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Spring has sprung: a life update

Spring has sprung: a life update

I asked Mr. Tucker to buy me this for Winter Solstice & he did!

It’s hard to not think of spring and fall as seasons of transition. Spring still has elements of the winter such as the odd day of snow and fall still has days where the sun is out and it is warm and clear. Summer and winter tend to be more delineated – at least where I live – where winters are snow, darkness and blowing wind & summers are all humidity, long days, and blazing sun. We generally tend to follow the seasons here and mark each one as it transits through the year. I highly recommend books like Mrs. Sharpe’s Traditions for those of you who enjoy Victorian Americana celebrations that fall on the more Christian side of things. It’s full of crafts, poetry and information about the holidays and seasons. I read Winters in the World this year about the seasons in Anglo-Saxon England and it was also a lovely, enlightening read.

After a year of having a broken foot and two surgeries I am eager to get out and about and enjoy the fresh air. Mr. Tucker has fixed up my trike (#bless marrying a man who used to be a bike courier) and we have been going out on walks around the neighbourhood. I hate how much I miss going outside when I am forced to stay inside. Winter is an absolutely tragic season for me because when you have mobility issues it can mean getting stuck inside when it is really icy out. I actually enjoy winter and grew up in the 80s where your parents forced you outside no matter what the temperature was & I also clocked many years skiing. I am seriously thinking of investigating accessible skiing options but I am afraid that like most things for disabled people, it will be cripplingly* expensive.

But it’s spring now! As is our monthly habit, we have done a craft and games night, and because it was March, it was Easter-themed. It was, as usual, amazing. We emailed our orders into Holly’s Hot Chicken (which is great if you need a gluten-free option and/or just like delicious food!) which our friends picked up on their way over, we did some fun Easter crafts & egg decorating and then we played Telestrations. It’s sad to think that in a few short months the eldest two kids in our group are off to university! Until then, we will try and squeeze in as many games nights and pool parties as possible.

Other than that it has been just watching PWHL games, the Women’s World Hockey & I even got sucked into March Madness, rather unexpectedly when it came on right after a WWH game! I got suckered into buying a subscription to The Sports Network to watch the WWH and so I figured, why not? Well OF COURSE I was hooked and watched the final on Sunday (like almost 19m other people). It was just so fascinating! I don’t know if that means I will end up loving the WNBA but I did enjoy it!

I have such a love/hate relationship with sports, namely, hockey. I grew up loving hockey and watching it. Like many other Canadian families, my brother played it and I went to a few of his games as well. In University I lived in an apartment on top of a pub and my friends & I would regularly win tickets to hockey games as prizes on Trivia Nights. When you are a poor student you enjoy any free entertainment that comes your way! But over the years, my love for the NHL lessened. Size-wise, it is an absolute BEAST with 82 games per season for each of the 32 teams – not including the Stanley Cup. But on top of that, the last game we attended we saw them switch out the ads along the boards on the commercial breaks. That was just wild to me. I had grown up with stories of my uncle remembering when tickets were cheap and you could bring a boxed lunch into Maple Leaf gardens. Don’t get me wrong – I grasp the enormity of putting together a pro sports league it is just a shame when the cheap seats for an NHL game (standing room only) are $50 in the nosebleeds. That is just out of range for many families.

Watching the PWHL play, fill arenas and get more sponsorships is a bit of a bittersweet experience: I want this league to succeed so badly, I want them to get advertising dollars! But it also weirds me out to see a paper towel company sponsor a power play. It’s conflicting to simultaneously want them to succeed but hate the price it will take to make it work. I am not an idiot – we live in a capitalistic society, for better or for worse – and the league can’t run just on Mark Walter’s big bucks alone, in perpetuity**. That said, we’re renewing our tickets for next year.

WELP. The condo still hasn’t sold. Lots of great feedback from the viewings but it’s been up for 2 months. I know that it’s been an average of 90 days for sales of condos lately and I am sure everyone is waiting for the Bank of Canada’s rate cuts*** but I am still impatient. It feels like the path forward for us is riding on this one deadweight to be out of our hands. I’m crossing my fingers that I have a better update soon!

Meanwhile, Mr. Tucker are working on a plan for our lives while we wait for the condo to sell. There is no point sitting around wallowing about things not going according to plan when there is so much living to do. Since spring is here and April is a wee break in-between our children’s birthdays I have asked them to not make a ton of weekend plans so that we can sort some things around the house.

Mt Tucker and I are planning some outdoor chores this month but spring is also a good time to tackle things like going through all of the rooms of your house and making a master plan on what to fix, clean, organize and decorate. We also want to plot out our garden bunkies to take advantage of what may be a very hot, dry summer. The plan is to stay home and have myriad pool parties and friend drop-in days!

We also did manage to catch the solar eclipse yesterday! It was 99% totality here which had to be good enough because we didn’t want to drive an hour south. The kids had the day off so they cleaned the house and watched the eclipse. It was a good day!

*I didn’t intend that pun but I am leaving it because it fits nicely
**I mean, he probably COULD afford it but every parent wants their child to leave the nest
***Kept at at 5% at the announcement this morning. Whomp whomp.

Going sideways

Going sideways

Sometimes Mr. Tucker has a frustrating work week and that always makes me run* to my spreadsheet. I like to double-check that the numbers are still on track. We are so lucky to have a permanent form of income right now that could carry the house should he lose his job. It’s better he doesn’t lose it – and it’s not in danger of being lost – but we could manage.

The one thing it can’t do though is cover the condo expenses (at least not without significantly reducing our lifestyle). We have been ->this close<- to getting everything done in there for weeks now but every time Mr. Tucker makes a plan to go and finish off some of the details, he gets derailed. Sure, it’s been a never-ending deluge of work incidents but it’s also been random, uncontrollable stuff, which makes it worse! For example, he got caught up in a protest downtown for so long that he ran out of time and then had to double back to pick up a kid in time. It feels sometimes like all forces are against us.

But the good news is that the Bank of Canada hasn’t raised the rate and people smarter than me suspect they will start lowering in a cycle or two. That may help the housing market a bit.

The worst part is that our chequing account is lower than it’s ever been. I can’t believe that at one point in my life it was normal to have under $5 in a chequing account because today if it dips under $1500 I panic. In all fairness, everything will get paid, and things are fine but it’s amazing what you get used to.

It’s been such a heck of a time for bleeding money – and right before the holiday season**, too! Part of the reason why it has dipped so low is that we had to buy all new appliances for the condo and since we abhor carrying debt, it got paid as soon as the credit card balance was due. We anticipated that expense but then came a series of unexpected expenses:

    • Mr. Tucker’s glasses broke, so that was an eye exam and some new glasses (thank you benefits for paying a lot of that!).
    • Our car randomly died downtown so Mr. Tucker had to have it towed to the dealership. They couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t start but still charged us a couple of hundred to look at it (but hey, free car wash***?)! There were three Lyfts on top of that to get back and forth. We got a battery jumper kit for the car in case it happened again because even with the free tow, we still need the car to go vroom.
    • We went to the dentist this week and learned that Mr. Tucker’s benefits have run out, so that is more out-of-pocket money we hadn’t anticipated (and I can only snail mail his portion to my benefit company like it is the freaking 90s).
    • Then, the piece de resistance: yesterday we had our first major snowfall…and the snowblower stopped working. We have given in for this year and just paid for a snow removal service. In all honesty, the snowblower came with the house and was probably old when we moved in. We’ve lived here for 6 years now so it was probably time. We will look into fixing it when we have less on our plates****.

Everything is just so incredibly frustrating right now for sure. But the one thing I am glad of is that we have the money to cover the above expenses because we keep money aside just for situations like these. Every month I slide some cash away into accounts labeled: car, health, and house expenses. It hurts me to actually use the money in there but I am glad it is there for us to not have to panic about unexpected expenses. I use the word “unanticipated” loosely because most of us should know that random expenses will pop up when we least expect them to.

So I am grateful for past me for looking out for today me but man, it’s only the first full week in December and I am still staring down a bunch of social events this month (it’s also my birthday a week before Christmas). While they aren’t all events that will cost money, some are and I am ok with that. Because instead of griping about the cost, I am grateful that I have friends I can spend time with and that I have access to a variety of different places where I can be social.

On that note, I recently finished The Good Life and I highly recommend it! It isn’t heavy with data but more about the stories of people who have happy lives vs. people who have unhappy lives. I’ll give you the crux of it: having high quality, close, positive relationships throughout your life is the key.

* LOL metaphorically. I can’t run.
** I save for that all year round so it doesn’t really affect me but I have upped our budget because the social aspect of this time of year has become more expensive but I would rather keep those events in our lives especially post-pandemic.
*** I’ll let you decide if $237 is a fair price for a car wash (spoiler: nope).
**** No, we are not going to shovel it ourselves. The last thing we need is the only able-bodied adult to have a massive coronary.

Just keep on keeping on

Just keep on keeping on

What I’m reading
Vanguard’s guide to retirement withdrawal strategies.

[E]very conversation takes place on two levels. The official conversation is represented by the words we are saying on whatever topic we are talking about. The actual conversations occur amid the ebb and flow of emotions that get transmitted as we talk. With every comment I am showing you respect or disrespect, making you feel a little safer or a little more threatened. The Essential Skills of Being Human.

Deep thoughts
When the kids came home last night the first thing they both said when they walked in the door (1/2 hour apart) is, “You’re dressed! What’s going on!?” UGH. I need to get out more. In my defense, it’s been a lot of bedrest for medical reasons and once that was done, Mr. Tucker had condo stuff to do in his spare time so all personal stuff was de-prioritized as we ended up in survival mode. But it’s time.

Still, I want my kids to remember having an active mother who go out as much as she could despite disability. In general, I feel like I am way more active than a lot of other disabled folks. Some it’s due to the severity of their disability and for some it’s just plain giving up. If I was a researcher I would study the health trajectories/outcomes of people who had a positive, life-affirming attitude and those who give up once they’re diagnosed. I am happy to offer support, kind words and resources to people going through a rough time – sometimes you just need to complain to other people who understand what you are going through. But I’ve had to block individuals in online PLS groups because they were posting constantly about how awful they felt and how they can’t do anything and how all of their friends don’t want to hang out with them. It was a constant barrage of pity-party posts and it just exhausted me and brought me down. I think perhaps these people should reflect on whether or not it was disability that turned people off or if it was the constant complaining?

But truth be told, while I have experienced some of that, most of my good friendships got stronger after I was diagnosed. Sure, some people will always fall by the wayside but it’s difficult to tease out how much of that is just a natural progression in friendship and what is an inability to manage someone’s diagnosis. I keep showing up for them and in turn they keep showing up for me.

But back to last night’s astute observation by my kids. If I’m honest, pre-pandemic I went to the gym 3-5 days a week, did dragon boat, walked or biked around the neighbourhood more and did physiotherapy twice a week. Since then, I haven’t been back to my usual activity levels and my return to dragon boat was thwarted by my broken foot followed by a huge pelvic surgery (that went a bit sideways). It feels like since we have been back post-pandemic with some regularity, it’s been one thing after another. Having said that, I am determined to change that even as we head into winter. I think I have been focusing too much on what I can’t do and not really focusing on what I can. In other words, while I am not whinging about it on facebook, I am falling into the same trap of the people who constantly complain. I need to show up for me.

Next weekend is pretty social with games night and heading out for dinner with friends on Friday night. The following weekend is book club. These things remind me that I am still doing things but I am just not back up to the level I once was. I plan to change that.

What I’m up to
Mr. Tucker is at the condo today as the appliances have been delivered. He sent me a picture and they look FANTASTIC! He also replaced the vent covers, replaced the shower curtainrod and now he’s putting the doors back on and measuring a few things. The last things we need to do are: fix the window, install the microwave, replace the bathroom fixture and replace a curtain on the closet.

It finally feels like we are in the home stretch and are almost ready to put it on the market!

Oh, and as for last night: we went out to buy paint for the room switch! The Eldest is moving into the office downstairs and Mr. Tucker is moving the office upstairs. He plans to do most of the painting next weekend as it is American Thanksgiving and it’s super slow at work. That will leave him energy to paint at night. Then on the weekend, we will move her stuff downstairs. Damn, it will be good to be able to have a shared office again. I have a desk tucked into a corner of the living room and quite frankly – it sucks.

Since we’ve also used almost none of our pocket money this month, afterwards we treated the kids to dinner. It was a pretty lovely evening and it felt good to be out.

Bon Vindredi à tous!

Life update: Christmas, condo & the Youngest pondering high school

Life update: Christmas, condo & the Youngest pondering high school

Used wisely, carefully: a bit of a bad thing can be good

• Great tools for Canadians from TriDelta determine the value of your final estate and the donation planner.

Three ways to build wealth with dividend investing (TD Bank video). I follow all three of these speakers online even though they all have different styles of building wealth. In fact, I follow a lot of people – even people I vehemently disagree with – because I feel like it’s important to challenge your own assumptions.

Disengage: Modern life subjects us to all-consuming demands. That’s why we should reflect on what it means to step away from it all.

• Moneysense magazine did a poll about the worst money advice and these are the (fascinating and unsurprising) results.

• A fantastic read. The Snack Cake Economy: how I learned about money in prison.

Retirees tend to be happier even if their finances aren’t great.

A life update
In an effort to rein in our spending we took stock of all the food we have in our pantry and freezers and plan to budget a minimal amount for food this month with no eating out. Our CSA dropped our last basket off two weeks ago and so we do need a few fruits and vegetables as well as a few staples. Otherwise, we are trying to work with what we already have.

The Youngest and Mr. Tucker went to an information night for a specialty high school in the area and they came home eager to do an application! I was pleasantly surprised when they sent it to me via email to edit and give them feedback. The application process opens soon and so I am happy to see that they are taking it seriously. Apparently they took 58 students (plus 20 on the waitlist) into the program last year but had 120 applications total. It’s an almost 50% acceptance rate so if they work hard I am sure they will have a shot. So cross all of your fingers for my kid, please!

I was joking with the Americans* in the group chat that the condo situation feels cursed and that I need to hire someone to sage the place. Every time we get close to the end, another thing blindsides us. On Friday Mr. Tucker went to finish things up only to lose a FOB in the parking brake of the car and then got stuck in a work emergency. So he ended spending most of the time there on a call.

We went to buy appliances only to discover that one elevator was down so that we couldn’t book one to get the appliances upstairs. So now that we are nearing the end I have so much trepidation about what new and exciting derailment is going to happen? We’re trying to stay positive but man it feels like every time we get closer to the end, we get tripped up.

We ended up researching appliances last night and plan to head out and buy them this week and have them delivered on a day that Mr. Tucker books off (see story below!). We will get those in, stage that place and then throw it up on the market as soon as we can. Mr. Tucker – who has absolutely zero faith in the unseen/unknown/spiritual said to me today, “I really hope that whatever the universe is playing at, it’s playing at because it is helping us with the timing of selling the condo.” I honestly hope so as well!

The series of unfortunate events that have delayed the renovations and caused us so much time and given us so much anxiety has done one thing for me: it’s lessoned my nostalgia. I used to hem and haw over selling it vs. renting it out and now I just want it gone. It’s been an anchor on our time, our energy and our finances and it is 100% time to move on from this phase of our lives. So I’m thankful for small miracles, I suppose.

The Holidays are upon us
Last week was used book Advent Calendar day! It’s one of my favourite days of the year and since it is so popular you need to get there early to queue up if you want some good ones. A local bookstore spends a lot of time wrapping up 24 books and packaging them by language, age, genre, media (comic/dvd etc.) I made Mr. Tucker take the afternoon off work this year because last year he did not and of course it was chaos. Last year, I was left scrambling trying to manage the weight of the books while he stood outside in the parking lot on a work call, balancing his laptop in his hands. We vowed never again! It’s actually become a bit of a family joke that when he says the words, “Oh it’s pretty dead at work today, I will just hop out to do X…” all hell breaks loose at work and he’s stuck managing a crisis.

Well not this year!

This year I had him take the afternoon off and the book adventure was smooth sailing. We then hit IKEA because I love their Christmas paper shop and we needed a few extra tubes for this year. I had wanted to hit the cafeteria for lunch but unfortunately we had a delivery arrive of computer components and we didn’t want to leave them sitting out on our porch for too long. Still, it was a productive day.

I know people hate me for it but I generally do all of my Christmas shopping at the start of November. In fact, aside from a few small things for stockings I am pretty much done. I just generally love the fall and early winter between Samhain and the Winter Solstice/Yule that I don’t want to spend it worrying about shopping. I also learned the hard way that a lot of things can sell out very quickly. For example, The Eldest wanted a specific Advent Calendar this year and by the time I got around to ordering it, it was sold out! I managed to find it on another website so crisis averted but had I waited she would have been sorely disappointed. Yes, if you are sensing a theme: we love Advent Calendars more than actual Christmas gifts so we tend to spend more of our money there.

When life was busier and our minds were more chaotic I would wait until Christmas Eve where Mr. Tucker and I would get drunk, throw on the The Vinyl Café Christmas collection and get wrapping! But an older and wiser me has decided to instead do a bit of wrapping during the daytime when the kids are in school. It worked out really well last year and I managed to get it all done by December 1st. That way I managed to enjoy the crafting and friend and family get-togethers during the month without stressing about all of the other drama. December is also my birthday month so I spent a lot of years not celebrating because it was just too much to add yet another task to the list. Now that I have a handle on the season I do plan a nice dinner with the family this year, which will be a lovely break from our normal routine.

*These are my Americans, get your own

Spooky October expenses

Spooky October expenses

Happy Halloween/Samhain! It is my favourite holiday of the year and while we haven’t done as much this month as we typically do, I am still thrilled that we got to decorate & carve pumpkins and that the kids will be going trick-or-treating tonight in the neighbourhood. The Youngest has friends coming for dinner and I completely regret telling everyone that we would order pizza. I looked at our expenses in October yesterday and BIG YIKES: what a nightmare!

We spent 3x what I wanted to spend last month – most of it going towards the condo costs/renovation…and we haven’t even purchased the appliances yet! I am so angry and demoralized about the entire thing and every time we go to push forward on the final touches, something happens. When Mr. Tucker had a free weekend, someone was parking in our parking spot. Now that we are in the process of buying the appliances, one of the elevators in the building is down so we can’t book an elevator to get the appliances upstairs. It feels like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

I hope this is one of the things that feels hilarious in retrospect but right now I am not feeling it at ALL.

The only silver lining right now is that Mr. Tucker’s bonus was twice as much as we had anticipated, which is a relief. It means we can set aside even more money for investing and to pay off our winter trip this year.

(HAH, I just realized that I have Thanksgiving on their twice, well, just add them and that it close.)

That condo percentage is killing me! I am pretty shocked at our restaurant and alcohol consumption expenses as well. But knowledge is power and hopefully soon we can get it all done and on the market so that we can work on other projects around the house that need to get done.

Since it is bound to be a late night, I am going to try and see if I can sneak a nap in before the kids get home. They will all be hyper and excited to get out the door for trick-or-treating so I want to make sure I am well rested before the onslaught of children.

A jot a day: second week edition – Monday

A jot a day: second week edition – Monday

Only 15% of Canadians use passive vs. active investing and are losing 17 billion to fees every year. Comparatively, USians are 45% invested in passive funds. OOF reading that felt like a punch to the gut. (sub)

17 billion in fees!

The Annoyance Economy. (sub)

Takes The Pareto Principal and personal finance. As I have mentioned before, I am not an optimizer. I assume that by doing *most* things right it will make up for the things I get wrong (I hope).

Toronto grocery store price tracker!

Why are cafes, restaurants, and even towns banning influencers?”

• Finally, in the WTAF? news, Goldman Sachs CEO stops doing controversial DJ gigs. I am just out here, bringing you the useless info that brings zero value to your life.

The weekend

I did some admin on Friday by booking the family in for covid boosters. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to book individual appointments with some pharmacies and even with ones with bookings for multiple people, the appointments are far and few between. But with two kids in two different schools I figured sooner was better.

Friday night we took a break from #13DaysOfHalloweenMovies and instead ordered Chinese food in and binge watched the entire new season of Big Mouth. It continues to be hilarious, disgusting, and downright creepy in parts. I am glad we got some great laughs out of it though & it was nice to hunker down in the living room eating food we didn’t have to cook and having a relaxing Friday night with the family.

They closed the Queensway this weekend for a bridge replacement which basically meant driving anywhere was a nightmare. The Youngest had Roller Derby – and while they are generally always organized – OF ALL days to forget their roller skates…it was that day. Mr. Tucker – world’s greatest dad – drove home to grab the skates and then drove back downtown. Crisis averted.

Meanwhile, The Eldest spent the day baking! We always buy around 45 pounds of a variety of apples from a friend’s family’s farm in the fall. With them we dehydrate some for snacks, make applesauce and bake some delicious fall desserts with them. The Youngest also eats a pile of them fresh and whatever starts to go we end up chopping up and freezing for winter baking. So now we have an abundance of delicious baked goods!

Saturday night I hosted book club where we had read Writers & Lovers. On one hand, this book was so ridiculously readable that I devoured it in one sitting back in September. On the other hand, I had also just had surgery and couldn’t do anything but lounge around reading books and watching tv. It was a good chat with good company and I am so glad that I got to see friends. The summer/early fall has been challenging as I haven’t been able to get out and be social as much so it was wonderful to have some in-person hangouts with people.

We also decided to go back to full novels and to meet every two months. Given how chaotic the pandemic was with online school and working from home we only did poems and short stories. We also only met outside or online. While that has worked, it’s now the end of 2023 and we are moving back to our regular system. It’s odd to think that I was pregnant with The Youngest when I joined book club 14 years ago!

Sundays are generally a day for prepping for the upcoming week, having a lovely roast dinner & chilling out. Mr. Tucker also took the dishwasher apart because it’s been leaking. While he discovered some things he could clean & fix it does look like we are going to have to call the appliance repair person we use to fix the bigger issue. At least Mr. Tucker tried to fix it himself! We continue to make an attempt to fix things ourselves – it may or may not work but we always learn something.

Work & the condo

The closer we get to Mr. Tucker retiring the more antsy he gets. Who can blame him? You can see the light at the end of the tunnel but you are still IN the tunnel! He also says that he feels like just when he resolves himself that work is pretty ok, some disaster strikes and he gets irritated that he can’t just quit tomorrow. Alas, with the condo still in a state of a (semi!) disaster and with the bills from the condo still needing to be paid, we are not quite there yet. With the road closures and traffic redirection this weekend it didn’t make sense to do some work at the condo but hopefully we can get it all finished by next weekend.

Since the appliances were destroyed by the last family member who lived there I find myself having to purchase new ones. I need to figure out which company will give me a buy-now-pay-later loan/store card for the longest length of time. While I generally ABHOR store cards, it would be great to buy the appliances on time and then just pay it all off when the condo sells (or a worse case scenario I have to design into our plans: pay it off before the condo sells). A friend of mine mentioned that some places will give you up to two years grace, which would be ideal.

The rate announcement for the Bank of Canada will be Wednesday, October 25th and while I think they will leave it at 5% for now, they are definitely not going to bring it down. I think it’s too soon to tell. Analysts are saying it will be 5% until the end of 2024 but I feel like Tiff Macklem is under way too much pressure in a zero-growth economy. Having said that: what the heck do I know? Still, a pause may warm up the market for real estate even a tiny bit and I am crossing my fingers that it sells quickly and for a fair price.

13 Days of Halloween Movies

To recap what this is: when the pandemic hit our kids were 10 and 12 and in their prime trick-or-treating years. It made me sad that they couldn’t do the more traditional neighbourhood jaunt so instead we created a new ritual: 13 days of Halloween movies. We chose 13 movies to watch in the days leading up to Halloween and we bought them each some typical Halloween candy to enjoy while we were watching them. I also posted their reviews to each movie online with a picture of the movie poster and friends and family told me that they really enjoyed the reviews and that they looked forward to them. So even though they’ve gone trick-or-treating since then, it’s a ritual we have continued – with less candy.

Today’s offering is a modern murder mystery called Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. A group of friends ride out a hurricane in one of their mansions and try and play a murder game called …you guessed it: Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. Unfortunately, real people start turning up dead so…whodunnit? As usual, potential spoilers.

So what did the family think?

The Youngest: 7/10 It was good but it is just a bunch of random rich people getting together and dying and blaming each other and strangers.

The Eldest: 2/10 It was just lame. It was watching idiots get drunk and high and then freaking out over a storm and then killing each other.

Mr. Tucker: 3/10 First half was boring. Second half picked up a bit with some funny moments and ok suspense. Ending was quite good. The only thing I kept thinking was, “Wow! Their phone batteries are amazing!”

From the start of this movie you just basically LOATHE everyone. A bunch of spoiled, drug-addled 20-something-year-olds (and a 40-year-old one of them met on Tinder) with a dramatic history who clearly are just friends because they’ve known each other forever. Otherwise, they hate each other and constantly are making digs at each other’s expense. It works because there is clearly some mistrust even before the dead people show up. There are a LOT of terms you would get from a group who is super active on TikTok and have podcasts etc. I feel like someone older wrote these characters so that you will absolutely hate them. The way they speak is grating, like over-the-top-internet speak. You know the acting is fantastic if you have any strong emotion towards a character – even if you hate them. So I have to say, great acting on everyone’s part.

It does pick up halfway through around the scene with the four women fighting over the gun. One woman had been shot in the leg and as they are fighting she is screaming, “My leg! My leg!” over and over again and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. There is a lot of great criticism about online culture and how it can be ridiculous and over-the-top.

The ending is fantastic! I like the way that the story resolves itself so it is a good watch just based on that.

Anyhow, have a wonderful Monday!

No good deed goes unpunished OR let’s reno a condo!

No good deed goes unpunished OR let’s reno a condo!

I’ll be quite honest with you: I never wanted to be a landlord. I had no dreams of a real estate empire or building equity in owning buildings. It’s risky, a lot of work and it’s not my thing at all. Now with the increasing interest rates bearing down on people it’s terrifying to think of how leveraged some people are*.

But when we moved into our current house, I jointly-owned a condo downtown with a relative. Mr. Tucker & I began our life in there with our dog Dixie so it holds some nostalgia for us. This relative also owed me a lot of money for making capital repairs to their home while we rented the house from them (it is quite confusing but originally the plan was that we were supposed to switch homes and we would pay a certain amount. It didn’t work out.). At the same time ANOTHER relative was breaking up with a partner and struggling. So it made sense to just let the second relative move in at cost and figure things out from there because…

We had moved in December two weeks before Christmas, then a series of misfortunate events happened:
– We discovered that the condo had been basically destroyed by water & smoke damage and we suddenly had to do a lot of renovations
– The kids started in their new school and it was a challenging time
– I was diagnosed and we found ourselves suddenly without one income

I thought things couldn’t get worse from there but over the course of the next year we discovered that the relative we had rented to was unreliable. It was nothing too onerous: partial payments here, asking to borrow money there but there were definitely signs. Two weeks before the following Christmas we got a call that they were struggling a lot with their mental health and so they moved into our house for a few weeks as I helped them chase down emergency therapy supports around the city. It was then that we discovered that they were deeply in debt and struggling, so (stupidly) Mr. Tucker and I offered to help consolidate their debts onto my line of credit** and help them get back on their feet again. Previously they had been a pretty responsible adult with a great job so we figured they only needed a bit of a boost. I smartly had a lawyer friend witness a contract agreement between us both that had this relative paying us a certain amount every two weeks with the goal of paying it all off and building back their credit.

I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of it but as it turns out this person hasn’t been going to work. They got by in various ways, I guess, but in May of this year they basically just stopped paying and didn’t return calls, texts or emails. In August Mr. Tucker had to go down to the condo and ask them to leave in person. They still haven’t spoken to me and have now holed up in YET ANOTHER relative’s basement.

So for the SECOND time in 5 years we found ourselves doing a complete renovation of a trashed condo. The floors are damaged, there is smoke damage, and all of the appliances need to be replaced. So once again we find ourselves paying a mortgage and condo fees on a place that is unrentable and unsaleable. It is compounded by the fact that I have a broken foot still, school starts on Tuesday and I have a major abdominal surgery on Wednesday so Mr. Tucker will need to stay with me for that first week.

Originally Mr. Tucker and I wanted to hire a contractor and just get it done as soon as possible. We thought we had found someone but then he basically bait-and-switched us for more money and asked for more time. Even though his prices were astronomical the timeline was such that he said he’d be able to complete the work quicker than anyone else, which is why we agreed to his terms. So him coming back and changing the terms was so weird that Mr. Tucker and I told him that we would discuss and get back to him. The next morning at 6am we received an email from his “son” saying that he had been injured (between the hours of 10pm and 6am – what rotten luck!) and that he would be out of commission for a few weeks…and then he posted a video on social media a few hours later of him doing some tree and hedge work. I just absolutely had to laugh at the ridiculousness. Just bow out gracefully, my dude, no need to make up stories.

Note saying to not use the microwave

At that point though Mr. Tucker had had enough. So we hit up the IKEA website, he borrowed tools from his dad and he just made the decision to DIY it. So far he’s gotten rid of the appliances, over this weekend he has replaced the countertops and taps in the bathroom and kitchen, will replace the showerhead, do some grouting & sealing and then hopefully paint it all so that we can stage it and get it on the market. What makes me laugh is that we will basically save $8500 by DIYing this project despite losing so much time with the back-and-forth with this “#OurCity’s Handman.” Mr. Tucker is essentially learning new skills out of spite and fueled by rage.

So I guess not all is lost: Mr. Tucker is impressed with how easy it is to install things from IKEA (which #OurCity’s Handman also said he uses), he’s enjoying the process of learning these new skills and a friend has offered to help us repair the floors where they have come up. Sure, it’s not an ideal situation but knowing what we know now I wish we had started two weeks ago instead of messing around and going back-and-forth with this numpty (we also have a local contractor who is lovely but he does amazing work, is reliable and so, is already busy).

Hopefully we can get it all cleaned up and looking great sooner rather than later and then our realtor friend will put it on the market for us. While we are both nostalgic for the great times we have had there, the future has us moving forward towards Mr. Tucker’s retirement. Keeping the condo isn’t an option unless he works full time and while we are sad to to let it go, we are happy that someone else can make great memories there.

Mr. Tucker is already talking about what projects he could also tackle around the house. So I guess if there is a sunny side to this story it is that it is fun to learn new skills & it is empowering to know you can DIY things…and of course, a special thanks to YouTube and IKEA.

*I am not, I could afford to keep the condo and rent it but again, I have no interest in being a landlord. We will try and sell it first and then if it doesn’t sell, we’ll consider it.
** Yes, yes…only lend money you can afford to give away. It won’t sink us but it is truly maddening.