Winter is Coming!

Last week, I decided to sit outside and write this post on my lovely patio, surrounded by my gorgeous plants & trees, and taking in the last few days of summer.

But even with a thick fleece sweater on, I was cold.

Winter is just around the corner…

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I knew when I wrote the words “Winter is Coming” that people would start hating on me (wait, am I too old to say “hating on me”?) for reminding them that our lovely Toronto summer is over and done with, and the treacherous cold is lurking in the distance.

A quick check on www.weather.ca right now shows me that it’s a crisp 11-degrees, and here I am sitting on my patio at 10:30PM at night in my shorts and sandals, although I am wearing a sweater to show that I’m somewhat sane.

I guess I just refuse to “give up the dream” even as I watch my plants wither and die and my trees shed their leaves.  I haven’t seen my neighbors out on their patios in a few days now (except my pot-smoking neighbor who can’t go twenty minutes without consuming cannabis), and one of my neighbors has actually wrapped up her patio furniture with a tarp!

I swear, if my teeth start chattering—I’m going inside!

But this first really chilly night got me thinking about what I’ll miss about living in a house during the fall & winter as opposed to a condominium, and while there are pros and cons to each style of living during these two seasons, I don’t know if I could say for certain which I prefer without listing a few key points.

Here are the things I think about the most with respect to Fall & Winter when I compare my life in a condo to my former life in a house:

Snow.  First and foremost, I don’t have to shovel snow!  Well, I have to shovel some snow since I have to clear a path on my patio to my BBQ, which I will use all winter.  Don’t believe me?  Click here.  But for older home-owners or families, living in a condo with no backyard means no snow angels, snow-men, or snow ball fights with neighbors.  Those days will come for me, just not any time soon.

Fire.  There is something so special about lighting a fire on a cold winter’s night, and it’s the thing I miss the absolute most about living in a house.  Some people have gas fireplaces in their condos, but most are the cheap, movable ones that produce little heat and even less ambiance.  Remember balling-up newspaper and strategically placing it beneath a couple of logs leaning against the back of the fireplace?  Man, I miss that!  Although, I remember that one time that I forgot to open the flue…

Cars.  Every year while I was living in a house, I told myself I’d get an automatic car-starter so I didn’t have to warm-up my car (which I never did) or sit inside the car for eight freezing minutes while the engine warmed.  Living in a condominium, your car is parked underground where not a single flake of snow will find its way onto your hood, nor will the temperature drop below 20-degrees.  And when you park your car at night, the snow melts off so you return to your pristine vehicle the next morning.

Heating Bills.  It’s no secret that the price of natural gas has risen substantially over the past half-decade, and home-owners have felt their pockets emptying as the winter temperature gets colder and colder.  Condominium-owners are not immune to this, but it’s easier and more efficient to heat a building and split the cost 300 ways than it is to heat a house.  Plus, maintenance fees that include utilities are fixed costs, and therefore condo owners don’t pay more if they use more heat.

Trick-or Treat!  Nobody comes and knocks on your door on October 31st when you live in a condo, so this might be good or bad depending on your attitude.  Personally, I welcomed the opportunity to be generous on one night of three-hundred-sixty-five, and to see one smiling face after the next.  There’s no such thing as an unhappy kid on Halloween, and happiness is contagious, isn’t it?

Travel Time.  Driving conditions deteriorate in the winter, and if you’ve moved into a condominium downtown and started taking the TTC, you’ll be happy you left the car keys at home every time you see a car stuck in a snow bank or only two cars advancing on each green light.  You’ll also save money on those long cab rides back uptown after going to a downtown to meet friends on a cold winter’s night.

Fall Foliage.  While I certainly don’t miss raking the leaves, I sure do miss seeing the leaves change color in October!  Don’t think you an appreciate so-called “beauty” by looking at a bunch of trees?  Tell me you don’t feel a little warm inside when you wakeup in the morning, look into your backyard, and see this:

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Well I’m sure you or I could think of a few more criteria to contrast the condominium and household lifestyles in the Fall & Winter months, but those are the ones that really hit me the most.

If I had to pick the largest advantage to the condominium lifestyle, I would say it’s not having to shovel snow after after a long day’s work.

And likewise, what I miss the most about living in a house is lighting a fire on those cold winter nights.  There’s nothing quite like the crackle of the fire as you sit and stare at the flickering flames and block out everything else…..including your girlfriend, who wonders what the hell you’re staring at, and what your opinion is on the “issue” she just spent three minutes explaining in full…..but I digress…

….back to that tranquil fire…

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