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A jot a day: Tuesday, October 17, 2023

A jot a day: Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Canadian inflation is down this month. So I am crossing my fingers for no rate hikes.

Canadian rent prices in the past 30 years. I am always wary when people put Ottawa and Gatineau together. There are really big differences between those two cities even though they are geographically correlated. They are two entirely different provinces with the QC side being much, much, much cheaper for real estate but much higher in income taxes.

I will always read anything Morgan Housel writes: A few laws about getting rich. (I am working on a post about found vs. earned wealth, for…someday)

I enjoyed The road to self-renewal that Apex Money posted. There is a lot of great wisdom there.

Procrastination. This really speaks to me as I was saying to Mr. Tucker (in response to this Instagram post) as someone who has been on the internet for 30 years I would say that around 2005-2007 are the years where the internet peaked. There was still eBay and livejournal but no smartphones making you available 24-7 and no social media (yes, it was my career but as I have mentioned repeatedly, when I retired the first thing I got rid of was twitter). “…Jefferies economist David Zervos had a really cool theory about technology and social media: he said that in the early days of the internet, we had a huge productivity boom (Look! I can order these plane tickets online!), and as the internet progressed, and social media appeared on the scene, then the internet became a huge productivity suck, as people spend hours and hours doomscrolling and looking at 49 photos of Fun Dinner at Pam’s.”

I think yesterday was the first day post-surgery that I felt really good & was able to bend over for long periods of time. Healing is definitely a process and I am always shocked when I read about people heading back to work at two weeks post-surgery. To be fair, in 2016 when I had neurosurgery booked AND broke my ankle 3 days beforehand (leading to two surgeries in 3 days) I went back to work within two weeks (from home) and within a month was getting Mr. Tucker to bring me downtown in my wheelchair to work half days in the office, half days from home. Looking back, that was a completely BONKERS thing to do given how much I had been through but it also explains why the next two years were an absolute nightmare, health-wise, for me. We were under so much stress from 2016-2018 that my final diagnosis was almost a relief because I could go on EI and apply for short-term disability. Finally, a break!

The problem is that in our modern world doesn’t allow for the realities of illness. I read Ask a Manager daily and I am always shocked when there are stories of people with terminal illnesses at work despite being severely ill. It breaks my heart because if they don’t work, they don’t keep their medical benefits. When I read supposed “heartwarming” stories of people who have donated their PTO so a colleague with a grave illness can take time off I am horrified. Is this the best we can do in 2023? Hustle until you die?

One of the things I have noticed about the FIRE movement is that the US version is way different than the rest of the world’s. I read things like The New Escapologist and The Idler and it is more philosophy than practicality. US writers are more focused on money because they have to be. The rest of the west has a plethora of safety nets that the US hasn’t historically had. With the ACA it has become much better but it is still super expensive. There are a lot more variables to account for. It makes sense that most advice is more practical in nature because it has to be, there are a lot more pieces on the chessboard. I am open to being wrong about this though, it is – admittedly – a small sample size.

Mr. Tucker is struggling at work lately and I suspect it is because he is >this close< to being able to retire. I played with the numbers though and without selling the condo, we can’t manage it. We can definitely live off of my income and our investments but not with the mortgage/condo fees/insurance still on the books. So it’s not what the sale will put IN our coffers so much as what it is NOT taking out of our monthly budget. It’s frustrating when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel but you know there is still a little ways to go until you get there.

The #13DaysOfHalloweenMovies2023 movie for today will be The Last Voyage of the Demeter. WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY

The trailer looked good and it is a movie from this year, so I figured we’d throw it on the list. So what did everybody think?

The Eldest: 8/10 It was good but the end sucked. Wasn’t very scary, but still enjoyable.

The Youngest: 7/10 I liked it but it dragged on, like Dad said last night. 45 minutes too long – it was only 10 pages 😢 (note: in the actual book, which the youngest has read)

Mr. Tucker: Two hours of guys walking around a ship’s topside yelling if anyone is there, then dying. Then they find Dracula’s coffin and do nothing. Movie was easily 45 mins too long.

I do like stories that branch off from the original (à la Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) that gives us a side quest from the main story. But with the Demeter we already know from the original story that the crew is all dead. It’s right there in the book and the first five minutes of the story reiterates that. So all that is left is to really see the story of how they died, which isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the canyon-esque plot holes. It’s very strange that they a> see two infected people burn up in the sun; b> have the main character and the woman find Dracula’s “sleeping” place and then…just leave it? And not tell anyone? Has no one put two-and-two together and maybe thought of moving the coffin to the deck in daylight? I don’t mind stories where we know the ending but the actual plot has to be decent. What it is even more weird is the ending had a bit of a cliff-hanger and wow do we ever not need a sequel.

That’s it for today’s random thoughts! Have a great Tuesday!

A jot a day: Monday, Rocktober 16th, 2023

A jot a day: Monday, Rocktober 16th, 2023

I have long neglected writing on any sort of cohesive schedule so I thought I would jot dot down my thoughts on every weekday this week. While I don’t typically edit my blog posts aside from grammar and spelling, these may be even worse. The point is to just get some day-in-the-life thoughts out there.

Things I read this morning
• The October update from The New Escapeologist.
Why you should invest in yourself by Tawcan.
Invest in the index, not individual stocks.
• Every Monday Wealthsimple sends out a newsletter called TL;DR which is a fun little round-up of financial news from last week. It is truly a fun read to wake up to on Monday morning.

Books I am currently reading
• Non-Fiction: The Art of the Good Life: 52 surprising shortcuts to happiness, wealth, and success by Rolf Dobelli.
• Fiction: VenCo by Cherie Dimaline

I suspect that I will be reading these books for the rest of the week at least. As usual, my library pile continues to explode upwards.

The weekend

The painting in the condo was finally completely to our satisfaction. Last week the painter said he was done and it was horrible: no baseboards or ledges done, paint drips down the wall, doors not painted. Again, another nightmare to add to the pile of the nightmare condo project. So Mr. Tucker followed up and he redid it. Apparently it looks passable so now we move onto buying appliances and finishing some of the fixes for the laminate floors. I feel like we may never get this condo on the market! Maybe come October 25th the Bank of Canada will raise the rates again and it will be even worse. I am crossing my fingers for it staying right where it is.

Friday night Mr. Tucker took the Eldest and 4 of her friends out to a local farm to do their haunted hayride & haunted houses. They then all came here for a sleepover and Mr. Tucker made them all homemade crepes with local maple syrup for breakfast. Typically, the Eldest doesn’t want a birthday party so we have decided to pay for her and her friends to do this in October. We are, afterall, SUPER into Halloween around these parts so it makes more sense to just do this in the fall than to have something in the spring that she feels lackluster about. Unfortunately, the Youngest also had a last-minute costume party because it meant Mr. Tucker and I couldn’t make an appearance at our friend’s last-of-the-year backyard hangout. October is always busy and even though I have planned less official outings it’s still pure chaos some weekends.

We buy all of our chickens for the year from a local farmer in the area. Typically, Mr. Tucker goes day-of to get them whole/fresh and then he processes them himself. One evening of work means we have meals for the entire year. It also means that we end up with a pile of bones that we freeze so that we can make chicken stock when we get to it. A glut of celery and carrots in our CSA combined with the crisp fall weather meant that yesterday we ended up making a huge batch of chicken stock. Just in time for soup season!

The kids managed to harvest the rest of the garden yesterday – mostly tomatoes and peppers – and then tore it all out. I had such high hopes for our garden this year! It was also an amazing year for tomatoes which we couldn’t take advantage of because I have been convalescing since June 25th. I guess there is always next year but we had such good intentions of caring for our gardens properly. Another year, another learning experience. But I am glad we cleared it out early so it is one less thing we have to do in preparation for the winter. We did set up a little grow centre for herbs in the winter (*cough* in 2021) so maybe we will do that this winter.

At the cottage last weekend I really enjoyed doing art, reading and writing by candlelight. Mr. Tucker mentioned how much he loved beeswax candles and he especially found them comforting around the darker months of the year. Well, yesterday I discovered a local business called The Wax Studio that makes these beautiful and seasonal beeswax candles & so we spent some of our pocket money on a couple.

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. So Saturday I chose the 13 movies for 2023 and we started watching them. We used to do the 13 days leading up & including Halloween but now with our schedules it makes more sense to just get through 13 in the month. We try and do a mix of classic, retro and modern as well as scary, campy and funny.

For our first movie this year, we started with a new & campy movie: Renfield

Here are the reviews:

The Youngest: 9/10. I loved it. But the whole thing with the dead dad was kind of cliché and I don’t like when they kill the parents off.

The Eldest: 8/10. It was a good movie but I found it to be rushed. Some parts didn’t make a ton of sense at some points, but overall it was good.

Mr. Tucker: 7/10 cause I’m lame and thought the dad thing was cliché too. Cool action and imaginative kills. Nick cage looking like current Marilyn Manson was fun.

As for me? I did enjoy the gore and creativity. I also like new takes on old stories if they are done well and I found this modern take on Renfield charming. I like a nice, low stakes watch with good pacing and so this worked for me. Generally, I am not a movie person so I am easy to please.


My plan is to journal and read today and maybe watch something. I am still supposed to be convalescing but yesterday I felt better than I have in a long time. My walking has improved exponentially and I am mostly back down to one sidearm crutch again.

The only real chore I have is to do a meal plan for the week. I find it’s easier to plan in advance by the things that need to be eaten from our CSA box. It also stops food waste by eating things before they start to go bad. Writing it down on the whiteboard – and writing down the movie we are watching that night – stops the constant cacophony of “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” & “WHAT MOVIE ARE WE WATCHING?” questions every night. It’s purely for my own sanity.

Have a great Monday!