Friday, September 25, 2009

Somehow I Managed To Do It Again!

When I lived in Halifax, I had the sweetest deal going. I had a sweet, downtown apartment which was connected to lots of stores and my work via pedway. I could stay inside all winter if I wanted to (although I love playing in the snow too much to actually do that). No time was wasted commuting, life was perfect.

It was hard to give up. But I wanted to come to Toronto so badly that I was willing to settle. I was willing to commute to work up to an hour each way and to live in a tiny place if it kept the rent low.

But my amazing boyfriend found me an amazing apartment in heart of where I want to be. It's attached to more shops than were in Scotia Square Mall and they're even closer than the pedway was! The apartment itself is a little bigger than our old one. All my stuff actually fits in the kitchen. Everything is perfect.

So I wasn't expecting to luck out any more than that.

But of course, this is John we're talking about.

Knowing I was looking for work, he would send me job postings to apply for every single day. And one of those happened to be at the bank where I've been interviewing all week.

Well, they offered me the job! (Pending credit, criminal and reference checks of course). From what I can tell, the job is going to be something I enjoy doing, in a positive work environment, for more money than I used to make. And the entrance to my building is quite literally six steps from my door to the outside. Unbelievable. Not even across the street, or through a pedway, or two doors down. Just take the elevator to the bottom floor, head outside, six steps and you're there.

Now before you think I am completely spoiled, I must concede that I will be spending the first two months in training which is half a block away.

Life is good. And I am so grateful to have John's love and support as I work through this whole not-going-to-school thing and put together my plan B.

So I guess my point is that it was easier than I expected to build a life in Toronto better than the one I had in Halifax (minus friends and family of course) and in such a short time. I start on October 8th.

And my other point is that I think all of my friends and family should join me here in Toronto because it's great :)

Allan and Judy left this afternoon. We had a great two days with them. We didn't go out much, just to karaoke on Wednesday and puttered around the shops on Thursday. But I got to do lots of cooking. My chili on Wednesday turned out great (it's the first time I've ever made it) and last night I made some potato and leek soup and some chicken drumsticks. And Allan made an apple pie! I was thrilled because I never make pie and it was a particularly delicious pie.

So I think John and I are going to take it easy tonight and just enjoy being home alone. He hasn't yet revealed to me the plans for the weekend.

I also want to share with you my latest favorite thing. Konad Nail Stamping! I even took a picture of the manicure I did today, just for you guys!

Houndstooth! How hilarious is that? I honestly burst out laughing every time I look at my nails. It's so easy to do too, you just stamp it on your nails and then clean up the edges. I'm a big fan of things that look impressive but are super simple. I've been painting my nails every two days since I got this stuff because it's so fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Job Hunt Continues

We had a quiet weekend. John had been working a trade show for the three days prior and I think standing all day did a number on his back, so he was content to just relax for Friday and Saturday.

On Sunday though, I needed to get out of the apartment, I was getting a little cabin fever-y. We decided to hit up the Saint Lawrence market downtown. When we got there, there was a flea market going on across the street so we puttered through there for quite a while. Aunt Debbie, you would have loved it, there was so much jewelry! There was costume jewelry and quite a lot of fine jewelry as well, some of it quite high end. There were people selling all kinds of antiques and even a woman selling furs.

When we finally got to the actual market, it was closed. I'm not sure why a farmers market that is open all week would be closed on a Sunday, but it is what it is. So we headed off to see if we could find some brunch. Not a block away, we found a french restaurant that was serving just that called Le Papillon.

I ordered the eggs benedict and John ordered a tortiere. The eggs were good but the tortiere was amazing. The crust was flaky and golden and the filling was a combination of I think beef, veal and pork. It was so rich and decadent. I was so surprised because I though I didn't like tortiere. The dessert menu was huge, so of course I needed to order. I ordered the profiteroles and John ordered some kind of toffee sponge cake. Omg, they were the biggest desserts ever! Mine had two huge cream puffs, two massive scoops of homemade ice cream and lots of chocolate and whipped cream. John had a giant piece of cake absolutely drenched in a rich and delicious caramel. They were yummy, but too sweet and much too large of servings. I didn't even make it halfway through mine before I was sugared out.

Feeling heavy and full, we ventured back outside. With nothing to do now that the market was closed, we decided that it was a good day to see how long it would take us to walk home from downtown, so we headed to Yonge Street and started walking.

I really enjoyed our walk because I got to see all of the different areas along downtown, each of which has a very distinct personality. All in all, it took us a bit over an hour to get home, so I would approximate the distance as being the same as from my Brunswick Street apartment to the Halifax Shopping Centre. By the time we made it home we had sore feet, but we still weren't hungry. I don't think I ate again for the rest of the day.

So far this week, I have been a cooking, cleaning and interviewing machine. I spent Monday and Tuesday finishing up the unpacking and organizing. Now there is not much left in boxes and almost everything has a place. It's looking good. I will eventually post pictures.

On Monday, I spent the afternoon interviewing with the bank insurance company. I did a behavioural interview and a computer scenario test. It took about four hours but I think I did quite well. When I got home, I had another hour of web-based personality testing to do. My mind was mush by the end of it.

This morning I had a phone interview with another insurance company and they want to bring me in on Friday for an in person interview. It's a further commute than the first company though.

Then this afternoon I went back to the first company for a second interview. This time it was in a different building which turned out to be right outside my apartment building. Amazing. I couldn't have planned it better in my dreams.

I think that interview went well also because afterwards they got me to shadow someone else doing the job I would be doing for an hour. It actually looks really good, like a job I would enjoy doing. The atmosphere in the office feels both comfortable and professional. So I'm feeling optomistic. All there is to do now is wait for someone from HR to call and offer me a job which could happen any time within the next two weeks (I would start on Oct. 8th if I get it). So cross your fingers for me!

But I am still going to go to the interview on Friday, just to keep my options open.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cooking. I made chili, cornbread and peach cobbler because we are having company tonight! Allan, John's brother, and Judy are coming to spend two days with us again. I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yesterday's Job Hunt

Well, one thing I must say about Toronto is that it takes no time to find a job. When I was looking for my last job I went from resume send out to two job offers in 12 hours. This time was no different.

I had been sending out resumes and applying for jobs online periodically throughout the week. On Thursday I started calling companies, so for Friday I had two interviews booked.

On Friday morning I headed to a small sales firm at Bloor & Spadina for my first interview. I immediately fell in love with the company. The overall feel of the office was laid back and everyone seemed happy. There was music in the air and the manager that I spoke to was extremely casual in his language (He used phrases I can't even type here, they are so off colour. I was actually shocked to hear him use them with someone on a first meeting). But despite all of that, the atmosphere was professional as well.

We chatted for a bit and I got the feeling that the job would be a harder sale than I am used to, the leads were pretty cool, but that the pay would be higher as a result. He offered me the job on the spot and I told him that I would think about it and call him back. I seriously considered his offer. The pros were that the pay would be good and it seemed like a pleasant work environment. The cons were that I wasn't sure how I would handle selling so hard, I think that takes a certain type of personality. I also was worried that spending time in this type of job would result in me getting sort of 'stuck' in sales and it would be harder to get out with my next job. Although maybe this isn't something I should worry about if my next job is going to be pastry chef anyway?

So I headed home, grabbed some lunch and headed to my next interview. I was excited about this one because it was less than a block from my apartment. The company was an insurance firm and my first impression is that it was a very professional atmosphere. The walls were lined with awards and plaques and everything was brightly lit. About thirty seconds into the interview, we determined that I was not a good fit for the job. In other words, the position required a car. The interviewer was like "Didn't I tell you that over the phone? I'm sure I did." No, I would remember that.

But the recruiter apparently has a sort of deal with another recruiter at another company where they trade applicants who don't fit at their respective companies. So she was like, "Do you want to work for a bank? I'll call my guy, he can probably find a spot for you". She called him while I was sitting there and left him a voicemail, gave me his card and I thanked her and left. So no job, but at least I came out with a lead.

I went home and called John to see if he thought I should accept the first offer, but he didn't answer his cell. While I waited for him to call back I got a call from another company for whom I'd applied online (although I don't really remember applying).

This time it was the insurance division of a major bank. They wanted to do a phone interview. After chatting with the recruiter for a few minutes we were both feeling pretty positive about the match up. The position they're filling pays well, offers good benefits, has advancement opportunities and provides training for skills that would be transferable to other jobs. And the best part is that it's on my street corner! The only downside is that I wold be working until 8pm at night, but John expects that he will be working later over the coming months anyway as he deals with more clients in western time zones so it probably isn't actually that bad.

Apparently the recruiting process is pretty complex, so she said it would take at minimum to the end of next week to complete it and that if I was sucessful, the job would start on October 8th. The manager from the first job I was offered said their training starts on Monday. So I had to make a decision. I called him to let him know I wouldn't be coming in on Monday but he wasn't available. The receptionist took down my contact info but not my message but he never called me back. So I guess he has no idea if I'll be there on Monday, but I won't be.

Over the next few hours I got an email from another company requesting a phone interview. I emailed them back with a time for them to call me. I got another email from the Investors Group asking me to come in for an information session. I wrote them back to say no thank you. I had actually already heard their pitch when I was in Halifax and like real estate, it's definitely not the kind of job that you take to make a lot of cash in your first year.

So the day ended with one job offer, and three good leads. Not too shabby. I feel much better now about my decision to leave my job earlier this month. I think that most of the people I spoke to on Friday had jobs better suited to what I want to be doing and they all paid better than the job I was in at the end of August. Things are looking up!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not Much Going On

Sorry I haven't posted much lately, it's been pretty quiet around here. I've just been puttering around, organizing the apartment and job hunting while John's been working at trade shows (he gets all dressed up for them, I love it).

I finished the bag I started making at the craft cafe last week, it turned out awesome. Here it is before felting; big, floppy and ugly. I think it might be the biggest thing I've ever knit but it actually only took a couple of days because it was a simple pattern.

A few spins through the hot cycle later and it's a perfect little fuzzy bag. I let it dry filled with as many books as it could hold to give it a nice rectangular shape. I really like the effect of the felting. It gives the bag a thicker, heavier and more sturdy feel. It doesn't look knit at all anymore.

I lined the inside of the bag with matching satin. I decided to make it a knitting bag since it's just about the right size to hold a couple of rolls of yarn and some needles, so on the inside there are three little pockets for things like scissors and stitch holders.
On the opposite side I put pockets to hold two pairs of needles and a snap-top pocket for stitch markers. Don't mind my hand getting in the picture. I had no pink thread so I did all of the sewing in grey thread to provide contrast. It made me really focus on making my sewing neat, so I think that's a good thing.
Next I think I'm going to try to knit a pair of socks. I find that if I don't choose projects where I learn some new techniques each time, I get pretty bored. So I always try something new. And sometimes it turns out great and sometimes it doesn't.

I've got two job interviews today, both for sales positions. I'm not sure that either of them are going to end up being good fits for me, to be honest. But I feel like at this point I'm not in a position to say no to work that pays well, so I'm trying to go into this with an open mind and look for the positive. I will keep you all posted as to how they turn out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

4 Moves in 40 Days

That's it.

We're finally done moving.

I can finally unpack. For realsies.

Here's a recap, in case you've lost count.

Move #1: Halifax to Toronto
Move #2: Moving from one floor to another in our building (necessary due to some administrative errors from the rental office)
Move #3: Getting all of our stuff out of the new apartment so that they can refinish the floors
Move #4: Getting all our stuff back in

Yeah, my biceps are huge now from all the lifting.

Now here's the long version.

On Thursday night, we moved everything out. All that was left on Friday as I waited for the floor guy was a couch cushion to sit on and my laptop. He showed up around noon, so I had to leave. We had to be out of the apartment for 24 hours in order to give the varnish time to dry.

Overnight stuff in tow, I decided to spend my day on Queen Street West, investigating the fabric and bead shops. I had visited the fabric shops before, but the bead shops were brand new to me. There are about five of them in the two block span and they carry a huge range of junk beads, gemstone beads, freshwater pearls, swarovski crystal beads, silver plated and gold plated findings, and sterling silver findings. Some of them specialize in specific types of beads like cloissone or wood beads. And they range everywhere from 99 cents up to $3,o00 a strand. If you're wondering what kinds of beads you can get for $3,000, they were huge, gorgeous, clear raw aquamarines. If that's too rich for you, can get large, faceted citrines or raw kunzites for a mere $1,700 a strand, lol. I didn't end up buying anything because I didn't have any projects in mind, but they were certainly fun to look at!

It was only about 2:30pm by that time and I couldn't meet John until 6, so I headed West down the street to The Knit Cafe. I had never been there before, but it's a lovely little shop. On one wall there are all sorts of original knit patterns that you can choose from. I chose a felted bag because I've never tried felting before. Each pattern tells you what supplies you need which you pick up on another wall. From there you go to the from cash to pay and to order your tea and snacks, and then settle down at the central table for some knitting.

So I hung out for a bit, chatting with the other people in the store, sipping my green tea and knitting away. Felting basically means that you use wool yarn, knit something big and floppy, and then throw it in the washing machine on a hot cycle. Wool shrinks in hot water, so the result is a small, stiff project that has a fuzzy sort of finish. It actually barely looks like it was knit, more like it was made of felt that's been sewed together. I'm still at the knitting stage, but I'll let you know how it turns out. I had a lovely afternoon.

I rode the subway from there all the way to Finch station where I met John. It was my first time on the subway downtown during rush hour. What a zoo! From there we headed back to St. Clair West station and caught a streetcar to Alisha's house, where we would be spending the night.

Alisha is an amazing hostess. She made us a delicious beef stir fry with basamati rice for supper and then we spent the evening chilling in the living room, telling stories and having a few drinks. It was lots of fun. In the morning she made us some of her delicious open faced breakfast sandwiches and we left at 10:30 because she had to get to a wedding.

It was too early for us to go back to the apartment so we headed across the street to the library. John took out a million books (he needed some fiction to read on his long commute to work) while I posted on my blog using a library computer. After that, we decided to catch a noon showing of the movie 9, the new Tim Burton film. John found it visually appealing (I found it ugly, lol) but we both agreed that the plot was full of holes and the ending wasn't very good. After that, we finally headed home.

The floors looked pretty good, they had replaced all of the missing tiles and sanded away most of the water damage. We set to work getting all of our furniture back which took most of the afternoon. We put together John's new desk that we had bought about a month back and set up a cute little office space for the two of us. For supper, we ordered some pizza and we just relaxed for the evening.

On Sunday we took it easy in the morning and made some incredible breakfast sandwiches. We watched The Patriot, which was on TV, and did some more unpacking. We headed to the Sobeys for the first time (normally we shop at the Metro) to get our groceries for the week. It was a bit disappointing. The Sobeys was much smaller inside than it appeared from the outside and the prices were no better than the Metro. So it wasn't really worth the extra walk. But we got what we needed and headed home, stopping at The Golden Griddle for lunch. I had a blueberry waffle and John had a bowl of chili. The food quality was pretty much exactly what you would expect from a 24-hour waffle place, I was happy.

I headed home with the groceries and John headed out to find a haircut. He came home with a new style, longer on top than he usually gets. It looks good. He went out after that to meet a friend for drinks who has just moved here from Halifax. I stayed home and watched the finale of King of the Hill. I like how they ended it. John got home around midnight and we headed to bed shortly after.

Despite being homeless briefly, it was a fun weekend.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Didn't Get In

After months and months of run around, someone finally got me in touch with the right person at George Brown College. I spoke to the woman in charge of the whole application process, who had investigated my application because of the concern I had expressed to the dean.

Turns out I never had a chance.

She said that my application was processed on January 29th and considered on-time (contradictory to what several people at the school had told me previously) because the deadline was February 1st.

However, at that time the program was already full.

She said that they fill it first come, first serve and by the end of November they already had all of the applications they needed to fill the program. She also said that they don't care who has what relevant experience, who has what education, just what your most recent math mark and English marks were. So for example, a high school graduate with a high school math mark of 96% would rank higher than a university graduate with a university math mark of 94% who had worked in a related field for five years.

So in the end, I wasn't treated unfairly, it's just a flawed system, But it's what I have to work with, so I will try again next year and just apply earlier this time. The admissions woman said she would watch for my application, for whatever that's worth.

It seems misleading to me that they would have a deadline though, when it doesn't really mean anything. The way I see it, given that they have 100 people in the program, then they accepted another 350 people onto the waiting list, at $70 per application it seems like a big money grab.

So I do feel a bit better, because at least now I know what happened. Of course I'm still sad that I didn't get in though. But I will do my best to see this as a positive opportunity to spend the coming year in a productive way.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sleeping Under the Stars and an Iron Chef Competition

John didn't make it home from diving on Saturday until about 7:30pm. He took public transit with all of his heavy, heavy dive gear all of the way from Hamilton, so he was understandable exhausted when he got home. He was happy though because his first freshwater dive was a success (no nosebleeds!) and he saw more fish that he had expected. We decided to stay in for the night, so we put together a little nest on the balcony. I mixed a pitcher of Southern Comfort, vodka, orange juice and maraschino cherry juice (So-Co&O as I call it), found some beers, and put together some snacks and we curled up under a blanket and just chilled for the evening. We accidentally fell asleep out there. I don't think I've ever spent a night asleep outside without at least a tent before. It was so warm though! We woke up at dawn with sore backs and stumbled into the apartment. I went to bed but I think John stayed up.

When I finally got up for real we headed to the Pickle Barrel for brunch. It was comparable to brunch at Your Father's Moustache, bulky carbs and hollandaise sauce from a mix. It was alright though. From there we headed down to the Harbourfront Centre (seems like we've been going there a lot lately) for the Hot & Spicy Food Festival. The festival was so-so but we got to see an Iron Chef competition that was really fun.

The theme ingredient was Ontario beets and the chefs each had to come up with one spicy dish incorporating the beets in 30 minutes. There was a Vietnamese and French chef from New Mexico who made a spicy marinaded chicken breast with a gorgeous looking sauce, sauteed beets and mango and lime salsa. His competitor was a Canadian chef who owns a restaurant in downtown Toronto who made a very complicated dish involving beet encrusted chicken breast, some sort of sautee with chicken livers and more beets, a beet sauce and some other cut of chicken that was wrapped in bacon. The New Mexican chef won, I suspect because he was finished on time where the Canadian was not. I think that must be a good feeling to travel to another country for a competition and coming home a winner. This was only the semi-final round though that we watched. I don't know who won overall. The event was sponsered by and I recognized one of the judges from TV.

From there we caught the Spadina streetcar and stopped in at Chinatown on our way home. Produce is so cheap there! We bought a ton of veggies, fruit and berries and it only came to $10. Whole pineapples were $1.50 as were pints of blueberries. We also found a great Chinese pastry shop! It's called the Ding Dong Bakery and it has the biggest selection of Chinese pastries that I've seen since we moved here. We got red bean filled mochi balls, a pineapple cake, little coconut tarts, bbq pork pastries (my favorite!!), and sesame balls, all for under $10. They make everything fresh onsite and you can see them working in the back. So far, everything we've tried has been really yummy.

We walked along College to the subway station and headed home from there. I'm finding that these weekend walks are slowly helping me get a better feel for where things are in the city and how far apart everything is.

We fried up some lamb steaks and made some coucous and roasted peppers for supper and settled in to watch a recording of UFC 102 which we had missed. Best fights I've seen in probably the past five UFC's. The Couture-Nogueira fight was some of the best technical fighting I've seen in a long time. It reminded me of how much I'm bothered by the sort of non-confrontational style of fighting that's becoming more and more common thanks to Silva and Machida. And a new fighter named Duffee was introduced, that I would love to see fight Brock Lesnar. He's big enough, fast enough and seems to have the right attitude that it would be a really interesting match-up.

Today we're just waiting around for the phone and internet guy to show up. He's supposed to be here by two. We're going to try to get some more unpacking done, but that's about it. I don't think anything is open today since it's Labour Day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Finally in Our New Place

I know it's been a while since I posted. It's been a trying few days because of the move, it's been busy and stressful. So I decided blogging could wait until things settled down a bit. Get comfy, it's going to be a long entry!

We were supposed to start the move on Monday afternoon, but we couldn't get the elevator so we were stuck just moving the little stuff. We started the real move at 6:30pm on Tuesday. We had been supposed to move in on Monday as the previous tenants had moved out on the 27th. The landlord was supposed to come and replace the floors which had sustained all kinds of damage under the last tenants, reglaze the bathtub, replace the vanity in the bathroom, replace the screens on the doors and just do general repairs, and then everything was supposed to be ready for us to move out on the 31st and new tenants could move into our old place on the first. Just like clockwork, right?

Well apparently the old tenants had decided not to turn in their keys on the 27th (presumably so they wouldn't have to face the landlord given how much damage there was to the apartment) even though they had vacated. So the landlord didn't do any of the repairs. When I first walked in to the apartment I was disgusted by the condition of the floors, many areas were black with water damage and many tiles were missing.

But they needed us out of our old place, so we had to move in. The landlord said our floors would still be done, but it would require that we move all of our stuff out of the living area and vacate the apartment for 24 hours because the varnish would need time to dry. What a pain. I had been so looking forward to finally unpacking all of our stuff after a month of living out of boxes, but it was apparently not to be. At least not yet.

Luckily the bedroom floor is in good condition so it doesn't need to be refinished. We arranged with the landlord that we would do the floors next Friday (after we've had a chance to unpack and stow as much as we can into cupboards and closets). We will move as much stuff as we can into the bedroom, bathroom and part of the kitchen, and anything that's left we'll stow in the storage rooms downstairs. Not looking forward to this but if it's that or have disgusting floors, I feel like we have to go along with it.

We had expected to have three people helping us move, but Brandon was the only one who showed up. We were grateful to have his help. Elevator full after elevator full, we trudged along moving our stuff to our new floor. Brandon could only stay until 9:30 so we started with all of the furniture that took both of them to carry. After he left, John and I kept plugging away and didn't finish until about midnight. I was so exhausted both physically and mentally because I had been packing all day and moving all night. I had blisters all over my hands and feet and scratches all over my arms from the boxes, and I was pretty much in a daze, asleep on my feet.

But we weren't done yet. There was still cleaning to be done. And the landlord would be stopping by in the morning to show our floors to the contractor, so we needed to move our stuff around within the apartment to show the areas of worst damage and to clear walkways.

So John offered to do the cleaning and headed back to the old place while I stayed in the new place and set up the bed, the coffee maker (because John had to work the next day), and the bathroom. I rearranged boxes to take up less space and then headed back to the old apartment where John was just finishing up. Exhausted, we walked back to our new place together and fell into a very sound sleep.

The dean's assistant had called me earlier that day and left me a message, upset that someone had told me I would need to wait at the school to get a spot. Of course I had already quit my job at that point. I was really annoyed by her message because she seemed really concerned about hunting down the person who told me that, so that they wouldn't tell anyone else on the waiting list the same thing, but not at all concerned with what I should be doing instead to try to get in. What I mean is that the waiting list is still gone, so if an opening comes up (which I'm told can happen during the first two weeks of class) there has to be some way that they're deciding who gets in, but she didn't mention anything about that, basically indicating that I should just let it go because the odds are stacked against me. I felt as though I was being dismissed as she attempted to resolved her internal issues. This compounded with the fact that I still haven't received any resolution from the letter I wrote to the dean's office, nor received any updates to the investigation they said they were doing (from her message it sounded like they were no longer working on it) made me feel reluctant to turn in anyone in the admissions department since I feel like they have at least been willing to work with me on this. So I haven't called her back.

I instead called back my contact in admissions. We worked out that rather than actually going in and sitting around all day, I would call in every morning to check for openings and provide my phone number so that I could be called back if anything came up in the afternoon. She said that if an opening comes up, she will call me right away. I'm not sure what happens after that, but I feel like it's my best option at this point. I called in every day this week and so far there have been no openings. They said that classes start next week so it's more likely that if anyone is going to drop out, they will do it then. My hope level is at about 4% right now.

The second last thing to go wrong on moving day was when we tried to get the phone and internet switched to our new apartment. John had called in at the start of the month to arrange it and was told that because we were moving within the same building, it would just be a matter of flipping a switch in their computer system, no technician would need to come out. So on moving day we called in so they could flip the switch. We were told that they had to send out a technician and because it's back to school month, no one could come out until Monday. The call centre agent blamed us for the delay "You should have called in last week!". After waiting on hold for half an hour for a supervisor (since we were misinformed), we were told one would call us back that night. Of course no one called. And so our phone and internet are disconnected for six days.

The last thing to go wrong is that a little wicker basket went missing during the move. Inside the basket were all of this month's bills, our two Nintendo DS's, John's camera, the remote control to the TV, our wireless router and John's cell phone. None of us remember removing it from the apartment and it wasn't there when John did the cleaning and I did the out inspection. But it wasn't in the new apartment either. My head started swimming as I worked out the cost to replace its contents.

Wednesday morning started at the crack of dawn as John left for work. I got dressed and headed to the rental office for the out inspection. Everything was fine. Then I tried to make my morning call to the school admissions office only to discover that the automated phone system ("press 1 to enter an extension") didn't recognize when I pushed the buttons on my cell phone. And of course my land line was disconnected. You would have laughed to see me, I tried everything to make it work. I even plugged in my home phone, held it up to my cell phone and dialed the extension on my home phone hoping the system would recognize it. No luck. I ended up hunting down a payphone. Did you know they cost 50 cents now?

I started plugging away at unpacking. I put together some of the Ikea furniture. At about 2pm, Erin and Alan showed up! They were on their way home from New York and had been in Niagara Falls that morning. They came to spend a night with us before returning to Halifax. I was so happy to see them!

We had lots of fun. We went for lunch, and then came home and lounged around, getting caught up. I showed them around the neighbourhood and we did some shopping. Erin got some really cute earrings.

When we got home, John was already here. We headed to the Pickle Barrel for supper. John and I shared some fajitas and for dessert we ordered a sampler of six different desserts that we all shared. It was really fun!

From there we headed across the street to Absolute Comedy and watched I think six comedians perform. They were okay but not as funny as the last time we went, which was a bit disappointing. It was more of the really crude, shocking humour and less of the clever, truly funny humour, if that makes sense. We came home and went to bed early because Erin and Alan had to be back on the road early the next morning.

In the morning (Thursday), we said our goodbyes, Erin and Alan headed home and John headed for work, so I was alone in the apartment. I tore the place apart looking for the basket. I looked everywhere! I was starting to think it wasn't here.

I got lots of unpacking done, most of the bedroom. I couldn't finish it because we're waiting to put the shelving unit up until after floors are done because we don't want to unpack anything that takes up floor space. I managed to move all of the furniture into the places where it belongs instead of scattered around randomly. I got the basics in the kitchen unpacked as well. The superintendent came over and did some repairs and a contractor came in to reglaze the bathtub (meaning we couldn't use it for 24 hours). I felt good about my day's work.

When John came home I asked him to see if he could find the basket, thinking maybe I'd missed something. He searched the place and came up empty handed. We went to a little 50's restaurant for supper(called Mars Diner) since the kitchen wasn't fit to use yet. I ordered a milkshake and it came with two straws but John was unwilling to have a sharing-a-milkshake-with-two-straws moment with me, lol. Our verdict was that the prices were too high for what you get (I had a grilled cheese sandwich and what tasted like McCain Superfries), so we probably won't go back there. We just laid low for the rest of the evening.

Friday was a crappy day because as anyone who knows me can attest, I'm neurotic about needing to shower every day.

I started the day by making signs advertising our lost basket. I put one next to the elevators on this floor and one next to the elevators on our old floor. Then I got to work unpacking the kitchen. I worked on it until about 3:00pm and still wasn't finished. It definitely feels like there is more room in there than in our old kitchen though. The shelves and cart we bought at Ikea fit perfectly and look kickass. I'll take a picture when it's finished. I think I'll be able to fit almost all of our stuff in this kitchen, and considering how much kitchen stuff we have, that's really saying something.

Contractors showed up around 2:00pm to put in the new bathroom vanity. They were done in about and hour but after they left I realized they didn't install a toilet paper holder! They just set the toilet paper on top of the vanity so I know they noticed that there was nowhere to put it. John's going to put in a request with the rental office to get one installed. I'm tired of dealing with them.

3:30 came and went and I was freaking out. It had been 29 hours since my last shower. I couldn't wait anymore so I went down to the rental office and asked the woman working there to send someone up to replace the bathtub fixtures so it could be used again. She was like "We'll have someone come up sometime next week." It took all of my self control not to flip out, giving her the benefit of the doubt that she didn't know what she was talking about. Eventually I convinced her to call the superintendent who said he would be up right away. He fixed the tub and replaced one of the screen doors while he was here. By 5:00pm I was finally clean, dressed and ready to start my day.

John got home and the kitchen still wasn't ready to cook in, so we headed down to Bloor & Young. We hit up the Canadian tire there for picture hangers, hooks, linseed oil (because John wants to finish the Ikea cart in the kitchen in case something spills on it. It's untreated right now), and drop sheets to block the doorways when they refinish the floor and keep dust from getting in the kitchen. Then we went to a small Thai restaurant called Indochine that was nearby.

I wanted to like this place, I really did. It was beautifully set up, the prices were good, the food was beautiful and the ingredients were fresh. But the food tasted off. It was like the chef had different tastes from us. The pad Thai was too tart, the hot and sour soup was too tomato-ey, the beef dish John ordered had a flavour in it that I swear was shrimp and the rice was over cooked. So my quest for a good pad Thai in Toronto continues. I know I will find it eventually.

We came home and vegged for the rest of the night. John had to be up for diving in the morning (His first Ontario dive!!!) so he went to bed early.

I woke up to John shaking me. "Put your robe on!", he urged, putting my arms through the sleeves. He picked me up, still half asleep, and carried me to our front door. "Look!", he said.

I looked down and there was our basket with my sign taped to the top! It was taped to a jigsaw puzzle box that as soon as I saw it, realized had also been missing. And there was another box next to those. John had to go diving, so I brought everything in. Everything was still in the basket, nothing was missing!

I sat and stared at everything, puzzling. Someone had seen our sign and returned it. They had come in the very middle of the night because I had been up past midnight and John had been up at 7am. They had clearly opened the basket and gone through it because the items were not arranged as I had packed them. The pieces of paper I had laid on the bottom were on the sides now. And they had taped it to the puzzle box, I hadn't done that. When I looked in the cardboard box, it was full of our stuff, but I'm sure I didn't put that stuff in a box, I think it had been out loose. And the box was unfamiliar and not filled to the top and I always fill boxes to the top. So they had done that too. But they had cared enough about doing the right thing to return it. And had somehow figured out which apartment is ours even though I didn't put it on the sign.

I've mulled it over and it seems there are a few plausible explanations. I believe the most likely is that a couple saw our stuff next to the elevator and thought it was just left there by people moving out so they took some things. I think it was a couple because they took a big pink puzzle so there was probably a girl, and given the amount of stuff it seems like two people could carry it without feeling like it was a lot of stuff, one person would have been loaded down. I also think that when there are two people involved, it's easier to decide to do the right thing. I think they may have seen the sign, realized that these things were missed and returned them in the night wanting to be anonymous. Although that doesn't answer the question as to how they knew which apartment was ours.

I can think of other explanations that work, but I would love to hear anyone else's theories!

I'm just so happy to have our stuff back!

So because of all that, I was up early this morning when there was a knock at the door. It was the flooring guy coming to do our floors. He looked at the big mess in the apartment behind me and then looked at my incredulous face. I was like "We said next Friday, remember?". He said "I know! But the landlord called me last night and said I was to come today."

Another miscommunication by the rental office. I've lost count of them by now. The contractor and I were on the same page though, so that was a good thing. He'll be back next Friday.

So now it's time to start my day! John's at Niagara all day, diving the Niagara river. I made him promise me not to go near the falls. I plan to finish the kitchen, do some laundry, bake some banana bread (my first baking in over a month!) and go for a walk if I have time. I took the return of our stuff as a sign that our bad luck is turning around, so hopefully this will be a good day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Latest Update

When I got home from work last night, John said that the school had called. They said that they're throwing the waiting list out the window and if anyone still wants a spot in the class, they have to show up on Wednesday morning and sit in the lobby. If any spots open up, it goes to someone who is present and waiting at the school. This will go on until Friday.

Obviously I am beyond frustrated given how much work it's been to deal with the whole waiting list thing to begin with and given that I was ranked 10 our of 350 on it so I'm losing a good spot on it. And I'm frustrated because I never did get an update from the dean's investigation.

But it's the only chance I have at this so I have to go. And maybe if I'm lucky no one else will show up (although I believe this to be quite unlikely).

So after discussing it over with John, we decided I should quit my job. I was told in the training that we would be fired for missing any time within the first four weeks and I will need at minimum Wednesday morning off and at most Wednesday through Friday off. So if I'm fired anyway we figured that I should take today off as well since it's our moving day. I talked to Jess and she said she thinks this is what I should do as well. She believes there are tonnes of jobs in Toronto and I won't have trouble finding a new one.

So I'm officially out of a job. I called the recruiting department last night to tell them I wouldn't be coming in today. Worst case scenario I find myself on Friday afternoon with no job and no school. Best case, I get into school.

Not holding my breath on this one.