Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Last day

Today was my last official day of work at the old place of work. I still need to go in a few times to tie up some loose ends, but I won't be working there any more. I'm sad to say good bye to old friends but it is good to move forward and start again somewhere else.

The move process is becoming tiring and I'm looking forward to settling down in Ottawa. I have been busy organizing and down sizing so there are a ton of little decisions to make every day about what to keep and what to toss. There is also a mountain of stuff to sort through. Actually, mountain is misleading. I have a lot of empty space in my place and it isn't nearly full.

I think that the challenge has been examining how I really live my life and ignoring how I think I live my life. The reality is that it is time to ditch the paraphernalia associated with old hobbies and interests so that I can move forward with the current interests.

In the long run, it is better to let things go and move forward instead of carrying around old baggage. Simplify and enjoy what is left.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend garden

If you click on the top photo you can see a little bee doing what bees do best.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Garage Sale

In the effort to purge my stuff I had a little garage sale today. My neighbour had one at the same time and we were both able to sell a bunch of things that are no longer useful to us. We had a deal, I posted garage sale signs in the area and the neighbour bought coffee. I think I won lol.

Anyway, I am now lighter of stuff and the remainder will go to the Sally Anns.

Downsizing is tough but I actually feel better now that I have fewer things taking up space. It was time to make some decisions about what kind of activities I am going to spend my time doing and let the rest of the things go. Bike riding in (thanks Dad) and weight lifting out. Painting in and needle point out. Blinds in drapery panels out. Hand made rugs from Afghanistan & Samarkand in, Home Depot and Ikea rugs out.

Don't worry, though. I still have tons of Ikea items in my house and I'm sure that I'll pick up more in Ottawa.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer is here

It is super hot here which is great. Summer is here!!!!! I love not having cold feet any more. I also love having all the windows open and the breeze blowing through the house. I even love that I had to turn on the air conditioner the other day. Ahhh, the power of A/C. What a treat.

I had an unwelcome email today from my real estate agent. The person who bought my house wants to send in an appraiser tomorrow to evaluate the price. This seems like a red flag to me since she should have already had her financing confirmed, signed, sealed and guaranteed. I hope that there aren't any hiccups with this sale.

The appraisal could be a problem, if she hasn't already confirmed her financing. The distress sales on the street brought down the value of the appraisal that I had done on the house and I don't want her to get caught in the same trap. Here's hoping for the best tomorrow.

I'm busy at work tomorrow. We are doing parade practices for the change of command parade next week. Today and tomorrow we are wearing our regular combat uniform and comfy boots, but next week the dress uniforms come out. Bad, uncomfortable boots and itchy wool pants. Ugly wedge hat. I don't have any love for the dress uniform although I must admit that it looks good when we have it on with our whites and rifles during parade. Uncomfortable, but sharp looking. Tomorrow is supposed to be really hot so I'm going to spend the rest of the night drinking water and getting hydrated. Dehydration is the enemy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rabbit sighting

I saw the little rabbit this morning. He has tripled in size but hasn't reached full growth yet. He hopped around the planting beds and nibbled on a few treats. Not enough to make him a pest, just a little cutie. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to get a picture. He is still very shy and runs at the slightest noise.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Kijiji shuffle

I started posting items on Kijiji as part of the downsizing process that I need to go through to move from a house to a condo. Once I started pulling things out of closets and off shelves, I found items that I forgot I had. Since they haven't been used in just about forever I guess that it is time I sold them. Anyone for a set of roller blades?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Credit check

Beware of what you ask for the next time you talk with your insurance company about changing your policy. I spoke with the company that I deal with about insuring the new home in Ottawa. Despite being claims free and being a loyal customer for years, they told me that I would have to undergo a credit check before they could insure the new property.

I had heard of this procedure going on in the USA but this is the first time that I have heard of it in Canada. I asked the insurance representative to explain how this relates to risk in a client profile. She didn't have an answer.

Apparently, if you have bad credit your rates are going to be higher. What this means is that the people who can least afford insurance pay the most.

Have any of you had a similar experience?

Friday, June 19, 2009

When insults had class

These glorious insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison."

He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."

"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.." - Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S.Cobb

"He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I talked with the movers today and worked out the dates when they will pack my stuff and load it on the truck. Looking at the calendar I realized that I only have eight working days left at my old job and have a ton of things to do. This next week or so will be very busy.

Wonder where the time went.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

TV free

I am "TV free" now. I cancelled my TV subscription a month ago and it took effect today.

Interestingly, the "free TV" channels are still available on my satellite receiver so I still have TV shows to watch. The free TV is higher quality than the junk that I was watching before. I just finished watching a TV show on whales and am now watching a show on artist Alex Colville. The whale show made me wish that I was by the ocean right now, smelling the sea air and listening to the movement of the water.

It has been a long time since I have spent a long time without TV. I am excited about not having all those wasted hours hanging over my head. I have a bunch of books to read and some paintings to paint and some time to spend in the garden before the house is sold.

For lunch today I ate a large dish of strawberries that ripened in my garden. Divine.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New roof

I met with a home inspector today to examine the Ottawa condo. Everything seems fine with the property except for the shingles. They are at the end of their life and need to be replaced. I saw that they were curling a bit the last time I was at the property, so this was not a surprise.

Otherwise, everything looks good and I'm moving forward to clear the other conditions.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The garden moose

Hot and Cold Garden 4

Hot and cold garden 3

Canadian book publishing

If you know of any budding authors who might like to publish a book in the near future, have a quick visit to the Trafford Publishing website. They offer a variety of packages and have marketing services available.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strawberry Forest

I wish I could shrink myself to the size of an elf and run around in this strawberry patch.

The berries are delish!

Hot and Cold Garden 2

Here are some of the HOT plants in my garden. Enjoy.

Hot and Cold Garden

Here are some of the early blooming flowers in my garden. I'm so happy to see them that I go out every night and make the rounds of each plant just to enjoy the beauty.

Baby bunny under step

Look closely, you might see the little baby bunny hiding under the step. It was hard to take this photo since the little fella is shy and runs away whenever he knows that I am there.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I bought a condo

The real estate world moves quickly. Earlier today I submitted an offer to buy a condo and expected the sellers to counter. They did not. They accepted the offer and I am now the "almost" new owner of a condo. I still need to remove conditions - inspection, financing, lawyer, etc - but don't expect any surprises.

This is exciting. Only last Friday I was worried about having a house that I couldn't sell and not having any place to live at my destination. This takes a lot of the stress off and allows me to move forward and meet my obligations to my employer.

The new condo is a three story walk-up, row house style. It is on a very nice street and is only a few steps from the canal and about 10 minutes walk to work. The unit itself has lots of small rooms - enough for all my activities. I believe the correct description is pied-a-terre. Small city house.

When I started my house search my expectations were that I could find a lot more house for my money. I was disappointed to see that there were problems with all the properties in my price range. This meant that I had to make a lot of compromises - more than I had originally anticipated.

Luckily, I did not have to compromise on location. This is a highly sought after location so it will be great to live in and will hold resale value. The condo is in good condition so there are very few maintenance issues. It is also somewhat unique, unlike those offered for sale in the many high rises around.

Well, the next step is to meet all the requirements of the purchase agreement and arrange to move all my utilities, etc. Lots of work to do.

Still condo hunting

I did a second viewing on a condo in Ottawa today.

The first time I viewed it I had two concerns. The kitchen was WAY too small and the unit was too dark. After seeing it today both of these concerns have been laid to rest.

The rooms have a lot of pot lights and with some paint and the strategic use of lamps the condo will be bright enough. (I will have to buy more lamps but since shopping is my specialty this won't be hard). The kitchen can be moved to a different area on the same floor. The cupboards can be reused and the utilities can be run through the garage which is right underneath the floorspace. A couple of new countertops to fit the new layout and I'll be in business.

The location is better than the last place that I was interested in. Only a 10 minute walk to work and it is all through a safe neighbourhood.

I put in an offer today and hope to hear back tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The wait is over

My house has finally sold.

After a long drought, there were two offers today. Same price. One with conditions and one without. That was a no brainer. I took the offer without conditions and the house is officially sold.

My move date is 15 July. Now I can enjoy the house and the yard without having to leave all the time for showings and open houses. This is great.

Not sure what my next move will be. Probably into rental accommodations in Ottawa while I take my time searching for a place to buy. I'll be sad to leave but it had to happen sooner or later so might as well be sooner.

Take care.

Friday, June 5, 2009

School days

My application to take distance learning courses at Athabasca was finally processed. The result is that I was accepted back into University. I will be starting courses in a few weeks or a month using distance learning.

To celebrate I went out and bought beer. It's good to be a student again. lol

No house

Here's a quick update. I (or I should say my real estate agent) negotiated for four days to buy a row house in Ottawa. It ended when I gave a firm and final offer to the seller. She said no and countered. I walked away. Then her agent verbally offered to meet me at my price. I said no.

The thought process is long, but here goes.....

The Ottawa market is undergoing a boom and the newspaper has reported that the boom is based on all the government jobs created to administer the fiscal stimulus package. Logically, in a few years the rest of Canada will be pulling out of the economic downturn and Ottawa will begin deficit cutting. This means that these new positions will likely disappear.

It seems to me that it would be a foolish idea to buy a home at the top end of a boom when there is a good chance that the boom will end about the time that I am posted elsewhere and have to sell my home. For this reason, I think that I will shop around some more and wait for a more reasonable home to come on the market. There are lots of row houses in Ottawa so I just need to bide my time until someone decides to sell.

It should be a tough decision but I'm actually glad that I have more time to look around for a house. When I do buy it will be on my terms, not on the sellers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Still looking

Still house hunting. Looking at more properties today and hoping for the best.

I'm keeping the dream alive of walking to work. The reality of the big city is making this dream seem unattainable but I'm not ready to give it up yet.

More to follow.