Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Commerce

One of the real positive wins that has come out of this pandemic has been the ability to order local farmer's market produce, baked goods etc. online weekly.  We actually order from 2 different markets as the variety is quite different.  And depending on the market, you can choose a time for pick up.  It has provided opportunity to buy from producers that we would have not met otherwise.  

I don't know if it has been worthwhile for the farms to participate.  Just found out that dates have been extended through the winter into next spring for our local market so the hope is yes to the platform thriving and not just keeping heads above water until the world starts to normalize.

Like many others, we have also noticed that sports equipment, outdoor leisure supplies have been harder to come by and in the case of used bicycles, selling for far higher than they would have been last year.  We were too late with sourcing a couple of muskoka chair ottomans and another campfire grill.  

Now that I've gone down the rabbit hole that is Amazon, I can see just why they are so successful.  There are just some items that I cannot buy at the usual places.  After not being able to find directly, will now go through them.  

One thing hasn't changed though -- Still really like the online ordering for curbside pick up option.  There are stores that are a pain to shop at, at the best of times.  So being able to have all the searching done on our behalf has worked out really well for a couple of not enthusiastic shoppers.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Camping 2

To keep my mind occupied for now and towards winter, I have been looking into ways to cook meals over an open fire while camping.  

Summer was hot this year, so we didn't get much of a chance to do much until the evening.  Even then, it was only hot dogs as fun food.  

Now that fall is upon us, we've been using a griddle over a fire to fry up onions, pulled pork, toast buns etc.  And will up things next with mulled wine and apple cider, kept warm in pots.  

Want to maximize use of the fire for as many things as possible.  And decrease our dependency on other fuels and cooking methods as their efficiency tends to drop off as temperatures fall.

We bought a stainless steel nalgene which has been used to boil water directly in the fire, saving grill space.  Learned about it online -- Works great and faster than you'd think, considering our go-to is a Jetboil!  Burnt sap stains on it though, depending on the wood.  But easy to wash off.  

My new winter sleeping bag arrived and it is a bit of a beast!  Am waiting on my waterproof bivy and likely a better tarp and I'll be set for some minimalist outdoor sleeping.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Shipping

Not aware if this is a univeral "big company" thing, but as I have been ordering more stuff online, I've notice that rarely do I get the entire order at once anymore and have it come from nearby. 

More often than not, it will be split into 3 with each coming from different provinces.  I don't know how companies can make money when orders work out this way.  Three separate UPS charges!  Sometimes, the items ends up costing less than the shipping.  Am concerned for them. 

Because of this, I cannot bring myself to reorder things just to get a sale price and have them take the hit with shipping again.  Just happened today, when I got an email notifying me of a sale, 2 days after I ordered a better winter sleeping bag.  And I haven't even received the bag yet. 

Have noticed that some companies have increased their minimum order amounts this year.  I feel they need to.  What's the use of being "competitive" if it puts you out of business?

Friday, September 4, 2020

Car Camping

As we are staying in our main home province until Christmas, we have taken up "car camping" since June.  Until now,  I've never camped in Ontario during the summers as I am a mosquito magnet and had imagined being so irritated, I would not enjoy the rest of it.

Thanks to Covid, I was aching to get out to nature so much, I surprised D with the suggestion of giving it a go.  He had already started bikepacking and have been used to me saying No Way, so that idea surprised him greatly.  I don't think he really believed me until I started getting my gear together.

Our initial mistake was deciding that we'd just throw everything in the car and go from there and not really think it through.  We are both so used to hard limits with packing for flights and bikes, it felt so freeing to have the entire vehicle's worth of room to bring pretty much everything we wanted.  It was license to go a bit nuts and we did.

The first time, we packed so much stuff, it looked like we were moving...spent too much money buying ice for all the extra food (like the 2 dozen eggs etc., etc.) we didn't need...brought 2 coolers (crazy, I know)...and eventually losing a lot of the food due to melted ice getting into containers and ziplock bags (lost some great ribs and potato salad etc)...

The second and third times, we did much better as we came to terms that just because we have room, doesn't mean we need to use it all.  That it still takes thinking and problem solving.  It was luxury to be able to buy an outdoor grill that went over the fire so we could cook stuff over it.  Not something we would take abroad but something that super enhances the experience in the here and now.

And there was the issue with showers not being available this year at our provincial parks.  After unsuccessfull searches for a small privacy shelter to be delivered in time, we found online plans to build one out of pvc pipes and tarps.  The trickiest part was finding the corner pieces.  A pool supply company came through for us.  It withstood wind gusts up to 40 km/hr.  D did use extra tent stakes and guy lines.

It was also an opportunity to add a camping size frying pan (gsi), a better camping pot kit (sea to summit sigma) and an ultralight camp stove (msr pocket rocket deluxe) and a couple of stainless steel plates (msr again) to our arsenal as we identified further needs and wants for when we move towards the more minimal end of the range again.

We are both quite tanned and excited for the fall and winter seasons.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

It's happening

This turned out to be the year.  I gave my notice.  Last day of work will be shortly before Christmas.

No matter how many great things I hope to look forward to, it is still a huge loss, with the first few weeks post announcement the saddest.

My career has spanned over 2 decades, not including the schooling.  It has allowed me to build a lot of relationships, gotten to know generations of family members, walked alongside many through difficult times.

Have received a number of heartfelt messages and well wishes which continue to trigger tears.  It won't be the easiest emotionally the remaining months.  There is a lot of history there and I don't do well with goodbyes.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Monday, June 15, 2020

Negativity

It was probably a combination of too much ice cream, seasonal allergies and long work hours that brought on weariness this past week.  I was tired, lost focus and negative feelings surfaced.

Intense anger and disappointment with the level of violence and tragedy going on.  Just when you think it cannot get worse.

Disbelief at not being able to travel across my own country this summer.  We can but it is strongly discouraged so we won't until it is officially accepted without quarantine restrictions.  I knew inside but hadn't been willing to really accept it.

D was surprised it took this long.  My last international flight was in January.   The effects of all the cancellations and restrictions to movement caught up to me.  I've actually been having trouble coming up with future plans that excite me.

Exhaustion from finally seeing months of preparation coming to fruition and subsequent release of the suppressed worries even though the outcome was really good.  Kinda like getting sick at the start of a vacation.

Frustration with lack of variety with everyday life.  Nothing new for many of us.  Not from lack of thanks for our level of comfort and security but more from boredom with current routine.  Action was needed.

Part of why we wanted to head out west was to do some hiking.  So we started making use of a nearby trail and liked it enough to integrate it into our week.

Feeling defeated by the amount of conditioning I've lost the past couple of years.  Watched the Rogue Invitational and became more inspired to change things up to continue getting stronger.  It's amazing how much work capacity those athletes have.

Spent an afternoon looking for a parcel of land to buy to use as our private campsite.  That "magical" place did not materialize.  In fact, the ones we saw were so unsuitable, we put the idea to bed.  But coming up with a new idea to potentially move forward with was a win.

A real positive thing I've noticed with this emotional rawness has been increased sensitivity to others' suffering.  Increased face mask wearing has heightened my intuition.

As the upheaval in the world continues, I do my best to stay away from media for a couple of days each week to decompress.  Continuing to take positive action where I can.  With the uncertain timeline of things and my inability to not feel, this downtime has been necessary for my mental and emotional health.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Keeping it Local

We had fun last week supporting our area ice cream parlours, beachside establishments, bakeries, seasonal farm stores.  Any excuse to eat fun foods in the sunshine. 

I've already spent a lot more time sitting and dining outside on our deck compared to previous years.  It has been so pleasant to actually use our beautiful and solidly built outdoor furniture.  D reminded me that our set is 8 or 9 years old now and it still looks and feels brand new.  Definitely worth the investment

Unexpected treat highlights were our soft serve cones dipped in salted caramel and chocolate hazelnut respectively.  It was a long week and even a 15 min drive radius with fun food stops provided the needed pick-me-up. 

Later today D will be doing a farm order pick up containing highly anticipated first strawberries of the season along with eggs and other staples. 

I continue to be acutely aware of the issue of food insecurity.  And could not help thinking that a seemingly "simple" act of going out for hot dogs, beach fries and onion rings is not realistic for many families right now. 

So we continue to support local food banks and organizations who distribute supermarket cards to anyone in need.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thinking of

The young man we met at Delhi airport who was also en route to Leh to spend a week's vacation with family.  He was in 2nd year medical school then, so would have graduated that part by now and would have continued on with a speciality.

He wasn't interested in family practice but instead wanted to do something big, like work with Doctors without Borders in the Congo.  Well, a pandemic would qualify as something big.  He comes from priviledge (his words), so felt it was his duty to give back.  I often wonder how he is managing in his country where basic sanitation isn't a right and PPE in critically short supply.

And I worry about him, as many doctors, nurses, health care workers have continued to be targets of hate, getting stones thrown at them and or evicted; as their people are so gripped with fear, they forget that they are targeting the very ones who play a vital role in saving lives.

Those scenes unfortunately play out not only in India but in other countries like Mexico and even Singapore.  Complete contrast to the health care support I see and feel around me.  Humans can be such dangerous animals.

----------------------------------------

I'm gutted for the people of Brazil, especially the ones living in the favelas.  The conditions there can be so bad.  No running water, difficult for consistent hygiene.  People are starving as workers in the informal sector who depend on the beaches for daily income have not been able to work.  

Surprisingly the favela gangs have stepped up to enforce curfew and social distancing.  Hoping people are questioning the ridiculous the comments from their President.  Frightenly, those in the Amazonas state may still not be not aware enough of what's going on in the rest of world.  

A number of NGOs have thankfully stepped up delivering food (rice and beans) but the need is high.  Food insecurity and inequality are being highlighted to the world even stronger now, bringing light to what so many have known for years.  I've been made more acutely aware than ever of this real need in my own backyard.

Especially when seeing UPS, FedEx, Purolator delivery trucks go by daily, due to unprecedented online shopping demand.  Of which I am certainly very guilty of these last couple of months, along with the petty impatience with the delays which has been the "worst" thing that came along with it.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Nerves

Well, it has finally happened.  D and I got on each others' nerves in an extra big way recently.

Triggered by a number of things:

  • His decreased exercising 
  • My increased exercising 
  • Him realizing he hasn't taken more than 2 days off this year
  • My feeling down about the prospect of zero international travel this year and dealing with the insurance claim process
  • Him being on a new prescription that increases his metabolism which is having an adverse effect on his long distance cycling
  • Me wanting him to take more responsibility for his health 
  • Him not eating enough to counteract this new med
  • Me feeling tired of trying to meal plan for him
  • Him missing being able to have a drink (to be avoided with the med)
  • Me drinking more (one drink every 1 - 2 weeks)
  • Him being gluten and dairy sensitive
  • Me working on being meat free
  • His communication weaknesses in our relationship
  • Me being at home way more than before
  • His tendancy to spew out negativity and hostility when he cannot manage things
  • Me refusing to be his emotional punching bag
  • Me holding him to adult standards
  • Him not liking that

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Back to Work

This was my first week back at work.  It took right up till last Saturday for me to have all the protective gear I needed to get started again.  There are some orders still to come, mostly repeats of things since I had to order from different supplies in hopes that one would come through.

It felt really good to be back.  Have had a number of meetings to go over current status, set up booking and cleaning procedures etc.  Being in action felt great with much relief knowing I have things covered for the remainder of the year.  D even commented on the enthusiam in my voice.

There is tremendous community support in my area.  Strong groups of volunteers making ear savers with personal 3D printers alongside our local caremongering group making homemade masks, headbands, scrub caps, scrub bags for hospitals, long term care, health care offices, front line and vulnerable groups.  Their zest and dedication have inspired me to give more.  

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Push to Reopen

Pushing for a reopen is currently a theme circulating around the world.  I get that.  Some income is better than no income.  The shock of sudden closure created a lot of panic for people and businesses alike.  However it is widely accepted that it won't be business as usual for a while yet.  For some, the real financial battle may just be beginning.

Business owners in my neck of the woods are starting to come to terms with the reality that a restricted opening with a maximum 50% capacity for what could be 3 to 6 months or longer could spell the real end of their businesses.  Especially when it's been already so difficult for many from just one month of shutdown.  Some were teetering on the edge in a good year.

How many of them will have the liquidity to be able to afford overhead and payroll when income may be halved, depending on the type of business?  Will they be able to scale things to maximize further in this new economy?  Is there enough credit available to make up the difference until the world normalizes?  Not easy but necessary questions.  

Consumers may be anxious to see their favourite restaurants, services, shops open back up without realizing the behind the scenes financial burden for the respective owners.  Many places will have to spend (ongoing) money to buy hospital grade disinfectants, put sanitization stations in place, equip their staff with PPE, just to be able to get back to work.

Monday, April 27, 2020

The Best Buy

Since we've both been home and using our garage workout areas (weight machine, pull up bars, gymnastic rings) we've left both cars outside in the driveway.  Last week, things came to a head.

D has been going crazy and driving me crazy trying to discourage a particular Robin and his bird friends from hanging around and pooping on our cars.  To the point where he is yelling to them and telling to them to go away...

I asked him if he was going to start flapping his arms and chasing them next... And if he was going down that road, to make sure he doesn't fall off the deck or do anything even more silly that would necessitate an ER visit as I wasn't going to drive him.

D then decides to order an owl decoy after learning about its effectiveness.  It didn't work.  No matter where it was mounted or placed.  So one of the cars got moved back into the garage and the other onto the street during the day.

The Robin followed it across the street and the pooping continued, albeit less.  It doesn't seem to like any of the other vehicles in our neighbourhood.  I'm starting to think that the Robin is a reincarnation of one of D's ancesters' enemies.

All the while D is trying to keep the car clean with his hand pressure pump thingy multiple times a day.  What are those birds eating?

After 3 days of his whirling about, I had had enough.  Remembered him mentioning a car cover and did some research and found some for sale.  It gets ordered and was thankfully available for pick it up the same afternoon.

Car got moved back to our driveway and covered.  Birds immediately left it alone.  No poop since.  Something to do with birds not liking to sit on a soft surface.  Amazing.  

Saturday, April 25, 2020

One of Those Days

Started the day with a portion of a nanaimo bar after I got update of yet another delivery delay...  Commiserated with a colleague who happened to have sent an email and felt better afterwards.

Then it was off to try and remove some malware off my computer that is affecting the sign in on a credit card account site.  Actually it was D who was dealing with it and him telling me to please give him space while he figures it out...  : )   The credit card site is now down, so maybe it wasn't me. 

Finally received completion photos (looks good!) from some needed plumbing work at our condo out west.  It has taken consistent follow up since Feb with the plumbing company, the only one that the mountain community relies on, as the person who manages the emails admits to forgetting a lot... (pandemic and early resort closure aside) 

The kitchen and bathroom sink taps and lines needed to be upgraded as I think we had been using the originals which would have been decades old.  The plumber also checked out the toilet and recommended the stack be replaced as well, so we gave him the green light.

Dripping started from the kitchen hot water tap on the day we were due to fly home!  Thank goodness it was noticed before we left.  I don't want to imagine the consequences. 

I got on the phone and managed to reach someone from the company who came over within 1/2 hr to assess and a plan was promised.  By that time D was able to get to the water shut off taps.  We stuck a plastic bucket under the sink just in case. 

Won the bet on how much the estimate would be.  D's pricing was out of the 80s.  

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Rest Day

Yesterday was one of those rest days for me.  Ate a carnivore breakfast, first one in a over 2 weeks as I've cut my meat consumption significantly the past year or so.  But was craving animal protein -- Eggs and bacon.

Rounded the plate off with potatoes and a slice of toasted sour dough bread with peanut butter instead of my usual butter.  So good!  I normally start my day with a vegan protein shake so a huge difference.  Plus I rarely eat gluten nowadays so the toast was a treat.

After reading an article of the extreme difficulties facing hospitals and women's shelters in Quebec (the worst area in Canada for Covid right now) who are running really low in funds to purchase PPE and continue to provide additional meals respectively, we made a couple of donations.

My office has been on pause since Mar 17th.  Since my hours are so part time now, it made sense to refer to colleagues at larger locations who can provide emergency coverage for me for the time being.  There are many of us who have also enlisted/volunteered and are awaiting mobilization to help in high needs areas.

Meanwhile, I've spent an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to source out enough PPE with an eye on the need moving forward as it may take many months before "normal" returns.  Have you noticed how much hand sanitizer costs?!  Judging by how slammed the supply and delivery companies are, I'm not the only one thinking this way.

Currently have 5 more orders (out of 17 attempts) to come after a number of them got cancelled or lost.  Which has necessitated ordering items twice from different manufacturers in hopes one of them will come through.  I'm beginning to think it would be easier and less costly if I just wait it out but that could be months and I cannot stay away that long.

Tracking and following up has become a part time job.  And to be clear, an order for me typically will only contain 2 items as stock is so low and prices high.  It is certainly not cases of things.  The majority of things are taking 4 - 6 weeks.  I have supplies supposed to be coming from either ends of Canada, the US, China (unintentional, thought I was ordering direct from the US).

Everything is understandably prioritized to hospitals first right now.  There are shortages at so many locales.  Any supplies I have found, I've matched in donation, in terms of supplies or money.  We are in this together.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Day to Day

Noticed a number of bloggers have taken to posting more often since sheltering at home has become the norm for so many of us.

Found reading the day to day posts to be grounding and a source of comfort, inspiring me to want to contribute in the same spirit.  Brings me back to how blogging once was and a reminder of how much I missed that.

Admittedly I haven't found the extra time at home to be too much of a burden.  Little did I know the timing of my increased introversion and desire to settle at home would coincide with social distancing measures.

Found purpose with my Spanish lessons and the first of a number of 30 day fitness challenges i.e. 100 kettlebell swings a day, 100 skips a day etc.  It's going well and I have had to learn to take rest days after experiencing some really painful culmulative muscle tension.  I miss my massage therapist!

Am proud to report that we have yet to buy any toilet paper or extra wipes or flour or yeast.  The latter because we don't bake from scratch.  The former because a bale from Costco lasts a long time when it is just 2 people.  We'll deal with it when the time is near, just like any other time.

Either D's timing was bad or the increased shopping tendancies have gotten worse, but after 2 aborted attempts to regular shop at Costco, we decided to pause the in person experience and place our first online delivery order.

Couldn't buy everything we were looking for but got the most important items -- Almonds, walnuts, oats, beet root crackers, peanuts, CoQ10.   And will pay a slightly higher price to get other items like frozen avocado (shakes) at a supermarket instead.

It's going to take a while before it arrives, but I've noticed that regular supermarket pick up times are about 1.5 to 2 weeks out as well.  Changes your appoach to shopping.  We kinda like it and intend to continue to shop less frequently once we move out of this pandemic. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

Mistrust

I'm probably not alone in being glued to the developing news surround the coronavirus.

How can I avoid it, when I know people from a number of affected Asian countries who have been faced with the realization that their leaders have again chosen profit over the well being of its citizens.  

I'm so angry for them.  The levels of stress from the unknown but knowing you aren't likely to get the support you need must be unbelievably overwhelming. 

We can exercise our freedom and avoid visiting for the time being if we wish.  But being stuck in countries where substandard and or lack of testing is quietly going on, with no choice, accountability or control reminds me again and again, how very fortunate those of us are here.  

And that world chart showing reported cases, lumping all countries as if they are all acting with the highest standards... BS!   

How can you compare the openess of reporting and extent of contact tracing that a country like Singapore is doing with the likes Indonesia and Cambodia?  And don't get me started on that Cambodian leader.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Settling

I've turned that corner where I don't feel pulled to zoom around the world so often.  There aren't too many places that I'm "dying" to see anymore.  The urgency isn't like it was.  Anticipated that day would come someday and it has.  Am not even that excited when I get upgraded -- You know something is wrong when that is happening!

Very content to be at home with lots to delve into -- New recipes, making it half way through a university level Spanish course, getting into cycling after replacing my 15 yr old bicycle with what D would classify as a "real" bike.

Actually two real bikes as I decided to get into fat biking this winter.  Warning -- it is actually much harder than it looks!  I've always been a bit of a hazard on a bicycle so this is a big big deal for me.  But I do have to say it has been noticable easier with the better bikes.  Similar to when I got new skiis.  Technology does make a difference.

Trying to be patient while waiting for online purchase parcels to arrive.  I seem to be always late to adopt things, so ordering from places like Amazon is new to me...And of course I end up ordering near black Friday and my stuff is likely caught with what must be tremendous volume of sales.

Only have 4 more working days to round out the year, out of a total of 76.  No complaints there.  Feeling much better this year versus last summer.  Next year will be the first where I will no longer be contributing to my registered savings.  Just my non tax and non registered account.

Health wise, I've done such a smashing job with reducing red meat consumption over the last year, that my iron levels have plummeted.  So I've had to make some dietary adjustments and start taking iron supplements for hopefully just a short time to get it back up.  I'm so sick and tired to taking pills of any sort.

I actually got stopped at customs upon arrival in Tokyo where the gentleman went straight for my bottles of vitamins.  It was not the easiest trying to explain to someone who didn't really speak much English about Omega 3, CoQ10, Vit D, Multi-Vitamins, etc.

It was on a longish 12 night stay where I got lazy and decided to just throw the bottles in, rather than just take the numbers I needed.  Could have been a coincidence but I've been back to Japan twice since and had no issues when taking what I needed.

Anyway, am currently on a 3 month trial of an even lower statin dose (5 mg vs alternating 5 and 10 mg) to see if I can manage to keep the test numbers in a good place (equal or less than 2.5 mmol/L LDL as I'm considered high risk) as I continue to fine tune my eating.  Am a good 85% plus meat free these days.

Also super grateful for my Naturopath who caught this dropping iron trend as well as sharing with me what she sees clinically with people whose cholesterol levels become too low (too close to 2 mmol/L LDL, not good) -- Where I was starting to sit at, even though my dosage is already considered to be low.  The current trial is a direct outcome of her clinical wisdom.

We are supposed to spending the holidays in France this year.  But the turmoil that has gripped many parts of the world may have the final say to those plans.  We do have a plan B and C.  I read a comment somewhere related to the current Paris strikes that people often say they wish to seek out a real "local experience" when they travel; well, here it is folks.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Firsts

I finally got talked into giving Uber a try for airport transport in Brazil.

After spending a lot of time trying to find the meeting spot at Rio airport (got conflicting info on the app and forums), going up and down between the arrivals and departure levels and asking people who didn't speak English, I finally figured it out.

Gave myself the length of the free hour of wifi to sort it out and had it not been successful, I would have taken the official prepaid taxi.  Did have an interaction with a couple of guys who tried to up sell me on a better level of Uber, not paid through the app, to save me from walking to the meeting place.

It was quite the impressive organized system, with wifi available all the way to the waiting area so you can communicate with your driver.  They even had someone announce vehicle arrivals and names of passengers.

The app didn't update as well while I waited for my ride back to the airport.  Plus my driver couldn't find a place to park right in front of my hotel so he was waiting for me in front of another garage... all texted to me via the app in Portuguese...luckily he came out of the car and found me.

Everything worked well with the credit card payments through the app.  I was very apprehensive about loading my card number there after all my fraud stuff but decided to get back on the horse.

Rio was as beautiful as ever.








Below is the in flight safety video from Air France.  
Still one of my favourites.  It's So French!



Saturday, October 5, 2019

Summer

When I got sick after getting accidentally splashed with river water in Phnom Penh, I didn't anticipate it would end up being the first of several illness events that would eventually lead to cancellation of a few trips and taking 10 weeks off of travelling.

Boy, did I ever need that time.  Even when mid Aug arrived, when I thought I ought to have fully recovered; I still felt like I wasn't ready to pack up and go yet.  It was a return to Guatemala, for more Spanish lessons.  I went, but decided to forgo the lesson part and used the time to slowly wander around Antigua instead.

Even today, I don't feel like I've built back up to where I was yet.  It's coming along slowly but I have acquired some poor eating habits that I need to knock down for me to get the rest of the way there.  Something to do with discovering new Mennonite bakeries...

On a more encouraging note, my lipid levels have been testing great.  My lipid genetics Dr is very pleased.  He told me that he would be quite happy if they stayed the same for the rest of my life.  And that he wishes for me to be far above average for my career, finances, life,  but with respect to long term cardiovascular risk, to be average.

I have no complaints about the casual state of my work week.  Actually I love it and have no plans to make it busier.  D is still in disbelief that his workplace is so balanced and want to ride it out for another 4 years.  He really enjoys the social aspect and it is easy money, he says.

Our ideas of permanently moving out west are fading for now.  We're not sure if they will come back into focus primarily due to lack of similar options for overall conveniences versus where we are.  The geography hasn't outweighed that at this point.  And we seem to be less willing to give up here when we can still get a piece of the action a few times a year.

This was also the first summer without our cottage.  We both get glimpses of moments where we miss the idea of it but miss it really-- No.  We were done with that phase of our lives after 14 years.  And are grateful to have gotten to live out that dream for a while.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Costs

I spent more time and effort than I'd care to repeat, during the months of May and early June, on the phone with various agents in the fraud department of my credit company.  As I so infrequently call anyone anymore, it was way more than my year's share of calls over that 6 week period.

The issue?  Credit card fraud.  The first incident, 4 days after coming home from Kuala Lumpur, someone tried 10 times unsuccessfully, to take $300 from my Visa.  It was a Malaysian company that bounced the charges to San Francisco.

I did get a notification email about the card going on lock down and I impatiently waited 10 working days to get the replacement.  I cannot believe in this day and age, that it seriously takes that long...

So I get the new card and subsequently go and update my upcoming hotel reservations (Booking.com; of which one of them was for Kuala Lumpur again) using my new card number and within 6 hours, 2 fraudulent attempts from Malaysia... I got a couple notification email of the transactions, called, and the card is blocked again and a replacement ordered and I am seriously furious.

I use a really good travel Visa which includes a very comprehensive travel insurance policy as one of its benefits.  It also stipulates that I have to use it for at least 75% of my travel costs of each trip in order to be able to put in a claim for non medical losses.

Plus there are a whole list of items that come out at different times automatically each month as it was our main card too.  So having to change it again was a real inconvenience.  Pro tip -- Ask the credit card company to rush the card to your branch.  It worked like a charm and arrived in 2 days.  No one had offered that as an option before...

I did look at buying a separate yearly travel insurance policy from Amex, Blue Cross etc.  but my plan under the Visa is superior.

When it happened the 2nd time it forced us to look at separating our travel expenses from our day to day spend.  So we permanently moved the monthly auto debits to a different card to mitigate any future work associated with travel fraud.

With this particular card, we get cash back and it has since proved to be much better value than the points earned on the travel card.  Something we wouldn't have discovered otherwise.

My biggest risk no doubt come from my travels.  Using credit cards in places and countries where their security levels aren't as robust as what we have in Canada.  And I buy all my flights online as well as book accommodations. 

As I am not able to pay cash for everything, what can I do other than to limit my travels to "safer, more developed locales" to decrease risk... Not something I'm willing to consider.  

Monday, July 1, 2019

Places 10

It's a wonderful thing to know, that no matter where I may choose to visit,
that I am able to return home, thanks to the sacrifices of those 
before me; back to a country where I am free
to express myself and have the extraordinary 
privilege of creating a fulfilling life.

Happy Canada Day!