Category Archives: Serendipity

Only Child looks at serendipity

Only Child contemplates serendipity

In my short story, Road Raging, I ask the question “Do we land in situations by chance or does someone out there direct the traffic?” Events this weekend in Toronto vis-a-vis where I was had me thinking seriously about this question. And growing up Catholic also factored in.

As most of you probably know we had a shooting at one of Toronto’s largest malls, The Eaton Centre, Saturday evening. One man died and six were injured, two critically, not to mention the fear, panic etc. when it happened. I’m not going into more details except to say that Toronto Police Services arrested a suspect yesterday. If you want to read more details, you can go to online newspaper stories such as those at http://news.nationalpost.com, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2012/06/04/toronto-eaton-centre.html, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news, http://ca.news.yahoo.com/toronto-police-made-arrest-eaton-centre-shootings-112342482.html

Toronto also had another situation Friday and into the late evening. After a dry spell, Toronto received torrential rains which flooded a main subway station – Union Station, which is also the hub for Go trains and VIA rail and Amtrek trains. The railway train tracks were okay and except for some water on the lower Go train commuter waiting area, the main part of the station was basically okay. The flood was on the subway tracks, subway platform and main area of the subway station– some rain pouring down the stairs from the street. A sewer problem either compounded or caused it.

Both Friday and Saturday I attended the Bloody Words crime writing conference in downtown Toronto. I was bemoaning the location being just a bit out of the main downtown core until the Friday. When travelling on the subway I heard the announcement about the flood and that subway trains were not running under the main street (Yonge St.) from Union Station to Bloor Station and were turning back on the other line at Osgoode Station. My stop for the conference was Osgoode Station and then it was a three or four minute walk to the hotel. The service resumed while I was on the way home – after I exited the subway for my bus.

Fast forward to early Saturday evening with the pre-banquet reception. As I milled around and chatted with other crime writers and readers I heard somebody mention that a shooting had occurred at The Eaton Centre. She said  that maybe we should go there (because of our writing focus) but none of us did.

Just as well. After the banquet I caught up on some of the news. The subways were not stopping at Dundas Station and Queen Station  (the two stations encompassing The Eaton Centre) and The Eaton Centre was closed. Being a writer I had to nose around a bit even if from a subway. I took the subway line around Union and up Yonge. At Union I leaned into the window (can’t lean out – windows don’t open) to check the platform. No water remained but I could see a big mop. Queen and Dundas stations looked eerie in their emptiness. At Dundas I could see a police officer by one of the exit doors to the subway platform.

Back home I watched the news – full screen (those small iPhone screens don’t cut it with me) and realized the seriousness of the situation. I saw the panic; the terror and when I heard that one of the random victims was a 13-year-old boy, I think that’s when it hit me.

There but for some grace I go. If the conference location had been at its former place there would have been no subway running by it Friday and Saturday and we’d have surely been in the crowd outside –  that hotel is right next to The Eaton Centre.

Makes you wonder – is somebody out there looking after us?

Being an ex-Catholic who is a skeptic/optimist and sometime pessimist, I have to say. “Maybe some of the time.”

Comments?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Floods, Gratitude, Only child, Public Transportation, Railways, Rain, Serendipity, Sharon Crawford, Shooting, Toronto public transit, Train Stations, Union Station Toronto

Only child experiences unexpected serendipity

Patio oasis in Only Child's backyard still peaceful.

I admit it – I’m a jaded realist whose motto is “seeing is believing.”  This belief took an unexpected turn thanks to a severe wind and thunderstorm that hit Toronto on Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t quite a tornado or hurricane, nothing as bad as Hurricane Hazel which stormed into Toronto in the fall of 1954. I remember bits and pieces of that one. It got really dark, wet and windy outside. Mom and I had just made it back from getting our TB tests at one of those mobile testing units parked outside Holy Cross grade school. Our house and garden received no damage because as Mom said, “We live on a hill, not in the valley.”

Last Sunday’s storm, the intensity of which was unexpected, may have had its intentional roots (at least for my property and me) in my Hurricane Hazel experience. I was answering personal e-mail on my desktop computer when I could see the sky in the northwest getting very dark. After a few mild claps of thunder, I thought, “that’s it,” and shut down my computer and turned the power board off. A few minutes later the skies opened and waves of water fell down and the winds shook everything around. I looked out the back window and couldn’t see my umbrella on its stand in the patio table. Then the power went out – for all of two minutes. I was frantically praying (yes, even with my attitudes on religion and God) that all would be well. I checked the basement (several times) and no water got in.

When the storm had died down to a trickle,  in a panic I went out to the back. At first I couldn’t get the gate open – the latch was sticking. After a minute it opened and I charged into the backyard and found my open umbrella, toppled over. It had knocked over my citronella plant and broken a few branches of it. I righted the plant and shoved the umbrella back into its stand. This time I rolled the umbrella down, more to see if it still worked than for any other reason. I did another check of  the basement – floors still dry. And made a mental note to thank the fellow that did the excavation before I again ask him when he is going to fix the picnic table leg he broke off when moving the table. Surprisingly, the five bricks and three remaining legs still held up the picnic table. The only other happenings were my big blue recycling bin rolled over and moved back and a strip of eavestrough liner (to catch falling leaves) had come loose and dangled outside my office window. It is still dangling and can continue to dangle until I get my handyman over to do a number of jobs.

Then I saw and heard what happened elsewhere in Toronto –  power outages for hours, trees down (including next door in the backyard – it fell on the telephone/cable wires cutting off four houses’ service – if they have Bell Canada and not Rogers Cable. I’m not one of those four as the box for my service is up a pole on the far side of the other house next door to me. And then there is Goderich, Ontario which got hit by an F3 Tornado. Goderich resembles a war zone and people are left homeless. This is the down side; this is destruction I can’t comprehend as right or fair…but life is not fair I’ve been told.

I have family just north and northeast of Goderich and I’ve e-mailed one cousin to see if they are all right.

At this point my garden is intact, the trees by the side and back of my house are intact, my house is intact, and I am grateful. Perhaps a smidgeon of my faith and trust in living has been restored. Perhaps I am learning that sometimes when you put it out there, you are listened to, but often in unexpected ways.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Believing, Cities and towns, Cousins, Floods, Goderich, Gratitude, Home and Garden, Life learning, Only child, Prayer, Rain and wind storm, Serendipity, Synchronicities, Tornado, Toronto, Trust, Water

Only Child and the freezer saga

Only Child waiting for freezer

Every Sunday morning I would wake up to Mom yelling “get out,” not to me but to the roast beef stuck in her tiny fridge-top freezer.  This childhood ritual turned into adult realty a couple of weekends ago, when my very old upright freezer decided it had enough. As it sputtered to its end, I had to stuff its contents into the freezer at the top of my fridge and in a Styrofoam cooler. As I also had some of my neighbour/friend’s food in the freezer I had to let her know – this on a Sunday,  not a.m. but 10.30 p.m.

Although the timing was bad (same time as I had that whopping house insurance premium due), the whole situation played out in a serendipitous manner.

The freezer of unknown age (I inherited it from the previous house owners 12 years ago when I moved into this house and the freezer was old then) had been making weird noises off and on for the last few months. On the Saturday, the handyman I hire occasionally to do house repairs and painting, helped me clean out the huge chunks of ice that had accumulated. When  he turned the freezer back on it made what he referred to as “a noise it makes when it is dying.” He adjusted the big coil in the back, turned the freezer back on and it appeared to be working. I turned the temperature up and moved some of the food back in. By Sunday evening the freezer was lowering its temperature with water appearing on the shelves – when the door was closed. That did it. I went into panic mode. But it was a good thing it had just been cleaned out.

Next day I went to the local independent appliance store, picked out a smaller chest freezer and arranged for its delivery and for their delivery people to remove the old freezer to the curb where a scrap dealer (whom they would call) would pick it up. They charged for delivery of the new freezer but waived the cost of moving the old. I let them know it was a big upright freezer in the basement but the stairway up to the side door was open.

Monday they didn’t arrive until 7.20 p.m. No problem getting in the new freezer and setting it up. But they balked at removing the old one. I went into “you have to- this is the deal mode”) . They called the store owner – they talked to him; I talked to him and the deal was back on. A third fellow arrived to help the other two. It was a struggle, including waiting for the freezer to stop dripping water from the inside. They removed the door and attached it to the dolly. But they couldn’t seem to get it up the stairs – no wonder – they were trying to do so with the freezer standing upright. Of course, it hit the stairwell ceiling in one spot. They refused to move it out but said, “we can move it to another room.” I went into yelling and crying mode. It worked – they resumed the removal – this time putting the freezer on its side. They got it out the door and to the curb. I refrained from any nasty comments and just said, “thank you.” Half an hour later I heard noises outside. The scrap dealer was removing the stove. I opened the front door, stood on my veranda and shouted, “Thank you.”

Now with the small chest freezer (and there is room for all my food and then some) in my laundry room I can see space. I can feel that a big burden has been removed and the whole area has opened up. I can feel energy returning and I am motivated to do some more clearing and cleaning in the laundry room and the adjoining cold cellar.

So, you can see how what could have been bad luck turned into a good thing and worked itself out. The only downside is the cost end – thanks to the house insurance premium due I had to put the much lower-costing freezer on a credit card. But I intend to pay it off when it comes due in a month’s time.

As for my Mom and her freezer/fridge situation, she did eventually purchase a bigger fridge/freezer – and had to have the overhead cupboards sawed smaller. Not too long after that she sold the house and had to leave the freezer behind. Not her new stove – that came with her to the apartment, but that’s another story.

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Filed under Debt, Karma, Only child, Serendipity, Synchronicities