Four Years

Four years ago today we moved to New Westminster. Short version: We showed up at our new townhouse, 6 months pregnant, after having spent the previous three days at my parents’ house because our movers were fuckers so we had to find different movers a week before we moved and there was some issue with overlap; honestly I don’t remember why because I was 6 months pregnant and stressed out. When we showed up at our new house, the dude who was moving out was still here! His stuff was also still here! Even though we were the legal owners! So we went to the uptown mall to kill an hour and that’s how it became the most depressing mall in the universe: because the first time I ever experienced it, what I wanted most in the world was to have a bath, eat some pizza and go to sleep.

I think a lot of people at that mall feel that way. I was at that mall just the other day with Fresco while Trombone was at preschool and we had to go to the bathroom and the entire hallway to the bathroom smelled bad. I smell a lot of bad things in a given day and this hallway was all of them to the power of 17. Grease from the fast food places, plus poop, plus the poop of the people who eat at the fast food places. Bad! Smell!

I have three pieces of locally relevant news to share on this, my fourth anniversary of being an inhabitant of New Westminster.

1. The other day, the same day as the bad hallway smell, I got a parking ticket. It was just that kind of day. (It was also the day Fresco got up at 4:50 AM.) I was going to the post office to mail something I have been meaning to mail for 6 weeks now and I had the item, my purse and Fresco out of the car already when I put a dollar in the parking meter and the parking meter ate it and kept flashing 00:00. I looked at the parking meter. There were no phone numbers to call. So I said “fuck you parking meter” and we went to the post office and then to get me another cup of coffee. I let Fresco drink the creamer. That’s quite funny, watching a toddler drink creamer from a little container. I recommend it, if you need cheering.

When I returned to the car, there was a ticket, which DID have a number to call, so I called it. The nice lady at the City of New Westminster Parking Services, whose job must be so incredibly unpleasant, took my information and said she’d have someone check the meter and call me back. By the time we’d returned from preschool, I had a call back telling me my ticket was canceled because the meter was, in fact, broken.

That rocks! She was very polite and helpful. In future, however, I will just move the car somewhere else and I recommend you do the same for your maximum ticket-avoiding pleasure.

2. Today’s adventure while Trombone was at preschool found me and Fresco at the new Tommy Douglas Branch of the Burnaby Public Library. “Burnaby Library? This is not relevant to New Westminster,” you are thinking. It is too! Just wait!

Trombone’s school had a field trip to this library a few weeks ago and I didn’t get to look around. I wanted to go back. It opened in November 2009 so it is new and modern and shiny and so nice. The bathrooms alone are worth a trip. They’re just so clean. There’s nothing like a public bathroom that’s barely been used. Am I right? I guess because you know time is running out; pretty soon it will be all grungy and used and just like every other public bathroom in the world.

Usually we go to the New Westminster Public Library, which is old. Old and not shiny and – fine, it’s a fine library, but it’s the oldest one in the province and the bathroom reflects this. (Stop talking about bathrooms! OK!)

We really enjoyed poking round the Tommy Douglas library, Fresco and I, and the kids’ section is awesome, it’s got glass-topped cases with things to look at and a magnetic board that you can play with and of course, books, lots of them and I discovered that Mo Willems, he of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” also writes “early reader” books and I found a bunch about an Elephant and a Piggie and suddenly I remembered that I don’t have a Burnaby library card anymore. Well I do but it’s got my 10-year-old signature on it and it’s somewhere in a box of crap in the upstairs closet. So I went over to the librarian and she gave me a short form to fill out and then she sync/linked my New West card with a Burnaby account and presto I can go to any Burnaby or New West library I want!

She was so friendly and efficient! I won’t say “unlike the New West librarians” because they are mostly fine and also they encourage you to use the self-check out whenever possible. I will say I would be cheerful too, if I worked at the new library, because it is very open and light and new and beautiful. I am going back there all the time for all my library needs. There were only about 15 people in the whole place. It was quiet like heaven.

3. Maybe you long term readers remember my woeful tale about our first trip to Westminster Quay? Short version: it sucked ass, we saw real Scientologists administering e-meter tests and I ate the worst hot dog ever. But great news! The Quay has been renamed “River Market at Westminster Quay” and it is currently being renovated and then repopulated. Yesterday they announced a new grocery store called Donald’s Market is going in when the Market re-opens this summer. I will probably still not eat a hot dog there. (I should probably eat fewer hot dogs anyway.) I have very high hopes for a new outdoor place to hang out, catch a river breeze, drink a cold coffee, buy fresh food, watch the tugboats go by.

(I bet at the very least the bathrooms will be awesome.)

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