Urban Diplomat

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Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a delinquent mom for leaving my six-year-old in a car?

Dear Urban Diplomat: am I a delinquent mom for leaving my six-year-old in a car?

(Image: Gustavo Devito/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently left my six-year-old son in the car while I ran into a store. The window was down, he was engrossed in his iPad, the car was locked, and I could see him clearly from inside. I was gone less than five minutes. The next day, I see photos of my son and my licence plate on a local mommy blog, with the ­caption: “Anyone know this delinquent ‘mother’? Disgusting! She should be in jail.” At last check, it had 30 comments, all assenting and with varying degrees of vitriol. What should I do? Fight back?

—Lynched Online, The Beach

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Dear Urban Diplomat: my barista’s first name offends me—what can I do about her?

Dear Urban Diplomat: my barista's a real Nazi—what can I do about her?

(Image: Mr. TinDC/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A barista at my local Starbucks, near Yonge and Bloor, is a Persian woman named Nazi, and she wears a name tag. My parents died in the Holocaust, and I don’t need to revisit the memory every morning. Would it be reasonable to complain?

—Latte With Two Sugars and Some Emotional Trauma, Yorkville

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Dear Urban Diplomat: my wife wants to give out toothbrushes on Halloween—should she?

Dear Urban Diplomat: my wife wants to give out toothbrushes on Halloween—should she?

(Image: sarkasmo/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My wife is a dentist and wants to give out toothbrushes instead of candy for ­Halloween. I told her this is a lame idea and that our house will likely get egged, but she’s digging in. Is trick-or-treating the right time to make a statement about dental health, or should she just let kids stuff their faces with chocolate?

—Tooth or Dare, Liberty Village

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I get my lefty tenants’ Olivia Chow sign off my lawn?

Dear Urban Diplomat: can I get my lefty tenants' Olivia Chow sign off my lawn?

(Image: Paul Henman/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I rent the upper floor of my semi to a young couple and was dismayed to find an Olivia Chow sign on my front lawn. I’m ardently opposed to her politics, though I’ll spare you the ideological screed. My question: can they use my property to promote their views? If so, how might I persuade them not to, short of stealing the sign in the night?

—NIMFY, Roncesvalles

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I keep my neighbours’ kids off our soon-to-be frozen pond?

Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I keep my neighbours' kids off our soon-to-be frozen pond?

(Image: Bradley Gordon/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My partner and I just moved from ­Lawrence Park to Bradford. Our new place is on a huge lot with a small pond. We were chatting to our neighbour, and she said her kids skate on the pond in winter. Um, no. That’s a huge liability. What if one of her kids falls through the ice or cracks his skull open? How do we tell them to keep off our pond without ostracizing ourselves?

—Skate and/or Die, Bradford

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can’t sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Can't sidewalk-hogging joggers save it for the side streets?

(Image: Marc Falardeau/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I was window-shopping on Queen West last weekend, when a neon-clad sprinter came bounding along and bumped my daughter into my stroller, nearly spilling hot coffee on my newborn baby. The guy was incredibly apologetic, until I said, “Why the hell are you running on a busy sidewalk in the first place?” He snarled that the street was as much his as mine, then re-inserted his earbuds and jaunted off. Shouldn’t runners be banned from using busy main streets?

—Street Fighter, Little Portugal

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Dear Urban Diplomat: can I ask my neighbours to cover up their naked kid?

Dear Urban Diplomat: Can I ask my neighbour to cover up their naked kid?

(Image: Amanda Tipton/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neighbour’s little boy is four, and he’s been running around our street in his birthday suit all summer. It’s getting a bit weird. At what point should small children be clothed when in ­public? Is there a law?

—Unfree Willy, Riverside

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

Dear Urban Diplomat: How do I get my cottage-hogging brother to play fair?

(Image: Stephanie Pakrul/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
A few years ago, my brother and I inherited the family cottage, on Lake of the Woods near Kenora. He and his family live a half-hour away and use the cottage a lot. My partner and I can only make it out there about three times a year. My brother told me he’s buying a new $850 barbecue for the place, and he wants me to split the cost with him 50/50. I don’t feel that this is justified. Shouldn’t I be paying less? How should I respond?

—Weber Warfare, Richmond Hill

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I have to do to get my neighbour to stop being such a butthead?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I have to do to get my neighbour to stop being such a butthead?

(Image: LawPrier/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live and work just steps from Pape and Danforth. One of the business owners smokes on his stoop near the library, which is irksome enough. Even worse is that he discards the butts on the sidewalk. This is not a smoker versus non-smoker issue—it’s about littering. The sidewalk is not his personal ashtray. How do I convey as much without sounding like a total buttinsky?

—Butting Heads With a Butthead, Danforth

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what’s the proper dinner-guest etiquette for Ramadan?

Dear Urban Diplomat: what's the proper dinner-guest etiquette for Ramadan?

(Image: Rebecca Winzenried/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My wife and I were asked to a dinner party by some neighbours. The invite said 7 p.m., but it will be during Ramadan, when we can’t eat or have a drink until after sunset—so around 9 p.m. I mentioned this, and they said to just come along and they’ll serve dinner late. We don’t want to be the recipients of sideways glances from famished, clock-watching guests all evening. Should we decline, go over after 9 p.m., or what?

—Unfashionably Late, Upper Beach

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I get my boyfriend off my sports team?

Urban Diplomat: Ultimately Embarrassed

(Image: Nathan Rupert/Flickr)

Dear Urban Diplomat,
After dating this great guy for three months, I invited him to join my ultimate team. Turns out he’s the John McEnroe of Frisbee. He makes terrible calls and then argues with the opposing players for what seems like forever. He’s lovely otherwise, and I don’t want to stop dating him. How do I jettison him from the team without deep-sixing our relationship?

—Ultimately Embarrassed, Chinatown

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Dear Urban Diplomat: what do I do about that unscooped doo-doo?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I live kitty-corner to St. James Park. There’s a mobility scooter–bound senior in my building who leaves his dog’s doo-doo unscooped every morning, often on the main park path, which is also my route to work. I don’t enjoy navigating a minefield every day, but what can I do?

—Crappy Commute, St. Lawrence

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Dear Urban Diplomat: should I tell my new husband that his teen daughter’s on the Pill?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
I recently married a man who has a 15-year-old daughter, and I accidentally discovered she’s on the Pill. Her dad would be apoplectic if he knew. She begged me not to tell him and said she’d never forgive me if he found out. What should I do?

—Contraception Interception, Bennington Heights

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Dear Urban Diplomat: how do I tell my neighbours to cut their axe-throwing out?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My neanderthal neighbours—three 20-something roommates—have caught on to the recreational axe-throwing phenomenon and have begun doing target practice in the backyard. There’s a six-foot fence between us, but that’s small comfort for my wife, toddler and me. An indoor league exists for this kind of thing. Surely there’s a law against doing it alfresco. They won’t take kindly to my cease and desist request. Any advice on how to go about it?

—Axe to Grind, Crescent Town

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Dear Urban Diplomat: is it wrong to let a big box store undercharge me?

Dear Urban Diplomat,
My husband and I were at a big box store looking for office chairs recently. They only had floor models of the one we liked, so we negotiated a 25 per cent discount. I went to pay while my husband wandered off to another section. Somehow, the cashier charged half of the after-discount total. We just about got the chairs for free. I said nothing, paid and left. When I told my husband the good news, he said he was ­disappointed in me. I argued that it’s not like I caused the under-billing, and besides, big box stores are awash in profits. Deep down, I know he’s right, but in a way, so am I. Right?

—Chair Lift, Leaside

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