Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Well, it's 50% solved

So you'll recall this time last week I was a little choked because of the lacklustre garbage and recycling services being provided around my neighbourhood.

You'll be thrilled to know, that after many many phone calls and emails to 311 by myself and neighbours (at least 3 neighbours that I spoke to reported the same garbage all over the boulevard from where the bin used to be) this morning it was FINALLY being picked up. Of course, that was as I left the house, it remains to be seen how good of a job they will do. I say that because, while I'm thrilled that someone was finally dispatched, it seems as though it was a man with a giant claw machine - not sure if he's going to manually pick up the festering dirty diapers that the claw doesn't quite manage to snag.

Please pretend I have awesome graphic design skills and was able to create some sort of crazy graphic merging the claw of garbage into the claw toy machine. Ideally the end result would depict the falling garbage morphing into the toys left in the machine to have full dramatic effect.

So, I suppose for now, we will call that a win. However, the fact that my recycling was not picked up AGAIN last Friday is a big tick in the losing column. It also was not picked up on Saturday. Or Monday. So based on my call with 311 a few weeks ago, I guess today is my last hope, other than waiting for my next scheduled day, Friday. At which point my bin will almost be overflowing.

I was also told that the contractor would provide reasons for missed pick-ups but that it could take up to 24 hours for that comment to be entered into the system. I requested that reason to be emailed to me, and it still hasn't been (and that's for the August 10th pick-up).

I know it may seem petty to be quite so obsessed with the garbage and recycling pick-up (not the bulky waste pickup, as I don't think anyone thinks that is unjustified) but it's a very steep, slippery, slope. Imagine if you will, in my slightly more crime infested neighbourhood that you need to put a easily meltable bin full of combustibles out for pick-up. Now, sure, you could get up at the crack of dawn so that it was out for the 7am start of collection, or, you could be like most people, and put it out the night before - and then toss and turn with every siren that drives by hoping that its not your bin (and then your fence/garage/house) on fire. Now imagine that it doesn't get picked up and you have to repeat that the next night. Imagine, that since some genius decided that the North End would have Friday pick up, this means that it might need to sit out on a Friday night to be picked up on Saturday instead because of a missed pick-up. Picture Friday night. Yup, way more bored, wandering youth who might decide to burn it (to be fair, that could probably be said for most neighbourhoods as I remember getting up to my fair share of trouble in Charleswood back in the day). I don't know about you, but I EXTRA don't want to get up at the crack of dawn on the weekend to put out my bins because some contractor was not doing his job the day before. I have emailed my City Councillor asking for details about the contract that they City has regarding these pick-ups, however, it has been a week and I still haven't gotten a reply (not even a "I'm looking into that for you"). Must be awesome to have a contract with no accountability.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dear cyclist...

Dear lady cyclist on Osborne yesterday at about 415,
You or your child are going to get killed if you keep riding like that. Why you would choose to bike down construction filled Osborne during rush hour, towing a child-trailer behind you is beyond me, but I suppose your choice to make. I mean, I don't like kids at the best of times, but even I wouldn't tow a kid (anyone's kid, let alone my own if I had one) behind me in bumper to bumper traffic where said child-trailer was effectively my bumper, but I guess that's just me. Never mind the fact either that Osborne in the village area is barely wide enough for the two lanes of traffic that it almost holds sans construction, biking down it solo seems scary even then. Add a two wheeled, wide trailer into the mix and it just seems suicidal, but again, your choice.

My beef with you trendy legging with skirt wearing hipster mama, is that, after assessing that you seemed to have a death wish for you or your child - ok, to be fair I didn't actually SEE your kid in the trailer thing, but since that is what is was designed for, and you were of child bearing age and not a scrap metal collector (the other common use for those trailers, at least here in the North End) - I treated you as I believed I should and I changed lanes to pass you. I did this because it was not safe for us to try and "share the lane" in this narrow, construction laden zone.

Then, much to my horror, after I respected you and your child and I had passed you safely, you seemed to want to try and edge up next to me and pass me as we came to a stop for a light. So, this is a letter from the woman you probably thought was a "mean, aggressive typical Winnipeg driver" who pulled herself even closer to the curb so you could not pass. May I suggest, that perhaps next time, you get off your bike, and walk you and your baby safely down the sidewalk in this stretch of road, because, if you don't, you will be but a mere tragic story lining a birdcage.

The Winnipeg Girl who tried to respect you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How much of a stink do I make about it?

Pun intended.

Well, we've switched to the fancy new garbage carts on my street. I completely forgot to use it the first week that we could (August 3rd) because the autobins were still around and I was still using it. My recycling? Well, I just plain forgot to put that out, but that's nothing new - at least now the big cart holds two weeks worth.

So, enter week 2 (August 10). I put my carts out Thursday night and when I came home Friday after work, the garbage had been picked up, but not the recycling. I called 311, waited on hold for ages to talk to a real person, only to be told that the contractor had until 6pm to pick it up. It was 530. So, when of course it wasn't picked up at 6, I called back to lodge a complaint.

I was told that there were any number of reasons why the truck may have missed the pick up, however it could take up to 24 hours for the reason to be input into the system. I asked when I could expect it to be picked up. I was told to put it out on the next business day (Monday) and if it wasn't picked up on Monday it probably would be on Tuesday, but that if it wasn't picked up on Tuesday to just put it out on my next regular day (Friday). I would like to give that policy an official WTF?? So you're telling me, that if my garbage/recycling is missed, I have to wait TWO DAYS before it might be collected? Whose genius idea was it to have the North End have Friday as its pick up day? The part of town where stinky plastic bins are most likely to be set alight should wait an additional two days? If our pick up day was Monday, then in theory missed collections would be rectified on Tuesday.

Now, thankfully, my instinct told me to put the cart out again Saturday as I know from looking at the yearly schedule that they do indeed sometimes work Saturdays. It was picked up - but had I followed the advice of the 311 operator I would have been dragging it out Monday and Tuesday only to have it ignored. Now, I am an able bodied person so dragging the cart back in forth in summer is no big deal - what about my 95 year old neighbour? What about in winter when even for me it's not going to be easy, what with the giant snow rows that are created by the plows?

As well, with the removal of the autobins, there are spots all over the North End where it's very easy to see where they once were by the rubbish that surrounds the area. Before one of the bins near me was removed I called in a complaint about the bulky waste, being sure to be very specific about the type and quantity that was there. I called it in on a Thursday night and I was informed that since it hadn't been called in 48 hours before our new regularly scheduled bulky waste pick up day (also every Friday) it would be picked up the following week. It wasn't.

So not only is it completely ridiculous that I have to call it in, so that they can then send a City employee out to verify that it is what was called in (yes, that's right, there is a paid position that drives around to simply verify called in complaints. This person does not report any waste themselves, just drives right on by anything not on their list) but then they don't even pick it up???

Can you imagine if a regular person ran their business this way? They would go bankrupt in no time because of ridiculous business practices. "Hi there, I'd like to hire your to move my things to my new house" *patiently wait on the scheduled day of move, no one shows up, call movers* "Hi there, you were supposed to move me today?" "What? You will come maybe tomorrow or the next day, you don't really know?" "You expect me to still hire you and pay full price?" Yet, seemingly this is the way the contracts that the City has work. Cool. Remind me to bid on the next one as seemingly it doesn't really matter if I follow my contract.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The post you have been waiting for!

I found it!! I know, I know, you've been on the edge of your seat waiting, and wait no more, it's here!
The ladies urinal at The Bay Downtown, Winnipeg
There it is folks, the famed photo of the urinal in the ladies room on the second floor of The Bay Downtown, circa 2002. That floor is also pretty freaking fantastic. I kind of regret not ever taking a piddle in it - I guess I just thought it would always be there (although, I bet it is still there, hiding behind the wall....)

Well, I've probably just lost half of my loyal blog followers now that the mystery photo has finally been found, but at least you can leave at peace with the world. Well, when I start a day like this, it can only go downhill from here, might as well go back to bed...