Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Toronto Trip Report

Let's start this off with a shot of Toronto's iconic skyline:

The view from my mother-in-law's apartment is darn nice. On a clear day you can even see the lake in addition to the CN Tower.

Looking down eight stories from the balcony isn't too bad even for most acrophobes. When I pointed out that I regularly dive 80 feet down, no big deal, no problem, the family suddenly realized that 80 feet underwater isn't a small distance.

As part of this trip, we took my Mother-In-Law and ourselves went to Honest Ed's. Think a discount/dollar store that takes up an entire city block. Honest Ed's has everything from hats to mugs to prescription drugs in one place surrounded by old theater posters and pictures of stars from a bygone era. Sadly, this Toronto landmark is going to close in December 2016 so if you've never shopped for shlock until you drop, you've got a closing window of opportunity.

One of the mugs Honest Ed's had featured the closest thing Canadians get to a Gun Show these days. I saw this mug and immediately thought of Tam:

The trip also consisted of, as is usual, my on-site tech support calls for both my Mother-in-Law and my Dad in the computer and audio/visual departments. I'm working on turning Abby and Leah into my tech support minions and they were quite helpful with my Mother-In-Law for explaining how to work her new replacement TV and existing DVD player after I had it setup and working.

On a sadder note, the brutal cold winter has taken a severe toll.

My Dad and step-mom live in a nice 100-year-old house in midtown, and one day while they were away, the boiler shut down and then the water froze in the radiators and then cracked them, leading to a flood resulting in the home being stripped down to the boards and walls.

Now, mind you, they are nice 100-year-old boards with no particle board to be seen but the house is currently uninhabitable and a lot of stuff got flooded to destruction. This is extremely bad.

Also revealed was the extensive knob and tube wiring that while sure not up to code now served the house well all this time. Now that its revealed it will all have to be replaced to get up to code.

The structure of the house is still rock solid, but they're looking at a solid 6-9 months to get it restored, renovated, and up to habitable conditions, not to mention lots of expected battles with the insurance co along the way.

This also gave us accommodation issues as we normally stay with them and my Mother-In-Law's one bedroom apartment doesn't have space for 4 of us to stay there with her. There was a guest room in her apartment building that we rented which was unfortunately a big mistake in retrospect. The kids stayed on the floor in a "fort" in the apartment, while we occupied the guest room. The room was small with two single beds that if you shifted in any direction you'd fall out of bed.

Worse, the room was right by the front entrance and lobby so you heard every noise of people coming and going.

Even worse, this is an apartment of predominantly elderly residents. Elderly residents that thought it was a great thing to have loud conversations for hours sitting in the lobby starting at 4 am and loudly carrying on continuously until 6 am or so.

In short, in five days we had very interrupted sleep. Another downside is she has no internet service so I was out of touch most of this week except for the occasional visit to a coffee shop to feed my caffeine and wi-fi addictions simultaneously.

Yesterday, we headed over to my aunt and uncle's place for the first night of Passover and had a very nice time catching up with family and meeting our newest cousin - a cute six month old baby name Sophie.

Unfortunately, we received reports that the storm was moving in and so instead of staying another night, we jumped in the car and headed home, hitting a fair bit of the storm at the end of the trip but at least not driving through it all the way, leading to the picture from my recent post of our arrival at the house at 1:51 am this morning along with plenty of fresh global warming.

So yes, I'm rather tired at the moment. Now I'm busy catching up at work for the time I was in Toronto, and now Im having the fun of having a power outage at the office caused by the storm. What fun.

Overall, the Toronto trip was good but the lack of sleep and seeing the wrecked house were definite let-downs to a family gathering.


Keads said...

Glad y'all made it back ok. Sorry to hear about the house.

Aaron said...

Thanks. The house is quite a mess but it'll get better.