Tag Archives: condo living

Great Leaping Refuse…As the Condo Turns

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Why another post? After my exit from this series yesterday, Britt Girl sent me a comment to say that one of her favourite things about condo living, was the garbage chute. Great leaping refuse!  How could I have forgotten to mention, nay praise, the almighty garbage chute! So I’m back to pay homage.

Picture this: The big-ass house I had before becoming a condoarian, was in the country. So the property was large with a long driveway out to the road. On garbage day, especially in the winter, I would don my parka over my PJ’s and go out to the garage.  There, with freezing fingers, I would tag each bag ( we paid for pick-up) and load one at a time on to a hand cart. Then I would wheel the damn thing up the driveway, tipping the bags off the trolley several times through the bumpy ride.

Beware of dogs: At the same time, I was armed with a stick and my trusty ultrasonic dog repeller to defend myself from the 12 neighbourhood dogs that roamed the area, despite their electronic fences. My nutty neighbour next door had 5 of them and those barking pooches watched my every move. She also had 13 cats and built an addition on her house for them, but that’s a story for another day. Okay, are you with me so far?

Job well done: After several trips up and down said driveway, while looking over my shoulder for canine attacks, I would leave all the bags neatly lined up at the edge of the roadway for the town garbage and recycle trucks to pick up.

Garbage police:  Then as was often the case, as I sat working in my den – the trucks would arrive. If a bag was too large, or too heavy, or the dogs and crows had ripped it open, they simply left the bag beside the road and drove away. And when the recycle truck came along, the workers would peer through my clear plastic bags, and if they saw something they didn’t like inside , they would also reject the bag – and leave a big yellow note attached to it.

Crazy old lady: Now I consider myself to be a sane, albeit feisty sort of gal. But the actions by these garbage police drove me into a frenetic state of irrational rage. I would storm out the door and chase the truck down the street waving my recycle pamphlet , as they left me in their exhaust fumes.

Ultimate insult! Now do you have any idea how it feels to have your garbage rejected? Your garbage! And for the whole neighbourhood to see! People would smirk and look at our house, as they pointed at our bags and drove by. My poor dejected refuse, slumped in disgrace with their yellow rejection slips flashing like neon lights.

Encore performance: And the worst part was having to schlep all those bags back down the driveway and into the garage, only to get more stinky until the next pick-up day – when I would have even more bags to schlep back up the driveway!

Have a cigarette: So you can understand my orgasmic state of mind, when I simply throw my garbage into a chute and walk away. It’s euphoric, blissful and sublime – I tell you. No fuss, no muss, no kidding!

Until next time – these are the days of our lives.

Enjoy the Good Life – As the Condo Turns

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In the final episode of this mini-series, I just have a few more things to say.

Buying a box in the sky and paying condo fees is something Hubsey and I said we would never do. And yet, here we are with no regrets, albeit on the ground floor.

Paying condo fees is not an appealing prospect for most people. But if the fees are commensurate with the location, number of on-site amenities and quality of the building – in my view, it’s worth digging deep every month to pay for it.

Tip of the day – Enjoy the good life!

Okay, I’ve talked about a lot of things over the past 9 days, including condo envy, codger-dodgers, good and bad condo boards, and crotchety old farts who roam the halls enforcing the rules. 

And if I’ve learned anything here, it’s that living in a condo community means you have to compromise, and you can’t always do things your own way. But like anything in life, you learn to put up with the bad, as long as the good takes up a bigger space.

So I’d like to sign-off this series on a positive note. Because despite my numerous failed attempts at storming the castle to change some things – I do enjoy condo living!

Top 10 things I love:

1. Swimming during a snowstorm.
2. Stepping outside for a walk along the waterfront.
3. Feeling safe and protected.
4. Enjoying the gardens from my ground floor patio.
5. Taking yoga classes right downstairs.
6. Mailing letters from the lobby.
7. Making friends with like-minded people.
8. Leaving on vacation with no worries.
9. Living in a smaller space where everything has its place.
10. Being 10 minutes away from my daughter and granddaughter.

And that’s it from me to you, in this (not so final) final episode of…As the Condo Turns.  Thanks for reading.

Until next time – these are the days of our lives.

Save Those Vintage Clothes – As the Condo Turns

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Hey condo-folks! This is my penultimate post on the subject…well, for now anyway.  After 9 days of this, I’m getting condo-brained-out and I’m sure you’re well into condo-overload by now. Tomorrow will be my last post in this series of 10 episodes about condo living. But in the meantime, here’s today’s topic.

Tip of the day – Save those vintage clothes

One of the hardest things about downsizing and moving to a condo is getting rid of some favourite closet items. This includes the sophisticated Jackie Kennedy ensemble you bought in the 60’s, your favourite Moroccan-style kaftan for entertaining at home in the 70’s, and the power suit, complete with linebacker shoulder pads you wore so proudly in the 80’s. Well, I can tell you that you don’t have to throw out a thing!

Going to a social event in a condo building can be like attending a period fashion show. While many zoomers keep up with current fashions, some of the older residents hang on to their vintage haute couture with the iron grip of an aging actress looking for one final screen test. And if you’re lucky enough to attend a formal gathering with sequined ball gowns and tuxedos, you’ll be catapulted back into a movie set of bygone days. It’s like viewing a ballroom scene on the Titanic! And good for them. It’s a beautiful sight!

So don’t throw away a thing! Keep all your lovelies and don them with pride. You’ll be wearing your memories and be right at home. 

Until tomorrow…these are the days of our lives.

Relax and Make Friends – As the Condo Turns…

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I’ve heard many aging boomers say they could never live in a condo with a bunch of old people. Well, most of us still have a lot of juice left in the blender, so don’t knock it ’til you try it. There’s comfort in living among others who have been there, done that. And you don’t have to suck in your gut or worry about any low-hanging bit and bobs when you go to the pool.

Tip of the day –   Relax and make friends

Living in a tall building of condo units is like living in a beehive. Most days, we all buzz around like contented little condo-bees. Oh sure, there may be some with more active stingers than others, and a few may have more venom in their ego-sacs. But deep down, we all want the same thing – a safe and happy community.

My granddaughter has a difficult time thinking of me in any way, other than the grandmother she has always known. It’s a difficult concept for her to picture me in my younger days and imagine me as a mother with a career, just like her mother.

In the same way, everyone in a condo building has history and experiences hidden away in their baggage. We have all “bee-n” (pardon the pun) somebody else before becoming who we are today. Just imagine the wealth of knowledge and adventures stacked up in all those units, one on top of the other – like a bee colony!

In my experience, people living in a condo environment are friendly and generous in sharing their backgrounds. It’s easy to meet new people and so interesting to hear the incredible stories of the lives they’ve  lived. And it’s not all past tense, by any means. More and more zoomers continue to work and travel, with no plans to stop.

Living in a detached home can sometimes feel isolated, as we grow older. We may no longer go out to work, and our social calendar may not be as busy due to health or circumstance. But in a condo – you’re never lonely.  

Regardless of the weather, just step outside your door to get the mail, go for a swim, or a run on the treadmill. There is always someone to talk to and chances are, you’ll find common ground to talk about.

If you’re like me, you’ll thank your lucky condo-stars that you made the decision to downsize that big-ass house, and BEE happy in a wonderful community of like-minded people.

Until tomorrow – these are the days of our lives.

Keep Your Floor Options Open – As the Condo Turns

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When we think of living in a condo, we often picture ourselves living high in a tower like Rapunzel. Whether we have long hair, short hair, or no hair at all, we can’t dispute the fact that the higher we go, the more spectacular the view. And, if you’re lucky enough to live on a higher floor and on the waterfront, you may never want to leave your suite.

But there are a variety of other options available and I myself am a ground floor condo-gal. We didn’t even consider a ground floor unit when we started looking. Go high or go home, was our motto. But when we reluctantly agreed to see a ground floor unit, we were hooked. So that brings me to today’s topic:

Tip of the day – Keep your floor options open

Living on the ground floor is like living in a home. You forget that you have all those floors towering above your head. In some buildings, the ceilings are higher on the ground floor and if you have a corner unit, you will usually have windows in every room. Without any need to get out and shovel, weed or plant, you have gardens and trees to enjoy, and a view of the changing seasons – right up close and personal.

There is a solid feeling about ground floor units. When the wind is howling in the halls on the higher floors, it’s simply a windy day on the ground floor. And when the sun is baking the upper suites with south or west-facing views, the ground levels are cooler and often protected by trees and garden foliage.    

There is no real need to wait for an elevator, and you get good exercise using the stairs to the car park in the basement, or other amenities like swimming pool and exercise room etc. 

In the case of an emergency, you have a quick main floor exit route. Or you can simply jump over your balcony/terrace if you have to. But either way, you avoid schlepping down umpteen flights of stairs behind a panicking mob of aging condoarians, to get out of the building. Or worse yet, join the gaggle of them hanging over their upper floor balconies wondering what to do.

Remember, there’s no elevator service during a fire and a fireman’s ladder only goes to the 6th floor – 7th floor max! 

So all praise for the ground floor unit, the often forgotten gem of condo living.

Until tomorrow…these are the days of our lives.

Become a Codger-Dodger – As the Condo Turns…

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Okay, ladies – this one’s for your eyes only. You heard it here first!

I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I have it on good authority that, as seniors find themselves alone in their golden years, men are far more likely to be looking for new partners. Woman, on the other hand, seem to settle into their new-found single lives rather nicely. Oh sure, there are lots of lovely December romance stories about love and companionship, but I’m talking about the women out there who have no intention of taking on, and training, yet another man in their lives, let alone an old one.

Tip of the day – Become a codger-dodger

For all you single woman of a certain age who have earned your stripes, and want to continue enjoying your man-free lifestyle, becoming a codger-dodger is an important skill to master. Men are creatures of  habit as they age, so it’s easy to determine their routines. This makes the delicate art of dodging the codgers an easy manoeuvre to learn. 

In my building, there is a gaggle of old guys who share a swim and a hot tub at the same time everyday. Imagine my horror the first time I found myself soaking in a tub with the bunch of them! Another afternoon at the pool, I met an aging Romeo, I have dubbed “The Red Baron.” He was  wearing a tiny red  Speedo swimsuit. (Picture this at your peril.) He stood on the side of the pool flexing something or other – I think it was the wrinkles on his biceps.  Anyway, a few days later, he made googly eyes at me in the hot tub. I don’t go swimming at that time of day any longer either.

So this is how I learned to become a codger-dodger – and I’m married. That just shows you how desperate they can become!  So take a notebook everywhere you go and study their habits closely. Work your routines so they don’t overlap into codger-crossing zones and you can become a codger-dodger too. Just pay attention and have your wits about you at all times. They may be charming and seem harmless at first sight, but deep down, they’re all looking for someone to fry their bacon and wash their underwear. Good luck with all that!

Until tomorrow…these are the days of our lives.

As the Condo Turns…

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This condo life’s the life for me,
But I have issues…you will see,
With old farts on a condo board,
Who make suite owners feel ignored…

Opening Scene: If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember that we recently Downsized and moved to our first condo. It’s been nearly two years since we took that giant step into this community-type living arrangement. And we’ve met a whole gaggle of cotton-heads – all waddling into The Scary World of Aging along with us. So at least we have that in common, which is necessary when you live in a complex chock-a-block with wrinkled has-beens.

Cast of Characters: Oh get a grip! I’m not trying to bust your blogroll with that last comment. But when people age, the world at large tends to think of older people as just that – old people. But we all used to be something else in the world, before we got to retire and enjoy the good life here in this adult lifestyle complex. We represent every walk of life in various eras gone by, and now we get to be free agents. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Lifetime Performances: Old corporate dogs never die – they resurface on condo boards! Sometimes these retired pinstriped suits love to continue on in positions of power after getting the golden handshake. Consequently, some choose condo board positions to exercise the old school ‘mushroom style of management’ that was in business vogue back in the good old days. And now many condo residents suffer the ill effects of these fungus management techniques.

Great Actors: In my professed limited experience, I have found condo boards only pretend to be open for suggestions. But deep inside their cold little grinchy-hearts, they don’t like change, they discourage communication, they isolate potential status-quo-shakers, and they prefer an autocratic system of control. There’s no doubt these board members (mostly male) like to rule with a bony arthritic fist! And preferably in a locked room away from the rest of the annoying pesky suite owners.

Change the Scenery: I realize it will take time for the old guard to move on and allow the newer residents to sit in the power seats. It’s a trust issue as well. And they definitely have done many good things to date. But there’s more to modern-day condo living than bridge games, jigsaw puzzles and an anal-retentive book of rules. This isn’t an old folks home. And it’s not a place where dusty doilies go to die. We need new blood to make this a community for everyone to enjoy; not just the long time residents who hold on to ‘the way it’s always been’ with a death grip.

Happy Ending: But saying all that, I still love living here. Condo life is definitely the right life for Hubsey and me at this stage of our lives. Some of the rules are dumb-ass stupid, and we may not feel part of the decision process yet, but I know someday that will change. I need to be patient and it will come.

12 Things I’ve Learned About Condo Living

1. You can’t always get your own way.

2. You can enjoy the snow without shovelling it.

3. You can’t play your music or TV too loud.

4. You can feel safe and secure.

5. You can’t renovate without condo approval.

6. You can go swimming in the winter.

7. You can’t have deliveries outside approved hours.

8. You can always find someone to talk to.

9. You can’t expect to know why decisions are made.

10. You can expect to be frustrated when decisions are made.

11. You can’t wash the outside of your windows when they’re dirty.

12. You can ignore the politics and enjoy the simple life.

So all in all, this is a new lifestyle in progress. Stay tuned for the next episode of…As the Condo Turns.

So that’s my rant – that’s all she wrote,
What if they read my blogging note?
While condo rules may well restrict me,
At least those old farts can’t evict me…

Pat Skene