Daniel Kligerman

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Cold and Dark

The ice storm that hit Toronto on Friday and Saturday has left our house without power since Saturday night. It is now Monday night—the second we have not been able to sleep in our own beds. Of course, relative to the adversity that many people in the world face on a continual basis, our situation should be classified as an inconvenience, and nothing more. That said, being displaced from your home is an unsettling experience.

Speaking of unsettling, walking through the cold and dark house tonight, flashlight in hand, was eerie. It reminded me of the scene in Breaking Bad where Walt breaks in to his fenced-off, deserted house, finding it run down and vandalized. While our house is neither, it felt much less welcoming than usual; deep chills and shadows engulfing the spaces that are normally bustling with the commotion of everyday life.

On the bright side, our displacement has given us the opportunity to spend some wonderful time with friends and family, who have graciously taken us in. And the kids are having a blast; they are hoping the power stays out as long as possible, so the adventure can continue.

Moving

Alas, I have not found the time recently to post anything here.  Here is an update for you: We have just purchased a new house (new to us, not new in general), and will be moving on July 16 (which also happens to be my birthday–how about that?).  We managed to sell our current house in about a week, which is great, since keeping your house in a perfectly clean condition every day is very time consuming.

The timing of the move is well in advance of when our second bundle of joy is scheduled to arrive, which is late August or early September.  That should give us just enough time to unpack and get hold of a second crib before we give up sleeping again.

Things are otherwise good: Joshua is growing fast, and although is a little late perfecting his walking (due to being a little bit of a chicken), has better hand-eye coordination than I do, and is saying lots of words.  His favourite things to say right now are “hot”, which he seems to attribute to things both hot and cold, as well “up”, which he has found to be very useful in commanding us to remove him from high chairs, car seats, etc.

Onwards!

Furnace

Summer is officially over: last night we officially and momentously turned on the furnace. This morning the thermometer read a chilly six degrees (that’s celcius). Although the forecast shows some warmer days this week, it’s amazing how quickly we go from using the air conditioner to using the furnace in this city–about a two-week gap.

Enjoying a nice relaxing weekend, mostly consisting of watching some recorded shows from last week (John Stewart’s post-debate special was great), reading the paper, and starting From Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, which came in from the library yesterday. So far it’s been an easy start, and has drawn me in quite quickly. Should be an interesting contrast of American and French culture.

Bat-Mitzvah

One of my cousins had her bat-mitzvah on Sunday at a brand new sanctuary in the new Hillel building at the University of Toronto. It’s a beautiful building, and the sanctuary is on the third floor, with windows on all sides that have faint images in them that look like shadows–a unique and very neat effect. Through the windows is a good view of Robarts library, the athletic centre building and the Zoology building.The service was lead entirely by family members, and my cousin did a fine job reading Torah.

Later in the evening we reconviened for a dinner party at my uncle and aunt’s house, which we hadn’t seen before.  It is a beautiful, custom-built house with a very modern but classic design.  Lately I have found myself paying more attention to the design and decor of other people’s houses as a source of ideas for our own place.  It makes me realize that it may be a good idea to involve a professional designer before making any major decisions; it’s not easy to make everything work.

Neighbours

Walking the dog on a regular basis gets me out into the neighbourhood, and lately I have noticed that I’ve been spending time stopping and chatting with the neighbours. We talk about neighbourly things: my lawn, your garden, the area, the weather, dogs, cars, work and life in general. There is something oddly satisfying about shooting the breeze with someone who owns a chunk of land near your own. I suppose these ties are the building blocks of a community, and based on what I’ve been experiencing, ours is in fine shape.

Music: I have taken a liking to “The Littlest Birds” by The Be Good Tanyas.  You can listen to it, free, at their web site, here.  It’s more folksy / bluegrassy than what I normally listen to, but there’s something very appealing about their sound.

Family Housewarming

We had my side of the family over last weekend for the first of three planned housewarmings. It was a good time; a little funny to actually be hosting a family event at our own place, but nice at the same time. The house was a hit, which was satisfying considering the amount of work we have put into it over the past couple months.

The second housewarming will be for our friends, and the third for the other side of the family.

But first, our good friends’ wedding is this weekend.  We are both in the bridal party, and I’m the best man which means I have to finish writing a speech!  Memories of writing my speech for my own wedding back in November, although it will be much shorter.  It will be a long day–we have to be at the bride and groom’s respective houses first thing in the morning, and the reception will likely last until late that night.  And, I have to somehow learn a 12-step Greek dance before then!

Parties

This weekend we had three pre-wedding parties: a Jack & Jill on Friday, I had a stag on Saturday, and Merita had a lunch on Sunday. Each was unique, both in terms of who attended and what took place, but all a good time.

My dad and I did some work on the front porch yesterday, re-seating some of the stones with new concrete to even it out. Next weekend some of the family is coming over for a housewarming, so I need to make time before that to finish some odds and ends.

Cutting the Grass

I just finished cutting our grass for the first time. A friend of mine, who is moving from a house back to an apartment, gave me his lawn mower as a house-warming gift, so all I had to do was pick up some gas, and wait for a dry day. This afternoon seemed like a good time, and the grass-cutting experience seems to have been a success; our lawn is no longer embarrassingly long.

Last night we hosted my sister-in-law’s birthday get-together, which was lots of fun. Some interesting people, mostly a few years younger than me, who brought along with them some music which they consider retro but which I remember from a few years ago. It was nice to see our house filled with people enjoying themselves.

Today being mother’s day, we decided to bake a cake for each of our moms. The recipe was called “Best-Ever Banana Cake”, and it did not lie; the cakes were well-received and, I must say, delicious.

Furniture

Yesterday we decided on and purchased a new bedroom set and coffee/end tables.  After looking at probably a dozen furniture stores, we revisited one we had seen early on that seemed to have more of a selection that appealed to us, especially compared to the completely aweful furniture that seems to fill the majority of the stores.  Or maybe we’re just picky.

Today I plan to finish up some outstanding tasks around the house: touch-up the paint in each room, replace the doorknobs, hang the kitchen cabinet, and take down the Christmas lights (!) hanging outside.

Settling In

It’s been almost two weeks since we moved into the new place, and things are feeling much more comfortable and settled in.  All the furniture we brought with us from the old place is arranged, and we have added several new things: a couple of black leather chairs in the living room, a couple of storage units in the washroom, and a counter-top and shelving unit in the kitchen.  Things we are still looking for are a coffee and end tables for the living room, some more light fixtures, and dining and bedroom sets which our respective parents generously offered to buy for us.

Although the house has been taking up much of my spare time, I have also started an intensive Cisco course in preparation for the CCIE lab exam.  The class runs for six hours on Tuesday evenings, and on Thursdays and Fridays there is also physical access to the training centre for additional practice.  Given the difficulty of this certification, I intend to spend as much time there as possible, as well as studying at home.  If I expect to have a good chance at passing, I need to make sure I spend time on the material daily.

It is the Easter long-weekend (Merita even gets a fifth day off!), which should give us some time to finish a bunch of things around the house, and give me time to get some studying in, in addition to all the usual weekend fun.

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