Themusingwell's Blog

November 11, 2009

New In Town: What We Left Behind…

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 2:05 pm




While our excitement at being in a “real” city like Toronto hasn’t waned, our happiness is tempered with worry.  The whole decision to leave Calgary for Toronto came rather quickly and once the decision was made, we had to move fast.  My husband’s job started September 1 and the kids had to be here for school September 8. 

In a lukewarm housing market, we put our townhouse up for sale and hoped for the best.

We’ve given up on the best and are reduced to hoping for…something.

As a former Realtor, I know that regardless of how much you paid, how much sweat equity you invested, and how much you want to net, your house is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.  Seems right now, no one is willing to pay much for ours. 

We had our first offer (after the house has been on the market five months) yesterday and everything about it smelled bad.  Still, it was our only one and we decided to try to work with it but it really was insulting.  We countered; they countered back with an equally smelly offer.  Very quickly we told our Realtor to forget it.  They were wasting everybody’s time as they clearly did not want the house.

Ironically, houses in our neighbourhood here in Toronto are going for over asking price.  It’s a rare home that sits on the market longer than one weekend.  We were one of ten offers on the house we ended up with.  I even saw one on Kingston Road (a tiny, shabby little bungalow with an equally shabby front yard and zero curb appeal) that went over asking price.  Amazing. 

Three years ago, the market in Calgary was insane.  Realtors circled listings like vultures and houses went for tens of thousands over asking.  The real estate market is a game that you have to have nerves of steel to play.  My nerves are made of butter.

So, I sit in my cozy nest here in Toronto and watch winter approach knowing that whatever happens in Calgary, so many miles away, is completely out of my control. 

Oh, but I did promise my husband that when the house sells, I will go out in the street and do a little SOLD dance…I hope I get to do it before the first snow flies…


October 28, 2009

New In Town: Has Toronto Gone To The Dogs?

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 4:53 pm


Puppy Overload

So, I was standing in line at the bank the other day when someone sniffed my leg.  I looked down, thinking a toddler was developing a habit his/her mother should deal with straight away only to find myself gazing into a furry face and some big brown eyes.

Before I dive into this, let me say that I am a dog lover.   I am not only a dog lover, I am one of those people who completely humanizes her dog – I have long discussions with him, I’ve taken off work when he’s been sick, etc.  Yeah, I know.  And, yes, he IS neurotic thanks to me.  But, he’s 12 now and he is my baby.  He is big and clumsy.  His tail alone (if he’s happy) is a lethal weapon and I can only imagine the damage he’d do in a store.

The Scotiabank mutt was clearly an oldie.   I followed his leash and saw that he was attached to a very elderly gentleman in a motorized wheelchair.  Ok, I thought, it’s because they’re old-timers.  This dude had probably been coming to this bank for about 40 years.  As I was musing on this, grizzle dog proceeded to relieve himself on the bank floor.   The bank manager, looking resigned, whipped out a roll of paper towels.  Clearly, she’d performed this task before.  Five minutes later, another dog trotted in with his young owner.  His over-exuberant yellow lab chose to engage the old-timer’s scruffy mutt in a game of hide and seek.  Bank customers started falling like bowling pins – liability issues anyone?

So, I’ve thus far counted dogs among my companions at Blockbusters, Loblaws (grocery), Starbucks and Canadian Tire.  These are not frou-frou dogs that can be stuck into a purse.  These are Labs, Rottweilers, and Australian Shepherds. 

Let me repeat:  I love dogs.  But, in a narrow space like a Starbucks when all types of people are weaving in and out of tables and chairs and baby strollers with hot beverages the last thing we need to navigate is a happy go-lucky 70 pound chocolate lab with a tail like a wrecking ball. 

Boomer, I’m sorry, but you’re going to stay in the car or tied to the tree out front.  Don’t look at me like that!!  Come here baby, let Mommy give you a cookie…

October 27, 2009

New In Town – A Series of Adventures & Misadventures

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 1:33 pm

Just moved?  Trying to get your bearings?  Can only find odd mis-matched shoes?  Me too!  Join me as I find my way in my new surroundings.  We’ve just relocated from Calgary, Alberta to Toronto, Ontario.  I just found our Rubbermaid bin of booze in our outdoor shed.  Hope the raccoons have not been helping themselves to my single malt…

I’ve written a few instalments thus far – will be posting them soon.  I try to always use an anecdotal tone as much for my own sanity as others’ amusement.   More later as I have to find my way to the nearest IKEA as the home we’ve bought has no (and I mean none, zero, zilch, nil, nada) storage.  Even if I could find my shoes, I’d have nowhere to put them.

October 26, 2009

New In Town: Hello, This is Constable Smith about your daughter…

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 9:30 pm


Nothing like acquainting oneself with the local police force upon moving to a new city…

My daughter and I are at a crossroads.  She is desperate for some “grown up” independence and I am holding on to her childhood for dear life.  I am letting out the rope very slowly. 

New city, new rules and some concessions from her over-protective mother.  A big one:  allowing her to go to the beach with a couple of friends after school.  So, in mid-September, when the boardwalk and beach were still busy she met some friends for a late afternoon swim.   She was to be home at 7:30 and they were to stay on the populated beach.

 I hovered nervously until I was caught and shooed away.  I took Boomer to the dog beach but I threw the ball half-heartedly; I kept looking for the girls.  I pretended to walk casually down the boardwalk.  I fretted and worried, but finally told myself I was being stupid.  I crossed Lake Shore and headed back to our temporary abode, poured a glass of wine, prepared to relax.  Of course, my cell phone rang, portent of doom.

 I recognized neither the number nor the male voice. He asked me if I was K’s mother.  He then introduced himself as Constable So-and-So.  I think it’s fair to say my heart beat picked up a pace.   “This is about your daughter…”

 As I raced down the boardwalk, pushing joggers and old ladies with walkers out of my path, I pondered what face I would wear when I got to the police cruiser that my daughter and her friends were sitting in at age 11.  Would I yell?  Would I do the unthinkable and cry or would I be stony faced and silent?  Should I call the husband?  That brought a smile to my face; I’d let K do the telling…

 I found the girls, not in the back of the cruiser but draped over the hood like three Sirens on a Greek isle.  Cell phone cameras were snapping photos of the very handsome officers (who were trying, in vain, to keep straight faces).  The story was that some boys had been throwing rocks and generally harassing them.   K was hit in the collarbone, her friend in the face.  The boys fled.

 The girls did right by seeking help and no one was worse for wear (except me who required more than one glass of wine to calm down later).  In fact, the next day, they were back at the beach with a friend’s 15 year old brother as reluctant bodyguard.   I figured he was a better choice than a petite 40-something, semi-hysterical mother and an elderly dog.  Rumour has it that  80 year old that I knocked off the boardwalk is still looking for me.  I’m laying low.

Bulking Up For Winter

Filed under: Uncategorized — WeeBanshee @ 8:31 pm

Shorter days = bigger meals?

I live in Canada, a country where it is not only acceptable but highly recommended that you bulk up for winter.  This is probably also true of some northern U.S. states (Minnesota, Maine, and North Dakota come to mind). We humans don’t get to hibernate in the winter so we must take steps to insulate ourselves from the cold. 

Every year around this time (funny how it coincides with two feeding frenzies: Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween), I get the urge to eat continuously.  For the record, I also get the urge to do absolutely nothing after eating.  I guess that’s my hibernation instinct kicking in. 

What this adds up to is maybe a bit more tolerance for the coming cold weather but almost certainly a closet full of clothes that no longer fit.  If I’m not working in an office environment and forced to “dress for success,” I can get away with it.  I can bundle myself up in the de rigueur uniform of goose down vest or coat and loose fitting jeans (with long underwear underneath) and no one will be the wiser until Spring or the dreaded Mexican winter getaway.   

By Spring, we emerge from our dens cranky not because we are hungry but because none of our clothes fit. Oh sure, there are those who maintain their fitness all winter doing crazy things like bicycling through snowy streets and running with those strap-on spikes attached to their runners.  These are the folks who have nothing to fear when the weather warms up.  I hate them.  I waddle around in my sweaters and down until there is just no way I can stand it another minute without suffering heat stroke.  Then, reluctantly, I start pounding the pavement in search of my lungs and my waistline. 

This year, I vow to do it differently.  I live in a different city now so it’s the perfect time for a new routine.  This year, I solemnly swear to make better choices with regard to my diet and I also solemnly swear to begin my exercise routine in the fall as opposed to say, the end of March.  I’ve already survived Canadian Thanksgiving (I was the girl in the checkout line with the 20 lb turkey and the case of SlimFast).  Yes, I ate too much at Thanksgiving but I gave myself a day or two to indulge and then it was back to business.  Halloween is my next hurdle.

We have two children, both allergic to peanuts.  In years past, instead of having them refuse peanut-laden goodies, I’ve thrown myself on all forbidden items, martyr that I am.  This year, it will be different.  My husband’s co-workers better get ready.  Sorry, guys.

 Writing does work up an appetite though…

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