Tag Archives: seniors for living

She Put a Spell on Me

Standard

music_noteAnnie Lennox sang at the Grammies last night. WOW! Can that broad belt it out! And she sang with a real voice, without all the pyrotechnics we see and hear today with so many of the talent-impaired.

I think any beautiful female with a provocative costume, powerful thigh muscles and satanic dance moves might be fanciful entertainment for those of us practicing our couch-potato routines at home. But when it comes to wearing the big girl pants, you need real talent like Annie to show us how it’s done. Sadly, performers today keep upping the stage-ante, by adding special effects in the form of dancing human bulls ( Grammies) or ridiculous wiggling sharks (Superbowl) to name a few. All this in an effort to wow an audience into a trance-like state of shock and awe.

Okay I get it – I might be of the aging cogerette era and still love the old songsters like Tina Turner, and the soothing voices of yesteryear with classic crooners like Roy Orbison and yes, God help me…The Everly Brothers. But I also love listening to tunes of any era and any genre, including the talents of so many new voices in today’s music, thanks to my granddaughter. It’s really too bad most of these superstars need to uber-up their routines until we can’t hear the pure goodness of a beautiful voice at it’s best.

When I listened to Annie belting it out and simply being Annie, I thought…now there’s a timeless talent to be reckoned with. I had forgotten what a force she was years ago with the Eurythmics. And she has truly improved with age. When she sang I Put a Spell on You last night, she put a spell on me and I downloaded her music. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Click here to listen to Annie: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZEChv1AaOk

See you between the lines,

Pat Skene

 

Bully for me…and for you!

Standard

 

(Portrait of a Bully)

Fob Ford, scaring the crap


 

Rant du jour: Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Sadly they’re in our lives to stay, because there will always be damaged human beings and egos that need constant feeding on the entrails of a kinder gentler folk.

Big and bold; Some bullies are larger than life, like Toronto’s jackass mayor, Rob Ford (ROFO) and his dumb ass brother, Doug (DOFO.) You might get the idea that I don’t care for Toronto’s mayor…I tried hard to be subtle.

Vicious in black: Some bullies come in tiny packages, like Sister Alicia, the 4 foot 8″ nun in a black and white habit who tormented students daily in the girl’s school I attended a half a century ago. Bullies like this feast like gluttons on the intimidation and fear they create in our lives.

Unbridled ubiquity: During my life, I have met threatening and abusive doctors, nurses who ran their own domain of terror, Nazi receptionists, barking-mad grade school teachers, obnoxious waiters, engineers with explosive egos, pit-bull lawyers, alcoholic bosses, and on and on and on…you get the picture. Bullies come in a variety of disguises in all professions. Sadly, we meet them on a daily basis.

Badge of honour: After surviving decades as a female-executive in the male dominated war-zone of banking where testosterone saturates the boardroom, I developed a wonderful life-saving condition called BBS…or to the lay person, “Bully Block Syndrome.” This condition took years to develop and has now left me immune to the slings, arrows and emotional tactics of any bullies I now meet in my life. In short, they can’t hurt me anymore. I don’t fear them and as an added advantage of this condition, I can smell a bully at a hundred paces.

Dangerous liaisons: Bullies have different modus operandi. Most of us vividly remember the bullies who taunted us in the schoolyard with hard knuckle punches to the nose and even harder verbal punches to our feelings. But bullies aren’t always an overt threat, especially as they age. Young bullies often grow up to be professional bullies, where they work covertly in stealth mode and become even more cunning and more dangerous.

Bully spotting: Some bullies merely stand in a confrontational pose with fists clenched and a hard stare (like ROFO), daring anyone to challenge them. Others use their positions of influence to bark orders at underlings and leave no room for being questioned (like ROFO). Some intimidate and threaten their long-suffering wives into submission (like ROFO.) Many avoid sharing knowledge, in an effort to overpower and keep others dependent on them with a tight grip on their control, (ROFO has no knowledge of anything). Some take the coward’s route behind the anonymity of the computer through cyber-bullying, (ROFO doesn’t know what a computer is). And still others take every opportunity to treat you as a friend, while they secretly discredit you behind your back. (ROFO has no friends.)  These are all the acts of a despicable bully.

Prime targets: While children are thankfully being taught all about dealing with bullies in school…you know what? As a senior, we are just as vulnerable to bullying, because they… the grown-up professional bullies…think we won’t fight back. We’re much too weak , too stupid, too old.

Pushing back: Well they’re wrong! We all need to stand up, face them nose-to-nose and hold our ground.  And we can’t be shy about it. Call it what it is. We’ve lived long enough not to have to put up with that crap anymore.

Speak out: So the next time you snag a bully in your bully-radar, tell them exactly what you think of them! You’ve earned the right! And so have I. And as a final word…if you live in Toronto, for everything that’s holy…don’t even think of voting for another “FORD MORE” years of  that red-faced  buffoon below!

See you between the lines…Pat Skene



Rob Ford red face

Ford ford finger

It’s Spring Dammit!

Standard

spring-desktop-gallery-windows-tulips-bouquet-280401

Rant Du Jour: Okay, I’m just as sick as the rest of you about this winter thing. And yes, I’m watching with my nose pressed    against the glass for even the slightest sign of spring. But today I made a big decision. Screw it! As far as I’m concerned, the calendar says it’s spring…so it’s spring!

Looking back: Some of it was fun while it lasted. I have to admit that watching marathon episodes of Breaking Bad, while chowing down on ice cream and cheesy nachos was a decadent winter indulgence. And furthermore, I enjoyed it guilt-free because of the raging blizzard outside. Nowhere to go, nothing to do and even if there was, can’t do it anyway in weather like this. It’s a beautiful thing.

Now what? So it’s time to put away the stew pots, the pizza pans, the bread maker and all things that scream comfort food. It’s time to get off to the grocery store and load up on fruits and vegetables before scurvy sets in. If you’ve already lost a tooth – I recommend an immediate infusion of lemon-gin and tonic.

Growing pains: And that leads me to our great Canadian winter waistlines! Our bodies are our biggest asset…but bigger doesn’t always mean better, even in these cold Canucky temps. Size does matter, regardless of what anyone tells you. We need to drop our tracky bottoms with those ever-expanding elastic waistbands, and slide into a pair of last summer’s pants to assess the damage. Reality sucks!

Mixed messages: Now if you’re like me and still have your Christmas arrangements outside…don’t even consider putting a few painted eggs in with the holiday ornaments to make nice with the Easter bunny. Throw them out! And do it this week or the evil winter witch will camp out at your door and invite all her witchy winter friends to party on. It’s still too cold to enjoy our beloved tulips and daffodils out there, so put them in the window to welcome the spring-angels of mercy. God help us all.

Get out! And finally – for all that’s holy – let’s get off our assets and walk in the fresh spring air, regardless of the temperature. And if you’ve still got snow, pretend it’s a beautiful white sandy beach. We’ve all closed our eyes and thought of England at some point in our lives. Well it’s time to exercise that skill again…we just need to change the thinking location to the Bahamas. All those butt-busting exercises we’ve been avoiding because…blah, blah, blah…are no longer valid. Time to shake and bake our booties!

So? It’s spring! Winter is over and that’s all there is to it! Now let’s get out there and enjoy it, dammit!

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

 

 

 

Hanging Out With Mary

Standard

clip-art

Happy International Women’s Day: To celebrate this event, I attended a dinner this week where Canadian comedian Mary Walsh spoke to over 700 people…in a black bra! There was nothing sexy about it.

What’s this about? Mary is an entertainer of a certain age, who changed her costume in front of the audience, as part of her routine. She simply stood there in her underwear with all her jiggly bits jiggling, as she kept right on talking. It was a hysterically funny and incredibly beautiful thing.

Just hanging out! Now I don’t normally get excited about seeing an middle-aged woman in her underwear. But the sheer comfort and confidence Mary displayed, with her muffin tops muffin-topping, and her cellulite and wrinkles winking at the crowd…well, it was a vision of divine intervention. Especially for anyone in the room wearing Spanks, body shapers, control top pantyhose and all things that pinch and squeeze us into unholy togetherness.

Starving for attention: What a refreshing change she was from just a few nights before, when I watched the beautiful people of Hollywood parade their botoxed, surgically altered Oscar worthy bodies up and down the red carpet. The fact that many of them can no longer smile…or eat for that matter…doesn’t mean a thing. All that does matter is for someone to ask, “Who are you wearing?”

Mirror, mirror: Our obsession with perfect bodies is like a social piranha, eating away every day at our confidence and self-respect. Yes, the magazine and movie industries have nurtured this obsession, but so do we, as we continue to buy and watch and compare…in the mirror. And as we age, as Mary is doing, graceful acceptance of our sagging bits and bobs is a rare gift. We need to learn to embrace our softer squishier parts without wrestling them into a spandex torture chamber or underwire harness.

Key note: Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to have as healthy a body as we can. That goes without saying. But if only we could be more like Mary…and let it all hang out with pride and humor. And while I enjoyed the entertainment value of Mary’s keynote address at the dinner, her confidence and charisma while standing there in her black bra and middle-aged body, said more to me about International Women’s Day than anything in her evening performance. It was downright liberating, even for a tough old broad like me.

Seriously: Mary made us laugh at her, with her and at ourselves. We need more women like that. And more real women who can stand in front of 700 people in a black bra ala muffin tops, and not give a damn. And as I am reminded by the sign on my desk, “She Who Laughs, Lasts.”

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

Once Upon a Word

Standard

Double trouble: I’m sorry to subject you to the subject of the english language when you’re probably having a nice soft day. But sometimes I think the word-inventors were verbally insane or just plain lazy. Why else would we have so many words with the same spelling and totally different meanings? Was the project team simply lacking in brain cells or imagination?  Or did they become bored halfway through the job? Perhaps it was an early attempt at recycling to save endangered letters?

To better explain what I’m on about, there is no time like the present to present you with my story-present. Happy reading!

Book with stars

The Sewer in the Sewer

Once upon a time, there was a Polish seamstress who liked to polish her husband’s boots. She was a lovely little woman who would shed a tear every time she saw a tear in her man’s work clothes, hanging in the shed. Wasting no time, she would always repair to her sewing room to repair the damage. The little sewer also liked to grow vegetables and could produce lots of produce for her family. But she drew the line at taking out the refuse and would refuse to carry out the garbage. And try as she might, she could never teach the sow to sow. But that’s a story for another day.

Now despite her protests, every garbage day her husband would take her by the hand and lead her to the garbage, then tell her to get the lead out as he went off to work.  And by the way, he also resented the fact that she didn’t know how to row a boat and she wouldn’t let him teach her. But again I digress, as that that has nothing to do with my story.

Anyway, one day as she was hauling the bags to the curb, a dove suddenly dove into her hair. She screamed and ran into the street, and the poor little sewer fell into the open sewer. She tried to pull herself out using her scarf, but the wind was too strong in the tunnel and she couldn’t hold the scarf steady enough to wind it around the pipes.  Then suddenly in the street above her, she heard an invalid arguing with a policeman about an invalid parking spot. She screamed for help and thankfully, they were close enough to rescue her and close the sewer cap.

While all this was happening, her husband was doing some construction work  at the Hot Sands Resort when his cell phone rang. Upon hearing his wife’s distress, he instantly made the decision to desert his job in the desert and rush to his little sewer’s side. He was upset to see that she had hurt her arm in the fall, so he lovingly wound a bandage around the wound.

From that day on, never again did he object to her objections about taking out the garbage, as this had become the object of her near demise. And he would intimate to his closest friends how intimate they had become after this incident.  Oh yes – and never again did they row about him teaching her how to row a boat either.

And so they lived happily ever after.  Cute Star

The End

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

An Apple a Day…

Standard

New Arrival: I’ve changed my clothes 3 times before sitting down to write this post. Everything had to be perfect – hell, I even cleaned up my workspace for the occasion. It’s not everyday you get the Lamborghini of computers to keep you company through the long lonely hours of a bloggers life. I had to make a good first impression for my shiny new MACBook Pro 15″ with retina display and mission control dashboard. Oh baby – come to mama!  Image

You didn’t! Oh yes I did! I made the gargantuan leap from PC land to Mac island and I’m overwhelmed by alien widgets, icons and dazzling special effects. But despite the blank page in my brain and the piercing pain in my cyber-gut, I already know this will be a forever relationship. Like any good marriage, it’s just going to need a ton of work.

Salute! So with a saddened heart, I put my old Dell PC to rest yesterday after 10 years of loyal service. She was a good old gal, hardworking and carefree; except in her final days when the constant chugging uphill to make the grade, broke the tired old broad down. I’m sure she felt like poor Sisyphus, pushing all that computer guck uphill everyday, only to watch it crash back down again.  Then recently, through her coughing and wheezing, she asked me if she could retire and stop the madness. I reluctantly agreed. She will be missed.

New tricks: I know this PC/Mac change is a huge step for me at this age. But the way I look at it – why should all the new toys and gadgets be only for the young? What about the young at heart? Yes, my learning curve will be curvier than most, but I’m up for the challenge. As you know from reading i-Crazy and i-Lied, I’m nuts about i-stuff. And now with the syncing opportunities and creative possibilities,  how can I not fall even deeper in i-love? It’s a marriage made in the Mac store!

If truth be told: Of course it helped to have my brilliant niece come with me to translate what the fast-talking pimply-faced salesman was blah-blah-blah-ing about.  When the youth of today talk to me, I try my best to turn up the speed on my ear-intake control valve, but it’s all gobbledygook most of the time. And as everyone  knows, except those under the age of 25, higher vocal speeds cause glazing of the eyeballs, especially in the elderly.

Life Support: After arriving home with an empty wallet, my niece then helped me with the hook-ups and initial transition to Mac-dom. I couldn’t get her to move in with me, but she did promise  24/7 support for the next 10 years if Hubsey feeds her one of his delicious concoctions on every visit. What a deal!

Signing off: Well, that’s it from me today. In just 24 hours, I’ve gotten this far, so that’s a good sign. As we age, we tend to think we gather knowledge and maybe even know-it-all from time to time. But change is a good exercise in humility and patience. May the force be with me!

See you between the lines!

Pat Skene

In My Dreams!

Standard

old-people-friendly-happy-coupleYikes!  Have you noticed as we age, we start looking more like our husbands? We wear our pants higher, our underpants looser, our hair shorter, our shoes flatter and we even have the odd whisker popping out in the darndest places. And don’t get me started on the old-man grunts I make when I get out of a chair!

It’s a crap shoot:  What is it about getting older that makes us want to get special deals and free stuff? Is it because we’re on a fixed income, or maybe because we’ve lived long enough to earn a better price? Or do we just get cheaper as we age; afraid we’ll outlive our money in the reality game of aging roulette?

Cheap cheep: And you gotta luv how so many aging boomers eagerly morph into early-bird cottonheads. Not only do they get the wiggly worm, they get 2 for 1 dinners, 1/2 price drinks and doggie bags filled with mushy leftovers.

Like crows on a wire: Years ago, before I was a woman of a certain age, I used to visit my aging aunt Bernice in Florida. She never cooked and ate out all the time. I was horrified at how we would always arrive early and line-up  for dinner at 4:00pm. It was usually a buffet so the old codgers and codgerettes could get their money’s worth.

Free take-out: I remember once, aunt Bernice had forgotten to take a Ziploc bag into the restaurant. But that didn’t stop her. She simply fished a plastic rain-hat out of her purse – you remember the kind that folded up like a cheap fan? Then she asked me to load it up with chicken thighs from the buffet on our way out. Kill me now!

Words to live by: My aunt has sadly passed on and here I am, the same age she was at the time mentioned above. But I don’t feel old, I don’t own a plastic rain-hat and I don’t steal food from a buffet…as yet. And, as  Hubsey always says, “I don’t line up for food or sex.”

Stuck in time: In my dreams, I’m always 32. I know this because people ask me my age (in my dreams). I’m never any older and never any younger; always 32 years old! Slim waist, long blonde hair, killer stilettos, and not an aching bone in my body.

Reality bites: But then I wake-up and see that strange old woman in the mirror, and I ask her, “Who the  hell are you?”

stock-photo-5993527-broken-mirror

Pat Skene
See you between the lines!

A Tip of the Brim

Standard

What’s up? A very exciting thing happened to me this morning when I went on my walk.  Well, this is as exciting as things get in my world. To you, this may be a dull and boring start to your day, but try to be kind and share my joy.

Tip of the day: As I walked along the waterfront in my early morning brain fog, noodling about the things that go on in my head at that time of day, a gentleman of a certain age did something, no man has done to me for a very long time. (Get a grip!) He tipped his hat to me as he walked by. In return, I gave him the biggest smile I could muster.  What a beautiful vintage greeting for a Victoria Day weekend.     

Let’s be clear: This lost art of  “hat tipping” is not to be confused with hair tipping, waiter tipping, tipping the scales, the tip of an object, giving someone a hot tip, the tipping point, tipping one’s hand, the tip of a pitched baseball, things on the tip of your tongue, bringing rubbish to the tip, or the tipping of an unsuspecting cow. I’m talking about the tipping of a hat.

It’s in the bones: This cultural expression of respect and greeting, says so much in a simple tip of the brim. It doesn’t have to be a fancy hat with pomp and plumage. It can be a simple Blue Jays baseball cap. It’s the manner in which it’s being tipped that counts. And I promise you, there will always be a real old-fashioned gentleman underneath it. 

Without words: The message that this small gesture conveyed to me, was – nice to see you, it’s a beautiful morning, enjoy your walk, I respect you, I hope you have a good day, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met…okay, maybe I made up that last part, but you get my drift.

Back then: In the late 19th/early 20th century, this gesture was used as a non-verbal greeting, mostly done by males. It was rare for females to partake in the custom. It was also a ritual used to emphasize status and social distance. For example, a subordinate would remove his hat, while a superior merely touched it.

Right now: Today, we’ve taken things to a whole new level. We may not find many hat tippers out there, like I did this morning. But the blogosphere has developed a modern day hat tip by using the letters HT or h/t, to thank someone, or acknowledge a contribution to something new or interesting. It’s a nice thing to do and considered good netiquette.

Well, that’s it from me to you for today. H/T to you all and happy Victoria Day.

Pat Skene

Enjoy the Good Life – As the Condo Turns

Standard

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

Standard

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…

Standard

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

Standard

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.

The Good and Bad of Condo Boards – As the Condo Turns…

Standard

I’m always amazed at the number of complaints owners have about their condo boards. Granted, it’s a herculean task to keep everyone happy. But some don’t even try.

Condo boards reflect the collective personalities and experiences of their directors. So it’s easy to understand that the approach taken by each board is the unique meshing of the individuals involved.

If you’re lucky, you will enjoy the results of a productive and open-minded board. If you’re not, they can make your life hell – if you let them.

Tip of the day – Not all condo boards are created equal

Beyond the fiduciary responsibilities, which are significant, there are other parameters that determine if you have a good or bad condo board. Here is my view on the subject:

A good condo board will create an honest and open communication system for all owners, and welcome new ideas.

A good condo board will allow owners to voice their opinions privately and in open meetings, without fear of reprisal.

A good condo board will invite a fair and open nomination system for board appointments, without favouritism.

A good condo board will be respectful and not bully their way through pre-determined outcomes.

A good condo board will be humbled by their elected responsibilities, not inflated by them.

A good condo board will ask owners what they want, and listen to what people have to say, instead of assuming they know best.

A good condo board will deal with irate owners in a calm and respectful manner.

A bad condo board will do none of the above.

Until tomorrow…these are the days of our lives.

Stand up to the Bullies – As the Condo Turns…

Standard

As with any neighbourhood, condo buildings will always have their share of  crotchety old farts, who consider themselves the keeper of the rules. A friend of mine from Chicago tells me how someone shouted at her from his balcony at 10:00pm one evening, as she temporarily parked her car in the outdoor visitor lot. He told her she should park in the underground garage. And in the shared laundry room of her building, certain self-appointed snoops patrol the place like they’re on a reconnaissance mission to recover stolen support hose and granny panties. She gets up at 4:00am to do her laundry and avoid them.

This brings me to today’s topic.

Tip of the day – Stand up to the bullies

In my nearly three years here, I have encountered our resident enforcers on several occasions. They’re easy to recognize by their distinctive hatchet faces and beady eyes. I’ve been told with finger wagging precision by the hydro police to remember to turn off the lights in the pool and lounge areas when I leave. Another time, I offered to do a free author reading for the grandchildren of the condo development here, and the signs were ripped down from the bulletin boards because they weren’t approved by the sign police.      

Now I realize without rules we have anarchy. But without reason, we have stupidity. On a good day, I tell myself that these self-imposed guardians of the sacred rules are misguided souls who need to get a life.  On a bad day, I just want to tell them to go to hell.

As owners, we own our unit and everything in it. Common areas are shared spaces, not exclusive to a few obnoxious bullies. But like any bully, if we ignore them long enough, they’ll eventually go away. And if they don’t – release the hounds!

Until tomorrow…these are the days of our lives.

Become a Codger-Dodger – As the Condo Turns…

Standard

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.