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  • Clarke Wallace

Buying an apartment or condo these days must be more that stressful. Let’s try damn right agonizing. Especially when you’re putting money down on a building that’s still a hole in the ground, or has a structure that’s ready for demolition.


You visit the contractor. He shows you the plan for the building. There’s give and take until you settle on what you want. Fourth floor, two bedrooms. Balcony a must. Good view. You read it through multiple times, and sign it. Put money down. Say two thousand five hundred. You’re all smiles.


Construction will begin, the contractor tells you – after you’ve signed – soonest. Or relatively soon. Shovels will be in the ground as early as possible. In the near future. Maybe even sooner…


In the near future? This gives you pause. Hmm. The contractor shrugs. Don’t worry, he says.

Don’t worry?


When driving by the lot some time later, hoping the building is well on its way, you find nothing has been done. Zilch. At least the building that was there has been demolished. Now it’s just a messy hole in the ground.


You call the contractor for the umpteenth time. He assures you that getting everything in place before the actual construction begins, takes time. Obtaining city permits, a bore. Etc.

Two years is coming up when you learn the project has been dumped. The contractor has decided the cost isn’t worth the effort. He’s willing to pay back your advance. Fully. But with no accruing interest. You’re kidding. After how long he’s held it? It’s legit, says your legal eagle.


That’s how it works. The contractor pays you back, the twenty-five hundred dollars, only.


Author’s comment: I was peddling my heart out on the gym’s life cycle the other day next to Olga, who peddles much faster than me. She told me about being caught in a similar situation. She and her husband, Charlie, had put down a down payment on a condo, only to be told much later the project had been cancelled.


What bothered her most was hearing the same contractor was building a new complex on the same site. With each condo selling for a much higher price. Can you believe it? No? Go to city hall. Ask what can be done. Their answer will be a shrug. *^#&$%%@#* is all I can say.

  • Clarke Wallace

I get the weekend Globe & Mail and Toronto Star every Saturday. It’s left by the road at  the bottom of our driveway. They’re bulky. Lots to read. I must finish reading them before the next batch of Saturday papers arrive, or I’ll never catch up.


Both newspapers are packed with long articles, with most well worth reading. What I found lately are shorter pieces on the same topics written by ‘experts’ to augment what the article has told us.


Ok, so what? So, I can’t make head or tail of what they’re talking about. They may be experts in their field, but they leave readers like me way out in left field.


Author’s comment: Have you ever watched something on television and find even here you’re left wondering what the heck’s going on? A few nights ago CBC TV news had a wrap-up about a guy specializing in rescuing cats stuck up in the trees.


This little creature was so high even those from the local fire station couldn’t reach it. Along comes our expert as the CBC camera crew pan up, way up to show the cat staring down at everyone below.


It cuts to our guy, equipment over his shoulder. He smiles at the camera, grabs a thick rope already hanging down from the tree, and begins cranking himself up until he disappears out of frame.


Grabs the rope and begins cranking himself upward? How in hell’s name did he get the rope up there in the first place? Come on guys, don’t leave us in suspence…

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