Monday, March 23, 2009

A Zone of our Own Part VI

It had to happen eventually. We received notice from our landlord that the City of Toronto wished to satisfy itself by way of inspection that nobody was illegally residing in the building. They would be looking for beds and stoves and the landlord was confident that they wouldn't find anything that would lead them to think that almost everyone was living there.

I was prepared. My kitchen was powered by a toaster-oven and a hot plate. No big deal. My bed turned into two work benches. The matress was made from foam pads which rolled away nicely. Done. One couple turned there place into a film set, with lights and cameras pointed at a "mock kitchen" and a "mock bedroom". Nicely done.

The day before, we received a reminder. How friendly of the City to make an appointment, wasn't it? The landlord sent out a note. Be prepared. Be cool. The day after, we received another note. The City inspector was satisfied that nobody resided in the building. However, should the zoning by-law change, he was interested in getting a suite. We really were in a zone of our own.

It seems that all good things must come to an end. For me, it was the combination of two factors. My father needed my help. He was having trouble living independently. I was his primary care-giver, and although he never asked me to come look after him, I think he expected I would. Then there was the matter of my landlord, who slid a rent increase notice under my door on Christmas morning. He was such a sweetie-pie, Mr. Generosity, you might say. I called him up and voiced my delight in receiving his love-note at such an opportune time. I offered to stay if he lowered my rent by 10%. He said, well I can't do that, and I said, I'll be moving in two months.

I would have liked this story to end with the landlord being unable to rent the space, forced to watch it sit empty when he could have had my rent cheque. Unfortunately, it just wasn't so. He had it rented within days of my giving notice, at the new higher rate. It was that kind of building.

The story did have a happy ending of sorts. I moved to my father's place, setting up in his basement so I could have some independence. I'm so glad to have had a chance to get to know him really well again. Even though care-giving can be a pain in the butt and even though he could be a crusty old fart when he wanted to be, and even though he needed me increasingly, I wouldn't trade a minute of that time I had with him. We became good pals. He told me all his stories again and again. They aged well, like good wine. He couldn't get around to fish for trout but I took him up to look at a trout stream from time to time and he told me of glory days on glory pools, like the day Ob pulled the 8lb brown from under that log over there, fluttering a little Williams Wabbler on a fly rod. It was the dead of night, see, Ob always fished all night.... We went through his old jazz records and cranked the Dixieland up real loud and he told me about the day he bought a drink for Wingy Minone at the old Colonial tavern way back before it was a strip joint....

1 comment:

A said...

I love this series. What an era. Thanks for sharing.