FILTHY ANIMALS

After many years of ordering from Amazon, I finally had a package stolen from me last week. While many people have their package stolen from them from their porch or front step, my package was stolen from me from the lobby mailroom in my apartment building.

I believe I’ve gone this long without having my Amazon packages stolen from me for a few reasons. First, in the before-times, when people still commuted to work, I had my packages delivered to work, at the studio. The studio has this very large mailroom operation, which graciously accepts packages on our behalf. It also has in place this formal process where the package is entered in a tracking system with all sorts of info, including the employee name. You then go down to the mailroom, show proof of identification, sign a form, and then the package is released to you. It’s convenient and safe.

Second, if I choose not to have my package delivered to work, say it’s too big or something to bring on public transit, I previously had it delivered to an Amazon pick-up point. In my case, the closest pick-up point is a Canada Post office, about a two minute walk from my lobby.

In both cases, the package is delivered to a secure location, and no one can just take my package because they need to prove their identity first.

Somewhere during the pandemic, I began switching delivery locations so that my packages came straight to my building. Once this happened, my packages began being delivered by contracted delivery services and/or Amazon’s own delivery service. These are the people you see so frequently now on residential streets, all with the same type of vans. On a rare occasion, some of these delivery people will actually buzz me and bring my package straight to my door. Sometimes, they’ll text me or call me so that I can come down to the lobby and get my package from them directly. Sometimes, they’ll just text me and say they left my package in my mailroom. And then there is what happened on last Friday evening, which is they delivered my package to the mailroom while I was out, around 8pm, and didn’t even contact me at all.

Since this wasn’t a critical package I was waiting for, I was not refreshing the order status every hour on the hour. In fact, I didn’t check the delivery status until Saturday evening. When I went down to the mailroom, the package was gone.

I understand if some of you will immediately point out that leaving a package unattended for twenty-four hours in a common mailroom is asking for trouble. Yeah, there’s definitely some truth to that but I have frequently seen packages that have been left for days in my mailroom. Maybe I just got unlucky?

What is lucky is that my package was worth less than $30, shipping and tax included. It was two bottles of Swiffer Wetjet liquid and a magnetic mesh screen door. It’s not the end of the world that I lost these items.

So, who stole my package? I don’t know at this point. Theft from apartment mailrooms is rampant. I often get calls to my phone from the intercom when I’m not expecting anyone. I feel like thieves sometimes randomly punch in numbers on the intercom, hoping someone is stupid enough to buzz them in. If that happens, they make a beeline to the mailroom, grab as many packages as they can, and leave. Or, maybe they just surfed in behind a resident as they entered the building. This is also common.

All of this reminds that my OLED TV was delivered in the summer by FedEx and somehow they got into the building without buzzing me, calling me, or texting me. Because my new TV was indeed a very important purchase to me, I was refreshing the delivery status frequently on the day it was supposed to arrive. Nevertheless, because they neglected to contact me when it was actually delivered and they also chose not to deliver it to me door, I discovered that they had delivered my new and not so cheap TV to my mailroom, and it had been sitting there for at least 30 minutes, if not more. I am so lucky that no one of disreputable morals happened upon my TV and just hauled it away.

So, I am going back to having my Amazon packages delivered to the Canada Post pick-up point. It is slightly less convenient because this delivery location must use Canada Post and sometimes they are slower than Amazon’s delivery service but it is more secure. A second alternative that will allow for quicker shipping but again trades that for some inconvenience is to have it delivered to an Amazon Hub Locker that is open 24 hours. There is a 7-11 about a 5-10 minute drive from where I live and that locker is open obviously 24 hours a day.

Damn thieves!

PLUMBER

Last week, while I was doing my dishes, my kitchen faucet was running and then the water stopped for a split second. When it started again, the water that came out was very brown for about two seconds and then it seemed clear again, except that the water pressure was a fraction of what it was before.

It has remained that way ever since. The water is also very “bubbly” when it comes out, as in there are lots of bubbles or air in the water, like it’s almost carbonated. Normally, when you see brown water, it’s function of the water supply being shut off for a period of time and then you need to just run your taps to clear it. I had no water for a split second, not like the water was shut off.

I ran the sink in my bathroom and it was fine, no brown water and the water pressure was normal. It took me a few days to figure out but I’m pretty sure there’s some sorta blockage somewhere in my kitchen faucet. The brown water I saw was the result of some brown coloured debris (bleh) being dislodged somewhere in the water line and then traveling to some part of the faucet where some of it broke apart and was able to get through. The part that didn’t get through is now causing the low flow.

I am no handy person, so I have strong inclinations to get a plumber to look at this. On the other hand, I feel like this is the kinda thing that I can probably fix myself. I just need to disassemble the faucet head, which in my case is a very typical “spray head” style one. I wouldn’t even need to turn off the water supply because the spray head is downstream of faucet valve.

Once it’s all disassembled, I can clean everything out and get back to good water pressure. Knowing my luck, however, I will find someway to horribly mess it up. Good luck to me this weekend!

HOLIDAY ENVY

One of my co-workers is already off for the entire month of December. Another will begin their holidays on Friday. I am a bit envious of their time off.

I have enough vacation days to start my holidays now as well but I’m the optimistic chap who thinks that my vacation days are best used for traveling and flying off to some exciting place. With these never ending variants, who knows if that will practical anytime soon.

Maybe my co-workers are smarter than I. They’re just taking their vacation days and enjoying a long, restful, and relaxing holiday season.

AWKWARD

So a second painting company came to visit me today to give me a quote. The gentleman was very punctual and polite. We went through my apartment and showed him what I wanted done.

Then he asked me what my ballpark budget was. When the first guy was here, he reversed it. He gave me the quote first and then asked if that was in my budget. This second guy wanted to hear my number first. I actually have never thought about a budget. Maybe that isn’t smart but I honestly don’t know how much a decent paint job should go for. I know I don’t want to spend $10k to get a one-bedroom apartment painted but that’s all I know.

So this second guy wants me to give him a budget, so I blurt out a number which is basically the first guy’s quote I received. He looks at me briefly, pauses, and gathers his thoughts. He proceeds to tell me for what I want to get done, it’ll cost me almost four times what I was quoted by the other company. Wild.

He also tells me that my paint job will take at least a week, possibly a week and a half. The other company said they could get it done in about three days.

I didn’t let on I already had another quote. I just told him I had no baseline for what a paint job would cost and if this was the quote, I am thankful for him setting my expectations properly.

After he agreed to draft a formal quote later so he could send it via e-mail, he left my apartment.

As shocking as his quote was, this is why you shop around when you want stuff done. So now I have a decision to make but it seems like a pretty easy one.

PAINT

I’ve decided to paint my apartment. This makes sense logically since most of my belongings are still packed up from when my floors were installed last week. My baseboards are also still not attached to walls yet, so that also makes it convenient.

I’ve never been 100% happy with the colour of the walls of my apartment. When I bought it, the walls were and continue to be this very safe and boring beige colour. The same colour was used in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. It’s just a bland colour.

I’ve decided to repaint my apartment with a very clean and pure white. It’ll go better with my new floors and it will be a timeless colour. It’ll also brighten up my entire apartment.

I am not going to paint my apartment myself. That would be a massively dumb decision. I’m gonna leave it up to the experts. I’ve already have one painting company come in and take a look. They gave me a quote and how long it will take. They said they’d be done in three days. That includes painting the walls, window sills, baseboards, closets, closet doors, doors, and door trim. They’ll even re-install my baseboards for me.

I have another company coming into to give a second quote, just so I can do a comparison. I have no idea how much painting job costs, so I figure it’s just smart to get a second quote.

By January, my apartment should look like a completely new place.

FREE STUFF

This weekend my parents asked me to help them with some packages that were delivered to their home by mistake. These were Amazon packages and they weren’t the first set of packages to show up at their door that were for someone else. They said they’ve received many of them but they just leave it at their door hoping the right recipient can track them down.

I decided to help them by calling Amazon to see if they can get their delivery service to correctly delivery these packages instead of leaving them on my parents’ doorstep. Amazon was more than willing to try to figure out what was going on. I gave them the tracking number of the latest set of packages, which they used to find out who was missing their stuff. The rep I talked to said he’d take care of everything and that my parents could keep everything that had been delivered to them. I had to ask twice to confirm that they could take possession of the items. I had not heard wrong.

After I got off the phone with Amazon, I phoned my parents and told them to bring all the boxes inside and that they could open them all and keep everything. I was hoping they’d get some expensive electronics. My Mom texted me some photos and they mostly got stuff for babies and young children. Nothing too crazy but hey, free stuff is free stuff. Luckily, my niece is almost a year old now and these items will be suitable for her.

THANKSGIVING

I work on a team that has many of my co-workers located in mostly two main locations: Vancouver and Los Angeles. The LA folks are out this Thursday and Friday for their version of Thanksgiving, leaving us Vancouver folk to close out the week by ourselves.

In particular, most of the people I work with on the team are America-based, so I’m going to be mostly working by myself for the rest of the week. I welcome the quiet end to the week. There will be no meetings, emails, random Slack messages to derail my work. I can just power through the things I need to get done before everyone comes back on Monday.

It can be a bit weird when parts of your team take different holidays than you. The reverse happened in October when I was out for Thanksgiving and the LA people had a regular working day.

I’m looking forward to some peace and quiet tomorrow!

LIKE NEW

I am quite happy with my new floors. It certainly wasn’t cheap to have this all done and I’m aware that I could have spent less money if I had shopped around a bit. I didn’t want to take the risk of going with less a reputable flooring company however. The company I went with was voted the best for floors in my local area, for what that’s worth.

It feels like I’m living in a new apartment. I probably should have replaced my floors a few years ago. The only benefit of waiting this long was that flooring technology evolved from laminate flooring to more robust and fancier versions of vinyl plank.

Now that I have new floors, I’m looking at which robot vacuum I want to buy. Bare floors work really well with robot cleaners. I am excited to get one!

NEW FLOORS

I had to wake up at 7am to be prepared for the flooring contractors to arrive at 8am this morning. That’s nearly three hours earlier than my usual wake-up time, so suffice to say that I am tired is an understatement.

Nevertheless, I have new floors now. They look great but I need to go to sleep.