i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

driveway destruction chronicles – and almost a year later…

Coming out of semi-but-not-really-but-it-sure-feels-like-it blog retirement to post a little update on the mess that is my driveway. For those of you playing at home, you might recall how my driveway was surprisingly dug up in November of last year. The sewage pipes backed up and flooded my poor neighbour’s basement. What we thought (and agreed to) was going to be just a little hole at the top of our driveway, turned into half of our drive being dug up, for a long, long time. Because of the time of year, we agreed with the neighbour that there was no point in repaving the driveway at the end of November as winter was coming (ha! Even before Game of Thrones, there was Cat’s Driveway Destruction Chronicles!) and that paving could happen in the spring.

We parked right at the bottom edge of the drive all winter. Suffered through mud, rocks, crappy winter of snow removal people not showing up and then the thaw.

Thing is, spring came and went and there wasn’t a peep from anyone about anything to do with paving.

Hmm.

April 2012

By July we were tired of waiting for the neighbour to come to us, so we went to her. Turns out there was a little misunderstanding about things, which we worked out. Because the stupid tree on our property was to blame for the pipes breaking, she was waiting for us to take the tree down before repaving. To be honest, we wanted that tree gone years ago since it kept dying every summer. So I called the city right away and was all “Now will you permit us to cut down your tree?” Turns out, the city is all about saying it’s their tree when the leaves fall off in 24 hours during the summer, but as soon as that tree causes damage to someone’s property the city is all “That’s your tree. You pay for it.”

Politics. Bleh.

Stupid Annually Dying Tree – July 2012

So we got our estimate, we got our permit and we just waited for them to come cut down the tree. As soon as I had the permit and a date for the tree removal, I let the neighbour know and she said she’d have them come and give her an estimate for the driveway paving. Things were underway. Finally.

Then it took forever for the tree people to come by and cut the tree down. They did, though. Eventually. In mid-August.

Take that, tree!

And then we waited for the driveway to be done. This has been another long wait. I don’t know if the tree people and pavement people are in cahoots or what, but the driveway process is even slower than the tree process. The driveway process had best be done before the ground starts freezing again, because there is no way I’m going through another winter with a sinkhole in my front yard.

Two weeks ago we came home to some progress…

Dirt!

The dirt that had been in piles on the neighbour’s lawn for nearly a year, was finally put back into the sinkhole! Woohoo! Progress! Any day now.

Remember how I said that was two weeks ago? Yeah.

About a week and a half later, we got this:

Gravel! And cutted up parts!

Then, we went back to having nothing done. Again. Woo.

Last Wednesday we came home to some work men on the roof of the neighbour’s house. They came over and spoke to us about the driveway. They wanted to know if we wanted them to even out the parts that weren’t cut up yet (see the stuff on the right hand side?) and if so, we’d have to pay for that because they weren’t including it in the neighbour’s price and if they did, the neighbour wasn’t going to pay it. Regardless of our thinking that it would just be normal for them to fix the driveway proper-like, we just want this done! We said if they gave us an estimate we’d let them know because it does make sense to have the space paved properly. Also, I’m thinking about wanting to sell this house in a year or so and I want a non-crappy driveway. We were told we’d have an estimate in our mailbox by Friday – Sunday the latest.

We never got that estimate, though this morning, as I was sleeping off a migraine and bad cold I was woken up by pounding. Turns out the guys were back and breaking up that part of the driveway we hadn’t agreed to have done and not gotten an estimate for.

We worked 45 minutes today. We need a break, we’ll be back in a couple of weeks, I guess.

I texted Shawn and told him what was going on. I honestly didn’t feel comfortable dealing with these guys by myself and I didn’t want them to know I was home alone, so I didn’t go out there. Way we saw it, they did this without out assent, so if they quoted an outrageous price at us we just wouldn’t pay.

I ran into the neighbour tonight as Shawn got home. She’s also a little unimpressed that these people do next to nothing and then leave for a week or more each time. However, I’m guessing these are friends of friends and like all of us, trying to save money on things if we can. My problem is that there’s a tiny corner of her driveway that’s effected by this and a dead truck sits on that part. We have to park our car right at the edge of our drive. It’s frustrating.

Not to mention the people today LEFT ALL THE ASPHALT ON OUR LAWN! We still had rocks and dirt from NOVEMBER there. They didn’t clean up after themselves either time. Ugh.

So the neighbour came over again earlier and had the driveway guy on the phone. He quoted Shawn a price and it was not at all what we were willing to pay. Shawn countered with what we were willing to pay and it was agreed upon at once. Obviously this is just a cash grab. We’re supposed to pay on Wednesday. Apparently this is supposed to be done on Wednesday. I don’t want to have over one cent unti this is finished. So we’ll see how Wednesday goes.

And yes, do we think we should pay for this? No. But are we? Yes. Why? Because I am sick and tired of this entire ordeal and I want the bloody thing paved and I want it paved before the winter starts. Besides I know the damaged cost a ton to fix and it’s not all done yet. The tree, though on our property, wasn’t planted by us, and the city is the one who ran those pipes through our driveway and under that tree (who the hell knows where OUR sewage pipes are?) so this little bit of cash isn’t going to kill us.

This has been one of those situations that’s totally awkward because our tree caused the damage, but it wasn’t OUR tree but we could still be held responsible because it’s on our property. That being said the neighbour’s pipes went through our property. Anyhow, we just want this done and no one suing anyone.

I’m hoping that by the end of September this will all be a bad memory. Although I’m not holding my breath. If luck’s on our side it’ll be done before November.

And then, hopefully next summer, we can sell this place and move away from this stupid province.

driveway destruction chronicles – wait…what? again!?

I was a little concerned on Sunday morning when I woke up and saw that it looked as though my neighbours were digging a grave in their drive way. I kid you not. Look.

Those pots and all that dirt are on our property and do not belong to us. When we got home from our errands and stuff the hole was a lot bigger and slightly in our driveway. One of the men on the crew said that the pipe was going diagonal and they didn’t think they’d have to dig further, but it might mean they have to dig slightly into our driveway.

Apparently the sewage line from the neighbour’s house to the city pipes backed up and flooded their basement. Lovely. They are currently staying in a hotel. Thankfully I took the car to the autopark for the bus this morning as I headed back to the picket line. Thing is when I got home, I was greeted by this:

That tractor is in my driveway. Or, rather, what’s LEFT of my driveway. WHAT CITY RUNS THEIR PIPES ALL DIAGONAL?! Gah! I think it’s because we’re on a corner though.

So my car is on the street. I had to call the city to let them know that because this is happening I have to park on the street. As of November 1st it’s illegal to park overnight here. This is due to snow removal stuff. I don’t want a ticket! Though one of the construction guys just came and said they made room for the car, so we might be ok. They are also very apologetic. I don’t think this is a regular construction group, I think it’s friends that the neighbours hired. They have all been very nice and sorry for the inconvience.

Of course we totally understand the need for this. It was just a shock to come home and have NO DRIVEWAY yet again. heh As long as they put everything back in one piece, I’m ok with this.

I feel really bad for the neighbours, this has got to suck big time. Not to mention cost a fortune to fix. The crew found the broken/blocked pipe and were able to replace it. Looks like we might have this all paved over tomorrow. Which is good, because they are predicting snow for Wednesday.  I hope they get everything back in place before the snow and that the family can move back in soon.

I’m curious as to what our driveway is going to look like now. I mean, half of it was repaved from when the city dug it all up and now we’re going to have a diagonal hole through the old part and the new… this is so weird.

I’d like to get through a year without having to have my driveway dug up though. This theme of it happening annual

destruction chronicles: are you bleeping kidding me?!?!

SEVEN BLEEPING AM IN ON A SATURDAY MORNING!!!

On the morning after having someone over and going to bed late, and having walked all over tarnation running errands at work and after having a miserable freaking week and on the morning of the Gala concert event that will have me out of the house most of the afternoon and home probably close to midnight.

SEVEN FREAKING O’CLOCK ON A SATURDAY MORNING!!

Yesterday morning when we were leaving for work I saw a tractor parked a little up the road with its lights on and behind a shrub. I said “Don’t think I don’t see you there, tractor. Get off my street!” Rather than get off my street in aided other construction vehicles in the destruction of the driveway two doors down.

I don’t know what the hell they are doing. Likely a problem with the new water pipes they put down. It’s not a problem, we, as the users of said water, have noticed at all. Maybe it’s specific to the house attached to that part of the driveway. All I know is that if they come anywhere NEAR my driveway I am going to kick them all in the shins and steal their tractor.

I am now extra exhausted and very ticked off. Being woken up a half hour before your alarm clock on weekdays sucks, but it’s nothing as sucktacular as being woken up at 7am in the morning on a weekend when you can’t even take a nap in the afternoon.

*shakes fist at the city*

destruction chronicles – i ? my city

Well, my loyal readers, it is with trepidation that I tell you that I may just be writing the final Destruction Chronicle for 2010. I make no promises, and to be honest, I thought the LAST post I wrote was the final one. At least, until I got my bottom in gear and emailed the city about the little problem that was left over from the paving of my driveway.

Did I think twice when the city Aqueduct truck pulled up in front of our driveway on Thursday morning and two men climbed down into the manhole with wires? Nah. The only thing I was thinking was, “Why the hell do they do these things exactly when we’re about to leave for work and now can’t get out of the driveway!? You’d think if they were blocking two driveways that have cars in them for any period of time, especially on a weekday morning at the time people are generally leaving for work, they would KNOCK ON YOUR DOOR AND ASK YOU TO MOVE FIRST.” So I was cranky as hell, didn’t think it had anything to do with the construction and didn’t whip out my camera to chronicle anything.

Thursday night I left work an hour and a bit late and therefore when Shawn picked me up at the bus terminus it was after 7PM and dark (SO sad that it’s dark at 7PM already!). We picked up bad-for-us-but-oh-so-good food on the way home and it was dark, so I didn’t notice anything different with our driveway.

Until we took the dogs out for a walk at 8:30 PM and I was about to tell Annie not to trip on the watermain valve… only…

The valve was no longer sticking up 4-5 inches from the ground! It was flush with the pavement!

And of course it was pitch black out and my iPhone can’t take photos in the dark so I made a note to myself to take photos in the morning (which I did with my phone). I was SO happy. I kept reminding myself all week to email the city and ask about the valve, but as I was out for 5 days with that plague (still lingering, too, drat!) I just didn’t have the energy. And to be honest, since I’d been emailing them since April to complain a) about why our driveway was dug up with no notice and b) the city killed our tree what can I do (that wasn’t a complaint so much as a concern), I didn’t feel comfortable emailing to ask if they could PLEASE fix this valve hazard.

So, either they are blog stalking me like my eye surgery place, or they had planned to fix this all along. I WAS giving them a couple of weeks grace because towards the end of the construction things would happen between longer gaps, but I was at the end of my 2 weeks and I thought I should ask about it before the first snowfall (which can happen at any time now, if you don’t think about how last night’s temperature went from 14C to 23C overnight… wth?).

My plan was to try and write about this on break at work, which is why I snapped the iPhone photos, but when we got home Friday, I noticed this:

They had freshly paved the side of the driveway around the valve! (the photo above is from my camera and not my phone). I was so impressed.

I feel like going to City Hall and hugging someone. 😉

Even will all my raving over the summer about the construction, I would like to take this moment to point out the following:

  • the construction crew that was around for the bulk of the project was always super friendly, polite, CLEAN and professional. I have been subject to other construction stuff around where I have lived and the crews would always leave their garbage all over the place and seemed to disrespect people’s property. This one was so great that I actually miss seeing them every day and waving. Especially Young Cousin John, he had such a kind face and awesome tattoos. heh
  • as long as this construction seemed to feel, it was done VERY fast and efficiently. I was actually surprised at how quickly things were getting done. I had no hope that this would be done by October and yet they have been off our street and on to others since early September.
  • I truly appreciate my new patio stones on the walkway. Only they are very bright, as you can see in the photos and that’s without flash!

So, although this felt long, we were honestly rarely completely inconvenienced (a handful of times we had to park on another street, big whoop) the streets and sidewalks look wonderful and I am sure our water is cleaner and the pipes have less change of bursting open and flooding the street in the winter.

So, thank you My City, for a job well done and for thinking of the people whose lives would be affected. Maybe you do care about us after all. Although I have to say a few more English books in the library would also be splendid. Oh, and please do not increase our property taxes due to the fact we have a shiny new street and water pipes now. 😉

destruction chronicles – sod, sick, squirrel

Hey! I have sod!

This happened yesterday when I was at work. I only saw it this morning really as I got home around 11PM after having a girly night dinner with my friends ElisE@ and aMOzon. (hahah, see what I did there Mo?) Shawn said it was like that when he got home. How exciting! How stupid to put sod down in mid-September when all vegetation will start to die in a couple of weeks from frost.

Whatever, the city is apparently taking charge of watering said sod.

The last time I saw this truck, it was spraying rainbows. This morning it was watering all the new sod on the street! I was in bed when it went by on our side, but you can see that our driveway is also nicely watered. Nice of them to clean it for us.

It’s been pretty quiet on our street in regards to construction stuff. So lovely. It’s almost like we never had all that fuss for 4 months. They are off messing up some other streets near by now. It means we have to take an alternate dog walking route. We don’t like change.

In other news –

Jinx has the weakest constitution for a dog I have ever seen. I mean he can eat ant traps and CDs and not get sick but every once in a while he must eat something that disagrees with him because he kept Shawn up all night with sickness from both ends. It was lovely. He’s been outside most of today with his tummy troubles, but earlier this morning he must have been tuckered out (and Annie, too since Shawn was up the light was kept on in the living room) because they were curled up so sweetly as I was reading a book this morning.

Normally when I try to capture my dogs in their cuteness they move as soon as my camera turns on. I was very sneaky about this and kept reading while setting up the camera with my right hand. As soon as I was about to snap the photo? A squirrel started chittering away like crazy in the front and Jinx’s head snapped right up. Drat. But it was obvious he was unwell because rather than get up and growl out the window like he would normally do, he just went back to sleep.

After the photo that squirrel went crazy again and even I had to get up to see what was going on. There, in the tree was this little tail twitching like mad. So I stepped outside on the front steps to get a better look (with my camera) and the first thing I saw was this cat staring at me from my neighbour’s driveway.

I have a feeling this cat was what the squirrel was ticked off about. It was just sitting there judging things, like cats are wont to do (those capital C cats aren’t much different ;)) and I guess the squirrel felt like it was invading its space.

I managed to find the squirrel’s face and I swear it started posing for me.

(click to enlarge)

It was just hanging out on the branch, all lethargic-like (despite the angry chittering).

I was sure it was going to scamper away when I got closer to the tree, but it didn’t. It just laid there, hugging the tree like a koala bear and I swear it was smizing at me! I was very proud of myself because I am terrified of squirrels and if it had started to run away I likely would have screamed and scampered myself back into the house and locked the doors.

Does that squirrel not look like it is smiling at me with its eyes? All draped over the branch? I think it was admiring my new sod. Maybe I should have asked it to fix my stupid water main valve. (On that note, I plan on emailing the city this week to ask if they can fix it due to the extreme hazard it will be in the winter.)