Monthly Archives: June 2011

Little Miss Chatterbox, at Your Service

I’m a fast talker at the best of time.  I also mumble – which is a terrible combination.  In my defence, I understand myself just fine, why can’t anyone else? Actually, Tigger understands me perfectly, but I think that’s because we’ve developed our own language that relies heavily on body language and facial expression – not so much words.  Needless to say, if I’m nervous or uncomfortable, my rate of speech skyrockets and the sheer amount of content I can cover is dumbfounding. 

 I was at an event the other night and spied a tall, dark and handsome type chatting with a friend of mine, so I slowly sidled up and joined in on the conversation. Problem is, since I thought he was cute, and appeared to be shy, it wasn’t really a conversation anymore as it was me continuously talking at him.  I only allow for a few seconds of silence before barrelling into a new topic, arms flailing while trying to keep up with the appropriate gestures.  Tigger would have been beside himself, as I had to stop about 20 times to catch my breath – an act that he thinks I carry out to emphasize a point, when really I’ve just talked myself breathless.

In a fifteen minute ‘conversation’ I managed to cover the following topics:

  •  My entire Career, including my time spent in India and being trapped in England last year during the Icelandic Volcano episode
  • My complete history with the United Way, with a long segue into my feelings about a particular event
  • My upcoming move, including how much I hate Vertica Resident Services
  • My complete friendship history with the one person we have in common
  • Bank Holidays

Now, I should mention there were two other people in this conversation that both know me, so they were helping to carry forward the discussion topics.  I wasn’t purposely steering the conversation, but I was the largest common denominator and clearly the biggest mouth in the group.

Mr. Handsome did manage to get a few words in, and I definitely confirmed he is either the Strong, silent type or just a wee bit shy.  So pretty much, we’re polar opposites.  I always wonder how that type of person processes someone like me.  Do I appear to be having some sort of seizure? Maybe I come across as incredibly confident and just have a lot to say) unlikely! I probably just appear to be a bit of a spaz and a Chatterbox, guess that’s not so bad.  He actually appeared to be genuinely interested in chatting (er.. listening) but I was preoccupied with filling the airwaves with my baritone chitchat.  

 A similar situation happened last night when I was talking on the phone with Tigger.  While standing outside of a restaurant, an extremely good looking man walked by with quite possibly the cutest puppy I’ve ever seen.  I’m sure I said something along the lines of ‘OMGTHATSTHECUTESTPUPPYIVEEVERSEEN’ and then hung up the phone.  I asked if could say hello to his dog, and then barrelled forward into many statements about the cuteness of this puppy, what I know about the breed, friends that have a similar dog, and finally asking him how he manages to get anywhere with people like me stopping him all the time?   I managed to accidentally answer a call from Korean during this time, and hang up on him as well!

It was only after I’d said goodbye and hustled back into the restaurant that I processed the fact that they very cute Dog Owner was actually being very friendly, and didn’t seem thrown at all by my spazzy approach to him and his pup.  I didn’t even introduce myself or ask his name, but I did get the pups name, age & breed.  Jesus.

Mastiff

You'd hang up on people too if you saw this little Miss!

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Filed under Awk-ward, How Embarrassing, Pictures Tell a Thousand Words

Vertica, You Suck

Vertica Resident ServicesI apologize in advance, this is a Rant.

I hate my Landlord.. or Property Manager, whatever the hell it’s called. I know my Mother taught me never to say ‘hate’, because it’s too strong a word, but to instead use ‘dislike intensely.’ Unfortunately, Mom, hate is the only word that really describes my feelings towards Vertica Resident Services.

While I love my actual apartment, the building itself is deteriorating around us – yet is marketed as a luxury rental. HA! Luxury, my ass. With elevators broken down more often than not, frequent and unexplained water disruptions, complete lack of climate control, 5 second delays on the sliding doors and customer service that is almost legendary in it’s failures, I’m surprised they manage to keep tenants around at all. Even when they attempt to maintain some level of communication, they totally miss the mark:

“We would like to notify you that there may be a Water Disruption on Monday June 27th, between the hours of 9am to 5pm, which may only affect either the Kitchen or Bathroom”

So let me get this straight, you are vaguely aware of a date that we may or may not have an issue with water? You’re also not sure if it is going to affect all building water, or maybe just in the Kitchen? Best part is that the water was off this morning in the entire apartment at 7am– which is Wednesday, not Monday.

The water thing doesn’t even scratch the surface of how poorly we’ve been treated by every single member of the office staff we have ever had the misfortune of dealing with (Lois, in particular, this rant is directed at you). Now that we are happily moving on to greener pastures, they have managed to find yet another way to royally piss me off – although this time, it’s within their legal rights. According to a Tenant’s rights, once you’ve given notice of termination of tenancy, your landlord has the right to show your premises without ANY warning or notice given. Fair play, I guess, since they never know when a perspective tenant will come to view an apartment. Not fair, however, is insisting on making these visits in the early morning hours on Saturdays. Is it necessary to ring the door bell four times in quick succession? Screw you Vertica.

In light of our leaving the facility in SEVENTEEN days, Tigger and I intend to put our best effort into showing Vertica the same courtesy they have shown us over the years:

Eff Off, Nasty Letter to Follow – We will continue to reply to all ‘Notification of Apartment Showing’s with thinly veiled hatred. Lois confirmed with me on the phone today that she had seen our recent ‘Nasty Letter’ that simply stated Tigger was working a late shift, and they were welcome to show the apartment, with the exception of one room – where he was sleeping. You think that’s Nasty? Ok Lois, we’ll actually aim for Nasty with the next reply.

Inappropriate Decorating – The Dildo/Butt Plug/Plastic Genitals/Whatever it is has been hanging out in the fridge for awhile, was on Eleanor’s door for a period of time, and now will be returned to a much more public area for viewing. Our ‘English Country Lads’ and ‘Treasure Chest’ books will be propped open on the coffee table. Tigger – where is that collection of old Porn VHS tapes you’ve been trying to get rid of?

Booby Trapping – What fun we could have with all of those empty boxes.

Garbage/Recycling – While we may be moving out in Seventeen days, Vertica was not willing to work with us on the date at all, so we are paying rent for the full month. Thankfully though, this means we have access to their garbage and recycling services during the very high debris period that follows a move. All of this, and any further refuse we can find, will be transferred back to Vertica for them to deal with.

Appointment Scheduling – As we are required to have a walk through of our apartment before they hand back our key deposit, I assume we can treat this appointment with the same reliability as all of our maintenance tasks have been handled over the years. I’ll just wait until they call after we don’t show up, and reschedule. I’m thinking three-four times should suffice.

All kidding aside, I’m truly just frustrated with the complete lack of respect with which Vertica employees treat their residents. 400 Walmer Road has a storied history in the city of Toronto, and was once an address to be proud of. Vertica Resident Services has trampled that reputation into the ground with the utter disdain and neglect evident in all their dealings. My Great Aunt Doll lived at 450 Walmer and had frequently voiced her desires to move south into the towers – I’m glad she didn’t have the opportunity, as it would have been a monumental let down.

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Use it or Lose it

Our freezer wasn't actually this bad, but you get the point

In an attempt to ease the headache of the upcoming move, my roommates and I have been making a tangible effort to use up consumables around the apartment.  We’re hoping this will decrease the amount of stuff to pack, therefore decreasing the time (and cost) of the move, and hopefully allowing us to save some cash in the short-term.  Some of our efforts have undoubtedly been more successful than others:

Freezer Dinners – Definitely the front-runner in both the success and enjoyment categories.  Thankfully, our freezer contains a good assortment of meat, veggies and fruit, instead of the typical unidentifiable leftovers.  Notable collaborations include the much loved Saag Paneer (WHY do we have so much frozen spinach to begin with?), Fruit Smoothies that acted as dinner on Saturday night, and a big vat of ground Chicken Chili that will feed us all  for the rest of the week. Bonus – we had plenty of room on Saturday night to provide ice and chilling space for our guests’ drinks.

The Liquor Cabinet – Frankly, I wasn’t even aware we had one until the prospect of moving came up and I started to investigate cupboards I haven’t looked into in years.  Much to my surprise, we had a respectable collection of hard liquor stored under the wine rack just jonesing for a cocktail to join.  Our party on Saturday night appeared to be an excellent opportunity to work our way through some of these bottles.  I personally neglected my duties and mostly stuck to beer, but we are down at least a handful of bottles.  Aside from a few bottles of Rum and Gin, we have a strange compilation of booze to either drink now or take with us – peach schnapps anyone?

Under the Sink – I’m not so sure about Eleanor and Tigger, but I have a veritable Shopper’s Drugmart worth of product stored under my bathroom sink.  I swear I go through this stuff every six months or so and determine that most of it is worth keeping.  Prior to playing the ‘Keep vs. Toss’ game, I’ve been trying to use up the odds and ends of various products – which mostly includes strange lotions and samples of hair products.  If I have looked peculiar or smelled sickeningly of pineapple recently, I apologize.  Thankfully, this experiment is almost over.

Cat Food/Litter – Prince William has always been a very healthy size (which the Vet has complimented me on, only to renege on the compliment once I admitted that he is free fed and imposes portion control on himself), but I’ve been tempting him with extra food recently.  I’m not sure what possesses me (either than sheer laziness) to buy 40 pound bags of cat food for a 10 pound cat, because it takes him forever to get through each bag.   I’m fairly certain his kibble isn’t produce-aisle fresh after the first week or so.  In a purely selfish act, I’ve been sneaking him an extra scoop or two in the hopes that he’ll do his share of packing for the move.  No results on this one yet, even with an extra scoop it will take him six months to finish the half empty bag.

TP – has been used with reckless abandon.  Paying for it is frustrating enough, carefully packing our spare rolls and paying to have them transported to our new abode would be maddening. TP is also substituting as tissue for the time being with sub par result.

Hopefully our efforts will be realized on moving day, but I suspect I’m going to show up to the new house half cut with terrible hair, a pocket full of TP and a fat cat.  At least I will have had a healthy dinner.

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The Avenue of Misfit Toys

My Housemates and I ventured into Leslieville to see our new place last night – the first of two negotiated viewings prior to our move date.  The old owners have moved out, yahoo!! So we have a much better idea of what condition the place is in, and it was much easier to measure and sort out if my over stuffed and textured (read: Prince William’s claw marks) couches would actually fit in the living room.  Surprisingly, the place was pretty clean, except for the icky grease mark on my Bedroom wall.  I’m just going to go ahead and assume the previous owners had greasy hair – gross.  Our friend, we’ll call him Officer, came to take a tour as well and show us the ropes around the neighbourhood afterwards.

We spent the hour racing up and down the stairs, giddly talking about everything and periodically managing to measure a few things.  I, clearly, spent a disproportionate amount of time in my oversized walk-in Closet. Swoon.  Despite my best attempt at making a list of things to do while we were there, I managed to totally neglect to measure a pile of things and was appropriately berated by my Mother for doing so.  It’s really hard to focus with you’re that excited, ok!?

While we were all gathered in Korean’s room, admiring his Juliet Balcony, we noticed a gathering of neighbours and their four legged friends down on our street below.  We bolted down the stairs to introduce ourselves – Who am I kidding? We wanted to meet the dogs. Once outside we were greeted by four of our soon to be neighbours, and six of their canine companions. 

To describe the group as colourful would be the understatement of the century.  The flock included a Hipped out Lady Lover (really? You named your dogs Sun and Moon?), a Pre (or Post?)-Op Transexual in desperate need of some fashion advice, and two peculiar gentlemen, one of whom may have battled with an injection drug habit. Wacky social misfits though they may be, they were nothing if not welcoming and friendly – even suggesting a block Tea party, though I think we missed some sort of inside joke about cake.   Officer coined it best, after we had left the group, by describing them as the Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  A description of a group of neighbours has never before been more accurate. 

Apparently, we have been the talk of the town, and they were eagerly awaiting meeting us.  Actually, I’m pretty sure they saw us go into the house and arranged the street gathering as an opportune time to introduce themselves.  They had already deduced that we weren’t the usual two person pair, but had misjudged the relationships between the three of us.  However, they did correctly assume that I was single – what the hell?! Is it impossible for anyone to assume otherwise, even strangers?  I blame Tigger. Anyway, they promised to update everyone.

We stuck around and chatted for a bit, joking about my new found House Husbands and eventually parted ways.  It appears as though we have a busy and friendly street to look forward too, and lots of four legged friends to play fetch with.  To be fair, our little Modern Family has its own place in a world of Misfit Toys, so I think we’ve truly found our home. If all else fails, we can just start using the back entrance 😉

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Filed under Awk-ward, Story Time

Money Honey

I’d like to think that I have a fairly healthy relationship with Money, but as usual, I’m probably wrong.  I’m definitely more comfortable carrying a bit of debt than most, and easily spend without guilt – though I wouldn’t ever qualify my spending or debt as out of control.  However, this relationship has matured over the years from what once was an incredibly frugal nature. Nancy, frugal?

When I was very young, I developed a premautre concern about money.  I was raised in a middle-class family, but never was left to want for anything – so I’m really not sure why I was always worried.  My Mom is a supreme Bargain Hunter (why buy one expensive top when you can have a whole outfit instead?) and showed me the ropes of shopping at Winners – an intangible lifelong skill.  I distinctly remember though that anytime we were out shopping, I never wanted anything and was happy to go home empty handed.  The rare occasion that I did find something, I’d always offer to chip in whatever measly savings I had.  Such a humble child.

Boy how things have changed.  I now have to actively keep myself busy at the lunch hour because my office is dangerously close to 4 Winners stores (two by foot, one by streetcar, one by subway – several more if I extend my lunch hour) as well as the Eaton Centre.  My youthful reserve has gone the way of my dignity, never to be heard from again.  I have a ridiculous collection of all things clothing, footwear, handbag, cosmetic and accessory related.  I also have a penchant for vacationing. 

Now, things obviously didn’t go from zero to sixty – there were definitely growing pains that came with the slowly developing freedom of my teenage and young adult years, and the disposable income that came along with them.  Prior to moving out of the house, I was definitely still a very frugal and a big Saver and hadn”t yet donned my Spender hat.  When I moved out to Whistler however, and had to pay for toilet paper for the first time, things started to evolve.  While things were changing though, I was still acutely concious of how I was spending my money.  I’m pretty sure this is when I started my fiscal habit of managing my money by comparing it to something of value.

To break this down for you: If I recieved a $20 tip, I calculated this as 5 beer – since beer was of highest value to me in Whistler (I pretty much lived off Bread, Butter and Beer).  Do I really need that Roxy shirt? Its worth like almost 15 beer?

Counting money in beer lasted through Whistler, University and my first year in my Career.  Obviously, as the years progressed, the value of one beer slowly increased. Damn inflation.  However, without conciously trying to, I’d always have an idea of how much beer something was worth.  I’m starting to sound like an alcoholic, bare with me.

As my levels of disposable income started to increase, as did my expenditures, I started to incorprate new somethings of value into my equation.  I would count Vacations by number of Rents (Wow! I’m going on a cruise for less than August’s rent!), or an expensive outfit by its fractional value of a Vacation (Do I really need that skirt? Its like 1/5 of my flight to Vancouver).  I still do find that I’ll have affixed a ‘Beer’ price to certain things, but that is happening less and less.

I noticed recently that with my upcoming Mortgage, I now have a new something of value to start counting in!  I was actually excited when I heard myself state to my Mother Peggy “That would be like 1.5 Mortgage Payments.”  Thankfully though, saying that out loud doesn’t cause the same level of embarrassment as stating loudly at Costco that, while you know its a deal, spending 8 beer on toilet paper is a scam.

I wonder what my next something of value will be?

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An Ode to Roommates

In my almost 29 years on this lovely planet, I have never lived alone – unless you count a  Single in Rez, which I don’t.  I grew up in ranch style bungalow in the suburbs with my parents and sister and have lived in various roommate situations ever since, including apartments in Whistler, Lennoxville and Toronto.  The move this summer will mark the 7th place I’ve lived outside of my childhood home, and also has the greatest number of residents. 

 I love roommates, I really do.  Now, this is not to say I haven’t had a few bad apples in my day *cough*ChantalandJuliana*cough* – I’ve definitely survived some less than appealing situations where all you want to do is avoid being at home, which is the worst feeling.  However, the majority of my roommate pairings have been excellent, even when they were sourced from interwebz including Frenchie, Other Frenchie, Odd Couple, Eleanor and The Lazy Aussie.

As much as I pride myself in being a Lone Lioness and most definitely have a fierce independent nature, I’m not so sure I’m equipped to really live on my own.  We’ve already reviewed my inability to heat my apartment or feed myself, but there is a much longer list of reasons that Nancy should have a lifetime supply of quality and dependable roommates.

Bugs.  All of them.  When I was younger, if I saw a spider in the house I would simply stand there and start crying until someone killed it.  This continued until I was at least 15.  Now I scream and run to source help – big improvement.

Spontaneity.  While I am mostly a busy and active person, I do have some hermit tendencies.   It is very helpful to have others constantly around offering up ideas of things to do when I would otherwise plant myself on the couch and puddle there for an entire day.

Practical jokes.  While I realize you can pull practical jokes outside of your home environment, my favourites have always involved roommates.  Tigger is still trying to get me back for the Jasmine Packet incident, I still don’t know how I managed to sleep with a turkey baster IN my pillowcase, and who doesn’t love crawling into Eleanor’s bed when she makes a late night trip to the bathroom just to freak her out (the effect is greatly magnified when she has had a few drinks)?

Nutrition.  I know I’ve already touched on food, but my problems run deeper then not knowing how to separate a whole chicken.  Hot sauce on Premium Plus Crackers = Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a Snack if I’m feeling culinarily uninspired (read: lazy or haven’t grocery shopped in two months).  I’m afraid I might come down with Scurvy if I didn’t have roommates around to feed me periodically.

Cards.  I’m pretty much a grandmother already, so its not shocking that I love playing cards.  I do actually enjoy solitare sometimes, but it just screams sad and pathetic if you spend a quantifiable amount of your spare time playing games by yourself. Plus, my rarely seen competitive streak loves to delight at beating the pants off Tigger in a game of Ping (I’m never going to beat Eleanor, I’ve accepted that).

Prince William.  I would be much closer to scary-cat-lady status if I lived alone with my cat. End of story.

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Weekend in the Sun

Saturday - Scene of the Crime, relaxing on the back deck.

 

Sunday - Sunning on the St. Lawrence

  

Sunday - Afternoon Entertainment, Jules and her beloved Rock

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Filed under Pictures Tell a Thousand Words