danlansdowne: (Default)
I have a job interview for 9:45am tomorrow morning at Windsor Regional Hospital. I didn't even have to book time off for it; I had already booked the day off because I'm taking the train home for the weekend. Not that it would have mattered as everyone knows I'm applying for it. My current job ends in August so it's hardly a surprise that I'm shopping around. Hell, I applied for a newly-created job in the same office I'm at now.

I'm also looking at apartments in that area so I can cut my commute down. I'm within walking distance here, but I doubt I'll find that in the other part of town. I may have to settle for a five-minute drive. I'll miss being able to walk downtown.

The weather cooled down to more reasonable temperatures not long after my last entry. I can put off using that air conditioner for a while longer. I won't have to worry at the other job should I get it because the office is in the main building. It's unlikely they wouldn't have a/c.

My mother was down last weekend again, this time for her aunt's funeral. I didn't really know the woman but I went anyway. They had a good priest taking care of the service. I think she has been in Windsor for more visits in the past two months than in all of last year. This is the first trip back to Cambridge since Christmas, and sure enough my mother has a cold. Or flu. Working in kindergarten is, in her words, like licking a petri dish. I think she's constantly been sick since September; every time I go up there she has something. I've been lucky so far in that I've only caught an ailment from her once. Says something about schools that I've only been sick twice in the past ten months--and I work at a hospital!
danlansdowne: (Blah)
We heard from the vet. She thinks that there was a tumor on Lily's duodenum. When she unknowingly pressed on it (leading to the scratches) it might have sent the cancer cells rushing through her body and to her brain, hence the sudden breakdown. She also had a massive sinus infection and no immune system to speak of. Since she had just had a checkup at the beginning of February, it must have come on quickly.

It was another boiling hot day today: 28*C. Not so bad if you have an air conditioned office, but I don't. At least not today. When the building was constructed as a convent in the 60s they didn't have central air installed, so it had to be put in later. Thankfully they had the sense to construct balconies on each floor, otherwise we'd have nothing to work with except windows. With the balcony door open there's a bit of a breeze. There are air conditioning units mounted above the doors in each office, but we couldn't use them because we had no way to control them. Today we got the remote controls, but the batteries in all but one of them were dead. When I picked up a few groceries tonight I grabbed a pack; now we'll be able to spend tomorrow in air conditioned comfort--just in time for a return to more seasonable temperatures on the weekend.

Now that spring and summer weather is here, I have my windows open at home. Keeps the heat down but it lets in all the foul smells polluting the air around here. The neighbours downstairs like to smoke on the front porch, sending the smoke wafting up through my front window. I have to keep a fan there to blow the smoke back out. My next favourite offensive stench is the smell of skunk. Those things are all over downtown, and you can barely smell anything else. I guess the raccoons have left Windsor for more prosperous cities too.

On the bright side, when the wind is blowing just right it carries the smell of the grains from the Hiram Walker/Canadian Club distillery in Walkerville. When they're at work that place makes the entire city smell like a bakery.
danlansdowne: (Blah)
As the title indicates, it was a day of ups and downs.

The first down was the cutlery I purchased on the weekend. I washed it last night and put it in the dish rack to dry, which it did--after it rusted. No wonder Zellers is shutting down.

The next down ended in the lone up. I went to my computer testing, arriving at the office fifteen minutes early. Or so I thought; turns out they had my appointment entered as 3pm and not 3:30 as I agreed to on the phone. Nevertheless, they put me to work at a computer. I had five tests: typing speed, MS Word, Excel, Outlook, and bookkeeping skills. After completing all the tests I learned that everyone in the HR office was impressed with my speed and scores. I'll find out next week if I've made it to the next round.

Finally, the last down. Our oldest cat TigerLily hadn't been feeling well for a few days, so my mother took her to the vet. I don't know what the vet did, but she was so pissed off at it that she took a swipe and caught the vet on the face. She had to go to the hospital to have the scratches fixed; one of them was a rather serious gouge in her nose. Her claws had been trimmed, which is an indication of how upset she was.

Lily was all right on Monday, but it didn't last. Back to the vet today to see why she wasn't eating--or emptying at the other end. Turns out there was a blockage of some kind, possibly a tumor. The result was as could be expected; she was put down. The last of the old guard is gone.

Four cats dead and one missing in three and a half years. Not fun.
danlansdowne: (Default)
My hip must have stiffened up over the weekend because walking was a bit more difficult today. Not impossible; I still had plenty of flexibility. Just had to take it a bit slower than usual. One side effect of my unfortunately extended weekend--the work waiting for me--was dealt with quite easily. I expected to take longer to catch up so this was quite welcome. Still enough to keep me busy but I'm not overwhelmed.

Some interesting developments on the parent front. My father, who owns two after-school tutoring franchises (his description is longer) has found a buyer for one. The new owner will be taking over at the end of the year. He had planned to keep that one for only another year, so this puts him right on schedule. Came as quite a surprise because he has been talking about it for several years, every time leading to further inaction. This is the first real action he's taken towards a proper retirement. The other centre still has about a year and a half left on the lease, and he plans to sell that one at the end of its time.

This sale can't come soon enough; it's been a family business for sixteen years and it's taken him this long to get tired of it. My mother and I were tired of it from the first day, so neither of us will be sorry to see it go, my mother least of all. I worked there for ten years and don't miss a minute of it; I can't imagine how my mother feels about it--well actually I can because she has described her feelings on the matter in great detail.

Which brings me to the second of two developments. While putting laundry away a couple of days ago, my mother found a piece of paper on my father's dresser. It had an address and two phone numbers belonging to two of her brothers on it. First of all, this is completely out of character for my father because he has made little to no effort to get to know my mother's side of the family. He can't wrap his head around the fact that my cute little cousins are all grown up, living in BC or Alberta, and not that cute any more. Second, this is curious because one of said uncles has a side business fixing up cheap houses (usually foreclosures) to rent out or sell.

I can only pray with all my might that he has finally realized the benefits of moving to Windsor, or at least realized that he has no reason not to. He has no financial reason to stay because he'll be retired. He'll have no sentimental reason to stay; except for his niece and her husband, his family is all near Toronto. We only see them at a wedding or a funeral. If my sister wants to visit it's just as easy for her to fly from Vancouver to Windsor as it is Waterloo.

Meanwhile, my mother has wanted to move back to her family since they got married (which should say something). My grandparents aren't getting any younger; my grandfather's hospital stay can speak to that. My grandfather could use a football and car racing buddy anyway; they like different drivers but at least they can talk about what's going on. If he wants to go to a baseball game all he needs to do is wait for the Blue Jays to come into town to play the Detroit Tigers; he's got a passport so crossing the border is a non-issue. There's even a British pub downtown that caters to Manchester United fans; he'll be in heaven. They'll save money, too; they can buy a house without a mortgage in pretty much any neighbourhood in town and my father won't need his van for work any more so he can downsize.

The biggest bonus to moving to Windsor is that it would finally bring a peaceable kingdom to the house. My mother's biggest complaints about life are as follows: living away from Windsor, working at my father's business, working at the local school with a bunch of bratty kids who sneeze into her tea, and living in a crumbling high-maintenance house that was too big for the three of us (my father's idea). A move to Windsor will solve all these problems with one fell swoop and guarantee that I never have to hear her bitch about them ever again. And with relatives in every neighbourhood in town, who needs a buffer zone? She'll be so busy catching up with them all that she won't have a chance to smother me to death.

She'll be happy...I'll be happy...
danlansdowne: (Default)
Still here. Time has passed as it usually does. Winter (such as it was) gives way to spring. The Tournament of Hearts gives way to the Brier, and March is upon us.

Had some interesting developments over the past couple of weeks. Saturday the 25th started on a sour note. While cleaning snow off my car I discovered a patch of ice in the parking lot--the hard way. Landed on my hip and elbow and somehow pulled a groin muscle in the process. It's been a week and two days now and I'm walking normally again. Every now and then I get a reminder of the incident, however; I think it's doomed to be the pain that I feel during damp weather. Pity it couldn't be a sports injury or war wound.

The night of the 25th was a great improvement. My mother, grandmother, aunt, two of my cousins, and I went to the Capitol Theatre to see Walkerville Collegiate's student production of The Phantom of the Opera. They were one of the first schools to secure the rights to the show, paying about fifty thousand dollars for the privilege of securing them and getting the production to the stage--some of it coming from surpluses from previous shows. It was money well spent; all seven student and seven public performances were sold out, prompting them to add another. It's a pity that all their work went only to the fifteen performances but I think they made their money back.

The set designs and props were about what you'd expect from a high school dramatic team, but the acting and singing were well beyond. Some of the students gave up their summers for extra singing lessons. The actors playing the managers really hammed it up on the stage; I picture bright things for them. The actor playing Piangi had the best Italian accent I've ever heard from a non-Italian. Oddly enough, the Phantom and Christine, the principle roles, were filled by the weakest singers. The managers, Piangi, and even the notoriously bad Carlotta were all much better.

The next day saw my grandparents waiting by the phone. He was waiting to hear back from his doctor regarding the surgery to have his kidney stone removed. Twelve hours we waited only to find out that it was being pushed back a day because there were no beds. The emergency department grabbed every bed as soon as it became available. All the time he was under a doctor-induced fast in case he did get to be opened up. He was finally admitted to hospital on Tuesday and opened up on Thursday. The stone was 7mm in diameter. He finally came home on Sunday and was promptly instructed to walk a few laps up and down the driveway. It's usually wise to do something like that at least when you weight 300 pounds.

While my mother was down she gave me her cold. I spent Friday and today off work recovering from it. That was fun.
danlansdowne: (Default)
Working at a hospital, even in administration, gives you a unique position within your family: whenever someone is admitted, you're there on site. This made the week rather interesting for me.

My grandfather was admitted to a hospital in the east end at the beginning of the week with side pains. At first they thought it was a UTI, something he gets quite easily because he has an ostomy bag thanks to bladder cancer back in the early 90s. Then the diagnosis changed to a kidney stone. To relieve the pressure on the blocked kidney they transferred him to my hospital to have a catheter surgically installed. My grandmother, aunt, and a friend of said aunt were in the lobby that morning when I was heading through to go to the pharmacy. I was already planning to meet up with them but the timing worked out completely by coincidence.

I kept them company until my grandfather came in. While we were there, a colleague in the communications department passed through--the same woman who grew up on the next block from them in south Windsor. They had a little chat and she went on her way, making the second happy coincidence that day.

My grandfather was wheeled in on a stretcher not long after and was brought through to radiology. As he was admitted I asked him if he wanted to arm-wrestle; he saw the humour in it and told me that I'd probably win. They wheeled him down the hall and I parted company with them all, asking the department to call my office when he was done. They didn't call, but he wasn't around for long; when they tried to roll him onto his stomach for the surgery he either panicked or had trouble breathing with the mask on. The surgery was cancelled and he was sent back to the other hospital. He felt better today so they let him go home; either it was another problem that cleared up on its own or he was able to pass the stone. Hopefully that will be the end of it.

The romance movie The Vow opened today. They filmed most of it in Toronto, with some scenes shot down the road from the radio station I worked at last year. Not much into the weepy date movies, but it would be fun to play "Spot the film location". I can already do it with four other movies: A Christmas Story, Chicago, Hairspray, and The Freshman with Marlon Brando. Did it with an episode of the spy series Nikita as well; the old Galt city centre stood in for areas of London with a shootout taking place on one of the bridges over the Grand River. Kind of lame, though; they didn't even bother to hide the North American-style traffic lights.
danlansdowne: (Eyeball roll)
I'm a night person, I'll admit it. I go to bed far later than I should all too often. Nevertheless, I think it's fair to not want to be woken up at 2am by police patrolling around your apartment building.

It actually started around 1:50am when someone started pressing my buzzer. Since Windsor has a not-insignificant crime rate I was hesitant to let them in lest a gun be pointed at me while the building is stormed. After a minute or two they gave up on me and started buzzing the other units hoping to get someone. Then there was pounding on the front door. I was about to call the police when I looked through my blind and noticed that it was the police. Two police cars (followed by a third) were parked on the street out front and were aiming floodlights and flashlights around the property as if looking for someone.

I asked my neighbour across the hall (probably the one who let them in) who informed me that it had to do with the woman in the basement unit whose son DUIed my car last summer. Colour me surprised. The woman is a walking crap magnet. Apparently it's not the first time the police have been called to the building on her account, either.

Only seven months left on my lease...
danlansdowne: (Default)
It's been a busy couple of weeks down here. A lot of stuff to catch up on at work because of the year end. Had a couple of mishaps along the way, but so far everything has been seen to. (ptooey ptooey)

New Year's Eve was fantastic. Went to dinner with my mother and aunt and uncle. A cousin by another aunt and uncle was in the lobby waiting for a table to open up; foolishly he neglected to get a reservation. Despite being New Year's Eve the wait for food wasn't too long.

After dinner we made our way to the casino. My mother was concerned that she wouldn't see the ball drop in Times Square for the first time since she was a teenager, but the casino had it on a big screen in the lobby. Their machines were five minutes behind the real time so we barely caught it. I played slots and tried roulette for the first time, albeit a low-stakes version with digital screens taking the place of the usual felt table. Won a few dollars on it, but nothing significant. Pro tip: never play individual numbers. Always play the red/black and odd/even spaces or number ranges. You don't win as much but you've got a better chance at winning something.

I enjoyed roulette but the biggest victory of the night was on the slots. One of the first machines--the same one I went to my first time at the casino--gave me an even bigger payout, over a hundred dollars. Went back later in the evening and found it occupied so I tried one in the same row and won another hundred. Together my aunt, uncle, and mother lost two hundred dollars so they say that I won it off of them. My aunt's comment was that people like me make her sick. Someone's a poor loser, I think.

People say that casinos are a scam, but so far they've been very kind to me. Probably won't last but I won't complain while it does!
danlansdowne: (Blah)
I got a card in the mail today from [livejournal.com profile] jim_ghote's mother, informing me that he departed from this world on September 30th. Would explain the radio silence in the past few months.

It was fun, Jim. See you again one day.
danlansdowne: (Christmas)
Well, the holidays have improved considerably since the last journal entry. Went to see The Adventures of Tintin after Christmas dinner. Enjoyed it quite a bit; I'll have to start buying the comics now. Went to Toronto on Boxing Day to see a couple of gallery exhibits. Went to Eaton Centre to take in the stampede, of course. Bought a copy of "Unbuilt Toronto 2", the second book detailing unbuilt architecture/infrastructure projects in Toronto, and a couple of other items.

The trip back was entertaining; while waiting for our train at Union Station my mother and I heard a cry from a woman asking someone to catch her cat. A black furry shape ran past us a second later in a blind panic. She and her roommate were travelling with three cats, two of them stupidly kept in a cardboard box on top of a suitcase (the third was in the woman's coat). Small surprise that it fell off as soon as they started wheeling the suitcase, freeing both occupants. One stayed, the other bolted. A bunch of us cornered it behind a ticket machine and someone climbed on top to grab it.

The next day featured a return to Windsor for post-Christmas dinner with my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The post-dinner party at my grandparents' house was fun, though not as loud as in recent years. Everyone's getting old. My grandfather rambled on about how he would marry my grandmother all over again given the choice, so my mother is thinking of giving them a renewal-of-vows party for their 60th anniversary in 2013. I'd love to see that; I hope my grandfather makes it!

The next day was an interesting adventure. I needed to pick up some shirts at the tailor's but needed a suit jacket to try them on with (to make sure the sleeve length was right). I grabbed one and tried it on with them, prompting my mother to comment "That suit looks nice." Merry Christmas! It's a silvery-blue suit, and it will go with my work wardrobe nicely. I've been investing heavily in it this year to upgrade from semi-casual shirts and khakis. I have a navy blue, dark grey, and taupe suit with faint white and pink pinstripes as well. The taupe suit is made of an interesting fabric; it looks brown under warm light and grey under cool light. Maybe with time I'll stop feeling like I'm playing dress-up in my father's closet when I'm wearing them.

Back in Cambridge tonight; I'm going to the outlet mall tomorrow to get new dishes while they're on sale. We'll be going back to Windsor on Saturday. New Year's Eve at Caesar's Windsor casino!
danlansdowne: (Miserable)
Those of you who have been in the studio audience for a few years will know that my relationship with my father idles at "distant". When you work over an hour away for the first twelve years of your son's life, you're not going to be home too much. Eventually the son is going to get tired of trying to bond with you and will only come to you when he needs help with homework--even though you'll only help him during the commercials.

And then came the internet.

I think it took about a year after we got high speed for me to lap him in terms of computer savvy. That day arrived when he started asking me for help with his computer instead of the reverse. The man has a B.Sc. from a prestigious university, worked at IBM's headquarters, started the systems program at the Humber College business school, but his brain shifted to neutral somewhere around Windows 95 and hasn't shifted into gear since.

Which brings me to today. On a day to celebrate family togetherness and the birth of our Lord, I'm providing tech support for a problem with his e-mail that started two weeks ago. I found a workaround and that was the end of it--until it stopped working. Then the tech support started getting yelled at.

You would think that in the past two weeks he would call the ISP tech support. But he hasn't, because it "takes forever" to get through to them. This solution is SOOOOOOO much better! PS, Victoria University at U of T called; they want their degree back.

By the way, MERRRRRY CHRISTMAS!
danlansdowne: (Default)
The day at work was average but after work was fantastic!

We were attending a dinner held at Caesar's Windsor casino by an association that my workplace communicates with for fundraising. This is one of the things I love about my job; we get to go to benefit dinners and I get free meals. Tonight's entree was striploin steak with potatoes and seasonal veg. How often do you get a free steak dinner while you're working?

When it was all said and done, I stayed behind to explore the casino for a bit. I stepped into one of the slot machine rooms and decided to throw caution to the wind and play a little. I put ten dollars into one machine and got a fifty dollar payout in return. My first time at a casino and I win fifty dollars in the first five minutes! I was a responsible gambler, though. Not interested in tempting fate I cashed in my winnings and left for home. I'm not going to throw it all back the first time.

And then I got home and got to pay my cable bill. Easy come, easy go. At least I get paid this week.
danlansdowne: (Default)
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Shaving too often irritates my skin but leaving it makes my face hard to wash. Can't get all the skin oil out of my stubble. The sight of facial hair doesn't bother me unless it's one of those little dots under the bottom lip or a pencil-thin beard. Those just look odd to me.
danlansdowne: (Oh please)
Now a quarter-century old, Les Miserables will be returning to the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto in 2012 with an all-new set design. Casting hasn't been announced, but producer Cameron Mackintosh has stated his preference for the role of Marius:

JUSTIN. BIEBER.

Nick Jonas was okay. Nasal, but okay. Bieber isn't even out of puberty yet! The National Post, for all its faults, appears to agree with me; one of the tags on the article is "Poor Alex". If they cast him in the movie fans around the world are going to be spitting fire.

In brighter news, movie theatres across Canada are going to be showing an encore performance of the 25th anniversary concert of Phantom of the Opera on October 22nd. I know where I'm going to be!
danlansdowne: (Sleepy)
Got up earlier than usual because the hospital was conducting a showjumping fundraiser with a therapeutic horseback riding stable about a half-hour from town. I was helping out with admission and parking and running a couple of errands. Even with two layers below and three layers on top, plus a hat and earmuffs, it was still freezing cold. Granted it was 7:30 in the morning when I got there--and misting. They had to move the show into the stable's arena; last year it was warm enough to hold the show outside. I'm not sure which I'd prefer; it was cold, but if it were hot I'm sure I would have been swarned by bees and yellow jackets.

I get to do it again tomorrow, too. Not the most relaxing weekend in history, but it could be far worse. Plus the lieu time means I get to have a five-day weekend for Thanksgiving.
danlansdowne: (Eyeball roll)
Well, I found out what the next stupid moment was going to be. Shortly after I woke up this morning (which was already earlier than I wanted to wake up) the fire alarm went off for a moment. A few minutes later it did it again. And again. At least a dozen times in the two hours between getting up and leaving for work. I called my landlord to inform him of the situation. Apparently there was a problem with the sensor in the laundry room, so he was on his way to fix it up. It hasn't done it in the half-hour I've been home so hopefully it's fixed once and for all.

Today was the first of two days of moving at work. They're concentrating all the administrative offices in a building that used to be used as a convent by the hospital sisters so we have to shift our bits and bobs over. Tomorrow the movers are shifting furniture, and I wish them luck. I'm not sure the convent elevator is big enough for some of it. I'm looking forward to having a window again; I can put some of my orchids in.

An update

Sep. 28th, 2011 09:46 pm
danlansdowne: (Deep thought)
Turns out they only want the first payment, not the whole thing. Because my vacation pay from my last job was payable after my last day at work, it's considered wages so I wasn't qualified for EI for that period. Three hundred dollars washed away.

In the past two months I've had a cold that turned to bronchitis, a drunk kid hit my car while it was parked, and bureaucratic stupidity. What's the last horseman going to bring?
danlansdowne: (Eyeball roll)
I was on unemployment for the time between my last day at work in Toronto and my first day at work in Windsor, receiving four biweekly payments. I just got a letter from the feds today asking for it all back unless I appeal the decision in a month.

Good thing my grandfather's an ex-union boss. Maybe he can explain it all to me.
danlansdowne: (Default)
So yes, I turned 26 last week. Spent the evening having dinner with my grandparents and aunt (the cupcake lady). Won 25 dollars on a scratch-and-win ticket my mother sent me and got a free lunch the next day at work. Ordered from a good Italian place on Wyandotte.

The day before I went to The Somerset Collection, a very upscale mall outside Detroit. Some nice stores there; they have a Lego Store with bulk bins at the back so you can replace all those pieces that got sucked up the vacuum or disappeared under the sofa cusions. I was feeling generous, so I bought myself a new sportcoat at Macy's (on sale but the service sucked) and a new pair of shoes at another store. The model of Fallingwater at the Lego store was sorely tempting but I resisted.

I'm back in Cambridge this weekend. My mother and I went to the orchid show and sale and I added to my collection. I'm planning to bring a couple of them into work; we're moving to new offices at the end of the week so I'll have a window and windowsill to use. I likely won't be there past the end of my contract but I want to make that office MINE.

Still paying off bills; might take a bit longer than I thought but it's going to happen. I want to get my line of credit paid off first; that one has fixed payments so there's less flexibility. After that one's taken care of I plan to apply for a new one and shift everything onto it so I can track it more easily and get a lower interest rate. Might be handy to have in case I get a new job/apartment and need to buy some furniture.
danlansdowne: (Default)
Sometimes being surrounded by family can be an irritant, but sometimes it can be a bonus. Today for example. My aunt works in health care and sometimes browses the job boards at my hospital. She brought one of my other aunts with her to visit--and four chocolate cupcakes. Both were greatly appreciated. I gave two to coworkers who were having bad days; they want to put in an order.

Dinner was spent with my grandparents; I treated them to fish and chips. Their intent was to pay because my birthday is on Monday, but I grabbed the bill before they had a chance.

Speaking of my birthday, that's the day I take my car in for the body work caused by the drunk. Don't know how long it will take but the insurance covers a rental car. For a drunk 21-year-old he's awfully generous (especially when he doesn't know it).
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