House’—it COULD happen in real life, and it’s always better to have a plan, am I right? *

Thursday: I buy a chair, Toronto style

On Wednesday, I decided that I needed a comfy chair for my condo. I have a loveseat and two kitchen chairs, but people come over and they need somewhere soft to sit too (which is not to say I’m a bad hostess and hog the loveseat—I always say, “There’s room on here for two”, but most people want their own space). I went to Marshall’s and saw something that was decent, but I didn’t know how to get it back to my condo. I decided on Thursday though, to go back and find out what their delivery policy was. It was a brutally cold day, so I went through the labyrinth of indoor and underground malls that can take you from where I live almost to the Eaton Centre. There just happened to be a Brick in the first building, and I thought, what the heck, let’s see what they have. Well, weren’t they having a fantastic sale?! I found a chair that I really liked and the best part was that it was a clearance floor model—half the price of the one at Marshall’s. So I said to the sales guy, an East Indian man in his late 50s, “I really like this chair, but I don’t know how to get it back to my condo.” He asked me where I lived, and when I told him, “About 300 feet down the street and around the corner”, he said, “No problem-I can call you a taxi van.” I was like What? But he assured me that this was all perfectly acceptable. He called a cab company, told them we needed a van to move some ‘cargo’ and they said they’d be there in 15 minutes, but that it would be a $10 charge. I was like “Hells, yeah.” So in about ten minutes, his phone rings—it’s the cab driver calling to say that the side of the street in front of the Brick in closed for repairs so he’ll have to park on the other side of the street. The sales guy says sure, then looks at me and says, and I kid you not, “We have to take the chair across the street. It’s not heavy but it’s a bit awkward so I need you to help me carry it.” So we get it down a flight of stairs, out the door, and the next thing I know, I am racing across 4 lanes of traffic, me and the sales guy holding this chair aloft to keep it out of the slush. When I realize that I’m less than 200 feet from the back door of my building, he says, “Too bad we called the taxi—we could have just carried it there ourselves.” But then the taxi came, and he and the driver loaded it in. We shook hands, and he thanked me for my business. I love this guy and would totally buy more furniture from him. But then I got to my building, and I realized that not everyone is as nice as the sales guy from the Brick. The taxi driver helped me get it through the door into the lobby, where I said to the concierge, “Is it OK if I take this into the elevator without having it booked first? He said no problem, then went back to his newspaper. So there I was, in my lobby, by myself, with a big-ass chair. I looked around—there were two people sitting in the lobby chairs waiting for rides. No one looked up. I started to drag the chair across the lobby. No one looked up. The concierge kept reading his newspaper. I opened the security door and tried to hold it open while I struggled to get the chair through. No one looked up, not even the woman sitting right next to the door who I ‘accidentally’ whacked with my purse. I finally got the chair through the door and dragged it onto the elevator. When I got up to my floor, thank god there was carpeting so it was easier to drag it down the hall. I put it in place, stood back and admired it, and the fact that I had gotten it up there all by myself. And if my building ever WAS hit by a giant crane, I would make sure that the chair escaped with me. We’ve been through too much together for me to leave it behind.

*Congratulations to my cousin, who just had a baby. And after talking to my aunt a few minutes ago, I think I need a plan in case someone has a baby in my car, because that almost happened to them on Thursday—they got to the hospital with 22 minutes to spare. I’m thinking blankets, a blow-up mattress, a container of wet wipes—yeah, I better do some research.

My Week 20 – Stuck In Traffic, and Revolving Doors

Thursday : I find ways to amuse myself when I’m stuck in traffic.

Now that I live in Toronto during the week, I have the best commute of my life. I go down one elevator, cross a street, and go up another elevator. It’s 2 minutes, if the walk light is green. I don’t have to get up at 6’oclock anymore, and even though it’s absolutely frigid outside (Toronto keeps having “extreme cold weather warnings”), I’m never outside long enough to care. I worry about the homeless though, which a lot of Torontonians don’t seem to understand. I told someone the other day that there are no homeless people in the town where I live and she was shocked. Well, there are only 500 people in town and they all know each other—if anyone didn’t have a home, someone else would take them in, or they could stay at the pub. Or my house, but the food’s better at the pub.

Anyway, my commute during the week is amazing, but I come home on weekends. I’ve only been there for two weeks so far, and both my commutes home have been a nightmare. Last weekend, it was three hours, for no apparent reason. There was a LOT of traffic, and when I got to a certain spot on the highway, two cars and a tow truck were at the side of the road. After everyone had a good look, it was smooth sailing, but it still took an hour and a half longer than it should. Then, last night, I headed for home around 4:10. Things were congested and slow, but once I left the Toronto area and hit the 401, I was flying. Until I got another 40 kilometers down the road, at which point everything got slow again, Like 20 km/hour. Then, as I got close to Guelph, I thought I should turn on the news, and I caught the tail end of the traffic reporter say, “If you can, get off at Guelph Line NOW before you hit the shut-down.” Which would have been fantastic, but I’d JUST PASSED Guelph Line and the traffic stopped dead. Do you know why? Because there was a bus on fire on the side of the road. I called Ken:

Me: I’m going to be really late.
Ken: Why, what’s going on?
Me: There’s a bus on fire and the 401 is closed.
Ken: What?
Me: A BUS. A F-ING BUS ON FIRE. I’m not joking. The universe hates me.

We agreed that I would call once the traffic started moving again. After ten minutes of sitting in a three lane parking lot, I put the Sonic in “park”, and began to amuse myself. So here, for your reading pleasure, are the top 5 ways I am able to entertain myself when I’m stuck on a highway and can’t get home to my family.

1) I contemplated the exact procedure for evacuating a burning bus. Now, I haven’t taken a bus in probably 20 years, but it can’t be that different. So I thought, if I’m on a bus that’s on fire, what should I do? My first thought was, obviously, get off the f-ing bus. I would climb over anyone, I mean ANYONE, to get off a burning bus. But wait—how did the bus set on fire in the first place? Was it that guy at the back with the creepy smile and minimal luggage, smoking on the bus? What an a-hole! Or did the under-qualified mechanic at the bus place (Ken says it’s called a “depot”, but whatever) put in the wrong spark plug because his student loan had run out and he had to go to cheap-ass bus school instead of college? Is that why I’m on a burning bus?! Was it like “Speed” with Keanu Reeves, where an insane bomber hijacks a bus and all the passengers sneak out before it goes below 55 miles an hour (or in Canada, a gazillion kilometres an hour (I’m not sure of the exchange rate on that)?) My best idea was to always wear steel-toed shoes on any bus, and then kick out the window for an easy exit. I’m going to buy some today, just in case—you know me and worst-case scenarios. But it will probably be a useless purchase, because after reading this over, I have definitively decided to NEVER travel by bus.

2) I told myself stories. I have a lot of stories in my head, so here is one that I was thinking about whilst stuck in traffic. It’s about the time I was a DJ at this sh-thole in Waterloo called “Shooters”. One night, the manager, who was fairly Neanderthalic, decided to have a “wet T-shirt contest”. I was supposed to play “sexy music” for said event. Eventually, however, the girls became very drunk and very desperate for the prize money, which was $100, and began taking their shirts OFF. At this point, it occurred to me that not only was I participating in something that was probably illegal, but obviously immoral, and these poor girls were being egged on by the crowd to do something they would regret. So I stopped the music and told the skeezy manager that if he wanted me to start playing again, he needed to end the contest. Boy, was he pissed. The girls, on the other hand, seemed kind of relieved, and the crowd was too drunk to notice that the music had stopped anyway. But that was the end of my career as a DJ at Shooters, which closed down not long after. I worked for a DJ service called Doctor Music. My boss was a really nice man who paid me cash under the table and, as it turned out, was a cross-dresser. I have no problem with that, but he was 6 foot 5 inches tall and about 300 pounds, so I often wondered what he wore aside from muumuus. He met a tragic end, but this is a humourous blog, so there’s no place for that here. I have many stories about that job, but the best thing is that I used to put on an “extended version” of whatever song I could, so that I could go to the bathroom. It’s amazing what 8 minutes of Milli Vanilli will allow you to do.

3) I made up 5 new sweary insults.

4) I used them all in a grumbly voice, directing them at the cars around me, the stupid bus, and the universal misfortune of having driven by the only exit that could have helped me escape from this highway of hell. Three of them involved variations on the word “anus”, which, if you’ve read my earlier blogs, is a favourite term, thanks to Sherlock Holmes. My favourite right now is “ani-faced dilettante”. (Wow, spellcheck didn’t even FLINCH at that one).

5) After almost an hour, I was faced with a choice. I could swear at the universe (with my new favourite curse words, of course), or I could literally face the music. So that’s what I did. I put on Bohemian Rhapsody, turned it up to 11, opened the windows, and rocked out a la Wayne’s World. When that was finished, I created a playlist for the situation—kind of an “I can’t move and I hate the highway. And fiery buses”– and spent the next half hour dancing in my seat and singing along at the top of my lungs to a variety of kick-ass songs. The guy in the car next to me thought it was very amusing. I hoped it helped him pass the time because it helped me immeasurably.

When I finally got home, I collapsed into Ken and T’s arms. Then we sat down to dinner, and I had recovered sufficiently to make fun of the Shake and Bake Chicken he’d attempted. Seriously dude—it’s Shake and Bake. How can you mess that up? He claimed the coating wouldn’t stick to the chicken. Whatever. It tasted fine, and it was 100 kilometres better than sitting on the 401.

Wednesday: I hate revolving doors.

There’s only one thing that disrupts my awesome commute during the week–my building, and the one I work in, both have revolving doors. What the hell is with Revolving Doors? Who invented these insane death traps? Yes, yes there are regular doors next to the revolving ones, but they all have signs begging people to conserve heat and NOT use them (apparently, that doesn’t apply to the people who stand inside my office building waiting for the bus who sneak in when the concierge isn’t there, which is a lot of the time). So, I’m torn between my need to obey authority, and my sense of self-preservation. Because people in Toronto have no sense of etiquette when it comes to many things, but especially revolving doors. You can be in one, going through at a manageable pace, when some a-hole comes in behind you and pushes the door with all his might, forcing you to stumble out the other side. Why is my access to any building contingent upon someone else’s consideration for my personal well-being??!! And In order to even get IN a revolving door, I have to bide my time, like I’m waiting to jump into a double-dutch skipping rope. Or off a diving board. Revolving doors suck. That’s all I have to say about it.

My Week 19 – I Take An Oath to the Queen and Get Weird TV

Tuesday: I pledge my allegiance to the Queen

So, as you know, I took a new job in the big city, working for a government agency. On Tuesday, I started the job, but had to meet first with my Human Resources contact to fill in a lot of paperwork. We were filling in the usual forms—contact information, computer log-ins, keys, and other stuff, when she said, “Oh—because we’re a government agency, and you’re technically a public servant, you have to take an oath of allegiance. She said this kind of matter-of-factly, like I took oaths every day. (This is the beginning of me going off on a very long tangent, so sit back and enjoy, y’all.) Actually, I DID just take an oath recently, because in December, I fought a traffic ticket. I got nailed by a red light camera going through an intersection on the red light. BUT, to be fair, I was only going 40 km/hour, and didn’t think it was right that I had to pay almost $400 for NOT running a red light—I just didn’t see it, which I know is a lousy excuse, but I felt like someone needed to know that I am NOT a red-light runner. So I went to traffic court, where they give you the option of swearing to tell the truth with either your hand on a bible, or just saying it VERY SINCERELY without the bible. I opted for the latter, since I don’t think that anyone’s god particularly cares whether or not I lie in traffic court. Plus, they had a picture of my SUV and my licence plate actually IN the intersection where the light is clearly red, so there would be no point in lying anyway, since I was caught dead to rights. What could I possibly say? “Your Honour, this picture is obviously photoshopped. Your James Bond-ish hightech team is super-clever, but that’s not my truck.”? Long story short, they cut my fine in half, and I was indeed very sincere. It turns out I didn’t even need to be apologetic, because before I got to say anything, the court officer immediately announced, “We’re reducing your fine to $150.” I feel like he kind of stole my thunder, but then I was like “Cool. Thanks.”

Anyway, so there I was, wondering what kind of oath she was talking about. Was it an oath where I promised not to look at porn or run an online dating service on my work computer? Because I have no problem with that kind of oath, since I have no interest in doing either, and can’t imagine the kind of person who WOULD think this is OK to do at work. But wait—it was NOT that kind of oath. It was a pledge of allegiance to the Queen. Not a cool queen, like Guinevere or Latifah, or even the band Queen (by the way, I just googled Disney Queens and one of the search hits was “Why Drag Queens are better role models than Disney Queens”. I am DEFINITELY going back to read that one later.) No, it was THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Actually, I had a choice—I could either pledge my allegiance to the Queen and all her heirs in the eyes of god, or I could just pledge my allegiance to old Lizzy herself. So I chose the latter, again on the premise that I don’t believe that anyone’s god particularly cares about my relationship with an aging monarch. But the pledge was very vague, and I don’t know what the ramifications of all this are. What exactly are my responsibilities? Do I fly to England if she commands my presence as one of her loyal subjects? Will she pay for the flight, or is that just one of the expenses that go along with being one of her servants? If she gets in a Facebook fight with the Queen of Jordan, do I have to post nice things about her in her defence? Or worse, post mean things about the Queen of Jordan (who seems like a kind of cool queen herself)? Babysit the grandkids? Walk the Corgis? So I guess the next time she`s having trouble picking out a hat for the Queen`s Ball or whatever, I might have to be there to help out. I mean, I took an OATH.

Wednesday: I get TV, in a very weird way.

Having moved to an apartment in Toronto, where I have to live during the week for work, I’ve had to do a variety of things I’ve never done before, or at least haven’t done for about 20 years. One of those things is getting internet and cable. In my building, there was a sign for a company that installs both, so I called the number. The guy who answered seemed really nice, and said that yes, he could come by on Monday night between 6 and 9 pm to put in the internet. That seemed kind of late, but he had business cards, so I figured he must be legit. Sure enough, on Monday night, he texted me to say that he would be over after 8:30. And he was. And he and his friend installed my internet. They were both REALLY young. Like “just out of high school” young. He was having trouble with the installation, because his pants, which were cinched around his upper thighs with a belt, kept sliding down when he bent over. He seemed used to it though (it’s a fashion statement I’ve NEVER understood) and just kept hiking them up nonchalantly. At any rate, they were done pretty quickly and I finally had the internet. I decided then to order a TV box thing that would give me access to most stations, and the guy said sure, that he would order it, and it would be couriered to my building. Then they packed up. I said, “Don’t I have to pay you or something?”, but they said no, I would get a bill eventually.

Then, on Wednesday afternoon, he texted me to say that he had the TV box, and he could bring it to my apartment that evening. I said Fine, and I waited. And waited. About 8:45 pm, he texted me this: “Heading over as soon as the raptors are done”. Then a few minutes later, “Brutal performance by the raps, there in 20”. About half an hour later, he showed up with the TV box, still fuming about the Raptors losing their basketball game, but very nice and professional despite the fact that he was still wearing his low-rider pants. He installed the box in no time, and was gone. Again, I didn’t have to pay anything. The next day, I was telling a colleague at work who’s been living in Toronto for a while about the whole experience and how unusually laid back it seemed to me things were in Toronto compared to where I live. “There’s no way a service guy would ever come after 6 o’clock where I’m from, or text me to tell me about the Raptors. Boy, people do things differently in Toronto.” She responded by giving me a weird look: “Do you really think that a service installer TEXTING you about a basketball team and then coming to your apartment after 9:30 at night is normal? That’s not normal ANYWHERE, even in Toronto. Are you sure it’s a legitimate company?!” It left me feeling a little naïve, but I’ve been feeling like that a lot lately. All I know is that I have working internet and cable, and I haven’t had to pay for anything. Yet.

My Week 18 – Spy Qualities and Renting a Condo in the Big City

Saturday: I realize that I would make a pretty good spy

So earlier tonight, I was getting packed up and moving things around because I got this fabulous new job with “a government agency”, which means I have to live in Toronto during the week. It’s been incredibly stressful, which I will talk about later, but for right now, I’m focused on tomorrow’s journey. Anyway, I had taken some stuff off an antique bench outside our bedroom, then when I went to shift the rest of the stuff (great word—so non-specific and leaving things up to the reader’s imagination and all, but it was only magazines. Sorry to disappoint). I did this, finishing with a great flourish, when a very large splinter of wood jammed itself underneath the fingernail of my middle finger. I started squealing and saying “Ow! Ow!” because Ken was on his way out to get T from a friend’s house, and I wanted him to know I was in pain. I hadn’t looked at the splinter yet, but I suspected it was pretty far down my fingernail. Ken started yelling from downstairs “What? What did you do? Where are you?!” and eventually we met in the middle. I showed him my finger (which I still hadn’t looked at) and first he said, “Why are you giving me the finger?”, and then he said, “Holy shit! How did you manage that?” like, somehow, my actual intention had been to stab myself. Also, his shocked expression told me that MAYBE the splinter was quite a bit bigger than I thought, plus it was really starting to hurt. “Fix it, Fix it!” I said to him, and he looked at it for a minute in that way he has, where he’s deciding what power tool might be best for the job at hand (no pun intended). Eventually, with me continuing to make unhappy noises and jumping up and down a little, he said, “Come with me-I have tweezers in the bathroom.” But first he had to clip my nail all the way down, then surgically extract the wooden dagger, which hurt as much coming out as it did going in. After the whole ordeal was over, he gave me a big hug and kissed my head, which was very sweet, and then we decided (or at least I did, with Ken indulging me) that I could be a spy for sure, because if the enemy tried to get any information out of me by jamming splinters underneath my fingernails, I wouldn’t give away any secrets about my new government job.

Me: See, you could have asked me anything, and I wouldn’t have told you. It wasn’t that bad.
Ken: OK, sure, honey. But I think the bamboo splinters that torturers use are a bit longer.
Me: You’ll never know what I’m going to get you for next Christmas. You could have tried asking me, but I wouldn’t have said anything.
Ken: Yep, you were a real trooper.

I’m pretty sure he was being sincere and not sarcastic. I really would make a great spy, unless the enemy dangled me off a balcony. Which brings me to my next revelation.

Thursday: I rent a condo in a high rise building

I live on the ground and park my car on the ground. That’s the way I like it. But as of tomorrow, I will be living in an alternate universe where I live in the sky and park in an underground cavern. Apparently, that’s what happens when you start a job very suddenly in a large metropolis, and your housing options are limited. Luckily, my brother has an “agent” (not the secret kind, unfortunately, because it would be great to see how long HE could last with a gigantic wooden spike under his fingernail), who was willing to show me condos. Actually, it ended up being “condo” singular, because downtown properties get snatched up faster than Titus grabbing a dish out of the sink (which he will do the second you’re not looking, then carry it into the breakfast room in his mouth, and lick it clean). So the agent arranged a showing at the one condo left in all of Toronto, and we arrived there at noon. The actual listing showed this pristine, empty apartment, so none of us were prepared when we opened the door and the place was crammed from top to bottom with someone else’s crap. And I mean CRAP. My dad and brother had come with me because Ken had to work, and they were both like “Oh, look at all the light” and “It’s so roomy” (it’s 624 square feet and costs more than the mortgage for my house), at which point the door to the second bedroom opened and a half-dressed woman peeked out. We were all taken aback, and the agent said something like “We have an appointment—is it OK that we look around?” She kind of nodded, then disappeared back into the room and shut the door. You couldn’t really move around to see much—they were getting ready to move out, but it was like that show Hoarders—there were little pathways between all the stuff (use your imagination), and you couldn’t get to the periphery of anything, plus the half-naked lady was in the one bedroom and we had to ask her if we could look at it. She kind of stood to one side, and there was underwear everywhere, and I was having major doubts about the whole thing. Then my brother was like, “Look—what a great balcony—it runs from the living room all the way to the bedroom!”, and then I realized that we were on the 27TH FLOOR, and there was no way I was EVER going out onto that balcony. I don’t have a fear of heights; I just have an intense fear of falling FROM THEM. But it was the only place left in town, and it was right across the street from my office, which meant no commuting, especially if I launched myself off the balcony and parasailed down to the street (which would only happen if I was, in fact, a secret agent trying to elude enemy agents).

The next two days were absolute chaos as I tried to arrange insurance, hydro, first and last month’s rent and a whole lot of other things that I’ve NEVER done before. As is my usual way, I made a fool of myself on more than one occasion through my sheer naiveté:

a) When my insurance agent told me that my contents would be insured for $15 000, I exclaimed “but it’s only a 600 square foot apartment! How am I going to get $15 000 worth of stuff into it?!” to which he very calmly replied, “That’s just the minimum amount of coverage we give you—you don’t have to meet the limit.”

b) I had no idea what a certified cheque was, or how to get one, so I went to the bank, and found my financial advisor in her office. “Zeynep, I’m having a banking emergency!” I said. I must have looked pretty freaked out because right away she was like “Come in—what can I do?!” When I told her I needed a certified cheque, she just about laughed (but she restrained herself because she’s a really nice person), and she got the teller to give me one within the next 10 minutes—it would have been quicker, but I couldn’t remember who it had to be made out to, and it took me a while to find it on my phone. Why? Because it’s a phone, and the screen is so f-ing small, and my eyes are so f-ing bad that the first thing I had to do was find my reading glasses in my purse, which is hard when you can’t see anything up close to begin with, and you need your reading glasses to FIND your reading glasses.

c) Setting up the hydro was really easy, once the customer service rep. explained that there was already hydro in the building and I didn’t have to panic that it was getting close to 5 pm, because it wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to set up an account, and I didn’t have to get some guy to come on Sunday and put in a line or anything.

d) Did you know that in a high rise condo, you have to BOOK the elevator to move your stuff in? I finally got hold of the concierge, and we made an appointment, at which point he told me I would have to provide a $500 cheque for the elevator. I said, “It’s $500 to use the elevator?! No one told me that!” He very kindly explained that it was only a deposit. “So, like if I don’t break the elevator, I get my money back?” He replied, “Yes, that’s why we ask for a cheque—if there’s no damage, we just give it back to you.”

d) I have to meet the property manager at a coffeeshop at the corner of King and Spadina to get the keys. Doesn’t this sound really sketchy? But I need the keys. My biggest worry, actually, is where the hell am I going to park? It’s Toronto–are there parking lots?

So it looks like almost everything is in place. My only worry is, what if I get another really bad splinter and Ken’s 100 km. away? I guess I’ll just have to suffer until I get home—and I have the proof that I can withstand the pain.