Good news item #1:
The ditzy project manager is being replaced! Hallelujah!
She continued to prove her uselessness. Her most recent e-mail to me mis-spelled our company name. It was not just a wee typo, but a complete reconfiguration of the letters. It was as if she had referred to this blog as Sparventures in Kadland. Her boss asked me if there was any way I might feel confident in her work if he supervised her closely. I said no. She's basically hopeless. So, I'm getting a new project manager! I'll let you know how the new guy/gal works out.
Good news item #2:
My driving is improving, little by little. Two weekends ago Ken drove us to an almost-unused road and I got behind the wheel of our car for the first time. It has a standard transmission.
Wow. I mean, I knew standard would be tough to learn, but it is so tough! We ran through all the motions in mime three times before I turned the engine on. Then I got rolling. I shifted from neutral to first, from first to second, and then back to neutral and came to a full stop. I managed that three times. Ken turned the car around for me and I took another run at it. When I got back into the driver's seat I forgot to release the parking brake, so we stalled. At that point my brain went into overload. Still, I did manage a little shifting and I didn't break the car. So that's good.
Last weekend I drove my mom's automatic car on Wilson Ave. For you non-Torontonians, that is a busy street, with two lanes in each direction plus left-turn lanes. Traffic was booting along at 60 km/h. I had not been behind the wheel of a regular car in traffic in two weeks. My total time driving in traffic so far clocked in at under ten minutes. Ken pulled over in a driveway and let me get into the driver's seat. Passing traffic was just whipping past, going "SHOOM! SHOOMSHOOM! SSHHHOOOOM!" I crossed myself and turned onto the street. And then! I was driving! Ken had to help me with lane changes because I have not yet mastered the skill of building a mental 3D model of the space around the car from the images in the mirrors. But I did alright. I can claim to be the master of the smooth stop. No lurchy braking from this driver.
I've been watching a fair bit of HGTV lately and there's an element to it that frustrates me intensely. I believe that North American society's obession with current decor has become obnoxious and harmful. Home buyers cannot seem to tolerate anything less than this year's decorating trends. Perfectly beautiful, clean, white fridge? Unacceptable! Give me stainless steel or give me death, they cry! Unmarred, off-white countertops? Remove this abomination from my sight! If you do not provide me with granite countertops immediately, I will pour gasoline over this house and drop a match on it!
(Personally I'm not partial to granite for home decor. It reminds me of tombstones.)
On Property Virgins, I watched a couple walk into a freshly renovated bathroom and declare disapprovingly "Well this will all have to go." Seriously? Probably no one has ever even peed in that toilet yet! What is so wrong with this beautiful, brand new bathroom? So the tiles are beige. So what? It's neutral. Pick out some cheerful bath towels and a pretty shower curtain, and you're all good! I'm sure the only reason that the homeowners re-did the bathroom that way in the first place was because their real estate agent told them that they had to.
I don't mind people having aesthetic preferences. Everyone's entitled to their taste. But can we not be just a little more tolerant of imperfect superficialities? Has everyone forgotten this little matter of the environment? Do we need to throw almost-new, not-at-all-worn-out building materials into landfill because they're not the right colour?
My kitchen counter is a fairly hideous shade of green. In fact, if you look at it closely, it's a splotchy mess of two shades of green and two subtle shades of purple. I would never have chosen it in a million years. But hey, it's just a kitchen counter. Most of the time when I'm in the kitchen, it's covered with dishes or ingredients. And when I'm not in the kitchen, who cares what it looks like? I could change it out for something more pleasing, but I can't stomach the thought of ripping out a perfectly good countertop and throwing it into a dumpster. It just seems so selfish.
There are so many ways other than major renovations to beautify our personal spaces. Don't you think?