Apartment Pix (i)

April 7, 2009

Hey there, good blogbuddies!

It’s been a busy week. The outbound tenant at our new place didn’t move till the morning of the 1st. We moved in during the afternoon. By happenstance, the same moving company had been hired by both of us, so they were able to coordinate things. 

The other complication was with the property management workers, who had been denied access for an inspection and headstart at the cleaning, repainting, and floor polishing. They arrived at 08 30 on the 1st, and worked for two solid days to get the place ship-shape.

Luckily, all of our possessions fit into one room.

high and dry

This is the view through the baker’s rack into the bedroom. The movers put everything into the painted-that-morning living room, and then when the bedroom was finished, we moved all the stuff into it so the living room floor could be polished. As you can see by the intarsia raccoon, I had already opened a box or two before piling the rest of the stuff in there . (There are several spikes permanently mortared into each brick wall.) Meanwhile,


Virginia scrubbed the stove and fridge, gathered the garbage, and washed and polished the floors (sorry about the photo, I’ve no idea why it turned itself sideways);


Les and Chris installed new kitchen flooring and countertop;


and Don painted the walls and hooked up the washer.

This team has been working together for years, get along wonderfully, and show pride in their work. I’ve separated tasks by name, but I think there was a good deal of overlap, each worker helping the others; plus I was trying to stay out of their way, and so my descriptions may well be inaccurate. I was quite content to sit in one room, opening a carton or dozing off over a to-do list, listening to the casual banter coming from the rest of the apartment, and humming along to the 70s hits issuing from the radio station on Don’s boombox. Those first two days of chaos were, in fact, quite a happy transition.

Still to come this week: various views of the completed areas, a look out the windows, and — special for Goodbear — a secret room.

Now to tackle the remaining mess, that of the computer/craft/spare bedroom. Eeek…

See you tomorrow!

computer-room    more-computer-room

On a Train to Somewhere (journal entry, part iii)

March 28, 2009

This has been my day so far, up to mid-afternoon on the 19th.

After my morning shower, I boiled some water in the left-behind electric kettle to reconstitute the spoonful of instant coffee I’d placed in the glass “mason jar” mug before giving away the rest of the coffee to the neighbours. On the two remaining pages of a punched-hole notepad, I wrote a note to Gwen and attached the apartment and mailbox keys by their ring through the top hole. The note mentioned such things as the four houseplants and the basketful of partially-used cleaning products.

At a quarter to nine, three bags of garbage lay waiting by the front door: the two dollar-store pillows, the grungey old shower curtain and ragged old towel, and the scrap-heap set of clothing I had reserved for this final week. Harnessing, collaring, and leashing Fergus and Cai, I locked the front door for the final time. Upstairs I went, dogs, garbage, and all.

Leaving the garbage momentarily by the elevator, I took the boys down the hallway and knocked on Gwen’s door. Three times. I knew she was in because her screen door was locked. when she and little Chilton finally answered,  Chilton yapped perfunctorily at his canine visitors while Gwen and I exchanged encouraging words and hugs. She gave me a grocery bag for the overflow from my bursting bookbag. I handed her the note and the keys.

As the dogs and I headed back to the elevator, I saw Jock coming along the corridor on his way to speak to Gwen, a puzzled frown on his face, a rolled envelope in his hands.

“G’morning, Jock! Did you get a message in a bottle?”

“Yes!” he exclaimed in relief. “Thank you! Thank you very much!” and he patted my shoulder.

09 00. The garbage had found its spot in the dumpster, and Cai and Fergus and I were away for a leisurely 90-minute walk before train time. I stopped to withdraw some cash at the automatic teller on the corner of Church and Wellesley, the hub of the gaybourhood, the place where E.g. and I had first come to feel safe and welcome nearly ten years ago. We had done a lot of growing here.

At the train station, I popped the boys into their crates, filled their water bottles, and wandered off to get a raspberry muffin for breakfast. Half an hour later, I boarded the Toronto-Montreal train, where I sit writing these words longhand. The car is nearly full; I am in a four-seat “reserved” space (i.e. one pair of seats faces the other) with two quiet, geeky guys engaged with either Google or Gogol. Across the aisle in the other four-seat set are three teenage girls discussing last night’s Britney Spears concert.

It’s 15 00. Just under two hours ago, I awoke in my seat, remembering that I no longer live in Toronto. Just over two hours from now, I’ll be meeting my son in Montreal where we’ll give the dogs a half-hour break before climbing aboard the Ocean train. Sonny Boy and I have booked a space on a sleeper car, and are looking forward to this new adventure.

Now it remains to be seen whether Turtle will post pics of the sleeper car before or after you’ve read the entirety of this long, long entry.

Note: Sonny Boy and I did take a few photos with his camera, but forgot to download them before he left for home again. As you may have inferred, it’s been a scrambled week computer-wise.

On a Train to Somewhere (journal entry, part ii)

March 27, 2009

Hi, people! Here is part two of three of my penned blather of April 19th. I promise to have a tutorial with E.g. this weekend, about getting photos posted once again.


There were a few loose ends still to tie up after the pub supper, the evening before my departure.

20 15. I took out the blue plastic popcorn bowl and set some edibles in it: four red potatoes, half a head of garlic, three lemons, most of a jar of instant-coffee-with-chicory, most of a 500-gram bag of large-grain sea salt, a stick of real butter, six hard-boiled eggs, and two raw ones. These were the last of the still-usable commestibles in my apartment. Upstairs I went to bid my adieux to Coco’s daddies, Brad and Mitchell.

“Saint Paddy has decided you’ve been good little boys this year,” I joked, handing them the bowl, and showing them the penciled Xes on the boiled eggs. Brad and Mitchell, in turn, offered me food for the journey: a triple sampler-pack of high-end kibble that they’d picked up at the Menagerie. They buy the samples to use as treats for Coco. I was grateful, because the amount of kibble left for Cai and Fergus was, in fact, a bit on the scant side. I hadn’t mentioned this to Coco’s daddies, though; their offering was a surprise blessing.

21 00. Back in the apartment, I pulled out all the empty wine and beer bottles — currently worth 20 cents apiece — and set them in my smallest laundry basket. They fit snugly, not overcrowded but not rattly either: good! Upstairs I went to the apartment of Jock, an affable old gentleman who goes out each day to tidy the environment and make some pocket change.

From the neck of one of the bottles, like a Don Valley Brick Works smokestack, emerged a tightly-rolled envelope (the last piece of loose paper I had on hand) with “FOR JOCK” written vertically. Depositing the basket beside his door, I crept back downstairs.

21 30. One last trip outdoors with the dogs for the night, then we all curled up together on the sofabed. Big day tomorrow.

Plunge of the Turtle

March 19, 2009

Will resurface soon.

The Good Ship Nettle

March 18, 2009

Nettleship’s Hardware. Photo scoffed from their website.

As you can see by the sign, Nettleship’s Paint and Hardware has occupied this piece of Parliament Street since 1920. The store was begun by Marg Taggart’s father (if you go here, you can mouse over her name and see her picture) . Although today the business is run by her son Don, Marg still continues to put in her hours. One or two daughters are still there as well, or at least they were when E.g. and I were in studying paint chips two years ago. Even Don’s Britanny Spaniel acts as greeter.

Marg shares gladly in the life of her neighbourhood, from little everyday things to bigger events. She participated as a judge in my blog’s “Name the WWF Sea Turtle Stuffy” contest. Jane and Robert tell me that one evening during one of the Cabbagetown community festivals, they saw her dance longer than anyone else in the room. She’s one heckuva septagenarian.

Yesterday evening, I realized with dismay that I would need another roll of packing tape. I headed the two blocks over to Nettleships, only to find that it was twelve minutes past closing.

Not that that mattered. A woman and a little girl pushed open the door just ahead of me. In the back section of the long, narrow store, Marg was chatting with someone. Don was serving a customer at the cash. So in I went.

In I went, and couldn’t find the tape. I’d gotten a roll here the week before, I knew where it was supposed to be; but a combination of the two-hour morning’s walkies to get mattress covers on Mount Pleasant Rd, the 90 minutes it took to disassemble our platform bed, the other hour taking apart the futon sofabed, the lack of supper, and the guilt at being in the store after hours, blinded me. Marg saw my helplessness, and came right over.

No no, we’re still open, she soothed. You’re moving? We’ll miss you, she sighed. New Brunswick? My friend has a daughter in Fredericton, she smiled. By the end of that dollar-sixty-eight transaction, I felt like one of the store’s best shareholders and closest neighbours, and wanted to shake her hand in farewell.

Toronto the Big used to have a nicer nickname: Toronto the Good.  It’s terrific to see a family-run store like Nettleship’s Paint and Hardware still contributing to this city’s kinder, gentler reputation.

Pots and Pans and Winter Coats

March 17, 2009

Turtle is getting creative in her packing.

Yes, a couple of winter jackets are mixed in with the set of nested pots — helps keep the lids from rattling.

The “kitchen implements” include a rubber mallet, needlenose pliers, and two sets of allen keys.

The cat kibble container is hiding a collander, a large mixing bowl, and a beach towel.

My favourite, though, is the dog kibble container: dog toys, the rice cooker with a café au lait bowl nested inside it, a couple of spring jackets, my pair of high rubber boots, a coffee cup, and the cast iron duckie doorstop.

Soon this will all be over. Then we get to unpack.

Steady As She Goes

March 16, 2009

With our new apartment rented for the first of April, we’re stepping up the final preparations for moving. Every time I turn around this week, I think of something else that I mustn’t forget. Mustn’t forget to wash the coats. Mustn’t forget to contact the phone company. Mustn’t forget to buy a mattress bag. Et cetera.

Last night then, I made a list of all those swirly imperatives, about 14 or 20 items. The dogs have been awake all day so far, watching me tackle the various tasks. It’s tricky. Because some items depend on the accomplishment of other items, a lot of chores get started and then have to wait for other jobs to catch up.

It is now a quarter to two in the afternoon on this busy day. I’ve accomplished one and-a-half tasks.