My wife was peering out the front window. "Have you seen this?"
I pulled back the curtain. There were people all over the lawn. Guys holding TV cameras, bright lights set up, about a dozen reporters. Everyone was focused on two men, who were standing in the front of the house, their backs to us, with what looked like rolled-up blueprints tucked under their arms.
"I think that's Rob Ford," I said, pointing to one. "And his brother Doug."
That'd be Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford. Toronto, in the last year, has streamlined municipal government to the point where only two people are necessary to make decisions for the entire city. Cutting out the middle men -- or, as they also known, the other councillors, city staff, and citizens -- has really helped move things along. There's nothing these two guys can't handle. The other morning, Doug was dumping asphalt into a pothole and Rob was jumping up and down on it, making it flat.
I opened the front door just as Mayor Rob and Doug got to the front step. They strode past me and went straight for the dining room, where they started unrolling plans onto the table.
Doug said to me, "You got something to hold these down?"
"Hang on," I said, and four bowls out of the cupboard, which Rob and Doug used to hold down the corners.
"Okay," Rob said, looking at the diagrams, which looked a lot like the floor plans for our house, "the slide would start here, go down this way, turn, then go down here."
Doug said to me, "Stairs."
"Show us the stairs."
I led the two of them into the living room, where the stairs come down from the second floor, and then there's another set under them that lead to the basement.
Rob was nodding, pointing up. "So we pump the water up to the second floor, it runs down the slide, curves around here, then continues down the slide to the basement."
"That's a pretty tight curve through there, even for a water slide," Doug said.
"That'll just make it more fun," the mayor said.
"Excuse me," I said. "I live -- "
"The basement," Rob said to me. "Is it a complete basement, or is there a lower level walkout?"
"There's a walkout. A set of sliding glass doors."
Doug grimaced. "We'll have to brick those over, reduce the potential for leakage."
"Leakage?" I asked.
"From the wave pool," he said. "I need you to take me upstairs."
Doug and I went up to the second floor. He wandered around. "You just got the two bathrooms up here?"
"Yes," I said.
"You're going to have thousands of people changing into their bathing suits and we sure as hell don't want them peeing in the water slide, and all you have is two toilets?"
My wife, who I did not realize was standing there, said, "How long have I been saying we needed a bigger bathroom?"
"Where the hell is Rob?" Doug asked. "Rob?"
"Yeah?" he said, his voice coming from the kitchen downstairs. A pause, then, "Pudding cups!"
"Need you up here," Doug said.
Rob was a bit winded by the time he got to the second floor. "Yup?"
"Only got two bathrooms up here."
"No problem," the mayor said, whipping out his cell phone. "We'll get private sector money." He punched in a number. "Yeah, hey, is this the private sector? Well, it's the mayor. Listen to this." He made his pitch for the greatest home-based water park ever, which would include monorail service to our front door, which I had to admit sounded appealing, since we had to go down to the corner to get the bus.
"Oh, okay," the mayor said, looking dejected. He said goodbye, then punched in another number. "Hey, Dalton? How's it hangin'? Listen, you sittin' down?"
While he chatted with the Ontario premier, I said to Doug, "If you're going to flood the basement, I need to point out that one whole wall is lined with bookshelves."
Doug looked at me blankly, then said, "Let's have a look out front and see how many cars we can park on that lawn of yours."