Resolving Timeline Issues

Archive for December 2009

Merry Christmas. We wish you joy and peace for the holiday season.

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Tonight, I’m trying really hard to remember the spirit of the season. And yet, I am perturbed. Angry, even.

A couple of years ago, we had a fire at my townhouse complex. Two units gutted, one with extensive smoke and water damage. The people that lived in those units just moved back in a couple of weeks ago.

The culprit? The elderly man in the end unit who was cold (in the middle of August) and turned a space heater on and it caught fire. No one’s really sure if the heater got too close to something or if it short-circuited or what. There’s no blame anywhere.

A little backstory: the couple in that unit, the man and his wife, are elderly. She is often gone, visiting her grandkids (another story :sigh:). He is left alone.

Oh and the year before the fire, he was diagnosed with dementia. It was harmless, really, before the fire. He’d grouse at people parking in the visitors parking, grouse at people driving too fast in the complex, etc. And then the fire. His wife had said he wouldn’t be back – that she was getting help for him.

Today, Darren came upstairs and said there were firetrucks outside. I immediately went to the window to ogle the firemen. Unfortunately, they were pulling away. I went upstairs to get some diapers so we could go out and from the upstairs window, I saw the fire supervisor’s truck still there. I figured they were conducting some sort of inspection on the newly-repaired units.

We packed up and went out. When we pulled out of the garage, we noticed there was a second truck, some firefighters putting away some equipment, and the old man from that unit wandering around. Our neighbours 2 doors down were out and watching.

On the way to Costco, I informed Darren that if our family (especially the Poptart) was hurt because of something the old man did, there would be hell to pay. He agreed with me.

Apparently, the wife had gone out and he was going to boil some water. So he put a kettle on their gas stove.

It was an electric kettle. You know, the kind with the plastic outside and the base it sits on that you switch on to boil (no stove needed)?

Another neighbour heard the fire alarm, called 911 and then went in to get him. He was in the kitchen, watching, and refusing to leave because he didn’t think it would get any bigger. Apparently the flames were already at the fan. The neighbour is having breathing problems because of inhaling poisonous fumes from the burning plastic and was on 100% oxygen for a couple of hours.

The wife came home, was told what happened, and left him at home alone again. TWICE IN THE SAME AFTERNOON.

That’s when the 2 doors down neighbours called the police to see what could be done. They sent someone by to do an evaluation.

And so, I am feeling perturbed at the moment. As Darren says, the old man has proven, at least twice, that he does stupid shit when he’s left alone. And his wife refuses to recognize this.

I can only hope that at this point, she will get the help she needs.

Because really, if it happens again, I’m not the only one who will be uncharitable.

I wrote this yesterday when we were supposed to get 20 cm (8 inches) of snow. We didn’t and everything is all melty, but it still holds true. Suggest you take number 1 to heart since we have a bit of reprieve right now.

Dear Drivers,

It’s that most wonderful time of the year when Vancouver gets it’s annual snowfall. I expect this year won’t be as bad as last year, but the rules are the same:

1. Get some goddamn snow tires already

For real. Just because “Vancouver doesn’t get that much snow” if you’re going to insist on going out in your car, in the snow, GET SNOW TIRES. You’ve had a year to save up since LAST YEAR’S snowfall. Buy the damn tires and another set of rims, keep them mounted and have them switched out every Thanksgiving and Valentines Day (or Easter if you tend to go on long drives to the interior).

2. If you park your car outside clear ALL of the snow off the windows, headlights, turn signals and the taillights before you get going

The windows are there so you can see when you drive. If there’s snow covering the windows, you can’t see. Duh.

Also, once you start moving, the snow falls off onto the (hopefully) cleared roads and messes them up, and flies onto the windshield of the car behind you. Really, really annoying. This morning, I drove Darren to the train, and the minivan in front of me had only cleared the windshield. With the wipers. The headlights were on but the taillights weren’t cleared off. I couldn’t tell if the driver was using signals when he/she turned because those were also covered. If it hadn’t been for the streetlights, I wouldn’t have been able to see the back of the car. With that in mind…

3. If you need to clear the white stuff off your car, give yourself extra time.

Get up 15 minutes earlier, assess and get your car ready. Better yet…

4. Take public transit or walk. Or both

I’m not even going to bother elaborating on this.

5. Stay calm and take your time

Duh.

While I normally eschew advice from other parents unless it is requested, because I am a big believer in Doing What Works for You and Your Family, I also like to think that there are certain things we need to indoctrinate them in early on.

I am not a follower of religion in any organized sense – you might call me a Deist, or an agnostic depending on the day of the week, the alignment of the stars and so on. I believe in letting people, and that includes children, getting to answers themselves. By and large, it is our job as adults to give them the tools to get to the answers themselves.

That said, studies show that if you start things early in life, people will continue it. Exercise for example: if you start kids early on regular physical activity (and make it fun), they’ll continue being active for most of their lives. By and large (don’t overdo it, or you end up with someone like me :))

Also, little girls should be indoctrinated to one of the pleasures of life early on:

New Shoes

At least one of them is a pair of runners.

First, if you haven’t read this post, you need to in order to understand where I’m coming from.

Done? Okay, so to recap: we (“the electorate”) regularly vote in and have the opportunity to vote out governments. In order to get our votes, politicians campaign and make promises and threats. More recently, there have been a lot of threats.

This, incidentally, is why President Obama was so successful – he told people what he was going to do and inspired hope rather than fear.

Also in the post linked above I asked you who should be afraid of whom.

What if I told you that it’s the politicians that should be afraid of us? After all, we have the power to vote them in and out.* But that would require voting. In the last election, somewhere around 50% voted. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less.

And by not voting, you are allowing fear to rule you – fear that you’re going to change the status quo.

So the next time there’s an opportunity to vote, think about why you’re not voting. Is it really apathy? Is it really a feeling that you can’t change anything?

Or has fear-mongering gotten the better of you and made you somewhat of a coward?

I’d encourage you to make your representatives accountable – demand service from there. Remember, they’re paid to serve you. Keep bugging them. Demand their help. Show them who’s in charge.

*Okay, so the system is a bit skewed in Canada due to the first past the post system, but the general principle applies.


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