Monday, April 27, 2009

Renovation Quirks

Okay, so not ALL my posts have to be about pictures, right? I figured I'd go for a bit of a giggle in this one...okay, so I'm giggling about this now, but when a lot of this happened I wasn't, not for the first 10 minutes, anyhow!

I moved into my first apartment on June 1st of last year, and shortly after my moving in, my landlord mentioned that he would be having some work done on the building, probably in the Fall which would include changing the ratty old carpet in my entrance hallway. I didn't hear anything more about it until mid November when he called me upstairs to he and his wife's apartment (I live in the semi-basement of a duplex, so there are only three apartments in the building, mine the landlord's above mine and a couple who rent the top floor). He and his wife informed me that they were going to have their whole apartment redone. And I mean the WHOLE apartment. Walls knocked down and moved, plumbing completely changed, wiring redone, floors torn up, EVERYTHING and the work would be starting three weeks from the day I got the news. The couple upstairs and I had two options: move out without having to pay breach-of-lease penalties or accept a month rent-free in May. Yeah right, find a place, pack up and move in three weeks in the middle of November? I took the month of free rent and grumbled all the way back down to my apartment.

I cherished every moment of quiet for the three following weeks and on the weekend before the work was to begin, my landlord and his wife packed up all their stuff, moved out and the work started on the following Tuesday. At first, the major problem was the racket of walls being knocked down and sounding like the were falling on my head, the my ceiling sounding like it was being torn up when they pulled up the floor. Then, one night in mid-December I was woken up at about 2:00 A.M. by what I though was a scraper's shovel dragging all the way down the road. It was horrendously loud and I was convinced that I was going to have to peel my poor cats off my ceiling they jumped so high. The noise stopped after a few minutes and I went back to sleep, but then I heard the noise again the following morning. There were no workers up there, so I crept up the stairs and saw what I later found out through my grandfather was an air compressor. I had no clue what it was at the time though, so I didn't dare touch the thing. I figured that if the workers had left the thing plugged in, there must have been a reason for it, so fool that I am I left it there lol It turns out that the workers routinely forgot to unplug the air compressor, so the next time it happened I called the landlord who in turn called the couple on the second floor and sent them down to unplug the machine once the staircase that led from my apartment to the landlord's was pulled down. After two or three times, the couple on the second floor learned to recognize the compressor and when they heard it after the workers were gone, they would run downstairs and unplug it without my having to make a call.

So that was incident number one: the air compressor left plugged in, which has been repeated so many times I have now lost count...but my cats no longer require disengaging from the ceiling when this happens, nor am I disturbed by it too much if it happens int he middle of the night. I simply roll over and go back to sleep, often while it is still rumbling-rattling away. The couple on the second floor have yet to be trained to run downstairs and unplug it at 2:00 A.M.

Incident number two: the not-so-efficient brand new thermostat. The landlord had a new environmentally friendly fully time-controlled thermostat put in. Only problem was, the controls for it were on his floor and he wasn't living there and to this day still isn't because the work up there still isn't done. So, when the heating turned on and wouldn't turn off in December and it got up to 32 degrees in my place at 11:00 P.M. I had to write to him and tell him that I was sleeping with no blanket in a pair of summer pajamas when I hadn't even had to do that in the middle of the summer. He came over at 1:00 A.M. after reading my e-mail and had to cut the heating to the entire building because the thermostat was non-responsive and I had to write to him the following evening telling him that I'd had to do the same thing before going to bed. And people pay thousands of bucks for vacations down south to escape the winter in Montreal. I should have dumped sand in my apartment and put up a sign for 20$ beach access, I could have made a bundle! Anyhow, the landlord came over the next day, which thanks heavens happened to be Saturday, and went into the furnace room to discover that the wire connecting the furnace to the thermostat was broken. Fortunately the landlord is an electrical engineer, so he knew just how to fix the problem and the heating worked just fine for the rest of the winter.

Incident number three: water everywhere but in my bathroom. Long story short: they pulled out all the old pipes and replaced them with brand new shiny copper ones. However, the plumber accidentally removed the pipe to my washroom without replacing it, so I spent twelve hours having to flush the toilet by emptying a bucket of water into the tank. Looovely lol Luckily, my shower was not affected by this because it wasn't connected to the same pipe, it just conveniently affected the sink and the toilet :oj

Incident number four: power everywhere but in the oven. They changed the electrical panel for the entire building, but when turning the breakers back on, neglected to flip the one for my oven. I realised this when I tried to pre-heat the oven for my pizza and it was still cold twenty minutes later after my shower. The electrician came to turn the breaker back on at about 9:00 P.M....after I had ordered chicken from a local restaurant because I got sick and tired of waiting for him. Hey, at least the TV was working, right?

So there you have it. The work upstairs should finally be finished within two weeks, so hopefully I won't have anything else to report. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with floor waxing, especially with latex-based wax that doesn't stink to high Heaven and back nearly as much as oil-based wax? Let's just wait and see...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The many faces of Montreal

Last Sunday I met a friend for a late lunch at a small cafe on St-Denis street here in Montreal. It's called 'Juliette et Chocolat' and the address is 1615 Rue St-Denis. If ever you're in town you should totally give it a shot, they have, I kid you not, the BEST hot chocolate you will EVER have and some really great food too. Anyhow, our plan was simply to go out for lunch and chat up a storm, but we ended up going for a walk after, a very long walk. We went from St-Denis street up to Square St-Louis which is a square with some lovely old houses around it.

We then went from there to St-Laurent street and all the way down it to De la Gauchetière and into Chinatown because my friend wanted to look for a jewlery box and some tea. I always love going to Chinatown because it really is like a little city within the city and it's always so colorful and full of people, I also love how there are always traditional chinese musicians there, like these two:
After spending about a half hour enjoying Chinatown, we figured that Old Montreal was just around the corner and I wanted to get a few pictures of Notre-Dame Basilica and also to check out the entrance fee. You know, checking out the competition since I work at the Oratory and all. Anyhow, I,ve always really loved the Basilica, my grandparents took us there every year for the longest time and it really is beautiful on the inside as well as on the outside. I was only able to get pictures of the outside this time since there was a mass going on inside, but that was really all I was looking for since I didn't have my tripod with me and inside pictures would not have turned out because of the dim lighting.
So, that was the end of our walk. The whole thing took us about two hours, two and a half if you count all our little stops and it was simply lovely. A lot of people say that once you've been living somewhere long enough, you just stop seeing all the amazing things about it. I've been living in Montreal my entire life and I never grow tired of walking around the city and admiring it. Maybe it's because I'm always looking for something to take a picture of, but I doubt it :o)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fly me away

I am totally exhausted after not getting much sleep last night and being at work all day and then out all evening, but I'm still taking a few minute to post my weekly skywatch photo :o) This one was taken, as you can see, out of a plane window when I was going on vacation last year. I'm going away again in three weeks for the first time since this vacation and can't wait, I'm SO due for a vacation, especially since I found out at 6:00 P.M. that I have to work a full day again tomorrow. One day weekend for me, ugh! I will try and get another post in with some photos I took while out for a very long walk around Montreal last week, probably on Sunday.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Skywatch Friday

I took this picture of the sky over Lake Okanagan shortly after arriving in Kelowna in June of 2007. I love the way the red flowers stood out against the grey clouds and water and also the contrasting greys and whites in the clouds. Happy Skywatch Friday!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everyone, I took this picture in the church where my choir practices this morning. They let us practice in their beautiful church for free (the acoustics are amazing!!!) and in exchange we sing their for their Christmas Eve and Easter services as well as on Good Friday.

I hope you have a wonderful Holiday with you families, and don't eat too much chocolate! :o)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Skywatch Friday

I took this picture of mango blossoms against a beautiful clear blue sky at the Edison-Ford Museum in Fort Myers, Florida in April of 2008.

Check out this blog more great Skywatch pictures.

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter for those of you who are Easter celebrators :o)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Montreal at night

I took these picture when I was out for the evening with two friends on Mount Royal. We went to two of the three peaks of the mountain which overlooks the city, the one facing East with the view of the Olympic Stadium and one of the two that faces south towards the Downtown core. We went to the East side to visit the raccoons there and feed them. Only one of them was brave enough to come out that night though, because of a car alarm system that kept going off.

I just love taking pictures of the city at night, it's so beautiful and now that I finally have a tripod, I can do it justice :o) I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Skywatch Friday

I joined a new group called Skywatch Friday after reading about it on two of the blogs I followed and thinking it was a very neat group and realizing that I have quite a few nice sky shots myself.
Here, therefore, is my first Skywatch Friday post, a beautiful shot of the sky at sunset at my grandparents' place in Florida :o)