Serendopeity

The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!

Monthly Archives: January 2009

FaceBook Woes

Is it just my imagination or is the new FaceBook layout causing everyone problems.  I despise the new layout and no I am not going to join the “I hate the new FaceBook Layout Group”.

When I open FaceBook I get the to the Home page very easily.  It does take a couple of minutes to download but I figure that is because in Technical Terms my puter is a dinosaur.  It has been around since 2001 and does only have a 16gig hard drive but the hard drive isn’t more than 50% full so it should still work right?

When I click on my Profile Page or my Friends Page I manage to age a year or two waiting for it to download, that is if it downloads.  Same if I try to add a comment on my home page.  I could drive to Toronto and back before it accepts a comment, if it accepts it.

I have High Speed internet so it’s not that.  I guess I should really learn how to use my new laptop that has been sitting in the box since I got it in June…but ya know, sometimes it is tough to teach an old dog new tricks and all the bad press that Vista has gotten has me scared.

So if I owe you a reply on FaceBook please do not think I am ignoring you.  And if you read somewhere that a woman ran amok and tried to kill FaceBook…

Have a great weekend.

Nancy

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Landlord Man has an “Obvious Blatant Disrespect” for the Residential Tenancies Act.

So sayeth the Judge.

So today was my big Court Date with Landlord Man who actually did show up.  The papers are still sitting at the Post Office, so I have deduced that he found out about the hearing by phoning the LandLord Tenant Board after receiving a letter from them regarding another matter I had applied for.

Yes, he did show up, armed with a newspaper, a file folder with my lease in it and the lease of the woman next door who also had a date with him and the judge.  Oh ya, also in the folder was an Eviction Notice for me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. 

Mary (the woman next door) and I set out in about 3 inches of snow to go to Cobourg for the hearing.  Any of you who do not know the area, Cobourg is about 30 miles from here.  We had to be there at 9:00 so we left early – 7:30.  We got there in plenty of time, signed in and waited for our cases to be called.

Lo and behold, at 9:20 Landlord Man strolls in – late as usual.  We were instructed to be there at 9:00 sharp.

Mary went first – her case was pretty simple, a straight up illegal rent increase.  She got thru it ok and was awarded the over payment on her rent.  However it was very obvious from the start that Landlord Man was way out of his element and about to have his limited intelligence tested.  On more than one occassion “Madam Chair” had to remind him to (a) answer the question, (b) listen to the question and (c) inquire as to whether he knew anything about the Residential Tenancies Act.  She was not amused to say the least.

Bottom line -The RTA is in place for “exactly that reason” she said, refering to his raising of the rent far above what the law allowed for.  In Mary’s case he raised her rent almost 36%.  The law says 1.4% is the max for this year.  She gets all of  the overpayment back.

 

Then it was my turn.  He didn’t even leave the chair he was in and poor “Madam Chair” was not amused by the fact there were two tenants in her court room with the same landlord. In fact there were very few times this morning that “Madam Chair” was amused by him.  Heeheehee.

I, on the hand, was very well prepared.  Yay Me!!!.  We breezed thru the rent issue.  I was awarded the overpayment.  And again she reminded him that as a Landlord he had a responsibility to know the Residential Tenancies Act and to follow it.  When she is finished Landlord Man whips out the Eviction Notice, telling “Madam Chair” that he is giving it to me now with her as a witness.  Oh, oh, now she is really not amused and tells him in a very stern voice – “You can’tdo that here.  First of all there are proper ways to do that, again I refer to the RTA.” (sic)  “Secondly, you cannot evict someone because they have brought you here before this board.” (sic).  Ok so now I am thinking that perhaps I just struck the motherlode.  The crowd behind me is snickering all the while she is admonishing him.  All I have to do is mind my P’s and Q’s and present my next application.

The second application I had filed was related to maintenance on the property.  Suffice to say there are issues that stem back to when I first moved into the house.  Some of those issues have been rectified.  Some have not.  She goes thru each item, one at a time.  Each time I am confident, knowledgable and have paper to back me up.  He refutes all the paper saying that he never saw any of it, letter I sent with my rent cheques etc.  Each item I explain as well as possible.  It is a very complex explanation at times, trying to describe a room that I have been in a hundred times, that she has never seen.  So finally she asks me to draw a picture…now, anyone who knows me well, knows that I can’t even draw stick people so me drawing something was probably not a good thing !  I explain my issues one by one.  When it is Landlord Man’s turn to speak – well, lets just say again, she was not amused.  In ddition to not knowing what he was talking about he lied thru his teeth while I just sat there and laughed at him.  What I didn’t know that behind me people were actually coming back into the room to watch because they needed to be entertained and having “Madam Chair” telling Landlord Man over and over and over the same thing WAS pretty funny.  Well, not for “Madam Chair”  I think the best part was when she told him for the umpteenth time that he must verbally give answers as the hearing is taped and cannot see him nodding his head.

Bottom line for this one – she reserved judgement and will send out a written order once her decision has been made.  However I am VERY confident bout this.  I might not get all the recomp I was asking for but I will get something.

The final application I made was in respect to Tenant Rights.  Basically, Landlord Man’s threat of Eviction if I did not agree to the new rent amount that was way over the 1.4% allowed by law.  She saw it more as harassment and treated it as such. However, she did make a point of telling him that she will determine what the fine will be and that him bringing Eviction papers that had not been processed under the RTA was not a good sign. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. So again I will receive her decision by mail once she has reviewed all the evidence.  I myself had over 50 pages of stuff (including the applications) so she has some reading to do.

At the end she made a statement.  She said that he had an “Obvious Blatant Disrespect” for the RTA and that one thing for sure was that her desicion would include an Order for him to learn the ACT.  As a Landlord he has certain responsibilties, and again using the word obvious, he had no clue as to what those responsibilities are.  Nor did he seem to think that he was bound by any law.  “Madam Chair” obviously was not amused by now (this was about 2 1/2 – 3 hours since we began.)

I gave Landlord Man the rent cheque for February and he high tailed it out of there like a rabbit.  This only added more comedy to the Deer caught in the headlights look he had for the whole hearing.

All in all, I feel really good about it.  Sure, I won’t walk away rich but every penny I get from that scumbag will be put to good use. 

Now I know scumbag is a very strong word (ahem) however there is one little piece that I left out…

Landlord Man is from a different country.  In his country women are treated like dirt.  They have no say in anything, they call their husbands Master and are not allowed to think for themselves.  The mere fact that the person in charge of today’s hearing was a woman, must have been eating a major hole in his gut for the entire time we were there.  And to have a woman admonish him for basically being stupid e3very time he opened his mouth – well I am sure that he seethed all the way back to Toronto.  And that makes me very very happy.  Not because I am a bad person, but because attitudes like his are what alot of Domestic Violence issues stem from and if there is one thing I hate it’s DV. I just hope that he doesn’t go home and take it out on his wife and daughters.  I actually like them.

Thank you for all your support.  In addition to comments here I have received many emails from alot of you and I do truly appreciate it.

 

Nancy

Landlord Man Update

Well, well, well.  Landlord Man has yet to pick up the papers I mailed him regarding our court date this coming Wednesday, January 28th.  When I received the Notice of Hearing I was instructed to send him a copy.  I had to send it so that he would receive it at least 10 days before the scheduled hearing date.

I sent it ExpressPost with a signature required to cover my butt. The Post Office tried to deliver the package to his home on January 11.  No one was home so they left a Notice telling him that it was available for pickup at his local post office.  As of today, Jan 25 he has yet to pick up the package (woohoo!!! for online tracking).

So, if he doesn’t pick it up tomorrow or Tuesday he is going to miss the hearing and from what I can gather reading the website  this is not a good thing for him. (Aww, what a shame – NOT!!!!!)

However I will be a little peeved if he doesn’t show up. I have spent many hours going over Acts and Statutes, many hours preparing my questions.  I have gone as far as to to try and guess some of his repsonses and have questions relating to every scenario I could think of.  I have preactised my opening statement in front of the mirror.  I AM SO READY FOR THIS.  If he doesn’t show up it will be like Lunch Bag Letdown.  My legal prowess will be for naught – and I will win by default. 

Winning is a good thing but winning by default is … well…it’s just not right. LOL.  I know, I know, a win is a win is a win.  But I have been so looking forward to him showing the rest of the world truly what an ASS he is that if he doesn’t show up it just won’t be any fun winning…

Damn,  I hate it when this happens!

What were they thinking???

As most of you are aware. I am the primary caregiver to my parents, both who have Alzheimer’s Disease.  We manage to do ok on a day to day basis.  I can leave them both alone at home together or they can go for a walk together  depending on the weather.  I can leave dad at home alone for a short period of time if I take mom to get a haircut or something, but I would never leave mom home alone. Nor would I leave them both home alone overnight.  Its just something I would not do.

Today I was driving down Main Street in my quaint little town , lo and behold I see a woman all bundled up (it was about -14) scurrying along the street.  I immediately recognized her as the woman that my good friend Sue “senior sits” during the week. This woman has also been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and is in a much later stage than mom and dad are.  She cannot be left alone (she recently moved into a new home that had been built because she burned the other one down).  I drove around the block and stopped the car.  I got out to go talk to her – she acted as though she knew me – we have met on several occassions – and asked her what she was doing walking around town.  She told me that she felt like going for a walk so she did.  She was properly dressed, ski jacket w/hood, mittens and boots but looked like she was freezing.  So I suggested that perhaps I should drive her home because it was so cold out.  At first she didn’t think that was such a good idea but after a bit of coaxing she relented and said ok. 

I pulled into her driveway as a woman (who I had never seen before) was just leaving.  She seemed surprised to see us and asked what was wrong.  I told her that I was a friends of  Sue’s and knew this older woman (she is 81) and found her walking down Main Street in the cold.  She said – Yes, she was on her way to see her daughter at the Legion.  I held back my tongue because first I didn’t know if this was one of the kids (there are 8 of them) and secondly if I had have opened my mouth I would have torn a strip down one side and back up the other of this woman.  She knew she had gone for a walk and thought it was ok?????  Pass me some of those drugs they seem to work better than my Demerol. 

I kind of mumbled asking her to take the older woman into the house.  It was cold out and she was cold.  All smiles she took her into the house. (I found out later she was not one of the children but rather someone who “hangs” around periodically so I guess it really didn’t matter to her that the woman was out. Grrrrr)

OK so here is my rant.  What in God’s name was an 81 year old woman doing out in -14 degree weather going for a “walk”.  Her family has determined that she cannot be left alone – does that not include being outside?  I was and still am livid.  I was at Sue’s tonight and I told her what had happened.  Boy, was she mad!!!!!!!  When she is there she does not let this woman out of her sight except to go to the bathroom.  I have spent time with this woman and she cannot be left alone.  What were they thinking letting her walk into town?  What if she had not turned down the street she did – she would have continued on Main Street with the next town being about 7 miles away.  Not to mention that Main Street is technically a Highway and the sidewalk ends about 1/2 block down from my house.

Furthermore, what if someone else had stopped and offered this woman a ride.  Someone who did not know her, know of her illness and was not exactly tryingto pick her up just to drive her home???  As much as I feel safe in this town there are some rather crazy people in the world in general.  No place no matter how quaint and “safe” is immune.

I could spit nails right about now.  Sue takes her responsibility of taking care of this woman very seriously, as do I in regard to the care of my parents.   I have seen Sue with this woman, she is kind, compassionate and has more patience than I do sometimes with my own parents. 

I am sorry but this is just sheer irresponsibility on the part of this woman’s family. If they were not going to be home then someone should have been brought in to watch over this woman until someone would be home. (One of the children comes every night to make dinner and there are at least one or two people sleeping in the house everynight with the older woman.  She is notleft alone at night.)  Additionally, if someone had brought my mother home because she had wandered away I would have been so thankful that I would still be saying thank you. (This has happened and believe me amid tears I could not say thank you enough.)  I would like to be there tomorrow when Sue talks to the daughter…

Am I over reacting???  Is my role with my parents clouding my judgement?  Should I just file this under “Oh well, I guess I am the crazy one?” 

What would you do?

OK, I’m here.

Today I took my real first step into the blogging world.  I announced via email and Facebook that my blog was ready to be seen.  I have been a little nervous about “exposing” it to all my friends and family because sometimes I think some of them think that I dwell too much on having had cancer.  To anyone who thinks that please try to understand that surviving cancer changed my life.  Not only health wise but in every other aspect.  For the last four years I have tried to forget about that fateful day Dr. James Russell Scott told me “We have a problem dear”, but no matter how hard I try, it won’t go away.  And that’s not a bad thing.  Having cancer made me see things that I had never seen before and not just metaphorically. Until I was diagnosed I didn’t even know what Esophageal Cancer was.  I knew about the kindness of strangers and had witnessed it occasionally but never understood the impact it could have.  I knew the concept of Pay it Forward, but had never used it. 

So, for the record, surviving cancer is still a daily battle I live with. Eating issues, sleeping issues, guilt issues, pain issues, breathing issues – the list goes on and on.  For me Esophageal Cancer did not end with my “No Evidence of Disease” report from my Doctors.  What it did was start a new chapter of Living With EC.  A life, I hope, will last a long time.

So the next time you hear me say “When I was sick…”, please don’t roll your eyes or look at me and say “But you are not sick anymore”. Please listen to what I have to say with an open mind.  

I lost two years of my life that I can never get back.  Please don’t expect me to just forget about it.

My Best Friend is an Acronym

My best friend is NED.  NED has been my best friend for the last 4 years.  We met by accident but I am glad to have NED as my best friend.

NED doesn’t ask me why I am in a bad mood even if I am cursing a red streak.

It makes no difference to NED whether I say good morning or not.

Nor does NED care if I use premium coffee or the cheap stuff starting out my daily ritual. 

I sleep with NED and take NED everywhere I go.

We are attached at the hip so to speak, like Siamese Twins, but we never have to argue about who gets to sit down and who is left standing up.

I live my life around NED knowing that if NED ever leaves me I will probably die.

It’s a strange feeling knowing that but at the same time, it’s not as scary as I once thought it would be.

Losing NED would change my life once again but I would hope that NED would return someday bringing me the same joy as the first time NED entered my life.

NED is my best friend because and as long as NED remains my best friend I am a happy camper. 

NED is the acronym for No Evidence of Disease.  In a nutshell, my cancer has been eradicated and I am cancer-free.

That being said I need NED to be in my life. Without NED…I’m DED.

(with apologies to my non-acronym BFF’S)

 

Congratulations United States of America

Today I envy all citizens of the U.S.A.  They have a new President, one I am sure will make more history than he already has by being elected.  I am not so sure about his choice of Veep – I would have gone with Hilary, but that is just my opinion.

I love the fact that American voters get to vote for the Man himself, not the party behind him.  If that were the case here in Canada I truly believe our Parliament would look a whole lot better than it does. Our Senators would have to actually work for their $130K a year.  And we would not have the mess we call our government.

So my hat is off to all of you south of the border who helped make this a most historic day in my life.  You done good.

Nancy

Esophageal Cancer Blogs and New Data

So I have been surfing around wordpress.com and there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of blogs by people who have EC. 

Come out, come out wherever you are.  There are new stats you need to see.  Insomuch as EC is still a very deadly type of cancer, things are looking up.

Baby steps, remember always baby steps…

Statistics Update from the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 2008 annual report.

Cancer trends and death rates.

Esophageal cancer still remains on an upward swing in the 2008 data. There were 16, 470 estimated new cases in 2008 and there were sadly, 14,280 estimated deaths. Only pancreatic cancer with 37, 680 new cases and 34,290 deaths had a higher mortality rate. Liver cancer is a very close third with with 21,370 new cases in 2008 and 18,410 deaths, only a few tenths of percentage points behind esophageal cancer.
On a more positive note, the 5 year survival rate for esophageal cancer has risen from 5% in 1975-77 to 16% in 1996-2003. That is a very positive trend and points to the progress and improvements in surgery outcomes over 20 years.

The report did not break down the data by stage of tumor, but should be on the NCI website shortly, if not already, since this is based upon federal data.

Some people just shouldn’t be allowed…

Lets face it, as some people should not be allowed to become parents, there are some people who should not be allowed to become landlords.

 

My landlord is one of those people.  First let me quantify this by stating that the person who owns the house I rent is not my landlord.  She is actually a very nice person. Quiet, meek and usually has a smile on her face. Says hello whenever I see her.  No, the landlord in question is her husband, herein referred to as Landlord Man.  If opposites attract then they are close to a perfect couple.

 

He is egotistical and suffers from a God complex.  He thinks he is smarter and better than anyone else and that he is above the law. He is a chauvinist, his actions speaking louder than words.    When I complained that the lights in the basement did not work, his first comment was “well, you have to change the light bulbs.”

 

Hello – I am 48 years old and have been on my own for many years.  I own a hammer, a set of screwdrivers, a drill and a ratchet set.  More importantly I know how to use them. My toolbox would make some men’s pale by comparison.  I enjoy painting and hanging wallpaper and am quite good at it, but enough about me.  Suffice to say that changing light bulbs was the first thing I tried when the lights went out.

 

I moved into this house in October 2007.  At that time it was just my dog and me.  My then significant other was to move in later but that never happened.  Instead my parents moved in.  My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2001.  My father was diagnosed with Dementia, possibly the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in 2007.  At that time his drivers license was suspended on the recommendation of the doctor who diagnosed him.  They were living in their own house but it was outside of town and without a mode of transportation couldn’t stay there.  Additionally, their place is right on the water and the thought of my mother wandering in the middle of the night and ending up in the lake was a little more than I could fathom, so I moved them in with me.

 

The house is large enough that they have a bedroom on the ground floor.  There is also a full bathroom for their use and they really have no reason to have to climb the stairs unless it is to look for me. This happens very infrequently.

 

The first problem I encountered in the house is in their bathroom. This was on my first day in the house.  The hot water tap in the sick was leaking so it got turned off.  It is still turned off to this day (1 ¼ years later).  It has been “looked” at by three different repairpersons on three different occasions and yet remains unable to be used.  The first two said it needed to be replaced. The third tightened it with a wrench and when I remarked that had been tired before and failed he said, “Well, it seems to be working now”.  Before the end of the day I had turned the water source to the tap off as there was a puddle accumulating on the floor.  Landlord Man has repeated told me that he is “bringing a plumber from the City to fix it”.  Ya, right!

 

That same “Plumber” that is going to fix the tap is also an “electrician” who is going to fix the light problem in the basement.  As it stands now, the basement is not only a scary place (unfinished with dirt floors), but now dark and scary as there are no lights working.  Every time I have to go and reset the fuse panel, I cringe and grab a heavy-duty flashlight lest I be attacked by whatever it is that inhabits the dark and scary hole.

 

Ah yes, the fuse panel.  Now why in the world would I have to reset that on a regular basis?  That is a story in itself…

 

The house is the middle property of three properties.  The property to the west is a General Store.  The house I live in is attached to that property.  The property to the east is a two-apartment unit.  It is separate from the house.

 

The former owner of all three properties lived in the house and ran the store.  She had owned it for 27 years and had quite a nice little business going. This is a small town and everyone knew her and her store.  It was here that, growing up; most of us had the pleasure of getting ice cream cones on a regular basis in the summer.  It was the place where penny candy was indeed still a penny and a place where you would most certainly bump into someone you knew the minute you opened the door.  It was a place where if you were a couple of cents short someone in line would cover it and where, if needed the owner would extend credit until the next payday.  You get the picture.   Norman Rockwell could not have painted a more real scene.

 

The house was originally a farmhouse and as such has a super large living room – about 358 square feet give or take a foot.  The store is attached to the property by way of this room.  The former owner used it as her living room.  She used the basement of the store for storage.  When she sold the properties Landlord Man decided that he would create an apartment in the basement so that in the event he wanted to stay overnight he could do so.  So the large living room became the Office/Storage room for the store.  When I rented the house I knew that the room was not part of the rental agreement.

 

However, since it was part of the house and not the store the hydro and natural gas feeds (for heat) came from the house.  I asked Landlord Man that the heating vents be cut off and the hydro reconfigured to be part of the store.  Landlord man redirected one hydro outlet only – the one used for the computer and security surveillance system.  (Why a surveillance system was needed in a small general store is beyond me).  I guess City Folks don’t trust people as much as us Country Folks do!  To Landlord Man’s credit he did close the heating vents and put up shelving over them.  But that didn’t last too long.  See, Landlord Man had other plans than to use the basement apartment for his own personal use.

 

By January 2008 there was someone living in the apartment. Landlord Man was letting a future tenant of one of the apartment units to the east of the property live there until the apartment was repaired and livable. When he moved out Landlord Man moved his nephew and nephew’s wife in to live there and run the store.  Problem was that the basement apartment leaked big time.  So, the new tenants were forced to make the Office/Storage room their living and sleeping quarters.  Now I was paying for their heat and hydro for that room.  On many occasions I would remind them of that.  This of course fell on deaf ears.  When I would mention it to Landlord Man he would tell me that it was only the ceiling fan and light that I was paying for and it wasn’t drawing all that much hydro anyway.  The heating, he said was blocked off.  Well, I beg to differ.  Since that room is technically part of the house the electrical outlets in that room draw their power from my hydro source.  My hydro bills paint a much different story than he would have me believe.  Additionally that room being as large as it is requires a tremendous amount of heat.  My natural gas bills for the colder months also tell a much different story than Landlord Man wants to hear.

 

Back to resetting the fuse panel – whenever I would plug the toaster in and turn on the coffee machine at the same time the breaker would trip on the fuse panel. Hmmm, I wonder why.  Could it be that there were other electrical sources being tapped in that big room?  That would be my guess.  But, the inhabitants could never complain to me because then I would have solid proof that they were indeed using my hydro.

 

And funny enough the natural gas bill for the month of Mar/April nearly doubled from the previous TWO months.  I can’t remember it being that cold to warrant a spike of that much more usage by us in the house.

 

Landlord Man evicted them in April and brought his Uncle and his Uncle’s wife to live in the apartment.  He still hadn’t repaired the leaky basement so again the Office/Storage room became their living and sleeping quarters.  The new tenants went as far to call the previous owner and ask how to turn on the Natural Gas fireplace in the room for warmth.  Luckily for me she refused to tell them unless they talked to me first.  They never did talk to me but the gas bill remained much higher than it should have for April/May.

 

The problem with the circuit breaker became more prevalent during their stay.  At least 3 times a week I had to venture into the dark scary basement to reset the fuse panel.

 

In November Landlord Man closed the store and the tenants moved out.  I had occasion to be in the large room on December 23 with Landlord Man.  Upon walking into the room I got hit with a heat wall.  That room was warmer than most rooms in the house and there was no one even living there.  When I mentioned this to Landlord Man and the fact that I was paying for that heat he just shrugged his shoulders and laughingly said, “Ya, I know”. 

 

I keep the house at 75 degrees.  This is fairly comfortable for the two elderly people living here with me.  The room that is used at the front of the house for a living room is about 68 degrees, it gets no warmer.  The upstairs rooms that I use as a bedroom and a computer room is about 63 degrees, it gets no warmer.  The damn heat is being sucked into a room that is empty.  358 square feet of empty and I am paying for it to be heated.

 

Well Landlord Man I have had enough.  On Monday I am filing papers with the Landlord Tenant Board.  One way or another you are going to have to justify stealing my hydro and natural gas.  Additionally you are going to have to justify the illegal rent increase you made and answer to the threats you made should I not agree to the rent increase.  See you in court!

 

PostScript: This was originally written last week.  I did file the papers with the Landlord Tenant Board on Monday January 5.  Lo and behold the same day that I got a court date (Jan 28) a plumber called and asked if he could come by and check out the problem.  Not only did he fix the plumbing but he also fixed the light problem in the basement.  YAY!  No more scary dark basement.  However, there are still numerous issues to be resolved.  I am actually looking forward to court – It will put me in my element where I thrive.  Will keep you posted on what happens.

 

 

 

 

Hello world!

This is easier than I thought.