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Friday, May 31, 2013

Ahem...

Off the Rails ‏@GoTrainAvenger

Someone left some questionable reading material on the back of their car at Aldershot #gotrain station recently.

Important announcement from Greyskull and Clark, Cattorneys-at-law

Meow,

Muw, morh mar mea ... mer mei. mee!

Mew,
(Yawn) Meh

Don't ask me what this means. I was just asked to publish it in response to this text message. If you're fluent in "cat", let me know what they said.

from: Rogers Extreme Text Messaging 
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Fri, May 31, 2013 at 8:23 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From 1905436XXXX

hey dumb duck. hope u got a good lawyer because im sue u for what u said about me on the internet. lawyer up baby. im take it all!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This guy. Keeping you safe from dragons on Coach #2004


- Submitted

This may be a stupid question... but how does a service disruption on the Barrie corridor affect Oshawa departure trains?

This email from came in from GO Transit:

Oshawa 08:25 - Union 09:18 train - Cancelled

The Oshawa 08:25 - Union 09:18 train trip is cancelled due to a trespasser fatality on the Barrie Line. Your next scheduled service is the Oshawa 08:38 - Union 09:41 train trip. However, for those of you that need to arrive Union Station a little earlier, the earlier express train departing Oshawa 07:53 - Union 08:43 has been modified to make an additional stop at Rouge Hill at 08:22.

More about the disruption here...

The pedestrian fatality happened, it appears, before 5:30 am just north of the East Gwillimbury GO Station.

My condolences to the family of the victim.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I wish this was photoshopped, but it's not ... who wants burgers?!


And to think, getting this home cost hundreds less than a courier or a cab. Not sure what to think of this, other than it should be rolled off a cliff.

It doesn't belong on the accessibility coach.

That space is for wheelchairs. For people in wheelchairs (or a scooter). Can you imagine? Some poor soul doesn't get on a train because a fucking BBQ is on board? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I mean, honestly, I'm laughing but c'mon ... in all seriousness - someone has to draw a line...

- Submitted

Not all smokers are douchepicks

from: donotreply@rci.rogers.com
to: cj@thiscrazytrain.com
date: Mon, May 27, 2013 at 8:25 AM
subject: Copied Text Message From Random Stranger
I just saw the most amazing thing at oshawa station. A young couple was smoking as they walked toward the platform. She saw the no smoking signs, pointed and stopped her travelmate. They were probably still too close to the presto machines but she saw the sign, knew what it meant and obeyed. I must be halucinating
--------------------------------
From: 19054427423 - CJ
To: 1289200XXXX
May 27 2013 08:58 AM
You're not. Not all smokers are douchepicks. Your story gives me hope.
--------------------------------
From: 1289200XXXX - Random Stranger
To: 19054427423
May 27 2013 08:59 AM

They were young and looked like they would have been 'douchepicks'. He wanted to walk onto the platform, she said 'we are almost done'. I almost hugged her

--------------------------------
From: 19054427423 - CJ
To: 1289200XXX
May 27 2013 09:01 AM

You mean bring the crazy? Hugging would do that.

--------------------------------
From: 1289200XXXX - Random Stranger
To: 19054427423
May 27 2013 09:02 AM

Hugging strangers is crazy? .... Explains so much about my life. Have a great day

--------------------------------
From: 19054427423 - CJ
To: 1289200XXXX
May 27 2013 09:03 AM

It's not the 1940s! You too!

I'm down with this but the money better go where it should

From the Toronto Star
re: Metrolinx Big Move

Metrolinx backs hikes in HST, gas tax and new parking levy


It will cost the average Toronto region household an additional $477 a year in taxes to overcome a generation of public transit neglect and crippling road congestion under a transit investment strategy being unveiled by Metrolinx on Monday.

Friday, May 24, 2013

And the parking donkeys keep giving us the stupid at Oshawa GO Station


Source: mrsreedforever

Then there's this parking donkey superstar at Guildwood GO Station.


- Submitted

Have you seen this note from GO? PRESTO undergoing a system upgrade, self-automated services affected

The PRESTO website, prestocard.ca will undergo a system upgrade from May 31-June 2 to provide important updates and introduce new features. An easier way to login and manage your account, a simplified way to set student, child and senior discounts on your card, and a more intuitive online experience will make the PRESTO card easier to use.

You can still use your PRESTO card to travel, however, during this time you will not be able to:
  • access your account
  • load money on your card
  • register or activate your card
  • set up contracts on your card
  • make a GO Service Guarantee claim online
If you need to load money on to your card, please do so prior to May 29. If you need to do anything else listed above, please do so prior May 31. As always, you will still be able to load money onto your card at any GO Station or GO ticket agency at any time.

GO Transit to the rescue!

GO has been sympathetic to my plight with respect to the loss of my Presto loyalty steps for May. My Presto card was stolen last week. Because of the theft, I will have to pay the full fare right to the end of May. No $0.00 fare for me. True, full fare using a Presto Card is already discounted when used daily but the real savings come in at the end of the month when 35 or more rides have been reached. I will miss out on that as my new card started at zero steps on May 17.

GO has offered to help me. I won't know what exactly will happen but I've been given a case number and was told to call back during the first week of June as GO needs to validate my transit usage.

Stay hopeful, folks. If Presto jerks you around, give GO a shot. It's worth a try.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Presto card lost or stolen? Guess what? Presto victimizes you a second time when they steal your loyalty steps

I had my Presto card stolen last week. I was pick-pocketed and of course, I should have been more aware when standing in a crowd of people near Union Station. Also taken was my bank card and $10. The person simply reached into my purse and took what they could snatch from the visible inside pocket. Thankfully, that's all that was taken.

I replaced the Presto card and just discovered this morning after logging into the Presto website that although my balance, registration and PIN were transferred to the new card, my transaction history for this month, specifically the loyalty steps that factor into the discount at the end of the month, were not. This means that my GO Transit fare for the month of May will be $369.60. With the loyalty discount, it should be about $38.00 to $40.00 less. May is a long month. I'm surprised by how angry this has made me. It's not the money but the principle.

Why can't the loyalty discount be transferred? What kind of state-of-the-art, electronic fare system is this? It's wrong. It's all kinds of wrong!

Oh look, this coach has room for my golf clubs ... and my luggage!

How nice of GO Transit to provide accessibility coaches for people to abuse. Especially during rush hour.

We've had this discussion before. People with large items, luggage and steamer trunks don't belong on rush hour trains and should take the bus where there are compartments to store their stuff. Otherwise, wait until off-peak hours.

The accessibility coach is for passengers using assistive-devices, scooters and wheelchairs. Let's say a person did get on in a scooter and the accessibility coach was full of people, along with golfers and their gear? Who gets priority here? Is the disabled person the second-class citizen? No. The coaches should remain ACCESSIBLE. Otherwise, if people continue with this kind of abuse, why bother with calling it an accessibility coach? Change the name. Call it a luggage coach.

I know that the CSAs can only do so much but this guy with his suitcase and golf clubs should have been chucked off the train.


We all know what this needs...


There. That's better.

- Submitted

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's a hard knock life when trying to catch some ZZZs

I've been sitting on these photos for over two weeks because I was hoping I'd be able to spare some time and Photoshop them. Life, as it does, just gets in the way and so, I will share them as is.

But first, some back story. This girl got on the 4:30 PM all stops train from Union to Oshawa. She removed her shoes, pulled a blanket out of her backpack, put on sunglasses and then settled in for a snooze.


By the time the train reached Danforth, she wound up with two seat mates but did not remove her legs from the seat opposite her. Hoping to retreat further into her imaginary bubble, she pulled up the hood of her coat.


At Whitby, she removed her sunglasses and decided to occupy the seat next to her. 



Ah, screw it ... you know what she needs...


Yeah, baby ... yeahhh. How you like that hot seat now?

- Submitted

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

GO Transit needs to get on this. Why take the stairs when you can slide down?


Photo embedded from source

"A new outdoor installation gives commuters a little jolt of happiness in the often gloomy morning ride by putting park slides on train platforms." - City of Overvecht, Netherlands

KEEP READING

So how was your long weekend? Good? Mine was okay, considering I discovered my daughter is a hoarder


For those who have been following my cattorney Georgie Greyskull's adventures in grooming, that's him sporting his lion's cut for summer. He just so happened to walk into the frame as I was snapping a photo of the stuff turfed out of my daughter's bedroom yesterday.

That's three garbage bags full of landfill - crap that she had squirreled away under her bed, under her toy shelves, behind her dresser, behind her curtains and in cardboard boxes that she had neatly stacked in one corner. I never gave the boxes any thought. I just figured it was her making an attempt to create homes for her hundreds of dinosaurs (her now four-year-long obsession). Nope.

What I found were paper plates from parties past, plastic bottle tops, random McDonald's toys, every single casing to every Kinder Egg she'd ever been given, easter chocolate from last year and maybe the year before. Used staples (the hell, right?), pushpins, suction cups, the sticky censors from her dad's last electrocardiogram, unused band-aids, nasal strips, etc, etc, etc ... nothing gross or dirty, just an odd collection of crap. It's like she couldn't stand to see anything thrown away or she was compelled to take things as a souvenir. The most interesting discovery was that she had a collection of receipts from gift shop items I had bought for her from various attractions over the past year - Canada's Wonderland, Centreville, Bomanville Zoo, CN Tower, ROM, Great Wolf Lodge, Cedar Park Resort ... she would have had to have fetched them from the bags. As I was chucking stuff with her watching, I was looking for signs from her typically seen on the faces of the people profiled on those hoarding reality shows. Lucky for me, I saw no sign of extreme attachment or anxiety that made me feel a trip to the doctor was in order.

So we had a little chat about how it's okay to throw things away and how some things can be kept in a memory shoebox. I showed her my two memory shoeboxes and said I would help her start her own,  beginning with the autograph she got from magician Greg Frewin. She seemed pleased to learn that things can be kept that have meaning and other things just shouldn't be collected such as staples. There must have been fifty used staples in one box. Also very strange was the pile of dried basmati rice at the bottom of her toy bag. Seriously?

My daughter keeps a relatively neat room, which is why I never gave any of this crap a closer look. We also have a cleaning lady so it's not like I'd have a good reason to be manhandling her stuff. I don't know if she was intentionally strategic about the storage of these items or she just wanted some kind of order to her "collections".

Just odd.

Oh, and for the troll who always asks what these off-topic posts have to do with riding a GO train. Nothing. But she did have a receipt for a GO train trip she took with me during the March Break.

The stairway to heaven is now open

This morning, the crunch through the north doors from the GO Concourse to the TTC's Union Station was lessened by the opening of the new PATH/Subway corridor. A nice man in a flashy orange vest was shouting at people, beckoning them to use the sparkling new stairway to heaven.

What I found comical were the dubious faces of people who didn't believe him, choosing instead to sandwich themselves through the "sardine can" of a doorway. I think they thought he was leading them to tables of Flavor-Aid (Kool-Aid) a la Jonestown. People actually stopped mid-step to bend down and peer under the concrete overhang.

Of course, this was also aggravating and I was tempted to kick one guy down the steps. It's dangerous to the people behind those folks who stop suddenly on stairs.

Drink the Kool-Aid, donkeys, it's what our tax dollars paid for.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meanwhile, on a bus in Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Oh my GAWD! Vanessa can't believe she wasn't on the list!!!

Last night I took the 5:10 pm LSE home. For the entire train ride, no matter how loud I turned up the volume for my episode of Mad Men, I could hear this girl an entire quad away yelling into her iPhone about her sister's shower invitations and some girl who was mad she wasn't on the list.

In fact, the whole train heard her.

The woman beside me who was working on a crossword obviously had difficulty concentrating because it took her 20 minutes to write down the answer to one clue. Eventually she put her paper away and glared at iPhone girl for the rest of the train ride. I loudly asked her if she was upset that she wasn't on the list. This garnished a few chuckles from the people around us.

In the span of ten minutes, the woman conducting the call said, "Like" 39 times and asked, "You know what I mean?" nearly 100 times. Coming in third place, "I know, right?" was said a dozen times. The repetition of these statements throughout her phone call was more annoying than the projection of her voice. We were all told five times how angry Vanessa was about not being invited and how many times the woman on the phone had texted her an apology.

This girl talked for approximately for 49 minutes and even through Death Valley (the stretch between Scarborough and Pickering) she never lost her call. I am always amazed when this happens. I'm on a LTE network and still can't access the internet steadily through this stretch.

Must be Murphy's Law or something.

Since we seem to skip Spring in the GTA and head right into Summer, let us mourn this man and his summer fashion crime


However, in his defense, he could be breaking those puppies in.

Source: davenandes

Monday, May 13, 2013

GO adds free wi-fi to more GO stations and adds 60 parking spaces at Oshawa GO Station

Ahhh, hear that? That's the sound of hard-earned tax dollars being spent. Just kidding.

You bitched and GO listened because starting tomorrow morning, those who drive to the Oshawa GO station will have 60 extra parking spaces to park like donkeys in. 

Also, IMA Outdoor, in partnership with Metrolinx, is now providing wi-fi at the following stations:
  • Ajax GO Station
  • Appleby GO Station
  • Aurora GO Station
  • Bramalea GO Station
  • Clarkson GO Station
  • Cooksville GO Station
  • Finch GO Terminal
  • Mount Joy GO Station
  • Pickering GO Station
  • Richmond Hill GO Station
  • Square One GO Terminal
  • Union Station Bus Terminal
  • Yorkdale GO Terminal

From GO's website: "Customers at these stations will need to select “IMA Wifi at GO” from the network options, and read and accept the terms and conditions before browsing the internet or checking email. There will also be a short advertisement on the screen from one of the sponsoring advertising partners. This advertisement makes it possible to deliver WiFi to customers for free."

I'm still waiting on bar car service on Friday nights... 

My Mother's Day present - a new deck

In the townhome I live in, I back onto conservation green space. Basically, I share a backyard with not only nature, but all of my neighbours, too. The only thing private that we have is a 10-foot by 20-foot terrace attached to the back of our home. I never sat out there. The entire deck and fence boards were weathered, rotten and covered in moss. The previous owner never maintained the wood, originally cedar, and it became an eyesore. It had to come down.

My husband and I procrastinated about the work, flipping back and forth between doing it ourselves and paying someone to do it. My husband decided to bite the bullet and do it himself. He's never done decking before so he asked a co-worker with a construction background to help, and over the course of 10 hours on Saturday, they managed to replace the entire terrace.

Best Mother's Day gift, yet! Bring on the piƱa coladas!



And for the troll who always likes to ask, "What does this have to do with riding GO Transit?" Absolutely nothing, but I can see my deck from the GO bus stop.

Why you shouldn't hold the doors



Can't see the video? Click here

Trolling Twitter is something I should do more often

Saturday afternoon I drove into Whitby to grab some Indian take-away for dinner at my parents' in Toronto only to arrive and have my mother AWOL after a shopping trip in Scarborough.

My dad, who is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, moaned and complained about the selection of butter chicken, aloo gobi, rice, samosa, raita, naan and onion bhaji only to then proceed to inhale an entire plateful of the food. TOLD YOU IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! 

While I waited over two hours for my mother to come home and eat her advance Mother's Day feast, I decided to troll Twitter updates and came across a few gems. This one stood out for me:

  1. 20 bucks worth of Go Transit tickets tonight and the bastards didn't even come around and check!
I'm sorry but how is legally paying required fare a waste? works on a POP system. Would you prefer a nanny system?

Unfortunately, she didn't bite.

I also went after the a-holes who post photos of themselves on Instagram acting like donkeys on the trains such as the foot riders, the tokers, the smokers and other fare jumpers. Back on Twitter, I came across this:

This resulted in a discussion with another Twitter user about how GO Transit makes no real effort to publicize its Transit Safety number.

Then we discovered this:

Sigh. I didn't realize that towed vehicles was a safety concern.

It sounds like it's time for a communications on public safety on GO Transit overhaul, doesn't it?

DRT Pulse and what it means for Highway 2 GO bus passengers (west of Oshawa)

Durham Regional Transit (DRT) will be running a rapid bus line along Highway 2 (Kingston Road) every seven and half minutes (which is awesome) between Oshawa and Scarborough during morning and evening rush hour. The soft launch for this pilot is at the end of June.

What's not awesome is that university and college students lose the use of their U-pass on any GO bus that services this route. GO Transit will no longer accept DRT passes and tickets on these buses, either. This makes sense, but still, people are upset, mostly the students because they feel the GO bus is faster, cleaner and more reliable (all true, but it's luxury transit, which is why I and others call it the 'green limo'). In summary, riding the luxury green limo will no longer be a subsidized option for some Highway 2 passengers.

However, give DRT Pulse a chance before you complain. GO doesn't offer buses anywhere on its routes that arrive every seven and a half minutes during rush hour. I can keep dreaming for that to happen!

Source 1 and Source 2

Friday, May 10, 2013

What's behind the fence?! This!

Source: mattkdevine
New stairs being built between the Union Station GO Train terminal and the new second platform of the TTC subway station!

---
Soon we will no longer feel like cattle being pushed towards gates!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

GO Transit brings vomit comet service to Toronto's downtown

Like to party past the last GO train out of Union Station but are too broke to cab it back to Whitby, Oakville, Markham, Bradford or (insert name of station here)?

GO Transit has heard your drunken cries and now offers bus service after 2 am from the Union Station Bus Terminal for those who travel the Lakeshore West, Lakeshore East, Richmond Hill, Stouffville, Milton, Georgetown, King City/Toronto and Newmarket/Toronto routes.

Visit gotransit.com/schedules for more information.

I can only imagine the comedy gold I would experience should I ever have to take one of these buses to the Oshawa GO station at three in the morning.

I spy with my little eye ...

Someone who is GUILTY. As charged.

Over the years (all three of them) I've received the odd emails and text messages from GO Transit patrons who stumble onto this site through whatever means (usually a Google search for methods to carry-out GO Transit fare evasion) and take it upon themselves to defend or justify their rude train behaviour. For these people to have discovered themselves, they would have had to browse my site for hours and wade through over 2,300 posts. This is why I never take the accusations seriously. I've watched Punk'd.

Last night I received a phone call, yes, a phone call, allegedly from this woman

I had just gotten home when my cell rang. It was a 416 number and since I have Toronto friends, I answered it. I was shirking off my purse when my ear was assaulted by a woman screaming through the receiver. I had to put the person on speaker so I could avoid further auditory abuse.

Girl was AN-GRY.

She was demanding my home address so she could send over her biker brother who apparently wrestles cows in farm fairs, or something like that, to talk to me about all the laws I broke by taking her picture and putting it up on the internet. She resented that I called her a dirty turnip, saying I must do this stuff to make myself feel better about being trailer trash, and said that I was sick in the head for setting her on fire (for real).

Oh dear.

I handed the phone to my cattorney, Georgie Greyskull, who sniffed at it and then promptly laid down on it. I could hear the woman continuing to yell while I inspected the grilled chicken Ceasar salad my hubby had made for dinner.

Eventually Georgie got up and wandered over to his food dish and had a snack. The woman continued to yell.

My daughter came downstairs and asked me if I could update an app on her iPod. All of a sudden there was silence from my phone. A few seconds later, a more calm sounding voice asked, "Hello".

"Hello," I replied, handing my daughter her iPod and sending her back upstairs. "Well," said the woman. "Are you going to delete my picture?"

I told her she needed to email me a link. She said she did. I flipped open the laptop we keep in the kitchen, just an old thing I use for recipes, signed in to my email and clicked on her link. Then I grabbed my phone from the floor in my front hall and carried it to the kitchen table.

"Interesting," I said, "So you don't feel you were doing anything that would be objectionable to other passengers?"

She tells me she was just riding the train and riding the train like "any person who paid to do does".

"So you bought three tickets?" I asked her.

"No," she said. "Why would I buy three f---ing tickets?"

"Because all of your stuff is spread across three seats," I reply, continuing to eat my dinner.

"So ..." she says, "First come, first serve."

"Excuse me," I say, putting down my fork. "That's exactly why your photo found its way onto my site and why I photoshopped flames on you. Your attitude stinks. You are a selfish, self-absorbed person who clearly doesn't have a lick of consideration for others or the fact that manners and courtesy mean something in society."

Expecting a profanity-laced response, I moved my phone closer to me on the table. Instead, she told me she would "see my ass in court" and hung up.

So I called her back and got her voicemail. I told her to have her lawyer email me and to execute legal action by Friday afternoon as my lawyer has an appointment to have all of his body hair shaved off on Saturday and will be spending all of next week licking every inch of his skin as he struggles to figure out what happened. He simply won't have time to handle her demands.

Of course, I always assume I'm being trolled and nothing is ever legit, but I follow through, people. I follow through like the boss that I am.

Considering this guy rides the train like he's in his living room, that's the closest he'll ever get to an attractive woman


... Because manners are sexy. This guy is a tool.

Does he put his foot up on the kitchen wall of his nana's house when he comes over for Sunday dinner?

If my nana was still alive, she'd bust his kneecap with a rolling pin.

- Submitted by AM

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I got up and asked the lady on the stairs if she would like to sit and moved the back pack


The owner of said back pack looked at me with a deer in the headlights look when I handed him his luggage. He had his music blaring and had heard nothing. It happened too quickly for him to fully process what was happening but when the lady sat down in the seat, and he realized what I'd done, he slunk down and stared hard out the window.

Damn right.

My heart was racing, as it always does when I pull these moves, but eventually I manage to convince myself I did the right thing and calm the hell down.

I just can't tolerate this crap anymore. I know that it pains a lot of you to ask people to move their stuff but let me remind you again, you have to assert yourself. You can no longer assume people will demonstrate common courtesy. There is no common courtesy these days, only rare courtesy.

In my case, I pay $16.80 a day to get to and from work. I'm entitled to a seat and so are you. Douchepicks are not entitled to pull an "all your space belongs to me" move during morning or evening rush hour. Not on my watch.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I think I was mistaken for a homeless person looking for change. If that's true, I'm one classy looking bum

Last Thursday I was walking south on Bay Street, on my way to Union Station, when I noticed this sleek, black Mercedes with a flat, rear tire crawling along in traffic. The tire was flat to the rim. The driver was blaring music with both the driver and passenger windows down.

When the Mercedes came to a standstill at King Street, I stepped off the curb and leaned towards the passenger window frame. I didn't touch the car. I wasn't being threatening. I didn't even get a chance to speak before the male driver powered up his window, shouted something and practically stuck his middle finger against the glass. Then he accelerated through the red light, only to stop again. I turned to the people on the curb and said, "All I wanted to do was tell him he had a flat tire... "

Some guy said to me that the driver probably already knew he had a flat since most newer or high-end cars have warning sensors. This is true as our car has one and comes on when a tire's pressure is low. But I also have a friend who drives a Volvo with the dash lit up like a Christmas tree and ignores all of the warnings. She thought the tire pressure warning light meant she needed to add windshield washer fluid (click here for a pic for reference). True story.

As I got closer to Union, I was now on the opposite side of Bay Street, across from the driver's side of the car. His music was no longer blaring and his window was down again. We were both waiting for the light to change when he turned and looked right at me. There was no traffic in the northbound lane so I hollered over to him, "Your rear driver-side tire is flat, flat to the rimI"
He glanced in his rear view mirror like an idiot, as if he could see the tire. When the light turned green, he turned right onto Front Street and got out to inspect his car. Obviously he was clueless he'd been running on a flat.

I trotted over to him.

"That's what I wanted to tell you," I said. "I wouldn't keep driving on your rim. You'll damage it and it can be quite costly to fix."
He shrugged me off with a wave and muttered, "Thanks".
He climbed back into his car and began fiddling with his phone. I left and caught my train.

My husband said he was probably embarrassed. Maybe. Still a jerk, though.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Challenges, regrets and mistakes

I walked away from vehicle ownership at the end of December 2011 when the lease expired on my 2008 CUV. I made the decision not to buy out my Chevrolet Equinox at what was a pretty sweet, pre-negotiated price ($9,998) when I realized my vehicle was a moving money-pit.

I was a late bloomer in this regard as I always needed a vehicle. It was my city friends who convinced me that my husband and I didn't need a second vehicle. I live near a major, although rural intersection that is serviced by both regional and GO transit. I can walk to a few amenities but if you want alcohol, you have to drive. If you want groceries, same deal.

Owning a vehicle made me lazy. Owning a vehicle also cost me a ridiculous amount of money - $8,048.00 annually, give or take a few dollars, just to drive to the GO station and make occasional trips around the GTA to visit family and friends one or two weekends a month. It was time for me to give it up.

I regret leasing the Equinox but I didn't know at the time that I would lose my job two days after I drove it off the lot. In total, it's $32,000.00 I'll never get back. When I made the decision to lease the Equinox, I was working for an IT firm as a consultant and I traveled to meet with clients. I would also be able to claim a portion of the lease payments on my taxes, at least, that was the plan.

My 2000 Ford Focus wagon wasn't aging well and with over 150,000 clicks on the engine, it needed major maintenance work I just didn't want to pay for at the time. The A/C no longer worked. The heater blew and as much as you try, you can't drive without heat when the temperature is below 5C outside. Only one windshield wiper worked (the passenger's), two windows wouldn't go down and the lift-gate needed new hydraulic arms. I decided the car had to go. Then my employer of eight years decided I had to go. My position was eliminated, I was shown the door and stuck with a brand new vehicle I had no idea how I was going to pay for.

As a final nail in the coffin, the only jobs I could find were in downtown Toronto. I wasn't about to drive to the city core every day so this meant I had to cough up another $275 a month to take the GO train (still cheaper than parking). So that added another $3300.00 to the already $8000 I was spending a year for transportation. It's sickening, I know, but it's not sickening when owning a vehicle is a necessary evil and justifiable.

I tried Leasebusters. No one would bite. Thankfully, I eventually found full-time, permanent work that allowed for our household budget to accommodate the additional expense of GO Transit, but all I kept thinking about was how much money we'd be saving if I hadn't gotten rid of my Ford Focus, if I had just procrastinated a little longer. If, if and if.

I regret getting rid of that car. It was a mistake. I should have just spent the money and fixed it.

The first challenge of not owning a vehicle presented itself when my husband's hours changed at work last Spring and I had to do daycare drop off in the mornings. I bought a bike and bike trailer and biked my daughter 2.2 kilometres (one way) to her daycare centre in the mornings and then biked back home, changed and caught the bus. I did this from May to October last year.

I also decided to change my diet. My husband is diabetic (Type 2, non-insulin dependent). He consumes very little sugar and watches his starches. He recently joined a gym. He's my inspiration to live better. Because of him, I no longer eat bad foods, over-eat, indulge or skip breakfast. It took almost three months for me to kick sugar from my system and four to six months for my body to adjust to eating three times a day. I cut my daily caloric intake in half. I am just starting to get into a routine of drinking water throughout the day. It's all been about baby steps for me. In 12 months, I lost approximately 32.4 pounds.

This Spring, I realized my daughter is too big for the bike trailer. Pound-wise, she's well under the weight restriction of 100 lbs but height-wise, she's too tall to sit comfortably. I moved her from the daycare centre to a babysitter who lives within a reasonable walking distance from us. This morning was the first day of our five-month journey of walking 1.65 kilometres every morning to her babysitter's. After I drop her off, I walk another 700 metres to the bus stop. Add in the 1.2 kilometres I walk to the office from Union and back, and the walk from the bus stop to my home, I'm walking a total of five kilometres, five days a week. I was going to join a gym but now I can save that money.

The only mistake I made was not wearing running shoes this morning. Instead, I put on a pair of shoes I have not quite broken in and I am paying for this in spades right now. I managed to catch my regular GO bus after waving frantically to the driver from across the highway (there was no way I was running as the back of my heels were rubbed raw) and I hobbled onto the train when the bus ride was over. The rest of the day will be like this.

Tomorrow, it will be more about comfort and less about fashion.

The great thing about this challenge is there is no alternative. It's not like I can give up the morning walk and hop into a car. I can't say, "Screw this" and abandon the plan. We're walking whether I like it or not.

Friday, May 3, 2013

For the love of all things holy!


Wait, are you ... did you ... just ...?


You're not really ... oh God ... no.


Oh God, that's just nasty. 

LOTION YOUR FEET AT HOME!

You know you need more sleep, when...

I'm on the train this morning, just watching GIRLS (oh my god, I love that show) when a woman I occasionally say "Hi" to who was seated across from me leaned over and said, "I'm sorry, I hate to ask, but did you wax off your eyebrows?"

Guess my sunglasses are just a little too big.
I took my sunglasses off and showed her that my eyebrows were still in tact, to which she replied, embarassingly, "Oh God, I need to get more sleep!"
And I totally took a photo so you can see why she asked in the first place.
Hilarious!