chinese new year

ianuarie 23, 2012

or: „a crazy person with a pink paint can at midnight”
i tried to catch up on sleep time today, so i woke up all woozy from a nap around 10 pm. i go to the kitchen and melanie says, it’s chinese new year! the dragon is coming! we should celebrate! and she gets more and more into it: but this place is a mess! our entrance is all blocked, that’s bad luck! we should sweep and mop and take our shoes from there! we should put something red on this wall, for good luck and money etc. to which i’m like ok, i have some balloons! so i start blowing up balloons. melanie mops the hallway, i sweep, then she brings out the can of red paint we’d had left from painting in summer. ha! she mixes it with white, so the result is a…peachy pinkish smth. i’m sure it has a name. the initial idea was to do red stripes on our entrance walls, like columns…in the end, by midnight, we have two thick pink stripes, and assorted balloons. i think the dragon came, took a look, and started tearing his hair out. good times all around.

Reclame

look, no irony!

octombrie 8, 2011


spa!!

septembrie 18, 2011

To: [our landlords]

 

Hello. Here’s the email I promised to write you regarding your proposal that we move to apartment #2, 2155 St Joseph E.

First of all, you need to understand that we are not really interested in moving. We would much prefer to keep living in our current place undisturbed. We understand that you need to renovate the building, but it’s not clear to us why you want to start with our apartment, #4, and can’t start with apartment 2, which will be conveniently evacuated beginning of November. We suspect that you are fully aware that apartment #4 is better located and full of light.

However, we agreed to consider (which is not the same thing as accepting) your proposal. The list of things you would have to fix in apartment 2 as condition of our potential move would mandatorily include the following:

–          Repainting the middle room (currently used as bedroom) from dark purple to white

–          Installing a door to the front room so that privacy is insured for the occupant of that room

–          Changing the frames of the windows in both rooms (you should look at those windows and compare them with what we have in #4).

–          Cleaning thoroughly all the spaces in the apartment (including interiors of cupboards, closets, shelving and disinfected too).

This would need to be done 1 week before we move and be approved by us. That said, if we DO agree, then you would:

–          Help us move appliances AND FURNITURE. Practically if we move we would be doing you a favour, and we don’t see why we should be wasting time or energy at all during this move. Your role in this move would best be illustrated by the following image: “You find boxes for us, de-assemble and reassemble our furniture; Carmen and Melanie go to a spa for the whole moving day and come back to see that everything has been moved already to apartment #2. Of course, you will have paid for the entire meticulous cleaning of apartment 2 and also the spa because it is a drastic and stressful change in our very very busy and packed lives.” Need we point out that writing this stressful letter already took most of our night!

There are, unfortunately, a few things that we still don’t like about this idea of moving, in spite of the support and help you’ve promised.

1)      We think apartment 2 is much darker – not because of the bad paint, but because of its position on first floor. The view from the back windows is definitely not as good and our balcony would be exposed to everybody who walks by. As landlords, you may consider that one 3 ½ unit equals another 3 ½ unit, but this is not our experience as tenants. We really can’t see how you can convince us that the two apartments are similar.

2)      The bathroom/kitchen flooding incident this summer was very stressful for us. We think the construction team and you (their supposed supervisors) did not handle it well. You can’t blame us for not wanting to move into a place that would be exposed to the exact same type of situation (renovation going on above, managed by the same landlords). Not to mention the noises from the banging construction that haunted us for weeks, and which will be repeated.

3)We haven’t seen the bathroom yet, and have tried numerous times to see it with no answer from the tenant of #2. Even seeing the rest of the apartment has proved more difficult than expected. Ideally, you, as landlords, should have been present for this viewing so we can compare and discuss face to face the differences between the apartments and the changes to be made. We think this is a precursor to the vibe of our moving – you promise everything will be done well and fast, and in the end it takes much more time and stress than we can afford.

 

All the best,

Carmen and Melanie

 

 

 

 


and rain falls on us

iulie 22, 2011

it’s been crazy hot for probably one full week now. it doesn’t look too impressive when you just seew the official temperature – but when you factor in the humidity…oh boy. i’d say generally over 25 is already hard to bear („feels like” at least low 30s). today we had 34, feels like 45. just for the users of the other system: 34 is 93F, so there. i got a tan within 3 days, jusat from going to work in the morning (by metro and bus) and back in the afternoon, i.e. 15-20 minutes of exposure.

i’ve been sleeping little and at crazy times lately, partly the heat partly just painting tables/swapping lifestories/writing to the landlords with the roomie. last night culminated in me being woken up at 3 am by an animal (racoon? i guess) in the garbage below my window, and not being able to sleep again because of the heat. so today after my shift was done i simply collapsed…uh, almost. i can’t stand the AC, but even with just the fan on i feel i can’t breathe properly. a painful but necessary 2 hour nap. afterwards, around 10 pm, we were in the kitchen spraying ourselves with the water spritzer for the plants. drinking smoothies with big ice cubes. and then the rain started.

(off topic): last night i went with a friend to see the fireworks from the jacques cartier bridge. there are certain things that every self-respecting montrealais „should” do in the summertime – fireworks is one. others are maybe one jazz festival night, one „juste pour rire”, an ethnic festival on jean drapeau, la ronde, picnic in the park, going off to a lake, … so i was feeling righteous, i.e. look, i can cross this thing off my summer list.

and then this other thing happens that just explodes my list altogether. rain. summer rain in the dark, and no one to frown on us for going out to dance in it. a celebration. its own festival. we ran, in flip-flops and cotton dress, skirt and top, under the pouring relief. the anarchists across the street were out too, shirtless. our neighbour isabelle was on her balcony: she came and joined us just enough to get all wet, and for a happy hug. then we walked towards laurier, through the ruelles. occasional people cheering from their balconies. it was so cheerful and liberating and the most natural thing in the world. then the rain stopped all of a sudden, and now it’s almost as hot as before.


dirt falls on us!!!

iulie 22, 2011

To: Mr. Mr. Landlords

Object:  Current state of washroom and updates on the work done, app x , no  xxxxx xxxxxx

We would like to advise you on the current state of the bathroom and update you about the progression of reparations since July 3rd.

July 3 the washroom was flooded by responsibility of construction workers. We cleaned up and were told the ceiling would be fixed by July 16th.

July 16th No work done

July 18th We pleaded with  the workers to do some work, or update us on the situation (David was not here). One worker came and stripped the ceiling.  He told us that he would leave it stripped because the entire bathroom needed to be renovated. No date was given, no updates made by anyone about anything.

Currently, our washroom is unusable, completely unsanitary. Rocks and dirt fall from the exposed ceiling at all times of the day; we cannot clean, maintain or use it.

Unsanitary conditions

  • The walls, cabinet and tiles have absorbed the dirty water from the flood on July 3rd
  • Rocks fall from the ceiling (this can block the pipes)
  • The dirt is spreading to the rest of the apartment; we have been cleaning but gave up.
  • We would like to remind you of the risk that mushrooms (fungus) can grow behind the tiles and cabinet affected during the flood.

DILEMMA Situation

  • We are unable to use the washroom properly, dirt falls on us
  • We have no updates about the type of work which will be done nor have we been given the date. What we were promised is not done and we are left hanging!
  • +Construction holidays are here!!!?!+

It’s almost one month since our bathroom – the ½ of our 3 ½ – has been increasingly unusable, and even posing health risks. We feel obliged to withhold the proportion of the rent covering the said space – precisely  1/7th of the 735$. Considering the anxiety caused to us, we feel that no matter how soon you renovate this bathroom, we should still be entitled to paying less than the full rent for the following month.

Please make appropriate recommendations to either the construction workers or the accountant.

Carmen and Melanie


eastern nest

iulie 11, 2011

1. ‘eastern nest’

(eating sunflower seeds on the back balcony):

c: this is very eastern. why don’t canadians eat sunflower seeds?

m: we are very eastern, look in our fridge: balkan yogurt, russian jam, homemade armenian chicken…

[…rose water…]

c: i know! look at our house: crap all over the place, dripping pipes, bathroom ceiling falling in…

 

2.centipedes (because of the bathroom flooding, my no.1 fear was that we’d attract centipedes, since they love humidity. m. argues that one has to face their fears and get information on them)

m (on the phone with her friend): can you please call back in 5 minutes? my roommate and i are googling pictures of centipedes!

 

3. construction workers

3.1. m (wearing white bloomer-like shorts with a rose pattern): so i went to ask the workers for a hammer. i hope i didn`t look like those ditzy girls you know, ‘sorry guys, can i have a hammer pleeeease?’

c: were you wearing pants?

m: oops. oh my god.

 

3. 2. construction worker, looking at the dripping pipe in our kitchen – all of a sudden: t’as tu déjà fait l`amour à un voyou?

c: (bursts out laughing)

c: is this for real?

m (sitting at kitchen table): oh, you understood what he said? i was like, oh god, i hope carmen doesn`t understand that.

construction worker: (grinning)

 

3.3. c: you know we`re gonna miss the workers when they`re gone.

m: yes, they keep us company with their noises, and make us feel safe. they`re like our eight big brothers…

m: …badass brothers!

 

4. fish (veiltail/fantail goldfish – melanie had one, freddie, and we just got a baby, sasha)

aquarium is covered with a blanket

c: why did you cover the aquarium?

m: to isolate them – they must be so stressed, with all the changes and the mess around here.

c: and you think they`re not freaking out when you lift the blanket all of a sudden and stare at them?

m: i was trying to just take a quick discreet look.

m: oooh, they`re socializing! they`re touching!

c: very nice – you put the light off and they immediately start touching.

m: maybe…yes, if they get together, they`ll lay eggs! so we`ll have caviar!!

m: but that wouldn`t be right, sasha is still a child!

 

5. chinese astrology (you do not even want to know!!)

c: wow, you know what i just thought? the fish`s chinese sign is the cat!

m: ow, cutie!

 

i really don’t know what to say. days are adventurous, full of paint (hopefully it`s over now) and of sunshine and what else? russian, and entertaining books and eating random stuff and talking a lot. it`s like holiday camp a bit, but we should get down to achieving stuff. i`m really relieved that i painted my room, 2 white walls and it completely changes the vibe to the place. i`m too excited to sleep early – or maybe this is what summer is supposed to be like.