Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Room with a view

Good things -- or, at least, slightly better things -- come to those who wait but also know when's the right time to ask. At this moment, we're waiting for the new lease to be drawn up so that we may move upstairs to the topmost floor.

Yes, it seems we've got our wish. An apartment facing the river is coming up for grabs and we examined it yesterday. The view of the water and the north shore of Montreal beyond it is everything we thought it would be.

In the summer, the water body itself is partially screened by the row of ragged trees beyond the parking lot; but the street lamps and house lights from the shoreline to Mount Royal, the cluster of downtown skyscrapers, and the illuminated Olympic Stadium are all there on view. A vista of the kind you see in TV shows or movies, where the character stands with one hand in his Armani pants pocket and one holding a snifter of cognac. In a decidedly more fabulous indoor decor...

For the apartment itself is almost a mirror image of ours, with a few variations. In terms of square footage, it's the same. The layout is not, and in one case it makes for a larger-looking kitchen and a larger bathroom, at the expense of some closet space elsewhere.

But the current tenant freely and blithely admits that he's neither washed nor painted the walls, cleaned any windows or even wiped away the crumbs that have lain in the kitchen cupboards since he moved in three years ago. His one concession to cleanliness, apparently, was to scrub away the food that a previous baby-aged occupant had flung on the kitchen walls. Even then, he said he thought we might see some remnants if we looked closely enough.

What this all means, of course, is that we're moving into another filthy place.


This time, however, we will take the landlord up on his offer (standard practice) to have the carpeting steam-cleaned. We did it ourselves with a rented machine where we are now, but I'm sure his professional guy will do a better job. We will need to paint. I also asked for primer to cover the dark orangey-brown shade on the lower half of the master bedroom walls. The same colour scheme in my present bedroom, except that the dark colour is on the top part of the walls AND the ceiling, and when I moved in here I was damned if I had the guts to tackle it.

I see a pretty large expenditure in Hertel in my near future.

In spite of the filth, we ticked off the pros and cons. Pros: the view, nobody over our heads, same price we're paying now. Cons: gross, ancient carpeting and the amount of time that will be needed to make the space even marginally more hygienic.

I'm starting to wonder if everyone else is just sloppy by nature and I've been overly picky all my life? Methinks not. The overall neglect of the building seems to inspire more neglect.

Will need a better camera to capture the view once we're there.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's resolve... melted?

I started a list of New Year's resolutions, to be published here or on the other blog, but partway through it struck me as sounding insufferably pretentious (e.g. "speak up against unfairness whenever I see it"). So I think I'll just continue quietly on my way and do the things I think I should do without public fanfare.

Two things I thought were unfair late last year, but I'll only write about one.

While cutting through the grounds of the high school nearby, I saw a kid being bullied. Apparently. I think. It might have been roughhousing or horseplay (funny old terms, those), but it sure looked like your typical bullying, especially since the larger kid was holding the smaller one upside down by his ankles. It was almost comical; cartoonish, even. But it didn't sound very funny, so I slowed down... wayyyyy down, as I approached them, my face deliberately blank (I think) and my eyes very much fixed on the bigger kid and his friends who were observing this picture of hilarity. They stopped and asked if I was a teacher. "Aha!" I thought. "Maybe," I replied. I could see just enough doubt in their faces that they figured it might be prudent to stop hassling the smaller boy. As I walked past them, they started horsing around again, so I turned and walked backward, away from them. All it meant was "I'm still watching you" and they sort of slunk out of sight, around a corner.

Bullying. So much in the news, isn't it? My son went through it for years. I would cheerfully have punched the lights out of the kids who did it. But he survived, and some don't, which just tears my heart out whenever I read about it in the news.

This time around, I'm sure I only had a temporary effect on the situation. But I thought it important to at least let those kids know that somebody had noticed, that somebody was watching. My gut told me this wasn't just fun and games...