Friday, April 30, 2010

The World of eBooks

I discovered the world of ebooks last night via Adobe Digital Editions software. For some time, our local library offered e-audiobooks and ebooks but we hadn't made the leap.

It took some time finagling before I "got" it. Now that it is all set up, we are allowed to "borrow" 5 books in this format.

Having never even seen a Kindle or a Sony Reader in person, I don't know what the difference is other than what I have set up is free but I have to read from my laptop.

I can live with the free and laptop part and not having to bring yet another device along with me.

We have 14 days to read our selections before it "disappears". If we are done early, we can "return" it. Amazingly cool! You can bookmark where you are and chose from a few display formats.

If you sign up for an Adobe ID, you can access your "books" from other computers, otherwise you stick with the one you are set up with.

When you are looking up books, if the number of licenced copies are all being used, you can place a hold and the library will email you when one comes up and will send a link for downloading.

If I remember correctly, you get a time limit to do so before the opportunity goes to the next person. I would highly recommend checking this out if your local library offer ebooks.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don't I Wish!

I am a believer in a liberal arts education. If I was able to, I would have done an arts degree to balance out my science one. Alas, the call of work and career was a mandatory one and I continued on to the "real" world.

Luckily I had been studying art and music on the side privately for a long time so attained some balance that way.

Friends of ours' daughter just finished up their degree in History. As there isn't a huge demand for undergraduates in that field, they have been busy helping their daughter look for job opportunities. Other than some entry level business jobs, they haven't found anything too exciting.

So, the suggestion came up at dinner one night to just take a year off and head off to France to study French. Having French would be a huge bonus in a bilingual country like Canada and would open more doors.

D and I both gasped at this suggestion as we'd give pretty much anything to have an opportunity like this. Now, that would come after a spending a month in Greece as a end of school celebration first. We immediately requested adoption by this couple.

Neither of us came from families who are educated or worldly enough to even come up with suggestions like this. Nor would either of our families be able to afford to send us. Remember D and I both paid for our own educations.

So, being the ever helpful friends we are, we volunteered to chaperon such a trip and promised we'd send daily emails and photos of our adventures.

Isn't it the way sometimes that kids of parents who have travelled around the world twice end up with kids who have no interest in travel? And those of us who came from families who never travel would somehow inherit the bug out of thin air?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stepping Up

I have never been more grateful for my days off than in the last month. Why is that? I believe it is because I have been fully present in my days. The crappy dealings with getting my computer fixed and dealing with difficult people at work pulled me away from my core of peace I prefer to dwell in everyday. It didn't feel good.

This has re-confirmed why I have trouble being around perpetually cynical and negative people or people who cannot seem to brave up and look outside themselves.

I have invited a good friend over for dinner tonight because I just found out they are going through a difficult time. It has been 2 weeks since we've seen each other and lots have happened and I didn't want to wait until I was back from my trip. That didn't feel right. We are good friends and we step up when each other needs extra support. It's as simple as that.

Ironically the topics for discussion tonight are people who just disappear when they cannot handle stuff -- that's what has happened to my friend -- as well as people who engage in relationships on their own terms ie. conditional relationships -- with neither situation bringing any joy with it.

I have strong opinions about relationships. I believe that relationships are as strong as the weakest link. You can't have one person giving it their all and the other one taking all the time without serious consequences. Long ago, I decided to give as much as I get from the other person and it has served me well. No unmet expectations.

Of course there will be times you'll be required to step up for a while but on average, it is a nice balance. It also keeps things honest and real as it is easy to imagine something that is not there when you are too busy doing everything. Someone once said if we'd look at our personal relationships akin to building a business relationship, we'd avoid a lot of mistakes. Interesting thought.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Barring any new ash cloud return, it looks like our upcoming trip is a go. We are taking a few pre-cautions.
  • We are bringing more money.
  • We will know where the nearest banks are just in case we need to access more cash.
  • We are looking up alternate accommodations should our stay end up longer.
  • We are looking up train transport to other cities should we need to get re-routed.
  • We are bringing all chargers for all devices.
  • We will be travelling with a laptop.
  • We will have extra photocopies of our passports.
  • We will have oversea toll free numbers to our credit card companies.
  • We will know where the Canadian Embassy is.
  • We will know the number to our travel insurance support line.
  • We've learned from current events that airlines are using Facebook and Twitter as a tool to help rebook passengers...really amazing...this age we are living.

Anything else you'd add to the list?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Different Strokes

D and I have a very small circle of friends. Most of them are older than we are brought together by mutual love of travelling and life. Friends our age tend to be knee deep into shuttling grade school or highschool kids around.

As we don't have kids (and don't plan to), we have a fairly leisurely lifestyle and the numbers of people our age who can relate to us has dropped off significantly over the years. Luckily we don't need to have other people around to have a good time.

We had dinner with some of D's colleagues who I found out, do their best to avoid taking vacations with their spouse. It took me by surprise as I don't understand that.

"B" is a senior member of a medium size corporation, makes a good amount of money and has a couple of kids finishing highschool. They are members at a prestigious country club and on the surface look like they have "everything".

His wife doesn't need to work but does part time because there are great benefits to working for a bank. They probably spend 8 nights away a year with each other. The other 7 weeks a year are spent vacationing with 3 - 4 other families.

I cannot imagine it. I can understand when the kids are young, it is nice to be able to switch off with other parents but when the kids are ready to move away for school?

D and I spend an inordinately amount of time together even thought I go away solo a few times a year. I cannot imagine not seeing him much during the week for most of the year and then not really getting away together on top of that.

It wouldn't be my idea of the way I'd like things at my home. They seem to be alright with it. Perhaps I am way more needy than I thought. Makes me wonder how they will fare when they have an empty nest.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting Ready

We are so close to hitting the 5 digit mark on our main house mortgage, I can taste it. It will officially happen next Friday when our mortgage payment is taken out.

This month has been a big month for mortgage pay down because it is a 3 payment month (biweekly schedule) as well as the annual top of extra prepayment. Remember we have maximum prepayment laws here in Canada...

May will mark the start of prepayments on the ski condo mortgage as well. It will be nice to see it clip along faster than the measly amount it has been moving.

In light of D's first pay cheque coming soon, we've spent a lot of time working on modifications to our spreadsheets to reflect the different days of the month he is getting paid and the effects on our cash flow.

What a nightmare it was as I already had mine jigged out "perfectly" and now, some of our savings goals and regular spending timing is changing.

It's hard to go with the flow when spreadsheets, by their nature are exact. D's severance ended up less than we thought due to differing tax withholding levels but at least it came earlier than they said so that was a nice bonus.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stepping Away

There comes a point where it is best to step back and not fight. I know of this idea but have not really voluntarily felt like doing it before. Maybe I'm losing my Type A personality status?

My computer is still noisy. The problem wasn't solved. A part that we ruled out initially with help from support was replaced -- a waste.

My first response was anger. A couple of phone calls later and more time wasted with each person needing to get up to speed with the situation did not offer any next steps other than please send it back for them to delve into it deeper.

To add oil to the fire, they were not able to just send me another box and return slip even though they had all my information already. I had to go through the process again. Do I have another 15 min?

No I didn't. My time is my most precise commodity and my internal timer for such nonsense had just dinged. Am I happy with the idea that should I send it back, they will have had my computer longer than I've owned it? No, I'm not.

Then something inside me just let go -- Just blew away, it felt. I don't need to do this. I don't need to feel this anger/discouragement/powerlessness anymore. It was my choice. I believe I had a Zen moment.

It wasn't a feeling of defeat that accompanied my realization (which would have angered me further) but freedom. Freedom of choice, to step away from this unhealthy mental/emotional energetic mess. It felt good and powerful.

I will continue to enjoy my somewhat noisy laptop until it no longer wishes to work and take full responsibility for not choosing to engage with their support crew any further -- since it felt like it was shortening my life.

My relationship with HP has ended with this experience. Too bad as this is the 3rd laptop I've owned from them. I like what they make but what came with it this time undid my previous good memories with interest.

I started filling out their support feedback survey and stopped shortly after as I had mentally already moved on and didn't care to re-live my experience anymore.

Ending on a happier note, D and I just got word our local area's drive in theatre is opening up for the season again. We've never been around here, just to the one near the cottage. So that is on tap for Friday night!

I can already taste the popcorn, fries and onion rings... :) Just 2 movies this time. We have to wait for a long weekend to take in 4... can't wait for that either!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


There seems to be growing Canadian anger from people who know people or are themselves stranded in Europe unable to come home.

I'm surprised at this because as a nation, we aren't known to be overly opinionated or vocal.

D and I discussed what we'd do should we find ourselves in the same predicament.

Basically, we aren't seeing why there is an expectation of the Canadian government to send war ships and planes to evacuate people who have been stranded for 5 days in a first world country.

If it isn't safe to fly, I don't want to fly.

Some of the points that have been brought up include people running out of money, medicine, people who needed to be at a surgery, funeral, birthday party, wedding etc.

No one asked for this... This is an act of Nature...

And, it isn't all about YOU... There are tens of thousands of people involved.

This may come across as uncaring or harsh. My intent isn't to be unfeeling. If 5 days is enough to unravel your life in a first world country, then I would question just how prepared or secure are you?

It doesn't take much or many people for chaos to spread. Taking personal responsibility in a case like this includes being patient.

Airlines are more anxious than anyone to get back into business. The Internet will allow people to keep in touch, make alternate arrangements.

Hopefully people have enough room on their credit cards to spring for some extra days' worth of accommodations and to buy needed medication.

Airlines are giving priority to people who have been waiting the longest during flight re-booking. I realize that camping out at an airport isn't fun -- it never has been.

Travel insurance claims can be made once people are back home -- Keep your receipts. It is unfortunate that there are reports of hotels increasing their rates seemingly to take advantage of the situation.

We cannot always make it to birthday parties, funerals, surgeries etc. even if we weren't stranded. Car accidents take more people out than something that happens once in a blue moon.

If we have to take a week longer off without pay, then so be it. I would not expect anyone to compensate me. Travel is a luxury item and a choice for a lot of people.

I'm pretty philosophical about stuff like this. Things do not always work out as planned. This is a part of Life.

I only read one article in Canadian news about the plight of the farmers in southern Iceland. They are exhausted from working overtime caring for their contained animals while having to breath in the ash laden air.

Not surprising, they have refused to abandon their home. Some ash clean up has started at farms where winds have shifted.

I decided to subscribe to a magazine I read while in Iceland called "Iceland Review" so that I can keep up with what is really going on in what has quickly become one of my favorite countries.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Caught Up and Ready

My plan this summer was going to include not working Fridays. As I don't work Mondays, it would mean a 4 day long weekend for 8 weeks.

This morning I had another idea. It would be maybe as fun or better to take 2 solid weeks off instead of all the Fridays. When I looked at my calendar, I realized I could accomplish that with a couple of days to spare. A good or better alternative. Going to sleep on it.

Over the weekend, I was proactive and purchased a can of regular bug spray (for personal use). I am one of those people who tends to get sought out by biting insects. The natural spray I've been using hasn't worked very well the last few summers so it is back to using DEET.

Was at my family Dr's today to go over my long overdue blood work. Everything came back really good. I also got a Tetanus shot as it was overdue as well and my prescription for a new Epipen. All and all a good visit.

I always feel better after seeing him because he is just the most lighthearted guy. He genuinely loves what he does and loves being around people. When you don't need to work anymore, I think you'd have to love it to voluntarily continue to work full time.

Next stop will be our local travel clinic. I need to make an appointment to discuss travel immunization needs for Argentina. Most likely I'll be getting shots for Typhoid and Yellow fever.

Like many others, we are keeping a close watch on the volcanic ash situation over Europe. If we don't get to go, the airlines are offering a very fair refund or change policy. We'd likely have to claim our apartment rental through our travel insurance if we do not receive an option to change dates.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Would You Pay For This?

I was really surprised to find out that an acquaintance of mine had joined a multi-level marketing/pyramid scheme. For some reason, I thought that whole type of business didn't really exist anymore?

Back in the late 80's and early 90's they seemed to be everywhere and was a source of income for stay at home moms who weren't already involved with Avon or Amway.

The one he has linked up with requires a fee to join and monthly quotas whereby if he doesn't sign up at least 2 people to work on behalf of him, then you lose your "status", whatever that means. To me it seems like a lot of pressure.

The product he is representing is a health supplement which costs at least $300 a month. When I was given the sales pitch, all I could think about was "holy smokes, that is more than our monthly food budget...".

I have a hard time justifying that expenditure and I can afford it. What would I need to hear to convince me to shell over the money? Personally, I didn't hear anything that overrode the $300 plus dollars a month echoing in my head. I'm going to stick with eating better and exercising.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Over Service

Can there be such a thing as over service? Yes, yes I believe there is and I have been a recipient of it.

I came home yesterday to D telling me there was another message from HP giving me an update on my laptop fix. They have been calling 4 days out of 5 to give me basically the same message when I've been already checking my status online.

Forget that part.

The fact that I can barely understand the agent who is leaving the message is the most irritating thing as sometimes, because of the intonation, I start thinking they are telling me there is something seriously wrong when in the end, there isn't.

So I get online and email about my experience and to request that I no longer wish to get updates by phone and 3 emails later, after being asked to provide documentation on when and what time I've been called and by whom, I gave up and called customer service in Canada.

They confirmed that I have been receiving calls from an overseas call center and she will suspend their access to my phone number. Excellent. I reminded myself to call that number next time should I need any help.

Customer service gone too far. Doesn't help and ends up irritating instead of feeling like you are being taken care of. Inefficient and not organized.

I'm sure it is far cheaper for a company like HP (and numerous others) to move an aspect of their business that way because on paper, it probably looks like you are getting a lot of value for the dollar but as everyone knows, its quality, not quantity.

(Update: Just got notice my laptop is fixed and is getting delivered today! YEAH!)

Have a Great Weekend Everyone!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What a World We Live In

I cannot imagine my world without the Internet anymore. Sure, it can be a total time waster as well as a great way to part with your money but I have learned so much from online sources.

Take this blog for instance. I am communicating with people I would not likely have a chance to meet in my day to day life. And I would not say that this hobby is taking away anything from my regular life. I've added to it, not substitute it for something else, increasing the dimensions of it.

Like a lot of people I know, I was a late adapter to Facebook (cannot see myself considering Twitter -- Don't want to be plugged in that much...) and have caught up with many friends from around the world since.

Probably only have 5 people who I see regularly as "friends" as this is a tool I use for people I don't live close to.

Another case at point. I just paid the rest of our balance for the apartment we are renting in Berlin and the booking deposit for the one I'm renting in BA, using PayPal. When I first heard of it, I thought it was a crazy concept.

What use case would there be for people to deal with a vendor whereby I would want to hide my credit card number?! Not anymore. You can't beat the convenience.

Sure there is a fee sometimes but when you are taking a crazy early flight and need to get your security deposit back after check out, it's nice to know it can just be credited it back without inconveniencing anyone.

Plus, it is less cash I have to be carrying around. The world has just expanded just that much more.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life Clips Along

I'm getting a raise. What it means to me is that I will be raising the price of my services between 2.4% and 5% after 5 years of no raises. I feel it is fair. This change will be effective May 1st.

Just filed my taxes on D's computer just to get it out of the way even though I wanted to have the file on my own laptop. The status of its repair is saying they are waiting for a part now to arrive sometime in the next 2 weeks... :( I've sent an email detailing how I am none too happy about it. Maybe they'll send me a new computer...not holding my breath...

I have other things that are demanding my attention such as outdoor garden spring clean up (Have I ever mentioned I happen to enjoy raking?), reading (The Host is out in paperback now and I'm getting a copy) and more neighbourhood bike riding.

Cottage opening is slated for this weekend. D is gearing up for his 5th attempt at getting the water started (we run on a well up there). Historically it has been the plumbers who do it for us but each year we hope that we'll get the gist of it and save the $200. The closing part has been successful. As we haven't been up since Oct of last year, we hope it is still standing!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Everyday Living

My hair is starting to drive me crazy. Because I forgot to bring a measuring tape with me last year when I had the big cut, 12 inches ended up being taken off instead of 8 so this year, it is taking longer to grow the 8 inches required for donation. I'm at 6 1/2 inches right now. Was hoping to have short hair for the summer...

I've decide to put in a concerted effort in the next 2 1/2 weeks to learn some more German. I'm going to depend on Living Language's All Audio German to help me out. I've used this series before (Italian) to good success. We'll see what I can do with it this time.

D and I went on our first bike ride in over 2 years -- not since we moved. The bikes and helmets have been patiently waiting. It was fun seeing our neighbourhood from a different perspective.

We live in a very mature neighbourhood now compared to where we come from (6 yrs old) so you really notice the shade provided by the old trees, how much more the homes are set back and the narrower roads.

D is already dreaming of a new bike. His is 14 yrs old and was one of the first hybrids out there and for the time, quite costly. Mine, on the other hand is 4 yrs old, has a lot of suspension, thicker tires and is very comfortable. D wants 2 bikes -- road and a mountain one.

There is nothing material I really want right now (outside of my laptop to return fixed asap) -- that is unless you count plane tickets. I know someone who is still driving their well running vehicle with 428K on it so that has gotten me determined to see my car through a while further.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tying up Loose Ends

We will be covered under D's old health care plan for another couple of weeks and then we will not have any extended health care benefits.

There are couple of loose ends to tie up, such as getting a new Epipen (I can get ridiculous reactions to bug bites and to some foods -- never had to use it but it is nice to know it is there) and my 6 month dental check up before time's up.

I've never had extended health coverage until I became covered under D's plan so it will be back to what I knew before.

Got an email newsletter from our ski resort yesterday talking about the upcoming HST combo tax that is hitting the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia this July. What it will mean for some products or services is a increase of 7% tax.

We are starting to see a lot of early buy/lock in incentives including this one, for our annual ski season passes. I calculated that it would save $47 or so each should be buy now. Plus they are selling it to us at last year's prices. I think we will go for it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Time vs Money

The numbers are in and my extra income for March was what I had expected -- $1790.94 -- more than enough for D to pay for his laptop with his half. I'm banking mine for when the next seat sale comes my way! (Hot off the press -- I purchased my next flight! My half of the money has been used!)

This is a great time to be buying the Euro. With the upheaval in the European markets, the currency has dropped to levels I've not seen since its conception. I'm heading to the bank shortly to get some for our upcoming trip.

I had a thought the other day that seemed to make sense to me regarding work. Because I have an idea of how much income I make a year, when I make more during the year, wouldn't it make sense to then take more time off later on the year in order to even things out?

Confused? What I am trying to say is -- Assuming I wish to stay in the same income band, then I can afford to work less if I found myself already ahead of the game? Rather than end up making more by the end of the year, I would be choosing time over income. Of course this assumed the rest of the year clips by similarly.

Friday, April 9, 2010


I drove to work for the first time this year due to the hail, lightning and torrential rain. It felt weird not shifting. Made driving feel almost too passive for the first couple of minutes.

Haven't filed my taxes yet, even though I've paid for the online tax service. I was hoping to use my own computer for it.

We are eagerly anticipating D's first pay cheque at the end of the month. It will confirm whether our tax and other deduction estimates are accurate. His severance from the last job is supposed to roll in around the same time. It will be a nice windfall.

Of course every penny of both have been "spent", mostly on savings and extra mortgage prepayments -- amazing how easily it all disappears.

In all honesty, D thinks I'm neurotic and that I ought to "loosen up a little and keep a bit aside for some fun" but little does he know, it is done to save me from myself. Plus I think I get plenty of fun.

Having been a pretty big spender in the past (we didn't know each other then), he hasn't really seen me "in action". The closest he has got in recent times was when he watched me at the car dealership last year and I almost said yes to buying the EVO. It apparently scared and excited him...

I bought the cottage a few months after we met (almost 7 yrs ago) and that only took 1 1/2 hr of negotiating, done while he was at work. I still remember he thought I was joking when I called him up and said "Guess what I just bought?" :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Everyday Stuff

I just finished reading "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova. Scared the living daylights out of me, not in a gory way but a mental way. You'd have to read it to see for yourself. Highly recommend it.

Had another morning office meeting at a nicer 10 am time on a non work day. Much better than the 7:30 am a few Saturdays ago!

My laptop got to where it needed to go and they have an estimated delivery date next Monday. Don't know if I'll get it or if they will be done with it by then -- probably the latter. Either way it ought to be here next week -- Yay!

Today is bookkeeping day. As crazy as it sounds, I rather enjoy it most of the time because it is for the most part just data entry. Why pay someone to do it when Quicken isn't that difficult to use?

Now that we are solidly into spring, the dampness in the air makes the house feel cooler than the thermostat is saying. I actually switched on the heat today to dry up the air a bit. Strange!

I'm relying on D to come through on the language front on our next trip. I am not one ounce motivated to continue with German. Perhaps the stress of last month had a bigger impact on me than I thought.

There is serious water main replacement happening down the street from where we live. That has meant heavy equipment going up and down, mud, dust and early morning machine noise.

I think they will be working on it for another month. So no open windows for too long right now. No problem today as we are getting hail and lightning and thunderstorms.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Everyday Stuff

Our neighbourhood is starting a community gardening plot. We got our papers yesterday and for our $35 fee, we will get group lectures on planting and cultivating prized produce.

D is super excited about this. We haven't started any seedlings over the winter so that will mean we may be buying some if we want tomatoes etc. on time. We are hoping this year's growing campaign will exceed last year's.

I braved up and called my insurer about the increase in our home insurance rates with this year's renewal (I dread being on hold...). We got the notice early March and with all the excitement around D's job, I hadn't got around calling yet.

Didn't really get a clear explanation about the rate increase other than the usual cost of living adjustment and cost of home rebuilds going up -- replacement value of our home has gone up to 705K.

Turns out we have a couple of optional coverages that can be dropped. I'm going sleep overnight on it and decide tomorrow. Dropping them will mean around a $15 decrease per month.

I had read somewhere you get a pretty significant discount on home insurance if you are mortgage free -- anywhere from 15 - 20%. We own the cottage outright so I asked. The discount only applies to your primary home. Something to remember when the time comes.

I know a few bloggers who will be eligible for this discount in the not too distant near future... :)

D is going to scout out day parking rates around his work today. As he is going to need to be at a particular office once a week, it won't make sense to keep paying for a monthly parking pass.

Is it my imagination or have you found food companies actually making more individually package products than ever? How is that environmentally friendly? Is it so hard to offer even larger packages so that one can divide it up using reusable containers to save on garbage?

My laptop has been finally sent off to get looked at. D helped me off load all my stuff and it has been sitting in its shipping box since last week. I was (not so) patiently waiting for the UPS shipping label to come.

Turns out the system had changed and I was suppose to contact UPS and they email the label now. I had to call HP back to find that out -- not impressed. Someone forgot to give me the number. Anyways, it is off now and with any luck, should get it back in 1 1/2 weeks or so. It's amazing how quickly you get used to your machine.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Budgeting Time & Money

It's a good thing I didn't end up buying my plane ticket a week ago. D gave me some revised household numbers last night that has changed our cash flow for this month. Even though my ticket has nothing to do with household budget, I like to have everything accounted for before I do anything extra.

I wasn't thrilled to find out that we were off $328 -- how could that have happened anyways?! I think he is using some creative accounting techniques I haven't learned yet... :) Being that I use a zero-sum budgeting system, any changes from his spreadsheet affects my spreadsheet lines ie. more work for me.

I will also find out this week if the extra income I predicted for March will come through. There have been times where I find out about account write offs for the month which can heavily impact on the bottom line. Hope this isn't the month for something like that as D's new computer is supposed to be covered by it -- Yup, we took a small risk here as the sale was coming to an end.

In the last few weeks, I've had a number of seminars/workshops/meetings that have landed on my off days. This week is no exception. It makes the week feel longer as I have come to count on my off days to regenerate. I'm hoping this trend slow down or ends soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010


I am considering calling the realtor who held the listing for the cottage for a market evaluation of the property. The results of it may sway me in the direction of selling it. For some time, I've had a desire to liquidate it and just hold it as cash in preparation for our next move, whatever it may be.

D feels it is because I am impatient and in a few years I will have an increase in cash flow by virtue of not having mortgage payments. Perhaps he is right. Mentally I know I would feel freer with more money in the bank now, rather than a building.

Deep down, I know I bought the cottage at a time in my life when I wanted a place to escape to. As my life has gotten more balanced and less hectic, I have felt a lesser need to run away and more of a wish to explore other places.

My change of heart may be a good sign. Has the use of the cottage run its course of usefulness for me? Perhaps another family can enjoy it for many years to come?

It hasn't got old for D so I struggle with the timing of this. There isn't a real financial reason why it has to be sold now. I just think that with interest rates so low, there may be people out there who are in the market to lock things up before things rise.

Selling a home, especially one 4 hrs away also takes a lot of energy -- Not entirely sure I want to open the can of worms, just somewhat sure.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Driving Fast

Our four day getaway itself was pretty economical. We stayed in a hotel suite and prepared some of our meals. Originally we were going to fly there and decided last minute to make it into a road trip. So, we have a couple of travel credits to be used later on.

The purpose of the trip? For me to learn how to drive standard better in preparation for a rally driving course. This was the not so economical part. My instructor was a semi professional rally driver and man, can he control the car. I did a lot of drills and patterns over the last 3 days and it was nerve wrecking and tiring.

I did stall and shifted in the wrong gear once but seem to have a knack for hill starts. He was nice enough to tell me I was performing ahead of the pack but I still felt very deficient. This experience has helped me decide not to take more than a 2 day rally course at a time because mentally I think I would lag or shut down.

Other than to participate in the sport, I did not develop the affinity for stick shift in daily driving -- to D's dismay -- I think he was hoping we'd be heading over to the nearest Subaru or JDM dealership after my classes.

For me, it is a lot of work when you cannot drive fast. I think I will stick with an automatic vehicle for everyday and practice the other weekly to keep my skills up.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I went to book the flight I had on hold last night and it turned out I misunderstood when the hold expired. I thought I still had 3 hrs to go when it had expired 2 hrs earlier (Europe time vs North American time).

So the flight is now more expensive as the seat sale is over...My gut is telling me there will be another opportunity so I'll be patient and wait. Why a Canadian site would use Europe time is beyond me as I have never had this happen before.

Today will be the last day of the first week of D's new job. He has been out of town for 3 days -- the norm each week. I'm not sure I love his commute. I'm a worry wort that way. And I tend to think of decisions with respect to how it impacts health and lifestyle. It is going to take a couple of months for us to flow with the new scheduling.

He is happy with the new challenges and is still sorting out the "Do we still need the parking pass?" issue as he is finding out that perhaps he will not be able to work remote as much as he was led to believe.

I guess this is part and parcel of contract work and the sacrifices you make for extra money. D is getting paid 60% more than he was at his last job and in 6 months, will know if he will be offered a permanent position or continue as contract or if he will be job hunting again.

Being I am not motivated by money much (at least that is what I tell myself) -- if I was, I'd be working a lot more -- plus I don't work in a corporate world, with computers nor carry a Blackberry -- and wouldn't relish the thought of being called at all hours -- I'm having a harder go at adjusting to it and being woken up earlier than he is.

Reminds me just how much freedom and control I do have with my work -- despite those occassional rough days -- time to be grateful!

Like most people, we have a 4 day long weekend coming up. We'll be taking a road trip out of town for the duration. Have a Super Easter Everyone!