Tag Archives: preparation

The Housing Market Roller Coaster (Episode 1)

My sincere apologies to my readers for the break between blog posts. It wasn’t exactly planned, but it was one of those unavoidable cases of life getting in the way of writing.

As much as under normal circumstances, my little writing voice always seems to be talking to me, the little writing voice just seemed muffled by the sudden spurt of activity recently.

While I like to think of my writing as a way to feel grounded and a way to feel a sense of balance when things get crazy, there was simply no time nor headspace to work on a blog post, even if just to edit one that was close to finished.

The big event that ended up being the centre of my universe for a few weeks was the process of buying a home, and then selling the one I currently live in.

Regular readers might recall that there have been a number of posts in the last year about my (mis)adventures in home renovations: “Fixing the Eyesore Door”, “Don’t Touch the Walls!”, “Why Watching Paint Dry Can Be Fun”, among others. Those posts were no accident. For the last year, I have hit the fast forward button on home renovations in preparation for this very moment.

Even though I knew it was coming eventually, the moment my partner sent me the link to a house for sale out in the country in an email saying simply “OH!”, something started to percolate in the pit of my stomach. Something told me that this was the one and it was time to pull the trigger on the process.

The housing market is pretty tight these days. To see a charming Hallmark-movie style home out in the country that checked most of the boxes on the list of what we were looking for meant jumping into action.

But I felt pulled in the opposite direction not because of the house, and not because of the idea of transplanting this city boy out in the country. It was simply a case of whether or not my home was ready for sale, and whether or not I was psychologically ready for the process (despite additional sessions with the therapist… specifically on the theme of home buying/selling).

When it comes to personal stress, the process of buying the home that I currently live in ranks near the top of my list in terms of activities that have had me on the brink of a meltdown. It certainly was not the fault of my “crew” (my real estate agent, my lawyer, my banker and my home inspector). Each was absolutely outstanding in helping me through it. But at the time, it was all very new to me and I was so afraid of making a costly mistake.

But I needed to keep remembering… I survived!

The memory of that stress combined with the thought that my home to-do list was not fully completed yet had me starting another meltdown that closely resembled the one I felt 20 years earlier, complete with racing thoughts, sleepless nights of worry, and sweating so much I couldn’t drink water fast enough to stay hydrated.

The solution for me was a half-hour chat with our real estate agent on the theme of “can we make this happen?”

In that conversation, she walked us through a verbal project plan, breaking down into small steps the tasks that will be needed on the buying and selling side of the equation to get us to the finish line on time.

This was the reassurance I needed to help me see the possibility rationally, in manageable steps and timelines, rather than the impossibility of a huge mountain of work and off-the-charts stress.

Then, it took a bit of talking to myself to remember what I bring to the table. It is 20 years later; I am an experienced home owner; I have been through this process before; and I have strong problem-solving skills should something come up.

Plus, this was not a sudden decision. Over the last six months we had already done some preparatory homework in consulting with lawyers, real estate agents and banks, getting our duckies lined up for this very moment. I honestly don’t think we could have done more to prepare.

The most reassuring part of it all was knowing that I have a fantastic partner (with more experience in home buying) with whom to share this journey. We have proven over the years that we make a great team. In many ways, we are on the same wave length, while in other ways, our perspectives complement each other, and those factors seem to kick in at the right times, as situations arise.

“We’ve got this!” I thought to myself.

It was a big project, there was no doubt about it. But also, it was the pivotal step that put the wheels in motion for us to merge households, to embark on our future life together, while the clock counts down on the final months in our current careers with retirement on the horizon.

For me, it was also the prologue to my dream career in retirement as a full-time writer.

That was when I turned to my partner and said, “Let’s go see the house!”

Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox. Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

4 Comments

Filed under 50+, home, Humour, mental health

Why Watching Paint Dry Can Be Fun

Much like most people, over the years, I have indeed used the expression “it’s like watching paint dry” to describe an event that might be considered boring. But based upon my recent experience, I might reconsider my use of the phrase. I just don’t agree with its accuracy anymore.

In this year’s round of spring cleaning and home projects, I decided to get some painting done.

As much as I love the whole ceremony of painting, in recent years, time and energy have been in short supply.

Plus, my body just doesn’t seem to respond well to weekend paint jobs without complaining in the days that follow. Between working muscles that don’t usually get used in that way and with arthritis starting to drop in unexpectedly, it was time for me to (reluctantly) look into hiring a painting company.

Upon finding a highly recommended team of painters, I decided to put their professional expertise to the best possible use. The first project was one set of walls I haven’t done since I moved in: the walls around the staircase.

I don’t know what the actual height of that area is but I do recall that the few times I tried to dust the lighting fixture or to try to grab the cobwebs in the corners, I felt like the Roadrunner’s archenemy, Wile E Coyote, trying device after device to extend my reach to get the job done.

When I was finally successful in completing the task, it was usually followed by a visit to the medicine cabinet for some internal and/or external approaches to pain relief.

I decided that for this paint job, the extent of my involvement would be to tidy up before, to remove my personal effects from the painting area, to set up the cat in another part of the house with food, water, litter and favourite toys, and then for me to sit and relax. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under 50+, Humour, Misc blogs

Top 10 Reasons Why a “Quick Run” Is Impossible

I admire those people who say they are going for a “quick run”.

They are those phenomenal runners who stack up personal best after personal best, while barely breaking out in a sweat, who can simultaneously update their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds with professional-grade photos of wildlife, beautiful scenery and gorgeous skies.

They can carry on a conversation without ever being out of breath. And they look so graceful, from the beginning to the end of the run, like gazelles out for a joyful dash through the savannahs.

They inspire me! I love them and I am incredibly jealous of them.

Meanwhile you can find me at the back of the pack, fiddling with something or other, or holding a part of my anatomy that’s complaining, wondering why a 3 kilometer run takes me an hour… or two.

Here they are, my top 10 reasons why going for a quick run is impossible (for me). Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Running

Top 10 Ways I Prepare for a Canadian Winter

With the fall season well underway and the official start to winter just on the horizon, I often feel like a squirrel gathering nuts, which is not too far from the truth, actually.

For those who might not be familiar with Ottawa, winter can offer its share of merciless days in terms of bad weather conditions. As a result, roads and driving conditions can get pretty treacherous.

If we hit a weather pattern of several days of heavy snow or freezing rain (or both), I tend to go out only if I really have to. And on those days when I have to go to work, I stick to the essentials: a commute to the office and back, and that’s it. I won’t do errands on the way home.

It’s just a question of safety… well… that and the fear of getting stuck in a parking lot where a plow hasn’t arrived to remove the snow which continues to pile up.

For that reason, I tend to stock up on certain items to ensure I have a decent supply on hand, and to not stress out if my errand schedule goes topsy-turvy when Mother Nature and Old Man Winter get cranky.

Here they are, my top 10 errands in preparation for winter:

10. Flu shot

Getting a flu shot is not so much a weather dependent preparation, it is just a seasonal one for which I feel a need to make time for it, to avoid the flu, avoid the line-ups and maintain good health through the winter season.

9. Snow tires

Local garages are usually run off their feet at this time of year as many drivers book an appointment to have winter tires installed on their vehicles. Given how bad the weather can get, I couldn’t imagine driving without them anymore.

8. Kitty litter Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under 50+, Christmas, Humour, Lists

The Colonoscopy Countdown

ColonoscopyPrepMy regular readers would know that turning 50 was a milestone that I went through with great joy and excitement, feeling a sense of pride, accomplishment and gratitude for the life I have led so far.

As much as turning 50 brought a host of wonderful new things, there are also a few less interesting rites of passage awaiting, for example, the first colonoscopy.

For me, the procedure itself went fine, it was the liquid diet and preparation for the procedure that was a raw deal, in more ways than one, but it had its funny moments nonetheless.

So pull up a stool… here is a loose retelling of the preparation work in my colonoscopy countdown:

Wednesday
6:00 p.m.: Arrived home from work. Fed the cat. Took two Dulcolax, as per the instruction sheet and mixed the packet of Purg-Odan in a big glass of water. Went to Swiss Chalet for the “final supper” (before the liquid diet begins).
7:00 p.m.: With dinner over, running a few quick errands to get ready for tomorrow’s liquid diet. Stopped by the grocery store for ginger ale, apple juice, white grape juice, Gatorade and electrolyte enriched popsicles.
7:30 p.m.: Feeling a few stomach cramps… it’s not working already, is it?
7:45 p.m.: Ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in 15 years while cramps were intensifying. Starting to stand in awkward positions, “clenching” just in case.
8:00 p.m.: Got home and confirmed that the products were indeed starting to work.
8:15p.m.: Made lime Jello in anticipation of the next day’s liquid diet. Took out the frozen home-made chicken stock from the freezer to thaw.
8:30 p.m.: Further confirmation that the products were working.
8:45 p.m.: Re-read the instruction sheet and wondering if I took the Purg-Odan a day early?
9:00 p.m.: further confirmation that the products were working.
9:30 p.m.: confirmation again…
10:00 p.m.: all is calm, all is bright. Retired to the bedroom with a ginger ale and a popsicle in hand, thinking that this liquid diet thing might not be so bad after all.

Thursday
7:00 a.m.: Awakened by Miss Hungry Cat Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under 50+, Cats, Humour, Misc blogs

Determined to make it to Christmas on time!

Once upon a time, not too long ago, I was punctual in every sense of the word. It didn’t matter if it was for an appointment, for assignments that were due, getting renewals done on time, paying bills and taxes… I was always, always, always on time!

The fact is that I am not the kind of person who works well under the pressure of a short deadline. I like advance notice. Frankly, the more the merrier. I like the time to organize, plan, think it through, give it time to “ferment”, execute, review and to try to make it my best work possible.

I have always been like that even as far back as high school and university and it still applies in my day-to-day work life too. Unfortunately in today’s reality, you don’t always have the luxury of time to provide your absolute best work when you have 50 other things to do before 5 pm. I never feel that the last minute stuff is my best work, but I am often told that my “good enough” is pretty good! So compromise can be good, at least I am not spending days working on something that can be “good enough” after a couple of hours’ effort.

Anyway, this applies across the board, including Christmas. You would think that with a set date every year, it should be easy for me to pull out a templated project plan, reset a few dates and voilà, I should be ready for Christmas long before the date… Unfortunately, that USED to be the case. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Christmas, Humour