Sunday, February 13, 2022

Teeth, Rocks, and Neighbours

"Confirming there will be street parking on 201 Street?" (I asked when I purchased my condo.)


"Confirming there will be street parking on 201 Street?" (I asked again when I moved in on Dec 1.)

"Yes. Definitely."

"And will this guest parking gate be open for guests to use?"

"Yes. Of course. Open daily til midnight."

Email, received on January 4:

I was too busy at Cultus dealing with a frozen lake house to respond. But thought to myself, "Oh well, there's always the underground guest parking for my family and friends..."

Received on January 27:

So. One guest per suite. Additional guests can park on the streets where they will be towed because there is absolutely no parking allowed on the streets. 


My brother was going to come and give my laundry closet some love n attention this weekend, and Mark was gonna install a light fixture above the dining table, where there was wiring, but no light. I asked the onsite building manager if I could get a temporary street parking pass for an oversize vehicle, for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. Apparently this was beyond the scope of her job. So I asked her boss (the one who sends out the emails) and he said: 

Hi Jane,



Please note that any renovations, even within the suite, must be approved by the Council and an indemnity agreement be provided. 


Regarding trades parking, as long as there are no other pending moves at that time, we should be able to accommodate the trucks parked on the street in the loading zone. The onsite building manager can help you wit that. I would advise you book the elevator through the community website for this as well to ensure the trades have access.



She, the onsite building manager wants nothing to do with this. I approached her a second time and she said she can't authorize illegal parking; no guarantee it won't get towed. 

And I gave some pushback regarding the definition of "renovations/alterations". According to our Strata bylaws: 

Owners must obtain approval before altering a Strata Lot 5 (1) An Owner must obtain the written approval of the Strata Corporation before making an alteration to a Strata Lot that involves any of the following: 

(a) the structure of a building; 

(b) the exterior of a building; 

(c) chimneys, stairs, balconies or other things attached to the exterior of a building. 

(d) doors, windows or skylights on the exterior of a building, or that front on the common property; 

(e) fences, railings or similar structures that enclose a patio, balcony or yard; 

(f) common property located within the boundaries of a Strata Lot; 

(g) those parts of the Strata Lot which the Strata Corporation must insure under section 149 of the Act. 

(h) installing hardwood, title or other hard floor surfaces in any 2nd through 6th story apartment style strata lot.

I suggested that I was doing nothing to the structure, the exterior, or the common property. I was simply finishing my unit. It needs a light and it needs a few shelves. I wasn't RENOVATING anything. Just getting settled. 

He came back at me with section 149: 

The SPA clearly notes the following:

Property insurance required for strata corporation

149   (1)The strata corporation must obtain and maintain property insurance on

(a)common property,

(b)common assets,

(c)buildings shown on the strata plan, and

(d)fixtures built or installed on a strata lot, if the fixtures are built or installed by the owner developer as part of the original construction on the strata lot.




Which means the Strata Corp has insured all the original fixtures in the units and we can't adjust, remove or replace them because we don't own them. My last bit of communication with him pointed out that THERE WAS NO LIGHT FIXTURE INSTALLED BY THE DEVELOPER (my unit is pretty dark now that my Christmas Tree is boxed and buried in the bowels of the building) and there ARE NO SHELVES in my (joke of a) LAUNDRY ROOM. So Sec 149 doesn't apply as there was nothing to insure.

 Jane: Please note - 

A renovations request is required for EVERYTHING aside from painting; mounting your TV on the wall, changing your shower head, screens, curtain rods, shelves ... everything needs to be installed by someone with a business license in Langley, has the correct insurance and is willing to sign an indemnity agreement. 


Meanwhile, Terry's father-in-law died, my brother-in-law's dad died, Maxine's mother-in-law died and I attended the funeral of a friend's husband who died in December. A heavy season for me, feeling the weight of these deaths along with the announcement of a friend from work who was just diagnosed with cancer. 

I let go of the 'renovations' issue; the timing is just not right for me. And to be honest, I am JUST SO DISCOURAGED. Where will my kids park if they ever come over for a family dinner? Where will my book club park? Where will more than two friends park? How many forms am I going to have to fill out for everything a handy husband would do without a second thought or a permit?

My right hand helpers (my sister and Maxine) both experienced deaths in their families in the past few weeks, so providing the January and February meals for the homeless has been my priority. I've used up all the funds I'd raised before Christmas, so I painted another batch of rocks, which surprisingly, sold. So I've got $$ for the next few months. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who buys my dumb rocks and supports my efforts at feeding some hungry people in Abbotsford. 

At the lake, I've had the furnace repaired, the plumbing issues fixed, the septic tanks pumped, and next Friday I'll get the natural gas leak unleaked and the LIVE (don't go near it!) 120 volt wire under the fireplace unlivened (?). 

Despite setting the fire alarm/smoke detector off 5 times since Dec 1, (the most recent case was last Tuesday when there was an actual fire with flames on both sides of the oven), my unit is still standing. It's a steep learning curve for my mom; natural gas appliances have her flustered...

To add interest to this month's happenings, the temporary crown on back molar has fallen off five times since Dec 22. 

That ^ is Thursday's temporary crown. It was cemented in place after over (another) 2 hours of work was done. (I really want to save this molar, the two behind it are gone. I absolutely need at least one chewer tooth back there...) It fell out on Friday at 2 pm. 

I went back on Friday at 4 and had it cemented back in place. 

Here it is 7 hours later:

It's Sunday night. I have a sharp ugly black thing at the back of my mouth that's wreaking havoc with my tongue. But I'm not getting another temporary crown. My final appointment, with a PERMANENT shiny clean, smooth crown is this coming Thursday. I can live like this until then.

(And then we get started on the OTHER tooth that needs attention.)

Of all the things to inherit from both my mom and my dad - it had to be bad teeth? 

Grateful for my dentist and his determination that I have a lovely smile, with teeth behind my lips. 

On Friday, just before that crown fell out, I zipped over to Susan's to pick up my Valentine's cookie order:


I made up little love bags for everyone on my floor and hung them on their doors.
I wished them a happy Valentine's Day and hoped they'd be able to enjoy a beautiful weekend. I added, 
"if you ever need an extra guest parking pass, just text me. I'm happy to lend you mine for an evening when I'm not using it" (in the hopes that at least one or two of them would respond in kind...)

(So far no responses from any of my 5th floor neighbours.)


I'm a member of a closed Facebook group for owners of Latimer Heights Condos. 
It's a place to keep each other up to date, to share ideas, subtrades, and to generally get to know each other. 

One day last week, someone from Building A, (the one closest to 200th Street) (they started moving in, in September 2021) announced that the elevator fob system has been activated. (Meaning, you'll need your fob to get the elevator to move. And you'll only be able to advance to your own floor.) There was some discussion about getting delivery people into the building, along with guests and how cumbersome the process was. 

I'm in Building D, and we're about 4 months behind Building A, and this new process isn't like I was told when I moved in. So I posted a question on the thread, asking for clarification regarding letting guests in. ("So, if I am expecting a guest, I should wait for them on the construction access road at the top of the ramp? Then walk down the ramp, use my fob to open the guest gate to allow them to drive  in? Then give them a parking pass so they don't get towed? And escort them to my place using the fob to open Gate 2 and the elevator? And at the end of the evening, escort them down to P1, (which you can only access with a fob), then walk with them to the guest parking to retrieve the pass? And open the guest gate so they can leave?")

The responses from the first 4 - 5 owners was yes. Yes this is the new system and it's kinda dumb. An enterphone should have been installed at the guest gate, ESPECIALLY IF THERE'S NO STREET PARKING. 

And then. 
And then a woman from Building B, Penthouse Level, posted a response:

"Jane. You now live in house/building with hundreds of other people. Our number one priority is SECURITY.  Resident safety is the main concern; not how difficult it will be for your friends to visit you. This is what condo life is like, get used to it. If you'd wanted easy access for your visitors maybe you should have bought a HOUSE with a driveway, or a townhouse instead." 

Oh my goodness, I felt like my face had been slapped. I was so embarrassed and sad. My head was full of sarcastic words but my fingers typed out a lovely response. (" I'm new to condo-living (haha, obviously) and was just confirming the guest process (which is quite different to what I was told during my move-in tour.) I know I'm at the bottom of a steep learning curve re: condo life. Thanks for your patience as I ask questions." I closed my computer and wondered if I should put my place up for sale. Living in a condo, aside from the downsizing issues, and lack of garage issues and absolutely no storage space for seasonal things or homeless dinner things or rock painting things... there's this other issue. Getting along with hundreds of neighbours who all live in on a tiny plot of land. It's a challenge, yo. Dog owners vs non-pet owners. Owners vs renters. Security-first people vs logical-procedures people. 

It's hard. 

But I believed, on Feb 8, when I purchased the condo, that it was God's gift to me because he loves me and wanted me to have that sun-flooded deck. Haha. But as per usual, there are probably other gifts tied up with this one that I'm not seeing clearly right now. Because I'm lazy and want everything to be easy. 

A few hours later, I went back online and noticed that Penthouse Lady's response to me had ruffled a few feathers. 

  • To N - You are not being fair. Reasonable systems work in other condo complexes. Hoping ours will one day. And not everyone can afford a house!
  • To Jane - You have every right to question things around here. What we'd been told originally and what's actually happening aren't lining up. Don't apologize for asking a question. 
  • To N - I completely disagree with you. Our condo's system is completely illogical. Jane you are absolutely right to ask questions - that's what this page is all about. 

Also? She removed her original comment. I feel bad for her; I don't think she was expecting the backlash from other owners. I'm guessing she's had some scary experiences in the past if she's living in fear on the top floor of her building. Poor thing. I hope she feels safe, regardless of our fob/elevator system. 

Just before I left for the lake on Friday night (after a day week of whiplash emotions and an unexpected dentist appointment) I saw a post from someone in Bldg C offering a large selection of scented candles that she'd never used and didn't fit into her condo. Did anyone want them for $25? I sent her a private message and said if no one else had contacted her, I'd love to buy them (for the lake house). 

Her response (after she'd creeped my page, I guess...)

So. That was a fun, surprising gift. (From God? Probably.) She's a young pregnant mom with, what looks like, a 2 year old daughter. I'll meet her this week and give her the last of my ladybug rocks. 


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Max is on a business trip in the States. First week was in Austin, Texas. He flew to Phoenix on the weekend, staying in Mesa. Possibly over to Altanta later this month. His posts to Instagram Stories are making me smile and feeling like we're connected. SO so so grateful for social media platforms. Especially Instagram. Every single time he posts, I pray, "Thank you God. Keep him safe."

2. On my way to the lake, one of my (4 stops) was to drop off some cookies to Drew and Dani. Happy Valentine's Day, kids. I usually just drop things off at the door, then carry on. Friday is gaming night for Drew, and Dani works late. But on THIS Friday, Drew texted me to wait. And he came out. And we talked for half an hour. And while he's talking, I'm praying, "Thank you God, for THIS."

3. My new phone is a thing of beauty but it has caused me MUCH grief. Even though Telus Guy said he transferred over all the apps and their data, HE REALLY DIDN'T. (For example, your accounts with Google Authenticator DO NOT TRANSFER. You need your old phone to do a QR code thing. So doing my timesheets for payroll was impossible without getting our IT and our JR Acct involved after 4 hours of me researching and googling.) And my Nest account was deactivated. If I had any idea what my user name and password are, it would be helpful but Clint set it up and well. It's a mystery. 

So for the past three weekends, on my way to Cultus, I give my oldest a call. 
"Hi! How're things with you?"
"Are you busy?"
"Wondering if you can turn on the heat at the cabin, I'm on my way up."
"Yeah, I can do that."
"Thanks. Love you."

It's not much of a conversation/connection, but it's something. And every week, when I arrive, the cabin is toasty warm. And I thank God for my oldest boy.

4. And then there's Danica. She texts about once a week. Does my hair every 8 weeks, where we deep dive into meaningful conversations. And she lets me know about her and Drew's travel plans before I discover them on Instagram. Haha. She is such a gift from God. 

I'm grateful that I am a mom. Some stages of life/parenting are easier than others, but I can't imagine life without them. If you're in that struggle-stage, know that it doesn't last forever. 

Stay safe, hold your loved ones close and blow your nose. 

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