A lot of water under the bridge

End of January, 2022. Time flies whether you are having fun or not. I am having fun most of the time, though – thanks for asking. Life is somewhat back to normal. I have many projects and we all know that’s a good thing, gives me less time to get in trouble. I probably have to go back and read the last blog post to know where to pick up, we’ve changed our minds so much in the last month. Surprised? I guess not.

The housing market on Vancouver Island (and in may places) is insane. In just over a year, the value of this house we purchased with a small deposit as a pre-build is worth 40-45% more than the purchase price. Yes, I’m serious. That’s f-cked. Not good for the economy. There is really limited inventory and I read a story yesterday that suggested it was partly to do with baby boomers aging in place instead of downsizing. Probably moreso in the pandemic. Because houses are getting multiple offers with no conditions, often unseen, we are reluctant to put our house up for sale because where TF will we live when it sells? LOL.

February 2. Groundhog day. However, I believe Wiarton Willie died. At least, I saw a headline that alluded to that. Didn’t check so could be wrong (town cancels GD because groundhog dies). 

Well, now it’s February 20 and I haven’t been writing at all in the blog. Shame on me. The house is almost set up. Our lease in Vancouver runs out May 1 now, she’s going to come back a month early (I think I told you her husband died). Two months and a week. And by then, all the flowers will be out everywhere. We’ve got snowdrops and the daffodils are up but not open. We had a nasty month, sort of mid-December – mid-January and if I had to live through that for any longer it would be tough. We had snow. And it stayed for a week! Ack! 

I’m not even going to tell you what I’m doing, at least not until it’s done. Well, I’ll tell you some of the things. Working of course. It was busy off and on, it was slow in January but will be busy now. But that’s just writing copy that’s pretty easy for me, it’s a great gig. I am working on a series pitch with my writing partner. A few more months for that one. Setting up this house (which is almost done). Helping a friend with a website redesign. And going back and forth from Vancouver to Vancouver Island takes some time. So I should calm down. There’s not that much to do yet.

Omicron. Maybe we’re getting a lull in the action now. It seems like hospitalizations are declining, which is the big thing here. Making sure that the hospitals are available for emergencies. We will still mask for some time to come in public. I’m a little alarmed that everyone seems to be “done” with Covid. Because it’s quite possible that Covid is not yet “done” with us. A lot of people I know got it over Christmas and I think they now wonder what the big deal is. I had a really bad flu in the winter of 2016 in Cuernavaca – over Christmas. Three weeks. It was horrible. Even if that’s all Covid is if I catch it, I still don’t want it. Thanks kindly. 

At least the illegal occupation of Ottawa is finally getting cleared up this weekend. What a shit show. American right-wing money and bat-shit crazy conservatives. And Canadians. It’s not like we don’t have any crazies up here, we clearly do. Pisses me off. There’s one up the street with a white sheet, spray painted: “In Truckers We Trust”. You know, a play on the phrase that’s on very American coin (In God We Trust).  WTF? I want to go up and egg their house overnight. Who’s in?

Which brings me to another thought, that I realize I kind of like but perhaps shouldn’t really. A gentleman I know who was quite influential in the film business in the US thinks I’m a “distruptor”. This was because of my strong and vocal opinions about trump, Republicans and secession. I can’t imagine any other opinions, however. Or that I would keep them to myself. The whole trump thing was so wrong.

One other time in my life when I was sort of called a distruptor — I was working for a company which placed laid-off high level executives in new jobs and were paid by the company doing the lay-offs (who wanted to cut their losses, as they had to pay salaries until this dudes and dudettes either found new jobs or two years went by). It involved the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, which I had been a fan of for a decade at least by this point. That’s just an aside (I’m an INTJ). 

Okay, so I was ops, and monthly, every month same time, I needed reports from the assessors. One was late 50s, early 60s, with an MA in psych. Could not deliver a report on time, not ever. The other was early 40s, BA in psych but a dream to work with who produced comprehensive reports on time. My job depended on assesors (I think there were 3 or 4, the others were nondescript, don’t recall them to be honest) getting their reports in on time. The older one was a bitch. And she earned a lot more money than the other one.  

So, at a staff meeting, I brought this up, after trying to sort it out with her many times privately. She stormed away from the meeting and the president got angry and said I was disruptive and she had been with him for years and she had seniority and I should not critcize her like that. To which I replied, you tested my Myers-Briggs before you hired me and you knew I would not put up with someone affecting my ability to do my job, and give them a pass simply because they have been here forever. I also informed him that we had talked privately several times and she’d blown me off.  Then someone went to check on her and came back and said she was in her office crying. So he fired me. And I learned a lesson – no more jobs in the HR field. Same reason I’m not a nurse. 🤣🤣🤣

And to boot, the president (and owner) of the company used to also have his secretary go to his house and mind his kids during the day if he couldn’t get a babysitter and that pissed me off too. This was supposed to be an HR company and he’s not allowed to do that. I did tell his secretary that. So if I’m disruptive because I can’t keep my mouth shut about things I feel are “wrong” with a cap W… so be it.

Anyway, I guess egging that house would actually be a disruptive act. And pointless. A better thing would be to steal the sheet.

Do I have too much time on my hands, do you think? LOL. I need a dog. I have to keep you reading somehow, right? Now that I’m back in the land where they answer 9-1-1, I don’t have nearly as many anxieties and fears to write about.

It takes time to process some things. I just watched my friend in San Miguel relive her husband dying of Covid in Facebook memories (he died last Febrauary 12). Hard to believe a year ago we didn’t even have vaccines (we got our first ones in April in Mexico and I am still grateful for that). I can’t imagine what she’s gone through if I’m not even able to write about PJ yet (who was a dog, and died eight months ago in comparison). I’d probably never be able to write about it if I were her. At least not anyone but me and even that would take years. Okay, not going there.

Anyway, life without dogs. Sometimes I forget that I miss having one, or don’t think about it is probably more accurate. And I guess it’s easy enough to do because we are so busy and back and forth from two houses and not even sure what we are going to do. Maybe we’ll get one this summer. I’m getting convinced a dog will find me, the way old Junior did. We’ve had five BTs now. I got Piggy Caesar in ’82, so I’ve had BTs for 40 years running. I thought I would never find another Piggy, and along came Junior in 2006 (? I think – ish). Yes, we still had Cato then, and he died in 2007. Anyway, Cato (and Rosie) bonded with Chris. And Jr. bonded with me. And PJ stood for Piggy Junior, but now that poor buggar is gone too and one day I’ll tell you more about that horror story.

Caesar, Cato, Junior, Rosie, PJ (left to right) – I’ve shared these before but hey, I’m talking about them all again.

So, it’s one month later. March 20. An entire month. With millions of displaced people now in Ukraine and two million refugees. A lot has happened. And I know there are people out there who aren’t paying close attention. Because they do not understand that this is a fight for the new world order. Our grandchildren will either live free or live under Russian rule. This is just the tip of the iceberg if this psychopath takes Ukraine. I’m paying close attention and sitting in on a (subscriber) Zoom session one hour every Friday with editors from the Economist, including the defence and Russian eds. They are enlightening and The Economist is the most respected and best-researched/reported news gathering source out there. Smart people and I keep hanging on to the fact that while they analyze the possible threat of nuclear war and do deal with the possibility, we are told every week that it is highly improbable.

I expend a lot of my soul reading everything I can (Twitter and trusted news sources) but I usually cut it off after a couple of hours in the morning and go about my normal working day. So, I’m not going to go on about it here. This isn’t a daily blog. Lucky if it’s monthly now so the news would all be old.

If you have thoughts, or questions, I’m very happy to discuss them privately by email. Slava Ukriane, and to donate, go here: https://obakkifoundation.org/projects/support-ukraine — it’s boots on the ground, aiding those trapped inside the country, and 100% of all donations go directly there – no admin fees.

Monday March 21. It was spring yesterday. I guess it is today, too. And from here on in, until the summer solstice. June is my favourite month, I love spring. I made another decision this morning, to do only one hour of news, and serious about finding it, qualifying it, reading it and understanding it. But then I go to work on other things in the morning. I can check back in once mid-day and then again when I’m done. But I’m going to step away from the news every 10 minutes. Yes, there is new stuff on Twitter every 10 minutes but there’s not much new information and on an hour-to-hour basis there is FA I can do about this war. We donated again this morning. That’s what we can do, all of us. 

So, we are primarily in our new build house, with occasional trips to the mainland, staying on Rabbit Lane. We are able to leave a month before our lease is up, because the landlord wants to come back early, so it’s only ours until the end of April. It’s odd being here (Rabbit), having taken most of our stuff out, and cleaning up the last bits. It was only temporary but I can’t help but remember why we got this place – it was because at the time we had two dogs who fought. That all seems so terribly long ago (when in fact, it’s only been nine months). Still, if one can have a baby in that time, surely one can move this far forward by then.

You actually have no information about how far forward we have moved. I’m trying to break it to you gently. We are having a hard time with the stairs. There are a lot of them and our offices are upstairs, with the bedrooms – actually, they are two of the bedrooms – and it’s up and down and up and down all day to the kitchen. Nine-foot ceilings, that’s why so many stairs. I bet I use those stairs for 30 round trips a day at least. My hip hurts. It’s not good for CW’s back either. Some days it’s ok. Other days it’s my knee. The one I smashed when I tripped down the stairs in Cuernavaca in the kitchen and broke my fall with my left knee (not on purpose). But on hard, hard, porcelain tiles.

It was swollen, but it was the start of Covid so no way was I going to a Mexican hospital. I wrapped it in a tensor bandage and walked with a cane for over a week and it got better. But the constant up and down is irritating it, one day it was so bad I had to do one foot at a time, down each stair. Then the other one to the same stair. Repeat. Anyway, neither here nor there but we’re getting out of this house, we have to.

So, we need a new house. But the market is good for selling this one. Updates to follow. A house with one floor where we live. It can have a basement, as long as we don’t have to go up and down every half hour.

It’s the end of March. Just over eight months since we landed back in Canada. We have sorted a lot out and accomplished a fair amount, I think. I can’t believe our stuff finally got up here. Now it’s all sorted. And either out, in this house, or in tubs for a yard sale (April 9, with Buffy), or in tubs for keeping (there’s stuff that doesn’t fit in this house that we do want to keep). We amalgamated a large Mexican house and a 10 x 10 storage locker from here 10 years ago. You can imagine how much fun that was. 🤣🤣🤣 but all done, and organized.

When we sold our house in Mexico, Covid raged, the southern US border was closed to non-citizens and for about six weeks, flights from Canada were suspended. We were stuck in Mexico and couldn’t get a mortgage without flying up and signing in person (seriously) or being able to pay cash and buying sight unseen. So instead, we bought a pre-sale in December, 2020 – a house scheduled to close May15 2021. It was a great move, but it was late being built. Took until November 15. Still, here we are. And we managed to stay in the market that way. And it’s a lovely house.

I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that we’re too old to go up and down the StairMaster all day long. I cannot stand the thought of moving again, though. Just to be clear. And my plants. What about my plants? I’ll probably just go do something stupid to complicate this even more. Like, get a dog. Stay tuned.

I’m glad I’m writing this blog again. I don’t know what it was, but I didn’t have a lot to say. I think I was busy thinking. Maybe. It’s possible. Often I think out loud through my fingers. But the very odd time I retreat and let my daemon do the thinking. Some would say muse, but it’s a daemon, trust me. That’s a minor god or spirit, with the same capacity for good or evil that humans have — not a demon. Different animal. Everything is such a process.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my two friends who lost their husbands in early 2021. Such different lives for them. There’s a lot of shifting going on out there in the world.

Ahhhh! I realize my last blog post was before Christmas. SO much is happening now. Oh my.

It’s now March 28 – almost April. We found a house that is a bungalow, all on one floor except the basement, which we don’t need to visit but once a week (stairs) for laundry. So, now the trick would be to sell this one. Which we hope to do this week. I’m going to wait until almost Easter to publish, wth, 3 months — can wait another 2.5 weeks.

April 1. This is turning into another long, rambling update that jumps from one thing to the next. That is kind of how my life feels at the moment 🙂 But it’s all in aid of something better, so it’s what it is. We are selling our house – more effectively trading the house we’re in now for the bungalow with one storey living, main floor, has everything including bedroom and offices. With any luck, we will break even on the trade. A lateral move, but my hip and CW’s back won’t hurt as much when we aren’t up and down the stairs every 20 minutes. It will be a lot of trouble to move and we don’t want to. Sigh.

When we went back over to the rental in Vancouver at the end of March, as we pulled in, I thought, funny, I didn’t leave that kitchen light on. Then we unlocked the back door and walked in and I thought, funny, we left the heat off… and then looked around. Someone with a kid was clearly living there. The place we have paid for until the end of April. We called the police.

Turns out our landlord thought we wouldn’t be back, so she said friends of friends could stay there. And then had the nerve to reply to me with the subject line: No Good Deed… yeah, lady, no good deed goes unpunished when your good deed is letting someone stay in a house you’ve already rented to someone else. And it was only March. We don’t give it up until May 1 and you wouldn’t let us out of the lease any earlier. Guess what, lady? You are not getting the house back until we’re done with our paid time there, not at what you’re charging for that dump. Anyway, they got out. Lickety split. But the most strange thing. And in West Vancouver of all places.

Okay, it’s April 12. I really have to stop the world for a moment, update you, publish and get back to organizing. In some ways, we know where we are going, but in many ways, I’m at a loss. More on that later, maybe. Still thinking. For now, let’s discuss where we are going:

We bought the bungalow house. Here’s a photo of the view. This is the view from many of the rooms, including the great room and kitchen. And from the large back deck.The photo was taken in very early spring, and the trees will fill in and the roofs of the houses should disappear.

Those two trees are in our yard and are either cherry or plum, I can’t tell yet. In any event, we don’t move in until June 3 (closing June 2).

So, we listed this house we are in now. When we only got two viewings, we realized we were high so pulled it off the market. Put it back up slightly lower, had multiple viewings (something like 8) booked the first afternoon it was online (for the upcoming weekend mostly).

The first viewing was the same day and they made an offer over asking and we took it. Happily. So that was pretty easy. Did we leave some money on the table, compared to playing the blind bid game where you tell everyone who schedules a viewing appointment that you will review all offers after the weekend and pit them against each other to get the house?

We likely did also leave money on the table but we also didn’t contribute to a crazy, unsustainable market and we made enough money on this house, and that’s good for us. Enough. If more people would just be happy with ‘enough’ the world wouldn’t be full of billionaires while others die of hunger.

So, that’s that. The furniture comes with us, of course. And the art. The Departure Bay house (that’s the ferry in the photo above, leaving or coming into Departure Bay from Vancouver) is older but sturdy (was owned by an engineer) and has a lot of character and potential. And has all of our living, offices and living area and kitchen, and bedroom on one floor. There is a finished basement but it’s for guests and laundry and maybe a suite one day. Some days, we won’t need to go down the stairs even once.

While we were in between buying the bungalow and selling the blue house, we got an email from a lady in the Bull Terrier Club of Canada, letting us know that Animal Control in Nanaimo (not the SPCA, a small no-kill shelter associated with dog bylaws and licenses in the city) had a BT whose owner had died and who was in need of a home. Just want we need, right? His name is Boo Radley and he’s five years old. He’s sweet. And yes, he’s ours now.

He’s really not a lot of trouble. Yet, haha. Famous last words. We missed having a dog. And all indications are that he is eminently boardable in a home sit situation.

Ok, that’s my news. Bought a house, sold a house, got a dog, have no idea what’s next. Book still selling well (The Move to Mexico Bible), Captivatist.com is slowly growing but I can’t say I’ve paid much attention lately. We take a pretty good hit on our investments this summer as this round will be cashing out and reinvested and it’s stepped interest, so it starts low for the first year of returns. The third year is killer, second is normal. But the overall rate (11%) is worth a little discomfort here and there. Just means I’d better keep working for a while and we’ll need to pull our horns in a bit this year. I only have one trip scheduled for July for Dad’s birthday. And who knows what will happen by winter. If we get another round of Covid (and we may quite well get a new variant that floors us) — we’ll have lots of money because we won’t be able to go anywhere 🤣🤣🤣

Ok, so the dog, quickly. Boo Radley. Loved the book and the movie. Experienced them both as a child, I’m sure I was barely 10 when I was exposed to Lee Harper’s To Kill a Mockingbird in book form. Then, the movie. I loved the story and of course, identified with Scout. I feel fortunate books like that shaped my outlook on racism. Because growing up when I did, there was lots of it, even if we weren’t as exposed in Canada.

Ok, so there’s that connection when this dog was first brought to our attention. But even more convincing, I’d been listening to a channel that plays half new, half golden oldie music. That’s the 70s now…🤣🤣🤣 and a song by Lobo came on through serveral rotations that I hadn’t heard since the 70s that I recalled, but I knew every word, because it was my hippie dream. And here I am, sorta.

Stay safe, stay aware, stay kind.

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4 Comments

  1. Gail Reply

    Yes, many surprises. You have been living in transition for some time. Not everyone could take it in stride the way you do. Boo came along at the right time. Not the perfect time….but, the right time. He seems to be making himself right at home. Hopefully, you two will be enjoying the dog days of summer settled in your new – level – house. All the best, Gail

    1. admin Post author Reply

      Thanks, Gail. I hope you are well! We haven’t been zooming lately but maybe we can get something together soon! xo

  2. Nikki Reply

    Really enjoy your blog and I think we are kindred spirits as I have many of the same views as you 🙂 I’m up for egging the house too! So glad you have another dog – it was meant to be.

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