Posts tagged “relationships

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?

Everybody on here has something to say about Facebook whether it’s positive or derogatory. It’s been a bone of contention with me ever since my wife lured me onto it a few years ago. I am a very isolated person. I’m not this way because I’m a socially devoid uber-nerd with no way of expressing myself. Believe it or not I choose to not have many friends. Friend is a term people use far to loosely these days. It takes quite a resume for me to consider a person a friend. My guideline is typically a simple one. Anyone can be a fair-weather friend when things are going well. If you’ve been with me through the bad times you’re either bad luck or a good friend. People think that if you’ve had a single conversation with an individual that you’re instantaneously considered a friend.

I was making the usual “social media” rounds the other day when I made my usual stop on Facebook. The geniuses behind the scenes there feel that because I listed Thomas A. Edison Technical and Vocational High School Class of ’93 as my high school that I should be “friends” with everyone and anyone who graduated that year. Seriously? Are you kidding me? Let’s be real here. I was no angel in high school nor was I the most popular. Check that, I was sorta popular but with people other than the popular people.

Does that make sense?

For four years I rolled with a clique of people that I considered friends. For privacy’s sake I won’t name names but more than likely if you come sauntering over to this post from Facebook you know who you are. In high school you vow to be friends forever because for many, at that point in time, high school life is your life. Unfortunately life determines your friends and I unfortunately lost contact with many, if not all, of the chaps I used to hang out with on a daily basis. This is where I sing the praises of Facebook (for at least a sentence or two). The last couple of years has allowed me to reunite with a bunch of the old guys. It’s cool to see how they’ve aged and developed as individuals. While things can never be as they once were I thank Facebook for being the tool that made finding them possible. That’s all Facebook is. A tool. Status updates, witty comments, shared links and picture posts don’t make people friends.

I sat there and went over the 80 something people I have on my list. The majority are family. While there are a handfulA small portion are clients. The few that remain are what I do or have considered friends at some point in life. Friends – real friends – will always find you at some point in your life one way or another. Technology these days just makes it easier to track them down now. We managed to keep in touch with our buddies somehow prior to the Internet so why should you be tethered to it now?

To my massive graduating class at good ole Thomas Edison, if I hung out with you then then you’re probably on my list. If we didn’t then why in the hell would I want to have you as a “friend” now? Because we share a commonality in the place we graduated? I give Facebook credit for allowing you to group your associates now. Next time you’re there see how many people you can actually put into a legitimate friends group. You might be shocked at the result.

Thank you and have a pleasant tomorrow!

One must forego the self to obtain total spiritual creaminess…

At long last I bring you the final chapter of the Rolf trilogy

Rolf had been making fewer and and fewer appearances as the weather progressively got colder and colder. With our move to Nunavut official now we once again began to doubt whether we’d be able to bring him in to the shelter. One night I was struck with a brilliant idea. I figured we’d go out and get him a collar and attach a note to it. The theory was that if he did have an owner they’d see it and remove it and see the note. I knew Rolf got around a bit so I had to make sure it could last through the rigors of day-to-day Rolf life…

I put tape on both sides of the note to give it a little bit of protection from the elements and wrapped it around the collar. Sure enough a couple of days later Rolf showed up and we fitted him with it and he vanished again into the night after eating his meal. The plan was in motion.

Rolf made guest appearances the following couple of weeks. Each time he’d show up we’d check to see if he still had his collar and if anyone may have removed the note. No luck. Finally this week we came to the decision that we’d invested as much time and effort as possible trying to find out if he had an owner and made a vow that we’d take him down to the Humane Society the next time we saw him. It’d been at least 2 maybe 3 weeks since we put the collar on him so we extended well past the reasonable doubt period.

He ambushed us last night on the way in from grocery shopping. Still no luck with the note so I fed him and told him to stop by tomorrow and we’d take care of him. I went out early today and put his food out as usual. I shook the dish and made sure I made enough noise to draw his attention.

Rolf was a no show.

He ditched me. I was a little disappointed that he didn’t heed my words and conceded to the fact he’d be MIA again for another week or two. So it was business as usual once again. Suzanne and I went out in the afternoon to price some arctic gear and take  care of some errands. Didn’t take too long but we arrived back home only to be greeted by none other than the cat, the myth, the legend known as Rolf! It was later in the day – in other words warmer – so it’s no surprise he was out and about looking for a meal. Suzanne and I looked at each other and said “let’s go”.

We had considered putting him in a carrier but he’s such a lovable guy we kinda knew he’d have no problem in the car. He dug it actually. In fact he handled being cage-free a lot better than our two babies. Yeah he voiced his concern a couple of times but for the most part he was either hanging out on my lap of checking out the sights from every window. It was a short trip to the Kitchener Humane Society so while Suzanne went in to check if there was room and handle the paper work, I hung out in the car and took some parting shots of him…

In the end I feel like we did a good thing for him. It was getting rather cold (like 5c and below the past couple of nights) and he did appear to have some relatively fresh war wounds on one of his ears. I’m sure he had fleas and more than likely had worms. The Humane society will get him checked out and take care of his injuries and aliments before they put him up for adoption. He’s not rabid and I seriously doubt he has any terminal transmutable diseases so he’s in the best hands possible. It’s recommended that if you have a missing pet you go down to the Humane Society or animal shelter first to see if they have been brought in so we did our best for the little guy. He has a roof over his head now and will get the medical treatment he needs finally (and hopefully a nice bath to make him all fluffy and soft). With those eyes and that loving demeanor he’ll get adopted in no time. He’s highly personable.

A part of me is sad that he’s gone now. I’m going to miss his little purrs, the way he’d show unconditional affection and play as though he didn’t have a care in the world. I’ve been questioning myself constantly since we brought him in but deep down inside I know it was for the best. I closed the door to the cat house in a symbolic gesture (but more to prevent any other would be strays from gracing our presence in the coming weeks). It’s sad that I’m far more proactive with taking care of animals than even people. I guess that stems from how genuine animals tend to be. They don’t fake emotions or try to deceive you. What you see is what you get. If only humans could be the same way…

Cheers Rolf! May the Force be with you.

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.

In honor of our upcoming anniversary on the 31st I thought it’d be fun to share some of the quirky posters Suzanne and I cooked up last year for decorations. Yes yes we went as far as to have fake boards on the windows, a giant first aid box  and various artifacts you may find in a post apocalyptic bunker. It was a blast to pull off. Maybe someday Suzanne will enlighten the blogging world as to what exactly happened with some pictures and posts but for now this will have to suffice. Feel free to print away if any catch your eye. They rock on different colored paper and at various sizes.

Be sure to pop over to the Mental Wasteland if you’re interested in more graphics related content. It doesn’t notify when I update it so you’re just gonna have to keep checking back every now and then. 😉

Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east.

So it was a day like any other. The  first day of the long Octoberfest/Thanksgiving weekend up here in Canada. The wife and I were planning to head over to her aunt’s house for some good ole’ grilled sausages, sauerkraut and corn on the cob. No Suzanne doesn’t suddenly turn into a carnivore for Thanksgiving. AC found her some fake Bavarian sausages so it’s all good – for her at least. We were once again going to abuse our invitation to do laundry at her place so I loaded up a basket of unmentionables and proceeded to carry the bin out to the car. I open up the back door and stood on the top step for a moment. The day was glorious. The sun was beating down on my brow but it wasn’t hot. The was a cool breeze gently rolling in – enough to make you feel quite comfortable in just a sweatshirt. A perfect fall day by any standard.

Just then I heard it. Faint at first, but increasing in volume as it approached rapidly…


To my shock and delight, Rolf SonFriend had returned in all his Rolfy glory!

He looked alright. Quite chipper and energetic. He even looked a bit beefier than when I had last seem him. I gave him a big bowl of food and some fresh water anyway and we hung out for a half hour or so. He was love-rolling and headbutting the whole time. Unfortunately the wife and I had to head off to her Aunt’s. I expected never to see Rolf again but at least this time I got to hang out with him this time before we left.

Just yesterday when we were heading out once again. We opened the door to the familiar tune of a “Roooooowwwwlf” surprisingly. He busted into our back room and greeted us as though he owned the place. Once again I laid food out for him and he happily devoured it.

His unlikely return brings forth the dilemma of whether or not we should bring him in to the Humane Society before the weather gets too nasty. We had originally planned to do it by the end of the month so it still kind of falls within the schedule still. On the other hand he doesn’t look the worst for wear after a 2 week period of somewhat cold and dreary weather. Could he possibly have had a home all this time and merely comes out when it’s semi-decent outside or did he simply find a place to stay for a bit and made his way back here? Either way the wife and I have a decision to make soon because it’s looking more and more like we won’t be around in the neighborhood to take care of him much longer. 😉

Rolf 1
Eating up a storm…
Rolf 2
The Rolf roll up…
Rolf 3
One of a kind I tell ya…

My, we seem to be a little short on brotherly love round here.

Today I bring you a tale of Tigerman and SonFriend.

A few months ago, near the beginning of Spring when the weather reached the point where one could shed their jacket and walk around around outside in just a sweatshirt, my wife and I were paid a visit by the dynamic duo. They descended upon our backyard as if they were old friends and quickly claimed us (and the entire backyard) as their own. The wife and I were no strangers to having random cats suddenly befriend us. Our first cat, who’s celebrating her 20th year or so under our roof, was a stray who appeared one day clinging to the screen door of my mother-in-law’s house. We don’t know how old she was at the time but vets clocked it at being 1 or 2. Our other two cats are what I refer to as “stray by association”.  You see last year, coincidentally around spring time as well, we were adopted by a little stray female kitty we ended up naming Mel. Being the big sucks that we are we ended up feeding her and in turn she was in our backyard 24/7. We did some active shopping around and ended up finding a home for her with my brother-in-law. Unfortunately, we  weren’t aware that she was pregnant so 2 weeks later we get a call from Mike telling us he has a litter of 4 kittens. Rather than straddle the poor guy with 5 cats we decided to take the comedic twosome of Brit & Jemaine bringing out cat total to 3.

Their detailed adventure can be found here. Right now Let’s get back to the recent arrivals to Kitty Acres.

The more thickly built of the two (aka the fatter one) I ended up nicknaming Tigerman. As you can see he has a puffy little tiger-like face so hence the name. I know. I rock at naming, eh? Whoever said I lack in cleverness should be hung from the gallows. Anyway, Tigerman was a big pushover. He was extremely friendly, loved to play and of course eat. This struck us as odd because most strays weren’t as gregarious as he was so we assumed he either had a home and liked to roam or was a house cat that had either run away or was let go. His bulbous little gut, rather clean and shiny fur and pleasant demeanor lead us to believe that it was the former. He would show up at certain times of the day with his little gray buddy, looking for some attention and food.

SonFriend was the smaller and skinnier of the two. He fit the profile of a stray a little more than Tigerman just because he was much slighter than his thick necked companion however he was just as affectionate. He too liked to play and adored attention (and food) from us. The two of them were inseparable. I was never able to figure out if they were related but they traveled together, played with one another and even cleaned each other when needed. It was quite cute. While they didn’t look like siblings they acted like it. I had been struggling with naming the little gray guy and almost settled on the awesomely creative name of “Grey” but then thanks to Semi Pro I ended up naming him SonFriend due to his close relationship with Tigerman.

As Spring gave way to Summer two of them became regulars in our backyard. Although they were nice enough to bring in we simply couldn’t. 3 cats was already 2 more than we originally planned to have. Five would be ridiculous. Cats are great and all but our food and litter costs skyrocketed once we brought in the Flight of the Catchords so having any more was pretty much out of the question. Regardless we considered them our outdoor cats. Whenever there was some gardening or yard work to do they would readily assist by headbutting my leg or love rolling down the driveway. They would eat the parsley we had growing or camp out underneath our cherry tomato plant laying in wait as though they were in the Serengeti.

You would think that Tigerman would be the fighter of the two, but in fact the leaner SonFriend was the scrapper. He laid claim to us and our backyard and fiercely defended it. There’s a neighborhood gigolo cat (whom we assume is one of our cat’s father) who likes to traipse through everyone’s backyards looking for some loving. He and SonFriend would engage in some epic battles. Although outweighed and out-sized, SonFriend would always chase him away. Tigerman, the pacifist, would be around for morale support. This was their backyard and all other cats and critters had better beware.

Sadly a couple of months ago Tigerman vanished. He stopped coming by leaving only SonFriend as our only daily visitor. There were a few people in the neighborhood who had moved away so we like to believe he went home and moved as well. Like I mentioned earlier he was too well groomed and mannered to be “just a stray” so we assume he got packed up when his owners decided to leave – whoever they may be. He wasn’t dumb so we doubt he got hit by a car or anything like that and there aren’t really any predatory creatures in the neighborhood aside from rabid kindergarten children so we doubt anything malicious happened to him. Regardless, SonFriend lost a buddy and was depressed. He would “Roooooawh” whenever he saw us as if he was asking “Where is Tigerman?”. I had no answer for him but because he was so insistent on saying “Rooooawh” whenever he saw us, I renamed him Rolf. He finally had a full name. Rolf SonFriend.

The Summer brought forth some crappy rainy days. I felt bad that Rolf was out roaming the neighborhood in such weather so one clear day I build him a little makeshift shelter next to our shed. I sealed the seams, made a little door in the front and threw a tarp over it to help block off the downpour. I even had it a little elevated off the ground to prevent flooding. Our shag kitchen mat served as the carpeting inside while some old unused t-shirts were the blankets. Now he had a place where we could put his food and water and he wouldn’t have to worry about the elements washing them away. I was quite proud of the Cat House and Rolf seemed to appreciate it whenever the rains would come in.

As summer started to come to an end, my wife and I discussed what to do with Rolf once the weather decided to get cold. We didn’t want him out there but we couldn’t bring him in (despite how cute he was). After shopping around for some potential owners we decided that we would take him to the Humane Society by the beginning of October. They have a no kill policy (so long as they’re not suffering from any life threatening aliments or feral) and would give him some much needed shelter. They would also provide for him any medical attention that he may have needed. He wasn’t sickly, but it’s always good to have that option available. They would also allow us to keep track of his adoption status and give us the option of taking him back if he hadn’t been taken in after 60 days or so. Based on how lovable he was we couldn’t see it going that long. He makes friends really quickly.

2 weeks ago Rolf disappeared. He paid us one last visit just before evening while we were outside talking with our neighbors. He popped by like he always does, headbutted some legs, received some bum scratching and then made his way off to tend to Rolf business. We haven’t seen him since. The weather has been getting rather frigid the past week or so and I’ve grown increasingly concerned. I still put his food and water out daily but I no longer see his excited run to our back door as I open it. The food gets eaten but I think it’s that bastard gigolo mowing through it under the cover of darkness. Like an overly optimistic douche I keep putting out food for him and jiggling his bowl in the hopes he’ll come bouncing in from around the corner… but alas he hasn’t. I have resigned to the fact that he is now gone.

I’m usually pessimistic about everything I think and do but in this instance I choose to believe that he found a home. He was far too personable and friendly to not have made friends all across the neighborhood. I like to think that there were some other sympathetic schmoes out there who were thinking just like us and either brought him in as it was getting cold or took him somewhere safe. He was a streetwise little guy who earned my appreciation. Here’s to you Rolf SonFriend. I hope you found the happiness you were looking for, buddy.

You’re nothing to me now. You’re not a brother, you’re not a friend. I don’t want to know you or what you do.

You’re dead to me, Fredo.

Blood is thicker than water.

How many times have you heard that cliché? How true is it though?

There’s no doubt that some family ties are tight but I think there’s far too much of an onus put on the blood relation aspect. Lord knows I have blood relatives all over the US that I haven’t even met much less spoken to. Should my loyalty, love and/or devotion be more to them then friends who have been with me through the good times and bad?

I’m not a guy who uses the term “friend” lightly. In fact I can probably count the number of real friends I have on one hand. Some of them I’d quite literally take a bullet for (and on a few occasions could very well have). I don’t like what the term “blood is thicker than water” insinuates. On the surface it just reads as though you should always put your blood before your friends but is that truly something to live by? We’ve all had a family member scorn us in some way and it stings more than anything an enemy can do. Isn’t it blood that ends up hurting us the most in the end?

Even that word family poses a contradiction to that cliché? Unless you’re from some backwater land where brothers and sisters bed & wed one another, your parents aren’t blood to one another. Neither were either of their parents or their parents. Your wife or husband isn’t blood to you. An adopted child is not your blood. Does that mean you should love them any less or that you’re to choose some distant, unknown, never spoken to great-cousin over your own wife, husband or child if (knock on wood) some inconceivably harsh situation called for it?

I think not.

I like to look at that adage in a bit more abstract way. Blood can be defined as anyone who has earned that level of trust and respect to be considered a part of you – a part of your ideals and understanding. I put everyone on the same level playing field and let them determine whether they will be a superstar. That’s why I don’t consider myself truly hypocritical for deeming everyone idiots until proven intelligent because I give everyone a fair shake. I’ll never just give unquestionable respect to anyone and that’s the way it should always be. Too many people feel this unearned sense of entitlement just because they’re a blood relative and it’s just uncalled for. People should be judged individually based on what you have done for them and vice versa. I know it sounds like common knowledge but unfortunately it’s far from that apparently. We cling to blood ties with blind devotion sometimes and end up killing ourselves from the inside every time we’re hurt by them.

Sit back and evaluate who means most to you. Who has been there for you. Who you’ve been there for. Who you can unequivocally trust. Who you make legitimately happy and truly makes you happy.

Your real family might be bigger (or smaller) than you think.

He likes to butt things… with his head…

Firstly, let me apologize.

I want to apologize for rattling off yet another rant. I know I’ve only been doing this for blogging thing for only about 2 weeks but I just don’t want it misconstrued that I’m a consummate complainer. The way I see it the sooner I can get the bothersome topics off my chest the sooner I can speak more lucidly.

With that said, let the party begin…

When exactly did parenting become optional? Why do more and more parents feel the need to get their child’s approval rather than their respect? Most of all, what the heck happened to disciplining children? I’ve had these questions juggling around in my head for years now and haven’t really come to any conclusion other than the usual laziness and idiocy excuses. I mean seriously… what caused such a drastic shift in ethics? I’m not an old dude. I’m only in my mid-30’s yet it seems like the values between my generation and the current ones are damn near polar opposites.

You have every right to choose to become a parent but once you’re a parent that’s your job 27/7 till the kiddies are all grown up. When referring to optional parenting I’m talking about this all too common methodology of parents pawning off their kids to their parents whenever they get tired of parenting – forcing the grandparents to play a much larger role in the child’s upbringing. Don’t get me wrong, they should be involved their lives but not to the point where they are essentially raising the children. The excuse for needing time away from them range from wanting to party to just needing a break. Everyone needs a break but when one starts abusing a parent’s good will that’s just wrong on so many levels. They did their job. They served their time. They shouldn’t have to be saddled with doing double duty on parenting and yet more and more young couples continue to take advantage of their parents.

If having a child is so much of a burden or you’re missing out on sooo much because of them, then maybe you should have thought about that before hopping in the sack.

Seeking a child’s approval is about the most reprehensible pattern I’ve seen as of late. So many parents are looking to please their children and be their friends rather than earn their respect. There’s a very thin line between making your child happy and pleasing your child and unfortunately many can’t tell the difference. I had a very happy childhood. I am an only child so one would assume I had everything handed to me on a silver platter. Quite the contrary. My parents were strict but very fair. Nothing was purely given to me. Everything had to be earned and the way you earned anything was by working for it and respecting that their word was the law.  I never cursed in front of my parents (or any member of my family for that matter). Heck, I still hold true to that to this day (and I have a mouth like a drunken sailor outside the family setting). I respected my elders, performed my chores and stayed out of trouble. Embarrassing my parents or myself was a no no in their book and I thank them for teaching me that early. I believe that was the basis for self-respect that helped turn me into the person I am today. It’s just sad that parents nowadays don’t have the time or patience to follow through on anything they say. They seek the quick fix solution of buying them whatever whenever and all that teaches them is that with enough whining and bitching, they can get what they want.

A parent is an authority figure, whether you want to believe that or not. It’s a parent’s duty to craft a child’s values and instill a certain semblance of fear and respect for authority. I understand that a lot of parents don’t and won’t raise a hand to their child and that’s their prerogative. An authority figure doesn’t have to be tyrannical and you don’t need to be physical in order to enforce discipline.  My parents rarely gave me a whoopin’. If I recall correctly I  got an ass tanning maybe 3  times throughout my entire career as a child. My father was a big man – a former football player. That alone put a bit of apprehension in my soul. I figured it would be best not to do anything to piss that large man off too much, but like most children often do I tested the boundaries just to see how far I could go. Let me tell you, I didn’t go back to that edge too often.The first spanking was all I needed to know what was too far. He’d never have to raise a hand to me whenever I was on the verge of doing something stupid.

I’d just get the look.

My mother never ever laid a hand on me but she too possessed the power of the look. Between the two of them casting death gazes at me I rarely had any time to really do anything outlandishly dumb and when I did, I got a repeat performance of the first spanking. As you can see I wasn’t a hard learner. I ended up respecting my parents as the authority figures they were. They’re my best friends ever, but they have always been parents first and friends second not vice versa like you see in today’s families. Giving your child a spanking isn’t child abuse. Repeatedly hitting your child for every little infraction is. As is always the case, people just can’t do anything in moderation. CPS isn’t going to come and kick down your door for spanking your child once in a blue moon for some dumb shit they’ve done. It’s just naive parents who fall for that threat.

Parenting isn’t easy. I know that. It’s a thankless, no-pay, job that very few are qualified for. You need a license to own a dog or a gun. You need a license to drive a car or operate heavy machinery. You even need a license to catch a fish. Unfortunately they’ll let anyone be a parent.  I want to apologize to the good parents of the world. I recognize and commend you for bringing love, values, respect and responsibility into their lives. If anything I say offended you just remember this – if it doesn’t apply to you then there’s nothing to get mad about. If you’re doing your thing and getting the job done then I’m obviously not referring to you so there’s no reason to be offended.

Sure it can be construed as hypocritical of me lamenting on parenthood having no children of my own, but then again I don’t make the idiots. I just observe them.

All I see is you…

Mr. Rogers
Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Remember this guy?

Good ole Mr. Rogers. I used to watch that show all the time. His therapist-like voice would put me at ease as I watched the little train go to the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

That place was dope.

Now that I’m a 30 something year old man I got to thinking about that show the other day and realized he’s to blame for all the woes I’ve had with neighbors over the years. He lured me into a false sense of security and made me believe that neighbors could actually be nice, genuine, friendly, cooperative and respectful people.

At this point in time I’d gladly take a creepy old pedophile in a cardigan over what I’ve been dealing with over the years:

  • I remember many years ago… maybe when I was wee… I used to live in a ground floor apartment in the projects. Those of you unfamiliar with what “da projects” are, I suggest you take a trip to any major city and look for a grouping of apartment buildings where you say to yourself “Hell no I’m not walking through there” and viola… there you go. You’ve found the projects. Anyway, my bedroom was adjacent to the bedroom next door. This next door neighbor happened to be an elderly man suffering from some form of dementia or Alzheimers because he needed a nurse on call pretty much 24/7 to help him out. One of the things he had a tendency to  do – frequently and at the oddest times of day and night – was scream bloody murder that the top of his lungs until he was eventually calmed down by his nurse. Now I was young. Real young. Young enough to not really understand what his issues were and the hardships that he was suffering through. This man terrified me for years with his nightly death howls until one day… they stopped. I was told later on in life that he had finally passed away. I was overjoyed that I didn’t have to be tormented by him anymore but it was only when I grew up that I actually felt really sorry for the old guy and what he must have went through. Oh well… such is life.
  • Many many years later (and still in the GD projects) I had the totally fabulous fortune of having one of the neighborhood drug dealers shack up next to me. It was so everything I wanted in a neighbor. Pretty much every night I got to hear him either bang or beat up his live-in girlfriend. Can’t tell you how many times the cops were called. I can’t stand people but c’mon… beating up women is just so thoroughly uncool. It was also awesome that he would do his transactions in the hallway to my building and (lucky me) sometimes even in front of my door. Wicked huh? What could I do? I wasn’t about to dime him out and risk living in a war zone as a result so I did what I always do – tried to ignore it. One day (once again after a few years of torment) SWAT decided to raid his place, arrest him and toss away the key. Sounds like a fitting climax to the story, huh? Too bad I moved away the year before…
  • When my wife and I were first seeing each other we lived together briefly in a 2 bedroom apartment with her (then) best friend. It was a tiny place and her friend rarely went out so you can imagine how difficult it was trying to get some alone time. Couple that with the enticing aroma of potatoes and cabbage that was ever present in the building’s hallway and that pretty much sealed the deal on us leaving asap. Oh did I mention that our super liked to come into our apartment whenever he liked? Yeah… that place was brilliant. And thus marked the beginning of our shared oddessy in trying to find a “decent” place.
  • Lived for a while in the basement of my mother-in-law’s house. We converted it into an apartment and it was pretty decent. The neighbors were great because – you guessed it – they were her parents. We all got along so it was pretty dang cohesive. Course that all went to hell when we found out the foundation was buckling near the front of the house. A contractor was called in to jack up the house, knock down the bad foundation wall and pour a new one. Sounded like a good plan in theory. They certainly got the jacking up the house and knocking down the wall part right. Course it took them like a month or so to pour the actual new foundation wall. That’s right. You guessed it. We had nothing but tarps and vapor barriers separating where we lived from the creatures of the night (and I ain’t talking about skunks and raccoons).  Thankfully my wife decided to go back to school so it was off to Waterloo at that point.
  • Living on campus wasn’t too bad – at first. It was a brand new apartment complex right on university property. It was great  for her because she really didn’t need to use her car to get to classes. Unfortunately we had a ground floor apartment and the building was new – which translates to the walls (and floors) were thin and not that soundproof. Don’t get me wrong. I know nothing is truly soundproof but the girl above of sounded like a bloody horse galloping about and she must have been exceptionally clumsy because she would drop things constantly. To one side of us we had a girl who felt the whole building needed to hear her Bollywood music during the day and to the other side we had a GD stairwell. Joy joy. When the administration said that they were raising the rent the following year (while not addressing some of the major concerns around the building itself) we hit the bricks yet again. The search continued…
  • We found ourselves in the ghetto next – which was a step up from the projects where I started. The one bedroom apartment was a decent size, had a balcony, didn’t have to pay hydro and was on the 3rd floor of a 4 floor building. Looked pretty respectable at first glance but then we got to living there. Wow. Firstly, I have nothing against immigrants. I love ’em. They make the world go round. However when you get different nationalities cooking their native foods all at the same time in a building that has no ventilation in the hallways… it makes for a pungent smell the likes of which permeate through clothing and embed into your skin. It was awful. It was like baked garbage with a side order of ass. Not to mention we had a mother and child above us (again with that mysterious clumsiness disease) who dropped things all the time and a neighbor who liked to play booty bass at all hours of the night. The underground garage looked like a scene out of the Dawn of the Dead remake and the stairwells leading to it were dimly lit, wreaked of weed and often wound around blind corners. Not to mention we had your standard compliment of deviants, drug dealers/users and roving packs of rabid children found in any ghetto… so once again it was time to move on.
  • We found ourselves in a duplex… or at least what was advertised as a duplex. It’s not really a duplex. It’s more like a 80 year old house that has a crappy wall separating the upstairs and downstairs units. We were tired of living the lives of nomadic gypsies so we decided to make the best of it. We were told that the upstairs neighbors consisted of a single mother and her two young children so we thought we were finally going to catch a break. Little did we know that the mother didn’t even stay there most of the time and was basically letting her two late teen children use the place as a flop house. Sex, drugs, and loud blaring music dominated the landscape from that point on. It’d be great if we were the ones having the sex, doing drugs and rockin’ out but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Did I mention that it was an 80 year old house and not a duplex? In case you can’t put 2 and 3 together that means shared ventilation, no soundproofing (as opposed to very little sound proofing) and absolutely zero peace. Long story short, after nearly bringing the landlords to court over the illegal activities going on upstairs the situation came to an abrupt end when (once again) SWAT descended upon the house. Having staked the place out for a number of days, they finally decided to raid upstairs. Why? Oh because the son was a convicted criminal and had stolen good up there. He disappeared before they arrived and he nor his family have been seen since.  And these were the people who lived above us. Shall I even mention our next door neighbor? Of course. She apparently had a job as a professional sun tanner by day (and no I don’t mean she worked at a tanning salon, I mean she actually would lounge outside every day and sun herself – even when there wasn’t any sun). Mind you if she didn’t look an undead crackhead it may have made the situation somewhat tolerable. So she must have worked at night then right? You can say that. There has been much speculation about that. The people who run the pizza shop across the street say she was dealing drugs – heroine by the looks of her. The salespeople at the car lot next to them suspected prostitution based on the steady stream of cars that would be in the driveway at all times of the day and night. I personally think it was a little of both. Either way she was in league with the schmendrik upstairs so it made for a lovely experience on all fronts. I suspect whatever it was she was into caught up to her because one day moving pods were in front of her place and in less than a week she was gone. No for sale sign. No nothing. Just poof.

Maybe I’m a harbinger of bad tidings? Maybe I cast a bad luck aura around me that attracts miscreants like flies to shit? Who knows. Maybe there are good neighbors out there? I thought we had some for a year after the idiots vanished but then like a fleeting thought they were gone. Ee still reside in the same place. We have a good relationship with our landlord so it kind of offers us a lot of flexibility regarding the property. Plus the street theater is awesome. Some nights, if you listen quietly, you can hear the majestic sounds of the drunks as they make their way home from the Stampede Corral – the local country bar.

How about our new neighbors? Well let’s just say they deserve a post all their own. I don’t think I have the web space or time to start talking about them here…

All I do know for sure is that good neighbors are like the Neighborhood of Make Believe… they’re  figments of your fucking imagination! If you’re reading this and have good neighbors, don’t believe it. They’re crazy as too. You just haven’t seen it yet (and hopefully won’t). If you still don’t believe it then perhaps you’re the crazy neighbors. You know how it goes. No one ever tells the crazy person they’re crazy. ;p

No Mr. Rogers. It is not a beautiful day in the neighborhood…