Friday, January 28, 2011

:: This is what I'm dealing with here, people ::

Last night, driving home from dinner, this is what Christene decided to talk about (completely out of blue, of course).

Christene: You know, I could've totally dominated on American Gladiators.
Me: Uhh... what?
Christene: American Gladiators. The show. I would've dominated. Especially the part when you hit the gladiator with one of those giant Q-tip things. I would've been like (insert whooosh-sounding sound effects and some arm movements)... I would've kicked ass, take that Lace!
Me: Giant Q-tips? You mean the joust?
Christene: Yeah, whatever it's called. I would've won. I'd have been good at that other thing, too, where they strap you in that harness and you jump from the different platforms - what's that, the gauntlet? (editor's note: it's not the gauntlet).
Me: Are you actually saying these words?
Christene: Yeah, why?
Me: You think you would've won on American Gladiators?
Christene: Yes.
Me: Is this the same thing as the time you told me you'd definitely win at beer pong because once your team won Elementary School Sports Day, but then you completely sucked at beer pong?
Christene: Also, when I was about 18 I won two out of three games of laser tag! I lost the first one, but then I came back and killed everyone in the next two.
Me: Seriously, this is what you're bringing to the table? Elementary school sports day and laser tag?
Christene: It's all I have!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

:: Injury, meet Insult ::

Remember this?

Of course you do - it was less than a month ago. And because it was only a week ago, it makes this story all the more hilarious.

Go read that (if you haven't already) and then come back. It's OK, I'll wait...... OK, you back now? Good. Here's the post-script to that story:

This week, my old strata council – the one that was rife with idiots, infighting, and low-income tenants – passed by majority vote to have the entire roof of the townhouse complex replaced. Yes, the very same roof that my $4,500 was being held in a contingency fund to help replace.

Since discovering that the roof needed to be replaced, the strata council had, approximately, 16 months – dating back to when I still lived there – to propose and vote on a special assessment to replace said roof.

Yes, 16 freaking months. Ten of which passed after I'd already moved out. And despite this extended period of time, when does this strata council finally get their act together enough to procure a "yes" vote?

Well, a mere 19 days after the deadline to spend my money had passed, of course.

One monthly strata meeting. Not even three weeks.

Ahh, what wonderful timing. Thanks for the cash, morons. Enjoy your new roof.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

:: Something is free in the office today ::

This morning, a large box of free tea samples – various types, brands, etc - showed up in our office. From a customer, or some tea company, or something... it's origins are not really important.

But the way people are crawling all over themselves for individually packaged, 25-cent tea bags, you'd think they were filled with gold. Since 8:15 this morning, people have been talking about tea. Discussing the various types in the box – green tea, vanilla tea, cleansing tea, some Starbucks' brand – asking where it came from, or debating loudly what types are best for what situation.

And just when the fucking conversations stops, some new person – someone blissfully unaware of this free bounty of tea – shows up and asks what the box of tea is all about.

And if that's not happening, the one person whose desk happens to be adjacent to said box – and is therefore is the self-appointed guardian of the tea – is wandering around the office, offering it to the people who were so unmoved by the free stuff to begin with that they never left their cubicles.

Listen, it's fucking tea. It's not new – it's been around since dates ended with 'B.C.' for Chrissakes – and it's not really that interesting, either. Get over it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

:: A long-winded post where first I get mad and then I get money ::

I thought for sure I mentioned it before on this blog, but a quick archive search turned up nothing, so lemme fill you in on something that I've probably already told everyone anyways: When I sold my townhouse last year - 11 months ago now - it sold very quickly (4 days), but there was, as there usually is, a caveat near the end.

You see, my place was 18 years old and - according to some - in need of a new roof. And as anyone who's ever lived in a strata building knows, that ain't cheap. The words "Special Assessment" are enough to make most condo/townhouse owners shit themselves. Because that usually means each owner is on the hook to write a big cheque.

Of course, at the time, this roof situation was relatively new and, I figured, months if not more than year, away. I really didn't think much of it, except to think that I was getting out at the perfect time.

Trouble was, the roof problem - and the announcement of said problem and a possible vote in the future - showed up in the strata meeting minutes. And any prospective buyer who is not mentally handicapped is, of course, gonna notice. But they made the offer, I accepted, and then handed over 2 years worth of minutes at once for them to read.

I knew it was a longshot, but I secretly hoped it would slip by them - I mean, really, one sentence in 24 months worth of meetings could sneak by ya. At first, as a day or two passed, I thought it actually had.

I was wrong, of course. The evening before subjects were to be removed - hours away, literally - they called my realtor with "concerns." They changed their offer and demanded that, though they would still pay the agreed-upon price, some of that money would be held in trust, and would be used to cover the special assessment that was surely on its way.

Now, I certainly don't begrudge them for asking for the holdback - it's common practice, and I would've done the same had I been in their shoes. (Either that, or I'd never buy the place at all, to be honest). So that wasn't what bothered me.

What bothered me were some other things. For starters, the way it was presented by their smarmy little realtor, who came into my home and gave us this "aw-shucks, they're tapped out and this is the absolute limit of their budget, they could never afford an assessment" speech. Total guilt trip.

Needless to say, I was not moved. (I'm sure you're shocked.)

If they couldn't afford it, then somebody else will, so get outta my house. I care not for sob stories.

And then, were their terms.

They wanted $8,000 in this hold-back account, and they wanted the holdback to last until the end of the calendar year, Dec. 31, 2010.

Yes, $8000.

Now, that amount was, to the penny, the exact amount that the special assessment was to be. (They called to chat with our strata prez, and this is what he told them. I called him and he said the same thing.)

So these assholes wanted me to pay every last dime of their brand new 30-year roof that they'd live under for, well, for as long as they damn well pleased.

Upon receiving this news, my realtor - a kindly, sweet, older guy who has probably never said a bad word in his life - turned to me and asked for my counter-offer.

"Tell 'em fuck you' - that's my counter offer," was my reply.

My nice, kindly realtor was taken aback, to say the least.

In the end, I lowballed 'em right back, and said they could have $1,000, and after some not-so-friendly back-and-forth, in the end we agreed on $4,500 because I just wanted it done. The end-of-year deadline also stuck.

And because that deadline was 10 months away, and I knew the roof was in need of repair, I basically kissed the money goodbye. My realtor suggested I do the same. And considering I was already making a good chunk of change on the house, I really wasn't that upset in the end.

I mean, I wasn't thrilled with how it went down - I felt like I got bent over a little bit, and didn't like the other realtor's smarmy ways, as I already mentioned, but still, it was done.

And then I moved to Cloverdale, and then finally into our new house, and had little to no contact with anyone who still lived at the old place, although the rumours trickled in. First, a few months later, my realtor called to say he'd spoken to a fellow realtor whose son lived in my old complex, and the money was gone. Assessment passed.

Then my day ran into the father of another guy who lived there - a guy I used to play ball with as a kid - and he said "Don't worry, you'll get it back. Nothing's happening."

And through it all, I just waited. Sort of hoped, but mostly didn't worry about it. The money's gone, I'd say, so stop thinking about it.

'Cept it wasn't.

First, there was a meeting that allegedly nearly ended in a fist fight, and a vote that got shot down as quick as it could be proposed.

(Funny sidenote: Apparently, the only pro-assessment person at the meeting - the only guy to really get up and give an impassioned "Let's just do it" speech, aside from council members, was the guy who bought my house. He, of course, was on the clock, although nobody else knew. He was, I was told, shouted down fast with cries of "Shutup, new guy!" which is truly fantastic.)

And then along came some more meetings, and after some research, it was decided the assessment would only be $4,500. Conveniently the exact amount they were holding back, which meant I was still out of luck.

Of course, because my old complex was run by a terribly dysfunctional strata council (complete with warring factions, and wasting time and effort on important issues like "where is the community snowshovel?") and there are a number of older, fixed-income seniors who can't afford assessments, that revised plan didn't fly either.

And then Dec. 31 came and went, and I immediately started making calls to get my money. If the other side thought I'd wait, or thought I'd forget, or thought I'd be lenient and sympathetic and making agree to some kind of revised deal, well, they were wrong.

I wanted my money, I wanted it right fucking now, and I told them as much.

Of course - of course - the other side stalled. My notary called their lawyers, they stalled. Called again. Stalled some more. But today, I called for an update.

"Your money is ready, it's at the other side's lawyers. We can courier it over and you'll have it on Friday."


So after all that bullshit, after their douchy realtor and their ridiculous demands, after the 10-month wait, and after meetings full of fistfights and leaky roofs, I get my money.

My only regret is that I can't pick it up from them personally. I would've liked them to see the little jig I would've danced in their courtyard outside their front door.

That'll learn ya, assholes.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

:: Somebody got their medical degree from Hollywood Upstairs Medical College ::

New Year's Resolution be damned, I am eating an Egg McMuffin this morning. Why? Because despite my annual pronouncement that "This is the year I'm getting in shape!", there was a 2-for-1 coupon in the paper, and my resolution this year is also to save money.

And hey, a deal's a deal. (And in my defence, I didn't eat both of them. I gave one to my boss.)

So as I'm sitting here at my desk, one of our company's sales reps walks by and says quietly, "You know, that stuff'll kill ya."

Couple things wrong here. First of all – shutup.

Even if I'm shovelling pure lard into my mouth, or shooting heroin into my veins, nobody – least of all, me – asked you for an opinion on my lifestyle or health choices. Nobody.

But while I am willing to concede that a) she was only kidding around and b) simply making conversation (which, by now, you should all know that I hate - see here, here and here if you are not yet entirely convinced) there is a bigger problem with her unsolicited health advice:

The reason she walked by my desk was so she could go grab her jacket off the coat rack.

Because she was going outside in the rain to have a smoke.

And if you're wondering whether or not I called her on this little bit of hypocrisy, well, you don't know me very well, do ya?