Monday, December 31, 2007

Reaching your Toronto City Limits

We are now, officially, residents of the city of Toronto. Actually, we have been for over a month - our closing date on the house was Nov. 23. So much for "Buy Nothing Day", eh? We had to move out of the apartment by December 4. We owe Uncle Peter, with his van of awesomeness, a lot.

We're finally getting nice and comfy in our new (to us) house. We've had a few people over, and my parents came up for a couple days, Dad wielding power tools (some of which he bought for us, we love you!! Our families rock!!) and the knowledge of how to use them. The cats have stopped running for cover every time the door opens. We have a sectional couch, kitchen chairs, tables, phone, and internet. We have a bed, and several shiny, working major appliances. We have a bathtub (mmm, a bath!), and a backyard, with an honest-to-God tree in it. We also have an espresso machine, because my mother-in-law is made of awesome.

And we have mortgage payments, utility bills and property taxes.

We haven't watched television since we moved in, and we're starting to notice that we haven't missed it. We're still undecided about whether or not it's worth getting cable - certainly not for the duration of the writers' strike, anyhow. We hadn't really been watching TV for the last 6 months, frankly. We also don't have a car, since I had a minor fender-bender a couple weeks ago and the insurance company decided to write off my 9 year old Saturn (of beloved memory). Sigh. So I guess we're car shopping in January.

We've been a little slower than we wanted with unpacking. I did a dumb thing* 3 1/2 weeks ago that resulted in a torn right calf muscle. I've only been walking normally for the last week, and I managed to go down stairs for the first time a few days ago. It's still sore, stiff and swells in the evening. It's also mighty ugly, though the bruises are finally starting to fade. My clothes are still in plastic bags. But the bookshelves are up, and nearly full. We have our priorities. Also, I located my knitting.

Within two weeks of living here, I had already called city hall and had the kind folks at the by-law office looking things up. It was surprisingly easy to get a real person on the phone. Everyone was extremely helpful. They just didn't know the answer to my question.

Our house, you see, is on a major through-road. An official "snow route", in fact. The by-law says that when the city declares an official "snow emergency" (when a significant amount of snow falls in a short time), you can not park or stop on an official snow route for the next 72 hours. Normally, this road is available for 3-hour parking after 6pm, as are most of the quiet side streets around us. This is great when we want to have people over, but a headache when we want to have them over during or within 72 hours of a major snowfall. And the narrow, residential side streets, well... I think there's a couple cars that won't be dug out of there until spring.

All I needed to know was whether the city had officially declared a snow emergency, thus bringing the Snow Route by-law into effect. I was trying to determine whether the group of people we had invited over that evening should bother coming, or if they would have no parking, or (worst possible outcome) park in front of my house and be ticketed and towed. You would think something like this would be the first thing they would tell you on, say, the phone line dedicated to updating residents about snow conditions and plowing progress? Or perhaps on the website where they post announcements? Or from any of the major news outlets?

But no one could officially confirm for me that a Snow Emergency had been announced, and the several people from the city who I talked to were rather stymied by it. "Well, it's kind of vague," said one (very nice) lady. The vaguest, yet best reply came from someone at parking enforcement (i.e the people who would be doing the actual ticketing and towing) who said, "If the roads are clear, you should be fine." I strongly suspect this means: If the plows are still running and your car is in someone's way, they can ticket and tow you even if there is no 'official' Snow Emergency. Needless to say, we postponed the gathering until the New Year. Hopefully the weather will cooperate better, or at least the side streets will be clearer.

Beauracracy: 1, Us: 0.

Next battle, what goes into garbage, recycling and green bin? I fear I'll have to print out the list and tape it to the fridge.

At some point, there will be pictures. Many, many pictures. Er, after we put a little bit more crap away.

* In my defense, I was absolutely certain I could wrangle the largest, heaviest box in the entire house down to the basement by myself, and I still don't recall Daniel specifically telling me not to. I do recall him saying, "Just roll it to the back, there, in the kitchen, and we'll take it downstairs tonight." Which can be taken several ways, right?

No comments: