Friday, November 23, 2007

Day By Day

Well our first day went as well as I had hoped. It kind of dragged the first part of the day but once we had finished lunch, the rest of the day went along at a nice pace. My nerves are not so much of an issue any more which obviously is a good thing. Right in the middle of all this chaos I decided that lowering my daily dose of methadone would be a great idea. Duh!!!

The first week that I dropped - I went from 80ml to 75ml - didn’t even seem to notice the drop although I somehow managed to go to the clinic each day at approx the same time so I was on a pretty regular 24 hour schedule. Today I didn’t manage to make it to the clinic until just after 6pm and by this time, almost thirty fours hours had elapsed since my previous dose. While I didn’t feel that it was glaringly apparent I was out of kilter, I definitely felt a little off.

I had none of the tell tale typical "withdrawal" side effects but by the time I was finishing up work for the day my body certainly was starting to feel achy all over as well as becoming kind of stiff. My skin also started to become extremely sensitive to near everything. The contractor that arrived to steam clean the bedroom that is to be Sara and Katie’s had been working barely ten minutes - plus I was three rooms removed from the room that he was cleaning - when I could feel my skin start to break out rapidly in hives. I could not get out of our new apartment fast enough. It was most disturbing.

So what we’ve decided would be the smartest thing to do is to go to the clinic each day in the morning before we have to start work. Even though we have yet to move over to the new building, we have started to manage it and currently we are working Monday to Friday 9am until 5pm so we’ve got plenty of time to get our daily dose prior to work. This way also, we’ll have the benefit of the methadone’s full effect I should imagine as well as continuing with a fairly regular schedule.

Plus the last thing that anyone really wants to do after a full day at work is to have to face a crowded forty minute bus ride halfway across town. Much better to get this all finished first thing. No more worries.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bright Beginnings

OK so in just over an hour I am due to start my new job. To say that I am nervous would pretty much be the understatement of the century. Yes, I am definitely excited and extremely grateful that I have a new job to go to considering it has barely been two weeks since I lost my last one. But, still...

I’ve not yet recovered from the fact that very shortly we’re to lose what I have come to consider our home. We’ve been displaced for all intent and purposes. It sickens me and has made me more bitter than anything else has ever done before in my entire life. This alone is something to be sure.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back to Back Part Deux

So back to what I had started to say about back to backs and everything involved in these kind of things. September is by far the busiest month for apartment buildings and ours was no exception. We had over twenty back to backs. Now, when a new tenant signs their lease and any accompanying paperwork at the Rental Office, their Rental Agent is supposed to advise them if their unit is going to be a back to back unit. They are then supposed to place an additional stamp on their lease with this disclosure which states that the new tenant is fully aware of this fact. The tenant by signing this addendum to their lease, are then essentially agreeing to accept their new unit as potentially incomplete, but that this state will be temporary and will be corrected by the property owner in a timely manner.

Now up until the mess that ended up being caused in September, we went on faith that the Rental Agents were in fact doing their job correctly and that any and all of these types of situations were being handled properly. Can you imagine how you would feel if you showed up for your brand spanking new apartment only to find that everything promised to you had not been fulfilled? Understandably, you would be furious. This is what ended up happening to us in September to almost half of our units. Not that it matters much now because he no longer works for the company, but one of the Agents was neglecting to do this very critical part of the rental process. Not only did he fail to stamp their leases with this addendum, but he didn’t even bother to verbally advise them of this potential situation.

Now, very often, a potential back to back doesn’t always turn out that way. An old tenant can move out days or sometimes weeks before the last day of the month allowing us the opportunity to get in there to get everything completed early. There are also instances when a new tenant does not need the unit on the first of the month which also allows us time to complete everything prior to the new tenant moving in. These situations tend to be exceptions rather rules of course.

Now on the first of September our first set of tenants for the day arrived almost an hour early. They had been scheduled to move into their unit at 8am which is the earliest that we start any move ins anyway but phoned me just after 7am to see if they could start early. I was barely up yet as I had spent most of the night working and had barely had a chance to lie down more than two and a half hours at this point. Now the unit that they were moving into had not been handed over to us until 6pm the following evening which was about five hours later than technically the unit should have been be handed to us.

This unit also required a lot of work as the previous tenants had painted all of their walls different, darker, colors than what is considered standard with this company. Tenants are normally required to return the walls to the colors they had received them in or pay an additional amount to get them painted back to apartment beige! These tenants paid the $300 penalty but this didn’t help us any when the painters needed to put almost three coats of paint on each wall. This ended up really impacting us time wise when it came to us getting this unit into move in condition. Combined with not getting their keys until dinner time, we just weren’t going to get this unit ready for the new tenants no matter what we did. We simply did not have the time available to us.

Now of course, the two girls moving into this unit had not been advised of the fact that they were renting a back to back unit so they were obviously freaking out when they saw that the work had not been completed. They fully expected to be walking into a pristine unit. Both of them were all of nineteen years old at the most and both had brought both sets of parents with them as well. Their fathers were positively the worst. They started yelling and screaming and carrying on without pause. And this my first move in of the weekend! As this was our first September move in with this company, I went and got one of the other Building Managers. I grabbed Jack as he had pretty much given us most of our company training as well as pretty much mentoring us since the start. He for the most part had been above awesome in my books!!!

He explained the situation to them and discovered during this time, that the tenants had not been advised that their unit was a back to back, etc. He asked them what we needed to do today to make them happy and we proceeded to do our best to accommodate any and all of their wishes and believe me these little princesses had many. The icing on the cake just happened to be the fact that the parents were extremely great friends with the owner of the company that I work for and of course, they promised that he would be hearing about what had happened this weekend, etc, etc. Most excellent, n’est pas?

We asked him to refrain from saying anything to the owner until the end of the weekend. If we could complete all of their requests before the start of the work week would they be satisfied enough to let everything go? Absolutely, no problem. We all worked like mad to get everything peachy keen for these two while moving in the other twenty units without much more mishap. Now right from the start, one of the two girls rubbed me the wrong way. She was demanding and condescending and no where near as nice as her room mate. I was soon to learn also, that she had quite the creative imagination and was spiteful enough not to consider the possible ramifications of her actions.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back to Back

I live in a city that is often referred to as a university town. Why you may wonder is it called something like that? Well, first of all there is a highly regarded university located here as well as one of the provinces first community colleges, the  University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College respectively. I managed to attend both of these, earning my Bachelor of Arts Honours in History from UWO and my Business Diploma with Marketing major from Fanshawe. Both of these institutions manage to attract a large number of students.

Normally the population of London falls slightly under 400 000. Each September, this population manages to increase by over 10% when approx 40 000 students descend on this city. Incredible. Many of these same students tend to depart the city at the end of their exams some time in May but a few of their numbers do remain behind to enjoy London's very laid back summer.

London also happens to have the distinct advantage of being located almost exactly distance wise between Toronto and Detroit, which just happen to be much larger and livelier metropolises but less than two hours drive away respectively. For many, this is idyllic as one can live in a nice, quiet city most of the time but be barely a stones throw away from any and all crazed entertainment should one desire.

Now, one familiar with the rental biz would know that if a tenant is set to move out on the last day of his lease, which also tends to be the last day of the month, and a new tenant is set to move into the same unit the following day, which generally is the first day of the next month, that this particular situation is called a back to back. Building Managers, as a rule, loathe and despise this situation for a number of reasons, the least of which is the small amount of time remaining to get the unit to move in condition.

Regardless of the time of month or year, before a new tenant is able to move in, certain things have to happen. The unit has to be completely repainted and by this I mean all walls, ceilings, doors and cupboards. Some may only need one coat but some require two. Either the carpet has to be replaced or steam cleaned depending on its state and age. Same goes for the floors in the kitchen, bathroom and entrance. Obviously all appliances must  be spotless and replaced if necessary. Any other repairs need to be completed as well as any cleaning of the unit and balcony. At any given time this is quite a bit of work.

Now the building is not responsible for completing all of these tasks but we are responsible for coordinating them and ensuring that they are all finished in a timely manner. Normally this isn't too difficult to do but in September this can very easily turn into a logistic nightmare as it ended up happening to us this fall when we had to complete twenty three back to backs...


Monday, November 12, 2007

Liquid Lunches - A SHORT STORY

I like to call myself a functioning addict or a responsible junky - an oxymoron if I have ever heard one. You ask what makes me so different or special from other junkies or addicts? Well, nothing really except the amount of work involved. It is much harder to be a functioning addict. You are forced to live two very separate and distinct lives. Your public face is the only face that anyone is allowed to see. no one can be allowed entry into your private world. This you keep very well hidden from view.

No one can know that your half hour lunch is not sitting down at the nearest coffee shop consuming today’s special washed down with a couple of cups of coffee. No, instead you have quickly headed over to the local public library and have locked yourself in one of their bathroom stalls. Once you are safely behind its closed door, you carefully remove a brown eyeglasses case from your purse only you don’t have a spare pair of glasses in it. You place a strip of toilet paper across the back of the toilet bowel and gently place a spoon on it.

You grab one white pill out of your baggy and place it in the centre of the spoon. With the end of your lighter, you carefully crush it until it is a fine white powder. Next you rip the packaging off of a new syringe and open your small bottle of sterile water, placing the tip of the syringe in it to draw up 50 units. Carefully you fill the spoon with water.

Lifting the spoon up into the air, you flick your lighter and aim the flame so that it is centered beneath the spoon. The water starts to bubble and the fine powder dissolves. Breaking some cotton off the end of one of the many q-tips you have, you drop it dead centre into the warm liquid. Quickly you suck the liquid out of the spoon into the syringe. Sit back for a second to breathe a sigh of relief. No clumsy accidents. So far, so good. Taking some more toilet paper, you wipe your spoon clean before returning it to its case. You make sure that your small bottle is properly capped and your baggy zipped up tightly. You crumple the syringe’s wrapper up tightly and place it in the case also. You will have to dispose of it later.

Enough time should have passed so that the liquid had cooled. You perch your rear at the edge of the toilet seat making sure your feet are square to the ground. Taking a look at both arms you decide which one to go for this time. The left looks as if it will yield the best results. You tap your forearm a few times and flex your hands. Carefully you remove the cap from your syringe. Taking a deep breath you stick the needle into your skin gently pulling the plunger back a fraction. A rich red floods the barrel. Bulls eye. With as steady a hand possible and a silent plea for them to remain that way, you depress the plunger at a uniform rate until all of the liquid has disappeared.

Bliss. Now not too quickly, you remove the point from your skin, firmly pressing some tissue over the bloody hole. Once the bleeding has stopped, you qrab the point of the needle with your bloodied tissue and twist it until it snaps off. Throwing both into the toilet, you flush them down the drain. You recap your now empty syringe and return it to its place in the eyeglass case. Wrap two elastics around the case and return it to your purse. You certainly can not be too careful. You want no rude surprises should you ever drop purse with contents spilling everywhere. Too big a risk to take for the functioning addict.

You gather your stuff and exit the stall, stopping to wash and dry your hands. Look for your comb to run through your hair. As everything went smoothly, you still have time to freshen your makeup. Touch of lipstick and a brush of powder and you are good to go. With one final glance back at the mirror, you open the bathroom door refreshed and satisfied by your half hour lunch break.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Confessions of a Party Mom

Confessions of a Party Mom

We'd all finished dinner, and we kicked off our shoes and watched as our host showed off his new Technics turntables, a present from his wife. It was his 40th-birthday party, and a group of us had come to stay at his house in Devon. One mum went upstairs to check all the children were asleep. Including my three-year-old, there were 10 children staying, aged from six months to five years. No sooner had we been given the all-clear than two of the five dads got out wraps of cocaine and began chopping out lines on the table. Are we a group of rock stars, DJs and supermodels? No, we're city bankers, lawyers, housewives, entrepreneurs: professional urbanites doing what many parents do on a fairly regular basis. MORE

So rarely do any articles take this particular stance, at least not publicly. I suspect most parents or even adults do not want to leave one with the impression they may be irresponsible or negligent in their parental duties. Simply ones taking of drugs from time to time should not automatically condemn them for all eternity, although in this day and age, this all too often is what actually occurs.