My Nieces and I

Spending time with my nieces and nephews is always an adventure, from hearing about my car being too small, letting me in on their “family secrets” (dad farts…) and explaining their “big” complaint about life not being fair (…not always getting their way…).

Today was spent ferrying around two of my nieces, 11 and 9.

We were discussing something super important, I don’t remember the topic! The littlest, in the back seat being obtuse and making broad snappy sweeping statements directed at her older sister.

And then my eldest niece said something so unexpected.

Growing up she loved listening to adults share stories. I’ve told my fair share of stories. One story in particular has evidently made its mark. The story involved an old boss of mine and the go-to-question he’d ask us when challenging the statements we’d make when we wanted his support.

So as we were travelling along the highway at break-neck speed (faster than walking), the littlest niece was goading her older sister into an argument.

That is when my eldest niece quietly pulled out my old bosses favourite challenging question and asked her little sister, “Would you bet your future house on that statement?”

BOOM!!

(Artwork from when they were “kids”, before they started saying adult-like statements, can we stop them from growing up!!)

On Packing

 
 It’s almost time. I’ve begun digging through my closet, making myself a list to pack the perfect away-bag.

I didn’t call the tailor to follow-up on the pants. I haven’t even picked out fabric! Way behind and I am resigned to piecing together a work appropriate wardrobe with what I own.

I like dressing up.

What I don’t enjoy is hauling around 10 pairs of shoes to fit 10 different outfits. I exaggerate however when attempting to pack for in-cabin luggage, space becomes a premium. Shoes become the first thing to get cut from the bag and hence my burning desire for well tailored pants that keep their shape and only require one pair of shoes.

My room becomes a war zone of shoes, boots and clothes strewn about.

In between trying things on, humming and hawing I distract myself with reading the news. Then I decide to dig up my small bills of foreign currency. You know, 1’s, 2’s and 5’s for tipping and paying road tolls.

Ah, my passport. Let me have a look at all the entry stamps I’ve received so far…Munich, Barbados…the list goes on and I smile at the memories. Maybe I’ll do a day trip to Salzburg, a jaunt down memory lane.

Then I flip to the picture page.

Oh, ha, I had a cold, my nose is red, my hair messy. Bah.

Then I look at the issue date….then the expiry date….

Suddenly my anxiety over my wardrobe, the lack of fancy tailored pants is replaced by sheer panic…it expires in less than 25 days!

I check this website, that website, I fill out my replacement passport form.

I convince myself I am going to be ok.

And I will be ok the moment I am holding my new passport, where as a reminder of my neglect I’ll continue to be sporting messy albeit unwashed hair for 10 years.

The Cannonball

I’ve been in my job a year, it feels like it’s been 5. Work is good and I’ve managed to avoid the 15% per month work travel that was part of my contract. I didn’t think I’d get so excited about not traveling, but I managed to find things to do, like see my family more often, join a dojang and a running group and become addicted to all three.

I built a routine. Something I hadn’t done ever and you know what, those feel-good books are right. Routine is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and oddly grounding :-P. It’s a breakthrough perhaps only for me and +30 years late but there is no time like today.

So I escaped work travel and I was sad about that, but now that 15% travel in my contract is coming at me full force, “You missed a whole year of work travel so we are bumping your travel up to 90% for this year. How d’ya like us now!”

Ok so they didn’t really say that to me and it’s not 90% but for now there is a “plan” where I’ll have to be packed for 5 weeks straight.

That concerns me slightly – WHAT DO I PACK!

A uniform, I’ve decided. Black dress pants and fitted dress shirts. Boring and functional.

And that is how I ended up on Queen Street East.

After a futile shopping experience where the kids in the Retail shops ignored me and what I did try on just didn’t fit, I resorted to the Internet.

Tailored clothes!

Ok so it feels a little like I am back in the 30’s but I’ve also done my research and the price difference that I am paying between something off the rack that sags in the wrong spots, that will to rub to shiny within months and something that is fitted to me and will last year’s, is minimal.

What has The Cannonball Coffee and Bar have to do with Tailored pants?

Nothing really except it is a Toronto GEM and happens to be just down the street from the Tailor. It has great music, the yummiest breakfast bagels (served after 5pm even!!) I have ever tried, plus their coffee is pretty good.

And the only reason I am here is because work asked me to travel, I need pants, I found a tailor and am enjoying an impromptu evening at one of my favourite coffee house’s in the city.

Sunday Procrastination

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Packing is boring.  I used to be a great, light packer until I met my travel buddy.  She introduced me to the idea that one should never give up on the luxuries of home just because you are traveling.   And so, I have become a compact but complex packer – see further, random details here.

All day I’ve mentally been going through a list of things that I need to pack for my upcoming trip.  It is almost obsessive.  At one point over Sunday morning coffee, off in day dream land, I caught myself murmuring “that’s funny” to my coffee companion.  Have I learned nothing.  She didn’t seem to notice or maybe it was the language barrier but when our 1 hour coffee turned into 4 hours, she evidently, graciously, ignored my senseless comment.

The clock is ticking.  It’s getting close to bed time.

I dig my suitcase out from the bottom of my closet.  It is sitting, open mouthed, in the middle of the living room floor.  Clothes started to pile up in the middle as I tossed them in.

Now is time to roll, purge and close my case.

The front pocket feels heavy?   I dig my hand into the case and pull out piles of paper, maps, receipts and now I know I’ll be up until midnight!

My last trip.  Neatly preserved in my suitcase.  A treasure!

I want to go back.  I can feel it in my bones.

#københaven #goteborg #egeskov #helsingør #kronborg #helsingborg #vadstena #stockholm #uppsala #gamla #løvestad #malmö

The In-between

The office is chilly even with the powerful electric heater on full blast.

Her feet are cold. The coolness radiating from the cement floor bypasses her wool socks.

She is waiting for a call.  The call that will either set her free from this cool office or glue her with continued vigour to the cold floor.

She needs to warm up.

The privacy of the restrooms will warm her up.  With 12 foot ceiling’s, solid wood doors that touch the ceiling and floor, the 5′ x 3′ restroom stalls keep the coolness at bay.  She covers the toilet seat with toilet paper.   She plans to be here until her legs go numb.

The call still doesn’t come, not even with the inconvenience of the restroom. Who would answer a call while sitting on the jon?  Isn’t this what happens in the movies?  The protagonist inserts themselves in the most inconvenient situation and that thing they were begging to happen, finally happens.  At the most inconvenient time.

Nothing happens.

Her legs go numb.

She stands up, leaning against the wall.  The toilet automatically flushes behind her.  She pulls her pants up, leaves the stall.

Off to the cafeteria,  another inconvenient location to take an important call.

My Parking Garage Neighbour

I live in a rather reclusive building. When I first moved in over three years ago I hardly knew I had neighbours at all. I rode up and down the elevator, walked up and down the hallways and didn’t meet a soul.

It was after seven months of living in my condo that I met someone.

My parking garage neighbour.

At the time he was driving a 2002 Silver Volvo S60. Seriously, I know this is ridiculous of me, but cars really are my thing. I noticed there were always loads of things in his backseat all covered in blankets and I got to wondering what possibly could be lurking under the blankets.

Perhaps it was all this wondering that got my introduction but I believe it was more likely all the random cars he saw parked beside his that had him calculating exactly when I would be home so he could confront me.

And confront me he did.

I don’t recall how the conversation started but I do recall being grilled on what I did for work and the conversation ended with him asking for my help on his next car. As a side, I did attempt to help him however he ended up buying something completely off his original list – I am not offended just sad he choose a weaker competitor, but alas he couldn’t be helped 🙂

Since that day we met, every few weeks we make it an unplanned point of meeting in the elevator, the garage, the parking lot and once in a while, the local grocery store.

He is what you would envision as a true sales guy. Rushing around with his goods packed into his vehicle, a fast talker with the ability of getting a clear and comprehensive full month of verbal catch-up done in literally 2 minutes. It puts alot of pressure on me to par down on my verbal updates to him, you know, give him the basic facts and let him fill in the rest!

I know when I’ve gone over my 2 minute limit because he starts shifting from foot to foot and fiddling with his hands. I almost want to keep the conversation going just to see if he would implode/explode if I added more filler to my stories :).

Today I didn’t quite get the memo and left my unit 30 seconds later than I should have. When I arrived in the basement to get into my car, he was already in his, car running, ready to go.

This meant our 4 minute conversation (2 for him, 2 for me) would have to be much shorter.

As I walked up to the driver side of my vehicle (He likes driving into his spot, I prefer backing into mine, so our driver doors are friends), he waited for me to walk around the back of his vehicle and rolled down his window to say,

“I really like your new car, when did you get it?”

“I picked it up Wednesday, it has turned out to be way more fun than I initially thought it would be! A friend helped me with a good deal on a well equipped car otherwise I don’t know what I would have done!”

“Well I love it, it suits your personality,” and then squinting slightly and scrunching lower into the seat of his SUV as though he was experiencing some major abdominal pain, he ended, “it’s sexy, sporty just like you!” and as he grimaced some more he completed a full hand finger wave, rolled up the window and off he went….

Our 1 minute was up. I stood there and laughed.

The Village People

For the last 9 months I have been working a part-time job. It is at this job I’ve practised and conquered the new and obscure Olympic “Chair Lift” sport.

Besides the “Chair Lift” being a somewhat physically demanding sport, there are other tasks that require equally demanding physical prowess.

So a few days ago when I was helping the helpful truck driver unload new wares for the store, I was a little taken a-back when unprovoked he blurted out the following question,

“Are you from a Village?”

“A Village?”, I asked incredulously.

Awkward pause.

“Yes, like there are villages around”, he clarified.

Hmmmmmmm….

“You don’t think I am originally from Toronto?”

“No, you can’t be from Toronto, you are much to strong for a girl.”

Laughing I said, “Well if you consider London a Village, then I guess I come from a Village!”

*Note: since we are all girls working at the store and we are all equally strong it would be safe to say we are all Village people 🙂