Thursday, October 29, 2009

Settling In

Well a large portion of our stuff has been put away. Of course we have limited space for our clothes so currently we're using the mountain system. If you haven't used the mountain system I suggest you give it a try at least once. It's really simple. Clean a spot on the floor and pile up all your clean laundry. As you use the clothes create another pile (preferably with a barrier so the two piles don't get mixed) for the dirty laundry. It's much easier to find things as you can see most of your clothes collection at first glance.

Actually I've been without a dresser for about a year. The crappy Ikea device I was using literally fell apart, you really do get what you pay for. We had a number of in closet shelves so we put all our clean clothes there. Now of course we don't have those shelves and I don't have a dresser so we're using the mountain system until we find a better solution. Other than that much has been put away or shoved into a closet for storage.

As you probably know I have two cats right now. One is playful, fun, agile, named after beer and quite the funny character hissing and growling at inappropriate times or humping his sweater and meowing during important conference calls. The other is oddly uncoordinated and quick to anger. The new cat, Jedi, was getting used to the old place, she liked being picked up in the bathroom and she often got excited and clawed at one of our carpets. She had stopped being violent and I hadn't heard her hiss in quite awhile. Moving is quite disruptive for cats and while Brewski usually gets scared and submissive and then once in the new place explorative and happy Jedi gets violent and angry on both ends of the move. When she moved in she stayed in her carrier for a day, then the room the carrier was placed for another day until she finally slowly came out to see her new home. Then a couple weeks later we had to endure a 2 week bout of crazy cat, many people were lunged at and some even cut. This from a normally totally uncoordinated cat, seems she has the coordination when she needs is. This time we expected something similar and in the early goings we had it. Once Jedi was in her carrier she began hissing and trying to slash us from her cage. Poor Ludo almost got hit a couple of times in the truck on the way to the new place.

Jedi continued her normal behaviour at the new place hissing up a storm as I delicately placed her in one of the rooms and shut the door. Shortly after I had setup food and water and a litter so I opened her door and she growled a lot. Later I came to check on her and she was not only out of her cage but searching the room and when she saw me open the door she tried to get out. Not the behaviour we witnessed when she moved in with us. Eventually when the help left I let her out to explore the apartment. She was mildly violent, hissing at us if we tried to pass her, but her sight is weak and it's understandable, giant shapes flying over top of her freaks her out. So each time I had to pass her I got down to her level and let her smell my finger (which was usually clean). Kate's mom was a bit too quick with her I think and got a slash on her leg so we weren't sure what to expect moving forward. Jedi was better than last time but still injuring our guests.

The second day she was totally normal and has been since. She's even sleeping on the same bed as Brewski. So psycho cat has turned into normal cat and we're quite pleased with that, especially since we may very well be moving again in a few short months.

The gym is going well for me, I get out about twice a week so I'll keep the membership. I haven't lost any weight but my back fat is greatly reduced so I presume I'm adding muscle while losing fat.

French is also going well, I can slowly see myself getting it. There are so many little rules and slang and then remembering verbs and how to conjugate them it can often be overwhelming but occasionally I get things right without thinking, they just seem right. Similar to knowing that you say an apple not a apple. You know the rule but it also just seems right one way and not the other. I think some of the french rules are coming to me like that. By the end of next year I hope to be capable of communicating in french sufficiently enough to speak it on a day to day basis. Then we start looking at all the French speaking countries we can spend some time in. Vietnam might be a good one, we can live like kings there!

Speaking of kings I'm going to a Halloween wedding this year. Kate has decided to be Marie Antoinette so I am going as Marie Antoinette's husband, King Louis XVI. Louis XVI was said to be a bit of a lousy king so I'm not sure if I'll be him or Louis XIV, who was a much better king. Perhaps I'll just claim to be the 'King of France' and have some of the young maidens feed me grapes and red wine all night. Either way our costumes are pretty good I think, wigs and everything. The shame is we may need DDs for the wedding and what's the good of being a king at a wedding if I can't drink. If I recall history class correctly I believe the main duty of a king was to keep the wine stocks low, it was a key method for keeping the unemployment rate down.

More to come next week.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Loose Ends

So we won the championship in our second baseball season. I think we get crappy t-shirts or something. I was 34-35 going into the final and hit 0-5 in the final game, boo. I played in a football tourney last Saturday and while the team lost all 3 games we played, I scored 2 of our 3 touchdowns. So I can end the sports season on a high note at least. Hopefully I'll be able to get into a football league in January, we will see.

After getting 66 on my first french test of the course I got 76 on my second one. I forgot how hard university is, they actually expect you to learn, in fact they pretty much expect you to learn a lot on your own. They like to throw brand new words on the exam and then ask what it means, so it's not just the language I'm learning but my ability to reason and deduce is also being tested, hardly fair I've got 10 years more wear on my brain than everyone else in the class. The prof makes jokes about her age and how we don't remember things that she grew up with, like Knight Rider and racist Looney Toons episodes. Granted she still older than me and I don't remember the Montreal Expo, but I do remember the 80s! Some of the kids in my class were born in the 90s I think. At least I blend in, looking young like I do. I may get the odd pimple but I have all my hair and I get IDed at least once a month, in Quebec! The drinking age is 18 and I still get IDed! I love it, I get people apologizing to me and they look all embarrassed, it's great. The problem is soon people are going to just assume I have a fake ID.

Speaking of IDs I just remembered I still have to get my Quebec Drivers License so I better make an appointment for that. There's always more crap to do.

Moving Day

Moving day is almost upon us, it's this Saturday. We found a place near Place Saint-Henri Metro. The place itself is nice. Second floor (which sucks for moving in) and very similar to our current place in some ways. If you've seen where we live now the kitchen and dining room are really one big room. We spend a lot of time in it. In fact we spend almost all our time there unless it's Sunday and football is on or I'm playing Xbox, then it's just Kate in the kitchen/dining room and me in the living room. Even the rats live in the dining room. The new place is similar in that it also has a kitchen/dining room, in fact the new place is probably going to be better in the long run. Too bad we hope to only live there for 8 months.

The kitchen/dining room stands to be better because there are more windows. We lose a dishwasher but the one we had sucked anyway. So the trade off is light for a dishwasher, an easy trade in my mind since we only put glasses and plates in the dishwasher and I'm already scrubbing pots and pans every day so what's a couple more cups and utensils. The extra light means the plants will do better, including herbs that Kate likes to use, and of course we need the sunlight as much as the plants do. Plus there's lots of cool wood which I'm hoping makes the place feel more cozy.

The bedroom is huge so we may put the television in there but that has obvious drawbacks. Then we have two other closed rooms, both pretty small. One is fine for a spare bedroom and the other can be storage and a room for the animals, or we can cram the tv into it. We'll decide when we get all our crap inside.

The biggest drawback to the place is that it's not in the Plateau. There are no nice restaurants, no cools bars, no shopping, no giant parks, no bike paths and strange sculptures, at least not that I've found, I will continue that hunt of course. It does have some stuff though, a post office, a pet store, the metro is just as close as the current place, it's got three sad looking bars near us but at least the closest one also seems to be the best, we've got an IGA that's not too far but far enough to not carry home two cases of beer and a bag of cat litter, and we are right beside a small park. Oh yeah and the neighbour's cat just had kittens. So there are some good things of the area but different things. One thing to note is that we'll probably save money by not going out as much, did I mention the beer was 1.50 a pint at one of the bars?

The landlord seems like a good guy and the bathroom is in good condition, the floors are all nice hardwood. Really the place would go for 2,000 a month in Toronto, we've got it for less than 1,000. It's funny we spend 900 to 1,000 in rent each month here and we're considered big spenders. Other than logistical concerns we really have our pick of any place in the city while we're renting.

The plan is to pick up the house hunt when the snow recedes and people can inspect the roof of a potential purchase. Our lease is till July 01, just like everybody else in Montreal. We hope to find a place by then.

So that's not really the crap I wanted to be doing this fall but it's the crap I am doing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trying To Buy A House

Is freaking annoying. The first place we put an offer in turned out to be a potential money pit. The seller didn't tell us about a huge oil leak which is something the neighbours could sue us for. Then we found a place the bank owned and put an offer in but they countered with a ridiculous counter. We're now putting in a counter offer and the bank's agent is going to tell them to take it but you never know. So it's been difficult and that difficulty has been compounded by us having to vacate our current abode by the end of the month. We're looking at a two week closing date, makes it very difficult. We may end up in a temporary rental unit, which will not be ideal so we're really hoping on this place.

In other segments of my crap, the gym is working out fairly well. I've been a few times and I have a humours id card of me now. The only thing the TVs show in English is CNN so that's not the best but yesterday there was an exhibition women's hockey game so that worked out, ha ha worked out.

I got a horrible 66% on my first french test this semester but I noted that many of the people around me had similar success so at least it's not just me. That's also a sign that I am probably going to be able to pull that mark up. Also a good 10% was lost to stupid mistakes that I should have known. Conjugating a verb improperly, it's je dis, not je dit, crap like that. In fact some of my mistakes are made commonly by French people. Anyway I have another test next week so I aim to improve.

Things are freaking busy, I missed our second last softball game last week because we were supposed to look at houses, that didn't happen but Kate was missing it anyway to go to a poetry slam so I didn't rush to the game for a last minute arrival, I went to the poetry slam instead. It was pretty good. The slams have judging to determine a winner.The judges are just audience members. They are also stupid. Not all of them but some of them. I'm not the greatest judge of poetry but I know what entertains me and I did take a poetry class or two in university. These judges were all over the map, one particular judge would gave scores like 2.7 out of 10. Now even if the poem is that bad this is an environment that pushes for a lot of support. This guy was basically just being a jerk. Then the same guy would give an 8 out of 10 for something that sounded like a 8 year old's attempt at a rap song. Anyway the person who won was one of the best and all they won were cheese curds so it didn't matter much anyway but this clown still annoyed me. We also made a couple friends, sort of, at the place and got info for another poetry event so over all it was a good night. Next Monday we'll have our last softball game so we won't miss that.

So that's some of the crap I've been doing, hopefully there will be more to note soon.