Waiting, waiting, waiting oh boy.
Waiting, waiting, waiting oh boy.
One of the big problems with living in apartments the age of this one is what we politely term “the wildlife”. On any given day you see mice, rats, cockroaches, silverfish, spiders of varying sizes… you get the idea. The key is scrupulous cleaning and trash disposal. So when I got home, I collected all three of John’s children and brought them down to my apartment. Cara immediately took Zeb out to the court yard. She did not want to talk about her father and the boys did. So while they talked at me, I began to fill mylar bags with flour, sugar, oats, semolina, etc. Original packaging was nothing more than an invitation to the building's wildlife, so wrapped up it would be safe. As I worked, I heard about what a neat father John was and how hard he hard he had worked to try and get custody of them and how their mother had played ‘poor me’ and ‘I’m so hard done by’ at every turn. I then placed them in screw top pails with oxygen absorbers and slid the buckets into the closet opposite the bathroom.
“Miss Charlie,” asked Zack. “Do you think that Dad was hurt by the guard? They called each other by name.”
“Did you hear the name?” I asked.
Jack nodded. “Gabe. Gabe Sawyer.”
“Have you heard the name before?” I asked him
Jack shook his head but Matt nodded. “I know that he called in at Mom’s a couple of times. I think he was a friend of Martin’s.”
I picked up my phone and was thankful that there was still cell coverage. I texted the information to Eric and got back a “thnx”. I then made some lunch and fed us all. I'm glad I'm not feeding those boys all the time. They both have two hollow legs. Thank God for rice!
All this sitting around and waiting was going to get us nowhere in a panic. So I bundled Zeb into his stroller and the five of us went to check out the abandoned garages to see if they would work for the incoming livestock. The one at the back of the empty lot between the apartments and the Hyslops was nasty and had a dirt floor. It would probably work better as an outhouse seeing as it was on the downward slope and we had only the rail lines behind us – no water pollution. The other three garages were all doubles. The Hyslops were using one but the other two could be moved easily to the north-west corner and turned into pig and poultry accommodation. Mrs. O’Keefe’s garage was in poor repair but could be turned into short term horse stables. I had no idea what we would do with the cows, sheep or goats… I am beginning to think that a barn in here would be better with the crops going in across Cooper Street. More to think about and discuss...
Still no word on John…
Last edited by Lake Lili; 11-07-2014 at 04:21 AM.
Still gone Hope John turns up soon. Thank Lili.
great story! so much good info and it has me looking around at what would be "available" around here...I live right next to some tracks too.
Would LOVE some MOAR!!!
please and thank you!
What do you see as the basis for the downturn in the economy? Trains empty etc?.......any specific event? Or just a general malaise in production overall? Is it supposed to be countrywide, starting in the rust belt?
I don't recall you mentioning where this apartment block was - for those who weren't familiar with Canadian cities, Yonge Street is in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Am only up to page 2, so please forgive me if you have elaborated on the geography of the area.
Last edited by Laurane; 11-07-2014 at 09:12 PM.
True North Strong and Free
I'm thinking Lili is out looking for John ;-)
I didn't really bounce Eeyore. I had a cough, and I happened to be behind Eeyore, and I said "Grrrr-oppp-ptschschschz."
Sorry folks lots of cakes to bake this week - two baptisms and a birthday party. I also have a new genealogy client, so its been busy.
Laurane - I think that the economy is continue to slow. There are more people all the time looking for decent full time work and the only jobs on offer are sales clerks at Wally World or flipping burgers at McYuckys. The pulp and paper mill in my town(pop 20K) has one year of guaranteed financing left and when is goes we're all in trouble. One of our church members is the custodian at a subsidized apartment building. They used to get one or two applications when a unit came up. They had seventy-six last week. Price of food goes up, packaging remains the same size while amount of content goes down. Or prices increase by a dollar then go one sale at 50c off to give the impression of a deal. So folks fill your pantries and be really to last through the 2015 harvest... tough times are coming.
Now on with the story...
So where were they all… As we headed back to the apartments, Sid Myers, the property manager at the other building flagged us down.
“We’re all packed. Everyone else has gone, so I’m the last. It all locked. I wanted to give the keys to Eric, but he’s not around. Could you give them to him?” Sid asked.
“Isn’t there supposed to be someone from the City here?” I asked reluctantly accepting the keys.
“Yeah, but he ain’t coming until tomorrow and I ain’t sticking around in an empty building,” he said. “By the by, there is lots of stuff in there. If you all want it then go in and take it. Power will be on until tomorrow when the crews come in.”
“Really!?! Anything we want?” I asked, trying to clarify the possible gift.
“Sure… furniture, appliances, fixtures… anything that is left… here I wrote it all out so that if questioned Eric wouldn’t get in trouble,” said Sid handing a letter over.
My mind spun on the possibilities.
“Hey Charlie?” started Sid.
“Yeah?” I answered preoccupied.
“Now that I ain’t running a building, wanna go out with me?” asked Sid with a hopeful leer.
I snapped back. “Sid that was never the reason I wouldn’t go out with you...”
“You can’t go out with her. She’s dating our dad,” said Cara with the firm conviction of a child who had had this conversation with her father.
“Best of luck Sid!” I said. “The City giving you a good building?”
“Even better!” said Sid. “You know out on the Island they started up that camp?”
“I’ve heard tell Sid, but I don’t quite know all the details.”
“Well, if you are vagrant or pan handling or a runaway… you know the sort… instead of going to the shelters which never had enough space, now they send you to the camp. I got to see it. They detox people, get them cleaned up and on supervised meds… its real nice… bunk houses, a central dining hall, a library where the do good people come to teach reading and writing and job skills… Anyways they are opening up four more camps and I am going to be the assistant manager at one. Great house, rent and meals included, vehicle anytime I want one…” Sid was waxing lyrical about all the benefits but I was getting increasingly concerned.
“Who gets to live in the camps Sid?” I asked.
“Anyone who wants to or who can’t afford to support themselves anymore.” Came the quick answer. “It's set up for all the welfare recipients – did you know that there were 660,000 getting some form of social assistance in the Greater City? Instead of the City paying their rent and food, they’ll get the help if the move to a camp, then the government will give them work to do. It’s a real coup to be able to get a big job like this. I am so excited!” Sid was just about dancing.
“That’s a lot of people to coordinate and manage! I wish you well Sid,” I said trying to keep my concerns and panic form showing. Then a stray thought occurred…
“Sid are these camps just for the welfare people or for the seniors too?” I asked.
“Oh not to worry,” he said with a callousness that stunned me. “You should be able to clear that building in a month or two.”
Truthfully I had never heard of any camp on the City’s Island and what Sid was talking about was soul deep scary to me. I love all the little old Italian ladies and no one was going to haul them out of that building unless they wanted to go. I really wanted John and Eric home…
Thank you Lili, yeah those camps don't sound so good at all. Creepy
Just found your story. I love it and very much looking forward to more.
The kids and I went back to the apartment. Their worry about their father was beginning to show cracks around the edges of their nonchalance, so busy was what we were going to need to keep doing until we heard from the guys. I sent the kids off knocking on every door and told them to tell whoever opened it that there was a building wide meeting in half an hour.
The kids were great. By 4pm we had about 75% of the building there.
“Hi everyone! Sorry that Eric can’t be here. He and John are out sorting out something and will try to be back as quickly as possible. Sid from across the way has left now and has given us the keys to go in and salvage anything we want from the building. I’ve read the letter given to Eric and we can’t take piping or wiring – both are still connected to services. So I’ve made a quick list of things we should take.
(1) Fridges – we can use those for storage to keep mice out of provisions we are storing, same with freezer chests.
(2) Furniture – we will still have people coming and going over the next while. At least three of you have had kids dropped off with nothing for them to sleep on. So beds, mattresses, tables and chairs… by taking and storing the furniture we will have something for people to use.
(3) Clothing and linens – for the same reason – we will need volunteers to launder everything and then we can sort it by sex and size and store it for when we need it.
(4) Doors and hardware
(5) All the glass out of the windows – these are going to be our gardens so we don’t want the broken glass there.
(6) Light bulbs, fire alarm bells, fire hoses, fire extinguishers
Gordo, I know that you have done plumbing. Can you turn the water off at the sinks and toilets and remove them?”
“Sure!” He said. “There’s a couple guys here who can help do that.”
“We are going to store everything in the visitor parking spaces down in the garage for now. The City is expected here at 7am tomorrow, so we need to get as much as we can done before then. Who can help?”
About two dozen hands shot up. A number of the ladies said they’d handle the washing and laundering of anything we brought them. As usual, Mrs. Moretti was immediately organizing. She also took Zeb from me so that I could work with both hands.
I am not going to say that the next eight hours were fun. They weren’t. They were a lot of back breaking work as we cleared the forty-five unit building apartment by apartment. Not every volunteer stayed. Some stayed for a while and then came back. Others disappeared when they found out there was no treasure – no gold or silver. At dinner time, the Italian ladies took a break from laundry and brought big vats of pasta and meat sauce over to use. We fell on it like we were starving. Fueled up we started again.
We started at the top and moved down. Some units were spotless, so we took the basics - windows, doors, fridges, mirrors, sinks, and the toilets (yes, I cleaned them all first and some were just gross). Some units looked like people had just walked away. In those, we were usually able to take the basics and any furniture that didn’t have – any cloth. One unit was just crawling in bugs. Again we took the windows and mirrors but left the rest – we didn’t need their wildlife added to our own. Occasionally there were big coups – like the locker full of camping gear, or the custodians supply cabinet, or the one apartment that was covered in book. We also acquired about two dozen more bikes and a couple lawn mowers. There were about ten BBQs, all with their propane tanks. I’ll be the first to say that I have never understood why people walked away from their stuff. They spend so much time, energy and money accumulating it.
The book apartment really bothered me. I mean that apartment was untouched. Nothing was packed. I began to think that perhaps the owner was away, so I had everything else packed into boxes with the owners name on them. I appropriated two of the single rooms. The books went into what had been the living room and we turned it into the community library. The other boxes went with her furniture into the next door room – the former dining room. If she came back she’d have to share a kitchen and bath, but at least she’d have her things. I hope she would come back. She had bar none the coolest name I’d ever seen ‘Elwira’.
By 10pm the light was fading and we had stripped most of the building. Zeb was asleep, his tummy still rounded from his pasta feast. The kids, who had done yeoman’s service, without complaint washed up in the sink and the boys crashed on my bed and Cara bedded down on the cushions from my armchairs that I had laid out on the bedroom floor.
I sprawled out on my couch… work had kept the worst of fears at bay but now they came rushing back. Where were they!?! I was dozing when I heard my front door being unlocked from the outside.
“Charlie! Come help us!” Eric called urgently.
The three men filled my kitchen door and it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Ok! John and Eric are alive...and who is the third man???? gotta go back and reread...
thanks! even if there is another "cliff"...it's not as big as the last one! hahaha!
The books owner?
Hmmm. Would be appropriate if her third mans name WAS cliff!! Hee hee
Thank you and glad their back, even if roughed up.
I thought I disliked this "Cliff" person but now I know its a strong hatred. thanks!
Thanks for the great chapters!!
I helped Eric and Mike seat John on the couch.
“Got to keep him up right to ensure he can breathe clearly”, Mike said.
They had all clearly been in a fight and the swollen areas were starting to bruise.
“Can I come in?” asked another voice. I started and Mike turned to the fourth man behind them that I hadn’t seen initially. It was Diego, my guard from the Costco.
“Good thing you texted these guys chica, or we might not have found your friend,” he said collapsing onto one of the kitchen chairs. He had obviously been fighting too but he wasn’t as badly hurt as the others.
As he was talking, I was pulling out my medical bag of tricks.
“Diego,” I directed. “Please take two pots of water from the bath tub and get them boiling. I need hot water to get the lot of you cleaned up before those kids next door wake up and want their daddy.”
It took me fifteen minutes to get John cleaned up. Once the blood and dirt were removed you could see that he had been beaten but not a lot of it had broken the skin. So my professional opinion was that they would be fine, but I sent Mike up to get Dr. Collodi to cast a second eye over them all. The exhausted and grumpy doctor concurred and stomped back to his apartment.
Finally we left John asleep under a blanket on the couch and I gave the guys cocoa to relax them and give them enough sugar to tell me what the heck was going on.
“Firstly,”said Eric. “We got lucky with Diego joining us in the hunt. And secondly, Costco is gifting us with a whole lot of food if we promise not to file a police report. So we all hurt but it may have been worth it.
“Turns out they had been infiltrated by the Humber River Boys and it was John’s bad luck to recognize several dozen of them and worse luck that they recognized him. Gabe Sawyer had run with them for some years before ‘going straight’ by finding a full time job as the warehouse manager at Costco. Turns out that he had never left the gang and they had been slowly taking over with the goal of controlling the food supply into the City.
“Diego here was one of about 20 employees who were not members of the gang. When he came in looking for John, several of the others tried to tell him that there had been no such customer. When he wouldn’t buy it, they jumped him, which was when we arrived. But the main thing is that we caught a female gang member downloading the face recognition software cross referencing faces and purchases to license plates and addresses. The gang was creating its own shopping list. We were able in the end to stop them at 4 of the 5 locations – at the 5th one there is still a pitched battle going on.”
“In the end, we found John beaten, tied-up and dumped behind some boxes in a walk-in fridge. He hasn’t really regained consciousness,” Eric patted his cousin’s shoulder
“So what are you doing here?” I asked Diego.
“Hiding out,” said Diego. “Turns out that two of my roommates are in this gang. I sent my compañera, Ariana, the bug out code during the fight. So she and our daughter, Leticia, will be waiting for me. They will be safe overnight. Eric has offered us a place here, so I will get them and come back.”
“Okay…” I said yawning… “I’ll tell you about the rest of the day here tomorrow. I have to be at Canadian Tire at 7:30am, so I’ll be out of her at 7:10am. If you’re here at 6:30am I’ll feed you and tell you. Now go away and let me sleep.”
I shooed them all out the door. I took a robaxacet and sacked out in the cushion-less chairs and absolutely crashed.
Last edited by Lake Lili; 11-12-2014 at 12:06 PM.
Thank you Lili, and yes I bet the 2 legged rats will come out of the wood work bug time.
I too was remiss in posting yesterday. It was an emotional day as we reclaimed our National Cenotaph after the murder of Cpl Nathan Cirillo two weeks ago. As the chaplain said, his killing beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier made the symbolic sacrifice real. I ask that you take a few minutes to watch these:
A Pittance of Time by Terry Kelly - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kX_3y3u5Uo
The Green Fields of France by John McDermott - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-LkTsol220
The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by John McDermott - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VktJNNKm3B0
The Blue Puttees by Great Big Sea - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLgzhZk88BI
This year in honour of the 100th Anniversary there was a re-enactment of the First Five Hundred - with relatives and descendants marching from where the training camp had been to the docks in St. John's...
If you have anything left... I'll post something later...
Thank you dear lady.
Remembrance can be hard thing an also a healing balm, a girding up, a way to not forget the lessons of the past.
Thank you so much for this amazing story! I would so love to live in an area where people actually CARED ABOUT their neighbors!!! ugh! around here, it is only about the gossip! Can't wait to move!
I got about 2-hours sleep before John woke-up just past midnight. He was sore, bleery, and foul-tempered but he knew where he was. So after checking his temperature, helping him to the bathroom and getting a mug of soup into him, I woke his kids. They stampeded in to see him, Cara crying openly. They decided that they were going back to their apartment. With his pupils responding properly, his breathing even and not strained, and Jack with orders to wake John every 2-hours, I let them go. I can’t tell you how gorgeous it was to stretch out flat and comfortable in the peace and quiet of my own room. I slept straight through until the lights came on at 6am.
I gathered up Zeb and we showered together. He loves to play in the “wain Mommy. Make it wain.” Dressed and ready for breakfast, I put on boiled eggs and pancakes. Eric was at the door at 6:30am. I gave him a rundown of the pillaging we had done next door and of the full garage he had. I gave him the letter and the keys and told him that the City was expected about 7am and he’d best be ready.
By 7am, Zeb and I were in the Jeep and headed to Canadian Tire for the “valued shoppers first dibs morning”. More than anything I wanted more jars. I also took in the completed GRP application for the $10,000 community garden start-up. I took it to the manager on arrival.
“You want me to look at this now?!” he demanded.
“Yes,” I said calmly.
“Oh why the heck not…” he muttered. “It gets the stock out of here.”
He stamped the approvals on it, signed it, and gave me back a copy. He then texted a message and in short order the young, situationally-aware kid who had packed my truck arrived in the office. He smiled in recognition and then focused on his boss.
“She is entitled to $10,000 in merchandise. 60% off sticker price applies, no tax. Here is the wand, you track it. We ship it to the property, so I’ll have Stevie load it. Now get out of here and go fleece someone else,” he harrumphed.
We quickly left the office and the man ate a roll of antacids.
The young man stuck out his hand. “Taylor Metcalf,” he said quietly.
“I’m Charlie. Did your mom get her canning done?”
“Oh yeah. You actually might get to meet her. She’s here this morning.”
“Then we’d best get down to the canning section before she takes all the jars and extra canners.”
Taylor laughed. “You’ve got her pegged!”
We walked down the canning aisle, with Steve trailing with a large flat cart, and there was another lady attempting to strip the shelves.
"Mom!" said Taylor in a shocked voice.
A small tough, well-rounded woman turned around and fixed him with the look. As Taylor walked up to her, I started loading what was left into my cart.
"Mom, this is Miss Charlie. This is the lady I was telling you about."
Thank you, i waas hoping to find a new chapter this morning.
With apologies everyone, I have an insane week coming up - homeschooling, baking 3 cakes, visiting teaching, 5 genealogy classes to teach, 2 genealogy clients, lessons with the Missionaries, Faith in God for my son, medical appointments for the whole family, and Himself's choir rehearsal and performance... culminating with the Church's annual chili cook-off. Any beanless chili recipes appreciated. So with apologies, some thing has to give and so Charlie and Zeb and their growing community are going to have to wait. Thanks for reading!
We understand. Real life takes priority, as it should. We'll be here when you get back.
Thanks for this great story!
Well if you just have to,lol I know only to well how it can get.
Thanks for letting us know so we won't worry about you
Oh my, that does sound like a "full" week! we will wait for you.
"beanless chili".......hide your face in shame !!!.......
We can wait, but impatiently. How come you have so many genealogy classes to teach - can't you get everyone in one place and sit them down, or are you short of computers?
True North Strong and Free
The difference between being smart and being wise:
Being smart is learning from your own mistakes.
Being wise is learning from the mistakes of others.
My life has given others many opportunities to be wise.
Chili does not have beans. Chili with beans is soup.
"Southern Gentlemen are not always Gentlemen by nature. They are 'Exposed' to proper behavior and manners early in life, and are smart enough to remember, and to refine them, through a constant practice".
My good friend, Shelby Foote
what if I add macaroni, cheese, onions, on top and frito's? is it still chili?
If you make it too runny, you can't put it on top of nachos with cheese, onions, green peppers, olives, tomatoes and more cheese........makes the nachos too soggy.
My chili has beans and we use kidney and baked - and it is thick! But that is an idea for the third day - add tomato juice and canned tomatoes & rice to make soup . But it usually doesn't last 3 days, when you eat it for breakfast and lunch and as nachos for supper.
We don't have a beany problem at our house - we take enzymes LOL
True North Strong and Free
Laurane, what kind of enzymes?
Anytime you cook a bean dish on top of the stove, leave a wooden spoon in the pot. The little farts can climb up the spoon and on out of the pot.
Beanless chili! Why don't you burn down my house at the same time!