Surreal

Fer, Mi PríncipeIt’s hard to believe, but in exactly two weeks, I will be in Mexico City. I’m not sure which is more surreal: the thought of being months away or the thought of being just days away. Light snow is falling outside my window, yet I know that in a bit more than two weeks, I’ll be on a beach, covered with sunscreen, seeing palm trees for the first time in my life, and having El Poema by my side. That only makes it more surreal. And even though I haven’t been in the same room as he has in just over three months, I can still summon the feeling of his presence as if it were only a few days ago.

Definitely and unequivocally surreal. All of it.

The More I Look, The Less I Know

It’s time for me to go to bed, because my eyes are seriously crossing after reading too many classified ads online.

It’s too early for Montréal apartment ads for April, but it doesn’t hurt to look around to get a sense of what’s out there. The first thing that’s striking to me is to price range. I freely admit to making a very decent income and I have been budgeting for a jump of about $200 from what I paying now, with an absolute ceiling with heat and hot water of $300 more. I had been thinking of getting a 3-bedroom, but more and more I’m thinking I’ll have to settle for a large 2-bedroom like I have here in Halifax. Frankly, most of the prices I’ve seen for 3-bedrooms assume two incomes contributing to the rent. And when we start talking prices like that, buying a condo would be a much wiser move — pardon the pun.

Meanwhile, earlier I had said that I have my heart set on the HoMa (Hochelaga-Maisonneuve) area, but that’s a huge area. I realize now that I don’t want to go too far south of Ontario Street and Viau Street is my eastern limit. To the west of HoMa but still in the east, there’s the Village. For a while, my thought was to keep that area as a destination; however, now I’m thinking that as long that it’s not right on Ste-Cat, it might not be such a bad choice. I also saw a stunning place in Villeray, which is much further north than I ever thought I’d consider …although still on this side of the Métropolitaine. And then, in complete contradiction to everything I’ve said so far, MAYBE I shouldn’t dismiss Côte-des-Neiges (CDN) and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG). Those of you who know Montréal must be gasping because that area — aside from being very anglophone — is almost another world compared to HoMa. I’m not crazy about having to rely too much on the blue line — the subway from nowhere (St. Michel) to almost nowhere (Snowdon) — but closer to Décarie and the orange line wouldn’t be bad at all given there are some charming older buildings that are definitely affordable. I won’t do Pointe-Saint-Charles or Verdun, but MAYBE Saint-Henri? Do note that the Plateau is out of the question: too pricey, and what’s not too pricey is almost always said to have “character,” which really translates to, “It’s a dark little dump with a ridiculous layout, but you’ll be able to say you live on the Plateau.” No, thank you.

This is hard because it is too early, but then I won’t have too much time in February to find something. Apartment hunting is a pain in the ass at the best of times, but doing it from 800 miles is a HUGE pain. But, I know I’ll be pleased when it’s all done and over with.

Check, Check, Check!

— Today we got formal word of what our year-end bonus at the day job will be. It’s right in the middle of the range I expected it would be, and while I won’t disclose the figure here, I will say it’s considerable. And it’ll be paid the day I leave for Mexico. Check!

— El Poema touched base on Skype this evening. Because we’ve both been so busy — he with helping a friend move and I with work — we’ve pretty well stuck to e-mail in the last little while. He’s threatening to kidnap me once I get to Mexico, but that little plan won’t work because I’m telling everybody, so if I’m not back at work in Halifax on January 2 for reasons other than airline delays, everyone will know to come find me. Check!

As the snow’s been flying, I’ve been a flurry of activity myself.

— Pay subcontractor. Check!

— Renew a client’s hosting for 1 year. Check!

— Renew 2 other clients for 1 year. Check!

— Renew 2 domain names and hosting for yet another client. Check!

— Renew 1 of my own domain names for 5 years. Check!

— Wash the dishes. Check!

— Write a cheque to Sis for Mom’s Christmas gift. Check!

— Finally write a cheque to pay that fine. Check!

— Write my formal notice of leave for the apartment. Check!

“You’re a man with so many plans,” El Poema exclaimed at one point during our conversation tonight.

You’ve got that right, babe!

Now That’s Freaky!

When we think of thunder and lightening, we usually think of hot summer weather when the air gets so thick that it feels like walking into a wet sauna. But in the last 30 minutes of the current snowstorm, there have been several flashes of lightening and considerable claps of thunder. At the first occurrence, I thought I was imagining things: “It has to be a snowplow,” I thought.

But no. In fact, just as I wrote that last sentence, the snow-covered view outside my window just turned blue white and a milder clap of thunder followed.

How freaky is that?

On Everyone’s Lips

Expecting Harsh WinterJust about everybody has remarked on Environment Canada’s prediction that this winter is going to be the harshest in 15 years. Not wanting to disappoint, Nature made the first day of December feel like winter in Halifax, with mid-afternoon temperatures around -7C and a wind chill of -18C. On top of that, there were snowqualls throughout the afternoon and early evening, which covered the streets with a thin layer of fine snow that turned them into virtual ice rinks. And as Tornwordo has been reporting, the last two weeks in Montréal have been resolutely wintry. So there’s no escaping it and there can be no denying: a good old-fashinoned winter has arrived in Canada.

As explained in the article above to which I’ve linked, we have La Niña to thank for that — the phenomenon of colder than usual water in the Pacific that could lead to Mexico City seeing a dusting of snow for the first time in 40 years. But as I was running errands with the Queen of Sheba yesterday, the reminder of what a Canadian winter feels like hit me like a ton of bricks. And thinking of El Poema’s extreme aversion to the cold, I couldn’t help exclaim as we were driving along Cunard Street, “Oh my, what I am proposing to do to the poor guy!”

Fortunately for me, as commences the coldest winter in some 15 years, I will, for the first time in my life, be spending Christmas in a place where the average nighttime low is 20C. But then, of course, I’ll have to come back and face the rest of the unpleasant weather. That’s just life, but what seems wrong is that I would leave the cold behind like a shot if I could. But I guess part of being a grown up is accepting that you can’t always have your cake and eat it, too.