Seasonal Winterizing

The past few days, nightly temps have been falling gradually. Single digits are scattered over daytime and nighttime, over the next week. This is the sign we need to prep for Winter. On the last few nights, we have not used the air conditioner overnight.

This morning, I woke early, and began my seasonal changes. I took the AC out of the window and sealed it like the others. I had a set of blackout covers for the window itself, and I installed them as well.

On the balcony, I needed to toss some unnecessary boxes, for the roller blinds we bought a few months ago. I sorted out what we store of the balcony and backed them up against the back wall. Several storage boxes, the additional dining chairs we won’t need any more since buying the new dining room set. We now seat 5 for dinners.

I cleaned up the apartment, and sorted all of my clothes. I put all my Spring/Summer clothes into storage and paired my Winter gear, and took out my collection of toques and gloves, in prep for usage.

All the garbage went downstairs, so all of chores are done.

Yesterday I was at the mall and went into the Hallmark Card Shop, and I kid you not, these were Christmas cards, ornaments, and decorations up in the shop. It isn’t even October 1st yet. And I said the the young man working behind the counter that he had won First Prize for the earliest Christmas decorations and merchandise out in the city.

He said, “yeah, we jumped the gun on Christmas, but Christmas is a cash cow, so that’s why they put all the stuff out this early. People are going to capitalize on making the most cash early, in case, sales go down closer to the holidays.

Halloween candy has been out for weeks now. Once we hit October, all bets are off. If you aren’t buying merchandise online, whatever you are going to buy in store, is going out sooner than later. We never know how finances are gong to be three months from now, and shop owners are not taking any chances. They want to be able to pay overhead, rent and paychecks, so they really need to make as much money going forwards that they can.

We are ready for the Holidays … Bring it on !!!!

Spring has Sprung !!

Montreal hit the 15c mark today. The first stretch of double digit temps this season. The windows are open for the first time. The breeze is blowing. Me thinks that winter has been pushed out of the province.

With that said, I opened the bedroom windows for the first time today, and took down my weather plastic on the windows, and hung the air conditioner in the bedroom as well. I usually do that on the first day of the change over so that I don’t have to worry about it when temps top 20 to 25c and it is too miserable to do anything.

The climate in Montreal is particular because we sit on the St. Lawrence River. We are not that far off from the river, we can see it from out living room windows down to the south. We are about 15 minutes from the river.

When it gets above twenty (20c) it becomes a bit too warm outside. Last year we had a heat wave and many people died, because normally, Montreal homes do not have central air, or even air conditioners in the units, as we only get heat as standard.

The best thing I did a number of years ago was to invest in an AC unit. It saves a lot of aggravation when it warm up too much.

Last night, I hit the Friday meeting, and found out that several of my friends came down with the same cold/flu I did this past week, Everybody was down and in bed for the entire week. We’ve been through the winter rain, snow,freezing rain, snow, rain cycles, and our bodies just could not handle another day of swinging temperatures.

Everybody is on the mend.

More to come.

Renovation Complete

Thursday this past week, saw delivery of Ikea furniture to complete the floor, painting, furniture project. We’ve now spent about $5,000 of the renovation. Much of that will pay out in a substantial rent increase to cover the flooring put down last week.

As of this afternoon (Friday) my library project is complete. I’ve always wanted book cases to showcase my personal book collection. I was impressed as I stacked books today, that I have read each and every book in my library, whether for class, or for personal gain. Even these two book cases did not complete the job, as we still have a box of books that did not find themselves shelved. Me thinks another book case is in the plans later on. But they do look beautiful.

Over on the right you can see the new cabinet we purchased for the electronics that connect to the flat screen television. We took the old stand and employed it for the computer tower and printer in my office space.

The old white desk that was taped together with duct tape is gone. I only kept the cabinet because it was still in tact, because I needed some extra storage space at my desk. The desk is brand new, and is handsome itself.

Next week, (Tuesday) Ikea will deliver the last two pieces of furniture that still need to be replaced. Huby calls them the horseshoe of depression. The dining table his parents gave him when he moved in here 19 years ago, and the pantry cart that holds stacks of food boxes, cookie containers, and the cutting board for holiday dinners. Both will be replaced with new furniture which has bee on a “want” list for as long as we’ve been together.

IKEA furniture brings with it the ever present challenge to “Divine” what those little picture books tell us to do, WITH NO WORDS, only PICTURES.

I have to say, we almost lost it over putting the desk together. We got through 95% of the build until I lost my cool, because I could not get the last two hinges in the desks door (on the right) … I almost lost it.

The book cases took us all of twenty minutes to build. The first one went together so fast, that hubby turned the shelves backwards, so the backs were facing outwards, and we only realized the error when we nailed the final nails in the back panel and stood it up for the first time.

“The refrain went something like this FUUUUUUUCK !!!”

We did not make the same mistake twice. In the end, all it took was a little original thinking to make it look complete and error free. We took some black shoe polish and “polished” the backward facing shelves so they look like the others.

Mischief Managed !!!

We now live in a totally renovated space. We have a photo album I gave hubby when we got married of the wedding pictures and a photo book containing all of hubby’s early photos I had found and put in book form. And in that book are photos of what this place looked like 18 years ago, when I moved in. Both of us were getting sober together. And this apartment was a little dirty shit hole.

There were 300 beer bottle piled on the balcony, we had a rabbit that shit all over the place. The furniture was old twenty plus year old bamboo furniture that was falling apart and was being held together with duct tape.

It was a complete mess … It took us years to start renovating in small areas. We changed appliances, and electronics as we could afford them. We cleaned up the space, the rabbit eventually died, and went to SPCA heaven.

But as of today, everything we have always wanted to do is done. Save the table and pantry coming next week.

We’ve spent many years as “Have Nots.” Which has kept us humble and appreciative of all the good graces we’ve had from our friends over the years, because when we needed, the hand was always there. Thank the program for that grace. If it were not for my friends in recovery, we probably would not have made it to this point.

Today we “HAVE” modestly. We live within our means, and all the money we pay out in taxes and social services over the year prior come back to us. We can file all kinds of exemptions to the taxes for drug payments that we pay out of pocket every month, and other ancillary services that are ot covered by government programs.

Tonight we talked about God. And I figured something out that I had not thought about before. And that is this … A very long time ago, memere had a conversation with God about me, and it has taken me 52 years to figure out what He was trying to show me my entire life.

I can live, and trust God, and I have survived this far… By the Grace of God and the Fellowship.

Gratitude overflowing.

It was a great day, it is slowly getting warmer, but it still is gonna be a few cold days. Spring will come eventually. And won’t we all be glad for that.

More to come.


Spring Renovations

New Laminate Floors in the Apartment

A little while ago, we had first decided that we would move out of our unit, if another unit in the building, (a much larger unit sans a balcony) became open for rental. Several apartments came up, but none were as large as ours IS. And we have a balcony.

The building was getting ready to raise rents, as our lease came up for renewal. In the hunt for another unit, an offer was put on the table, by the building manager. That offer was to put in brand new floors in the apartment, which would indeed raise our rent considerably.

On Tuesday this past week, the build team arrived at 8 in the morning to begin pulling up carpet and laying laminate flooring.

We had spent the previous three days packing everything up in boxes, so we could move the larger furniture around them. They were not happy with the way we had packed up, because we assumed that they would follow the lead we wanted them to take.

Alas, they did not. So we spent the better part of the morning moving furniture around and piling it up like a trash heap. In the end, they took all day Tuesday to lay the flooring, and that evening it took us HOURS to sort out our belongings and reset the place.

Hubby had filed our taxes early, so we had a massive dump of income to the house over the weekend. We spent about $325.00 on paint and supplies. Yesterday we began painting the entire apartment.

We ran with a four color palette. Two grey tones, one mid-dark, and the other an almost charcoal dark for the kitchen. We used a light blue in the office and dining rooms, and a brighter blue for the bathroom and the coat closet, next to the front door.

If you go to my Instagram Account: [jeremy 1350] you can see the video of the refresh. I don’t have video capability on the blog. I don’t use that function often enough to spend another $100 CAD for a business template.

Yesterday, we spent some money on a wall unit book case, a new desk for myself, and a cabinet for the television and stereo/dvd system. That is coming on Thursday this week.

Soon we will be purchasing a new dining room set and a pantry cart for the kitchen. [A much larger pantry cart] than the one we currently use. We need a further food storage solution which is integrated into the pantry cabinet coming this week.

Once we complete the furniture refresh across the board, we will have, finally, 18 ears later, have replaced every single old piece of furniture we own. This process began a number of years ago, when we finally had ample income to start refreshing the apartment. For many, many years, we did not have two nickles to rub together, we were hard pressed, financially for years and years.

That Financial Promise took 13 years to arrive for us …


This is the new kitchen color, a dark charcoal shade. It is quite striking. And goes well with the new floors.

All of the work has been completed. Now the real test.

They say if you survive putting together an IKEA cabinet, you are good to be married. They used to take engaged couples to Ikea for a shop, then ask them to put together the most complicated cabinet. And if man and woman survived that shop AND build, they were good to get married.

I know we practically were homicidal inside that IKEA store. And we nearly killed each other trying to put together all the furniture we had bought on that shop. And this week we are doing it all over again.

MINUS the homicidal Ikea Shopping experience.

Thank God for online shopping.

More to come.

Thank God It’s Friday

Yes, it is Friday. A good week was had by all. The weather is warming up, ever so slowly. It is much warmer today, than it as been in a while. We might get a dusting of snow over the weekend. We’ll see.

last evening, I had dinner with a friend. We have a new A&W Burger joing just up the block so we usually go for food there before the meeting on Thursday.

This morning, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get out of bed, so I slept until 11 then got up because I had things to do. Coffee went on sale and we needed a few cans for Thursday. Coffee is one of those cyclical items that go on sale at least once a month. At $7.00 a can, you can’t go wrong.

Laundry is washing at this moment. This weekend we have to box up the apartment, and get sorted, because they are putting in hard wood floors on the 5th. We have to move all the small stuff, books, book cases, and smalle furniture, the guys who will be laying the floors will move all the big stuff as they lay the floors in pieces. We were told that it would only take a day to get them all in, because we only have two rooms.

More to come.

Friday – September 21, 2018

Mother nature is having a rough time of it lately. There are wind warnings up for Friday, with storms, rain, and thundershowers coming. Temps have dropped drastically over the past few days. Cool enough to warrant a night jacket, and a double layer for tights.

They tell us Fall is right around the corner. But when, is the question.

Our neighborhood has definitely changed over the past few weeks. The old Children’s Hospital is down completely, and construction crews are feverishly pouring the concrete footings for the new condo towers that will be going on that site. There are several “jobs” going on, at the same time. The clearing of the remaining bricks and demolished building parts is continuing. To the East side of the site, footings are being poured. Cement trucks have been working long hours, and weekends to get them poured. To the West side, they are digging the piers into the ground. I think they want to get the clearing done, and cement poured before Winter. At least they will have a head start on winter weather.

Over on Rene Levesque, down the block from here, on the old Monastery grounds, where the city was going to buy the building, the monks in residence, choose to burn the building to the ground rather than anyone else buying the building. In the end everybody lost. A developer bought the plot of land and a new condo building is going up.

The old Provigo/Toyota Car Dealership on the corner, where we used to grocery shop has been leveled. I was in the Post Office last week, and the agent I was talking to told me they are going to build more condos on the site.

With all the upcoming construction, the number of units will more than triple in the next five years.

So far we have:
Le Square – on Cabot Square
La Catherine – On Ste. Catherines Street down the block
Act – Condos next door to our building
7 condo towers with family space going in on the Children’s
1 condo tower on the old Provigo site

That’s a total of 11 new builds in the neighborhood. Le Square, La Catherine, and Act, are complete and populated. Over the next five years the balance of new builds will be completed.

The focus on families, is huge right now, because there are NO family friendly unites anywhere in this neighborhood. Every one of the buildings in this area are only studios and one bedrooms. My next door neighbors had a son about a year ago, and like our unit, it is only a 1 bedroom. In time they are going to nee more space. Space which this building does not offer.

Our building is undergoing some serious change. Finally, they found the money to rebuild the elevator bays, and give us larger, up to date cars. They are working on car two at the moment, which only leaves Car One working. Busy times are a pain in the ass.

They have repaved the front entrance with new pavers, and they are working on the back entrance now. Meanwhile inside the building they have been re-flooring apartments with new laminate flooring. They are constantly changing out old appliances and painting apartments. All this work is going to justify the next big rental increase.

Some of my neighbors are not pleased with the work going on. Some of our older men in residence are clearly not fans of the company that now owns this building. They are usually outspoken when we connect in the elevators or outside.

I have to say that over the past sixteen years, this building is new from top to bottom. They spent a pretty penny, painting the inside of the building, rolling out new carpet on nineteen floors. They’ve rebuilt kitchens, and refreshed bathrooms. We have front loading washers and dryers on the penthouse floor. We have a cashless system in place that works. They have resurfaced the pool deck. At the moment rent is manageable. We still have space to move on that front.

We are in a holding patter at the moment. Hubby’s new employment has not come through yet. I am hoping they hire him soon, because I want my house back. We’ve seen way too much of each other over the past month.

On October 6th, my dentistry team begins the Big Rebuild in my mouth. Our first appointment on the 6th, is for a surgical extraction and some root canal and fillings. When the work on my existing teeth is done, and I clear up the infection I have at the moment, they will being the final build of my bridges, giving me a new set of teeth, around the ones they are able to save.

I’ve had to accept where I am at the moment, which does not please my friends, but it is what it is. Over the next few months, into the new year, we should have a complete job. And if hubby gets that job, we are waiting for, we will have good insurance to cover the work, because right now I am paying out of pocket for dentistry services. And it Ain’t Cheap …

Tomorrow, well, later today, at the moment, it is 2:42 a.m. will be the best day of the week. And the weekend coming.

Stay tuned for more …

When to Speak

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I changed up my routine today, to make time for a noon time meeting, because a lady friend I adore was speaking. The first time I heard her speak, at the Thursday meeting one night not long ago, I was transfixed by every word she said.

Some of our women friends have similar tragic stories that have downward spirals that, at one point listening to her tell her story, I was saying to myself, “there is no way she can pull out of this death spiral she is in…”

Everybody around me is holding their breaths, waiting for the Miracle to Occur.

And for each of them, the Miracle really did happen. Miraculously !!!

Today I heard something I did not hear before …

At her worst, after loosing her kids, and in a funk, trying to get it together, her sponsor tells her … “Just call home, let your kids know you are still alive…”

Little pieces of advice that seem innocuous at the time, turn out to be the beginning of the building of the bridge, that will eventually lead her back to her kids AND sobriety.

She and I have something in common. A very special education in sobriety.

She came in twenty-five years ago, and I, almost seventeen years ago, respectively.

We both came in bedraggled. And we walked into a room and were overwhelmed by the people in those respective rooms. And by the grace, we both DID what we were TOLD to DO.

Without question. Without argument.

Because in her words from the other night …

YOU WANT TO ARGUE WITH HAPPY ???

The goal in this life is to be happy. Across the board, in all our affairs. Some find it, others do not. Some take the long road, others, get it right away and walk the short path.

She said to me today that, sobriety is too loosey goosey. People are too easily distracted by shiny things and their phones. Nobody wants to follow the simple plan that we both know works.

People want to argue semantics and Happy !!!

UGH.

Yesterday I was grocery shopping, as I am wont to do every few days. We collect plastic and we recycle at the store before we shop. While standing at the machine I noticed a familiar face at the can drop next to me.

I knew this man. He was sober, when I first came in, almost seventeen years ago, and worked at the rehab center I was affiliated with back then, where I had after care and my counselor sessions.

Key words … He WAS sober.

I’ve seen him around over the years. Many of the men and women I knew from those years back then, have all mostly disappeared from the area and the rooms. There aren’t many people from the Old World left in Montreal.

Yesterday, he was disheveled. His clothes were torn and dirty. He was wearing a white sneaker on his left foot, and a green high top sneaker on his right.

While I was depositing my bottles he stopped me amid swing to ask me why I was putting metal into the plastic machine. I stopped and responded with, “why would I put metal in a plastic machine?”

He turned away and walked ahead of me into the store. I did not follow him around, because I don’t know him, like I know my friends in town, so striking up a conversation would have been awkward to say the least.

I kinda wanted to ask him where he had slept the night before and had realized he was wearing two different shoes and why his clothes were ripped and dirty.

You kinda know the answer to those questions pretty quickly, on the first pass.

He had a bag of cans he probably collected from metro bins and garbage cans on his way into the store to get his meager change to buy whatever he could afford for that trip.

Outside the store another friend of mine who does outreach to the Indigenous Community here in the city, was standing guard in the hallway outside, watching his people gather.

Where ever people gather, there is bound to be strife among them. Thankfully he is armed with burger vouchers for McDonald’s in the mall right in that area.

People are more amenable when they have food in their stomachs. So before he steps in the say anything, he hands out food vouchers to anyone who wants them.

He does more than that. He is counselor, medic, affairs officer and the grand poobah of the downtown core.

There is suffering all around us. for those of us who live in this neighborhood. I’ve been here seventeen years now, and I know how bad things can get on a good day. Even worse on a bad day.

Sometimes you don’t have to say anything at all. And for the most part, not saying anything is the best policy, because you don’t know the back story you are witnessing at the moment.

Rather not embarrass people on the down and out with observations, they probably already know about themselves, so they don’t need a reminder of how rough they might look at the moment, even if what you want to say would be meaningful to YOU.

So I say hello. I nod. I observe. And I record data.

I know how many of the people I knew who were sober once, are out there on the street today, down and out.

Why some people fall through the cracks and end up back out on the street I don’t know. Some people just fall away. Was it because of people, from the past, who shunned folks away? Those of us who did not attach to certain cliques ?

I met a man who had fifty-eight years of sobriety today. He knew the Montreal Founders. Men and women who are still around from THAT FAR BACK, are few and far between.

They usually come out of seclusion for their cakes to show us, that you CAN be sober for decades and be happily married and happy in general.

Many people at that noon meeting suffer needlessly.

They just don’t connect, even though they know where to go and who to talk to.

And for that we are grateful for small mercies of sobriety. And we utter that slogan, that people usually ignore or don’t know what it means …

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD …

I could be one of them.