Thursday, June 26, 2014

Life in socks

Some count their lives in years,
Some in tears,
Some in conquests, some in fears.
I count in socks.

Eight pairs; one worn today,
Seven stay - 
Drawer or hamper - hid away;
Eight pairs, no more.

Whate'er my days befall,
Great or small,
Life is rhythm'd by the call:
"Wash socks today!"

(c) Alan Chattaway 2014

Inspired by the cost of good,
medically required support socks.
Eight pairs cost around $850.

Friday, January 31, 2014

"E. & O. E."

More than a year ago, I noticed dirt or gravel being shaped into long piles at the low end of a sloping triangle of land cut off between Hwy 1, Hwy 15 and Barnston Drive. Until then the only building in that triangle was the local fire hall, so I wondered what they were doing. Being enclosed by two major highways and a major road, low down the hill, and with most of the local ground sloping, it hardly looked like an area where anyone would want to live.

So when they laid concrete slab foundations on top of the piles of dirt, then proceeded to frame long buildings with roofs that slope only one way (i.e. they have no peak), I thought they might be building warehouses or a motel.

Then a sign went up advertising it as a "luxury townhome" development! I could hardly believe it, especially built on those mounds of dirt. But then, around the time that the structures were fully enclosed, they began building retaining walls around the mounds and backfilled between the mounds and the retaining walls, stabilizing the mounds and giving each home a couple of metres of level ground outside their door.

Last week their advertising brochure arrived in our mailbox. "The BEST Townhome in Fraser Heights" proclaimed the cover, which immediately got my attention because, firstly, I know of no other townhomes in Fraser Heights, and secondly, this new development isn't even in Fraser Heights! The websites of both the Fraser Heights Community Association and the Port Kells Community Association define Hwy 15 as the boundary between Fraser Heights and Port Kells, and the new development is on the Port Kells side of Hwy 15.

Port Kells is a mixed residential/farming/industrial area with many older buildings (including heritage buildings 100 years old) while Fraser Heights is an upscale residential area about 25 years old, and still being developed. So the promoters seem to be stretching to make the location of their townhomes seem more attractive.

As I continued to read the brochure I realized it has more than its share of grammatical and spelling errors. The new development is "a communters dream" with "its setting a top of Fraser Heights" and "convenietly" close to "shopping centre's" and the "Surreycampus" of SFU. The list of local amenities includes at least three shops that closed around a year ago. There is only one exterior picture of a townhome in the entire brochure and it does not show the sloping nature of the land, but the fine print on the back cover explains that "renderings are an artist's conception and are intended as a general reference only" and adds "E. & O. E." to cover everything else.

Maybe the idea of living close to Fraser Heights for a townhome price has an appeal that will overcome the reservations I would expect people to develop when they actually see the location. But me? I would be constantly checking those retaining walls for the first sign of a crack.