Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to One and All

2010 is just around the corner and we have all survived!

Not only have we here at 2100 survived but it is beginning to look like a decent place for the tenants to call 'Home' again! It's quiet more nights than it has been in years. The paint job is getting there and is already making us feel like human beings again. We continue to be blessed with great Maintenance men and a great troop of Security folk as well the guard at the South District Office and their fearless leaders both downtown and at the SDO.

We are still in the tunnel but the light at the end is getting brighter by the day! The only people who find themselves at a loss are the chronic grumblers. Oh well! They had their day to shine - 4 or 5 years really - and now that day has gone and the rest of us are quite happy that our day to shine is fast approaching (when the work is completed).

To everyone at OCH, and to Mr. Watson, Minister of Housing, who took the time to come when we asked, a big Thank You!

Please put your sound on to hear our card.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Minister of Housing comes calling

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jim Watson, Minister of Housing, came calling. Laurene Wagner (OCH) and David Loveridge (OCH), myself and another tenant, Lois joined him on a mini tour of 2100 Russell Road. We showed him the damages done by a few tenants, told him of the plans to fix them and asked him to change the regulations to the Act to enable OCH to control the types of people admitted. Clearly wide open policy has not worked. It has, in a few short years turned our building from a perfectly lovely spot to a slum dump.

Among the things Mr. Watson was shown were the walls with all the patched holes, mostly on the 4th floor, the carpets with the stains and cigarette burns, the ceilings with the tiles broken. He also got to see the parking lots, the courtyard and the back garden. David also opened up one of the vacant but ready to rent units so he could see that these are really very nice units in a very nice setting. Some tenants do not seem to appreciate it, but very few apartment blocks, private or public, come with the potentially beautiful grounds and the absolutely gigantic balconies that this one has. It was pointed out to the Minister, that the lovely shape the green areas are in is due to a lot of hard work by a handful of tenants as well as the lawn care done by Housing.

Mr. Watson was asked to speak to the Minister of Social Services about the people who use the system to get a roof and food money and then turn their apartments into crack houses and brothels - in effect enabling the criminal elements to carry on their illegal and disruptive little businesses. He was also asked to look into some sort of screening to ensure that drug addicts, hookers and other criminal elements are not put under the same roof as retired people, disabled people, children etc. He was also told of the problems encountered here when previously hospitalized mental patients are turned loose to fend for themselves without any care for what happens when they stop taking the medications that enable them to fit in and no discernible way to prevent them from falling into that trap.

Before he left, Mr. Watson was given a CD of pictures of the holes and other damages before the Maintenance crews patched them up. It is not as good a message as having him live here for a month or two would be but it is always better when someone in his position actually sees the damage than when they just rely on verbal descriptions.

He did promise to look into making changes to the Act to address some of these concerns. He also had suggestions and phone numbers of people who can help in the interim (I shall have him send them by email). He also said that this is a time consuming endeavour so not to be expecting instant changes.

The time allotted to us to get the message across to him was short - half an hour. I think we did a pretty good job - time will tell. He has, I am told, done some pretty decent work in the other Ministries that he has been involved in and our hopes are high that he will do just as well for us in this one.

The one area where the tenants here shine is the yard work! Hats off to everyone who has taken part this summer. Above is a picture of yours truly, picking up litter. I am with my chief boss, Bambi and she is one slave driver, if ever there was one! Since we started this 'keep the outdoor areas tidy' campaign, lots of people have done things to help - some major efforts, some small. Even the small efforts are worthy of doing again - like those who make an effort to put their trash in a bin instead of on the ground and those who use the butt tins for their cigarette butts. We have tried to keep a butt tin at door one but some mental midget keeps removing it. We will keep trying. :o)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Catch Up Time

There have been a lot of things going on and I have gotten behind with the blog. Gave myself 10 lashes with a wet spaghetti noodle. Worked too! I am back with a catch up blog!

Early in August, the Volunteer dragon slayers who signed up at the earlier, bigger evening meeting, got together a couple of times with with Housing and ACORN. The long story made very short is that the manner and direction of the next big meeting was laid out. The dragon Slayer threw a rare temper tantrum with people who get off focus and with members who bring children to meetings. The more tactful Shaun from Housing calmed the waters BUT retaining your focus is essential and children do not belong in war rooms (or in this case in these meetings.) It is unfair to them and it is unfair to those who seriously are trying to accomplish things.

My Rent! My Vote! Campaign

August 11th saw some of us from 2100 Russell Road picketing along with other ACORN members picketing for changes in the rules for Landlords. The picture at the top is of our very own Sheila and another ACORN member, Kat. Perhaps some of you saw others from 2100 in the CTV news that evening. It is perhaps good for those of us in Ottawa Housing units to know life could be a good deal worse - We could be living in some of the privately owned and run low cost housing which is really, really, really bad! In fact, I would urge those among us here who spend their days whining and complaining about Housing to Join ACORN and talk to some of the unfortunate folks who have found themselves living in some of the worst of these places. A little appreciation for what we have in our Government run places would probably be a good thing to have. Meeting some of the ACORN members who live in Transglobal units, for example, can't help but make you appreciate this place.

So - ACORN is working on a campaign to get these slum landlords to clean up their act and asking the powers that be in both levels of government to require licensing and standards and rules. The incentive we offer is our vote. Costs you nothing but a few minutes and a good reason. This is your good reason! Politicians who really want their seats should sit up and pay attention. There are a lot of poor people with votes. And those votes, if we use them and use them wisely, can be the difference between being put upon, put down, held down - what ever phrase applies to you - and being a winner with a decent home and with your self respect in tact.

I have preprinted postcards you can send to the Councilman, Mr. Hume in this regard, or, if I get enough of them, I will hand deliver them.

Do we really need to be calling the police on each other??

One would hope not but some people make NOT calling or not complaining to Housing, very difficult indeed!

One of the things in the lease you signed as a tenant was:
The Tenant agrees:
To respect the privacy, security and peace of other tenants and to ensure that all members of the household and any guests behave in the same way.

This is a part of a legal agreement that you signed. Strictly speaking, you can be evicted legally for breaking it and many private landlords do just that. Ottawa Housing is way more lenient with most occurrences. Some tenants here break this agreement daily!

One day last week the police were called. For the better part of an hour one tenant yelled at the top of her lungs, using every dirty word she could find (mostly the F word) and issuing threats to one or more other tenants in the courtyard. I did not see it myself but I most certainly did hear it as did anyone living in a unit that faces the courtyard who was home at the time. I have been told that she was heard on the other side of the building at the door 2 entrance as well. Another tenant (unfortunately one with a short fuse herself) tried to shut the instigator up. Not a good plan! Now the second person has lowered themselves to the same low level of the first and is just as guilty of breaking their lease as the first. Better to call security or the police. Because threats were made, the police are the best choice. Besides, if security knows threats of bodily harm have been issued, they will tell you to call the police.

The roof over your head depends on you and your behaviour. Ottawa Housing is not your Mother and 2100 Russell is not a hospital! You are adults! You are expected to keep a handle on your temper and a rein on your tongue. If you drink and cannot control yourself when you do, then perhaps it is time to see the folks at AA - before you find yourself out on the street. If you cannot control your temper, then it is time to get help and help is available. Your social worker or your GP should be able to put you in touch with someone who will help you with anger management.

This is not about me and how offended I am. It is about you and protecting the roof over your head. And if you eventually do get booted out on the street, it is not about me and the other tenants you failed to respect. It is really about the lack of respect you have for yourself. Only you can fix that!

In the meantime, expect to have other tenants call the security and/or police when you do not respect your fellow tenants by keeping the noise down, your vocabulary tidier and your level of respect a good deal higher. If any tenant wants a list of the police call numbers, they are yours to take from the bulletin board (when our resident thief does not rip them off for something to do - now he is one sad dude! And he, too, is looking to get a one way pass to a home under a bridge.)

I am so late with this blog, I am going to sentence myself to 10 more lashes with that wet noodle and do more updating with the next blog, coming soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Housing Consult - July 27, 2009 and Misc. Notes

Monday evening, two of us from 2100 Russell Road, myself and Sheila, attended the Housing Consult with the Minister of Housing, The Honourable Jim Watson. We were there with other members of ACORN. More people showed up than the Minister anticipated I think - they ended up putting a tent up in the parking lot to accommodate the overflow. We each sat at a different table of 8 people - this gave us an opportunity to meet other people and hear their thoughts and discuss those thoughts more thoroughly. It also exposed us to other Housing types and problems - a bit of a surprise though it shouldn't be, but we do tend to get involved with our own problems and forget that there are others with their own problems.

Ottawa Housing's Jo-Anne Poirier introduced the Minister after which she and her right hand gal, Laurene Wagner, moved around the room meeting the participants and getting a feel for the various concerns.

There were 5 questions and each table was given a question to discuss. After the discussion, a person we chose as spokesperson, passed our concerns on to the Minister and the rest of the room. Not surprisingly, our concerns here at 2100 came up to one degree or another at each table. So The Minister knows. Now let's see what he will do.

'Screening' was pretty well shot down as being too much of a hot political potato - well that's my take on it anyway. The good news is that there were suggestions made that were a tad different but would have the same outcome - less problems, more security.

Active drug addicts, vandalism, people with mental problems but no in-house supervision or support were among the problems that were discussed. A better way of addressing those problems along with some suggestions as well as more or better security were high on the list of things put to the Minister to do something about. Also discussed were ways for people to move up and out and into a more personal type of housing situation whenever it was possible and appropriate for them.

An item that came up that I know will be of interest to some tenants here is habit of government agencies of giving with one hand and taking away with the other. It was pointed out to the Minister that it is counter productive and discourages people who really want to move upwards. We do sincerely hope he noted that and will do something constructive about it.

Jenn from Ottawa Child/Youth Housing Advocacy Initiative (OCHAI) was at my table. She is putting together a summary and will send it to me. I will pass the high points along to you.

I have invited the Minister here for tea and a tour. When I wrote the Federal Minister a while back, it took him a year to respond. I guess I should be grateful that he answered at all. However this is a different level of government and a different person so, while I would not advise you to hold your breath, I would not, at this point in time, say he will ignore us either. Stay tuned.

Miscellaneous Notes

1. Last night I noticed that the Door #4 parking lot was well lit up. I'm not sure if they just changed the light bulbs or if they redirected the lights or what. But it should discourage some of those little vandals that have been tormenting us here. Thanks OHC for doing that!

2. For those of you who put your names down as volunteers, there will be another get together with Housing on August 6, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Try to keep in mind that these meetings are intended to solve communal problems, not individual ones. Let's keep it a discussion and not a monologue. Also, it is very difficult to both hear and think if there are little children running around. Please find someone to look after the little ones and leave them at home. Meetings with Housing are not an appropriate place to drag little children.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Moving Right Along!

Well, it has been a busy couple of weeks.

July 16, 2009 Meeting

ACORN, Ottawa Housing and a large number (for us) of tenants showed up. Both 2100 and 2080 were represented. ACORN sent Jessica and Matt, two very active ACORN members and Sue from Ledbury came. Ottawa Housing was represented by the C.E.O., Jo-Anne Poirier, Director of South District, David Loveridge and Marion Dunning, Building Manager.

The Opening was not planned - it started off with Sirens, thanks to our resident Dunce - the dude who thinks that pulling the fire alarm is fun. If he had any thought that pulling the alarm was going to end our meeting, he was sadly mistaken. I am sure he did not intend to help any of us but the alarm going off at 4:00 p.m. on the nose, actually did help us. Jo-Anne, David and Marion saw and heard first hand what we have been experiencing for months. Fooled him though. They were not to be here until 4:15 p.m. so they just got the tail end of it.

Initially the plan was to take Jo-Anne, David and Marion on a little tour of the first floor. Show them the poorly lit parking lot at door 4 and the car that was vandalized there. Bring them in past the huge hole still in the wall between the doors, along the filthy carpets marked up by dirty footprints, stains put there by people dropping drinks, people letting their dogs pee and indeed, people peeing on the carpets themselves. We would have pointed out the holes put there by the Hole Puncher Dunce and the holes put there by people with carts who do not care if they run into the walls or not. We'd have brought them past the mail room with it's deliberately broken mail boxes and the vandalized coke machine. They would have seen first hand what a handful of non-screened tenants and their visitors have done to this once lovely building. But that never happened, thanks to the fire alarm.

My plan to chair the meeting was vetoed by ACORN. Their meetings are usually informal but members are respectful of each other so it works. Appears respect stayed away from our meeting though. The plan for Sue to tell us about how Ledbury was changed from the hell hole it was to the very pleasant project it is today was loudly put down by a handful of nay-sayers. A couple or three of them took over the meeting and filled it with their own personal problems. A sort of fillibuster, if you will. In spite of them, a few others did manage to get themselves heard.
If you were one of that few, you were heard!

It ended very uncivilly with a few using the F word as often as they could - not exactly a sign of high intelligence. And yelling. Again, not too swift! Those that did that did not garner any respect, just disgust. Unfortunately, the ones who are reading this blog probably do not need to be told this, but you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. I know the yellers and cursers did manage to convince a few people that some people living here probably do belong on the street and living under a bridge so that little demonstration was counter productive, wasn't it?

ACORN have been very successful with their Work Order campaigns. They tried to get that off the ground here too. Only a handful of people filled them in however. A shame really! That was a way for you to be heard but most passed that opportunity up. And with the W.O. you could have put your personal gripes about Maintenance etc. W.O.s that were filled out were passed along to Housing.

For anyone who wanted to listen but who couldn't hear, Jo-Anne did say, if you have a problem with security and/or Maintenance, call them. They do not know what the problems are if you do not tell them in the first place. If you have to call them several times, call them several times. Their voice mail works all night.

For those few who think that Housing should run around behind you cleaning up after you, here's a news flash from me to you. They are your Landlord, not your Mother and if you are old enough to sign a lease, then you are old enough to behave like adults. Adults clean up after themselves.

Oh yeah! Let me be the first to tell you that we have a genius in the building. Sometime after Thursday afternoon this genius stole all our ashtrays and broke the seat of our swing in the garden.

Oops! I am wrong. A genius is supposed to have an IQ that is higher than the total of fingers and toes on his body. If I read this IQ chart correctly, he is really just a slug.

I'll be back with the second meeting notes, so stay tuned :o)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Yard Work

As you can see, a fair number of people have worked on the various green plots around 2100. And there were people who worked on it that I never got on film. So heads up those of you who didn't or couldn't help. Try to keep it clean. Most of the workers are either seniors or disabled in some way or other or are not even tenants, but friends of tenants. If you clean your car out - there is a garbage drop near each door so walk it over there and do not dump it on the ground. If you smoke, there are ash cans to put your butts in. And if you are one of those who litter just 'to show us", well you have shown us that you are ignorant and lazy and probably mentally challenged - smart people don't do that! Now surely you can show us something a tad more positive about yourself.

Those of you thinking, "Karen screwed up putting a bunny in the list - I didn't screw up! This little fellow was very busy trying to eat the wild clover to get it out of our way and he is a quiet, very well behaved visitor who comes often to 2100 to add a little class to the place. :o)

One way or another, we are beginning to acquire some tools and there are a couple of little sheds where we can keep them locked up. Of late, it appears that there are a few personality issues getting in the way. Come on Folks! There is enough work to go around and the courtyard, garden and rest spots at the doors belong to everyone who lives here. There is no room for personality and/or control squabbling. Still those sheds have locks and who will hold the keys appears to have become a problem. Can we not agree to share the tools when they are needed? How about one set of keys stays with the President of the Tenants Association and another set with someone else and can we not agree to handle these tools with respect and to return them to the shed they belong in.

And it seems logical that gardening tools belong near the garden; the others at the courtyard. This will make it possible for someone needing something to know where to find it instead of having to run between sheds looking. The hoses for both the Courtyard and the door #3 garden should stay where they are. There is another hose that I got from the freecycle folks and it can be the one to be moved when one is needed at doors 1 and 4 or as an extra in the other two spots. I also think we can get a little cupboard or set of shelves from freecycle to keep the smaller items in. The logical place would be where the one was when Marcel was here - by the table at door 3.

This used to be a very nice building. We unfortunately have experienced some very evil type tenants. BUT, if we work as a team, we can make it a nice place again. To do that, all the personal needs for attention and control and bullying others in order to get those things has to cease. I am sure you have all heard that when everyone is a Chief, there are no Indians and it is the Indians who get things done. So let's all try to be a team of Indians and not a bunch of warring Chiefs.

To every person who helped with the clean up and to those who continue to keep it cleaned up, Hats off to you all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Door 3

Since the last post, Housing has come over and cleaned up the heap of asphalt. Thanks OHC.

The Courtyard

Five seconds ago Madelaine came and got bags for some of the tenants who are cleaning up. The leaves in the court yard near the lounge will be history before you get his blog. Thanks guys! And thanks to Madelaine - At her own expense she planted some flowers near the little church in the court yard. Now if we can get the squirrels to leave them alone..............

The Parking lot near Door 2

Thanks to Pat and Frank, the front is clean. They might be seniors and they might not be in the best of health but they are good tenants who do their share to keep our home as tidy they can. Not a mean feat when one considers the wind in the area and the few badly behaved tenants who think the rest of the tenants are their own personal maid service and throw their garbage on the ground - even when they are standing right beside a garbage can.

Pat and Frank - you guys are real gems!

Housing - you really do need to put 'house broken' on your list of criteria for getting an apartment here.

Speaking of broken

The doors to this building are all in various stages of broken. Unless someone wants to go back to when this building was erected to get their pound of flesh from the original builders, trying to get a pound of flesh from tenants who find themselves on the wrong side of a stuck door is pretty low. It is not Housing's fault and it is not all the tenant's fault. The building is sinking and it does not take a rocket scientist, or in this case, an engineer, to know that sinking puts mechanical fixtures out of order. And it has done this to our four doors. Sometimes they stick and won't open. I could be wrong but I don't think so but the sinking is also the reason for the cracks that are constantly happening on that side of the complex. Me thinks you need an engineer to find a way to stop it or slow it down if, in fact, that is even possible or economic.

Right now there is a rumour going around that one of the seniors here has been fined for shaking the door when it would not open. I sure hope it is just a rumour. Particularly since we are getting very little justice with our tenant complaints. Well maybe we are and maybe we are not but since Housing people like to hide behind the word "Confidential" we don't really know. You folks at Housing really need to learn the difference between 'confidential' and 'secret' and secrecy is never good outside of war zones and wartime espionage. If someone has been caught for trashing our building, we have a right to know and arrest is a public thing - nothing confidential about it. If they have not been arrested, then we do not have justice. In which case, how about an update. Either way, since the complaint about the trashing is ours and maybe yours, we really need to know that something is being done.

If the above about the senior and the door is rumour, then something needs to be done to put it to sleep. There is already way too much hate and distrust without rumours creating more. If it is not a rumour then I think we should know why this particular incident has gotten action but our complaints, some which go back four and five years, have apparently been ignored. Tenants are not cars on an assembly line. They are people with feelings. If your luck takes a nose dive, they could be you. Not all of us are here because it was planned this way.

And it is easy to update us. Just respond on this blog and I will see that it is posted on the board and in the lounge.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The trouble with saying 'to hell with you folks" is that I still live here and I still want to live some place that is clean and comfortable and safe, so whether you like what I say or what I do or not, I am still going to do it. Sorry if you ever thought what you do in the hallway is private - it isn't and never was a place where anyone could expect 'privacy'.

Door 3

The picture above was taken outside of door 3. During the day and especially during the spring and summer months, this door gets a lot of traffic. This mess you see has got to go!

I have no idea who put it there - I am not all that interested in playing the 'Blame Game.' I am more interested in playing the "Let's get it fixed up" game. And what is it?? It is a pile of asphalt that is ugly and rough and when it gets hot, it will be a sticky black mess that will get tracked into the apartment building and the carpets and the tiles in our apartments. It is also an accident looking for a place to happen. Someone is going to trip on it and go flying and break a leg, an arm or worse. It is not in the interest of tenants or Ottawa Housing to leave it there. Tenants could get hurt. Housing could get sued.

I know that our Maintenance men have been kept busy trying to stay ahead of the notorious 'hole puncher'. Seems to me that this particular sticky problem is something perhaps a couple of our bigger, stronger tenants might get some satisfaction out of fixing up. But to do that we would need the proper tools. This is not my forte but some sort of heavy duty scraper? And then something that is capable of washing the remaining tar remnants away.

This is not a job that can wait much longer - it is soon going to get hot and this mess will be that much more difficult to clean up and, most likely, a good deal more expensive to clean up.

The Hole Puncher

While he has toned down his nasty deeds, he has not stopped. There are more holes on floor 2 and 3. I know I keep hearing from OHC that they are working on this, I can only hope you are getting somewhere. Again I strongly recommend screening - with an IQ of at least 50 and some house training as your criteria.

Some Notes of Interest

Gail is back from the hospital and looking pretty good. Gained a few pounds which looks very good on her!

Walking around the building is getting like walking through a wild life park - well maybe that's an exaggeration but this week I have seen a wild turkey and a cute little rabbit on top of the usual collection of squirrels and birds. The Cardinals have been out singing their little hearts out and adding a flash of colour to the trees. And I do believe there is a hawk or two coming by for a pidgeon pie breakfast too.

The Tenant's Association will be slowing down on some things for the summer so check the notices they put on the various boards to be sure the activity you are interested is is still happening or not. If you happen to see the dude who keeps cleaning tenant notices off the boards, you could call Al or Florence at Housing and tell them who and how you know. The only ones being hurt with this nonsense are other tenants who looked for notices about taxes and found it gone or who were trying to sell or buy something and found their notices torn down. It is in YOUR interest to help us find out who this is and report them. Do not waste your time fighting with them; just report them.

There have also been a few people complaining that their laundry has been stolen. Here again, you have to call. Make a note of the times and the place so that Housing can go back to the films to find them. It is unreasonable to expect anyone to be sitting watching those cameras 24 hours a day, every day. You have to help too. This goes for anything - deliberate damage, theft and etc. One thing I can assure you of is that your name will never be mentioned. "Confidential" is Al's very favourite word.

Bed Bugs

Think this is an Ottawa Housing Problem? an Ontario problem? maybe a Canadian problem? Think again! and check this out:-

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Last Post

Well this has been quite a week.

Housing finally came up with a local newsletter full of all manner of hopeful fixes and changes. The holes are well on the way to being fixed. The grounds are relatively tidy though they could be better.

And I was treated to a half hour long monologue trashing all the things I have tried to get changed - the drug addicts, the vandalism, the lack of communication from Housing and the deteriorating sense of safety and security.

I am still waiting for the contract for the phone. To correct the present situation, a letter off the top of my head will not do. It needs the accompanying documentation. Lots of firey words at the meeting about it but not one of you has done anything towards getting it settled - which means no one wants to get off their duff and find the paperwork required.

So, I am backing off! Quitting! Call it what you want. If you are a tenant and experience noise late at night, holes in the walls, theft, or anything illegal - take it to someone else or go sit on the swing and complain to each other and badmouth each other.

Have a good life and remember, in case of rape - lie back and enjoy it. After all, the efforts made to make this a safe place are not good. They take away your privacy! In case of theft, be kind and give willingly. After all, the efforts made to make this a safe place are not good. They take away your privacy! Clearly some people here think privacy in a hallway (???) is more important than safety. Then go sit with everyone else and complain - around here this is the next obvious move! Just do not come to me. I think you are illogical and foolish.

This was once a very nice property. You have turned it into a slum. If you did not punch holes in the wall yourself, by not doing anything to stop it, you are just as responsible for the slum as the drug addicts and/or hole punchers who did. Small bloody wonder that Ottawa Housing does so little. What a greedy, selfish and ungrateful lot you are!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Check out the Maintenance Work done today!

Yesterday I had a chat with Marion Dunning who assures me that Housing is hot on the heels of the two-bit thug who punched holes in our hallways. Well she didn't say "two-bit thug" but everyone else who has seen his work has! She also assured me that the holes would be fixed. As you can see, she was true to her word - work has started on fixing the damage. Floors 1, 2 and 3 at the elevator have all been fixed so far.

The first picture above is of the wall at door 4 on the 2nd Floor - Before and After. The Before is thanks to a low life vandal and the After is thanks to our Maintenance men who fixed it earlier today. The second is at the 4th Door Entrance at the elevator. The hole on the 3rd Floor is also mended. Nice job, Fellows!

Claude put the swing on its runner so everyone who has ventured out these past few lovely days, have been able to sit on the swing. And Joan has been working on the back yard in spite of her foot which has been operated on recently. Several of the seniors have been trying to keep ahead of the garbage and the north wind which keeps blowing garbage this way. A special thanks you to Madelaine and to Frank who have been very diligently working at it, though there have been several others working at it too.

Speaking of garbage, 1975 Russell appears to have new owners and that corner of the world has been all cleaned up. It is quite nice to walk along the sidewalk near there. Here is hoping they try to keep ahead of the garbage there - That wind will surely bring it here if they don't.

Not much else today though I do not want to sign off without mentioning that Dorothy is back from the hospital and Hazel is almost back to where she was before she broke her hip. Well, she is not exactly racing in the halls but she sure is getting out and about again.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wow! Ain't this weather great??

Wow! Ain't this weather great??

Well the worst part of the clean up around the building has been done. There are a few spots where cars are parked still to be picked up and a few other places where there is still snow to melt and loosen it's grip on the rubbish but mostly, it is looking pretty decent.

And if you did not help, well there is always next year. :o)

In the meantime, Thanks are due to the following people who I only know by first name.
These three picked up where ever they could. And they picked up one hell of a lot!
A special thank you to Claude who did all the heavy lifting for me (I can't get the bags into the garbage bin so he has heaved them all over for me.)
But others have done their share too in other ways. High on this list is the gal in Apt 136 - she and her family did an absolutely wonderful job on the area in front of her apartment. It is downright pristine! Rita, Frank and Pat and the young man in the apt beside them always keep their little corner of the world tidy. And someone on the north side of the courtyard did a lot of work over there. Unfortunately, I don't know who that was but if you do, tell him for us, Thanks.

Also, the swing at Door #3 was off it's runner and we could not get it back. Someone, bigger and stronger than me or the others who cleaned up, however did get it back and working. I do not know who you are but a huge Thank you from all those who love to use that swing!

If you are young and/or healthier than we are, it is not the easiest job for people who are older to do this work. All manner of conditions such as osteoporosis and arthritis and herniated spinal discs among other things makes it slow going. So maybe you could help out by trying to throw your trash in a bin instead of on the ground.

Now if someone at Ottawa Housing could come up with a rake or two and that fancy little machine that vacuums up leaves, it could be perfect in no time. Also, a small garbage bin with a chain to hold it in place for the Door #3 garden area would be very nice. Marcel took the one he had there when he left but it is missed a lot!

And if anyone is strong enough to get those two cushions in front of door 1 over to the garbage, that would really be appreciated. Don't laugh! I know they are not very heavy. The strength is needed to pull them away from the ground on which they are solidly frozen!

Biting the Hand that Feeds!

Ottawa Housing may not in fact feed any of us but they do make it possible for us to live quite comfortably in neat little apartments for a good deal less money than the private sector allows. When you show your thanks for that opportunity by punching holes in the walls as was done this past week, well you just prove that you are not very well house trained, you do not appreciate that your other option might be being out on the street - In short, you are biting the hand that feeds you. And you are proving to the world that you are not too bright. For those that punched all those holes in the wall - No one at 2100 thinks you are very swift. In fact 'stupid idiot' is the term I keep hearing about you. Wow! Now there is a legacy to leave behind! Duh!!!

Edit to Housing: The big hole at door #4 should appear on those camera tapes!

It's about those Intercoms!

Some of us still do not have working Intercoms!

If 'stupid and lazy" are the words used for the hole punchers, 'selfish, lazy, and incompetent' are the words being used to describe the person unknown at Housing who is not doing anything to solve this long term problem. How about someone over there with a little authority, getting on to the person delegated to get this fixed and get him/her to fix it!!!

Also, it has been called in several times but there is still a problem for many of us to get in using our fobs at door #3.


Those licenses are still out of date only more so today!

Tenant's Bulletin Board
Someone is still taking our notices down. Please tell the cleaning staff or whoever is doing to please cease and desist!

Finally, Welcome back home, Dorothy

Everyone is very glad to hear you are feeling better and are looking forward to seeing you at Bingo, if not before!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sad news

Our Tenant Association President, Dorothy, is in the hospital. I know that the Bingo crowd got a card out to her. Those who didn't get their names on the card can send your personal get well wishes - She is in the Ottawa General. I do not think she is having visitors yet so if you had planned on visiting, you might be well advised to call first or ask someone on the committee before going over there and possibly finding out you can't get in to see her. You could always ask her son to give her your best wishes too.

Not So Sad News

Hazel is home from the General after three fun filled weeks - trust Hazel to turn a broken hip into a plus!! She came home with lots of good stories about her stay, the room mates she had there and her new exercise program. The General should maybe pay her for all the good publicity the medical staff have gotten from her. :o) You can see her walking around the building or being wheel chaired to Bingo. She is doing very well and will be kicking butt at bingo again every chance she gets! But lets not make this a revolving door for tenants from 2100 - Please!! I mean, when Dorothy comes home, lets not have anyone from here take her place at the Ottawa General.

Not Much Other News

It's been a long weekend, so nothing that was not working last week is any better today. If any of the broken items - Intercoms, doors, mailboxes etc is a problem for you, call Maintenance - 613- 731-1182. Tell them! The more calls they get, the faster they seem to get things fixed.

It's been a pretty quiet Easter weekend. Hope yours was a good one! If you need an excuse to go out and enjoy that lovely sun we have today, take a bag and pick up a little garbage. Some of the seniors have been getting a bit of it picked up every day so it is nowhere near as bad as it was but we sure could use some younger help.

Some one has put the swing at door three out where we can sit on it again. If you smoke, please use the ashtrays there - not the ground. Marcel is not here anymore to pick up after everyone - gotta pick up after yourselves now. So lets show a little pride and think before we discard junk and butts. The garbage thingy is not out back anymore. If you see anyone from Housing, ask if we can get one out there.

I am reasonably sure that the Bingo and the Saturday Breakfast are still on while Dorothy is away but check the wall for flyers - Royden puts them up near the elevators.

Catch you next time!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Elevators and Intercoms

It's about those Intercoms. I thought they were working but apparently they are not! What I want to know is this - Is there anyone out there who is competent at fixing the things they are hired to fix? And is it too difficult to write a notice for us that something is not fixed and its being worked on?? It has been bloody months that we have been trying to get these intercoms working. And by 'we' I mean the tenants at 2100.

It has been months, not days or even weeks - but months. Delivery people do not know that when they think they are ringing us, the intercom does not work. Friends and relatives coming to visit do not know the Intercoms do not work. Even getting an ambulance in here is quite a trick sometimes because the Intercoms and Elevators have been down more than they are up.

Bad enough they do not get fixed. Worse that we may not know they are not working so we can warn people to call first so we can meet them. But writing a notice is too much like work apparently for anyone to do. And the worst is that someone at Housing, who has no trouble picking up the pay cheque the taxpayer writes her every month, behaves like she is a class above every one here. Here's a heads up. Class is not determined by your pay cheque or your job title. It is determined by your behaviour. And being a bully and being spiteful shows no class at all. And taking money to do a job and not doing it is a form of fraud.

So the question is - When in blazes is someone going to get off their duff and manage this building so that we have elevators and Intercoms that can be relied on? Some of us have been working hard to get tenants to treat the building with some respect and not go around destroying things. Is it too much to ask that Housing and/or its representative get off their little judgmental horse and do the job they were hired to do.

Elevator License

One more thing that was just brought to my attention - the license for the elevator at door 4 is out of date, again not by a few days but by months.

Door 3

I did not check it today but as of last night the fobs do not work to open door 3. I have called that in so, is anyone going to fix it? If it is going to take months to fix, how about a note saying that much so we at least know it is still not working.

It's not all negative :o)

Some things here are definitely improving. The above however, are not among the improvements.

I see the mail box who's door was hanging by a thread has been fixed. Thanks to Florence for that one. I did not check the others on the list but I am assuming that, barring a tenant/landlord dispute over the broken boxes, they were fixed. Tenants who break their own mail boxes need to grow up and stop doing that sort of juvenile thing. Public Housing is here to help lower income people; not to be baby sitters to people who behave like they were never house trained.

Almost finally, a very special thank you to Vivian who helped me clean up that little triangle of City land that folks facing Russell Road look out on. Viv and I are not kids and we both use walkers so some help would not be refused from younger and stronger folks. If you are a tenant here at 2100, this is your home and cleaning it up is to your benefit. Or you can leave it looking like a slum or watch the seniors clean it up. Housing has proposed a Spring clean up with a BBQ but could we not get some of the really bad litter picked up before then? Maybe on the next reasonably warm day?

And finally, I know you will all be happy to hear that Hazel is home again and doing very well.
Welcome home. Hazel!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's Been Fairly Quiet Around Here

New Intercoms

The new Intercoms are in and working. Tenants and their guests will notice a few little, perhaps disconcerting, differences. The old Intercoms made a noise when you punched in the ring code and then you could hear them ring. These do not do that. So you might warn your visitors that they are ringing even though they do not hear them ringing.

Tenant's Bulletin Board

The board you see pictured above is the tenant's Board. For those of you new to the building, it is located to the left of the coke machine at door 3 and the mail room. Permission to put it up was given to tenants way back when this was a Seniors Residence. You can put up notices for things you are selling or looking for, services you know other tenants might be interested in, coupons you do not want but others may use and etc.

Someone keeps removing other people's notices and coupons. If it is a tenant - Please grow up. If it is housing staff, please keep your hands off. For Housing Staff who think they are working for an Institution and can arbitrarily decide what we may or may not put on that board, This is not an Institution. It is a housing project. This is a free country still and that is OUR board! Someone suggested I write the Premier and tell him to tell his relatives to keep away from our bulletin board. Unfortunately, I do not know who is related to whom or who that person might be. So if you work for Housing and YOU know who that is, please straighten that person out. And fear not. I do not write the Premier. I get far better results from writing the press. :o) But seriously, if this nasty little rumour has any truth to it, would someone at Housing please do something about it. And if it is someone from here, would those handy dandy little cameras record it and if so can we find out who it is that way??

Spring Clean Up

Winter has left us with a lot of trash lying around outside. Florence has spoken to some one who will bring us bags and gloves etc. If we get a few good men and women working at it, we should be able to get it tidied up in a few hours. So give it some thought and let me know if you want to help.


Your keys are more important than anything you own. They help keep everything you own safe. If you lose them, whoever finds them can access your apartment and take whatever they want. They can also steal your mail. And worse yet, you can see you have mail but you cannot get your hands on it. So handle them with care. You do not want to end up breaking into your own mail box to get your mail like a number of people here have done. And if you read your lease, YOU are responsible for anything you break - that includes the door to your mail box. And from a strictly aesthetic viewpoint, seeing a bunch of broken mailboxes is not particularly pleasing - it makes it look like we live in DogPatch or Slum Valley.

Speaking of people who leave the building looking like Slum Valley, someone spilt a bag or a pan of veggies in the elevator at door 2 last week. To you I must ask, "What happened to your last slave?" For crying out loud, have a little teeny bit of class and clean up after yourself if you drop something, break something or have an accident of some sort.

Update on Hazel

Hazel is still in the Ottawa General. Frothing at the bit to get out and about. They have moved her to Rehab where they have her doing exercises to strengthen her leg - this is good. Anyone who knows Hazel knows she is not really very good at sitting about doing nothing all day. If I understand her doctor correctly - her biggest problem is wanting to run before she has relearned how to walk. She spends time visiting with friends and relatives and planning where and how she will sit at Bingo. She sure misses you fellow Bingo- holics. LOL

Not much else but

Don't forget the Saturday Breakfast in the lounge at 2100 Russell Road. It's open until 11:30 Saturday morning.

And Sunday Bingo - also in the lounge. Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.. Everyone is welcome.

If you have to get junk mail, it might as well be junk mail you might want to try out. I have tried all manner of shampoos, a peanut butter substitute called Sun Butter which is actually pretty good, a free Gillette razor, a gadget to put those huge rolls of toilet paper on so that you can still get the paper off the roll without dislocating your shoulder and lots of other goodies.

Free Canada samples

Other junk mail I actually welcome are coupons I can actually use like for laundry detergents or dog food. And I get them here

Till next time...........

Friday, March 20, 2009

Elevators and Hazel

A short blog!

The #2 door Elevator is working!!!

Hazel was operated on today. They gave her a spinal so she watched the entire procedure. Gutsy Lady!! Now she is frothing at the bit to get back home. A tad premature to be sure. But with a positive attitude like that I am sure it will be sooner than any of us think. Hats off to you Hazel!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Elevators and Mail boxes

It's been one hectic and upsetting day. The very first thing I did this morning was answer an S.O.S. call from my best friend, Hazel. She had, as she told me, "fallen and I can't get up." She was certain that she had broken her hip. I called an ambulance and went up to see her. Tough Newfie! And with her sense of humour in tact even if her leg wasn't!

The paramedics made it in what must be record time! And that in spite of running into the useless elevator at door #2. Hats off to those guys!! Fortunately too, they ran into our Maintenance crew who brought them over and made sure the elevator at door 4 was available. But the gurney does not fit so the paramedics put her in a wheel chair and one steadied her broken leg while the other pushed the chair.

The elevators have been down for over a week. Marion assures me that the company has been called several times. I called OHC and find out that the elevator company does not keep spare parts in Ottawa! And I am left to think that this elevator company, that somehow stays in business in spite of leaving their clients without elevators because they do not keep spare parts available, also do not have the capacity to order or have never heard of airplanes because it appears the part(s) is coming via slow boat to China. (That is what my English teacher would call a run on sentence but I want to make sure you do not miss the point even a little bit.) This is one thing that I hear being blamed on OHC but it is Not OHC's fault.

An efficient service company would have spare parts for most possible troubles. An efficient company would definitely have spare parts for an elevator that is as old as this one and that has had other relatively recent problems. An efficient company would have a plan B should they find themselves without a required part - you know like putting it on a plane to get it here asap. An efficient company would be trying even harder to hang on to the clients they have now that we are in the midst of a fairly severe recession. They don't really know, after all, that when this crunch is over, that OHC or any other company who received such scandalously bad service, will stick with them. In all my 40 plus years of working for service oriented companies, I never worked for one with such as lousy attitude. In one week I get to be at the receiving end of two - the alarm checking company and now the elevator company. Unbelievable!!

Because of this 'couldn't care less' attitude we have all been inconvenienced, especially those on the fifth floor and my.... Our .... friend, Hazel, who was left to experience more pain than she normally would have because of them. Also Unbelievable!!

I am told, yet again, that they will be back in the morning and it will be fixed. I certainly hope so.

Mail Boxes

A number of the mail boxes have doors that are broken - some are even about to fall off. They have been that way for weeks. A letter to Housing and, guess what? You guys did not report the broken mail boxes to anyone. Said it before and I will say it again. Ottawa Housing is not a psychic organization. If you do not tell them, they do not know. Do not assume that just because something is broken, that someone else reported it. Report it! If it is something visible, take a picture of it! If you do not have a camera, come and tell me and I will take a picture of it and send it off. Try and remember that there are something like 200 buildings run by Ottawa Housing. They are not omnipotent. They are not psychic. So tell them. So what if someone else called it in. Better to hear from two or more than from no one.

Anyway, for the moment, the mail boxes that are broken have been reported and the Post Office will be out to fix them. Should any more get broken, call OHC. They'll call the Post Office. If they have been broken into, call the police and OHC. Stealing mail is a Federal Offence covered by the Criminal Code of Canada. Remember - If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

I have kitty cat sitting duties in the morning so I'll leave it there.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Bits and Pieces - The Sequel!


Total Fire Protection was here all day today and not one alarm! Someone must have gotten the message. Now here's hoping it carries over to next year. :o)

Time to Start Thinking about:

Spring Clean Up.

Last fall when I spoke to JoAnne Poirier about fall clean up we were a bit late out of the gate. So I thought I would mention it earlier for spring. In the fall, Ms. Poirier indicated that Housing would be happy to help so if you are a tenant reading this, maybe start thinking about if you are able to help. It should be a pretty fast job if we can scare up enough people to help. This year we do not have Marcel to run around picking up after us so it is even more important that we pick up the slack. It's our home!! For now, it is still at the think about it stage. Once I know for sure, I will put a notice on the board. I know! Some small pea brained person keeps clearing off the board. Hang in there. There are people setting up, what I am told is a sure fire way to catch them. Can't tell you more than that. I do not know more than that. I do know that the plan is to not say anything when the evidence is in hand- just to turn evidence over to Housing's CEO. So hang in there - I'll get the word out to you one way or another.

Dog Owners

There are quite a few of us here. It is imperative that you pick up after your dog! If they are worth having, they are worth cleaning up after. Take any plastic bag you want with you, turn it inside out over your hand like a glove and pick it up. Then toss it in a garbage bin. That is the classy thing to do. It is also the rules Housing gave us for owning a dog - that we clean up after them.

Elevators and Intercoms

Last week the elevator at Door #2 broke down. The elevator repair men had it working again for a few hours but it is down again.

The Intercoms are still out. I did write to Marion and asked her to make her best effort to get them fixed.

On a brighter note -

Have you noticed there is less willful damage being done around the building!

And it is quietier!

And the security fellows are about more often!

And don't forget-

Saturday breakfast - available until 11:30 a.m. and

Sunday Bingo staring at 1:00p.m.

both held in the Lounge at 2100 Russell Road.

Everybody is welcome!

I have a new quote for my email signature. What do you think?

Them That Can, Do!
Them That Can't, Bully!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Ongoing Saga of the Fire Alarms

"Bullying consists of the least competent, most aggressive service supplier projecting their incompetence on to the least aggressive most, vulnerable client and winning."
an adaptation of a Tim Field quote

Hours of being forced to listen to fire alarms is a form of bullying by a service supplier, The Landlord and, in this case, The City of Ottawa. Let us put an end to this wholesale bullying!

Hi Everyone!

Today, and possibly again tomorrow we will have these blankety-blank fire alarms ringing again.I spent the morning on the phone listening to complaints and calling around trying to find out why we have been picked to be harassed and annoyed again and so soon after the last time Total Fire Prevention came in here with their checks in January. The bottom line is I get smoke and mirror shows from everyone and no legitimate answers from anyone.

It is a fact that the law says fire alarms must be checked regularly. I have no problem with that law at all. I also think the equipment to keep us secure should be in good and working order. My complaint, and of other tenants here, is not the law that says they must be checked but the manner in which Total Fire Prevention conducts these checks. For those who missed it, the fire alarms ring constantly for upwards of 6 hours. That is, when they check the alarm in my apartment, the entire building is rewarded with hearing alarms both in the halls and in their apartments.And the same is true for all 200+ apartments. That is a lot of fire alarm listening.

On January 26, 2009 I received the following letter from Michael Daigle of the Ottawa Fire Department.

This is not a requirement of the City of Ottawa or Ottawa Fire Services. This is the requirements of Provincial Law. The Ontario Fire Code, the Regulation of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, and available at requires that the fire alarm system meet the requirements of Can/ULC-S536. This requires that the fire alarm system bells to be checked monthly and the fire alarm system to be inspected annually.

SECTION 6.3 FIRE ALARM AND VOICE COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS FOR LIFE SAFETY (1) Except as provided in Sentence (2), a fire alarm system, with or without voice communication capability, shall be inspected and tested in conformance with CAN/ULC-S536, “Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems”.

(2) Despite Clause of CAN/ULC-S536, “Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems”, a UL listed smoke detector sensitivity instrument may be used to conduct annual sensitivity testing of smoke detectors.

(3) A description of the fire alarm system as required in Clause 3.6 of CAN/ULC-S536, “Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems”, shall be kept current and maintained in the building at an approved location.

(4) A record of each device, component and circuit of the fire alarm system that is inspected and tested in accordance with Sentence (1) shall

(a) indicate whether the device, component or circuit is in proper working order, and

(b) be kept in accordance with Article

(5) Where a fire alarm system is monitored to transmit a signal to the fire department, the owner shall record whether all signals from the tests conducted in Sentence (1), or other events, are received by the monitoring station, and records shall be kept in accordance with Article

Thank you for the question.

Michael Daigle
Acting Division Chief - Prevention
Ottawa Fire Services
1445 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario, K1Z 7L9
(613) 580-2424 ext 29460
Fax (613) 580-2866

I have read this letter and this Act several times. Nowhere, that I can find, does it give anyone the okay to torment, harass,or cause mental distress to anyone, ever. And that, to all those with the smoke and mirrors, is what I am talking about.

A trip to the Law Library would undoubtedly supply me some precedents either criminally or civilly, probably both. Should there not be a precedent, then I feel quite confident that any reasonable man would consider hours of fire alarms screaming in their ears a form of harassment, extreme mental distress and just plain torture of the type we do not allow our services to use against enemies in times of war. It is highly unlikely that our legal leaders would approve of it on home ground in peace times against our own people. Particularly if it turned out to have more to do with some Corporation's bottom line, as is presently my opinion. So far no one anywhere, not Total Fire Protection, not The City of Ottawa, not Ottawa Housing - has told me anything that would lead me to believe anything else. Just their Smoke and Mirrors!

It would behoove the powers-that-be to remember that tenants are people, not numbers in a ledger. Many in this building are senior. Many are physically disabled. Some are mentally disabled. Some work all night and need to sleep during the day. Some are new Canadians and this is definitely not a way to teach new comers how we treat our low income earning people or pensioners or how to be a good citizen. Not even trying to address this problem is nothing short of selfish and would not be happening, I am quite sure, if we were the powers-to-be or their loved ones.

So What Do We Do?

Well, I have already made a bunch of calls. I have also written a letter, a copy of which is on the bulletin board. If it disappears, another copy is easy enough to come up with. The rest of you tenants can get on the phone and complain about being treated like a guinea pig for Total Fire's new equipment or inexperienced staff or what ever their problem is. You could point out that discrimination is against the law in this country and what they are doing to us with these alarms is absolutely not what they would do to tenants in high rental buildings or that they would tolerate being done to any of their own family members. That makes it discriminatory.

You all know the numbers but here they are again:
Total Fire Protection 613- 288-0073
Councillor Peter Hume 613-580-2488
Ottawa Housing Corporation 613-249-0458

Can you write? Send a letter. Keep it civil but firm. Send it to any of the above. Send it to The Citizen's Letters to the Editor column.

Remember that numbers are power so do not avoid calling just because you know someone else called. And Remember, The Squeaky Wheel is the one that gets the oil, so Be a Squeaky Wheel!

Shame on you Total Fire Protection!
Shame on you City of Ottawa!
Shame on you Ottawa Housing Corporation!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Friday, the Thirteenth

Many people believe that the fear of Friday the 13th is called triskaidekaphobia. It turns out that triskaidekaphobia is actually a fear of the number 13. A fear of Friday the 13th is more correctly known as paraskavedekatriaphobia. The word paraskavedekatriaphobia comes from the Greek words Paraskeví meaning "friday," dekatreís meaning "thirteenth," and phobia, meaning something like "moron."
If you ever figure out how to pronounce it, let me know! :o) Think how much fun you can have just walking up to others and saying, "Hi. Have you heard about that virus that's making the rounds - you know, paraskavedekatriaphobia?" They might not know what you are talking about but they are really going to think you are one smart dude to know words like that. Must be 10 or more syllables long!

Well, on to more pressing things!

Tuesday's General Meeting

Florence and Al attended the General Meeting earlier this week. We sure could use more tenants coming out to them. They do not happen that often and if you have a problem or an idea for the building, this is the place to share it and possibly get something done about it.

Gossip - also called Tongue Wagging.

I have my own idea about nasty, malicious gossipers. I think that they do it to keep you thinking about someone else so you do not see their faults and flaws. I can only guess that some who do a lot of this must have some huge problems of their own. But entire books have been written on the subject and I am not going to write another here. I will say, if someone is gossiping and spreading dirt about you, try ignoring it. People like that often get a charge out of your reaction, so do not give them one. And do not lower yourself to their level by doing the same thing to them. If it keeps up and is particularly malicious, there is a law in the Criminal Code of Canada and the sentence is jail time. But between the ignoring it and the going to court, you might want to talk to Donna at Options Bytown (613-523-2952) or to someone at OHC to see if there is not something that can be done to put it to rest without spending money and time on lawyers and courts.

The Phone Bill

The Club or the T.A. might just be a small group of tenants trying to make their lives more interesting, but every time they buy a product or a service, they are doing business. There are things that are expected over and above the chosing and paying for something. The use of a phone is a contractual agreement. It was entered into with a devil may care attitude. The Club and now the TA have changed hands but the contract came with them. It seems to me, having listened to the tenants discuss this bill, that everyone is still not looking at it as a business transaction. The discussion should not have been, "Who is to blame?" but "How do we solve the problem?" It is business and it must be dealt with in a businesslike manner. I will do my best to get a resolution to this bill but, I think, more thought and care and business attitude must be used with future purchases, particularly ones that involve contract signing.

A Tenant's Association is here for the good of all the tenants. It is not here for any particular person's ego. Our present T.A. has done some really good things for the building and the tenants, particularly in the area of social get togethers. They offer Bingo, Bean Bags, Darts and a fabulous Saturday morning breakfast - all at reasonable prices. There are also impromptu things like musical get togethers. If you have an idea of your own, speak to the President, Dorothy so you can arrange times when the Lounge is not already booked. With summer fast approaching, I know there will be summery things going on like BBQs and etc. If you have not checked them out, you really should. Watch the Bulletin Boards and/or the walls at the elevators for the flyers telling you what, where and when.

Those are most of the things discussed a the General Meeting. So on to other things.


We are still waiting for the new boards. I asked Marion if she could use her charms and powers of persuasion to try to speed up the company contracted to do this. Until they are fixed however, it might be a good idea to have your visitors call before they come so you can let them in if you know your buzzer does not work.


The elevator at door 2 is not working. That company has been called and parts ordered. Hopefully that will be fixed soon also. In the meantime, the elevator at door 1 and that at door 4 are working. If all else fails, the stairs always work!
4:30 p.m. The gents from the elevator company just this minute loaded up their truck after fixing the elevator! It Works! Il travail! :o)


If it is small enough to go down the shoot, tie it up properly and put it down the shoot! If it is too big for the shoot, take it down to the first floor garbage room across from the Maintenance Room. If it is furniture, take it out back of the Garbage room or take it to the road for pickup. Do not leave it for days on end in the hall ways. That is just common courtesy for your neighbours. It is not rocket science! And if the seniors here can take out their garbage, the rest of you can too! Ottawa Housing does not have a maid service for you. It is not in any lease here. Those of you who leave your garbage for others to clean up ought to be ashamed of yourselves! So get your sweet pink, (black, brown, yellow or whatever colour your duff comes in) Canadian duff into gear and take your garbage out!

Recession getting you down? Chipper up your day with a freebie of........well, something - they put something new up every day. Might be shampoo. Might be baby diapers. Might be shaving cream. Might be anything.
Free Canada samples

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Odds and Sods!

Good Morning!

Another nice day where I can keep my balcony door open a bit to let in some fresh air. Spring is on the way! Let's have a celebration! Oh! There is already a celebration planned! St. Patrick's Day is also almost here so all those of Irish Decent, and everybody else who likes to eat and dance and pretend they are Irish for a day and are from this building are invited to the St. Patrick's party in the lounge on March 14th. Starts at 7:00 p.m. Prize for the person wearing the most green! Residents admitted for free. Non residents - $5.00 per person.

General Meeting for all tenants at 2100

There is a General Meeting at 2100 Russell Road tonight at 7:00 p.m. It is in the Lounge. This is your chance to speak out on issues that affect you living in this building. So if you have any building related problems to air, Ottawa Housing will be there and you can bring those issues up to them. It is not to spread gossip or to back bite. Ottawa Housing is trying. You have to show some interest too so please come.

About Rogers - Phones, Cable, In-house Cameras and Internet

Yesterday I had a visitor with a problem that was about Rogers. I mentioned a variety of little problems I have heard about with Rogers to Florence Brake at Ottawa Housing and she suggested they bring someone from Rogers to talk to you and answer questions you might have about their services. Are you tenants interested? Drop me a line at

and let me know. I think we could all let them know that we are none to thrilled with the way they have machines that do not think answering their phones. A simple problem that should take 5 minutes often takes over an hour of being transferred around the Rogers offices. Rogers is not the only outfit that does this but we can and should complain when we are lucky enough to have their human ears here listening. You never know an outcome until you try!

Saturday's Trip

2080 had a sign up for their shopping and dinner trip. Only 2 people from 2100 were on the bus and I was one of them. Those of us with walkers had lots of help getting on and off the bus. There are a couple of real gentlemen at 2080! Thanks John and David!

We went to the new WalMart on Terminal Ave, but, there are a lot of shops besides WalMart at that mall. I checked out the Dollarama - not as good as the one at Herongate but a lot better than the one at Elmvale. Not all items were $1.00 so if you go there and are watching your pennies, you might want to make sure there is not a bigger price tag than you are expecting. Still is a pretty good deal for most things. I got some of those silicone cooking utensils for $1.25 for a set of 2 spatulas. The same spatulas in some of the bigger stores are going for $5.98. Then I tripped across to Bowrings of Newfoundland. A bit pricey for someone on a pension but they had a pretty decent sale so I got a very nice frame to put a picture of my daughter in for half price. Ah! Some people are just worth a few extra bucks and for me, she is one of them.

Met everyone back at Walmart where a lot of them spent their time and then we were whisked off to Lorenzo's for dinner. Really a decent feed of roast beef for me from the buffet. It was not an easy choice - the linguini looked pretty good too and Montreal Smoked Meat was also tempting. BUT - I had no trouble deciding on a desert. Cherry Cheesecake! And it was "To Die For"!

Well, Time for a walk - cheesecake sort of hangs around my waist if I don't walk it off!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It Sure Helps to Know How Things Work!

I'm not sure about you but I know that March is out to get me! Warm one
day; cold the next! My poor nose has been running it's very own marathon.
My computer says 'freezing rain' for Friday. Whaaaaaaaaaaaa!

So here is something you can do on your computer to make the time pass
faster. Go on a South African Safari. There are 2 drives and a walking safari each day. Check their schedule. Then convert the times to Eastern Canadian. It is seven hours later in South Africa if you are in Ontario. There is a Drive at about 10:30 p.m. our time. Turn on the sound and click the little arrow in the corner of the viewing screen - that makes the screen bigger. Sit up and watch for elephants, leopards and other animals as the guide drives you through the Sabi Game Reserve. It's live - a new and different show every day!
Here is the URL:

While you are waiting, here is a bit of 2100 news.
We got Mr. YoungerNoMore's problem with the dates straightened out. Shaun
and Florence from Housing came here to explain it. This applies to everyone
here but it is perhaps more confusing to the seniors among us as they used
to be on a different system. That system changed when the Social Housing
Reform Act (Bill 128)
came into effect in 2000.

Under the old system, the seniors had rent reviews once a year and their
rent for that year was determined on or about the anniversary of their
move-in (renewal date). Under the new system, rents for all tenants living in a subsidized unit are reviewed whenever your income changes. If you are on a pension and you
get a cost of living raise, it is the tenant’s responsibility to inform Ottawa Community Housing of that change. If you work and your employer gives you a raise, it is your responsibility to report that also. Rent's here, as you know, are based solely on your income.

If you get a raise - either cost of living from your pension plan or a
raise in salary, that and that alone determines your rent. Most of us will
only see one raise in rent per year but if you work and are a really good
worker and you get promoted with a raise twice in a single year, your rent
will go up twice. If your raise is less than $10.00, it is unlikely that
your rent will change before your renewal date. If it is more than $10.00,
Ottawa Community Housing will use a percentage of your income to raise rent
within 31 days. Most everyone on pension or social assistance pays less
than Market Value for the apartments here so we still have a really good
deal. And rent is one of the most important expenses we have and it is,
after all, a true cost of living expense.

Now if you do not report it until your renewal date, you risk being hit
with a larger amount so that Ottawa Community Housing can get you caught
up. So if the anniversary of your arrival is, for example, July 1. And if,
for example, you get a cost of living raise on your pension in February 1,
you have a month in which to notify Housing who will recalculate your rent
if the amount of the raise is over $10.00. Then you will receive a notice
from Housing letting you know what your new rental amount is. If you do not
tell them until the renewal date, you will still get a notice of rent
change and it will go back to when the change occurred. That can be a huge
bother to say nothing about the mess it can leave your finances in.

Here is a very common misconception:
Ottawa Community Housing knows when the Government raises the Old Age Pension, the O.D.S.P. pension and the Ontario Works Benefits. It does not! Furthermore, not everyone on Pension plans gets the same thing. The amount of CPP depends on what a person
contributed to that fund when they were working. O.D.S.P. pensions depend on what is wrong with you and whether you get extra for supplements etc. Some people get private pensions they paid into at the company they worked for; others don't. Some saw combat duty; others didn't. And on and on it goes.

Speaking of our war vets - show a little respect to them. We live in a free
country because of them. It may not be perfect but I assure you it is a
good deal better than any of the Unfree countries I have lived in or

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bits and Pieces

Wow! Nice weather today! So I went out.
And when I got back it was to a bunch of calls on my voice mail. All personal except one or two. Florence from Housing called. She has found someone in the know to help us out with Mr. YoungerNoMore's problem. Tomorrow we will make an appointment to get to the bottom of that one.

More good news~~~~

The Intercoms for the building are on order and we are just waiting for them to be delivered. I have heard a few comments that we are waiting due to politicking. Maybe, but I don't think so. Montreal is a big metropolis, Ottawa isn't. Montreal is a manufacturing center, Ottawa isn't. The only place in Ontario that compares to Montreal for this type of purchase is Toronto and the fact is that getting things from there is more expensive - the shipping costs and times are bigger because it is so much farther away. So we have to wait a bit. Part of the waiting is our own fault. Had we complained directly to Housing instead of among ourselves, Housing would have done something about it sooner. There are something like 200 buildings that fall under the heading "Ottawa Housing". Housing staff do not live here so unless we tell them, they do not know. So, if you have a complaint or you find something broken, Call Housing and tell them. Complaints are treated a bit like triage during a disaster - The worst get priority. In this building, if only one person calls about the door, it is less important than say, the elevator that gets 10 calls or the washer which get 40 calls. CAll even if you know your neighbour already did. Remember how fast the cameras were fixed when Housing got a petition with almost 4 pages of signatures. There really is power in numbers! There is an old expression that is so true and it is, "The squeaky wheel gets the oil". So be a squeaky wheel!

The other good news is that Housing is putting together a newsletter for this building and 2080. In it they will give an update of the things they are working on for us and the things they are looking at doing. We complained that Housing does not communicate and they heard us. It is a start! So Smile! You are a winner!

Did you watch W-5 last week? They did a piece on the outdated mail box locks that Canada Post has on it's boxes. I am pretty sure that our mail boxes are supplied by Canada Post but I will find out for absolute sure. If they are, we all need to write letter of complaint so that they will get their duffs in here and replace these old, easily robbed mail boxes with new, hard to break into ones. Keep an eye on this post for more info.

Have you noticed that the Security are a lot more visible of late? They are!
Have you seen our new cameras? They are up and working. Calibration is still being worked on so if you see someone doing something they should not be doing, make a mental note of the time. It will make it easier for them to find clips particular to that incident. If you find something broken, like a window or a washer etc, make a note of the time you discovered it. That way they know they do not have to look through 24 hours of tape - just the time prior to your finding it.

Tax time is fast running past us. Options ByTown has someone coming in to do taxes for you if you need help. ACORN also has a free tax service. If you want either outfit to help you with your taxes, you need to make an appointment. I have put the numbers below.

Call Donna at Options ByTown at 613-523-2952
Call Jill at ACORN at 613-746-5999