Sat, Feb
28
2015

Many Moving Boxes

many-moving-boxes.jpg

It’s been a lengthy ordeal. We started gearing up to move back in October, when we raced to place our house on the market in order to try and entice a homeowner to accept our offer (they weren’t accepting any offer that was conditional on the sale of the house). That didn’t work, but we committed ourselves to finding a place that we like, sold our house three times (two offers fell through for various reasons), and discovered this new place after we’d decided, in our heads, that a house well outside Vivian’s school district was the way to go. We then put our life in boxes, and it is amazing how many boxes that takes.

Today, I’m writing this on the couch of our new home. The guys at Two Guys and a Truck movers did an excellent job making moving day go smoothly. We’ve also successfully unloaded a POD of bric-a-brac that we packed up in November when we set about reducing clutter to stage our home. Our life is in just as many boxes today as they were two days ago, but at least now the deadlines aren’t pressing, and we aren’t asking ourselves, “Holy Cow, are we actually going to be able to do this.”

There’s still a lot of work to do, and we are flat out exhausted, but I feel good about the new place. We now have a separate office, and don’t have to decide between using our dining room table to work, or serve food. It’s light, airy, and the neighbourhood is very walkable.

Now, to unpack these boxes…

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To be fair, that sign wasn’t put up by a neighbour with delusions of King Canute. Rather, it’s strict instructions from the condominium association to the snow clearing crews that this is not a place to dump said snow. The snow clearing crews have respected that sign. Mother Nature, on the other hand…

We had a snow day on Friday. I guess it’s more accurate to call it a “cold day”, because there was no snow storm. However, the Waterloo Region District School Board has a strict policy that, if wind chills drop below -20’C, they take the kids into school early and don’t let them out at recess. If it drops below -35’C, they cancel school altogether.

Friday was right on that boundary, and the schools closed. And I have to say, whoever is behind the @wrdsb Twitter handle has to have some of the thickest skin around. He or she gets so many angry tweets whenever there is no school closing announcement (largely from kids hoping to avoid homework assignments or tests), and when the schools do close? Yup, they get it again, from people saying “What the heck? This is Canada! Why, in my day, when it got down to -35’C, they held classes outside! Built character! I only froze to death twice! Kids these days! They should get off my lawn!”

It’s worth noting that Winnipeg has a similar policy, but they shut down schools when wind chills dip below -45’C. That’s only ten degrees colder than what we have here. And given the sort of winds Winnipeg receives, and is prepared for… -35’C here in Waterloo Region does not seem an unreasonable temperature to shut down schools on.

It seems likely to happen again, though, tomorrow. Looking ahead, temperatures look to dip to -26’C overnight, with wind chills brushing -40. You’ll notice that I didn’t put a celsius or fahrenheit beside that number because, at that number, it don’t matter.

And, yet, as I type this, it’s 2’C in Anchorage, Alaska. Heck, it’s 2’C in freaking Nome! I think we’ve found the problem.

Hey, Alaska! You lose your air? Because I think we found it right here.

Thirteen years ago today, I started this blog. I started it in quiet obscurity and it grew and changed, and changed again, and now has returned to the obscurity with which it began.

Okay, that’s not quite true. Blogging has had a tremendous effect on my life, and I know there are people reading this who have been reading for years, who wouldn’t have known me if I hadn’t blogged. I also know that this website helped me build my writing career, giving me a platform to reach out to people, getting me used to the concept of sitting down and actually writing, and contributing directly to some of my current gigs, including my weekly column at the Kitchener Post.

But blogging as a social media phenomenon has been almost completely overtaken by social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Gone is the wide community of bloggers that supported each other, shared posts and comments, participated in group meet-ups, and actually talked. Gone are the Non-Partisans, and I’m not even sure if the other partisan blogrolls are out there anymore, as I rarely check them out. And while I can still find my friends (including my blog friends) on Facebook and Twitter, I feel there is too much chatter out there. The multitude of posts aren’t focused. The signal is somewhat drowned out by the noise.

I’m far from the only one who has noticed this. Dave Simmer at Blogography said roughly the same thing, but it’s a trend that I contribute to as much as I complain about it. I used to follow dozens of blogs. Today, the only sites I click to with any regularity are Dave’s Blogography, Dr. Dawg’s Blawg, Warren Kinsella and an assortment of Apple and tech blogs.

More than once I’ve wondered if it was time to hang things up, but I’m still resistant. Yes, I have my column at the Kitchener Post to share my political and personal thoughts with a wider audience. Yes, I do hear the auditorium echoing when I type here. But I’ve decided that it’s best to keep going for the very reason I started this blog in the first place: because of me.

I like the freedom of being able to speak my mind whenever the mood takes me. I particularly like being able to access my writing after I write it (try that with Facebook or Twitter; it’s hard to rediscover posts you wrote just weeks earlier). If you have a writing journal, you don’t keep it in somebody else’s vault, and ultimately that’s what this blog is, once you strip everything else away: my journal.

And in the near future, I’m going to have work to do that may involve writing more on this blog. One of the reasons you haven’t seen me around so much recently is because I’ve been busy working on the edits to Icarus Down. The time will come when I will need to talk about this book, this place is an excellent venue for that.

So expect me to keep posting here. Just, be a little patient. And you can always follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

Wed, Feb
4
2015

Petty Thieves

Late last night, my car was broken into.

That wording may make it sound like more than it was. The thieves didn’t break anything getting into the car; the door had inadvertently been left unlocked. In fact, the only way I knew that thieves had been through the car was the fact that my glove compartment was hanging open.

My glove compartment has a bum lock on it. You open it, and it falls to the floor, leaving the door gaping open. It’s quite a trick getting the lock back into place in such a way that it will lock. The thieves, clearly not exactly a patient sort, left it gaping. I saw that, and I looked around and saw other things were missing too.

This is the second time this has happened. The first time, a few months ago, the thieves got away with a Tim Horton’s card and a toonie that I’d left in the cupholder. I was able to log into the Tim Horton’s website and delete the card, transferring its balance to a new card in my pocket.

Before you ask, I do try to lock my car doors, especially since the first incident. Unfortunately, the remote locking is finicky, and sometimes not all the doors lock. However, I didn’t make too much about the first time because the entire take was so piddling that I just had to laugh.

I’m not laughing now. To have this happen once is one thing; a chance encounter that allowed a crime of opportunity to take place. The fates sometimes work like that. To have this happen twice means there are people out there doing this regularly. I do not like the idea that they’re scouting my neighbourhood at night.

More than that, this time they took my vehicle registration document, which is apparently a thing car thieves can use to try and sneak stolen cars across the border. I now have to contact the Ministry of Transportation and get a replacement, wasting an afternoon of my time when I had other plans. And I also have to worry about identity theft. That just sucks.

To add insult to injury, the thieves were able to make a purchase on my Tim Horton’s card before I was able to switch the balance over. Six dollars worth of donuts and coffee. The location they did this at is just down the street.

It could have been worse, but it is still a pain. There’s not much else I can do but make extra sure my car doors are locked, and warn people that this is a thing, now. Make sure your car doors are locked, and watch what you keep inside.

boxes-in-boxes.jpg

…they came in boxes, which they shipped in a box.

Not that I’m complaining too strenuously, you understand. As we are starting to move house, we’ll put all these boxes to good use. The LCBO has already seen a number of visits from us, and not for liquor.

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