Sunday, 11 September 2016

An Open Letter

An open letter to the obnoxious fan who sat behind us last night at the John Prine concert.

Dear Friend,

It was so nice that we could share in the collective experience of seeing Mr. Prine in person at Massey Hall last Friday evening. I'm not certain if you are aware of the fact that since Mr. Prine has suffered two bouts with cancer over the past several years, this tour is one that has great meaning for his fans. My Husband and I have waited over eight years to see him in concert again and we have had to endure several missed opportunities, including a cancelled show due to his ongoing health problems. So it was with great pleasure that we forked over a tidy sum and endured a painfully uncomfortable venue (I think that the springs from my seat are forever and permanently lodged in my right buttcheek) in order to watch and listen to one of our all-time favourite singer/songwriters perform live. We were even more thrilled when local favourite Ron Sexsmith was announced as the opening act. We were filled to the brim with honey and oil as we took our seats and couldn't imagine anything or anybody fucking with our mood, that is until you and your partners showed up and blew our illusions to smithereens. 

I am totally incredulous of people like you. Your insularity and self-centredness are astounding. It wasn't bad enough that you arrived twenty minutes late. Ok. Maybe your boss is a total fuckwad and couldn't find a way to let you leave on time. Or maybe your husband wasn't all that psyched about seeing John and you couldn't drag his aging hippy ass out of the house in a timely fashion. But there were 3,000 of us who did manage to find our seats before 8:00pm despite our personal problems or our shitty days. But no worries. You come first.

It wasn't disrespectful enough that you chatted noisily about your misery and apparently your even worse commute to Massey Hall during the entirety of Ron Sexsmith's eloquent solo set. Isn't it a least remotely possible that some in a crowd of 3,000 actually preferred Ron to you?

It wasn't horribly rude enough that you yanked the back of my already uncomfortable seat in order to squeeze yourself into the packed row.  Late and a fucking menace all rolled up into one tidy little package. Thanks for trimming my hair as you passed through.

Wasn't it miserably impolite enough of you to come in baked and blitzed? God forbid you should have a filter for your arrogance or that you should use your indoor voice. I think they heard you up in the second balcony. 

And that was just the beginning of our suffering.

There was that time when you decided to stand and leave during a critical moment of one of John's most sensitive songs, Hello in There. You decided that that particular moment would be an appropriate time for a refill on your G & T and to purchase a concert tee to cover your middle-aged spread. Thanks for ruining a favourite of mine.

There was the constant verbal molestation of the poor man to play his song Paradise that you barked out in a voice so loud and shrill as to remind us of cats copulating. My ears are still ringing from your tenor. He actually responded to you at one point by stating "I promise you that I'm singing as fast as I can." Imagine my disappointment when he gave into your constant haranguing and closed with the bloody thing.

There was the running commentary that you insisted on giving about each and every lyric as though you were scrutinizing them for a fucking thesis. Tell me something. How is it even possible that every line can be your "absolute favourite of all-time"? 

Madam...people like you are why I have tended to shy away from audience-driven experiences over the last several years. You seem to think that it is perfectly fine to behave at a public gathering as you do in your basement at home. You may think that you have every right to enjoy yourself as you see fit given the fact that you paid a hefty price for the ticket, but here's the thing. You don't. Your right to behave like an asshole ends where my rights as a  co-audience member begin. You see, I too paid for a ticket and nowhere in that transaction did it state that a drunken moron behaving boorishly behind me was included in the price. 

I am not a confrontational person and I probably would have suffered in silence were it not for my friend who confronted you at least once verbally and also with a few death stares lasered in your direction. It brought some emotional relief and we were at least able to laugh, but you are one of those rare individuals who lack any self-awareness. God forbid that you should have altered your behaviour.

I don't know you and I hope we never meet again. I obviously can't stop you from attending other public gatherings, but I do hope that at least you give some thought to what we said to you and that in your zeal to have a great evening, you hopefully understand that you really screwed with at least 4 other people's good time. 

My High Holidays are coming up so I will attempt to forgive you your multiple transgressions. As John, himself would say...

Father forgive us
For what we must do
You forgive us
We'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other
Till we both turn blue
Then we'll whistle and go fishing
In heaven.






Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Barbra Contest Answers

Not too many brave souls were willing to tackle my Barbra CD giveaway, and of those who did, only one person had even one correct answer. She will be getting a CD. The other? I will dispose of it at my leisure.

For all of you wimps, here are the answers

1) Barbra has won 2 Academy Awards. Name both films for which she was honoured.
2) Who of these has NOT sung a duet with Barbra? a) Frank Sinatra b) Judy Garland c) Donna Summer d) Bing Crosby e) Louis Armstrong
3) What was the title of Barbra's first album?
4) What was Barbra's SECOND Broadway show?
5) Barbra's first TV special was entitled My Name is Barbra. It won two very significant awards. Name them

1)  1969 Best Actress for Funny Girl. (She tied that year with Katharine Hepburn for the Lion in Winter) and 1977 Best Original Song for "Evergreen" from A Star is Born.
2) d) Bing Crosby
3) The Barbra Streisand Album (A bad guess could have netted you this one.)
4) Funny Girl (I Can Get it For You Wholesale was her first.)
5) An Emmy (easy) and a Peabody (not so easy)

So there you have it. If you still think that you are deserving of the second CD, you might have to sell me the soul of your firstborn as I might be a bit testy. Well done to those who tried.

Friday, 2 September 2016

My Barbra Streisand Contest

So here's the story.

A few weeks back, I dragged The Husband and my parents to the home of the Maple Leafs to see Barbra Streisand.

Ms. Streisand is a personal favourite of mine from bygone days. We can argue about her perceived strengths and weaknesses, but frankly, I have no interest in the debate. As far as I'm concerned, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand are 1 and 1A on my list of all-time great female vocalists. (Just as an FYI, the list is long and diverse, but these two share top spot.) Ten years ago, I made good on a lifelong promise to my parents to take them to see her in person if she ever came north, and when I discovered that she was once again touring at the still young age of 74, we repeated the experience.

The concert was exquisite. A blissful mix of memories and conversations. She was more interactive this time and much more at ease with herself and with the audience. And then, of course, there is that voice. That magnificent instrument that others have attempted to duplicate or tried to imitate to no avail. She is simply an original and while age has dulled some of her power, it hasn't at all played havoc with her tonality or intonation. Even my cynical husband had to admit that she was breathtaking.

When I bought the tickets, I was surprised to learn that Ms. Streisand, in a fit of generosity, vanity, or perhaps just brilliant marketing, had a gift for all of her ticket holders. With her new album dropping at the end of August, we would all be receiving copies. I figured one per order, but no, rather it was one per ticket. I had forgotten about it until this was forwarded from our old address earlier this week.

There is something bizarrely satisfying about the old-school nature of receiving a CD. Ms. Streisand has a thing for album art and would not be dissuaded by record company executives to merely release online. But, four? What to do with four?

When I put the photo up on Facebook and Instagram, I found my answer. My friends were only too willing to take them off my hands. So, I started thinking. There is so much shit going on in the world right now, let's find a distraction. We'll play for Barbra.

At the bottom of this post, there are five Barbra Streisand trivia questions. First one in with all correct answers wins. It's that simple.

Now...there have to be conditions and rules, so here they are.

1) There is one CD in play for certain with a definite possibility of a second. (I am keeping one and my parents get one too.) So, if you think that you might not know all the answers remember that second place isn't a bad spot either.
2) Google and other online or offline sources are really fun, but using them is CHEATING. Do you really need a CD so badly that you would cheat others? Where's the fun in that? We play by the honour system here, boys and girls, so please use your time-addled brains and pretend that the internet doesn't exist for this one brief moment in time. Anyhow, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are coming up. Are you really prepared to face The Almighty and confess that you defrauded your friends out of a CD?
3) If you haven't done so already, you must be a follower of my Facebook page. I need a few more of you and this is all about self-promotion, so click the damn button if you want to win. I know who you are and I can see you.
4) While I didn't technically pay for these CDs, the tickets were a fucking fortune. I do not in any way expect payment or reimbursement for this, but it would be nice if the winners would donate $10.00 to my synagogue. Pick a fund. These are good people doing good work. You'll win even if you don't, but Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are coming up. Are you really prepared to face The Almighty and confess that you are a cheap-assed bastard for ten bucks?
5) I am the judge and jury. My decision stands. No arguing with the judge is permitted and all decisions are final. My CDs, my rules.
6) All answers must be received no later than 9:00am on Labour Day Monday. After that, you are shit out of luck.

So here we go. Answers can be left here in the comments section or in the comments section on Facebook.

1) Barbra has won 2 Academy Awards. Name both films for which she was honoured.
2) Who of these has NOT sung a duet with Barbra? a) Frank Sinatra b) Judy Garland c) Donna Summer d) Bing Crosby e) Louis Armstrong
3) What was the title of Barbra's first album?
4) What was Barbra's SECOND Broadway show?
5) Barbra's first TV special was entitled My Name is Barbra. It won two very significant awards. Name them.

There you have it, friends. Have at it, but NO CHEATING!!! Winners announced next week. Don't forget to follow me on Facebook or your entry is null and void. Have a wonderful long weekend. Don't rain on my parade. Have some fun with it.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

First-World Problems

If one more well-meaning soul lectures me about first-world problems and why they are wholly unimportant, I just might have to stick a stiletto through their iris. I get that in the grand scheme of the world's issues, my battle for Internet and cable is trivial. In no way am I comparing my frustrations to those of the child escaping war-torn Syria nor am I comparing it to the misery of the pregnant young panhandler who sits on a corner down the street. I fully understand that I am blessed and I count those blessings every single day. I NEVER forget what I have and how it came to be and I refuse to be lectured to by loving hearts online who have no idea how I go about my daily routine.

You see...while they might seem trivial to some, "first-world problems" are real issues because we happen to live in the first world. These are the everyday aggravations that punctuate our day. It could be that traffic jam that made you late for a crucial job interview or perhaps it was the self-checkout machines at the grocery store that double charged you for the cherries. What may sound petty to me is mostly likely not petty to you. Maybe that job interview was your first in a month of unemployment or maybe that double charge means no protein for dinner. So, when I post of my aggravations on social media about the fact that we have now been without Internet and cable service for more than three weeks, with no end in sight, I am offering up a public primal scream to relieve the frustrations. I have tried to infuse humour into the situation because, frankly, laughter is a tonic and the absurdity of this situation cries out for it. But, no! I do NOT choose to be aggravated and sometimes we are not the source of our own unhappiness. Sometimes, and this is absolutely one of those cases, other people are the source of my aggravation. In this case, it is the dozens (and I am not exaggerating here) of service people, technicians, call centre employees, managers and the like at THREE separate providers that have caused my aggravation. We have had people hang up on us; been told that the job has been rendered complete; stiffed on appointments after wasting SIX separate days staying home waiting; told that there would be no problem in hooking us up and then told they don't service our building even though half of the units here use that provider; been promised phone calls that never came more than a dozen times; and that is just the short list. So tell me again how I am the source of my own aggravation?

If you think that the lack of Internet access is a first-world problem, I hear you. It is also crucial to how we work and make our livings. Imagine for a moment that you rely on electricity to make your business viable. Certainly, you could operate for a few days without it, but three weeks? My guess is that when it started costing you time and money, that little "first-world problem" might not seem so trivial. How's that aggravation level now?

This battle for Internet/cable/phone service has both The Husband and me at the end of our tether. We have probably exceeded our data plans on our phones attempting to solve this problem. It is yet another hard cost that we will never recover. God bless my man as he has taken on this odious task and has spent far too many hours raging against the conglomerates, hours that he should have been working. Is he really the source of his own aggravation? 

I have refrained from cursing in this post because I can no longer come up with vile enough or descriptive enough words to adequately express how I feel. The comedy of errors, in this case, has turned into something uglier and while I am trying to keep up my sense of humour, I do draw the line at online rebukes and lectures. Unless you are sitting where I'm sitting, keep your judgements to yourselves. That said, honest help on any level would be gratefully appreciated.

I apologize publicly if I have offended anybody with my rant. I get it that people would rather hear or read the hearts and flowers stories of life online in their social media feeds. If I have disappointed you all by turning negative for a bit, the unfriend or unfollow button is at your disposal. I'm a big girl. I'll get over the disappointment. But I refuse to pretend that everyday problems aren't relevant problems simply because they don't fit someone else's definition of importance.
For now, I'm still waiting and hoping that somebody somewhere can get us out of the last century and turn on 2016 for us again. We kind of miss it. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

We're Moved In!

WE'RE MOVED IN!!

I know that most of you already knew that, but this is the first chance I have had to breathe in three weeks and, I can finally say it out loud. We're moved in.

I could regale you all with disaster stories from the two-day affair, but thankfully there are none. Both the packers and the movers showed up on time; they were decent, hard-working non-felons; they took great care to ask our opinions as to where things were to be placed rather than just finding empty spaces and fleeing leaving us to rearrange tables that are outside of our lifting weights; and the only recognizable damage from the redistribution of our personal effects was a single shattered wine glass, but as several friends on Facebook have reminded me, who needs glasses when we still have the bottles.

There are still a few nuggets to share and a few precautionary axioms to dole out just in case anybody out there is even remotely pondering a relocation in the next decade. (Yes...I said decade.)
  • Get organized now! When The Husband first broached the idea of moving five years ago, I told him that certain lifestyle choices needed to change. I was still working up in the North Jewish Ghetto and transferring downtown made little sense. Retiring was an obvious first step, but after that was accomplished, he made his feelings crystal clear. He wanted to move and develop that urban lifestyle we had talked about for years. Me, being me, looked around our dwelling of close to twenty years and could only see the massive amounts of collected flotsam and jetsam. Thus began the great purge of 2015. Yes, this move really started last year as we tackled some of the dirtiest and biggest tasks of divestment. We cleaned the garage and large chunks of the basement. We started divvying up cherished pieces of furniture and artwork to our children and assorted family members. We gave tremendous thought to all of that stuff that we thought we couldn't live without and we set our sights on finding a new location that would suit those needs. We were so very smug and so very stupid. We really needed to start organizing a year before we did. The real estate market here in Toronto is so very hot that one needs an asbestos suit just to walk into potential condos. In short, the process moved faster than either of us were prepared for and our earlier preparations were feeble at best. If one is looking to downsize? Understand that everything cannot possibly fit in the new space, sentiment sometimes must be replaced with practicality, storage is at a premium, and time is not on your side. Waiting for the perfect time to move or the perfect place with all of your needed amenities and all of your current stuff is lovely in theory and ridiculous in practice. Even thinking about the possibility of a potential maybe move? Mobilize now!
  • And while I still have you thinking organization....Rubbermaid is a wonderful company and label-makers are your friends. Those plastic bins from Rubbermaid come in various sizes and are necessary for the long-term storage that will come from relocating. Winter garb, purses, guitar odds and ends, Passover dishes, and photos are just some of the things that have found permanent homes within the welcoming bosom of Rubbermaid. And....I feel just like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory as I organize my closets and drawers with labels. I can't begin to explain the euphoria that comes with successfully storing and labeling a bin. Hello. My name is Dawn and I'm an obsessive/compulsive labeler. Of course, The Husband thinks that I belong on a couch somewhere, but this new home has afforded us a clean start when it comes to taming the junk and I intend to make the most of it.
  • When moving, try not to pick the hottest day in the last five years and try to avoid a ten-day heat wave with temperatures soaring into the 40s! (That's in the 100s for all of my metrically-challenged American friends.) I rarely complain about heat mostly because I spend so much time complaining about the cold, but last week was unlike any Toronto has seen in years. And moving day? It was the hottest of the hot and the stickiest of the sticky. Our awesome, strong-like-bull movers, who had no issues placing a massive wardrobe on their backs (one guy actually did this) and marching it down a flight of stairs and into the truck, almost passed out from heat exhaustion. There wasn't enough liquid refreshment available to keep the poor guys hydrated. I kept expecting to find them passed out in a puddle in the elevator or in a corner or even just cooling off in our shower.  I don't know how they did what they did and I have a newfound respect for anybody who works outside in extreme temperatures, hot or cold. These men were pros and it showed. I gave them some beer (all they would drink was water while working) at the end of the day and the grateful looks on their faces said it all. If I could offer any advice about moving? Spring or fall sound lovely.
  • Finally...take some time to say goodbye to the old before embracing the new. While the movers were packing up our kitchen and dining room, The Husband and I wandered the house, which was already very empty, and reminisced. The boys' rooms, which had long ceased being their rooms, were filled with voices and recollections. The Husband cleaned the pool one last time and I cleaned the bathrooms. (God forbid the new owners should think us pigs.) On moving day, I left first so that I could wait at the new place for the movers. The Husband was tasked with locking the door and he said it was so very bittersweet that he was glad that I wasn't there. I am too. I have been saying goodbye all summer and now it was time to say hello. There is importance in the past, but there are hope and excitement in the future. I feel as though I have left nothing unsaid and undone in that house. Now is time for new.
There is still much to do here. Pictures need hanging and photos need placing. It still needs those individual touches to make the place feel more like home. The cable and internet are still not fully functioning (a blog post all on its own) and the ducts need cleaning. (No, the irony is not lost on me that as soon as we gave up our landline we require a duct cleaner. I am trying not to think about how very absurd that is.) Also, I keep opening the wrong drawers and cupboards. For some reason, I cannot get it through my head that the toothpaste is on the left and the hairbrushes are on the right. Yesterday I threw garbage under the sink in the kitchen. Sounds harmless, yes? Except that there is no garbage under the sink in the kitchen, but rather in a drawer in the kitchen. I'll get it.

Eventually.

After all...we're finally moved in.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Home Stretch

We are definitely in the home stretch.

What does that look like, you might ask?

Well, since every move is different and requires various levels of divestment, organization, cleaning and the like, it is difficult for me to generalize. I can only report on what I know, so in no particular order, I herewith present the telltale indicators that we are in the relocation end game.

1. The Husband simultaneously cut his leg and hand this morning on broken glass while trying to repurpose an old picture/poster frame. Suffice it to say that he was unsuccessful in his task. No stitches were required for either wound but the bleeding needed to be staunched with band-aids; the adhesive to which he happens to be allergic. Fully aware that he was inviting a strange crop circle-like rash, he was eager to remove the offending bandage from his leg as soon as he possibly could without reopening the cut. As he ripped it from his very hairy Jewish man-leg, his scream, more intense than that of the original injury, was reminiscent of a woman getting a bikini wax. (We are still in possession of several framed posters that would be lovely decoration for college dorm rooms. Gratis!! If anybody is interested, please let me know by the end of the week. This is a serious offer.)

2. There are more open garbage bags and garbage boxes around the house right now then there is useable furniture. We figure that we have divested ourselves of about half of our possessions. Seriously! The sheer amount of trash that has been generated by this move has made me very aware of our environmental footprint. I am appalled, embarrassed, horrified, mortified, shamed, humiliated, and any other synonym you could possibly come up with. We have one final trash day in The North Jewish Ghetto this week and then another appointment with Just Junk scheduled for the weekend. We have taken to counselling anybody who is even considering a relocation within the next two decades to begin the process of cleaning and purging immediately. We are NOT joking!!

3. We are now confined to one functional room that has exactly two chairs in which to sit. (This statement does not allow for the bathrooms which of course offers adequate seating.) That room is the bedroom and while many might think of worse places to spend all of one's time, I have begun to think of myself as a political prisoner under house arrest. You know that you can move around the house, but that you are most definitely limited in those movements.

4. You know that your move is imminent when....the stress causes your hair to dry out, your skin to break out and sleep is a miserable afterthought. Oh...and I am eating far too much chocolate and yet have dropped a few pounds. Craziest diet EVER!

5. I have spent hours over the last several days washing, sweeping, vacuuming, and disinfecting. This house will be cleaner than it has been in years, and it was never dirty. Why am I going to all this trouble for people I have never met and have absolutely no feeling for? Because I'm a nut, that's why. I'm just like Golda in Fiddler when she said, "I just can't leave a dirty house. "

6. I had taken to leaving the TV on switched to my favourite all-news channel while packing. I had to cease and desist because I couldn't remember where we packed the Rolaids, GasEx, and Pepto Bismol.

7. I have been actively searching for my sense of humour, but it seems to have gone AWOL. I find that I am taking offense at the most innocuous of statements. I'm tired, ill-fed, and feeling enormously displaced. My sarcasm detector has taken a sabbatical so if I jump to conclusions I shouldn't, please cut me some slack. I am at the end of my tolerance rope.

8. Speaking of ill-fed, we are trying not to stock up on too much food because we will just have to move it next week. As a result, we are having to get creative with meal planning. What kind of vegetarian meal can you all come up with that involves 20 or so bottles of flavoured vinegars, 6 jars of various flavoured mustards, dark chocolate ice cream sauce, and 8 Roma tomatoes? Recipes happily accepted.

9. I have taken to wandering around the house in search of tasks. As our list dwindles, I am finding it hard to believe that we are actually moving next week. I suppose that I think that keeping busy will keep me from crying. When I first started writing about this move back in May, I was unequivocal in my belief that it was just a house and a home is where the memories are made. I still believe that to be true, but this endless process of sorting, organizing, and purging has brought the past flooding back. I remember bedtime stories read, birthday celebrations, pool parties, youth group sleep-overs, arguments fought, weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduations, a goofy labrador retriever, camp laundry, a shiva, giggles, tears, Shabbat dinners, a few backyard Kabbalat Shabbat services, dear ones who were here and will never see the new place, and yes...even the f***ing squirrels. It all happened here in The North Jewish Ghetto and in this house. I better understand now why my sons are having a bit of difficulty with this move and I am more incisively aware of their nostalgia and their pain. If I have been dismissive of that, I profoundly apologize. I hope to be able to convince them with a more acute sensitivity that the new place is a good thing for The Husband and me, and that new memories for all of us will be made there. No, it won't be the same. But if home is truly where the heart is, it can only get better.

Ten days and counting.....




Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Few Useful Moving Helpers

**Please note that this entire moving experience has made me come to grips with my privilege in a most tangible way. Everything that I have written about, joked about, complained about, or simply observed comes from a place of extraordinary fortune and I recognize that even more today than I did a year ago. I have been truly blessed.**

I have never ever used this space for advertising and I promise you all that won't change. I am not the type to tout a product or establishment that I find appealing simply because I know that every person and every experience is different. If I recommend a particular business or individual, it will usually be offline and only if asked. Frankly, I simply don't need the shit. If your experience is less satisfactory than mine, I really don't want to carry the responsibility for your disappointment. But I felt I might be a bit remiss if I didn't share a few really good organizations that we have dealt with over the course of the last few months in preparation for our move.

At the start of this process, I was adamant that we try to make this downsize shift as green as humanly possible. I did have to shift my expectations slightly when I realized that the amount of garbage was more than we could possibly handle even with diligent recycling, repurposing, and reusing. The number of open garbage bags littering (pun intended) our house currently is in double digits due to the fact that the North Jewish Ghetto only collects trash every other week and this week is an off one. And this is the fifth such week in this year's spring/summer cycle. We have overflowed our blue bins every single week and we have done our level best to find new homes for many items that we simply won't have space for. (Thanks to all who have taken things off of our hands. We hope that you use and enjoy them with our compliments.) And of course, there was our garage sale. But even with all of that divestiture, we knew that we still needed a more professional plan to help rid ourselves of junk and other perfectly good but unwanted items. I wish I could tell you that every  company we used was non-profit. They aren't. But they all do yeoman's work in service to the greater good of the community.

Value Village. The thrift store, which has multiple locations in the Greater Toronto Area, is most definitely a for-profit organization and they have had some issues in the past year here in Canada with  a rising price controversy. That said, with Goodwill still on the sidelines here and my personal concerns with The Salvation Army, Value Village has been an oasis in the desert. They will take almost anything that is gently used, including books, VHS tapes, old clothes, housewares, toys, games, and so much more. We have been there so often that some of the young kids who work there know us on sight. While they do resell most of the stuff for profit, they do offer employment to many who have had it rough and it does make me feel better knowing that the mountains of material that we have donated are not ending up in landfills. I can live with the other side of the coin.

Just Junk. We knew very early on that we would require junk removal. Old building materials, broken office furniture, a huge and non-working television were among the massive amounts of debris that need to be hauled. This company, while at its core is a refuse removal group, also has as part of its mandate, a commitment to re-purpose much of what it receives. A "green junk" removal group. I don't care one whit that they might make money on that old TV. We had zero interest in dealing with Craigslist or Kijiji. Just Junk allowed us to maintain a bit of integrity even while we have been over-contributing to the garbage problem.

The Furniture Bank. This non-profit organization collects gently used furniture and other household items for the purpose of transitioning families out of homelessness into safe, clean, and usable spaces.   Many of their clients are women and children who are escaping domestic violence and abusive situations. We paid a pre-arranged fee for them to pick up our donation and then they, in turn, gave  us a tax receipt for almost twice that amount. (I would have donated without the tax receipt.) Two young men arrived (one was a volunteer) and hauled away our family room furniture and other assorted items. They told me that it would be in a new home by Friday. I was so impressed with their honour and professionalism, that I gave a cash donation in addition to the furniture.

I feel comfortable touting my positive experiences with these organizations. If you and yours have had contradictory incidents, then I'm sorry. All I can say is every situation is different. I am only speaking for myself and they have all worked well for me. I feel a bit cleaner for at least attempting to do right by both my privilege and the environment.

Two weeks today....