My Week 240: Moving On

I’m exhausted. I just spent the last week packing up for my move back home. If you didn’t already know this, 4 years ago I was offered a temporary position with the secret agency, but it was a very long way from the small town where Ken and I have lived for over 15 years. They were willing to pay for a condo, so I moved to Toronto for what I thought would be a very short time, which turned into a permanent position (where they no longer paid for the condo and I had to pay for it myself–the monthly rent was twice the cost of my mortgage) and a very LONG time. Every Sunday night, I took the train into Toronto, and every Friday afternoon, I took the train home. It was yucky. Finally this Christmas, and after discovering a morning train that could get me to work in under an hour and a half, Ken and I decided I should commute every day instead of living in a neighbourhood that I like to call “the last place that God made”. I had to wait until the end of April though, because I’d committed to taking on a co-op student, a lovely girl who had already lived with me twice, and it didn’t seem fair to make her find some random weirdo to live with for her last work term (and yes, perhaps I am also a random weirdo, but I’m HER random weirdo).

*Side Note: Here are two reasons I’m sad about moving. First, not more than a week after I posted about that weird-ass ladder on the roof next door, I looked out the window and saw this:

Where’s the damn ladder?

And now I will never know what the ultimate plan is. Second, the two guys across the hall just got a Golden Retriever, and I will never get to babysit him.

But moving is bullsh*t. Everyone knows that. In fact, I can’t understand why people don’t just live in the same place until they die because moving is so horrible. Even though my condo was under 800 square feet, it was absolutely f*cking amazing to me the sheer quantity of stuff that I’d accumulated over 4 years. And I’d already had to move once already, after I was illegally evicted from my first condo because it was sold and the new owner was “anxious to move in”. So I had to find another place to live and MOVE TO IT. One week after I moved, I was on the local realtor site and I saw my old place for rent again for $250 more a month than I’d been paying. So I called the real estate agent who was leasing it:

Me: Hi there. I’m wondering about the condo you have advertised.
Agent: Oh so sorry—it just leased.
Me: That’s very interesting, because you just illegally evicted me from there last week.
Agent: Uh…I’m going to have to call you back (*click*).

Long story short, I filed a lawsuit, and they settled out of court. But I still had to move. And now, I was doing it by choice. I decided that it wouldn’t be fair to Ken to make him drive into the heart of downtown Toronto with U-Haul, so I hired movers. There are a lot of moving companies around, and some of them have pretty weird names as we all know. Here are ten:

1) The Burly Boyz
2) The Box Brothers
3) The Happy Haulers
4) My Ninja Movers
5) Rent-A-Son
6) The Rampaging Removers
7) The Shifty Shifters
8) Uncle Bob’s El Cheapo Movers
9) You Pack ‘Em, We Stack ‘Em
10) Your Friend With A Cube Van

Some of those names are actually made up—you have to guess which ones are real moving companies. I think my favourite was ‘In and Out Movers’ because it sounded just a little dirty. At any rate, after looking at review sites, I went with a company called “Two Men and a Truck”, which seemed a fairly self-explanatory and not very creative. But they had a five-star rating so I booked them. In the meantime, I had to start packing all my sh*t up, which sounds easy, except that almost every night last week, I was taken out for a farewell dinner by friends, which involved drinks, and which rendered me not particularly interested in packing. Finally, on Thursday night, I realized I needed to go hard at it because the movers were coming on Friday morning. But I had one problem—there was way too much stuff. Luckily, I had placed an ad on the electronic bulletin board in the elevator of the building. I hadn’t had any takers, when suddenly on Thursday at around 5 pm, I got a text from ‘Joseph’, who was interested in my couch, lamp, and coffee table. He lived two floors up and offered to come down right away. I was a little nervous—what if he was like The Serial Killer Upstairs (whom I had written about a couple of years ago) and instead of wanting my furniture, he wanted to make a lady-suit out of me? The only weapon that I hadn’t packed was a fork that didn’t go with any of my other cutlery (where the hell it came from is one of life’s mysteries, and we all know how we feel about THAT ONE FORK) so I put it in a convenient spot on the counter. I was worried for nothing though, because Joseph was more interested in my furniture than me. He was Swedish, or some kind of young Scandinavian country-type, and he took a few things, telling me that he “loved glassware and lighting”. He also had a roommate who would be home shortly and he would tell ‘Daveed’ about some of the other things I had, and let me know if they were interested. Sure enough, around 9:45, I got a second text telling me that he wanted some more items:

 

I was pretty exhausted, and also a little perplexed about having two strange young men in my condo at 10 o’clock at night, but that concern was outweighed by the feeling that I had badly underestimated the number of boxes I told the movers I would have (“Ten-ish,” I said. “You fool!” you say.), and I really wanted to get rid of some more stuff. Joseph introduced me to ‘Daveed’, who was also apparently Swedish-y. The two of them were setting up an “outdoor space” on their balcony and were delighted by everything they saw (imagine that they are speaking with charming Swedish accents, which I don’t know how to write—I can only do French and Russian):

Joseph: Daveed. Daveed! This will be perfect in the outdoor room!
Daveed: For plants, yes! And look at this wine rack—I can grow vines around it!
Joseph: Daveed! What do you think of this desk? Could you use it outside?
Daveed: Oh yes! It will be perfect for when I am at the computer!

After a few trips up and down the elevator, they had enough for a good start on the outdoor room, we bid each other goodnight, and I went to bed. Guess what time I woke up in a panic about all the things I still had left to do, and the fact that I was short at least two boxes? If you said 4 a.m., you would be absolutely f*cking correct. But then the movers called around 8:30 and asked, “Do you need any boxes?”
“Maybe a couple,” I answered casually. In the meantime, Ken messaged for me to call him so that we could discuss how I should tell the movers to pack everything:

Me: What are you talking about?
Ken: You need to tell them to put everything that goes upstairs in last so they can bring it out first.
Me: You seriously want me to mansplain moving to PROFESSIONAL MOVERS? Hard pass.
Ken: But there are some things that have to go in the front door and some things that have to—
Me: You know what? You can tell them yourself when they get there, but I’m gonna bet they know how to do this, and for the money I’m paying them, I’ll also bet they’ll do whatever you want.

The movers were right on time, and there were THREE of them in the truck. The driver explained that I got a bonus man because it was Friday, and if there was ever a more random reason than that, I can’t think of one. But they were super-efficient, wrapping everything in blankets and taping it all up. Then they were gone and I was left with an empty condo. The landlord was coming over at 11:30 to get the keys, so I cleaned up everything until the place was spic and span, and much cleaner than the previous tenants had left it. He arrived, and I proudly said, “I’ve left everything very clean!” at which point, he went over, opened the oven door and looked inside it, the one place I HADN’T CLEANED. Then he looked at me rather pointedly, and I said, “It was like that when I moved in.”

When I finally arrived home on Friday night, SOMEONE was very happy to see me:

Titus: You’re home! This is the best day ever!
Me: Guess what, buddy? I’m going to be home EVERY night from now on!
Titus: WHUUUT?! HOME COOKED MEALS EVERY NIGHT?! Ooh, I think I just peed a little!
Me: Ok, ewww. But what are you talking about? Ken knows how to cook.
Titus: Yeah, if you like ‘Wonder Weiner’ twice a week.
Ken (from the other room): Wonder Weiner is awesome!
Titus: Can you make that steak with the peppercorn cream sauce? I’ll just wait by the oven…

Ah, home sweet home. And now I have to unpack.

My Week 234: Up On The Roof

As many of you know, I’m from a very small town, but I work in Toronto, so during the week, I live downtown in a condo. I’m on the 34th floor. I have a balcony but I never go out there, not because I’m afraid of heights but because I’m afraid of falling FROM them. But the view from my windows is always very interesting, because I can see into other buildings as well as being able to look down on other roofs, and I’ve seen some crazy stuff. One of the buildings opposite had this naked mannequin in the window for the longest time. Once in a while, it sported a jaunty fedora, but it never wore pants. EVER. I’m just glad I had the posterior view because looking at mannequin junk every day would be very disconcerting.

Look at my bum!

 Last week, I was looking out my bedroom window, which overlooks another building. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but I’ve never actually paid attention to the thing that I suddenly noticed and am now absolutely befuddled by. Take a look at the picture below. It shows the side of a building with a beautiful mural celebrating singers and venues in Toronto. There’s also a rooftop which features a ladder.

Ladder to nowhere

 Now think about the ladder. What is the deal with that f*cking ladder? It comes out of a brick wall, goes down and then along the roof, then suddenly stops. It’s not high enough to reach the next level of the roof, and it’s above the door in the brick. If you look closely you can tell that it doesn’t go INTO the brick—it’s just attached to it. It’s either performance art making a statement about the futility of life or a very poorly designed roller coaster.

When I first moved to Toronto in 2015, I lived a different building on the 27th floor. I was initially alarmed by how high up I was, and the fact that I had floor to ceiling windows made me a little dizzy. But I soon learned to love the view—I could see the sun rising over the lake in the morning, and the city lights were gorgeous at night. But the best part was that the condo directly overlooked the roof of the building next door, which, when I moved in, featured a lovely roof garden with raised boxes of shrubberies, lighted paths, benches, and whatnot. Then around the beginning of March, I looked out and saw a crew of workers starting to dismantle the whole thing. I was initially dismayed, but not long after they ripped it apart and took it down to bare concrete, they started laying new rubber membrane and then putting down patterned paving stones. I had ongoing hope that one day it would become an even more beautiful rooftop garden. But the PACE of the workers concerned me. There were 4 men–they arrived around 7 am every morning, and they were gone by the time I got home from work. And after a month, they hadn’t even finished LAYING the paving stones. One Thursday night when I got in, it seemed that all of the stones were in place. Except for ONE SPOT, where there was a hole with a single paving stone missing. I assumed they had left it because it was quitting time, and that it would be easy to finish up the next morning, but I was wrong.

On Friday morning, I got up, and the crew was there. They were too far away to really identify but there were 4 guys—let’s call them Bill, Frank, Bob, and Monty. Over the course of the next hour, as I was getting ready for work, I was fascinated by their activity—or lack thereof—as you can tell by this chronicle which I have named “The Tale of the Hole”:

7:02 – Bill, Frank, and Monty are wandering aimlessly around the roof. Bob comes out of a porta-potty. (I have NO idea how they got a porta-potty up there.) I go into the bathroom and wash my face.

7:05 – Bill is staring at the hole. Frank is leaning against the wall, having a smoke. I put in my contact lenses.

7:07 – Bill is standing IN the hole. Frank is staring at him. I wash my hair.

7:10 – Bill and Frank are BOTH standing in the hole. It’s a tight fit AND they’re facing each other. I dry my hair.

7:15 – Frank is standing in the hole. Bill is about 10 feet away, lying on his stomach facing the hole and using his thumb as a gauge. For what exactly, I have no idea. Monty is hovering nearby. No sign of Bob. I pour out some cereal and go back into the bathroom to put on some make-up.

7:20 – Frank is out of the hole, and Bill is once again in it. He’s jumping up and down. Frank observes him carefully. I put my cereal bowl in the sink and apply mascara.

7:22 – Frank and Bill are kneeling on either side of the hole. They are facing each other and look like they are genuflecting. Perhaps a small god lives in the hole. I brush my teeth.

7:24 – Monty is standing in the hole. Frank and Bill observe him carefully. Could it be a time-travel portal? Maybe that explains what happened to Bob, whom I haven’t seen in a little while. No, wait—Bob has just come out of the porta-potty again. So much for the time-travel theory. Unless the porta-potty IS the portal. Hmmm. I go into my room to get dressed.

7:29 – Monty and Bill are standing next to the hole. Bob has made his way over, and seems to be instructing Frank on how to kill an imaginary insect by stomping repeatedly on it with his foot. He stomps, then looks encouragingly at Frank, who then stomps a little himself. They continue this for several minutes. I pack my lunch.

7:33 – Bob and Frank are still “killing insects”. Monty and Bill are now both lying on their stomachs across from each other, facing the hole, and both are using their thumbs as gauges. Again, for what, I have no idea. I get my bags ready to leave.

As I leave, Bill is once again IN the hole. Monty, Frank, and Bob are observing him carefully. I have hope that, based on the efforts of the morning, the hole will be filled by the time I get home from work.

4:30 – I arrive at my condo, anxious to see what progress the crew have made. Not only is the hole still visible, there are now at least 14 other holes where once there were none. It’s going to be a long summer.

So many holes…

And it was a very long time before that roof was finished—if you want to know what happened next, check out My Week 94: Sexy Roof Time.

I’m actually moving home at the end of April to start commuting  to work daily by train. I’m really excited about it, but I WILL miss the views.

My Week 219: Rubbed the Wrong Way

On Tuesday, I got a massage. Now, I am no stranger to “the table”, having had many experiences, usually very positive, with massage therapy, but this time, it was really weird. I haven’t had a massage for over a year, but my brother and sister-in-law gave me a gift card to a fancy spa, so I thought, What the hell? Why not treat myself to something really relaxing? But now I’m starting to wonder if maybe either I’ve reached the point where relaxation is impossible, or the world of massage therapy has changed so drastically that it and I are no longer compatible.

I got to the spa after walking several city blocks in minus 10 degree weather due to College subway station being closed and under investigation for a “gun incident”. So I was absolutely freezing when I arrived. But I know the drill—go into the changeroom, get undressed, put on a thick, cushy robe, sit in a big cushy chair and wait for my blissful turn. I was getting nicely warmed up when the tiny RMT (at least that’s who I assumed she was, but now I’m not sure) walked over, shook my hand, and said, “Hi, Suzanne, I’m Terry. It’s nice to meet you” to which I replied, “I’m…nice to meet you too,” because I was going to introduce myself then I realized that she already knew my name and then I sounded kind of dumb, but that’s par for the course. Also, my mouth was partially frozen, so technically, I could have been muttering ANYTHING.

She took me into the room, and then said, “You can take off the robe and lie down on the table. I’ll be back in a couple of minutes AFTER I WASH MY HANDS.” I put that in caps because it sounded ominous and all I could think was, a) Is it because her hands are dirty? B) She just shook MY hand. Does she think MY hands are dirty? c) If HER hands are dirty, then should I wash MY hands? Is there a sink in here?

Now, you might say that I was overthinking things, but it was a combination of nervousness (what if she walks in the door while I’m still nakedly hanging up my robe?) and general OCD hygiene issues surrounding having strangers touch me in the first place. At any rate, I got myself somewhat settled on the table after wriggling around a bit to find the least irritating way to put my face in the hole, and then she knocked and came in. She started oiling up my back and asked casually, “So I assume you’re here for a FULL body massage?” and I said “Yes.” But then I got worried by what exactly she meant by “full body”. Was this like a massage with a “happy ending”? Because it didn’t seem like THAT kind of place. Was she talking about my upper lady parts? I’d never had anyone ask this before and I really didn’t want someone kneading my boobs. But the problem was, how could I clarify this without sounding like a total weirdo myself? Finally, after wrestling with the dilemma for about 5 minutes, I said, “By full body massage, I assume you mean back, arms, legs, feet—that kind of thing? My feet are really sore from walking here, so I hope they’ll be included in the fun, ha ha ha” and that sounded really f*cking creepy and I was like, My god, I am NOT relaxed at all.

But wait. It gets worse. She assured me that yes, she would make her way around to all the parts aforementioned, but after what seemed like at least half an hour, she was still on my back. She was using her forearm and just sliding it up and down really REALLY slowly in a way that was both irritating and a little boring. And I started obsessing that we would run out of time, and my feet would NOT get to join in the fun, nor my legs. I consoled myself by promising my legs and feet that if they were left out, I would take them to Pinky Nails and get a pedicure, which for $29 Canadian includes not only a full leg and foot massage, but also while your toenails are drying, one of the girls will come over and say, “You like shoulder massage?” and JUST GIVE YOU ONE and it’s awesome.

Finally, she did get around to my arms and legs. She was rubbing her forearm slowly up and down my left calf when suddenly, she asked, “Are your feet ticklish?” I had no idea how to respond because obviously the answer to that depends on the context, like “not normally” but “yes, if you have a feather”—apparently this was the segue into foot time.

I was quite relieved but then she did something I’ve never had done before—she washed them first. She got out these hot, wet towels and thoroughly scrubbed my feet with them, including between my toes. And I didn’t know if she was trying to be nice, or whether this just confirmed that she really DID think I was all germ-y and whatnot, and also it’s very disconcerting to have a total stranger wash your feet, like you’re some kind of biblical martyr.

After the feet, I was instructed to turn over, at which point, she started working on my shoulders, and I realized that a) she had been eating salami at some point during the day and was now breathing it down on me and b) all the essential oils in the world weren’t going to cover up that smell.

Finally, the whole ordeal was over, and she told me to go ahead and get up when I was ready—that she would be waiting for me. So I sat there for a very long time pondering the inevitable action of having to get out from under the cozy sheets and parade naked across the room yet again. I finally girded my loins (figuratively—I was naked), ran across the room, got on my robe, opened the door, and there she was—literally outside the door like a garden gnome. She scared the sh*t out of me, and then I felt immediately guilty for making her wait so long.

And I wonder if she also thought the whole experience was strikingly abnormal, because she was like, “Well, that was great. Bathe in Epsom salts later. Bye.” and then she just disappeared.

In addition to all of this, I had another gift card on file with the spa which, combined with my new one, would cover the massage. They couldn’t find it:

Girl: Would it be under C or W?
Me: It would be under whatever you put it under.
Girl: I can’t find it.
Me: Well, I don’t have it because the last time I was here, you said, “Let me take your gift card and put it on file for you.”
Girl: Do you know how much was left on it?
Me: I would if I had it, because you wrote the amount on it. But then you took it.
Girl:

I made my way to the subway station to go home. It was super f*cking windy, and by the time I got on the train, my eyes were tearing really badly which wasn’t a real problem because all my make-up had been smeared off by the hole in the massage table anyway. So there I was, hanging on to a pole, sniffing and wiping tears from my smeary eyes, when a friend from work came walking towards me. “My god, is everything alright?!” she asked.

“Oh,” I answered. “I just had a massage.”

(*I woke up the next morning in agony. It took four days for my back to stop hurting and now I think that she wasn’t actually a massage therapist after all, just a demon with large forearms.)

My Week 213: Speaking My Mind, I Am Your Sunshine

I, like many people, have difficulty speaking my mind. I’m usually a pretty polite person, and I’d prefer to engage, as one does, in passive aggressive banter rather than outright conflict:

Me: So I haven’t seen you all week, but you’re going away to a conference this weekend?
Ken: Is that OK?
Me: Fine. Whatever.
Ken: Are you sure? It doesn’t sound fine.
Me: No, Ken, it’s perfectly OK. You go be you. Don’t worry about me all alone here.
Titus (from other room): I’ll be here!!
Me (yells back): That’s right, you will! At least SOMEONE wants to spend time with me!
Ken: Sigh.

But we all know that passive aggression is not the best way to problem-solve, and as I write this, Ken is merrily enjoying himself in a place called Bolton instead of working on the porch with his loving wife sitting inside where it’s warm. I’m actually not really mad about it though because he had to sleep in a sleeping bag last night and that’s his karma.

But wouldn’t life be a lot simpler if we just asked for things outright? Case in point: last Friday, I was taking the subway from work to the train station with a couple of colleagues. It was standing room only, and we were holding onto the poles by the door to prevent ourselves from flying around the subway car every time it pulled into a station. There WOULD have been a seat right next to me, but it was occupied by the leg of a woman who was sitting in the seat next to it. She obviously didn’t want anyone sitting near her. Also, she was muttering to herself and pulling wads of used Kleenex out of one coat pocket and stuffing them into her other coat pocket. When she was finished, she would repeat the process in reverse. Anyway, I was standing there talking with my colleagues when the woman suddenly reached up, punched me in the arm, and yelled, “You need to stand over there! You’re too close to me. Go away!”

I was happy to oblige. Now, at first, I was kind of annoyed, but then I realized something: THIS WOMAN IS MY HERO. How many times have I been in a situation where I wanted to shout the exact same thing, but my politeness allowed me to suffer in silence? Just the week before, I was in Shoppers Drug Mart looking for hair styling products and it seemed like every single person in the Eaton Centre had decided to do the exact same thing. And for some reason, they were mostly men, so I couldn’t see over them, let alone reach anything on the shelves. Wouldn’t it have been fantastic if I could have just yelled, “You all need to f*ck off and go buy vitamins!” Or on a packed elevator to demand, “Everybody out on 15. No, I don’t care if it’s not your floor, LINDA—just get out!” Or at a meeting: “I don’t care how crowded it is around this table–if your chair bumps into mine one more time, I swear I will throat punch you, Bob.”

I feel better already just thinking about it. And in the spirit of throat punching and yelling at people to f*ck off, I’m happy to announce that I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award, which is “peer recognition for bloggers who inspire positivity and joy”. The irony is not lost on me. I was nominated by a very cool guy, Simon Farnell of Planet Simon. Check him out—he writes about science, technology, inventions, and also writes great sci-fi fiction. He’s also very upbeat, positive, and engaging, which explains why he was given the award before nominating me. In keeping with things of this nature, I have to answer some questions, but as usual, I’m going to answer some of his questions but mostly the ones I created for myself:

1) What country do you come from?

This is an easy one. Canada. That’s why I’m so full of humour and vigour, and extra ‘u’s, and maple syrup. And it’s ‘zed’ not ‘zee’.

2) Have you solved the mystery of the mouthguard you found on the floor?

No, I have not. I even called the dentist to find out if we had gotten another mouthguard made for Kate and forgot about it. The receptionist said no and was a little freaked out by the story when I told her about finding the mysterious mouthguard in the middle of the floor where it had suddenly, magically appeared. I feel like I need to try it on again one more time, just to make sure it’s not mine, but that could just be an excuse to swish wine around in my mouth.

3) What place are you in currently in the hockey pool?

I’m in second place. I WAS in first but one of my Andersons got injured and can’t play for a few days. What a baby.

4) Have you discovered how you are like Jeffrey yet?

No. I finally got up the nerve to ask my colleague and he laughed gently and said, “Oh, I don’t know. You both have the same…persona.” He wouldn’t say any more than that. But Jeffrey is in our hockey pool, and guess who’s in first place ahead of me? So maybe we’re both really good at hockey stuff.

5) What is your dream destination?

The Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Ken and I have already booked our trip there for next summer.

6) Why did you burst out laughing in a meeting on Thursday?

We were looking at a prototype for an approval process and one of the managers said, “See—if I click this we can see the work flow” and he did, and the screen said, “Your flow is running”. So I snickered, but then I looked around the room and no one else was laughing so I didn’t make the joke I was going to make. I’ll bet that lady on the subway would have said it though.

7) What is your favourite movie?

I have a LOT of favourite movies. Right now it’s a tie between Alien Vs. Predator, Pitch Black/The Chronicles of Riddick, and Mad Max: Fury Road. You’d never guess I actually have a minor degree in Film Studies. Also, I just saw Venom yesterday, and as someone with a minor degree in Film Studies, I can give you my professional opinion: it sucked.

8) What crazy thing did you do on Friday night?

Ken and I went out for dinner and I had a couple of glasses of wine, so I made him take me to get my ears double pierced.

9) Are you happy with your current life?

Well, I just got my ears double-pierced, so yeah, I’m living my best life, obvs. Seriously though, I decided a few weeks ago (the week I met Gary Numan all by myself even though I was full of anxiety) that I was going to do things even if the thought of them scared me.  And there is nothing scarier than letting a total stranger punch holes in your ears.

10) Do you have any new and interesting bathroom stories?

Somebody’s a little anal.

Why, yes I do. A couple of weeks ago, I was in a professional office building and needed to use the facilities. As I sat there, I realized that this sign was on the inside of the stall door. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a more micro-managed bathroom in my life. I mean, how many rules do you need to have? What kind of people normally utilize this facility that warrants a poster like this? Were there problems in the past with people just throwing their used TP on the floor in disdain, or having riots like in the movie Carrie where the other girls attack Sissy Spacek with tampons? At the bottom in very small print, it says, ‘Help and support Little Miss Tidy’. I don’t know who that is, but she deserves a good swirly.

Now, according to the rules, I’m supposed to nominate other people for this award. Frankly, I follow a lot of people, and you all make me happy, so it’s really hard to narrow the list down without me worrying that I’ve left someone out, but here are some people who are very positive and would probably never throat punch anyone–but they can tell you that for themselves. Also, my nominees have to answer question 1 and 5-10, but 2, 3, and 4 are yours to create.

Often Off-Topic

SKYEENT

Ms Graceful…Not!

Candidkay

BiffSockPow

The Lockwood Echo

Was That My Out Loud Voice?

Greater Than Gravity

Superman Can’t Find a Phone Booth

I’m Sick and So Are You

 

My Week 138: Nothing to See Here, Pantless People, Text Convos

This is going to be a quickie, because not only is it Mother’s Day, but we’re also celebrating a milestone birthday for my dad. Ken and I just got back from a mystery weekend that he’d arranged. “Oh boy!” I said. “A surprise, travelling somewhere, being around strangers, AND not being at home all weekend? Well, that’s just…um.” I may or may not have been sarcastic when I said it, but at any rate, I had a great time once I got there. It was a quaint little inn on the shores of Lake Erie. We got there on Friday night, and decided to sit at the bar for a drink. After a little while, Ken said, “Is that frog wearing pants?” I was a little befuddled by this sudden change in conversational direction, until I realized that behind me on the bar was a statue of a giant frog, wearing a fancy jacket and dress shoes, sporting a monocle, and yes—not wearing any pants. In fact, as I turned, his froggy-parts were directly parallel with my face.

“Hm,” I said. “He’d be right at home in downtown Toronto.”

I say this because in the last couple of weeks, what with the weather getting slightly warmer, there have been several instances of people wandering around pantless. There’s the guy who wears the pink mini-kilt with nothing underneath, who demands that people look at his ass. He can get a bit aggressive with the whole “Look at my ass NOW!” thing. The man who stands outside my office building and hands out the free Metro paper is terrified of him. I know this because a little while ago, I was on my way to work and realized the Metro man was standing behind a column on the other side of the street, kind of peeking out as he drank a cup of coffee. I didn’t know why at first, like maybe he was taking a coffee break or something and didn’t want anyone to know, but when I crossed the street, the kilt guy was running back and forth in front of my office screaming at people. I waited until he ran to the corner, then hightailed it into my building and told the security guard:

Me: There’s a guy outside wearing a pink mini-kilt and yelling at people to look at his bum.
Security Guard: Sigh. Is he back? I already told him once that he had to leave.
Me: Well, tell him again. He’s bothering the Metro man.

(I feel very protective of the Metro man because he reminds me of Hodor, in that he’s a giant and doesn’t say much, except he always smiles and very quietly wishes me a good day.)

And the other day, there was a woman in the lobby of my office building who was completely naked from the waist down, screaming F*ck you! at anyone who looked at her. I missed that one, thank goodness, but I heard about it from several co-workers. And of course, on Wednesday, there was the charming fellow in front of my building who was WEARING pants, but insisted on thrusting his groin at everyone who passed by. I really needed to pop back to my condo to get some paperwork, but I had to wait until he was gone.

Which brings me to my point. The week before, I had borrowed a trolley from work to help move boxes to my new condo. It was an ordinary trolley, with a base of thick grey plastic. It had four wheels and a metal handle. Again, a perfectly ordinary trolley. Both times, when I brought it home, and then when I returned it, people on the street looked at me like I was crazy. Heads turned, eyebrows raised, and I was given a wide berth, and I was like, “Seriously?! This is the weirdest thing you’ve seen today?! There’s a guy on the corner with a megaphone telling people they’re all going to die because they’re sinners, there’s a woman sitting in the middle of the sidewalk rocking back and forth and yelling “Spare change” over and over, and Groin Man is merrily thrusting away. But I’M THE WEIRDO?” But I realize my mistake now—if I’d just been pantless and yelling, “Stop looking at my f*cking cart!” at everyone who passed by, no one would have given me a second thought. I guess people are so used to ‘crazy’ that ‘normal’ just scares the pants off them.

Other weird things I did this week:

Monday: We have the most random text conversations:

M: At the gym now.
Me: I admire you for working out this late. I’m just drinking wine and running a bath. #ThugLife
L: Again, I’m just watching the OJ movie and hula hooping.
Me: OK, so I just pulled my shower curtain rod down and some of the rings fell into the toilet. This thug life is NOT what I was promised.
L: I don’t think thugs worry about shower rings. They are too busy popping caps in asses.
Me: But I had to put my hand in the toilet. That’s pretty gangster.
L: Again, I don’t think a gangster would do that. But well done you!
Me: Hand in toilet. That’s 50 Cent sh*t right there.
L: I bet 50 Cent has NEVER put his hand in a toilet.
Me: If this is thug life, I’m outtie.
M: Article: “Police remove ‘angry’ beaver that stopped traffic.”
Me: Nothing quite like an angry beaver.
L: That’s what she said…

Tuesday:

It was my dad’s actual birthday on Tuesday, and I wanted to call him and wish him Happy Birthday, but it was busy at work and I was worried I’d get sidetracked. So I wrote “Call Dad” on the palm of my hand (yes, it’s my own personal Palm Pilot), so I’d remember. I called him around 9 am, sang him the birthday song, then a little while later I went to the bathroom to wash my hands, and I realized that I’d used a permanent marker, and it was NOT coming off. So not only did I look like a neglectful daughter who couldn’t remember to call her own dear dad unless she wrote it on her hand, I spent the rest of the day having people say, “Did you call your Dad yet?”

Thursday:

I ate a piece of chocolate that fell on the floor. In my defense, no one was looking, and I blew the germs off it.

Sunday:

K just gave me a Mother’s Day card with a gift certificate to the liquor store in it. Yeah, I raised that girl right.

 

My Week 134: Toronto the Weird

Saturday: Old Man Kicking Pigeons

I was looking for something to write about and checked my phone, where I keep notes. The only thing I’d put in there recently was “Old Man Kicking Pigeons”. I saw this at Dundas Square, a place in central downtown Toronto where strange things happen on a daily basis. The man was about 6 feet tall, wearing a dress shirt, dress pants, and leather shoes. He had white hair and a neatly trimmed white beard. And he was stomping around, Frankenstein-style, with his arms out in front of him, trying to kick the pigeons that were landing on the sidewalk to peck at crumbs and then running out onto the road to flail at them. Now, you might be all like “That’s horrible!”, but don’t worry because downtown pigeons are clever as f*ck, and instinctively can dodge cars, pedestrians, raccoons, and crazy old dudes. But this wasn’t even the weirdest thing that I saw there that day. There was also a woman dressed as Alice In Wonderland, but she had a rabbit face and ears and was standing on a large box. There was a man with a cat that does tricks like dancing on its back legs or jumping onto his shoulders, which, I suppose is pretty tricksy for a cat, considering Raven just gives me the death stare when I say, “Come here”. There are fire-eaters, proselytizers, steel drum musicians, sidewalk chalk artists, and someone wandering around wearing a poo emoji hat for who knows what reason. It’s like the worst circus in the world, but it’s free (unless you volunteer to pay for the ‘free’ Bible/Koran or give someone money for miming how to get out of a box), but everyone wants to see it. There are actually “sightseeing bus tours” in Toronto, these double decker jobs that stop at Dundas Square and everyone piles out and takes selfies with Alice and the guy with the “The Apocalypse is Nigh” sign (he actually has a very nice smile, which he doesn’t get to use much due to the end of the world coming and whatnot). And all I can think is how cool this must seem to all the tourists. But to me, the coolest thing is that it’s the only intersection with diagonal as well as straight pedestrian crossings, so suddenly the light will change and people are traversing the road in this incredibly orderly pattern, kind of like that city scene in The Matrix, only instead of the lady in red, there’s a homeless guy with his pants down around his knees and Neo is selling knock-off handbags while Mr. Smith is kicking pigeons. Toronto—it’s weird and wonderful, but mostly weird.

 

My Week 131: I Get “Evicted”, The Hunt for Stools

Tuesday: I make a list

So, last week, my property management company told me that my landlord was putting the condo I’ve lived in for the last 2 and a half years on the market. I was shocked, mostly by the asking price, which was $525 000 for 624 square feet. At that rate, my own house should be worth over 3.5 million dollars, but it’s not in the heart of the big city, but in a small town where people aren’t insane. I woke up last Saturday morning to approximately 40 emails in my inbox about showings that weekend. I was super-pissed off and full of anxiety because I hate it when people touch my stuff. Especially when I’m not there. In fact, I regularly have panicky episodes after our new cleaner has been here, because she moves everything and doesn’t put it back. Then I have to spend ages restoring order to my life, and re-re-arranging all my sh*t. Now, I know that this sounds like a first-world problem, but imagine if all my stuff was a goat, and someone…No, the goat analogy doesn’t really work here, but still. I had a minor panic attack on Saturday, imagining people wandering around my private space and silently judging me. And to make things worse, the photographs that went with the internet listing were taken when the previous tenants lived there, and they were total slobs. So now, people would think I lived like a hoarder. Here’s a quote from My Week 18, where I describe the experience of seeing my own condo for the first time over two years ago, just in case you think I’m exaggerating:

“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 pictures were from THAT tenant. And just for the record, here’s what MY condo looks like–calm and uncluttered (some of you might recognize the leather loveseat that I got for free in the big garage downstairs):

I emailed the real estate agent, who basically gave zero f*cks about my angst that people would think I lived in a metaphorical and literal sense of turmoil. Then, when I got back on Sunday night, I was even more upset because my bedroom cabinet and my bedside table had both been opened, and someone had very obviously been sitting on my bed. So even more anxiety for me, but it didn’t much matter because on Tuesday afternoon, I got an email telling me that the place was sold, and there was an eviction notice attached which gave me until the end of May to move out. I was simultaneously furious and sad. Then I had to go home and tell my roommate, S. But at least I didn’t have to move until her co-op term was over. She’s a great kid, easy to get along with, and a hard worker, which makes me think that all the people who whine about “millenials” haven’t actually met one, because any of the ones I know, S included, are just lovely, super-informed, and have no sense of entitlement whatsoever. Anyhow, we had a long discussion about my options and she made me feel a lot better in the way that only sensible young people can do. Later, I went to take my laundry out of the dryer, and I got yet another shock from all the static that having the heat on causes:

Me: Jesus! That’s the fifth time since I’ve been home that I’ve gotten shocked. This place is merciless.
S: See? That’s something you won’t miss about living here, right?
Me: Absolutely. I also won’t miss the fact that there’s only one knob to control the washer AND the dryer, and you have to switch them back and forth.
S: You should make a list of all the things you won’t miss. Then you’ll feel better.

So here’s my list:

1) I won’t miss the extremely dark hardwood floors that show every speck of dust. I clean them ALL THE TIME and they still look dirty. And if you walk around barefoot, the next day you can see where you’ve been, like some insanely complicated dance instruction chart.

2) I won’t miss the refrigerator that makes a knocking sound, like there’s someone at the door. For the first few months, it would make the sound randomly, and I would jump up and look through my peephole, but there was never anyone there (except that one time—see number 5). The refrigerator is a dick, and I won’t miss it.

3) I won’t miss the scuffed walls that the previous tenants left behind and that my landlord refused to paint. I also won’t miss the peeling veneer on the bathroom cabinets that my landlord refused to repair. I guess the new owners get to deal with that sh*t now. Suckers. You paid over half a million dollars to live in a box, and the first thing you’ll have to do is paint and renovate.

4) I won’t miss the sweet smell of deodorizer that permeates the halls and garbage rooms. It doesn’t do anywhere near a good enough job of covering up the underlying smell of garbage, because when downtown Toronto doesn’t smell like urine, it smells like garbage. Sad truth.

5) I will ABSOLUTELY NOT miss the Serial Killer upstairs who, after an almost yearlong reprieve, chose this past week to begin building another ladybox for his next victim, if the nightlong hammering is any indication. The first time he pulled this crap, I complained to the concierge, who went up at 3 am to make him stop. The second time that I complained about the nocturnal hammering and sawing, he came down to my unit and knocked on the door to explain that he was installing a new floor (at first I wasn’t sure it was the door or the refrigerator, then I looked through the peephole and jumped out of my f*cking skin). Sure, I believe THAT—it doesn’t take three months to install a floor in a 600 square foot condo—you’re not fooling anyone. The previous last time was April 2016, when I complained to the property manager, and she sent him a noise violation notice. The hammering stopped for almost a year, then on Wednesday night, he started around 5 pm, and he was still at it at 4 in the morning. Did I complain? Not me. In fact, my roommate suggested that I encourage him to continue with his “nocturnal emissions” so that the new owners will also have the pleasure of lying awake in the middle of the night and imagining the worst.

At the end of the day though, the list doesn’t matter. I’m still angry and stressed out, because I’ve made the place my home, despite its shortcomings, for the last 2 and a half years, and now I’m in the process of contacting real estate agents about rentals. Transitions are hard for me, but I’m sure I’ll find something else that will become a new “home away from home”. And at least I still have Ken, K, Raven, Titus, and Oscar Wildefish. And who knows–maybe I’ll even luck out, and get a new serial killer upstairs.

Saturday: Buying stools is sh*tty

Yesterday, Ken and I went shopping for stools for our kitchen island. The two barstools we have are old and starting to fall apart, so I decided I wanted new ones. Well, that was easier said than done. Who would have thought that buying two f*cking stools would be that hard?

Store 1: Teppermans

They only sell their barstools in sets of three for some bizarre, nonsensical reason. Also, there are 50 people working there, and they’re too busy flirting with each other to help the customers. Well, it IS a family-owned business, so maybe encouraging their employees to procreate in the mattress section of the store fits into their business model.

Store 2: Homesense

They had the perfect stools, but they were three inches too short. I don’t know if I’m willing to sacrifice style over being able to reach the counter.

Store 3: Pier One

The place was mobbed. Despite that, a sales person immediately came to us and not only offered to show us all the barstools in their catalogue, but to sign us up for the napkin-folding workshop that was about to take place. Ken looked mildly excited (you all know how much he loves crafts) but I was on a stool mission, so no fancy napkins for us today. Then she showed us the stools and they were all like $250 EACH. For a STOOL. I think not, but it explains the excellent customer service.

Store 4: Leons

We asked the sales guy if they sold bar stools, and he said no. Then another, more Alpha Male sales guy said, “Yes we do—they’re back here.” But they all looked too short, at which point, he started mansplaining to me the difference between a “counterstool” and a “barstool”. Turns out they had ZERO “barstools”, but he was “pretty sure that a counterstool would do the trick because our counter couldn’t be THAT high.” Well, it’s a KITCHEN ISLAND NOT A COUNTER, mansplain-y guy, and we measured it, so we know what we’re talking about, but thanks for being a dick.

Store 5: The Bay

They had a stool we liked, but we couldn’t find another one. There were two people working the furniture floor, both like 90, and the one guy was “busy finalizing a sale for a customer” (we looked around and we were the only people even in the place), and the woman in housewares was taking an eternity to wrap a marble cake plate in layers of tissue paper, while she and the purchaser chatted about NOT STOOL STUFF! Then Ken was all embarrassed because I loudly said that it was ridiculous and I didn’t have any more time in my day to wait for someone to wrap and rewrap a stupid cake plate. He claims that “everyone” heard me, and that I made “everyone feel bad” but if it takes you more than 2 minutes to wrap a f*cking cake plate, then you SHOULD feel bad and you should get a job that doesn’t involve wrapping stuff, KEN.

The only good part of the day was that we went to Petsmart and I found the perfect structure for Oscar’s tank. It’s a section of a Romanesque building, and he was thrilled:

Me: Look, Oscar—it’s like the Parthenon!
Oscar: I think you mean the Temple of Athena, sweetie. Still, it has a certain “je ne sais quoi”. Not quite the Aesthetic Style, but a close approximation. Flossie, what do you think?
Raven: Better than Ninja-Fish’s old pagoda.
Oscar: Oh Flossie, you’re such a cheek!
Titus: It has that “Gladiator” sexy kind of vibe. I’m down with it.
Oscar: All agreed then. I shall name it the “Kitchen Coliseum”. Let the games begin!

Hopefully, I’ll be as thrilled with my new digs as Oscar, whose chariot races are keeping everyone occupied at the moment. I’ll keep you posted.